Want a quick cultural glimpse of the current vibe in SF Bay Area? Take a peek at the contents of this artsy souvenir vending machine my pal Jessica Nguyen spotted at the Oakland Airport.
Whoever curated this thing really has their finger on the pulse of the Bay Area. Though, it is a little like playing a game of "Find the precious hipster marketing buzzwords."
I spy (from top to bottom, left to right):MOO, dog treats made from Five Dot Ranch's grass-fed beef ($12 plus tax) An eco-friendly embroidered kitchen towel made from hemp depicting the state of California and its state flower: poppies ($24 plus tax) A "super-warm cuffed beanie" by local retail favorite Oaklandish ($18 plus tax) Peanut butter & Jelly granola by San Francisco-based small batch granola brand, Garrett's ($2.75 plus tax) Ready-to-hang wall art made from upcycled 1950s fence wood and a reclaimed California license plate ($15 plus tax)
(And, the winner is... )A bag of nut-free, soy-free AND gluten-free "100% organic bone broth-infused kale chips" ($6.50 plus tax)
I didn’t appreciate Japan’s ubiquitous vending machines until I was on a hike through the countryside outside of Tsumago on a sweltering July afternoon. The bamboo forests and rolling verdant hills were beautiful but what really satisfied me was a cold drink from a vending machine in the middle of nowhere. A swig of “Calpis” never tasted better! How did that machine get there, and why is Japan crazy for vending machines? Read about it in this fun photo essay book.
Sure, there is plenty about Japan’s fascination with vending machines — are there really coin-operated machines that dispense used girl’s panties? Find out here! But there are also other great and unusual machines from around the world. See and read about machines in Italy that make pizza from scratch, or dispensers of perfume in the city of Köln, Germany (the origin of “Eau de Cologne” — get it?), or Clark Whittington’s witty re-use of old mechanical cigarette machines as vendors of fine art. (I found one of these fun machines in Chicago!). I loved all the stuff about candy, claw games, and capsule toy machines, called gachapon for the sound of turning the crank (gacha!) and the sound of the capsule dropping (pon!).
As your reward for making it to the end of the book you’ll find a free toy in the endpapers: a miniature Japanese drink vending machine (motomachi) you can cut out and assemble — no coins required!
Vending Machines: Coined Consumerism by Christopher D. Read the rest
The coolest vending machine I’ve ever seen is not high-tech.
It’s not the one in Japan that studies your face and decides which is the best drink for you.
It’s not the one from Coca-Cola that allows you to mix any variety of sodas and syrups together (though I have admit to a slight addiction to Raspberry Ginger Ale at my local Five Guys).
This one is decidedly retro, so take a look and tell me where you think it’s located.
Obviously it’s someplace pretending to exist in the 1920s. Here are some of the items available.
Located on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure, this marvelous antique vending machine is something you would normally only see in a museum. It can be found in the store Trolley Treats at the far end of the west side of Buena Vista Street.
I have only one wish: that it actually dispensed those licorice candy tombstones, and then my momentary transition to a boy of 5 would be complete. Mmmmmmm. Read the rest
In a clever marketing stunt, German book publisher Bastei Lübbe and bookshop Hugendubel built a vending machine that accepts unwanted Christmas presents as payment for new books. According to TheBookseller.com, the machine will be tour shopping centers in Germany this month. The collected gifts will go to charity. Read the rest
Gold to Go is a gold-plated vending machine that dispenses gold bars in various sizes and gold bullion coins. The first one was installed several years ago in the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The prices adjust based on market value via a Web connection. In the US, you can find a Gold to Go ATM in Manhattan, Atlantic City, and in Las Vegas's Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, natch.