When economic times get tough, the tough think of creative new ways to steal from the fearful. I've been noticing with much bemusement how full show-length advertisements on Christian radio loudly exhort their listeners to buy gold, and before that I've been fascinated by a precious metal pyramid scheme known as "Liberty Dollars."
Now this one... you really have to stand and goggle in awe at the sheer unmitigated chutzpah of a company whose business model provides a service that is so utterly worthless, and which displays so much naked greed.
Let me explain this again. Gold is an investment. Maybe it's a good investment right now, and maybe it's a bad one, but that's not the point. The point is that [edit: for most people] gold has no other value than as decoration or investment, and it's a really freaking bad investment if you have to pay 30% overhead up front.
Vending machines are for impulse buys. If you are walking past a vending machine in an airport and you see a candy bar for $1.50, and you say "Hmmm, a candy bar sounds mighty tasty right now" then to you at that moment, the candy bar is worth $1.50. Never mind that the same candy bar would cost you half as much or less if you bought it from a store. It has utility value to you.