Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Little "Vendos"

Some of my "Vendos", as I call them.
I just can't seem to stop pumping hard earned quarters into toy vending machines! The whole vending machine landscape has changed quite a bit and it just ain't as nice as the good old days, but still, I like to keep the tradition alive. 

Not a bad toy line here. I don't know if this is a new one or a revived oldie.

One big change I've noticed is the toys don't cost just a quarter anymore. In some cases you have to pay 50 cents, but usually everything's 75 cents! Talk about pricey, GOSH! 

The classic Martian Men are just 23 cents (plus tax) at Zurchers vs. a whooping 50 cents at a toy slot machine!

Why are these sweet string dolls mixed with the zombie figures!? (Source)

I've also noticed there are a lot of shady practices going on with toy vending machines nowadays, such as the mixing of toys and deceiving advertising. I came across a machine that had these cool little voodoo dolls made of string. The display case of the toys looked very promising. So I dished out my 75 cents and out popped a freaking "zombie" figure! Like an idiot I popped in 3 more quarters, hoping for the best. Of course I got another crappy zombie. (Normally I'd like a zombie of course, but I had my heart set on the voodoo pals. Plus, the zombie figures were just...off. You can see what I mean in the first picture in this post) I was promised a voodoo buddy! What the crap!? On yet another occasion I was hoping for a sweet eyeball (twas Halloween month at the time) and out came a white Scottie dog. WHAT!? LIES! 

There's actually a very subtle hint of K9. At least it was only 25 cents.
The absolute worst machine of all is located in our local Smith's Market. It's the only machine with decent toys in it, but it's mingled with garbage. I have yet to get anything but crappy bouncy balls and half the time it eats my quarters! I wanted the parachuting bug dang it! I would even take the pinkie cuffs over those freaking bouncy balls! When will I learn! At least I stopped playing crane games. Well, for now. Curse you Sugar Loaf! What kind of name is that anyway!?

"Good Stuff"...plus many other total pieces of crap.

But I digress. There are ways around the whole vending machine hoopla. You can always buy the toys you seek online (Well, maybe not every toy you're looking for. Some can be quite hard to find and pricey to boot.) Another simple option is a party supply store. You can by them in bulk of by the piece. They usually have the classic trans-green aliens and I recently picked up a few monster finger puppets for under a buck at Zurchers. When I was a kid I'd buy all kinds of toy treasures at Party Time. I have some fond memories of Party Time. They used to sell some sweet Pogs and Slammers. Party Time is no longer with us, but it will live on forever in my memory. R.I.P. Party Time, you were a sweet store. Of course, you can always try your luck at an arcade like Nicklecade, Classic Skating, or Chuck E. Cheese. You just have to deal with the whole token/ticket system. It's been ages since I set foot in an arcade, so I think it's high time I paid some old favorites a visit. Skeeball anyone?

If you're lucky you can even find vending machine toys in grab bags at the DI or Goodwill. That said, there's still something about turning that crank and scoring a sweet toy. There's always that risk that you'll get totally jipped, but it's the risk that makes it all the more exciting when you win big! I always keep some quarters in my lucky pouch just in case. And of course, when speaking of vending machine toys, one cannot fail to mention Little Weirdos. Frank has some amazing specimens! You simply must check them out!

These shag carpet ruffians were hand picked and purchased at Zurchers. 

Am I alone in my vending machine woes? Does anyone else still frequent the toy slot machines (as I sometimes call them). Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Used to love the vending machines like this i even one time scored one of those mini spy cameras as a kid but nowadays they are so pricey like you said the quality of what you get is so down i don't even bother.

    1. For reals, it's a whole other ballgame nowadays! There are a few gems, like Oh No! Aliens, Ninjas, and others; but I hate how often they're mixed in with other terrible quality toys! Oh well though, what can ya do?

      Good to hear from you John!

  2. I'm in the same bucket, I always have the quarters with "just in case" but usually the items are so poor I just skip over, but I did find the Ninjas you had up top at a local China Buffet and I had to put a few quarters in, luckily I think it was one of the few machines that was only a quarter so I had to get a team of them at least, can't just have a lone Ninja. But I did find the finger Alien puppets at a Party Store for an upcoming project, and they brought me back to when you could get them in the Perkins Toy Well back in the day, so I bought two hands worth.

    1. SWEET! I love those ninja guys! 25 cents is a fair price, and you for sure need at least a small ninja clan.

      The finger puppets are just classic awesomeness! I actually got my yellowish orange guy from an epic DI grab bag (http://ditreasures.blogspot.com/2013/09/di-joes.html).

      You really have me intrigued by this project of yours. What are you working on?

  3. Great post! Although it's rare when I get anything really cool out of a vending machine anymore, I still can resist them no better than I could when I was 8.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, it's so hard to not at least try a machine once in hopes of getting something cool. Even if you get something lame at least you have a fun story. Still, I believe there are still diamonds in the rough out there. Keep the tradition alive and don't stop collecting those incredible little weirdos!