Dial-a-Coke

The thought has occurred to all of us at one time or another: what if you’re in Japan and desperately need a Coke, but can’t scrounge up your change?

Do you die of dehydration? Knock the vending machine over? Panhandle? Or kick it repeatedly and scream curse-words at it?

Fortunately, you can have your Coke and pay for it, too. Just whip out your cell phone and make the connection.

Coca-Cola Japan said its machines will start accepting iD, a contactless credit service on mobile phones developed by cellular industry leader NTT DoCoMo and Sumitomo Mitsui Card Co, on October 31.

All of its its 10,000 machines will be iD compatible by the end of this year, the company said.

Coca-Cola Japan also wants to increase the number of such vending machines to accept the credit payment service to 200,000 by the end of 2008.

The system will make it possible to buy any soft drink, coffee, tea or fruit drink in Coca-Cola machines in Japan by holding up a mobile to the machine, with the cost of the refreshment going on a credit bill.

Neat.