WTF Fun Fact 13459 – Sausage Vending Machine

How would you feel about grabbing your lunch out of a sausage vending machine? It sounds dubious, but convenient!

The Sausage Vending Machine in Germany

You can find all sorts of oddities in vending machines around the world: cupcakes, pizza, even live crabs. However, in Germany, a new trend has emerged that satisfies late-night cravings in a distinctly German way: vending machines that sell sausages and other barbecue meats.

According to a survey by the German Press Agency, these machines are booming outside German cities where shops tend to keep shorter business hours. The convenience of 24/7 access to traditional German cuisine is proving popular, particularly in rural areas.

Satisfying Off-Hour Cravings

“Hearty German fare at the drop of a coin. 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,” says industry spokesperson Heike Richter.

From bratwurst to bockwurst, sausage varieties fill these innovative machines alongside punnets of potato salad for a full, traditional German meal. But the culinary offerings don’t stop at sausages. Some vending machines also stock eggs, milk, butter, and even fruits and vegetables, ensuring that all kitchen essentials are available at any time.

Vending Machine Convenience

With over 570,000 vending machines in Germany, this mode of selling has become a familiar sight. Yet, despite their popularity and convenience, vending machines are not expected to replace traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

“Vending machines will play a complementary role in brick-and-mortar retailing,” Wolfgang Kampmeier of the Berlin-Brandenburg trade association tells the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

The machines’ real advantage lies in their ability to operate in areas where maintaining a full-service shop may not be economically viable. This way, they ensure that even in structurally weak, rural areas, residents can have access to fresh, wholesome food around the clock.

International Inspiration

Germany’s innovative use of the sausage vending machine may remind some of Japan, where vending machines have long been part of the landscape, selling everything from sake to underwear. Germany, however, has tailored this idea to its own culinary tradition, providing an on-demand service that satisfies its citizens’ penchant for hearty, homestyle cooking.

The German sausage vending machine trend illustrates how traditional cuisine can merge with modern technology, offering an unusual yet effective solution for late-night cravings and daily necessities alike. Whether it’s a bockwurst at midnight or a quick breakfast on the go, Germans have discovered an innovative way to keep their favorite foods at their fingertips 24/7.

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Source: “Sausage vending machines booming in Germany

WTF Fun Fact 13297 – Medieval Germany’s Marital Duels

Imagine fighting a duel with your spouse to “work things out.” Claims about what happened in the medieval period should be taken with a grain of salt when they come from non-scholars. Usually, someone cherry-picks a passage already translated (sometimes incorrectly) into English and runs with it. But the claim that marital duels existed in medieval Germany may be true – if embellished a bit.

The truth about medieval German marital duels

In 1985, religious studies scholar Allison Coudert published a paper about the duels that may have taken place between husbands and wives. The paper explores depictions that were found of marital duels between husbands and wives in the fifteenth- and sixteenth centuries. These pictures show combats where couples use sticks, stones, swords, and other weapons.

Coudert argues that, despite the illustrations, there is no record of such duels taking place after 1200. (Which presumably means that before 1200, you could challenge your spouse to a duel.) It is suggested that the images were copied from earlier manuscripts and included in treatises to provide a comprehensive historical overview of dueling practices.

Of course, the idea of medieval couples hurling stones at each other and hitting each other with sticks is the kind of thing that makes headlines on viral news sites. But it wasn’t so straightforward (and you need to know medieval German – as Coudert apparently does) to get to the bottom of things.

Justifying violence

The paper goes on to explain that, by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, societal, religious, and legal norms were against wives engaging in physical confrontations with their husbands. The duels were over – but wife-beating was apparently still ok.

Customary laws made it a crime for husbands to allow themselves to be beaten by their wives. In contrast, wife-beating was legal, and in some cases, encouraged. This brutal treatment was justified based on both scripture and law. Catholic and Protestant theologians agreed on the subordination of women. This belief even influenced opinions about sexual positions, with intercourse with the man on top and the woman below considered “natural.”

Changes in women’s status and position during the 12th century could explain the absence of marital duels after 1200. Before this time, women may have battled their husbands. The importance of their economic and administrative roles in the household was understood and defended.

However, by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the law, religion, and custom made such duels unthinkable. The depiction of these duels in illustrations may be a reflection of an earlier time.

So while it appears the duels are not a myth, most people are basing their stories on the wrong evidence.

