Free Rent-An-Umbrella Vending Machines Announced In Japan

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Foreigners visiting Japan have long been fascinated by its countless vending machines, which sell everything from hot canned coffee to bananas. Some hi-tech versions even come equipped with facial recognition software to recommend certain drinks based on the customer’s demographic.

But what about vending machines that dispense umbrellas?

Now, one company has announced it will be offering free umbrellas to help people caught outdoors when it rains unexpectedly. The umbrellas are dispensed from a box attached to the vending machine, and can be returned within several days completely free of charge. For now, the service is limited to 60 machines in Osaka.

While this idea certainly sounds convenient, 2ch users doubt its practicality, many certain that people will abuse the free-of-charge system. Some even offered up funny suggestions for ensuring the umbrellas get returned.

From Nari Nari:

“Vending Machines Offer Free Rental Umbrella Service

Starting October 21st, the DyDo Drink company began offering a “Free Umbrella Rental” trial service through its vending machines for occasions like sudden showers.

A trial run started at 60 vending machines managed by DyDo Beverage Service and Naniwa Industries (based in Nishi-ku, Osaka) as a campaign to contribute to local communities. The idea came from an employee at the company office, and is an effort that symbolizes the desire to make a contribution to locals who use the machines daily in a way besides providing drinks.

What the umbrella rental vending machine might look like.

What the umbrella rental vending machine might look like.

In concrete terms, rental umbrella boxes were installed at sixty vending machines. The machines dispense umbrellas from the box free of charge to be used for such occasions as sudden downpours. The customer then returns the umbrella to the same vending machine box a few days later.
DyDo used the 40th anniversary of its establishment as an opportunity to accept ideas from employees about how best to achieve their shared vision. This idea was chosen from among those collected.

Comments from 2ch:

名無しさん@1周年:

I wonder how many days people will hold onto them.

無しさん@1周年:

It won’t even be a month before all the umbrellas are completely gone.

無しさん@1周年:

Osaka of all places www

無しさん@1周年:

It’s unfortunate but the umbrellas will disappear.
There are people who will properly return them, but as long as there’s even one person who doesn’t, the umbrellas will only decrease.

無しさん@1周年:

These umbrellas look pretty well-built, so they’ll probably vanish once the boxes are installed.

無しさん@1周年:

The rental service is in Osaka?
No one is going to return them wwwww
People will say “I’m renting it for a while” and that will be that..

無しさん@1周年:

Equip the umbrellas with GPS just to be safe

無しさん@1周年:

Even if it doesn’t rain, they’ll probably all disappear

無しさん@1周年:

At my company we have a service where we rent out umbrellas, but a good 10% don’t come back.

無しさん@1周年:

Seen on Yahoo Auction:
(Not For Sale) DyDo Brand Umbrella
3000 Yen

無しさん@1周年:

What do you do if it breaks?

無しさん@1周年:

City halls and even railroad companies have tried this in the past countless times, but hardly any of the umbrellas were returned and that was it.

無しさん@1周年:

They should be charging at least 100 yen.
I wonder if DyDo is thinking that since the company name is printed on the umbrella, it’ll be good for self-promotion even if someone runs off with it.

無しさん@1周年:

The handle looks slippery.

無しさん@1周年:

It would be good if the umbrella had a pattern that made you embarrassed to hold it.
That, or if you don’t return it after a few days a buzzer keeps ringing (like “Beep! Beep!)”

無しさん@1周年:

How about if after 3 days of rental, the words “This guy is an umbrella thief” appear?

無しさん@1周年:

It should be like a coin locker: you put in 100 yen and rent the umbrella, then once you return it you get the 100 yen back.

無しさん@1周年:

If there were a system that made you register through your mail address or phone number, the rate of returns might be higher.

無しさん@1周年:

Just sell them normally. You can eliminate the hassle of having to return it.

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  • This sounds great in theory. Let’s see what happens when they implement it.

  • Claude

    I used to work in a bar in Japan. You would be amazed how many broken umbrellas the bar collected during rainy season. They were wrapped up and taken to the trash like bundled cord wood.

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