Jennifer and I put our first vending machine into the wild this past Sunday. I say first, not as an indicator of future plans, but as a way of indicating it was brand new to us.
I bought the machine used for a pretty decent price, $200 if I remember correctly. It has around 20-24 vending heads that serve candy, chips, gum, etc. It cost about $100 to fill the first time. We put a fairly wide assortment of items inside, mainly to gauge interest, but also just to have things you wouldn’t typically find.
My brother was able to score the location from his apartment management gig and it seems like a pretty decent spot so far. It’s in one of the laundry facilities in the apartment complex. It has 2 coin-op washers, 2 coin-op dryers, and soda vending machine. The soda machine is owned by the local bottler and we’ve considered attempting to displace it if the candy machine gets any traffic.
I felt a little bit guilty placing the machine in such a situation. It felt sort of like I was preying on folks who have poor impulse control or planning ability. I completely understand having vending in an environment like a cafeteria or workplace where it serves as a useful option, but it seems different when I am practically placing it in their homes.
Those predatory feelings have all but evaporated now. There were two people that came up to us in the short time we were installing it and expressed enthusiasm for having it there. Give people what they want, I suppose.
The final nail in the pity party came the next day, when Kristopher said that it looked like someone had been shaking the piss outta the machine to dislodge product. Someone will always be seeking the upper hand in any arrangement, it might as well be me.
Apparently, vending is an adversarial relationship.