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Source: “Judicial Duels Between Husbands and Wives” — Notes in the History of Art via JSTOR

WTF Fun Fact 13259 – The Haribo Gummy Exchange

Are we alone in mistakenly thinking Haribo was a Japanese candy company? Well, in any case, Haribo is a German company, founded in Bonn over a century ago. They have a fun annual tradition at their German headquarters, allowing children to bring in acorns and chestnuts once a year and exchange them for gummy bears, or gummibärchen (which are actually labeled “Goldbears” – another thing we failed to ever notice). The Haribo gummy exchange has been going on since 1936.

What is the Haribo gummy exchange?

Haribo will hold its 80th+ gummy exchange this year (2023) at its facility in Grafschaft, Germany. (It would be its 87th year, but Haribo canceled the exchange at least once during the COVID pandemic). Over a weekend in October, kids (and adults, it appears) can bring in all the acorns and chestnuts they can gather and get candy in return. People come from all around the area with wagons and laundry bags and baskets full of nuts, which Heribo employees weigh on “golden gummy bear scales.”

People wait for hours to make their exchanges. In 2009, over 20,000 people showed up – a record. That year, they collected 150 tons (about 300,000 pounds!) of acorns and 260 tons of chestnuts. Dozens of Haribo employees supervise the festivities which culminate in the final weighing of the nuts.

What happens to the nuts?

While there may be a few cavities as a result, the gummy exchange is for a good cause. According to (a translation of) Germany’s General Anzeiger news publication:

“The fruits of the forest are weighed and then exchanged for pre-packaged Haribo products at a ratio of 10:1 (chestnuts) and 5:1 (acorns) according to the number of kilograms. Only chestnuts and acorns without shells will be accepted, the company said. The chestnuts must be separated from the acorns for weighing. The chestnuts and acorns are then donated to animal and game parks in Germany and Austria for feeding during the winter season.”

Clearly, there’s a bit of work to do before kids can cash in and get their gummy candies.

In some years, lines of nearly half a mile have formed for the event!

In the past, Haribo held the event at the company headquarters in Bonn. But they relocated to Grafschaft in 2018.

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Source: “Haribo to hold its annual exchange: chestnuts for sweets” — General Anzeiger Online

WTF Fun Fact 12628 – Mr. Goxx, the Crypto Trading Hamster

Not only did a hamster named Mr. Goxx have more success at trading crypto than most people, but he also had 18,000 Twitter followers at the time of his death in November of 2021.

Owned by two friends in Germany, Mr. Goxx used his cage to make “predictions” about cryptocurrency.

The BBC explained:

“The business-minded rodent has a trading office attached to his regular cage. Every day, when he enters the office, a livestream starts on Twitch, and his Twitter account lets followers know: Mr Goxx has started a trading session.

By running in his “intention wheel”, he selects which cryptocurrency he’d like to trade, as the wheel spins through the different options. His office floor has two tunnels nearby: one for buy, one for sell.

Every time he runs through a tunnel, the electronics wired to his office complete a trade according to Mr Goxx’s desires.”

His handlers would stream him live on Twitch, where thousands would watch him make his moves.

Considering he only began his career on June 12, 2021, he was pretty successful. Though with the current crypto downturn, we’re not sure how his former portfolio is looking these days.

But he taught us what his owners set out to teach, which is that a hamster making random choices still makes better choices than most cryptocurrency investors. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Mr Goxx, the cryptocurrency-trading hamster, dies” — BBC News

WTF Fun Fact 12563 – A Royal Name Change

The House of Hanover was on the British throne until 1901 until the ascension of King Edward VII, the son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

But the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha name was short-lived among the British royal family. That’s not because another family took over, but rather because the family decided to change its name in the wake of anti-German sentiment in 1917 during World War I. The last straw before the name change came when an aircraft called the Gotha G.IV participated in the bombing of London.

So, while today we know the British royal family as the Windsors, they are the same Saxe-Coburg and Gothas that ruled at the beginning of the 20th century.

The forced abdication of the Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II, who happened to be a cousin of British king George V, gave the monarchy even more to think about. So when they changed their name, they also abandoned or anglicized the rest of their German titles and houses.

On July 17, 1917, a royal proclamation issued by George V declared:

“Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor….”

Of course, the name Windsor didn’t pop out of thin air. They took the name from Windsor Castle, a royal property and the center of royal social life, in the town of Windsor, England. It is now the permanent home of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Saxe-Coburg-Gothas didn’t get off without a bit of ribbing, however. The German Emperor at the time, Wilhelm II, joked that he was looking forward to seeing “The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha,” a reference to Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” – WTF Fun Fact

Source: “British royal family change their name to Windsor – archive 1917” — The Guardian