As a kid, I thought vending machines had real people sitting inside them distributing soda when you popped in a coin. I always wondered how someone got in and out. There was one below my building near the grocery shop, bright red in colour with the famous letters written over it in cursive. While waiting for the school bus, I used to wonder how could someone even work from such a small place. I was longing to see how someone could even enter such a claustrophobic cabin. And then one day my mother enlightened me that the vending machines were automated. She told me it was robotic. Mindblown! The only problem was I now thought Arnold Schwarzenegger was inside the machine. Because when she said it was robotic, me having seen the Terminator movie, thought robots were all Arnolds. Ah! True, I wasn’t a smart kid.
Thankfully, I had smart friends and I learnt as I grew up that a lot of things in this world were not what I had thought to be. But honestly, I think vending machines are a cool invention. Even today, if I see a vending machine, and I have coins in my pocket, I always buy something. Why? Because it’s a fun activity. You dig a coin out from your wallet, walk up to it and check out what you need to buy and insert coins, now make the selection carefully (you get only one chance) and voila! Magically your desired object comes out. You then grab it quickly. Eat or drink the content to your heart’s satisfaction. If you are an introvert and hate human interaction, vending machines are the thing for you!
Initially, there were only soda vending machines. This was the only type I had seen up until age 10. Then one day a famous vending machine appeared in my city near a shopping mall that dispensed hot chocolate, tea, cappuccino, espresso and other hot beverages. Can you imagine the stuff that was going on in my ten year old brain? I was so fascinated by this thing. It prepares a drink for you. Also that was the first time I learned what a cappuccino or espresso was. Then as science progressed, many different vending machines came into existence.
Food has always been appealing to humans. Several times I have thought of stealing a food dispensing vending machine. Especially the ones that give you chocolate bars. Speaking of bars, there is a vending machine in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace hotel that dispenses gold bars and coins. How rich do you have to be to say “Oh look, a gold vending machine, let me buy some gold because I am filthy rich and I need a gold bar paper weight!!!”?. Forget going to the jeweler. Gold vending machines are the new fad in town. You insert papers notes to get shining metal. Now this is the kind of vending machine I should be stealing!
It was actually a Greek engineer and mathematician, Hero of Alexandria who invented the first working vending machine in the first century. You gave it a coin and it gave you holy water! In the 1600s, the English devised a vending machine that dispensed tobacco. They then progressed to make machines that sold newspapers, cards, stamps, envelopes found in railway stations and post offices. By 1888, the first vending machine in the US sold chewing gum on the platforms of NYC railway station.
Today you have all sorts of vending machines. You name it, they have it. You can find them in the most unexpected places. Imagine planning a trip to Japan, you are adventurous and prep a hike to Mt. Fuji just so that you can breathe fresh air and enjoy the beautiful breathtaking view from above. What do you see when you reach the top? A god damned vending machine! Yes!
Vending machines are awesome. But who’s more awesome? The one who stacks food in them. You can go to the most remote place in some corner of the world, find a working vending machine in a pub or restaurant and push in a coin. It will never fail to deliver. All this only because someone took the effort to make sure there is no dearth of food in the vending machine. These stackers are unsung heroes.
Here are some amazing vending machines across the globe. From dispensing chilled water to hot cash, I don’t know what other innovative idea can people come up with.
Here's a cupcake vending machine! i could empty the whole thing!
Got skin problems? Fear not!
A pizza vending machine! LMAO
A Lobster vending machine! That's it. I've seen everything.