Vending machines deserve your respect

By Beth Schumacher

Getting kicked, shaken, pushed around, and having money shoved in your nostril (money slot) is probably not something you want to experience every day.

This is an average day for Morty, the Founder’s Memorial Library vending machine.

“It’s not easy, but someone has to do it,” said Morty, who speaks through the food drop slot toward his bottom. “I just wish they didn’t kick so hard.”

Morty is one of many who endure vending machine abuse. It’s something that goes unnoticed across the world–and particularly at NIU–every day.

“I will admit, sometimes I can control whether or not the drink gets caught,” said Leila, DuSable Hall vending machine. “But what other enjoyment do I get out of my day?”

It’s not just physical abuse these machines go through. The lack of control they have over their own lives decreases their self-esteem and makes relationships near impossible to keep.

“I fell in love with a drink machine once. It was love at first vend,” Morty said. “She was wheeled off to pursue bigger and better things before I could tell her.”

With so much to give and receiving little in return, millions of vending machines are at a high risk for contracting VMF, Vending Machine Funk. Symptoms include spitting out change, feelings of over-heating, uncontrollable loud noises, inability to provide the right snack or drink and spontaneous shutdowns.

There are several ways to help your favorite vending machine avoid this horrible fate.

Start by encouraging the vending machine to provide the best snacks or drinks on campus. Avoid words like “never mind” and “not healthy enough,” regardless of your true feelings.

Don’t get frustrated when they continuously spit out your dollar; these things take time. Resist the urge to abuse them when items get stuck, because it can get quite uncomfortable for the vending machine.

Hopefully we can cure vending machine hopelessness. With a little kindness and attention, they can once again continue to keep calm and vend away.