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A huge and glorious vending machine in the Vienna U-Bahn. Found to my knowledge only at one location, the sizeable Karlsplatz station, where the U1, U2, and U4 lines meet (as well as a collection of trams and busses and the Lokalbahn train), it lies near the Karlsplatz exit, near a window onto an ancient Roman chapel. The Shop 24 is huge. Taller than a tall man and about three meters wide, it should provide just about anything you need. And all is refrigerated, so all comes out cold, even your change.

This machine goes far beyond the normal vending machine repertoire of soda and candy. Among the more exciting offerings are milk, pet food, beer and champagne, flour, film, condoms, feminine hygiene products, headache medicine, bread, and of course, the all-important Kinder Egg.

The operation of the device is rather simple. Each item has a 4-digit code assigned to it, which is to be keyed in to the console on the right side of the machine. You enter in each item you want, and their name and price are displayed on the screen. You deposit cash (bills and/or coins) for adequate credit, and when done, press a button to complete the order.

Then the machine starts its magic. A huge metal scoop runs up to the appropriate product, the conveyor belt the product sits on dumps it into the scoop, and the scoop carries the product to a bin below the console. The bin opens, and you grab your product. The scoop then gets all remaining products one by one, and at the end the machine spits out nice, cold coins into the change slot.

Definitely one of the most important sights in Vienna, the Shop 24 is not to be missed.

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