ATM machines in everything?

by on June 18, 2009 at 7:37 am in Economics | Permalink

I take this as a signal to go short the metal:

Germans, long attracted to the safety of solid gold, will soon be able to sate their appetite for the yellow metal as easily as buying a chocolate bar after plans were announced yesterday to install gold vending machines in airports and railway stations across the country.

…He hopes to install "Gold to go" machines in 500 locations in German-speaking countries this year.

Here is one imperfect link to an FT article.  This link might work too.  There are, by the way, two other catches:

Gold prices from the machines – about 30 per cent higher than market prices for the cheapest product – will be updated every few minutes.

A camera is installed to monitor possible attempts to launder money by buying gold, Mr Geissler said.

I thank Alex L. for the pointer.  Here is a related article.  It discusses the use of test explosives to make sure that the machines cannot be carted off or ripped open.

Addendum: One more thing: I know this was reported in both the FT and the NYT, but this skeptical blogger still doesn't think it will ever happen or come close to happening.  I believe it is a publicity stunt (or fraud) and that some top reporters were simply tricked.  We'll see.

Second addendum: Here is a video.

Kevin K June 18, 2009 at 7:58 am

People always point out that “ATM” stands for “Automatic Teller Machine” when I say “ATM machine” therefore I am saying “machine” twice. I thought I would be annoying and point that out.

babar June 18, 2009 at 9:10 am

by your logic, i would have shorted hot apple turnovers 30 years ago.

Bob Knaus June 18, 2009 at 9:42 am

I’m with Tyler on the “fraud” take. That definitely tweaked my skept-o-meter when I read it in the NYT this morning.

I think the target is not gold buyers however. I think the target is investors in the business. It has the over-the-top flashiness of wacky franchises, sure-bet investments, and sucker schemes in general.

michael webster June 18, 2009 at 9:54 am

Even if this were not a standard business opportunity fraud, there are some serious obstacles to running this as a franchise:

david June 18, 2009 at 10:15 am

*buh, not ATMs. Vending machines, which is what this is. It’s not a teller.

Yancey Ward June 18, 2009 at 10:44 am

Time to short gold in what currency, Tyler?

William June 18, 2009 at 11:11 am

It’s for real.

Here’s a link to the company’s website, explaining why, if you only want to buy 1g of gold, you are better off buying gold from them than from the banks in Germany, and why you shouldn’t be buying from their gold machine for investment purposes:

Gold to Go!

Careless June 18, 2009 at 1:07 pm

A bit weird seeing so many people who either don’t know what ATM stands for or don’t know what the “teller” in it is.

babar June 18, 2009 at 5:49 pm

no, more like ‘everything in ATM machines’

jd June 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm

The logistics of the machine seem difficult: a barely monitored mini-bullion vault sitting in an anonymous area? This thing is asking for it, just ask the cleaning crew at 03:30. Also, there may be video camera present to prevent money laundering but I’m sure the makers of the machine really don’t care where the money’s source is. Can’t you just cover it up or wear sunglasses and a hoodie a la unabomber?

I think it would do alright considering it will be similar to those coin stamping machines you see in tourist sites, “I got a gram of gold at the Frankfurt airport, how cool is that!” These are not exactly the type of individuals that would realize they are paying 30% markup, they aren’t hedging for inflation.

Joes Liver June 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Lets short paper money as well (actually we should have done this over 30 years ago!).

Bird Toys March 4, 2010 at 5:25 pm

ATM Fraud or Cash Money Theft is as old as the machines themselves. It can have very devastating effects on the victims, still it is not considered as one of the major fraud threats. When you enter your credit card into an ATM machine and provide the proper PIN number you get directly linked to your bank account. So from this you can see that if you became a victim of ATM fraud, criminal must have had both of these. It is up to you alone to protect your credit card and PIN number to avoid financial loss.

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