Most people go to vending machines to get a bottle of soda, a package of gum, or perhaps a bag of chips. However, there are tons of other things you can buy in vending machines — and some of those things are stuff that probably shouldn’t be sold in such a way. Here are ten weird things you can actually buy out of vending machines.
The people of China must love seafood because the country has vending machines that dispense crabs — and they’re alive, too. It’s usually not a good idea to buy seafood that’s been sitting around outside all day, without ice. If anyone remembers the live lobster vending machines that used to exist in Las Vegas, you can only wonder how the crab machines manage to keep going in China.
2. “Fresh” Bread
France is known for its delicious baguettes, so it’s no surprise that there’s a vending machine in the country that dispenses them. Actually, it is a surprise, and it raises many questions. How does the bread stay warm? Who puts the bread into the machines? Why doesn’t it come wrapped up? Couldn’t you just pop into a bakery and get bread that hasn’t been sitting in a big metal box for who knows how long? Again, so many questions, but who knows if the answers will ever come.
3. Baby Gear
These vending machines should be more common because it’s not at all rare for parents to forget to bring extra wipes, diapers, or even bottles while they’re out and about with their little ones. This is exactly why some vending machines in highly populated cities in the U.S. and Western Europe sell all types of baby supplies, from nose drops to changing pads and diapers.
This is every parent’s worst nightmare — or perhaps it’s your most hoped for a dream if you play with your kids’ Legos more than they do. In many Western European countries, there are Lego vending machines tucked around town with complete sets, packs of blocks, and Minifigs. If you know how much Legos cost, you understand that it wouldn’t be hard to spend a small fortune coming across one of these.
This is weird, but at least it’s practical. How many times have you been shopping in the grocery store only to get ready to leave and find it’s suddenly raining? If you had an umbrella vending machine nearby, your problems would be solved. Unfortunately, these machines are commonly found only in major world cities such as London and Hong Kong.
6. Guitar Picks and Strings
Portland apparently has a vending machine where you can buy strings and picks for your guitar. It looks just like any other vending machine, except it’s stocked with supplies for musical instruments instead of cookies and honey buns.
7. Colorful Toilet Paper
Yes, there are toilet paper vending machines in Asian countries, and there is a logical reason for their existence. Because people who visit public restrooms in those countries are generally expected to bring their own sanitary supplies, these vending machines are placed around for those who forget to bring toilet paper along. It’s not plain white, either, but multicolored and vibrant. Depending on your view of toilet paper, that may or may not be a good thing.
These aren’t the used underwear that the dark corners of the internet have been whispering about for years, but clean and new underwear right in the packaging. In the U.S. and some countries overseas Calvin Klein has underwear vending machines in strategic locations. If you’re not embarrassed to buy your unmentionables this way, it could come in handy.
9. Used Books
If you don’t mind buying books second hand, this could be just the thing to keep you from getting bored. Canada has machines that dispense used books, which is eco-friendly and encourages the public to read. These machines aren’t in the U.S. yet, but demand for them could bring some below the Canadian border eventually.
10. Legal Marijuana
We should’ve all seen this coming once marijuana was legalized in certain states, and now it’s really happening. In areas of the U.S. where recreational use of the drug has been made legal, you’ll find vending machines filled with jars of the stuff. It sort of looks like a portable emporium of dried gourmet herbs, until you read the labels carefully and see that the stuff being sold isn’t oregano, basil, or marjoram.