It’s no surprise vending machines have been popular for quite some time. The experience is easy (and dare we admit, a little exciting?), from choosing what you’re going to order, followed by the suspense of seeing whether it actually drops down and doesn’t get stuck, plus not having to interact with anyone — hurrah! While vending machines are typically stocked with crips, candy, and canned drinks, there are certainly some vending machines offering stranger options. Here are the most unusual vending machines in the world:
1. Live Crab Vending Machine, China
In Nanjing, China, you can find a vending machine that sells live “fresh” crabs. The vending machine is easily one of the most unusual, and it maintains an internal temperature of 41F to keep the crabs alive and hibernating, without killing them. It’s stocked between August and October with crabs and means you can skip the queue in a supermarket. Fancy a quick crab soup, anyone?
2. Pizza Vending Machine, Europe
Ever wanted a pizza but feel too lazy to go to a restaurant and wait to be served? That’s why the Let’s Pizza vending machine was invented. The machine, which first appeared in Italy and can be found in several locations in Europe, serves “fresh” pizza 24-hours-a-day, at a cost of $6 for 10.5-inch pie. The smart-machine actually kneads the dough and adds sauce and fresh toppings to the pizza. You can choose from options such as margherita, pepperoni, ham or plain cheese. There’s a cool window to watch your pizza cooking if you’re curious as to how it works.
3. Eggs, Japan
Eggs are one of those essential ingredients, whether you eat them for breakfast or add them into baking or cooking. If you’re from Nagoya, Japan, you’re in luck as there is a vending machine stocked with fresh eggs every morning and customers can buy 10-12 eggs for a few dollars. Generally speaking, vending machine culture is really big in Japan — locals are also able to get a wide variety of products from batteries to noodles to glasses…just in case you lose them.
4. Fresh Baguettes, Paris
There is nothing quite like a fresh, French baguette, and at this vending machine in Paris, you can get your hands on one 24-hours-a-day. The idea was thought up by a French baker who was tired of customers knocking on his door asking for fresh bread constantly. When the machine was invented it was €1 euro for a crisp and steaming baguette. The bread is partially cooked before being put into the vending machine and baked upon order, for that extra crispy freshness.
5. Condom Vending Machine, Spain
Perhaps one of the most useful machines in our roundup is the condom vending machine located on a busy street in Barcelona. It’s part of an initiative to promote safe-sex and condoms are available 24-7, meaning there’s no excuse not to be prepared.
6. Pet Food, Istanbul
There are hundreds of thousands of stray dogs in Istanbul and company Pugedon decided to do something about it. The company has made a recycling machine that dispenses a cup of dog food into a tray beneath when a water bottle is recycled — meaning the dog food is paid for by the recycled bottles.
7. Whiskey Pouches, UK
If you’re in need of some dutch-courage and want a quick whiskey shot, the whiskey-pouch vending machine is just the thing for you. The machine, which is located in London, will be dispensing little pouches of single whiskey malt until December 2018. Cheers!
8. Vending Machine Restaurant, Netherlands
Taking things one step further is the vending machine restaurant chain in the Netherlands, known as FEBO. The restaurants are stocked with vending machines and the idea is that they are fast-food walk-up restaurants where you select one of the dishes (such as krokets, hamburgers or kaassouffles) and your dinner is dispensed vending-machine-style.
9. Socks, South Korea
The ‘I Hate Monday’ brand started offers socks in vending machines in Seoul, South Korea, and the trend has followed suit. It’s easy to forget your socks when you’re running out of the door, or maybe the pair you’re wearing is particularly stinky and you need to change them before your date — whatever the reason, your toes can unclench with this vending machine option. The socks often come in cool, fun patterns, and plain black or white socks are available too. Check out these 20 unusual things to do in South Korea if you’re curious to find out more about the weird and wonderful!
10. Sprinkles Cupcake, United States
Want to buy a quick cupcake en route to your friend’s house? Or are you awake at 2 am with the munchies and craving something sweet? Sprinkles Cupcake ATMs can be found in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, and NYC. The vending machines, or ‘ATMS’, are open 24 hours, meaning you can satisfy your sweet tooth at any time. They are restocked frequently and can hold up to 600 cupcakes at a time. They also have a doggy cupcake option, so your pooch doesn’t feel left out.
And if you’re interested in all-things-unusual, check out these strange cultural differences around the world.