Get Ready, We’re Close To Paying For Food With Social Media

Imagine pulling up to McDonald’s, opening an app that tracks your Instagram or Twitter activity, and being able to pay for your Big Mac for having five followers, or paying for your date’s dinner using social credit accumulated through charity donations.

I’m talking social currency, fairly similar to the “Nosedive” episode from Netflix’s Black Mirror, where your social status is tracked and deemed a deciding factor for all purchases, from the vacation trips you can afford to what food you can eat.

While Black Mirror is meant to freak you out with its absurd sci-fi horror-based situations, technology shouldn’t frighten us.

It’s time to accept it, because these advances are coming fast, and you don’t want to get left behind.

Black Mirror’s “Nosedive” predicted our use of social currency/Courtesy of Netflix

Case in point, the selfie-powered vending machine that’s already been spotted on U.S. soil.

The machine’s premise is simple: you push the big “start” button, take a selfie, use its randomly generated hashtag, and the moment you post it to your Instagram account, the machine will either drop some Cup Noodles, a Jump Force video game, gift cards, or Cup Noodles swag.

Even with countries like Japan and Germany having insane vending machines that spit out pancakes, beer and other goodies, those all obviously run on monetary currency that we’re all accustomed to.

You literally pay with your Instagram posts, and it’s one of the first steps to a Black Mirror-projected future that we must be ready to embrace with open arms.

As I write this, there is someone taking a selfie and waiting for their prize to come out of that machine. That’s not even hyperbole, I literally know it’s happening at this moment because our own Foodbeast tech director Chris Abouabdo gets text messages every time someone uses it, and I hear his phone buzzing relentlessly during the workday.

Yes, the two geniuses behind the machine are in-house Foodbeast developers, but I’m not just trying to hype up or toot the company horn here — I’m writing this because it could legitimately help push forward a social currency-led future.

While these “FOODBEAST #DreamMachines” have sat on the shopping mall floors of The Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California, and the Las Vegas South Premium Outlets in Las Vegas, they were built within the Foodbeast office walls by engineers Rudy Chaney and Abouabdo.

Every once in a while, I’d run downstairs, and ask about the machine, and one of the points that stuck with me most, was Chris matter-of-factly telling me they could have “easily” made the machine run on people’s follower counts if they wanted to, giving more expensive prizes to people with more followers.

They even could have hypothetically gone as far as only giving prizes to those who wrote positive things about the vending machine within their post, which shows the possibility to advance the social currency concept further.

From the moment they figured out how to get the machine to run, writing the specific commands and functions was cake for two engineers of their caliber.

If you need further proof that the future is now, let’s take a quick trip to China.

Anyone who’s been to China knows that they’ve mostly said goodbye to cash, and primarily pay through currency apps such as WeChat. Whether you roll up to get some Yang’s braised chicken, or dancing noodles at Hai Di Lao Hot Pot, citizens pull out their phones in lieu of cash or credit.


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That’s just the scratched surface, however, as the country has been testing “social credit” since 2014, tracking and rewarding its citizens who conduct positive lifestyles.

Yup. That’s happening right now. In 2019.

The FOODBEAST #DreamMachine concept obviously wasn’t built to rank people according to their followers, likes, or anything of the sort. The goal was basically to find a cool way to give away Cup Noodles and swag.

But the technology to take things a step further now exists.

The machine has caught the attention of the tech world, including the raspberry pi community, which is the mini computer the guys used to build this thing.

Sometimes all it takes is the wherewithal to know something is possible, and someone could easily start working on their own version of the technology.

We could easily see copycat ideas, and if food brands are smart enough to push their own marketing strategies, we’ll soon live in a world where you have to take a selfie and post a hashtag to get through a Starbucks door, or automatically get 10% off your Chick-Fil-A order for sending out a tweet. I mean, we already kind of do that when checking in to restaurants on Yelp or Facebook, so the next step can’t be too much further.


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Now back to the Black Mirror concepts. It’s easy to scare yourself through the episode’s horror and bleak lens into technology’s darker side premise, but if this little revolutionary vending machine shows anything, it’s that if put into the right hands, technology can be used for progress.

Chaney and Abouabdo spoke very candidly about the vending machine on The Katchup podcast, down to admitting that the machine actually was inspired by Black Mirror.

