Vending, Redefined

1:50 PM

I love the way companies have been taking advantage of vending machines lately. Vending machines are no longer just your usual go-to for a soda or bag of chips, but rather a source of endless possibilities. Over the past ten years or so, I was usually excited enough to stumble across the odd Pringles or Dippin' Dots machines, but the last few years have proved that you really can find just about anything in a self-serve box.

The first time I saw a really great example of the modern-day vending machine was in 2009 at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. In the hotel lobby, there were several machines, many of which were dedicated to brand-new Apple products.

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No, not that kind of apple.


Here we go:

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Since then, I haven't been surprised to walk into a Macy's store to find a glass case filled with iPods, iPads, and spare ear buds. I guess rich people need gifts in a hurry sometimes, but I think I'd rather stick to the whole I-bought-it-at-a-store-so-I-can-always-take-it-back policy.

Surprisingly, I even saw this trend pop up a few weeks ago in my old hometown. I wasn't raised in the middle of nowhere, but our local mall in Virginia wasn't necessarily on the cutting-edge of shopping meccas. The gotta-have-it-now product? Proactiv!


I'm not sure I'd ever think of running across town to buy face wash out of a vending machine, but a huge refrigerator-type case covered in pictures of Julianne Hough might win some people over. Takes away the embarrassment of talking to anyone about your skin imperfections, I guess. If you're opposed to that type of thing.

And, of course, where would we be without our beloved Redbox? Never before have Friday night movie choices been so spontaneous and inexpensive.

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When Brad and I were out driving around this weekend, I was amused to see a machine for fishing bait outside of a convenience store, right next to a self-serve cage for not ice, but firewood. I guess they really weren't kidding when they said Michigan is surrounded by lakes, huh?

A few more innovative kiosks:

Walking robot Coke machine (Source)

Kit Kat's Human Vending Machine--this one made me giggle. (Source)

YESSS! (Source)
Need an umbrella? I guess this is less shady than buying one for $2.00 from the guy walking around the subway. (Source)



AND . . .
Nothing says convenience like feeding your dollars into a machine and watching a Smart Car pop out.

Okay, I'm leading you on. That doesn't really happen, but you can push a button to receive a tube of pamphlets and stickers from Smart. Still pretty eye-catching, if you ask me.



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So, what about you? Ready to scout huge shopping areas to see what you can watch fall out of a machine?

Happy hunting. :)

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