16 November 2009

Vending Machine Opus

One day when I was a little kid, I walked by a soda machine and pushed one of the buttons just to see if I could get a free drink. And wouldn't you know it, I did? I hadn't put in any money, but I got a free Coke. And so began my love affair with the vending machine.

This love affair continued through middle school, where I learned strategies to get more free snacks. These strategies mostly included shaking, kicking, and otherwise abusing the machine, only to get a bag of Skittles to fall out.

As I got older, I learned that there was karma involved in vending machines. On more than one occasion I was the victim of vending machine vandalism. I would pay for my snack, but the coils would turn on an empty space, and I would get no snack. Vending machine karma.

So I stopped abusing the machines. I was wiser and more mature, and I would be a decent citizen of the world. Part of being a decent citizen means not kicking vending machines.

When I went off to JMU, my whole universe began to open up. I had new friends and new opportunities, but, just as fascinating, I also had a new wide world of vending machines to enjoy. These machines included hot chocolate machines, machines that gave fountain soda with crushed ice, french fry machines, ice cream machines, and more. The snacks and beverages in these machines were far superior to anything I had experienced before. AND, I could use my meal plan to buy the stuff. No cash required, just my JMU ID. It was. . .amazing.

Ocean Spray ruby red grapefruit juice was one of my favorites; it was great for breakfast and it was good with cheap vodka.
In my old age, though, my vending machine interactions have become much less enchanting. In fact, about 30% of the time I seek sustenance from a vending machine these days, the experience ends in disappointment, frustration.

The only vending machines I really patronize are those at my school, and the snack machine is about ten years older than I am. It won't take dollar bills--not even the super crispy ones!--and half of the buttons don't work. And the soda machine has just as bad a performance record even though it is brand new.

And why don't these machines work? I imagine that it's because they live in a place full of obnoxious teenagers, and we all know that teenagers are notorious for vending machine abuse. Just wait until they experience vending machine karma. They'll rue the day!


  1. A video game someone invented for you:


  2. And now all goes digital - even vending machines are selling PIn codes or virtual talk time:

  3. Vending machines have come a long way especially from the days when they just used to vend snacks. Today one has all almost all kinds of vending machines which vend everything that they can.



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