The Weirdest Vending Machines

  • Easy Shopping

    Vending machines aren’t just for chips, candy and other junk food anymore. Full meals, entertainment and luxury goods can be bought automatically, without the hassle of stores, sales people desperate to upsell and locked display cases. And as consumers continue to require fast and easy service with no need for human interaction, vending machines are widely becoming a popular way to buy what could be considered basic items today. Here are some of the strangest vending machines we’ve come across so far. Photo Credit: champusuicida
  • Caviar

    Forget about spending as much as $2 on the healthiest snacks you can find in a vending machine. Russia’s elite opt for caviar sold in glass jars and cans from Moscow machines, according to the Telegraph in the U.K. Only red salmon roe is sold in the machines, however, the Telegraph says, because black caviar is considered too expensive. Price: $5 to $20 depending on portion size, according to United Press International Photo Credit: Leonid Mamchenkov
  • Gold

    Last month, a vending machine dispensing gold coins and one-gram, five-gram and 10-gram bars of gold was installed at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, but these machines aren’t actually anything new. Machine maker Gold to Go says its ATMs have gained popularity since the height of the recession in airports, casinos, banks and other locations. Price: Gold to Go machines sell their gold, plus a gift box, at $15 for a 1/10-ounce kangaroo coin and $100 for a 1-ounce coin, for example. Photo Credit: Gold to Go
  • Sushi

    Japanese company Sundelica offers sushi as well as hot meals in its vending machines and promotes its products as tools to promote portion control. The sushi comes frozen and can be microwaved for three minutes to bring it to room temperature. Price: $4.50 Photo Credit:Or Hiltch
    Hot Meals
  • Hot Meals

    Automats offer quick and cheap food through coin-operated vending machines, and the Bamn automat in New York City, for example, sells burgers, chicken fritters, grilled-cheese sandwiches, curly fries and many other treats and comfort foods made fresh throughout the day and placed immediately into bins that open when you insert your payment. Price: $1 to $4 Photo Credit: Daquella Manera
  • Produce

    Fruits and vegetables including pineapple, apples, grapes, baby carrots and celery sticks are also being sold in vending machines thanks in part to a line introduced by Del Monte Fresh Produce. And even the U.S. Department of Agriculture promotes vending machines as an appealing and easy way to get school kids to eat their fruits and vegetables, offering grants to schools encouraging produce consumption. Price: Ranges from $1 to $2.25 per item, but lower prices could make them even more popular. Photo Credit: Rasmussen College - Green Bay
  • iPods

    Apple’s iPods (Stock Quote: AAPL) have been so popular that vending machines have been set up in department stores like Macy’s (Stock Quote: M) as well as grocery stores and airports. The machines, called ZoomShops and made by ZoomSystems, sell the iPod Touch, Classic, Nano and Shuffle as well as digital cameras. If only there was a vending machine for iPads. Price: $14.99 to $349.99, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann
  • Books

    Redbox (Stock Quote: CSTR) and Blockbuster (Stock Quote: BBI) have movie rental kiosks, but those who prefer reading books now have their own kiosk. Vending machines made by On Demand Books, for example, can automatically print and bind books that look just like what you’d buy at a bookstore. Last year, Google (Stock Quote: GOOG) teamed up with On Demand to print its digital copies of books onto paper, according to Wired magazine. They can be found nationwide. Price: About $10 Photo Credit: On Demand Books
    Pet Supplies
  • Pet Supplies

    Dog treats, cat toys and other pet products can be found in Hey Buddy vending machines recommended for various locations including dog runs, hotels, rest stops and RV parks for pet-owners’ convenience. Price: Between $1 to $10, according to the company. Photo Credit:
    More Quick Food Shopping Tips
  • More Quick Food Shopping Tips

    Sometimes buying prepared foods can be cheaper than buying all the ingredients and making it yourself.  To find out what kind of meals are cheaper to buy ready made, check out MainStreet's story, The Cheapest Way to Shop for Dinner. Photo Credit: extranoise
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