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May 15, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

The Lure of Vending Machines

If I had a vending machine in my living room, I would rarely use it.  I would be able to easily walk past the encased goodies.  A 12-pack of soft drinks could last me at least a month in the refrigerator.  (My husband is another story)  So why is it that I have been depositing coins in the vending machine at work?  What is it about work that inspires us to pay too much for a can of root beer or stale pretzels?

I thought about this and I think the answer is pretty simple.  For most people, a choice between sitting at your desk working and walking around is a no brainer.  We’d mostly rather be walking around, or doing anything besides being entrapped at our desks.  You can’t just aimlessly wander the halls of the workplace, so you have to go somewhere.  And at my workplace, the vending machine is the logical place to go.  I guess one could also go to the bathroom, but repeated trips to the bathroom will probably be noticed by Miss Nosey Noserson (every office has one). 

Frequent trips to the vending machine is draining on coins.  I hardly ever have coins, because I never use cash.  Now I find myself finding reasons to use cash, so I always have coins on hand for the vending machine.  Previously, all change went into a large glass water bottle for saving.  Now they go into my purse so they can be ready for vending machine use.

It’s not like there’s anything fabulous in the vending machine at work.  It’s pretty standard.  Some of the more interesting vending machine choices include Cup-O-Noodles, Red Vines, and Oreos.  All of the things i just mentioned cost $1.00.  For eighty cents, you are reduced to Snickers, M&Ms, or Nutter Butters (I really don’t like Nutter Butters).  For the real cheapos, you can get Wrigley’s gum or a seriously puny bag of chips for fifty cents. 

The most interesting vending machine I’ve encountered is the one at Penrose Community hospital in Colorado Springs.  You could get a cold hambuger out of the vending machine.  There was a microwave next to the vending machine, presumably to nuke the cold hambuger.  My husband was brave enough to try the vending machine hamburger when I was in the hospital. 

He said it tasted just like you would imagine a vending machine hamburger would taste.

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  1. Allison / May 16 2008 9:45 am

    I have a co-worker who purposely buys all of the Snickers bars at the beginning of the day so that another co-worker (who loves Snickers bars) won’t be able to have any. He also says “physical” instead of “fiscal”. He’s very odd.

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