The 20 Strangest Things You Can Buy From a Vending Machine

Vending machines are not just for snacks or drinks – around the world they sell everything from French fries to the finest champagne to actual cars. Take this one in London, England’s Westfield shopping centre, for instance. If you’ve ever wanted your very own gold bar, and are feeling particularly cash-rich, this “Gold to go” machine from Ex Oriente Lux will dispense 24-carat nuggets of the investable commodity. It’s not your typical impulse purchase…

Say hello to the caviar vending machine: because sometimes, the 1 percent need easy access to fast food too. Kelly Stern, co-owner of Beverly Hills Caviar, installed the machines in three shopping malls around Los Angeles. Prices range from $5 to $500 – with almost $50,000-worth of caviar, truffles and escargot sitting inside each machine.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes Japan’s “Chef’s Farm,” a vending machine which grows and dispenses 20,000 lettuce heads every year – all without sunlight, thanks to rows of fluorescent bulbs. The brainchild of Japanese firm Dentsu, the machines are targeted at restaurants that prefer local produce.

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Marijuana is only just becoming legal throughout the U.S., but Arizona-based firm American Green has been quick to react. If you live in Seattle, you can now get your fix from a vending machine as long as you have a medical marijuana ID. American Green says it’s the first “age-verifying, climate-controlled, self-service dispensary.”

Craving breakfast but finding yourself short on time? Then this vending machine could be eggs-actly what you need, as long as you’re prepared to shell out. It’s restocked every morning with a fresh batch from a nearby farm in Nagoya, Japan. Thankfully, the machine eschews the traditional falling-product design, so things don’t get messy.

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Plenty of vending machines have tried selling alcohol over the years, but pretty much all of them have been of the tinned or bottled variety. This Japanese machine allows you to order draft beer (literally) on tap. You can even watch your beer get (badly) poured.

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If you like your steaks still mooing and your crabs still crawling, you’ll want to head to China’s Zhejiang province. A budding entrepreneur by the name of Mr. Liu has installed a vending machine that stocks and sells live crabs, which are kept at an optimum temperature and humidity to keep them as fresh as it gets.

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Long lunches are a staple of the French capital, so it seems fitting that the chance to extend the food frenzy via a vending machine should be so extravagantly implemented in Paris. Despite plenty of competition from other local shops, local butchers Florence and Michel Pouzol spent $45,000 installing a machine that sells steak and sausages 24 hours a day.

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When you need a hot-food fix fast, French fries are a delicious option for a quick carb snack. But cravings can hit at any time of the day – so it’s a good thing the French-fry vending machine exists. First invented in 1982, it’s since been rolled out in countries including Belgium, China and Israel.

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Maybe carbs aren’t your thing. Maybe what you need is meat – meat wrapped in all manner of cheese, vegetables and condiments. Well, you’re in luck: there’s a machine for that too. Delish’s Burrito Boxes are installed throughout the U.S, and each one can serve up a burrito within a minute and a half.

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Buying marijuana from a vending machine is one thing. But buying crack pipes? That’s something else entirely. Nevertheless, if you’re in Vancouver, Canada, that’s exactly what you can do, thanks to the Portland Hotel Society’s attempt to combat the circulation of infection-spreading used pipes among habitual drug users.

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Caught in a sudden downpour and haven’t got so much as a jacket to protect you from the elements? There’s a vending machine for that. The umbrella dispensaries are popular throughout Hong Kong and have also started to pop up in Canada. The United Kingdom must be next on the list, surely?

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Pizza comes in all shapes and sizes – from microwaveable, takeaway fare all the way up to gourmet options. Somewhere in between is vending-machine pizza, as offered by a dispensary in Cambridge, England. The machine, operated by Food Now, cooks four varieties in four minutes each. Prices start at around $10.

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If you’re after something a touch extravagant from your vending machine experience, consider visiting the Selfridges department store in London, where you can get your hands on a bottle of champagne straight from the machine. Each 200ml bottle of Moët & Chandon, which is coated in mini Swarovski crystals, costs around $25.

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The world of vending machines isn’t immune to controversy – just ask the citizens of Italian town Casarsa, after a sex-toy vending machine popped up in a local train station. Cue some quizzical looks and awkward questions from curious children and several outraged parents

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If you’re worried about robots taking over our jobs, you can rest safe in the knowledge that vending machines have already beaten them to it. The Automat Diner in Japan serves customers entirely through a series of vending machines, removing the need for actual, human staff.

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Just when you thought Japan’s booming vending machine industry couldn’t get any weirder, along comes a used panties dispenser. Yes, we’re serious. For $10, you can get your very own pair of vacuum-packed used panties. Just who they’ve been used by, exactly, is anyone’s guess.

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Fulfilling the presumably incredibly niche demographic of “girls who’ve forgotten to do their hair before going on a night out” is a difficult ask, but entrepreneur Marcella Ellis was apparently up to the challenge. Her Mane Vendor Hair Extension Vending Machine supplies premium haircare products and has become a favorite with salon owners across the U.S.

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Bread in a can is big in Japan – so big, in fact, that you can now buy it straight from vending machines. Convenient and easy to transport, canned bread took off when retailers figured out it offered an easy way to promote brands. It’s available in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, butter and blueberry. Sounds… delicious.

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Vending machines aren’t just limited to your traditional, rectangular affairs. Some of them actually dispense fully-sized, fully functional cars, like this massive contraption from Carvana, located in Nashville, Tennessee. Cutting pushy salesmen out of the equation entirely, customers can purchase their car online, then pick it up at the vending machine. It’s as simple as that.

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