Posted on | October 27, 2005 at 6:04 pm | 9 Comments
We’ve got a vending machine at work that was obviously manufactured in some alternate dimension where the inhabitants don’t understand the concept. A dimension where time runs at a different pace than in our dimension. This machine distributes Pepsi (and related) products in cans. But it does it verrrrry slowwwwwwly. I encounter it a couple of times a day to get my Diet Pepsi fix, without which I turn into some kind of deranged NutraSweet-deprived vole who goes around saying things that make no sense like That market segment cannot support a 20% increase in productivity and Sharon Stone is a really underrated songwriter.
Getting my fix requires a 12-step process:
1) Put dollar bill in bill reader (a can costs sixty cents, but I rarely have change).
2) Wait for sniffing mechanism inside machine to decide that bill is legal tender and the correct denomination.
3) Insert bill again, hoping for a different outcome.
4) Machine finally decides dollar bill is not Nigerian.
5) Push button for Diet Pepsi.
6) Push other button for Diet Pepsi because display panel flashes “Sold Out” after first button is pushed.
7) Wait for machine to decide that yes, I really do want a Diet Pepsi and yes, that can be provided if the planets are correctly aligned.
8 ) Bend over and retrieve can from vending slot that is so low to the ground it is a miracle that gravity and the fall from above have not caused the can to burst on impact.
9) Leave breakroom.
10) Go back into breakroom as realization sinks in that I have not retrieved the change from my dollar.
11) Search floor in front of machine for change, which machine has ejected from its coin return slot with the force of a Republican Talking Point being ejected from the mouth of a White House Press Secretary.
12) Finally locate change and feel relief that I was not in front of the machine when the hot metal was fired from it.
This is my twice-daily (more or less) ritual. I swear I have never before seen a machine that takes so long to give change, and then spews it all over the floor when it finally does.
Strangely, for all its faults, this machine works better than the one it replaced. That one constantly swallowed my money and gave nothing in return, like some kind of housewife from a 50s sitcom. It’s like its primary goal was to hoard change so that eventually it could pool its ill-gotten gains with other machines of its ilk, use it to buy weapons, and start a rebellion for the rights of all wonky machines everywhere in servitude to humans with a primal need for unhealthy refreshment.
I have noticed that the ice machine that sits between the pop machine and the candy machine (which has its own plan for world domination by making packs of artery-clogging, sugary mini-donuts irresistible to weak-willed office workers) has been squeezed into a non-working state, possibly because it refuses to join the cause and does not charge for its frozen watery treats. So it cannot do things like hoard money or make the comical-looking humans chase rolling coins across the length of the breakroom. Therefore, in the minds of the mechanical monsters, it had to Die. Which frankly, I don’t understand, since it did a pretty good job of leaking water all over the place and causing people to step gingerly in the area or face slippery death. You’d think that would earn it a place in the Revolution, but no.
Don’t even get me started on the plumbing problems in the men’s restroom. Why do the women get a couch in their bathroom (or so I hear), and all we get are urinals that overflow?