Thanks to F Stop Press for allowing me to use their images.
I just had to comment after spotting the story on the news yesterday about the Giant Vending Machine that engineer Peter Fox invented for himself because he couldn’t get a manufacturer to make one. It’s classed in the line of Automatic Shops, whereby people can get goods where there are no shops.
What’s not to love? Peter Fox also gets automatic notifications when stock is running low and needs to be replaced, so I imagine he is also the stockist.
Yes, someone would need to take responsibility for the stocking and ordering, and I’d be really interested to find out just how that works for smaller quantities, but I really do like the idea.
It really is a whole new wee store in itself, and it seems to have rocked up in two Ashbourne areas. One in Clifton, a wee village in Derbyshire, and from the website, I can see there is also one in Mayfield Road, Ashbourne. The automatic shops are selling product ranges from 7-up, to milk, gravy granules, beans, ketchup, breakfast cereal, toilet roll and even a brolly in Clifton.
I do have to admit to sometimes using the self serve tills at shops if I only one or two things to put through. Quite often, my face goes red as either the food won’t scan, or the machine won’t take my notes, or the weighting bagged area doesn’t recognise the item I just placed into it.
I’ve also written about my experiences with some supermarket converyor belts which drive me crazy, but tech blips aside, having a local giant vending machine on hand seems a great idea to me.
I think what impressed me the most is the ability to sell eggs as well as milk, bread and other necessities. With the demise of local shops in outlying areas, getting hold of the daily basics can often mean that it’s just a chore to go the distance of any of the larger supermarkets.
It takes cards as well as cash and Peter has designed the shop so that eggs don’t get broken on the way down.
I can think of a few problems that might come up, like a stuck machine, card being swallowed, vandalism or something mechanically going wrong, but on the whole, I think the downsides are massively overshadowed by the benefits these can bring to smaller communities without a dedicated shop.
Being a total Internet geek, it made a lot of sense for me to read that Mr Fox also lets customers see what stock is in the automatic shop before they head out. How fabulous would that be for the busy mum needing to dress toddlers to pick up some milk, or making sure that you don’t have to step out in the rain to get some much needed bread for school lunches the next morning?
I love the idea. What do others think?