Once again, I marvel at the practicality, ingenuity and industriousness of the Chinese people. This is at a subway station in Nanjing. (More photos over there.)
The crab dispenser was designed by Shi Tuanjie, Chairman of the Nanjing Shuanghu Crab Industrial Company, who came out with the idea of a crab dispenser 3 years ago. This is the first live crab vending machine in China, and was installed on October 1 this year. The crabs cost from 10 yuan ($1.50) to 50 yuan ($7.50), depending on size and gender, and customers are promised a compensation of 3 live crabs if their purchase is dead. The machine sells an average of 200 live crabs daily. Shi plans to popularize the machines on a larger scale to airports, residential areas and supermarkets, according to local media.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.