Vending Machines - My Key to Beating the RecessionSubmitted by w_t_a_y_s_t_r_m at 2009-08-11 06:40:30 EDT
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Vending machines and I go way back. It's not a particularly special friendship, in fact I wouldn't even call it a friendship. I just use them for my own gain, but then they get paid in return. It's kind of like Willa Wonka opening a brothel, so I figure all is fair.
My earliest memory of a vending machine was when I was about nine years old, in the local swimming pool. Every Thursday a few of my friends and I would go with a few of the parents and just swim around, and then afterwards we'd come out, go to old faithful and get some chocolate, just in case we'd actually managed to do some exercise in the pool.
One of my friends Anthony was stood at the machine for ages, holding a lone twenty pence coin, looking up and down, and finally decided that he wanted a great big fuck off bag of jelly babies, which cost £2. Not sure how good your currency conversions and mathematics skills are, but that's clearly ten times the amount he currently had. But not to worry, he had a plan.
"I'll just go to the counter and get change!" He declared with pride.
"What?" Even at that age I struggled to understand how someone could be so retarded and not locked up.
"I'll get change." He said, innocent in the ways of finance. "I'll change the 20p for £2!"
"It doesn't work that way."
"Yes it does." He said. "That's what change is."
"No it isn't." For some reason this got me really angry, and I refused to let it rest. Nowadays I'd let him walk up to the counter and have the woman laugh at him until he wet himself.
Things got really heated between us until it broke out into the most pathetic fight ever. Pathetic for the reason behind the fight, and for the fight itself. Mainly because I developed early, I was much bigger than him, so when he took a swing at me I was able to shove him into the vending machine.
It wasn't hard enough to break the glass, but enough to make him cry.
Those were the good old days.
A few years later, when I was 14, they finally got some vending machines put into my school. Because of the type of school I was in, hardly anyone actually had spare money to put into these, because their parents were saving up for crap like Christmas presents. But then there were those like me, who had a job, and those were at the other end of the spectrum who just stole off other people, that would go there, see the same level of shit selection every day and give up.
So instead of clogging my body with devastating levels of sugar I ended up playing football (don't worry, made up for it in later life).
After just two years they ended up removing the vending machines, as one of them was easily broken into and people raided them almost daily, and then when a first year got angry and tipped it over, it was kind of the final straw.
Once I left school, I was kind of free. Wherever I went on a regular basis there were no vending machines. I still found them on occasion, but in various locations. I was tied to one, or committed. I was able to play the field and see what I liked.
Then almost two years ago, when we move office, there was a bright, shiny new machine. Once again I found myself in a relationship. It was very open, and I was free to use others and others were free to use it, but there was something between us. I knew that it was trying to tell me something for months, and then, finally, yesterday, I found out what it was.
I was in the kitchen getting a coffee with a friend, Brooke, and we decided to both get some sort of treat, from my vending machine (fuck yeah, three-way bitches). She settled on a pack of chocolate, put her money in, and pressed the button. The spindles turned, the packet inched its way towards the edge, and then stayed there, clinging on to the plastic at the end.
There's nothing quite so disappointing as when this happens, and it was the first time I'd seen it happen with this one. Was my machine jealous that I'd tried to share? Why had it suddenly forsaken me? After I'd spent time bigging it up to Brooke, it had set out to make me look like a fool.
And then the unexpected happened.
The little digital display said: "Error With Item" and then Brooke's money fell back out.
That's right, these fuckers, instead of investing money in improving the dispensing technology had adding something to detect in the item had dropped, and if not, automatic refund.
I nearly leant forward and kissed it, tongues and all. Finally I knew its secret.
A quick shake of the machine, pressing hard on the top, and the packet finally dropped. Sweets and money? It was like Halloween, but I didn't have to dress like a tit.
Instantly we experimented.
We put the money in, I put as much weight onto the machine as I could at the top, holding it backwards, Brooke pressed the buttons, the item didn't fall, a few seconds later the money returned, I lowered the machine and got my item.
Normally this would raise a moral question within me, but with a recession on who can be that fussy? And also, with the mark-up of at least 30% over shops, the low overhead, the rent we have to pay to just have the machine, add that together with the regular maintenance, which we also have to pay, coupled with my salary projections, carry the one, it all adds up to fuck you, I got free chocolate.
My next post will most likely be about a heart attack I'm due to have.