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Germany Goes Nuts Over Sausage Vending Machines

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  • Weird vending machines usually come from Japan, but the Germans are stepping up their game

Quick, name a food associated with Germany. There’s a pretty good chance you came up with either beer or sausage. It’s a bit of a tired stereotype at this point, but there’s no denying facts: Germans love their beer and sausages.

But what are Germans to do when they leave the beer hall late at night and a craving for a snack hits them? It must’ve been a common problem, as the ever-so-practical Germans have come up with an answer.

Enter the sausage vending machine. It sounds like a joke, but sausage vending has become a booming business in Germany in the past few years.

According to the German Press Agency, the machines are particularly popular outside cities. Butcher shops in less developed areas close earlier, but the German stomach doesn’t always abide by business hours. Vending machines are just a response to demand.

“Especially in structurally weak, rural areas, vending machine solutions are becoming increasingly popular,” industry spokesman Heike Richter told The Independent. “There is a strong development towards the vending machine, which is used to deliver meat, milk, eggs and other products to customers outside of core opening times.”

The most popular kinds of sausages – such as bratwurst and bockwurst – are common fare in the vending machines, but that’s not all. Some of them also sell barbequed meats, steak, potato salad, vegetables, milk…

Basically, they vend anything you’d expect to find at a German butcher’s shop. You could get a whole dinner out of these things.

There are currently more than 570,000 sausage vending machines in Germany. Their growing popularity has also seen them pop up in neighboring countries, like France.

But fans of traditional German brick-and-mortar shops don’t need to worry. According to trade authorities, the machines are an extension – not a replacement – of a normal shop.

But How’s The Sausage?

So you can buy your sausage, steak and veggies from a vending machine. The fact just begs a follow-up question – would you want to?

Vended food doesn’t exactly have the reputation of gourmet fare. Even if it is convenient, there’s no point in buying the vacuum-packed sausages if they don’t taste good, right?

Well, there’s always a thing to be said for the quality of German manufacturing. The popularity of the machines sort of speaks for itself, too. However, we do have a first-person account of German vending machine food.

Martin Egnash of Stars and Stripes decided to give the machines a go. In his story he details the experience of trying a variety of things from a vending machine in the town of Mantel, southwestern Germany.

Egnash said the machine contained what you’d usually expect from a German butcher. There were some more unusual foods too, like a jar of rouladen. That is, a thin slice of beef wrapped around bacon, onion, and mustard. Yummy!

Egnash decided to go for a more conservative option. “I decided to try the bergbratwurst, which turned out to be delicious,” he wrote.

“For reasons I’m still not sure about, I also tried the leberwurst. This is a liver sausage in a can that looks suspiciously like cat food. The liver spread actually tasted really good on top of some bread with a couple of pickles on top.”

All in all, the food got a passing grade.

“I think everything I tried was pretty good. Not great. But certainly better than I expected. I would try it again sometime if I wanted to grab a steak and the butcher was closed,” Egnash summarized.

For stuff that usually costs between $3 to $6, that’s not bad at all.

Been A Long Time Coming

Despite their recent explosion in popularity, the sausage vending machines are not a new invention. Just with a bit of searching, you can find images of a woman using a sausage vending machine from 1931. That’s almost 90 years of sausage vending.

German butcher Steffen Schütze detailed his innovative idea of attaching a vending machine to his shop to The Local.de already back in 2012. According to him, the spark for it came from a botched late-night barbeque he’d decided to have with some friends.

With all the stores closed, they had to rely on sausages from 24/7 gas stations. As a professional butcher, Schütze wasn’t exactly impressed by the quality of the meat.

You could ask why he didn’t get sausages from his own shop, but let’s not go there.

In any case, soon afterwards a brand new vending machine stood next to this shop. The customers loved it, a promising omen of things to come for the German sausage vending business.

“On one top-performing day we had about 300 products that went. I am excited to see how it’s going to be when we finally get barbecue weather,” Schütze said at the time. We can only assume it went well.

Addressing concerns about his sausages keeping fresh, Schütze said he kept a “careful watch” on them. He replaced the products with new ones every evening and said the machine was fully temperature regulated.

Additionally, the machine carefully produced the meat to the customer, instead of just dropping it like a regular vending machine.

This video of excited German guys getting double the sausage proves that even such advanced technology can fail, though. But they certainly don’t seem to mind.

Leave it up to the Germans to put sausages and engineering together.

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Bringing Sexy Back: Birdsong Gets Sultrier Due to Coronavirus

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  • You might not be crazy – the pigeons cooing in the backyard actually do sound more attractive

The COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong, with rates of new infections indicating that we might be heading towards a new spike. And with very well thought out responses from authorities – such as Florida lifting all coronavirus restrictions – it seems that the virus will not be going anywhere any time soon.

But at least the ‘Rona has opened up a treasure trove of scientific opportunities. Some of the discoveries we’ve previously covered include the psychology of toilet paper hoarding and that refusing to wear a face mask might mean you’re a sociopath.

It’s not just humans that scientists have turned their curious eye on, though. Just this week we wrote about the Finnish dogs trained to sniff out coronavirus infections.

