"What's the prize?" I asked after I heard the box open.
"It doesn't matter, the prizes are always junk," was the reply.
For that matter, most so-called "prizes" are junk these days, especially in cereal boxes. Unless you're pumping cash into a gashapon machine, you're not getting anything good. And that's only true if you're in Japan.
You can also give up any prayer of finding something truly interesting, or whimsical, or surprising from your typical USD$0.25 gumball machine capsule dispenser. It's either little figurines of neighborhood figures, rubber balls, water-slide tattoos or Small Portions of Goo.
The folks at Art-o-Mat have come close to getting it right, but who wants to plunk down five bucks (or so), sight unseen, on "art"?
I want to have an experience of discovery, not regret, when I drop a few coins into a machine. This is likely not something that will be possible through a traditional vending machine, it's going to have to be created. Think of it as "vending performance art".
It's an idea I've got. More to follow.