Caviar for the Cost of a Coin?

caviarLuxury is just a vending machine away, but don’t reach for that quarter just yet. It’s gonna cost you more than just a pretty penny. If you head over to Westfield Century City Mall, Westfield Topanga or the Burbank Town Center, look out for the brand new vending machines that are now offering 24 varieties of caviar, black truffles, escargot and premium salts. They also offer seaweed caviar (for all you vegans out there) along with red salmon caviar for dogs and cats (because pets can’t be excluded either). And if you don’t like to eat your food with a regular plastic spoon, well, you’re in luck. The machines also sell mother-of-pearl spoons to add that final touch of ambiance to your dining experience.

Kelly Stern, co-owner of Beverly Hills Caviar, came up with the idea to make gourmet foods more readily available to customers in wealthy neighborhoods who might otherwise not have regular access to these high-end delights. These aren’t just any ole vending machines either. One machine costs $85,000 and contains $50,000 worth of inventory, which includes caviar in jars. The machines were designed to keep caviar cold, they have a touch screen, Internet connection, and accept both cash and credit cards. Prices range from $5 to $500, so there is something for everyone, regardless of your budget.

Stern’s goal is to franchise her business all around the world, although many are skeptical of her plan. She wants the general population to be able to indulge in finer foods, although that may be a challenge given the fact that not just anybody can afford to throw down a quick $500 for a serving of Imperial River Beluga Caviar. But don’t despair because there is always the $30 American Black Caviar option available. Keep in mind, however, that there is a three-hour window for serving or refrigerating your caviar after you purchase it. Each item comes in a insulated box to maintain its freshness.

For those concerned about security (vandalism and theft), each machine is built like a safe, making it that much harder to break into. If that wasn’t enough, they are all outfitted with a minimum of three security cameras that snap images of all who come near. It’s definitely a unique concept, and in truth, there are even crazier vending machines out there, among them a live crab vending machine (China), pizza vending machine (Europe), and a mashed potato vending machine (Singapore).

As for me, I’m still waiting on a Tiffany & Co. vending machine. Sterling silver bracelets and diamonds available at the drop of a hat? I have a feeling that boyfriends around the world (especially those that wait until the last minute to do their holiday shopping) will be thanking me. But their credit cards won’t. #firstworldproblems

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