Vending machines being filled with iPods, Rx

Claudine Zap
Claudine Zap
The Upshot

Vending machines have been important for cases of the munchies. But with bad press on junk food, especially in schools, the Wall Street Journal reported that the once ever-present machines -- that take only the crispest of bills and serve up sugary and salty snacks -- are going away.

According to the publication, "Traditional vending machines disappeared from 134,000 locations between 2007 and 2010, according to the latest available data from Vending Times, an industry publication. Sales from vending machines sank more than 11%, to $42.2 billion, in the same period."

That's right: Traditional vending machines that sell candy bars, chips, and soda, are losing popularity. What's on the rise instead: boutique operations. At the airport you can buy iPods, e-readers and cameras from Best Buy kiosks. Some new niche machines stock live bait in Pennsylvania and prescription drugs from InstyMeds has sold 1.5 million Rx in 24 states.

The Last Vegas Sun has a slideshow that features some pretty crazy options in Sin City: From a luxury vendor called Utique that offers Smashbox makeup and Beats by Dre headphones, a cotton candy dispenser, an Art-o-Mat that sells original works of art, and of course, gold to go.