Japan Vending Machine
One of the biggest vending machines that I've seen over here selling everything from yer average can O drink to snacks, brolleys, nappies, batteries and wet tissues.
And for those who have always wondered what the insides of Japanese vending machine looks like - Mr Coke filling up this machine at Gotenba. A machine like this can fit nearly 600 drink items.
Have you wondered why Japan has vending machines all over the place? The main reason is that *anybody* who owns a bit of land can stick a vending machine outside their premises. Coke, Suntory or any of the other beverage companies will come and set a vending machine on a piece of land that you own and all you have to do is to pay for the electricity. You will then get a share of sales which typically start at 20% of the sale cost. They also come to fill up and provide maintenance of the machine too.
You can decide what drinks you want in the machine and how much you want each item to be sold for. This is the reason why you sometimes see drinks for 100 yen and then for 150 yen in a vending machine around the corner. Goes without saying but if you price your drinks too high then you risk folks going off to other machines nearby.
Folks residing in Japan who want to make a few yen on the side can contact Suntory, Coke or follow results in this search query. They will come round to look at your land and suggest a type of machine.
Even if you don't own any land, you can approach somebody who does and offer to pay them a sum to let you set up a vending machine. You would need to work out whether you think that the amount you are paying for the land would be covered by the sales from the vending machine and leave you with some profit.
Vending machine and coin parking business is said to be one of the most profitable in Japan.
When I was living back in the UK, vending machines were very few indeed. Whenever I did see any, they would be this huge monolithic thing bolted to the floor - am guessing to prevent people from nabbing the whole machine and taking it home. Most of the times the machines would just accept money but give nothing in return and there would be nobody around to complain to.
The vending machines over here however have self defense measures built in as you can see from this photo - Vending Machine Red getting to grips with Tokyo Trooper after he kicked the machine for fun.
But vending machines can be easily immobilized after going for their weak spot.