"Gold is a good thing to have in your pocket in these uncertain economic times," says Thomas Geissler, CEO of Reutlingen (Germany) based TG-Gold-Super-Markt. Maybe so, but what's an empty-pocketed average Joe or Jane to do about it? If they're walking through, say, an airport in Frankfurt or a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, a shiny gold vending machine provides the answer.
The machines in question are not just shiny gold on the outside... they actually vend gold in the form of 1 gram, 5 gram, 10 gram and 1 ounce bars, and also Krugerrand, Kangaroo and Maple Leaf gold coins (individual machines may have custom settings).
The bars and coins come in snazzy presentation cases but even so, they're said to cost about 20 percent less than what a German bank or other financial institution would charge.
Since TG-Gold-Super-Markt installed their first GOLD To Go® vending machine in Germany's Frankfurt Airport last summer, demand has been brisk - enough so that the company has pursued expansion plans targeting other European cities and the oil-rich city states of the Middle East.
Initially up to 200 of the so-called "Gold ATMs" will be installed in airports, railway stations and shopping malls across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The latest GOLD To Go® machine has just been installed (on May 12) in the lobby of Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace hotel. It differs from the original vending machine set up at the Frankfurt Airport in that it dispenses gold bars of only 1 and 10 grams, plus a series of gold coins displaying custom engraved designs. According to Geissler, TG-Gold-Super-Markt decided to put a GOLD To Go® machine in Abu Dhabi "because of its high-rolling atmosphere and the region’s traditional ties to gold in commerce."
TG-Gold-Super-Markt's Geissler points out another reason why his company's gold vending machines should be popular: love. “I have yet to meet a woman who does not like a gift of gold," he said. "It’s better than flowers. Flowers are more expensive. They wilt and you (as a man) don’t get as many points at home as if you bring gold.” Can't argue with that logic!
Needless to say, the actual machines are built like bank vaults and TG-Gold-Super-Markt does not disclose the amount of gold each machine is optimally stocked with.
Will this idea catch on? Would YOU want to buy gold bars in the middle of a busy international airport or a bustling hotel lobby? Personally, I'll stick to granola bars - they're easier on both pockets and teeth. (via Japan Today, PopSci and Reuters)