Pot Luck

Coming Soon to River Oaks: A 24-Hour Cupcake Vending Machine

Cupcake fans in Los Angeles lined up around the block this past weekend to get their Sprinkles fix. But they weren't lined up for a new Sprinkles store; they were lined up for Sprinkles' new cupcake vending machine. Or, as Sprinkles is referring to the device, its new ACM: automatic cupcake machine.

"Our customers will line up at the automat while the store is open and there will be a longer line at the ACM than the bakery," Nicole Schwartz, Sprinkles' director of marketing, told the local NBC affiliate in Los Angeles.

That's right: Even though you could purchase the very same cupcake from the Sprinkles bakery next door, the sheer novelty of a technology that's been around since 1902 proved somehow more tantalizing than the end product of the cupcake itself.

The allure of a 24-hour cupcake machine proved so popular when it was first announced on February 29 that our sister blog at the LA Weekly reported initial response to the cupcake machine to be so overwhelming, the machine had to be opened earlier than anticipated.

That demand meant that the cupcake machine quickly sold out when it opened for business over the weekend. The machine only holds 600 cupcakes; at least 1,000 were sold on the first day, with Sprinkles employees working double-time to keep it stocked.

"The amount of volume was unprecedented for this machine," Schwarz told NBC 4.

It's too soon to tell if this same reaction will greet the ACM when it makes its Houston debut. And there's no telling when that will happen, as Sprinkles has only said that three other cities are next on the ACM list: New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. But all existing Sprinkles stores -- including the one here in River Oaks -- are slated to be outfitted with their own ACMs soon.

Does anyone truly need a 24-hour Sprinkles cupcake machine? No. Will it prove truly useful at any point in your life? Maybe. Will you buy at least one because, dammit, you want a cupcake at midnight and you don't want to bake a dozen or buy one from the gas station and you might as well go check the thing out for yourself? Probably.

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Katharine Shilcutt