I’m sure we’ve all used vending machines at one time or another. You’ll find these machines everywhere! I mention this because today, March 4, is the third annual National Vending Day. (That is, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association.)
Here, There, And Everywhere
These machines are indeed everywhere. According to the thepennyhoarder.com, there were 2,175,756 vending machines in service in 2019 in a variety of locations, including:
- Manufacturing areas
- Retail spaces
- Hospitals and nursing homes
- Correctional facilities
- Military bases
- Restaurants, bars and clubs
Most of these machines sell food and beverage products, including sodas, coffee, snacks and candy. (56% of vending machine sales were for cold drinks, including soft drinks, juices, etc.)
But, there are also machines for items such as gumballs, stickers, toys, novelties, pizza, cupcakes, office supplies and a whole lot more.
At places like airports, for instance, these machines often sell tech accessories and travel essentials like neck pillows, blankets and eye masks. Laundry rooms in residential buildings often have machines with detergent and fabric softener.
And believe it or not, there are three vending machines in the greater Los Angeles area that sell caviar, including a 400g tin of Beluga caviar for $1,600, according to brandongaille.com.
Vending Machine Data
Now, time for some fun facts, according to discountvending.com and brandongaille.com:
- The world’s first vending machine was invented in Ancient Egypt in 215 BCE. It reportedly sold holy water in the Temple in Alexandria. It was designed by Greek mathematician Hero. When the coin was deposited, it fell upon a pan attached to a lever. The lever opened a valve which let some water flow out. The pan continued to tilt with the weight of the coin until it fell off, at which point a counterweight snapped the lever up and turned off the valve.
- The first “patented” vending machine sold stamps in 1857.
- The first chilled bottled soft drink machines were invented in 1937 by the Vendolator Company.
- Round candy-coated gumballs and gumball vending machines were introduced in 1907.
- There was a convenient coal distributing vending machine in England in the 1930’s that dispensed nuggets of coal to local customers.
- In 1965, John Greenwick invented the first machine that accepted paper bills.
- In Italy, a vending machine is able to make a full pizza in just 3 minutes.
- Before being banned in the United States except in specific establishments, cigarette vending machines were the most popular machine.
Record All Your Purchases!
We just want to remind you to record ALL of your purchases. Everything counts, even a candy bar or pizza (or even caviar!) that you get from these machines. Remember to use the Vending Machine Store Type.
Have a great weekend!
- Do You Know Your Stores? (February 22, 2019)
- Some Super Shopping Stats (February 5, 2021)
I do remember when cigarettes were available in vending machines, several different brands all mixed together in one machine. Buying was simple and easy, NO ID required, imagine that..wow! Insert quarters, pull out on dispenser knob, HARD or you’d lose your coins, and reach down to pick up pack from vending slot. Hard to believe they were that accessible and cheap.
Thanks for bringing back memories plus supplying additional vending machine scanning information!