You’ve probably seen people in Japan using vending machines to buy all sorts of non-snack related items. Now it’s our turn.
The first of these American vending machines designed to sell items traditionally found in brick and mortar stores is this Best Buy contraption. It can now be found in many airports across the country.
Airports are a great spot for things like this because they offer round the clock supervision (so no one walks away with the machine on a pushcart) and the ability to conduct business in any programmable language. It’s the perfect replacement for that pimply-faced, nerdy 17-year old working the cash register.
This first machine will sell electronics and other small gadgety devices for airline passengers enticed for something to keep their attention during the flight. But what else is possible?
Here’s a list of the 5 things We Need In The American Vending Machines Of The Future:
The Japanese and Koreans already have tons of these things. So what are the restrictions stopping us in the US? Yes, I realize this brings a whole load of proof of ID problems, but unlike those gross cigarette vending machines of yesteryear couldn’t we figure out some way to swipe out driver’s license through the vending machine to get an ice cold brew? After all, doesn’t every state have those high-tech scan-able licenses by now anyway?
2.) Better Condoms
I also realize these are available in movie theater bathrooms, cool bars, and Hard Rock cafes all over the world, but I’m talking about a fully automated wide selection of brands. Who wants to be stuck using some tiny Brand X during the big moment? Give us the chance to buy a giant 12-pack of Magnums without having to come face to face with our 76-year old next door neighbor at the local Walgreen’s when we’re trying to make this ‘sensitive purchase’.
Hear me out on this one. It might sound kind of stupid, but when you think about it, T-shirts are the perfect item for a vending machine. Given the popularity of so many online t-shirt stores, consumers are getting past the ‘must try it on’ stigma before buying. Just pick your favorite wacky design, select your size, and hit enter. Then there you go, brilliant transaction. But let’s not follow the Japanese T-shirt vending machine predecessor here. That thing looks like it could give someone an epileptic seizure.
4.) Flip flops
This one is even better than the T-shirt idea. How many times have I seen college girls lose their shoes/heels at a party and have to walk barefoot on their walk of shame? Or how about your friend who only brought a pair of sneakers to the Water Park? Sounds like a job for the Flip flop vending machine. Old Navy sells flip flops for as cheap as 2 dollars nowadays, in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Cram a few of those into a vending machine, pick your size and all of a sudden you’ve just entered a new level of instantaneous easy breezy footwear.
5.) Bail Bonds
Let’s get rid of those seedy bail bonds shops near all the pawn shops on our most ghetto streets. We should just have a simple automated bail bonds machine available at each of our prisons. God forbid you find yourself involved in a nasty ‘accidental murder’ or ‘undercover sexual predator sting‘, and you’ve gotta bail yourself out. Who really wants to get the wife and kids involved by waking them up at some odd hour and driving to the closest, most dangerous bail bond office? Just swipe your credit card, or scan the deed to your house, whatever you’ve gotta do to get this thing done. Make sure the machine has some awesome greetings features too, because you’re really going to be ‘down in the dumps’ when you need to use this thing.
Any other suggestions for things we need to be sold in the vending machines of the future? Hit us up in the comments section ASAP.
Gizmodo: Best Buy Vending Machine Haunts Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, July 31, 2008
AdFreak: Vending Machine Snacks Get Cooler, August 14, 2008