A new vending machine gets to bottom of things - coin-operated sexy underwear dispenser
16 December 2004 , HAMBURG - With cigarette consumption dropping, vending- machine operators in Germany have come up with what they hope will be a lucrative new source of revenue - coin-operated dispensers of sexy women's underwear. In a trial run, two trendy night spots in Stuttgart have reported top-drawer income from naughty knicker vending machines mounted recently in their women's restrooms. A third pub has asked to have a panty purveyor on their own premises, and enquiries are coming in from Berlin a
16 December 2004
HAMBURG - With cigarette consumption dropping, vending- machine operators in Germany have come up with what they hope will be a lucrative new source of revenue - coin-operated dispensers of sexy women's underwear.
In a trial run, two trendy night spots in Stuttgart have reported top-drawer income from naughty knicker vending machines mounted recently in their women's restrooms.
A third pub has asked to have a panty purveyor on their own premises, and enquiries are coming in from Berlin and other cities, according to Ulrika Brucher, a Stuttgart lingerie retailer who came up with the idea.
"Actually, my husband came up with the idea," says Brucher. "He's a psychiatrist with a good feel for people's subliminal needs," she adds.
"His idea was that a gaggle of women will go to a pub, you know, just to listen to the music and to exchange gossip," Brucher explains. "And then one of them might see this really attractive man across the crowded room and their eyes might meet and he might come over any they might hit it off," she adds.
"Well, then things get serious and she goes off to the ladies to powder her nose before leaving with him but suddenly realises she's got her boring old flannel longjohns on because it's a really chilly evening," Brucher goes on.
"Well, what is a girl to do?"
What she does, if she is a patron at the trendy Barcode club or the nearby Rohbau bar, both in Stuttgart's Theodor Heuss Strasse, is this: She inserts EUR 6.0 in coins into a vending machine and out pops a shiny cardboard box containing a black G- string and a packet of 10 chewable toothpaste pellets.
"She'll look sexy and her breath will be kissably sweet," Brucher says. "She's ready for the evening to begin."
The garments are available in sizes small, medium and large out of three corresponding slots from the vending machine.
The dispenser itself is called a Slip-O-Mat, based on the German word "slip" for men's or women's underpants, a bastardisation of the English word "slip".
When a German says your "slip" is showing, that means only that your underwear is on public view - not that you are visibly wearing a woman's silken undergarment of dress length with shoulder straps. That is a potentially valuable vocabulary lesson for every English- speaking businessman.
Be that as it may, the Slip-O-Mat is a welcome addition to the ladies lavatory scene in German pubs, according to Brucher.
"We expected it to be a success, but even we were surprised how quickly the idea caught on," the 37-year-old lingerie retailer says. "It's certainly more novel than the tired old condom or tampon dispensers one is accustomed to finding in ladies loos."
The vending machines, along with the product packaging, are emblazoned with the address of Brucher's underwear emporium, called the Night Delight shop, in an up-scale shopping district of Stuttgart.
"We've had lots of enquiries from women who spotted the vending machines and saw our name and address and contacted us to say how much they liked the idea," she notes.
But there have been other reactions, according to television news reports. Conservatives in Baden-Wuerttemberg object to the notion of encouraging uninhibited sexual contact with strangers.
People in this largely working-class Mercedes factory town were a bit shocked to hear that they were pioneers in purveying pub panties.
"Well, I've never heard anything so awful in my life. It's disgusting, it is, selling rude garments in an eating place," one late-middle-aged woman told N24 television.
"Why, anybody could go in there and plunk down EUR 6.0 and come out with those vile things and nobody would be the wiser," she added. "Where, precisely, did you say these things were located?"
While the Slip-O-Mat is an innovation, the idea itself is nothing new in Germany. Well-versed tourists of a certain ilk remember a notorious vending machine in the heart of Hamburg's Reeperbahn harbour-side red-light district that, a quarter of a century ago, was dispensing a raunchy array of crotchless panties, mesh stockings and slinky, see-through nighties for 15 marks a pop - a steal at the 1970s exchange rate of about EUR 8.0.
"Steal" was the word, because vandalism put an end to that particular outdoor vending machine by the mid-1980s, to the disappointment of tourists who liked to have their pictures taken standing next to it even if though they bought nothing from it.
That is in contrast to the Slip-O-Mat, which is selling hot panties like hotcakes. And if you don't believe Frau Brucher, just ask the cleaning lady at the Barcode lounge.
"I've complained repeatedly to the management about finding ragged old underwear in the ladies restroom," she told an interviewer. "Some women even try to flush their discarded panties down the toilet, creating a mess. This whole thing means a lot more work for me."
Subject: German news