Though a food desert is defined as an area where food products are only available in places like liquor stores, conveniences stores and vending machines, the Chinese have decided to up the ante in Nanjing by selling live crabs in a vending machine for under 10 U.S. dollars and in fact as little as $1.50 depending on the size of the crab. Paula Forbes over at eater reported that the vending machine is kept at the temperature that crabs hibernate at, which is how they can guarantee live crabs, but if you should get one that perishes before consumption they will give you three for free. Who they are, and how they would know is a question in itself. I can’t imagine that mailing a dead crab back for a rebate seems like a good idea to anyone involved. Furthermore, once freed from its chilly glass prison how would someone eat the crab unless they happened to be carrying a teeny tiny crab mallet in their bag? The second half of the video below then goes on to show a banana vending machine which make a lot more sense than a crab one. Oh, but the fun doesn’t stop there! In certain drinking establishments, who needs a bartender when you can just put coins into a saké vending machine. I suppose if someone was really hungry and slightly desperate they could combine the crab, sake and bananas into a flammable ceviche like dish. By no means am I suggesting this is a good idea, just for the record.
It seems only fair to mention at this point that the first credited vending machine dispensed holy water in Egyptian temples, and went on in history to dispense a large variety of objects not limited to books, cigars, underwear and soap. Let us not forget perhaps the mac daddy of vending machines, the fully coin-operated Automat establishment created by the Horn & Hardart Baking Company that was in business for 60 years.
- This Vending Machine Sells Live Crabs [Video] (gizmodo.com)
- Vending Machine Crabs?! (perezhilton.com)
- Should We Be Buying Our Produce from a Vending Machine? (food.change.org)
- The Problem With Fruit In Vending Machines (huffingtonpost.com)