Japanese vending machines are a great example of the culture of convenience so prevalent in Japan. Whether you’re after orange juice that looks like soy sauce, or a hot, clam-packed miso soup to cure your hangover, if you want something fast, the nation’s vending machines will be there for you, come rain or shine.
Now one of the country’s largest drinks manufacturers, DyDo, is catering to customers who actually do find themselves caught out in the rain, with a free “rental umbrella” service attached to a number of their machines in Nishi Ward, Osaka.
If you’ve ever had your umbrella go missing from outside a convenience store, DyDo’s rainy day honour system might have you scratching your head. The company decided to implement the initiative to mark its 40th year of operations, asking employees to submit an idea that would embody the company’s vision of achieving “happiness and prosperity together with people and society as a whole”. The umbrella loaning idea was selected as part of the company’s commitment to ongoing contributions to Japanese society outside of its usual beverage supply service.
The so-called “rental” system (in truth no money changes hands) umbrellas have been attached to the sides of 60 drinks vending machines in the Nishi Ward area, west of central Osaka, with each box containing seven umbrellas. The illustrated DyDo employee on the front of the plastic umbrella pouch does, however, ask that customers return their umbrella to its original location once they’ve finished using it, so that more people can enjoy the free service.
With Japan’s love of exclusive promotional items, whether or not the large, handsome umbrellas (they look to be of much better quality than the kind sold at convenience stores) are all returned will be an interesting social experiment, but the inclusion of the company’s name and logo in large white print will surely go some way to deterring any would-be umbrella thieves.
The company says it will consider expanding the service after a three-month trial period. So if you want to see this great idea spread around the country, make sure you return those umbrellas once the storm has passed![tweet https://twitter.com/alfalfafafa/status/657064098237034496 align=’center’]