Not Your Typical Vending Machine

Not Your Typical Vending MachineWhen I think of a vending machine, items like soda pop and candy bars come to mind. However, walking through the Indianapolis International Airport, you can stop by a Best Buy vending machine and purchase a wide variety of items, from headphones to iPods. You can even use a credit card since not too many people will have that kind of cash on them.

Speaking of credit cards and vending machines, the pop machines on the Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis campus (IUPUI) now accept both major credit cards and the IUPUI Jag Tag. The IUPUI Jag Tag is the student identification card and can be used to purchase items in the cafeteria and various bookstores on the campus. You can preload it online and use it at your leisure, similar to how you would use a credit card. There are even specific campus-wide discounts for using the Jag Tag.

Anyway, the Best Buy vending machine takes credit cards. I have even seen Apple vending machines in larger airports. But I came across an article the other day on Yahoo! News breaking down some of the weirdest vending machines in the world. Most of these can be found in major airports, but some of them you can find on the streets of your favorite city.

Fresh Out of the Oven

Imagine walking through the streets of Italy and thinking, “What sounds good for dinner?” Grab some pasta at the local bistro maybe or head to the closest fast food chain. Or maybe hit up a vending machine and grab a freshly prepared pizza! That’s right, there are pizza vending machines in Italy. But these vending machines don’t just pump out premade pizzas, but allow you to select your toppings and your choice of cheese, and it is made right there while you wait.

The vending machines, titled Let’s Pizza, will allow you to select all your favorite toppings and prepare your meal in under three minutes. It is “made from scratch” and costs anywhere from $3-$8. So the next time you are walking through the streets of Sicily make sure to keep your eyes peeled for a pizza vending machine.

Worth It’s Weight in Gold

You must be rich to visit one of these vending machines. Imagine purchasing gold… out of a vending machine. Yeah, gold bars at the touch of a button.

The price of these gold bars varies, keeping up to date with market value pricing. One of these vending machine can be found in the Moscow airport. That makes sense though since Moscow might be one of the most expensive cities on the planet. A good friend of mine was there not too long ago and said that a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in Red Square was nearly $20.

The next time someone says, “Bring me something home from your trip,” think about grabbing him a bar of gold instead of that generic stamp or t-shirt.

This Just “Cracks” Me Up

Get it? See what I did there? Anyway, if you are wondering the streets of Japan or certain cities in California, keep your eyes peeled for a vending machine packed with freshly laid eggs. Yes, eggs.

There are times where I enjoy a good hard boiled egg every now and again, but I’m not  sure I would trust an egg coming from a vending machine. For only $3 you can purchase an egg. Don’t worry, they are free-range chickens.

Freeze, You’re Under Arrest

If you find yourself in South Beach, make sure to grab a pair of gold handcuffs. Or a feather vest. That will only run you $400. You can even purchase a car or a condo. Prices obviously vary and I have a hard time taking this serious. Just saying.

Dropping a Line

I come from a town that might appreciate a vending machine like this. As a matter of fact, I am sure I have seen vending machines like this. Imagine laying in bed with the alarm going off before the sun comes up. You sneak out of bed, kiss your wife goodbye, and head to the lake for some early morning fishing. But wait, you forgot the bait. No worries, just find one of these live bait vending machines.

Surely these things are filled up every day as the bait is in fact live night crawlers and worms. You can get the live bait for roughly $3 a pound.

Riding on Two Wheels

This is actually a very cool concept. Imagine walking through your favorite European city and wanting to get from point A to point B a little faster. No fear, just stop by one of these bicycle vending machines and rent a bike! You heard that right, you can rent bicycles for your travels.

The concept is still new, and is not quite as detailed as Redbox. With Redbox you can rent a DVD in one city and return it in another for no additional charge. But with the bicycle rental program you must return the bike to the same location. It’s not very expensive either, running first time users only $16. They also provide return users a discount, offering $4 rentals for the next twelve months.

There are only a few of these bicycle vending machines around right now, but a dozen more are planned before the end of the year.

People Still Read?

This is actually not a new concept. The next time you walk through the airport, look around at all the shops and see if you can’t find a book return policy. The concept is simple. Purchase the book at full price, read it on your trip, and when you return you can return the book for a significant discount. Don’t expect the books that you buy to be new, but it does encourage people to read more often.

This concept also exists in a library. What a concept those things are. You head in, check out a book, read it, and return it for free. Weird, right? Well, sort of finding the middle ground here is A Novel Idea. You will find these vending machines in London right now but look for this trend to explode all across Europe in the next fiscal year. You can purchase these books for only $10 and the machines are packed with new releases and best sellers.

So no matter what your vice, you can find a vending machine for it. From soda pop to iPods to bicycles and more, there is a vending machine out there for you. Happy shopping!