Thursday, August 26, 2010

Man vs. (Vending) Machine

On days when I don’t fuel my morning with a standard breakfast of Wheaties and razorblades prior to arriving at work (keeps the teeth sharp and digestive system strong, of course), I turn to the office vending machines to punch my hunger in the face and tide me over until lunch time.

My choice?

Well, despite what I can only describe as a pretty intense Skittles addiction that has me on my knees in front of the vending machines crying tears of joy and sorrow several times per week, I’ve been curing my breakfast cravings with M&Ms: the OTHER breakfast of champions.

If there are no M&Ms, I turn to Peanut M&Ms: the OTHER OTHER breakfast of champions. If no Peanut M&Ms, well, then I usually just lash out incoherently at my department cohorts until they start ignoring me. That usually happens anyway, so I guess those days are really like any other day.

However, sometimes when I rely on the vending machines to fill the lack-of-breakfast hole in my life, or when I just happen to be feening for a Skittles fix—even when the machines are stocked with the sugar pellets I seek for sustenance—I end up empty-handed and sour-faced as I stomp my feet in a huff all the way back to my cube.

When that happens, it’s because the vending machines won the battle. And the vending machines are sore winners.

It means that I’ve put money in one of the machines, I’ve pressed the buttons for my selection, but then the vending machine gets all like, “Y’know what? I decided you’re not getting anything today. Instead, I’ll act like I’ll give you your snack, but then I’ll pull it back and prevent it from dropping to the bottom! Just look at how it’s hanging there! Oh, so close! Poor baby want some M&Ms??? Boo-hoo! By the way, thanks for the money! Sucker! BWAAHAHAAA!!!”

And then on top of that, I have to live with the thought of someone else showing up to get the snack I was going after and getting two for the price of one! I can't tell you how many times I've tried—unsuccessfully—buying the snack again to try get my original selection, plus an additional one.

To avoid the additional agony of failing at that, I've even tried to outsmart the vending machine by buying the item above my failed purchase, hoping to jar it loose during its descent behind the glass, while maintaining my dignity by convincing myself that I wanted a variety of snacks.

It's those moments I think I can actually hear the vending machine laugh at me.

All in all, my career stats vs. the vending machine are actually pretty good. Even though I’m well over .500, in the instances I do come away with the snack I’m purchasing, I feel a certain type of euphoria I'm pretty sure is reserved for winning the lottery, climbing to the top of a mountain, or beating Contra without using the code to get 30 extra lives.

I do the Tiger Woods’ fist pump, I jump around the kitchen chest bumping anyone there, and I yell about how awesome it feels to be the greatest of all-time. I’ve even started ordering trophies adorned with little replica bags of candy and inscriptions noting the date, the type of candy, and an additional affirmation, like “Live life to the fullest because it’s like a box of chocolates that builds character and hands you lemonade!”

It’s that victorious joy in which I delight. It keeps me hungry in pursuit of my prize when I suffer an ill-gotten defeat at the hands of the vending machines. Well, simply not receiving any food from the machines keeps me hungry, too.

Maybe I should just, like, go to the store and buy some snacks to keep at my desk.


  1. A fairly good record, overall. The vending machine at work tends to beat the crap out of me most times.

  2. I have to admit, the entire time I was reading this the main thought about going through my head was "Josh is ridiculous and awesome."

    And, just so you know - breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. My Mom says.

  3. Main thought about going through my head - that makes no sense. But, you get what I mean!

  4. Next time it stiffs you, do the elin woods golf swing.

  5. Brahm- Train harder. Vending machines CAN be beaten.

    Jess- Well, your mom is trustworthy, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on that.

    Matt- Good call. It really is the perfect way to get to the other side of the glass.

  6. Yeah, I vote for the "go to the store and buy some snacks to keep at my desk"!

    I always had a jar of candy in my office. It kept me and my co-workers happy.

  7. Vending machine play the very important for human life.I would like vending machine.

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