No doubt we live in the modern era where convenience truly matters. Take vending machines, for instance. You can easily purchase your favourite packet or canned drink; or even a cup of hot coffee in public areas such as train stations, shopping malls and R&R stops. But there are few other vending machines in some countries that dispense things you might not have expected. Here, we’ve rounded up a selection of 10 Unique Vending Machines in the World!
1) Pizza (Europe & US)
Move over microwave pizza! Here comes Let’s Pizza — the company that invented the pizza vending machine. Available mostly in Europe and the US, you can get freshly-baked pizza in just 3 minutes! The vending machine even uses fresh ingredients and dough made from scratch.
2) Live Crabs (China)
Yes, you read it right: live crabs. In the vending machine. Something you won’t be expecting at all. But it does exist, at least in China where you can find them in subway stations such as Nanjing in the Jiangsu province. Special packaging is used to preserve the freshness of the crab and each purchase comes with vinegar and ginger tea.
3) Gold (Various Locations)
No, not chocolates wrapped in gold foil. But a vending machine that actually dispenses real gold. You can choose to buy gold in different forms such as bars and coins. Given its highly-valuable items, it comes to no surprise that these gold vending machines are heavily guarded with security measures. They can be found in various locations in certain parts of the world including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Las Vegas and New York.
4) Bananas (Japan)
Bananas can be easily found in places like supermarkets, fruit stalls, pasar malam and even certain convenience stores. But if you are in Japan, don’t be surprised to find yourself coming across a vending machine dispensing… bananas. Specifically, fresh Dole bananas.
5) Lego (Germany)
Can you believe train stations in Germany sell… Lego toys? As in the iconic plastic construction set we used to play when we were kids. For the rest of the world, we’ll just have to get Lego in toy stores.
6) Cars (US)
Not toy cars in a vending machine but actual cars. Ones that you see on the road every single day? Yeah, those. So, how does a whole car actually fit into a vending machine? Carvana, the Arizona-based online car retailer came up with a unique solution: introducing automated car vending machines with the size and height of a five-storey glass building.
Here’s how it works: the consumer purchases a car from Carvana’s online platform and then picks it up at the vending machine at the designated US location. The consumer is required to enter their name before dropping a special coin into the slot of the car vending machine. The machine will proceed by retrieving the purchased car from the automated glass building and place it on the elevated lift. After the car reaches the designated bay, the consumer is able to pick up their purchased vehicle and drive home.
7) Raw Milk (Europe)
Milk packet drinks in a vending machine are common enough. But raw milk? Well, you can find them in European countries such as France and Switzerland. The machine works by dispensing raw milk to a bottle or container after the payment has been made.
8) Lingerie (Japan & India)
Instead of selling them in the department store or shop lot, you can easily purchase lingerie conveniently from a vending machine with just the touch of a button. Frankly, it seems like one would need a lot of courage to buy lingerie in the public eye.
9) Lettuce (Japan)
In Japan, you don’t have to rely on visiting morning markets or supermarkets to buy fresh lettuce. Interestingly enough, there’s a vending machine where it dispenses not only lettuce but actually able to grow its own as well — all without the help of natural sunlight but using special kinds of fluorescent light bulbs.
10) Breathalyser (Various Locations)
Afraid of a potential police roadblock on your way home after a night of booze? Well, if you live in some parts of the countries such as the US and Australia, there are few local bars that have a breathalyser vending machine. It basically works by inserting payment using cash, coin or credit card before grabbing a disposable straw and blowing hard into the funnel or testing hole for 2 seconds. The end result can be visibly seen on the LCD monitor to determine whether you are safe enough to drive.