I thought of food and drink, candy bars mostly, when I considered vending machines. Those were the offerings in my sheltered corner of paradise. My limited thoughts were blown away when I stumbled upon a machine that dispensed fish bait. Put your money in, and you got worms.
My daughter said, “In Japan, they have vending machines that dispense used panties.” Get the hell out? What else was out there waiting to drop at the push of a button?
My neck of the woods was behind the rest of the world. You could purchase a pecan pie, not snack size, but an entire pecan pie in Texas. If you plucked a lobster out of a vending machine with a claw in Vegas, the restaurant cooked it for free.
Japan offered eggs, but Germany expanded on the idea and also offered milk, cheese, and sausage. Impress me. Give me a machine to select a to-go-chef to cook me an omelet.
The crab machine in China had me a bit concerned with food safety. Crabs had to be cooked live to avoid food poisoning. How did you get the crabs home? A bucket of sea water? Imagine the subway commute if everyone decided to have vending machine crabs for dinner.
Who would take food quality complaints? Once, at the bottom of a bag of chips I realized the black specks weren’t pepper, but dried ants. More horrifying than eating ants was the question, “did eating the chips kill the ants?” I left a note on the break table and was refunded a dollar. Apples replaced chips for the next few weeks.
What did you do if your food wouldn’t drop? Not a problem for a dollar candy bar, but in New York there were machines that dispensed $50.00 to $5,000 cans of caviar. I couldn’t imagine shrugging my shoulders and walking away from a $5,000 can of fish eggs. I couldn’t imagine paying for or eating fish eggs either.
While I waited for a Little Debbie lunch cake, in a posh New York hotel, a patron might wait for the keys to a $10,000 rental Ferrari to drop. This same machine also dispensed designer clothes, jewelry, and 24ct gold handcuffs for when an ordinary pair of handcuffs just wouldn’t do.
You could also spend $8,000 on a photo shoot. Did the photo shoot go with the handcuffs? Why not? Japan offered a condom/energy drink combo, (only available from 8pm to 4am). I’m assuming that vending machine was located next to the machines that dispensed sex toys and those used panties. How did one know that the panties weren’t worn by the Japanese equivalent of a cousin named Bubba who would delight in knowing he out perverted a pervert?
The swankiest vending machine was ultimately the machine that dispensed gold bars. What makes someone reason, my wallet’s too full of hundred dollar bills. I think I’ll trade them in for gold bars. Then what? You pocket the gold bars and chink them around like loose change?
Hold onto your sushi rolled socks, (available in Japan). The pickings became stranger. There’s a vending machine that offered fine china. “Hey, honey, I need a gravy boat for Thanksgiving dinner. Run down to the china vending machine. I’d prefer a neutral color so it doesn’t clash with my dishes. Stop at the mashed potato machine as well.”
You could find poetry and puppies. Everyone knew vending machines were the best places to purchase words of endearment and a furry companion. Never before had I walked up to a vending machine and contemplated extending my hair. I could now with the offering of human hair extensions.
Australia offered hypodermic needles and Canada, crack pipes. In some states, with a prescription, you could get your medical marijuana from a guarded ATM like pot machine.
Japan dispensed Rhinoceros beetles. Boys collected the beetles and had fights with them. Future plans included machines to offer tarantulas, praying mantis, and cockroaches. You paid for bugs and voluntarily brought them into your home. Goody. I’d patiently wait for those machines to catch on here. We’re a planet of weirdoes.