Rage Against the Machine

An interesting footnote in the news recently about a vending machine in Nanjing that dispenses live, chilled hairy crabs. The company behind this innovation boasts that cutting down on staff costs means more affordable crabs all round. (Though you’d hope that the guy loading the damn thing gets danger money—this is someone who’s hairiest moment at work up until now was fishing out jammed coins.) This isn’t the first vending machine to offer up more than just Diet Coke—there’s one for medical marijuana (staffed by guards, naturally) in LA, and anyone passing through Frankfurt airport can pick up gold-to-go alongside their overpriced coffee. Are we really prepared to let the rest of the world get ahead of us like this? Sure, we like cold isotonic drinks as much as the next city, but where are our precious metals, our legal highs, our succulent crab roe? And what about these other gaps in the vending machine market?Land parcels Forget this tiresome tender process. Why not just get bidders to line up and keep feeding coins into the slot until their dream lot drops out the bottom?Medical certificates We do like our sick days, don’t we? But it sure is a chore having to cough and sneeze on demand when we go to the clinic. How much more efficient it would all be if only they could install a machine to issue backdated certificates just inside the office lift lobby.Pop-up tents Rather than put up signs discouraging young people from heavy petting sessions in malls, perhaps we could offer them the option of some real (albeit cramped) privacy? Best of all, the tent could be reused the following weekend, presumably with an entirely new partner.Giant foam middle fingers It’s the perfect Singaporean solution to road rage: A bit aggressive, but all warm and soft inside; with plenty of space for corporate sponsorship. Install them at petrol stations to maximize pick-up.Feather dusters Especially useful at MRT stations for people who feel a need to wipe their seats before sitting down. In the same vein, demand for microfiber cloths is going to go through the roof, once people get tired of staring at smudged iPad screens on their way to work.Rolls Royce car keys Ideal for any rich folk who need a quick one-up in a net worth argument. Perhaps we could also look into a two-way machine, with desperate gamblers feeding their most treasured possessions (watches, dignity, a loving family) in at the back.