Soft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks — you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist? Share your automated retail fantasies with us!
So OK, I’m grumpy. Well I warned you. Winter = grumpy me. Whether I’d be a barrel of laughs if it were summer is a moot point, because it isn’t and I’m not, so we’re all stuck with it. (I am, anyway: you can always stop reading and move on.)
Which brings me to my automated retail fancies. I don’t have any. The only vending machines I ever use are the ones that gobble your money in return for a thin stream of lukewarm, off-colour liquid they tell you is coffee, with a few blobs of white powder they call ‘creamer’ – whatever that is. (Powdered milk, at a guess.) My rational self wouldn’t go within a hundred feet of these machines, but when you’ve been sitting around for long enough in places that offer them as the only option – A&E departments, small country airports etc – your rational self departs in a flurry of huff and you’re left with desperation.
So with that in mind, I regard all vending machines with distinct suspicion. Yes, provided the machine doesn’t swallow your money and laugh, you can get standard, processed junk food with a certain amount of confidence, because that’s its nature. But with anything else…
They are liars, these machines. They show you pictures of enticing delight and deliver undersize, inferior crap. Martha Kennedy would get 50 seconds per minute from her ‘Time’ machine, and as for Barbara Pyett’s ‘Happiness’… A plastic rainbow?
And if they made a ‘Cheer up’ machine, I wouldn’t waste my money. I’d probably get a short trill of tinny laughter.