What's the most you've ever spent at a vending machine? Three bucks for a soda at Disney World, maybe? Well then you've clearly never been a guest at Mondrian South Beach, an upscale Miami hotel that also houses the most expensive vending machine you're ever likely to encounter. It's called the "Semi-Automatic," and it contains everything from toothbrushes and sunblock to 24-karat gold handcuffs and a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (rental only, of course)!
Here's how it works: Guests swipe their credit card (this machine does not accept change or cash), and select the item they wish to purchase. Then, it appears in the vending compartment right next to the credit card reader – unless it's something too big to fit in the case, like a car or something. Then the purchaser receives a certificate of sale which is to be presented to a member of the hotel staff at the front desk. Pretty cool, right?
The Semi-Automatic is basically the next incredibly ostentatious step in the increasing trend of automated vending. Airports have had vending machines that sell things like headphones, CDs, even bouquets of flowers, for years now. And DVD rental kiosks like Redbox and Blockbuster Express have found big success using the vending machine model in an unorthodox way.
But the Semi-Automatic outclasses all past vending machines through the sheer quantity (and quality) of the items available within it. As you can see in the gallery below, it's much bigger than a vending machine, more similar in size to a gift shop than a Pepsi machine. Only unlike a gift shop, you can't go inside, you can only browse the items via the machine's elegant touchscreen interface.