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Vending Machines

March 27, 2001 - 4:07pm

A couple weeks ago, Jason gave me a writing assignment. I think Jason's assignment was for me to discuss the social impact of vending machines. Really I don't see any. They basically make things more convenient. But are they really? I mean, if they took credit cards they'd be convenient but right now you have to have cash in your wallet (which I seldom do). And here in the US we don't have the exciting choices that other countries have. I mean, you can't get a clean pair of underwear and you never know when you might need it! Though, I should give this country a little credit. In the bathroom at the movies in Kansas City, you can actually buy chap stick. No condoms...but chap stick.
* Guess that tells us what's acceptable and not acceptable in the movie theater.

An excellent (because it's interesting) reference in regards to vending machines.

Vending machines have never had any kind of major impact on my life. They are useful when I'm hungry and a snack will do the trick. I use coke machines most frequently. And I think that by keeping the soda cold, they prove their purpose. I mean, with the crazy expense (50 cents for a coke was a lot in junior high...now it's up to 75 cents!), it had better be cold. It's not like you're getting a superior product...it's just colder than it would be off the shelf in the grocery store or from your desk drawer.

I hear vending machines are a good way to make money, though I think it's just a ploy. I mean, how much money can you actually make off gum balls? I guess since they only cost a couple cents each and you're charging someone a whole quarter, the markup is pretty good. (Not as good as on jewelry but pretty good.)

My favorite vending machines are snack machines. I love getting a candy bar at work though I try to keep this behavior at a minimum because I wouldn't love it so much if I did it everyday. And when I was an art student, I admit to being a regular customer of the vending machines. It was convenient - which is the major selling point to vending machines. I mean, who would pay 75 cents for a roll of Lifesavers unless it was just around the corner from your desk?

What happened to coffee machines? I think that at one point they were very popular. Unfortunately, people now get their caffeine high from soda instead of coffee these days. Or maybe people have just gotten snotty about coffee since Starbucks has become a staple of life. These days people are getting snotty about everything.

Apparently you can even get a coke from a vending machine through the web. Not exactly sure why this is useful as you still have to get up from your computer to go get it but not everything can be perfect. (In this case, perfect refers to actually making people the laziest beings in the universe.)

My favorite vending machine of all time was in a hotel in Japan. This machine actually had gin and tonic in a can! I've heard that Japan is the biggest country on vending machines. I think I read you can even get clean underwear in a vending machine! (Not like anyone would want to buy it dirty...)

What do you think? Is there any social implications? Or just a good excuse to buy stuff without interacting with another person?

Posted in:

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