Low-Tech Tinder – Hong Kong Vending Machine Helps Singles Find Dates
低科技版Tinder – 香港自动售货机帮单身汪找男/女朋友
The “Fate Capsule” vending machine outside BT Reptile, a small pet store in Kowloon’s Shek Kip Mei neighborhood, received worldwide attention earlier this year, when word of the original concept went viral online. It’s basically a multi-tiered vending machine with separate compartments for men and women which dispenses colored plastic capsules containing the contact details of singles looking for love. All you have to do is insert HK$20 ($2.5) in coins, and it will spit out a fate capsule with the description and contact information of a prospective date.
The romantic vending machine was brought to Hong Kong by Ben Tang, the owner of BT Reptile, after originally seeing the same concept become popular in Taiwan. He is also the one who, along with his girlfriend, spends up to five hours vetting people who want their details added into the fate capsules. Such candidates can leave their information – name, age, height, weight, hobbies, and a short self-introduction – in a Google document, the link to which is on his Facebook page, and he will then contact them on WeChat to verify that they are who they claim to be and to make sure “they don’t act too weirdly”.
If dozens of people add you in one day, you will feel nothing but disturbed. But I want them to have enough time to really know each other,” he said. “When people start to use dating apps, the first impression they will probably have is like, ‘wow that’s too much’. There’s really no time to know each person you meet well enough to consider dating.”
While the popularity of the Fate Capsule vending machine is undeniable, it also has its share of critics. Several people have taken to Facebook, leaving poor reviews and describing it as a ‘fraud’, arguing that dates either never accepted their friendship request on WeChat or cut off contact abruptly. Obviously, this isn’t something Bent Tang can control and I feel it’s a risk that comes with the territory.
While the good old vending machine is unlikely to ever challenge the supremacy of popular online dating apps like Tinder, it’s clear that some people consider the Fate Capsule idea a cute and far more romantic alternative.