“I had been watching Black Mirror, where everything in your life is based off your social status,” Chaney said on the podcast. “I just remember thinking, ‘How crazy would it we made a vending machine that would spit out prizes based on how cool you are on Instagram?'”

Thankfully that wasn’t the final premise, and the machine was built with a more user-friendly experience.

It all starts by figuring out that first step, and it appears that paying for food through social currency has already taken that first step in the form of a selfie-powered Cup Noodles vending machine.

To hear the full podcast with the fathers of our inevitable social-based pay methods, Rudy Chaney and Chris Abouabdo, be sure to tune in to The Katchup and subscribe to hear more on iTunes, Spotify and anywhere podcasts can be heard.


This Is An Effective Way To Get Your Money Back From Thieving Vending Machines

Two weeks ago, a vending machine ate my money. Today the company sent me the money back and more.

You’ve probably felt the pain of a vending machine unceremoniously taking your money and giving you nothing in return. You smack it, maybe even kick it, or eventually try to shake it, but it just tells you to “f*ck off” as you angrily walk away.

Imgur user Jchenx said this happened to them at a roadside rest area, and they actually reached out to the vending machine company to get their money back.

The post said, “Two weeks ago, a vending machine ate my money. Today the company sent me the money back and more.”

The post then shows a letter from CCC Vending Services, apologizing for what happened, and not only giving back the $2, but gave an extra dollar for their trouble.

It’s pretty cute, and definitely awesome that the company would make sure the customer was repaid for the terrible vending machine experience.

Now you know, if a stupid vending machine takes your money, don’t take it lying down. Write an angry email and get your money back, hopefully with a little extra on top.


The Pokemon GO Drinking Game And Booze Safari [KATCHUP]

Here we are, another episode of the FOODBEAST Katchup. If you missed out on all the food news this week, fear not. This series catches you up on all the top stories in the wide world of food.

This week, no one did any work after Pokemon GO launched. Understandably.

That’s OK, though. Because the rest of the world seems to be in the same boat.

Folks have begun to use Pokemon GO as a way to figure out where to eat instead of Yelp. A bakery is charging its customers based on what team they picked for Pokemon GO. Team Valor? Half off. Team Mystic? Double price.

A girl turned her snack stand into a PokeStop and when people came to collect in-game swag, she sold them food. There’s a Pokemon Safari going on this weekend in Ohio where you can get drunk and catch Pokemon. Sounds like a dream.

Finally, our resident drunkard Sean decided to create a Pokemon GO drinking game instead of writing this Katchup recap. Whatever.

Check out this week’s Pokemon Katchup!

People are Using Pokemon GO Instead of Yelp


Choosing where to eat has never been an easy task. You can drive around from city to city, checking Yelp, and before you know it, an hour has passed by and there’s not a single thing filling your tummy.

Well, in addition to making people get out of the house, it seems like the new mobile game, Pokemon Go, is helping people decide where to eat, according to social media reports obtained by Business Insider. READ MORE

Bakery Offers Discounts to Pokemon GO Players

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.52.22 PM

One obnoxious Team Valor member also happens to run a bakery in Toronto and posted this sign outside of his window. Redditor Dubiono was able to catch the sign and share its glory with the wide world of Pokemon and their trainers. READ MORE

Pokemon GO “Vending Machine”


With all these horror stories about people falling  off cliffs and getting mugged over the new sensation, Pokemon GO, it’s nice to hear a heartwarming story for once.

A young girl in Colorado used the game to lure in Pokemon GO players to her makeshift snack bar, and actually donated the money to a the local Humane Society.


Pokemon Safari Beer Tour


Drink Up Columbus just announced that Actual Brewing in Columbus Ohio will be taking Pokémon players on an amazing adult adventure this Sunday, July 17.

This is definitely the most genius idea yet in our quest to catch ’em all, it’s a Pokémon Safari Beer Tour. The recently released Pokemon augmented reality game spawned many memes and even a drinking game. READ MORE

Pokemon GO Drinking Game


Of course we came up with a drinking game for Pokemon GO, what did you expect?

