If you read food news, you may know that the NYC Sprinkles Cupcake ATM almost reached the status of the cronut this year. Once it opened in March, lines formed down the block and people waited hours just to swipe their credit cards and have a cupcake pop out of a machine. Now it's June and the ATM has become less of a spectacle on the corner of 60th and Lexington, which made my first ATM expedition quite easy because I got to test it out with absolutely no line! This may be because I went during breakfast time on a weekday (around 10:30 a.m. on a Friday) or because the trend has faded and more exciting things have come to light in the food industry. Either way, I was happy to wait a total of 0 minutes and 0 seconds to aimlessly spend money at this cupcake dispensing machine.
But why would someone spend $4.50 at a cupcake machine instead of going to the actual store which is like, three feet away and charges $3.75? And how could cupcakes taste good if they are sitting in a machine? Will this ATM even get business now that it's not the hottest trend in the food world? These are the questions that came to my mind when the ATM first made its appearance on the streets of New York. And now that the ATM is kind of "old news," I sought out to answer them.
First of all, I must clarify that the ATM cupcakes are actually pretty damn delicious. I was expecting the cupcakes to be dry with cracked icing chipping at the sides -- but this was not the case. I first ordered the cinnamon cupcake with cream cheese icing sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. To order a cupcake on the ATM, you push start, select your flavor on the touch screen and swipe your card.
After I swiped my card and accepted my purchase, the ATM opened its little pink garage door and a little box was sitting there with my cinnamon sugar cupcake inside.
To my surprise, the cinnamon sugar cupcake was not dry, and tasted like a normal Sprinkles cupcake that I would buy in a store.
I was intrigued. Maybe I just got a really good cupcake. Either way, two cupcakes is always better than one, so I ordered another. This time I tried to be a little edgy and ordered the vegan red velvet cupcake. This was also very moist, with very creamy icing and kind of blew me away -- I was not expecting a vegan cupcake to taste this good.
Yea, eating at the cupcake ATM was cool. But I honestly would rather go to the store just because its cheaper and feels less weird than ordering from a machine. I'm not sure how great business will be for the ATM now that it's not making headlines, but there are a few scenarios that could make the Cupcake ATM worth the trip.
1) Drunk cupcake run
Duh. This 24 hour machine delivers the sweet goods right to your hand. There's no line (unless everyone you know is doing a drunk cupcake run with you) and it's extremely easy. However, this is a beautiful yet dangerous thing if you tend to over indulge when you are drunk and hungry. But it could be super fun and less embarrassing than stumbling into your neighborhood pizza place and slurring your order. Buttons are just easier and more entertaining than talking to a server.
2) Early morning breakfast
If you're really in a rush and its nearby, this could be an easy option for a very unhealthy start to your day! The pumpkin and chai latte cupcakes could be decent breakfast choices.
3) If you're starving and in a rush
Depending on the length of the line, this could be your fasted option to eat something on the go.
4) If you're in a bad mood
Human interaction is never the answer when you're in a bad mood or having a bad day. So keep your bad vibes to yourself, use the ATM and eat your emotions in solidarity.
5) If you lose your voice
As a girl with a raspy voice and a love for loud music, bar hopping and sports games I understand how embarrassing it is to try to order food with absolutely no sound coming out. To desperately want something (like a cupcake) and not be able to get the words out is pure torture. So here is another scenario when you don't have to go through the trouble of actually speaking to get your hands on the good stuff.
6) If you take a vow of silence
Once again, the convenience of buttons!
7) Thanksgiving or Christmas
Sprinkles store is closed on these holidays, so the ATM could be your best option if you really, desperately want one and have no other obligations to celebrate the holidays.
8) Early morning/late night dog walk
There's a doggie cupcake.
9) If you're a tourist and want a "cool" Instagram
It's just what tourists do.
10) To buy the homeless a snack
It's quick, easy and personally gratifying. You should do this at least once, I promise its worth the $4.50 and will make your day.
These scenarios mostly apply to those who live or spend a lot of time uptown (unless you're a tourist), since it would be silly to take a train from your neighborhood to a cupcake machine. But other than these very specific situations, I would consider it best to just go to Sprinkles (or any other cupcake store for that matter) and save your money.