Yeah, I know. As you see for our particular lunch room snacks vending machine, it stocks pretty much what you’d find anywhere around the U.S., with nothing region specific to Hawaii at all.
With exception to the cold drinks, same for the meals vending machine…
The vendor who maintains our vending machines gets most of his inventory from Sam’s Club, which is quite obvious. He used to bring in fresh, locally made deli sandwiches and fresh fruit bowls. However he stopped doing that, saying he was losing too much money on inventory that didn’t sell due to their relatively short stamped-on expiration dates.
With Japan being such a high tech, fast-paced country, along with limited space, it’s no surprise they’ve taken the lead in the vending machine industry, where according to Wikipedia, per capita, there’s one vending machine for every twenty-three people. And the goods dispensed in Japanese vending machines vary quite broadly, from the mundane to the extreme. From capsule” toys, to adult toys, to beer, sake and cigarettes, and of course food; many of which dispensed in a prepared, ready-to-eat state using precision robotics and automation.
Speaking of which, back here at the Honolulu International Airport, one interesting non-grindz vending machine that caught my eye was this Best Buy Express….
Read one account of a Best Buy Express vending machine experience here.
Then there’s the classic Automat…
Bamn! Automat – Photo courtesy of Sandy Leonard Snaps blog
Being we’re such a consumer-driven society in Hawaii, you’d think an Automat modeled like Bamn! would do quite well here, especially in the downtown Honolulu and Waikiki area, where it could serve for extended late night hours. However, apparently Bamn! didn’t last on the east coast, where folks on discussion boards complained of overpriced, mostly fried foods and rubbish all over the place during after hours when it’s minimally staffed. No question an automat in Waikiki after the post-club crowd got through it would be a complete mess. McDonald’s can barely keep up with sloppy late night patrons at their Waikiki restaurants. Still, it’s a novel concept, “novelty” being the operative word, apparently.
As always, even for vending machines, I always hope to see local foods offered. I wish our vending machine operator would bring back these ready-to-serve (just add hot water) Okahara Saimin bowls (switched between that and S&S)..
Okahara’s Ready-to-Serve Saimin Bowl
Since they already sell it frozen in stores, it would be nice if Zippy’s made similar ready-to-serve bowls of their Portuguese Bean Soup and Chili that could be dispensed like this in vending machines. I could see that being quite popular in local vending machines.
Which begs to ask the question: do the vending machines in your neck of the woods offer anything unique to your company or school’s mantra, such as “healthier living”? Or “organic”? Or “Haute”? Or being particularly regional specific. The latter of which question, being, say, does your company or school vending machines offer locally-made specialty foods?
Do you have any favorite ono kine vending machine grindz?