Guitar straps, used cars, vacuum-packed meat and 4 other weird thing you can buy from a vending machineMay 3, 2017
This vending machine has more than its fair share of picks. A music supply store in Melbourne, Australia, recently launched a 24-hour vending machine just in case you happen to need a guitar string or tuner at odd hours, Mashable reports. The Clingan Guitar Tone’s machine also includes drum sticks, guitar straps and even a capo—a clamp used to help tune string instruments. The items go for between $3 to $9, or a bit more than your typical soft drink automat
Clingan Guitar Tone is touting the 24 Hour Tone Shop, as the machine is called, as Australia’s first automated dispenser of musical instruments.
Though vending machines are often associated with retailing soda and chips, some have sold more eclectic material. Here are a few:
1. Carvana doesn’t want to be just any used car salesman. That’s why the Texas retailer sells cars out of a vending machine. Here’s how it works: search for a secondhand auto online and choose to have it shipped either to your home, or a nearby vending machine (its San Antonio flagship is a glass structure that’s eight stories high). Carvana provides you with a giant coin, so just pop it into a slot and voilà. Since Carvana recently announced an upcoming IPO, the concept appears to be a hit.
2. The Berdoll Pecan Farm in Texas has long been a must-visit stop on Highway 71. To deal with lengthy crowds of hungry consumers, the pecan farm in 2014 installed a machine that retails baked pecan pies and pecans even at odd hours.
3. Talk about making art more accessible. The Vending Machine Art Gallery is a British pop-up concept that hangs limited edition prints in pubs and sells them—rolled up— in nearby vending machines. At a recent showcase at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen in London’s trendy Shoreditch neighborhood, artwork from the likes of graffiti artist Crok was going for more than $25.
4. Snap Inc recently said it wants to be known as a camera company, not just a purveyor of disappearing images. In another retro nod, the company behind Snapchat is selling its line of sunglasses with built in video cameras in bright yellow vending machines that look like Minions. The first dispenser of the $130 spectacles appeared in Los Angeles last year, though they’ve also popped up in Seattle
5. Eating well in Paris on a Sunday can be a pain– many of the French capital’s best restaurants are shut. That’s why the owners of L’ami Txulette spent about $45,000 selling vacuum-packed meat from a refrigerated machine. The machine dispenses everything from duck confit to faux-filet steaks and Basque pâté for 20 euro cents more than it would cost in-store. It’s also positioned as an alternative for Parisians who work weird hours.
6. A rite of passage for new employees at Facebook and Dropbox involves picking up tech supplies ranging from keyboards to laptops at in-house smart vending machines. The dispensers are made by Indianapolis-based IVM which says they reduce the logistics headache while making it easy to track stock levels.
7. Japan has over half a million vending machines dispensing cigarettes, though about a decade ago, the tobacco lobby there spent almost $800 million upgrading them to deter underage smokers. They now require payment by taspo—an ID card that also works as a payment device.