Growing up all our vacations were by car so I got to see a few truck stops a long the way. It was a toss-up whether the truck stop or hotel had the most interesting vending machines. Who would buy combs, toothpaste or aspirin from a machine I wondered?
Well as exotic as those products were to a kid, they are pretty boring compared to the things that can be sold in the vending machines today. Japan is notorious for selling just about anything in a machine but the U.S. is starting to sell more interesting items as listed below.
1. Electronics – Airports seem to be the main place to buy iPods,games and other electronics from a machine. Sony and Apple are two brands I’ve seen during my travels. I think it’s a good option to replace a forgotten accessories. But since the iPod comes uncharged and empty what good is it on the flight?
2. Gold – Next time you are in Las Vegas head over to the Golden Nugget where you’ll find a machine dispensing gold bars and coins. Not sure why people need this item as I doubt the machines or tables would accept that as currency.
3. Diaper Bag Essentials – Two moms in Minnesota came up with an idea for a machine that stocks diapers, wipes, sippy cups and snacks. I hope they have a resounding business because one of these machines would be great anywhere you see lots of parents and kids without alternative sources such as malls, airports and even restaurants.
4. Prescription Medications – It’s no fun to be sick and not only drag yourself to the doctor’s office but then have to get to the pharmacy for the prescription. One company has a solution with a medication dispensing machine. Your doctor sends the prescription electronically to the machine which processes payment and delivers the medication.
5. Marijuana – This could go in the above category, but it’s only medication in some states. Why wait until the store opens to get your pot prescription filled? Machines selling medical marijuana are in business in California. Enough said.
6. Fishing Bait – Early morning fishing fans can now get bait before the storefronts open via a vending machine. These are more common than you think with several hundred machines out there. So pick up your worms and other bait from a kiosk and save time.
I predict more products will become available via vending machines. It’s cheaper than having a storefront with employees and more convenient for customers.
What the most unusual item you have seen sold in a machine?