Friday, September 16, 2005

Memoirs of a Vending Machine

Today I reached work absolutely famished. We desperately need to go grocery shopping because right now we have no "packable" food in our apartment. Since I'm on campus/at work from morning until 5 if I don't bring any food I am kind of stuck. I've gone a few times without lunch, but discovered that equals the curse of the migraine headache so I've sworn off doing that now. Anyhow, today I got to work and knew I would have to buy a snack to hold me over until dinner time. I hate buying things in vending machines because it's such a complete rip off but I didn't see a way around it this time. I had 88 cents on my signature card so I decided to use it in the vending machine in the press building where I work.

Keep in mind by this time I am very hungry. Everything in the vending machine is making my mouth water with the anticipation of food. After selecting the perfect variety of Doritos (Cooler Ranch) I swiped my card, typed in the number and letter and watched as the coil holding the bag started to slowly unwind. The bag was approaching the edge, I could hardly wait for it to fall to the bottom so I could collect my lunch...but did it fall...NO! I was completely outraged! 60 cents down the drain! 40 more cents would have made that a dollar! That would have paid for a movie at the dollar theatre, or 2 movies if we went on 50 cent Tuesday!!! It could have paid for printing off a paper on campus! I could have bought...I don't know.... SOMETHING with a wasted 60 cents. Anyway, as if being upset over the lost money wasn't enough I didn't have enough money left on my signature card to buy anything else. I was the vending machine victim- completely taken advantage of.

Anyway, when I returned to the office and expressed my dismay to my co-workers, Karen bought me a strawberry lemonade so life was ok again. I started thinking- even though the vending machine keeping my chips was probably the worst thing that could have happened to me in that moment, it probably made someone else's day when they put in 60 cents and got 2 bags for the price of one. It actually makes me feel like a mini hero that I could help someone feel delighted as the result of my misfortune. Let's face it, we've all gotten two things out of a vending machine at some point in our lives. I know I have, and I've never really stopped to think someone else had to feel angry and frustrated in order to make that possible... Wow, a vending machine is a powerful little device. It can ruin your day or make your day, all over a measly bag of chips- isn't life funny?

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