Japan's Used Panty Vending Machines: Fact or Fiction?
You've probably heard it one time or another, usually when the conversation turns to Japan being weird, wild, wacky or all of the above: "You can buy just about anything from a vending machine in Japan, even used schoolgirl panties!" Gasp! Swoon! (How much? $50 to $100 per pair). It's a safe enough thing to say, given that these conversations take place thousands of miles from ANY Japanese vending machine. Regardless, inquiring minds want to know: what's the skinny on street sales of soiled schoolgirl skivvies?
We went to the recognized source on urban legends of any persuasion: Snopes. Their verdict? TRUE! Yet the evidence is somewhat circumstantial. In 1993, used panty vending machines were declared to be illegal, so by using circular reasoning they had to exist in the first place, right? Snopes also states that "(since 2001) numerous readers living in Japan have written to say that not only haven't the machines gone away, but that they've themselves seen them." Fine & dandy, but folks living in Scotland regularly write in to Sea Monster Weekly to say they themselves just saw Nessie.
Google image search results are also questionable: naming an image "Used Panty Vending Machine" doesn't mean it IS a used panty vending machine. Those boxes in the display windows may contain panties, but are they USED?? Lingerie vending machines are not unusual in Japan, where one can buy frozen meat, hard liquor, even live lobsters from vending machines.
Therefore, Snopes notwithstanding, the jury is still out on Japan's used panty vending machines. They may indeed lurk on shaded corners in questionable neighborhoods, holding out the promise of packaged pungent pleasure to a dedicated segment of society driven by passions beyond the ken of you or I. What about you, Dear Reader, been there? Seen that? Had a close encounter of the silken kind? Confess! (or just leave a comment).