Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coming Soon, On "Film At 11"

Yves Smith, over on his Naked Capitalism, has a head-shaker today;

Germans to Install Gold Vending Machines

You cannot make this stuff up. Even as of last summer, there were reports that gold at retail was priced at a hefty premium, often 20% or more, to professional prices. Greater convenience comes with a greater markup. The German gold vending machine reportedly update prices every few minutes and add a 30% upcharge.
Smith then points to this Financial Times article;

Germans taste machines with Midas touch

Long attracted to the safety of solid gold, Germans will soon be able to sate their appetite for the yellow metal as easily as buying a chocolate bar after plans were announced on Tuesday to install gold vending machines in airports and railway stations across the country.


“German investors have always preferred to hold a lot of personal wealth in gold, for historical reasons. They have twice lost everything,” said Thomas Geissler, the owner of the company, who hopes to install “Gold to go” machines in 500 locations in German-speaking countries this year.


A prototype vending machine on display in Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday appeared to be a converted version of the dispensers typically used to sell snacks. For €30 airport shoppers could buy a 1g wafer of gold, with a larger 10g bar priced on Tuesday at €245 and gold coins also on sale.

When the Financial Times bought the cheapest product it was dispensed in an oblong metal box labelled “My Golden Treasure”, with a certificate of authenticity signed by Mr Geissler but no receipt and the wrong change. Mr Geissler said he hoped to have a more advanced prototype available this month.


Jens Willenbockel, an investment banker who saw the machine while passing through the airport, said he believed there could be a market. “Because of the crisis there is a lot of awareness of gold,” he said. “It is also a great gift for children – for them getting gold is like a fairytale.”

Call me skeptical, that people will want to secure their financial products, let alone precious metals, from a vending machine.

We will go out on a limb, that at some point in the near-term future, Munich residents will see a "Breaking News/Film at 11" story, of thieves hauling away one of these Gold vending machines, via truck.

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