Due to the realities of modern life, children these days no longer do many of the things previous generations took for granted -- wholesome traditions of yore like setting up lemonade stands, swimming in the lake, or capturing horned beetles and training them to murder each other in makeshift arenas. That last part probably applies only if you live in Japan, where adults remember the gross insects they played with in their childhoods as fondly as you recall your Fisto from He-Man action figure.
Of course, with families moving away to the city and kids generally not giving much of a shit about nature anymore, there was only one way to preserve this beloved custom: stuffing live bugs into vending machines.
They're more like Kafkaesque apartment buildings, to be honest.
Female beetles go for around $1, while males cost around three times as much because of their mighty horns, and also because the wage gap exists even in the insect kingdom. Children then train the beetles and pit them against other kids' specimens in combat or tug-of-war competitions; the objective is to be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them is the real test. To train them is the cause.
It is imperative that you capture 'em all, is our point.
As for how the vending machine operators keep the beetles alive: Sometimes they'll put food inside their plastic containers, but that's not always necessary, because these hideous little bastards are so popular that the kids buy them all up within hours -- or at least they did back in the '90s, when that article was written. Maybe they've all moved on to something less gross by now, like playing with actual turds.
No, not toy cars. Not even fancy model cars. Actual, honest-to-God cars.
OK, fine, electric cars. But still: real cars that you can get in and drive places. The concept works just like the vending machine at your workplace and even costs around the same: You walk up to the Kandi Machine garage building in Hangzhou, China, pay a little over $3, and the mechanism serves up a 50-miles-per-hour, electric-powered vehicle that is yours for the next 60 minutes.
Or 30 minutes if Jenny from HR shows up and asks for "a little bite."
WE PAID FOR THIS, JENNY.
Once you're done, you can leave the vehicle at one of the many drop-off points and walk away hoping the next driver enjoys the fart you left bouncing around in there. The idea, incidentally, is to help combat pollution in China before the country is completely swallowed by a cloud of smog and no one sees it again. Kandi's CEO plans to expand these facilities all over China and have at least 750 such garages available in Hangzhou alone. That should cover about -0.02 percent of China's population, but still, it's a nice idea.
It's still bullshit that they don't stock Skittles, though.
Goh Zong Huan Lester is a ridiculous person with an unusual way of looking at life and is currently trying to turn his life topsy-turvy. He is also writing for PowerLahBro.com. Check his writings out and shower him with lots of love.
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