The Bizarre Story of the Seattle Mystery Vending Machine


In the city of Seattle, Washington there exists a vending machine that over the years has become something of a local landmark amongst residents who are familiar with its mysterious history. Situated on the corner the John Street and 10th Avenue East in the bustling Capitol Hill neighbourhood, the seemingly ancient machine is well known for dispensing random, sometimes rare, cans of soda- a fact that’s made all the more intriguing when you consider that nobody seems to know who stocks the machine or where it came from.

Covered in Coca Cola livery and a smattering of graffiti, the machine’s most notable feature, other than its age, is the fact that there’s no option to order a specific drink from it. Instead, after putting the requisite amount of change into the machine, you are given the option of pressing one of six buttons, each of which sports an apparently custom-made (and heavily faded) label that simply reads “?MYSTERY”. Pressing one of these buttons will then cause the machine to spit out a random can of soda.

Exactly how many different kinds of soda are stored inside of the machine at any one time isn’t known and there are reports of people dropping tens of dollars into it at once in an attempt to discern what, if any, pattern there is to the kinds of soda dispensed. The result is invariably the person walking away with dozens of cans of weird tasting soda, but no answer.

What makes the whole thing weirder is that a a small percentage of the sodas the machine dispenses are incredibly rare, if not otherwise impossible to acquire via conventional means due to them being discontinued or only available for sale outside the United States.

For example, people using the machine are known to have walked away with cans of soda that haven’t existed or been popular since the 1980s, like Lemon-Lime Slice and Pepsi AM, or obscure drinks like Diet Hubba Bubba Bubblegum Soda and even bacon infused Coca Cola… There are even rumors that people have gotten cans of New Coke and Crystal Pepsi from the machine.

As if this alone wasn’t unusual enough, the machine has also been known to sometimes spit out otherwise normal brands of soda, but with the cans sporting vintage livery that hasn’t been used in decades.

To date the only real common thread between the cans dispensed by the machine anyone has noticed is that it only ever seems to contain brand-name soda produced by either Coca Cola or Pepsi.

Curiously, despite being targeted by countless vandals and irate customers over the years (the machine has a propensity to eat bills particularly, but also sometimes change), Seattle residents familiar with it note it’s almost never out of service and report that any time the machine is damaged, it is generally fixed within a day or so.

It’s similarly reported that after the machine was broken into one time it was restocked and working before the week was…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

As content editor, I get to do what I love everyday. Tweet, share and promote the best content our tools find on a daily basis.

I have a crazy passion for #music, #celebrity #news & #fashion! I'm always out and about on Twitter.
Sasha Harriet

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