Written by John Butler
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Topics: Scientists, Japan

Monday, 15 August 2005

image for Japanese Scientists Create Machine That Can Sell Things.
The revolutionary "vending machine". Does this represent the future of shopping?

In what is being perceived as one more step towards the total and absolute mechanisation of contemporary civilisation, inventors in Japan have come up with a machine intended to replace the need for human retailers in shops. Dubbed a "Vending Machine", the scientists boast it will dispense products without human assistance, even providing the correct change to the no doubt amazed customer. They confidently predict that one in every two retail outlets in the developed world will deploy "vending machines" instead of humans within the next ten years.

Excited chief designer, Akira Sukonawa, enthused that, "without a doubt, our "vending machines" will be the single most important development in shopping… at least since the electronic cash register first hit supermarkets back in 1983. Heck I'd even go out on a limb and say it's probably the most important since the shopping trolley with baby chair. There I've said it".


"I'm more than hopeful that with additional research and funding, we shall see vending machines distributing items as diverse as condoms, cigarettes or even crisps"


He warned, "the shopkeeper has suddenly become an endangered species… soon it will be an extinct entity like the dodo or non-digital microwaves. Up to now, we have only succeeded in programming our machines to sell products such as Mars Bars and cans of Coca Cola but I'm more than hopeful that with additional research and funding, we shall see vending machines distributing items as diverse as condoms, cigarettes or even crisps".

Sukonawa believes that before this century elapses, retailers will be using vending machines to sell absolutely everything including "houses, cars, pet goldfish, curtains, fake Christmas trees, and Tipex". He added proudly that, "today's vending machines provide an accurate glimpse into how life will be lived in the 25th century and beyond".

The public is reacting with equal parts enthusiasm and apprehension to the news. Concerned French welder, Jacques Crousseau said, "I don't know if I could trust a machine to sell me something. I hear the change comes out some sort of small slot - it all seems a bit fishy to me… what if it gets stuck. Is there anyone on hand to retrieve it for you? Call me old-fashioned but I'd feel safer having a human hand me change". He then went back to whatever it was he was welding at the time.

Irish farmer Jed Farrell explained, "Jaysus Christ shir don't I have enough trouble getting' me pack o' fags from Geraldine down de road witout havin a feckin' machine comin' in and feckin' takin' over. [Rolling eyes and tutting] Kih, Jaysus Christ, what'll the oul Japs tink o' next, heh? A feckin' waughterproof swimmin' pool or somtin' like dat, heh heh heh". He then went back to whatever it was he was farming at them time.


"The public's fears although understandable are completely unfounded. You must remember people felt the same way about the infra red barcode scanner when that was first introduced"


Sukonawa is at pains to allay the fears of the doubting public, assuring them that his vending machines are as trustworthy if not more trustworthy than your average shopkeeper.

He said,"The public's fears although understandable are completely unfounded. You must remember people felt the same way about the infra red barcode scanner when that was first introduced. People wondered how on earth a little infra red light could be used to identify the price of every single product in a supermarket. It was beyond belief. They accused supermarkets of engaging in witchcraft. I remember when the price scanner was first used many shoppers fainted with shock and amazement at the checkout. They had to be dragged out by the heels by staff. But now, they just take it for granted. I'm sure they will eventually adopt the same view of "vending machines".

New York Stockbroker and self-confessed gadgets-buff, Max Fowler believes vending machines will have largely positive benefits for society. "Vending machines sound like the coolest thing ever. Wow! Imagine a machine that's able to sell you a can of Pepsi. That's freaky dude. It's like the Twilight Zone or something. You know, I always hoped I'd live to see the day hover boards became the main mode of transport of the American public. Now if that never happens, this kinda makes up for it. Vending machines rock!!" He then went back to whatever stock he was brokering at the time.

Many shop employees worldwide who are worried about their job security have gone on strike demanding a global ban on the introduction of vending machines. These employees have since been replaced by vending machines.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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