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Caviar vending machines unveiled at Los Angeles-area malls

November 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Walk through a mall, and it's not unusual to come across a vending machine. But walk through a few local malls in the Los Angeles area, and what you'll find is incredibly unusual: vending machines that offer high-end items like caviar and escargot.

"Whenever I think of vending machine, I think of Cheetos and a diet coke," said shopper Ashley Sanford. "Who would've thought, caviar in a vending machine?"

That would be Kelly Stern of Beverly Hills Caviar. Caviar, by the way, is very expensive fish eggs. Stern has three of the vending machines in local malls - Westfield Century City, Westfield Topanga and Burbank Town Center.

The prices range from a mere $10 for two ounces of Wasabi Tobiko Caviar to $500 for one ounce of Imperial River Beluga Caviar. Stern said those are wholesale prices.

"We can sell it to restaurants at that price, and people can come here and get those prices," said Stern.

Stern admits not everyone will be interested in dropping hundreds of dollars into a vending machine, but then again, she's not targeting everyone.

"We're going after the people who have money but not time," said Stern.

Once you get your caviar, you're going to need something to drink with it. And there's a vending machine for that as well. Over at Ugo Italian Caf? in Culver City, you don't have to worry about slow wait service. Nope, just buy a wine card and head over to one of the 60 wine machines.

"You just place [the wine glass] in the machine, and you push the button. It dispenses you a one-ounce tasting of wine, so that you can go around and try different things and enjoy a multitude of wine," said Kyle Hays with Ugo Italian Caf?.

Of course, a meal of vending machine caviar and wine wouldn't be complete without a mechanically-delivered dessert. The folks at Sprinkles in Beverly Hills have that covered with their cupcake vending machine.

Vending machines aren't just doling out fancy foods. Many airports sport high-tech vending machines where you can pick up iPods, shoes and underwear. One company is even working on a marijuana vending machine for dispensaries.


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