Speaking of animals, have you noticed that the birds have sounded a lot sexier than usual lately? If you have, then first of all, that’s a bit weird. But second, you’re actually correct.

A brand-new study published in the journal Science has found out that male birds are singing to a different tune. It’s all thanks to lower noise levels as people have been isolating themselves from society.

White-crowned sparrows in the San Francisco Bay area are now able to sing more softly and still be heard, the researchers have found. This has allowed them to expand their vocal range and sing songs that are much more likely to get lady birds (not the bugs) in the mood.

Hey Little Mama, Lemme SCREAM IN YOUR EAR

In case you haven’t been to San Francisco, it’s usually pretty loud in the city. There’s a lot of traffic and yelling and other kinds of sounds that we the people like to emit.

Imagine then being a little birdie boy in the city, trying to find a hot chick to woo. You sing and sing until you’re hoarse, but no one listens.

That’s because no one can hear you.

“When the city was loud, [the sparrows] were singing really loudly,” the new study’s lead author Elizabeth Derryberry, a behavioral ecologist from the University of Tennesee, summarized to ScienceAlert.

Surely you’ve noticed a similar effect yourself when at a particularly loud bar or party. It’s hard to whisper sweet nothings into someone’s ear when the music’s so loud you have to scream bloody murder so they can hear you in the first place.

“Birds holding breeding territories in areas with higher noise levels sing higher amplitude songs, a common response to noise known as the Lombard effect,” the researchers state in the study.

“This improves signal efficacy by increasing communication distance, but it can come at a cost. Males that sing at higher minimum frequency often have lower vocal performance, which here is the ability to produce rapid trills at wide frequency bandwidths.”

To put that in plain terms, the birds have to sing so loudly that they’re unable to perform the voice tricks that get girl birds all hot and bothered. Basically, they’re expecting Tom Jones but are getting George Fisher.

Think what you will about their respective styles of music, but it’s pretty clear why Tom is a sex symbol and George… Isn’t.

“Jimmy’s singing ‘What’s New Pussycat’, and Bob’s doing ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ again… Ugh, I should’ve just stayed home tonight.”

Those Sexy, Sexy Birds

But now, with COVID-19 forcing everybody to stay home, San Fran has quieted down. So much, in fact, that noise levels in the city are lower than what they’ve been in decades.

Traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge has crashed to something we haven’t seen since 1954, the study states. Considering how many more cars there are around now than there were 70 years ago, that’s pretty astounding.

Even in the city, the ambient volume has fallen by 50% ever since the stay-at-home orders came into effect. The sparrows noticed that their surroundings had gotten quieter, too, and started singing differently.

Derryberry says that the male birds are now singing much more quietly, and are able to hit much lower notes than before. And what girl bird could resist the deep crooning voice of an avian Barry White?

“Their songs also sounded better. They sounded sexier,” says Derryberry. “They were better competitors, and they sounded like better mates to females.”

The study notes that the volume of the sparrows’ song fell by as much as a third. Despite this, their tweeting carried over twice the distance as before the coronavirus.

According to the researchers, these results are consistent with reports from people saying that birdsong has become more audible over the summer.

“A doubling [in the birds’ communication distance] would allow people to hear birds at twice the previous distance, or effectively four times more birds than usual,” the study reads.

So what’s the takeaway from all this? Derryberry says that the results show just how quickly birds adapt to environmental changes, and that curbing noise pollution could have positive effects on biodiversity.

Maybe we can also infer that ladies prefer a steamy ballad to brutal death metal. But that’d probably depend on the lady in question.

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Men Create Literal Man Cave Under Grand Central

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  • An electrician, carpenter, and wireman filled a secret storeroom with a futon couch, flatscreen tv, fridge, and microwave.

I’ve worked some unpleasant jobs before. Boring, endless jobs where I’d think, I’d give anything to get out of here. Even for a few hours to escape the interminable boredom of hourly employment. Three MTA workers actually did something with those feelings, converting a storeroom beneath Grand Central Station into a “man-cave.” The room, which looks pretty nice in the Associated Press story, has a flat-screen tv, refrigerator, microwave, and futon couch. 

Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

Literally a Man-Cave

Allegedly, a carpenter, an electrician (both foremen), and a wireman would hang out in the room, drinking, eating snacks, and partying. The Inspector General for the MTA, Carolyn Pokorny, got a tip about the room’s existence, leading to an investigation. If they ruined what they had because they couldn’t keep it off Instagram, I’m going to be so disappointed. 

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

Without the tip, it seems like the MTA would have never discovered them. The room was through a locked door for the exclusive use of the MTA Locksmiths. Then, they put a sign on the interior door saying “Foreman’s Office” (clever). It seems only the three men had keys for the man cave. 

 

The MTA suspended all three men without pay pending the investigation. These aren’t master criminals–they left receipts for things they ordered for the room with their names on it just lying around, including a pull-up bar and cot. According to a Gothamist post, the TV linked to the electrician’s phone. 

