Good news for everyone anyone who has ever taken a taxi, but forgotten to make a quick pit stop to purchase condoms. Condom vending machines are now one-step closer to finding a home in New York City's taxis.
These wall-mounted machines are set to sell everything from condoms to USB cords. They recently made their debut in a Manhattan bar on Monday, paving the way for the next step toward taxicabs. About 10,000 of these product-customizable vending machines are expected to be placed around the city. The taxicab machines are appropriately called TaxiTreats.
The sleek vending machines only accept credit cards and are currently selling things like gum and mouthwash at the Village Pour House near Union Square. Each machine will soon be outfitted with the addition of condoms and Old Spice cologne, according to its parent start-up company, Vengo.
“People are here a lot of times to meet new people of the opposite sex. It’s important to have fresh breath and smell great,” said vending machine creator Brian Shimmerlik when speaking to the New York Post.
“The purpose is to update the vending machine of the ’80s,” Shimmerlik said. “They’ve become extinct.They'll appear everywhere from offices, bars and even doctors’ offices with the products sold inside depending on the location.”
Shimmerlik and his vending machine team got their original start with a $17,500 grant from the city’s Economic Development Corporation last year. The money was awarded for their original plan to put vending machines in taxis.
Though that idea has not totally gotten off the ground yet, the group rolled the award into a $1million venture with backing from donors, including Latin-singing sensation Marc Anthony. The money funded the creation of the Vengo vending machine.
Shimmerlik and his partners are seeking patents for the machine and hoping to place 10,000 more throughout the city, in other bars, office buildings and even doctors’ waiting rooms.
The contents of every machine would be customized, selling items that are specifically useful depending on the Vengo location. For example, machines in the workplace may sell phone chargers or batteries.
“The purpose is to update the vending machine of the ’80s,” Shimmerlik said. “They’ve become extinct.”
For TaxiTreats, it is simple a question of engineering the right machine that can operate dependably inside a moving vehicle. After developing the perfect Vengo condom machine for NYC taxis, the company may also consider selling a combination of energy drinks, headache medication and Pepto-Bismol.