The World’s Most Unusual Vending Machines

Do you think vending machines are just for chocolate bars and cups of coffee? Oh, well, think again! In recent years, the humble vending machine has expanded globally to sell all kinds of odd things. Historically though, they’ve never just been used to sell snacks. While the rough concept has been around for centuries, it was in the 1880′s that the first modern vending machines were released in London. These machines were coin operated to dispense postcards!

weird vending machines

Need a good read?

Book vending machines are popping up all over the world – and they’re pretty amazing bits of kit. As well as actually dispensing the book for a fee, these clever machines speedily print, bind and cover a range of books to order. It’s a trend that allows customers to track down rare titles and allow them to get issues that are currently out of stock in book stores.

Books Vending Machine

Copyright © Jennifer Pickens

Books ATM

Fullerton Public Library’s book vending machine has a 500-book capacity.Credit Image: © H. Lorren Au Jr/The Orange County Register/ZUMAPRESS.com

Like no other book vending machines – the wonderful and surprising book dispenser, the Biblio-Mat in Toronto seems to share happiness among old book hunters. With a vintage touch, the machine offers rare books to passionate readers. With only $2, you could have a book almost 100 years old.

The funny and interesting part is that you have no idea what title you will receive in exchange for your money.
It’s a surprise!!

Books Vending Machine Bibliomat

Via Co Exist

Bibliomat rare books vending machine

Rare books atm in toronto


After a sweet snack?

Could anything be more tempting than a cupcake vending machine? It seems that LA’s popular bakery is so popular that they need to sell their sweet treats 24 hours a day. And amazingly, this trendy little machine shifts around 1000 every day! The eight flavors come in at around $3.50 each.

Cupcake ATM

Cupcakes Vending Machine

The first day for cupcakes atm:


Want your calcium fix?

Forget the milkman – In France and Spain, the new place to pick up a pint is from a street vending machine! Originally set up in response to falling milk prices back in 2009, Spanish farmers first took steps to try and cut out the money-grabbing middle man by selling their products directly. This particular machine sells unpasteurized (raw) milk in Montauban, South West France.

Distributeur de lait cru

Via Daily Travel Photos


Something to occupy the kids?

This Lego vending machine on a Munich train platform might just do the trick. Ideally placed for frustrated parents trying to keep their children calm on a long journey, this machine dispenses a range of Lego toys. The good news is that if you’re delayed then you can just build your own train!

Lego Vending Machine

Copyright © Jim Kelly


In the market for a… live crab?

Yes, really! You truly can buy live crabs from a rather unusual vending machine in Nanjing, China. The machine keeps the local Chinese delicacies at 41 degrees Fahrenheit which is the perfect temperature to put the crabs into a sleep-like state without killing them. And they must be pretty sure that the system works because they promise that if you are unlucky enough to get a crab that’s already kicked the bucket, you’ll be compensated with three live crabs! You can choose your perfect crab by size and gender and each one costs $1.50 and $7.50.

Live Crab Vending Machines

Via Bizzare Food

Weird pictures - Crab vending machine in China

Alive Crab Vending Machines

The Golden Cashpoint

If you want to have an original shopping session in times of economical crises, ATM machines offering gold-bars up to 10 grams await you in some parts of the world…

Abu Dhabi Emirates Palace hotel gold ATM

Gold ATM, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Gold Vending Machine

Pure Gold Vending Machine

“Goldmine” in Town Center Mall, Boca Raton, Florida, US – Joe Skipper/Reuters



Rush hours? Forget about them!

The increased traffic in the big towns makes people return to the most convenient and healthier means of transport: by bicycle. And there are some strange machines encouraging this trend mounted in various parts of the world. For vending or just renting, the bike dispensers became a technological miracle.

Biking might be faster than driving sometimes, so there is no way to regret this.

Bikedispenser bicycle vending machine

The Bikedispenser, Netherlands

Combo! Just imagine a snacks vending machine… but much, much bigger and full of goodies. Sometimes, if you are lucky enough you can buy along with a bicycle things like surfboards, inflatable kayaks, giant postcards of British Columbia. :)

bicycle vending machine

surfboards vending machine

In Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco, Via PSFK



In search for a new pet?

I remember how hard it was in the old times to track and catch these little creatures to finish my school insectarium. And nowadays… they live inside a vending machine. A small and sad live insect zoo.

insects weird vending machine



In case of unexpected encounters…

With rain. Umbrella vending machines are very popular in Japan, it seems. Happy colors changing every season.

Raining or not, here we go…

umbrella vending machine in japan

Spotted by Calvin C.



Board Games

If you are in the mood for world economics domination, no matter the hour, day or night, we have a good news for you. The strange board games vending machine selling Monopoly is 24/7 open! In Japan… :P

Board Games Vending Machine

Copyright © Jo Ho

Exploring for a while the funny side of vending. Now going back to beverage, food and snacks…

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