Live hairy crabs, cupcakes, acne medication, a real live person who hands out sweets.
See also this ticket machine in Japan, where pressing the "help" button leads to an attendant appearing from a tiny hidden door. I can't figure out whether this video is real or not.
Beautiful vending machines that sell fresh salads. (Made for office lobbies.)
The Auto Store...
Versatile and modular, ASC provides a retail platform that can be easily adapted to any retail environment, integrating sales and smart locker compartments.
Smart lockers are smart. See Doddle which now has concessions at train stations, allowing for e-commerce click and collect -- and also returns.
See also: The short story vending machine in Paris. Uses a receipt printer.
And not forgetting that the modern paperback was popularised by Penguin, together with a new form of distribution and the ability to sell books outside traditional bookshops.
More than a hundred and eighty million books were printed in the United States in 1939, the year de Graff introduced Pocket Books, but there were only twenty-eight hundred bookstores to sell them in. There were, however, more than seven thousand newsstands, eighteen thousand cigar stores, fifty-eight thousand drugstores, and sixty-two thousand lunch counters—not to mention train and bus stations.
The mass-market paperback was therefore designed to be displayed in wire racks that could be conveniently placed in virtually any retail space.
I like this:
You can’t tell a book by its cover, but you can certainly sell one that way.
An old vending machine is reprogrammed to release free snacks only when search terms relating to the recession make the headlines on the BBC News RSS feed.
Related: Tim Hunkin's Novelty Automation:
A new London arcade of satirical home-made machines -- and if you haven't visited already (it's near Holborn) you must, you must.