Wow, folks. This is a first. We had some friends visiting from L’Aquila this weekend, so we decided to go on the general tourist walk downtown, hitting the main sights like the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
Between the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, I saw this little tiny grocery store that billed itself as an “express” grocery store. It was a national chain (I forget which), but yet in the entrance there were three or four huge, imposing vending machines that were like mini grocery stores in and of themselves.
I couldn’t believe it. So of course I had to start taking photos.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, but after about two seconds, a grocery store clerk comes running at me full-charge from the back of the mini-store. (There’s a part of the store inside that was stocked and there were a few cash registers.)
“NOOO!!! No foto!” he screams at me, waving his hands in desperation.
Me: “Per quale motivo, scusa?” (Sorry, but why not?)
His response: Hey, I don’t make the rules around here.
Um, ok. Whatever.
Apparently the crime of taking photos of vending machines doesn’t warrant camera confiscation, so I already had three shots in the bag before his tyrade. That means that luckily he hadn’t managed to stop me before I got THIS shot, which I consider the crown jewel of the whole surreal experience:
Yes, I do believe you are seeing correctly: a pizza/pasta vending machine. In Italy!
Blink! Blink again! Rub your eyes! Yet, it doesn’t go away!
Now, seeing as how I was uncerimoniously exiled from “grocery-vending alley,” I was unable to do a closer investigation to figure out how exactly one might go about ordering pasta from a vending machine, or how that all might work. Which means I also neglected to find out how much said plate of pasta might cost. However, I enlarged the photo to see if I could get any further information, and there’s a hand-written note that says “No 1 or 2 Euro coins.” Which tells me we’re looking at a price of at least €5, no?
Anyhoo, I personally found this totally and completely amusing. Has anyone ever seen these machines or used them? No idea why they are so off-limits for photos, but hey, I’m feeling rebellious so I had to share them with you.