There are some interesting vending machines in many grocery stores. Somehow I never noticed them until recently. These vending machines sells cigarettes, snus, loose tabacco, and condoms.
In order to buy one of these items from the machine, you must first pay for the product and receive a special card (or sometimes just a code) from the checkout cashier. Then you sally on over to the machine and put in your card (or code) to get your items. One of my esteemed readers probably knows why this system is in place and can explain to us in a comment. I tried to ask someone at my local store but they’re a little surly there and could not fathom my interest. I also had no success trying to strike up a conversation with a woman trying to retrieve her purchases from one of the machines. I didn’t see what she was buying but maybe she was buying condoms and wasn’t too keen on being interviewed. But I felt like I needed to talk to her because otherwise I looked like a total stalker, leaning over her shoulder, trying to see how the process works.
I can’t imagine what anyone thought when I took pictures of the machines!
Maybe the vending system is to control the age of people buying the products. Or maybe they are small, easy-to-shoplift items and they are trying to control that. It can’t be for privacy because the machines are always right there where everyone is passing by.
I only recently managed to get the whole self-checkout process under control when buying groceries. (Those machines, where you scan and bag and pay all on your own) are very particular and they yell out you when you do something wrong such as try to rearrange the goods in your bags.) So I would never dare to use one of these vending machines. I can imagine it would start yelling at me about how I have done something wrong while buying items I’m not exactly interested in everyone knowing I am buying. The horrors!
What is Snus, Anyway?
As mentioned above, the machines sell snus. According to Wikipedia, snus or Swedish snuff is a moist, smokeless tobacco product that was invented in the early 19th century in Sweden. It is placed under the lip for a length of time and the big difference between it and so-called ”American dipping tobacco” is that there is no spitting involved.’
“Snus is also unique in that it is steam-pasteurized rather than fire-cured, is not fermented and contains no added sugar.” Snus is moist and usually comes in the form of a small paper pouches that are individual servings. The whole pouch is put into the mouth,” according to Wikipedia.
The reason it’s been in the Swedish news a lot is because the sale of snus is technically illegal in the European Union, but there are loop holes in the attempt to ban smokeless tobaccoo and snus is still manufactured and used mostly in Norway and Sweden.
A recent article in The Local covered the EU Health Commission’s decision to keep in place the export ban that Swedish snus producers resented ever since Sweden joined in the early 1990s. The EU Health Commissioner also proposes to regulate all the added aromas snus manufacturers have started offering. The Commission wants tobacco to taste like tobacco.
You can read more about what we bloggers have said about snus by entering it as a search word in the upper right search field…