The Vending Machine "Store"
A strange new phenomena has overtaken Rome in the past 6 months or so. Slowly I’ve seen these “stores” popping up in spaces where there used to be actual stores. You know, ones with doors and windows and actual humans who work inside. The first one I noticed was on via Cavour, toward the end by via dei Fori Imperiali. You really can’t miss them because the bright orange and yellow literally singes your retinas. This particular vending machine “store” is on Corso del Rinascimento (close to Piazza Navona).
If you can’t figure it out from the photo, let me describe. Essentially where there was once a shop, a little inlet has been made (no doors or windows) and all of these vending machines are housed inside. You will find a change machine, cappuccino machine, gelato, drinks, chips, “sandwiches.” You get the idea. It’s very “convenient.” It’s just weird to me. I really can’t see how this is surviving in Italy. I mean, this is a place with a population full of people who are extremely precise and exacting about their food. Seriously, I bow down to the pride that Italians take in the quality of their food (even if many times they’re so obsessive they refuse to try other food styles). Of course I get that these kiosks are not meant for Italians. They are for tourists or “foreigners” (like me) who don’t “know any better” and will take convenience over quality. Hey, I’m not going to lie….I’m all about convenience. But I guess this falls a bit into my rant that I made about the American Apparel store that opened in Monti. Though I want Italy to progress, something seems so wrong about this. Also, it’s really not that hard to just go into a store. I mean, I’ll fork over the 2 euro for a gelato or 80 cents for a water. Do these exist in America? Have I missed the invasion of vending machines in the four years I’ve been gone? I doubt it. That’s why we have 7-Eleven.
PS. Lest you think these are only in tourist areas, they’re also trying to hit up students. Check out this space in San Lorenzo, which has been massacred by graffiti. The written sign is part of a project by street artist Urka and says “Shut me off. I beg you!” Love it.