Monday, September 23, 2013

Unclear on the Product Line

I like vending machines.  In a world increasingly transient and electronic they are a reassuring, solid presence.  There are still some products that, when you need them, you can't apply some "app" as a substitute.

The first vending machine is said to have been in Alexandria during the Roman era.  You put in a coin of known denomination, most likely a tetradrachma.  And out comes a ration of "lustral water".  The use of same is not certain, most assume it was used in some sort of votive fashion at a nearby shrine. But for all we know it could have been an early energy drink.

The machinery was unknown, but probably the same system of slots, ramps and a weighing device that is still used in coin operated machines.

Because vending machines have this common DNA it is not always easy to tell the difference between machines selling various items.  Recently I encountered this:

If you don't have the context you might be, er, mistaken as to what is being sold.  Ultra Norsk...Super Truck...Armor All.  If you have keen eyes you will note the words Super Large on the right hand machine.

But this is actually outside a local car wash.  A closer view:

The Freshest Leaf in the World.  That clarifies things nicely.  At least until Wisconsin starts taking lessons from Oregon and Colorado and considers legalizing marijuana.

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