WUSA9

We don’t know if this is pure genius or just plain hilarious, but apparently there’s a niche market for weave-related impulse buys.

Earlier this week, a viewer of Washington, D.C.’s local CBS affiliate WUSA9 Tweeted into the station’s “The Most DC Thing” segment to report the unusual sighting of a vending machine for bundles of hair at the Spotsylvania Mall in Spotsylvania County, Va.—or, as the viewer refers to it, “starting point for future tumbleweaves.”

They may call it the most D.C. thing, but it sounded extra-black to us.

Now, beauty-related vending machines are nothing new; skincare brand Proactiv has installed kiosks in department stores around the country, and Benefit Cosmetics caters to beauty-related emergencies in many of the nation’s airports.

And apparently, this vending machine, installed by Spotsylvania salon Creative Images, isn’t a new concept, either (though we’ve clearly been sleeping on it); a quick trip to Google shows evidence of these gaining traction as early as 2014. And in 2015, Virginia-based entrepreneur Marcella Ellis talked to Style Magazine about the concept behind her Mane Vendor “hair extension vending machines, which she was already licensing to salons around the country.

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As reported by the magazine:

Many styling salons fail to sustain well-stocked inventories that cater to the needs of their customers. Issues arise when salon customers cannot acquire hair for weaves and extensions, forcing them to find an inconvenient third-party seller. Meanwhile, salons suffer revenue losses because they are often unable to meet demand.

However, the smart vending machine solves this issue by not only being an on-site seller but also by performing all transactions, creating no extraneous work for busy salon employees. This product derives even more versatility from the fact that it can also be placed in boutiques and cosmetology schools to provide for both salon customers and stylists-in-training.

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Okay, so that explains the benefit to vendors, but while it’s no doubt cheaper than renting an additional full retail space in the mall, we’re trying to imagine the scenario in which one feels comfortable buying a bundle without touching or texture-matching it first.

But for those who are sure about their textural needs and appreciate this next level of convenience (and happen to live in the vicinity of Spotsylvania), Creative Image’s prices appear to range from $75 to $115 per bag, depending on the texture. However, as one Facebook commenter noted, there is one major caveat to consider ...

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“If my bundle got stuck and didn’t drop down out of that machine....”

Yeah, weaves would roll.