Vending Machines Can’t Bring Me Down

Rachel Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

There is no graceful way to get a snack out of a vending machine.

Believe me, I’ve attempted every maneuver under the sun. There’s the classic bend-at-the-waist method, but unless you’re without a shred of self-consciousness, you’ll make sure you’ve got a friend shielding your rear from the general scrutiny of the surrounding crowds.

The squat-and-grab is slightly more dignified, but an inability to balance a backpack while forcing your arm into the machine could have potentially mortifying consequences –unless, of course, you’re naturally clumsy and everyone is used to seeing you sprawled across the ground.

My favorite technique by far is the sit-and-snack, during which the soon-to-be-snacker punches in his request, and proceeds to seat himself at the base of the machine. When the snack drops, a lovely, seated meal consisting of sugary goodness ensues.

The vending machine is only accessible by hand –no foot can maneuver that tricky little door–yet its access point is nowhere near the general vicinity of your normal reach.

One can’t help but wonder if the placement of the door is meant to have a psychological effect on vending machine users. By drawing attention to a potentially embarrassing action, the vending machine scolds us for succumbing to the siren call of its unhealthy fare. In an age where Healthy Choices committees reign supreme, the vending machine becomes the weak man’s option.

To be honest, I don’t really mind succumbing to the call. Like anything, vending machine snacks are best in moderation. There’s just something about that afternoon snack of a Rice Krispie Treat –an indulgence rarely found in my household– that is irresistible.

Yet for some unfathomable reason, I’ve always tried to finagle another way to retrieve my Krispie every time I encounter a vending machine –until I realized there’s really nothing I can do about the situation. If I was really passionate about vending machine mechanics, I could re-engineer a design that would save thousands the embarrassment of retrieving their speedy snacks. But in the moment, there’s nothing to be done–save acting as if there’s no shame in such a retrieval.

It’s not to say I’m giving up on the vending machine. I’ve just stopped complaining about it. I’ve made the conscious decision to give up my frustration.

It’s a change I’ve been making a lot recently –rather than continuing to allow the negatives of a situation to affect me, I’ve decided to seek out the positives. Didn’t get an interview with one of my top colleges? At least they’ve seen my written application. Don’t get to have Grad Night on campus? At least I get to go to Grad Night somewhere. Embarrassed myself getting a snack out of a vending machine? At least I’m eating my Krispie.