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A Whole New Twist for Vending Machines

The vending machine will always have a place in the hearts of Americans. Everyone can recall begging their parents for a penny or a quarter for a gum ball, or the joy of finding a cold soda machine on a hot summer day. But today’s machines are a far cry from those candy vending machines of old. Today, beyond soda, chip and candy vending machines, the world has entered a whole new world of vending machine services. Traveling the United States this summer is an impressive new twist on the vending machines of old: a vending machine that dispenses fun.

Or that’s how the folks in charge of marketing for British Columbia Tourism want you to see it. And honestly, what could be more fun than a vending machine that dispenses kayaks and bicycles? The massive machine, which is being termed an ‘installation’, appeared in San Francisco for two days this past May in the first stop of a multi-state tour of the US. To encourage tourists to come see British Columbia, this massive, truck sized machine awards sports and leisure equipment, giant post cards, and 10% off air travel on Air Canada to participants.The machine is fourteen feet by ten feet and has several display panels including one that asks participants to pick a “Great B.C. Moment”. Inside the vending installation is a real-time inventory management program that ensures that people do not select items that are out of stock. The machine dispenses everything from surf boards to picnic blankets, and was deemed a success in it’s first stop in San Francisco. At this time there is no word yet on what cities will follow San Francisco, but no doubt the machine will gather crowds of interested onlookers and more media attention as it travels this summer.

The executive director of Tourism BC, Carol Nelson said that the installation will allow people to see the great things that BC has to offer in a memorable and fun way.

Vending machines are have been used to sell everything from cold sodas to DVDs, and for the first time perhaps one can sell a whole Canadian Province. Regardless of it’s success, this is a whole new twist on vending machine services, and perhaps instead of children with fond memories of asking their parents for quarters for candy vending machines, they will recall the time they touched a screen and a bicycle came out. If this isn’t a grand new idea in the world of vending machine services, then nothing is.