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Vending machines due for change

November 28, 2006|by ELIZABETH KRAMER

I hate vending machines.

Sometimes vending machines can be incredibly annoying, even assuming that you have the correct change. (If you have, say, a five-dollar bill, and you want a candy bar, too bad.)

Well, to make this easier, let's say you have four quarters. So, you put them in the machine, and the machine says "Make your selection." So, you select a number, say, 36, where you can clearly see a chocolate bar. The machine then tells you that it's out of stock, please make another selection. It's obviously laughing at you behind its display panel, and probably wants your "selection" for itself.

You make another selection. This one actually works. Sort of. The wire spiral holding your selection rotates, and the candy bar you want shifts forward about two inches and stops. At this time, assuming that you're mostly normal and at least partially sane, you start pounding on the vending machine, shaking it, and creatively trying to get something, anything, out of it.

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Eventually, you have to give in and put in another dollar, assuming that you have one, or that you can beg one off your friend in exchange for half of the candy. You put in your friend's dollar and punch buttons. The candy slides forward another two inches. Now the top of the bar is leaning out toward you in a way that should, according to the rules of physics, fall over and land in the bottom of the machine. Obviously, the rules of physics don't apply inside vending machines.

So, now, you're probably very annoyed, and both you and your friend can start pounding and tipping the vending machine. One of you wll try to reach in and grab the candy, which is, of course, impossible, because a flap is there to prevent people from getting candy without paying. You and your friend eventually will go find a kid who you hope can get their hand into the machine. This might be the younger sibling of either you or your friend. The kid won't be able to get your candy but might offer to chip in a dollar for a third of the candy. You and your friend will grudgingly agree.

Finally, you will get your candy. Or rather, you will have spent $3 for a third of a 50-cent candy bar that you didn't really want anyway.

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