With the massive success of the nostalgia-imbued app, especially amongst people between the ages of 21-30, it was only a matter of time before a drinking element was added to the mix. Gotta drink em’ all, right? READ MORE


Kid Gets Trapped In The First Vending Machine He Ever Saw And It’s Hilarious

Ever wonder why children have this instinctual, magnetized, nearly obsessive-compulsive attraction for reaching up into vending machines? It’s like after looking upon the rows of sweet and savory paradise, encased in glass, waiting to be devoured, merely a fingertip away, a child becomes hypnotized.

But, more than likely at one time or another, we’ve all thought about sticking a hand into receiving end of a vending machine, just to see if our hand can grasp a sweet taste of pre-packaged snack victory.

If you’ve ever tried to reach and run on a vending machine, chances are, you’ve heard the warning that this dangerously risky maneuver could end horribly, citing the urban legend about the kid who got his arm stuck inside and they had to cut it off to free him.

Well, apparently, this 4-year-old Australian boy never heard nothin’ ’bout no warning and learned real quick that vending machines do not play.

It all started when 4-year-old Leo Shorthouse, from the rural northern region of Arnhem Land in Australia (which is very large but minimally populated), laid his eyes on the splendor of a vending machine in the lobby of his hotel, while vacationing with his family in Melbourne, Australia.


Leo had never seen a vending machine before, according to his father, Aaron Shorthouse. And sadly, an innocent grab at some cookies turned into a pretty nightmarish, several-hour ordeal, which required the assistance of power tools to remove little Leo’s arm from the machine.

Hold up.

The FIRST vending machine he’d EVER seen? So, not only did this kid prove that your arm can actually get stuck in a vending machine — but also — children actually might have an obsessive-compulsive attraction to reaching up into vending machines!

Talk about batting .1000!

To Leo’s credit, however, this vending machine was apparently equipped with an anti-theft device, which is a real thing now, because of the 2008 recession.

So, what did we learn? If anything, thanks to little Leo from Australia and the economic collapse of 2008, there’s actually a reason to keep your hand out of the vending machine, unless you’re literally ready to pay the price.


This Kid’s Going to Be a Vending Machine for Halloween


PicThx Moobythegoldencalf


Coke Testing Free WiFi on South African Vending Machines


If you’ve ever thought soda machines are lazy, just sitting there, throwing Coke at you, then you’ll be happy to learn these hippies are finally going to be more productive.

In South Africa, Coca Cola teamed up with BT Global Services to make WiFi accessible from Coca Cola machines.

That means South Africans would no longer have to sit in a Starbucks for their WiFi, listening to jazz while hipsters argue over how many pumps of caramel they want in their macchiatos. Now they can awkwardly sit by a Coke machine and surf the web while passersby stare and wonder what they’re doing.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle said this move was made to “bring WiFi to impoverished communities in South Africa.” There you go. The impoverished communities might not have a plate of food to eat every night, but at least Coke is doing its best to make sure Facebook is more easily accessible.

They’re only testing two machines as of now, and they were placed near heavily populated areas so the WiFi usage can be maximized.

Free WiFi’s always good, but this sounds like one of the first steps to the rise of the machines.

H/T Atlanta Business Journal, PicThx BLD in MT


I can now die happy



Town Loses Local Shop, Replaces it With a Giant Vending Machine

vending machine

Across the pond there’s a small community in Clifton, Derbyshire that has been without a local shop for nearly fourteen years. Without a grocery store, let alone a convenience shop, the residents have been forced to travel to the next nearest town for their essentials. Fortunately for the Clifton community electrical engineer Peter Fox found a solution for the town’s shopping needs.

After the closure of Clifton’s village shop Fox began toying with the idea of a vending machine to fill the void. Unfortunately Fox couldn’t generate enough interest to have a firm aid in the development in the machine so he did it himself. After three years of development Fox’s automatic shop made its Clifton debut this past week.

Adorned with a brick exterior and overhead awning the giant vending machine gives off that local shop feel. What makes this vending machine difference from any other is its ability to handle items of varying weight, delicacy, and wide range of products. The automatic shop contains chill compartments to accommodate cold items such as milk and eggs. Besides grocery items the machine also stocks pet food, toiletries, and even umbrellas. Residents can pay for their items using cash or credit cards.

Fox hopes to create more automatic shops for other small towns in the area.

H/T + PicThx Daily Mail