One New York butcher has decided to help drunks out, creating a vending machine that dispenses meat in the small hours. Japan laughs at you, very sensibly.
The history of the Japanese and their vending machine obsession is a strange beast to define. Swimming in the murky waters of hearsay, its features accurately defined by those who swear they know someone who saw someone buying something questionable from them back in 1987. As the legend goes, you can freely purchase pre-stained schoolgirl underwear, canned flying fish soup and everything in between.
Japan is unequivocally the zenith of the vending machine, as they dot the landscape and vibrantly glow on every other corner. As for why exactly, the reasons are numerous. Other than space being an issue, and the fact that Japan still moves on small change, an essay from 1998 believes that it’s also because they’re a trifle cheap.
“With spectacular postwar economic growth, labour costs in Japan sky-rocketed … Vending machines need only a periodic visit from the operator to replenish the supplies and empty the cash,” the paper states.
I’ve been fortunate enough to live in Japan, but the strangest, most stomach-churning thing I’ve seen in vending machine form is a “coffee” beverage advertised by the unblinking eye and weathered face of Tommy Lee Jones. I mean, I love the man, but he’s not exactly a face for advertising, let alone a product that inhibits your beauty sleep. Seems counterproductive. Look at the trauma in his sweet sweet face.
On a personal note, I miss the Ramen vending machines. Your only true friend in the unreasonable fugue of the hungover, as the furiousness of the neon metropolis slips you by, you curl your arm around the warmth of a plastic bowl dispensed by a machine that doesn’t judge. Yes, you spent the rent money on beer you bought from 7-11, no, it doesn’t care. It doesn’t want you to change, it just wants the correct change.
However, it seems that the vending machine has made its voyage over the Atlantic, with the city of New York debuting their own version, stocked with a product that is very them. Alas, they can’t package a rude shove into a size that will fit into a vending machine, so they’ve decided to cram butchered meat into machine form, accessible at any point in the day…or night.
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The owner of the meat emporium disclosed his thinking to Esquire, stating: “We’re not in the 1950s anymore, where everyone works 9 to 5 and eats at the same time every night…life is chaotic. At best.”
I mean, sure.
But just meat, New York?