The Oakland Post

Vending out miseries

By Scott Wolchek

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will be sitting in my office, crafting a witty article and I’ll hear the loud and rhythmic clunk-clunk-clunk of somebody trying to get their food or beverage out of the machines.

I just heard one as I wrote that down. That wasn’t distracting at all.

You see, The Post is located right across the hall from some fancy-schmancy vending machines. Vending machines that don’t like to cooperate, mind you.

Lately the machine hasn’t wanted to take my money. I’ll put the dollar in the machine, but the machine won’t even try to accept George Washington’s noble face.

A passer-by noticed me trying to feed the machine my money and she said to me “You’re putting the money in the wrong way.”

I stepped aside and let her try. It didn’t work and she walked away, silent and ashamed.

If by freak accident the vending machine does accept someone’s money, there is still much pain in their future.

Hard-working students and faculty will be trying to quench their thirst with an ice-cold fruit punch or Mountain Dew, only to watch that the vibrant red can will fall and get stuck in the machine.

This is where four different personalities emerge — wussies, brawlers, tattle-tales and lunatics.

The wussies don’t battle the machines. They don’t want to bother anyone. They’ll just go back to their corner with an emptiness in their stomach and heart.

The brawler, not to be confused with the lunatic, will try to use feats of human strength to knock their food or beverage from the clutches of the evil machine. Brawlers are the reason more vending machines end up killing people each year than sharks.

Probably the wisest of the four, the tattle-tale tries to get their prize by telling the nearest custodian. However, there is always the possibility that their food will fall out, right when they leave, creating a perfect opportunity for the buzzards.

In all my years, I have only seen one lunatic. They’re relentless. They fight that machine with claw, tooth and nail. They’ll put more money in the machine hoping that they can knock out the food with the power of more food. In other words, the lunatic is a type of person who really, really wants that candy bar. Or is diabetic.

During my freshman year, I witnessed a girl, who I will always remember as ‘Kit-Kat Girl,’ battle for candy for 30 minutes. She constantly would shake the machine, tears in her eyes, never fulfilling her life’s dream of smacking her lips on that tasty chocolate.

You know what brings tears to my eyes? Knowing that poor malnourished college students are trying to get some snacks and the vending machines don’t work half the time.

I don’t blame the wussies, the brawlers, the tattle-tales or the lunatics for trying to get some grub.

I’m calling out whoever reads this and knows it’s their responsibility to make sure the machines work. I know they feel the guilt. Fix the machines or you’ll be feeling my fist, too.

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Vending out miseries