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High-Ticket Vending

Similar to the way many people purchase a bag of potato chips or a diet soda, some U.S. companies began testing the possibility of offering iPods, digital cameras and Bose headphones.

While Japan and other countries already offer these items in a vending machine environment, this is a newer concept in the U.S., according to a report in the Pa.-based Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

But some experts say it may catch on.

“An ATM is a vending machine that gives money,” said John Barsanti, director of a private equity firm, Torridon Co.'s, and a consultant to brands evaluating whether to sell their merchandise this way. “It took a while to take off, and today hardly anyone goes into a bank anymore.”

Zooms Systems, a San Francisco-based company offers high-end electronics vending options and has machines in airports, hotels and grocery stores.

Additionally, McDonald's began testing vending machines to allow customers to rent DVD's last June in Denver. It has since expanded the concept to cities including Minneapolis, Houston and St. Louis, and RedBox, a subsidiary of McDonald's Corp., plans to have the kiosks in more than 1,000 locations, mostly McDonald's restaurants, by the end of the year.

7-Eleven stores are also testing the DVD concept using DigiView Entertainment.
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