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Monday, February 14, 2011

Modern Vending Machines

I'm in the US this month for a visit. Last week I was in Tennessee celebrating my dad's 70th birthday, & this week I'm in Phoenix celebrating my 40th. On my way to Phoenix, I passed through Dallas again.

I have heard of vending machines in Japan selling everything from live crabs to new cars to old underwear. Apparently the idea is starting to catch on in the US as well. In the Dallas airport, I saw a vending machine selling electronics. It offered basic accessories like earphones or cellphone cases, as well as relatively expensive items like cameras and MP3 players. You don't even have to worry if this machine will take your crumpled up dollars - just swipe your credit card & you've got what you need.

I think it will be a while before machines like this start popping up in China. Vending machines are not that common there, even for small things like snacks & beverages. Plus, the economy is still largely based on cash, so a $300 camera probably wouldn't be a very popular item. But in the US, where everyone uses credit & debit cards instead of cash, it might not be long before we're buying ties & flowers & everything else from vending machines just like they do in Japan.

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