They Almost Got Away With It

Photo by S. on Unsplash

The carpenter and electrician closed ranks fast, claiming someone stole their devices. The wireman admitted the guilt of all three. Thanks to the carpenter (I assume), there were wooden cabinets in the room, hiding most contraband. It sounds like the MTA at least has a sense of humor about the discovery. 

 

 “Many a New Yorker has fantasized about kicking back with a cold beer in a prime piece of Manhattan Real Estate–especially one this close to public transportation,” the IG said in a statement, “But few would have the chutzpah to commandeer a secret room beneath Grand Central Terminal and make it their very own man-cave.”

 

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Australian Lingerie Ad Sparks Satanic Panic 2.0

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  • Hell must be running on a deficit if a two-bit skeleton onesie is the best they can afford.

Remember the 80s? What a great decade, with neon windbreakers, New Wave music, yuppies, late-stage Cold War… What a time to be alive.

And then there was also the Satanic Panic. You know, the mass hysteria about how supposedly everything from roleplaying games to heavy metal music and actual real-world social issues was some kind of a global conspiracy to turn the entire world to worshipping the Lord of the Pit?

Haha, what a silly thing to think! The people in the 80s sure had some wild imaginations. I sure am glad all that’s over.

Okay, fine. You know how these kinds of intros work. It’s not over at all.

This time it seems Old Nick is trying to get his sulfur-reeking claws on our souls through lingerie advertisements. At least that’s what people seem to think on social media, and when have they ever been wrong?

The vessel for Satan’s devilish plot is a new ad published by Australian lingerie firm Honey Birdette. But the arm of the Devil is long, and the company also operates some stores in California.

An underwear company seems like a fitting conduit for temptation. Why else would Honey Birdette produce such sinful attire if not to lead good people down the path into sins of the flesh?

In theory, Satan seems to be on the right track. But can the final product pull through?

A Sight for Sinful Eyes

The advertisement that’s set righteous souls aflame with divine fury is a video promoting Honey Birdette’s new bondage-inspired collection – aptly titled The 666 Club.

The firm uploaded the video on their Instagram page. Just so you know, it’s fairly saucy for an ad, as are the other related pictures. You might want to grab the Bible or some holy water or something to safeguard your eternal soul.

The red-tinted video opens up with an ominous line: “Don’t forgive them, Father, for they do know what they do.” Alright, that’s pretty clever.

Next, a pretty model starts wandering through a night club, which we can probably assume to be the titular 666 Club. She is clad in an ever-changing variety of undergarments from the company’s new line.

Apparently abyssal magic allows you to change clothes in the blink of an eye.

Underlining the tempting power of these bras and panties, the club is filled with writhing, smooching couples of all orientations. But they’re clearly in awe of the Satanic might of the main model, since none of them dares lay a hand on her.

And so she continues her journey through the club untouched until the Prince of Darkness himself appears to feel her up! No, it’s not Ozzy, just some dude painted red with a corny villain ‘stache and goatee.

The cartoon devil is quickly replaced by a bunch of people in equally cheap skeleton onesies. I think I’ve seen these things for sale at the Dollar Store for $1.99 around Halloween.

And then the ad’s over. Can you feel the forces of Hell grabbing hold of you already?

Me neither.

Empowering Satan

But some people sure did, since the video’s comment section is riddled with crusaders denouncing this blatantly Devil-worshipping sin fest.

“Thought it was just me. But all these Satan comments make me realize I’m not crazy for feeling a little [meh emoji] about this,” wrote username jsattt.

Yeah, we wouldn’t be so sure about that.

D_amatus007 saw the video as nothing more than yet another sign of our world slowly slipping down into the depths of Hell. “Not surprised everything you see in the video is satanic. It’s the new way and what many seek and are fighting for as we sit here,” they commented.

Others who have shopped with Honey Birdette before have been put off by the ad. Lingerie that covers barely anything is fine, but a devilish figure that looks like he could be an elementary school student’s home-made Halloween decoration?

How dare they!

“You guys just lost a very loyal customer you Satan worshippers! Disgraceful!” wrote username ezcali.

“WTF anti-Christian much? Unfollow. Not buying your brand now!!!” yelled mstessascott.

Still some thought the video was directly channeling power to the Devil. Or something like that.

“Little bit s**tty empowering Satan like that,” thought loius_meyer.

But, in the name of fairness, others had more reasonable criticisms for the ad. Sprinkled in the comments are people who are just straight-up not that excited about what they’re seeing.

“I’m gud luv, enjoy. So disappointed in the plain designs,” said username natvanel.

Poor Effort, Devil

Now, we here at Oddee don’t claim to be experts on all things Satanic or anything like that. And by no means do we want to disrespect anyone’s deeply held beliefs when it comes to what’s good for your soul.

But really, a guy in red bodypaint and a cartoon goatee? Some dudes in cheap skeleton bodysuits? At the end of October there’ll be a Halloween party on every block that will get more sacrilegious than this.

You’d imagine an organized group of Satan worshipping masterminds would be a bit more sinister. If this is the best Hell’s demonic legions can cook up, they’d better step up their game. The most sinful thing about this video is the costume department’s budget.

Is this really what’s supposed to tempt us into damnation? Not today, Satan.

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