Photo: YouTube/サントリー公式チャンネル
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New vending machine gives out free drinks if you use them with a coworker

14 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan has a lot of different types of vending machines, but the one thing they have in common, of course, is that they all vend. But while the idea of selling something is right there in the name, beverage maker Suntory has created a new vending machine that isn’t interested in taking your money and will give you drinks for free!

The catch, though, is that it’ll only give you a freebie if you and a coworker grab a drink together.

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Suntory calls it the Shacho no Ogori Jihanki, or “Company President’s Treat Vending Machine.” For the most part, it looks like any other Japanese vending machine, except that in the center of the unit are a pair of card readers.

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If you and a coworker both place your employee ID cards on the panels at the same time, you’re each cleared to select a beverage of your choice from the machine, without spending a single yen. As hinted at in the machine’s name, it’s the employees’ boss/company that pays for the drinks.

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So why does Suntory think bosses will be willing to foot the bill while their employees wet their whistles? Because Japan has always been big on the idea that incidental communication between coworkers makes for a happier, more productive workplace. Ostensibly, all the after-work drinking parties, company trips, and other group activities are meant to provide ample opportunities for free-form conversation and chitchat, which then help coworkers better understand and support one another once they’re back at work.

Suntory hopes that the President’s Vending Machine will be another avenue for communication between coworkers. “Ideas are solutions are sometimes born out of small talk, and we hope that this will be a way to facilitate that and create better workplaces and work teams,” says Shin Mori, Suntory’s project head for the new machine.

▼ The President’s Vending Machine in action

A potential flaw in the plan is that for some more introverted individuals, or those who simply don’t get along with their coworkers, a solo trip to the vending machine is a treasured moment of quiet solitary serenity, since going to buy a drink is one of the more readily accepted justifications for stepping away from your work desk in the middle of your shift. Thankfully for them, the President’s Vending Machine can still be used like a normal vending machine by anyone willing to pay for their own drink. The company can also choose to set limits on the times of day during which free drinks are available to pairs, or on the maximum number of free drinks that can be claimed.

The first President’s Vending Machine has already been installed at the offices of office supply company Kokuyo, and depending on the response we might see more of them appearing in the months to come.

Source: PR Times via Livedoor News/Nitele News 24 via Golden Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Company president motivates employees via vending machine with personalised messages

-- Japanese vending machines will now let your buy things using your face

-- Japanese drinks company attaches free “rental umbrellas” to its vending machines in Osaka

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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It's a nice idea.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Japan has always been big on the idea that incidental communication between coworkers

This is simply not true from my experience. Japanese bosses do not like people standing around talking next to vending machines or tea serving machines within the company. I would often see Japanese employees furtively looking over their shoulder if you tried to strike up a conversation with them. After-work parties on the other hand were a different matter but there are no vending machines in such situations.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I remember ,when is school,the machine would give much candy as we pulled on the machine

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

This is simply not true from my experience. Japanese bosses do not like people standing around talking next to vending machines or tea serving machines within the company. I would often see Japanese employees furtively looking over their shoulder if you tried to strike up a conversation with them. 

Totally depends upon where you work. My experiences are a heck of a lot different.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

This risks upsetting the hall monitor types out there enforcing social distance rules.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

all most all the companies i worked for drinks where free ..

strange ... that this is new in Japan

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This seems to be aimied at men and woman, judging by the picture on the vending machine, but I can see some complaints arising, what happens if two men or two woman want to meet up, the picture on the vending machine might be seen as stereo typing, if the machine and the boss will let the machine vend at a certain time, it might encourage some people, but it would be so easy if some one, work colleague just borrowed your card for two minute, then mr or mrs x will get you a free drink, and this is reciprocated next time. will the tight a** bosses put a limit on free drinks? will the boss be able to see who is abusing the system? thus causing lack of trust in the boss from the workers? it might put some people off as they dont want to talk to mr x or mrs y.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

And you really expect more wages in next spring, when the boss already pays the two drinks, the rapidly sinking productivity of two people leaving the workplace at the same time and in worst case becoming sick because of not social distancing? Forget it. lol

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

 Ostensibly, all the after-work drinking parties, company trips, and other group activities are meant to provide ample opportunities for free-form conversation and chitchat, which then help coworkers better understand and support one another once they’re back at work.

ostensibly!!!!!! is right.

in my experience people might blah on about something or other while slinging booze down them for all their worth, might even act slobberingly friendly.... then the next day act as though you don't exist, just like always. soooo glad to be retired. (⌒▽⌒)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I have always brought my home brewed coffee to work, at least I know what's in it, and it is freshly brewed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But, sugary drinks increase energy, and productivity.....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No way you should give up your personal information.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

No way you should give up your personal information.

It's your employee id not your license or something.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Shacho no Ogori Jihanki, or “Company President’s Treat Vending Machine.”

Not a good or bad idea, but a very Japanese idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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