Dubai: An ATM that spits out pure gold nuggets and coins has become such a hit among shoppers that one vendor has had to organise twice-a-week replenishment.
Simon Khoury, chief operating officer of the Galeries Lafayette at Dubai Mall, said sales of their gold-to-go machine have beaten expectations, though he declined to give figures.
The golden box coughing up 99.9 per cent gold has become a novel curiosity to most mall-goers, but there are some who find it no different from buying a can of soda. Georgina Hardman, from the UK, said: "It's a good idea and my husband would have bought a piece, except that he was short on cash. And it does not accept credit cards."
The machine works just like an ATM-cum-vending machine: you put money inside, get your purchase in a package and off you go - it takes all of 20 seconds.
What's the guarantee of authenticity of the gold sold? Items are only made with 24-carat gold supplied by a Swiss banker.
10-day return policy
The items, which come in a sealed box, can be returned within 10 days after purchase.
"We just made gold purchases more accessible," said Khoury. "Our clients understood this idea very well and most of them make up their mind in a few seconds."
Currently, payment is only in dirhams and Khoury said payment by credit or debit card will be sorted in a few days. "We have no big demand from people paying in dollars or other currencies. We're hoping to finalise a deal in 10 days to allow us to take credit card payments for gold-to-go purchases," he said.
The smallest nugget weighs 2.5 grams and cost Dh565 on Tuesday (Dh470 on February 11, the launch date) while the biggest sold so far was a one-ounce coin for Dh5,540 on the same day.
Prices change and are updated via the internet every 10 minutes. Khoury said all sales are monitored by security cameras. "There are several cameras inside and outside the machine."
A customer facing trouble with the machine can push an emergency button for help.
There are about 50 such machines around the world, including one each at the entrance of Burj Khalifa and the At The Top viewing platform on the 124th floor. Another gold-to-go is installed at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.