The Glory of the Vending Machine

vending machineI’ve long been a fan of vending machines. They allow people to purchase products they desire without interference from outside agencies. This ability to get what I want is a wonderful manifestation of capitalism. This is empowerment.

The glory of the vending machine is, much like that of online shopping, you get to purchase a product without interacting with anyone. It has the added advantage of immediacy. This is the way life should be. You should be able to purchase the product you want, when you want, and be able to enjoy it immediately.

This is capitalism at its finest.

I just read about a new vending machine on a college campus that dispenses Plan B birth control as well as other products like allergy medication and feminine hygiene items. Another article I read was about the plethora of smart vending machines that are soon to be in markets everywhere.

I’m envious of vending machines in other countries around the world. In Japan and Germany, you can get beer from a vending machine. In France, you can get a baguette. There is a vending machine in China which dispenses live crabs! I imagine 3D Printers embedded in such machines.

Vending machine technology continues to improve and soon we will be able to use money in our various accounts directly with the machine. This allows us to not only get what we want but also gives autonomy to others.

For example, perhaps a parent wants their child to be able to purchase $100 worth of food while at camp. Maybe a supervisor want a quick and easy way to reward an employee for some achievement. A couple of clicks and their card has a $5 credit at the ice cream vending machine. Maybe teachers want to reward students for good grades. I can see a time when vending machines recognize you and dispense medication and other regulated items.

Naturally there are concerns about security in these cases, I don’t deny as much. Still, I see more and more vending machines with a variety of products making their way into our lives.

As the technology gets better and the quality of the items in the vending machines improves, I see no end to the possibilities.

In addition, the machines will keep track of purchases allowing them to understand what the customer wants. They will send this information back to the vendor. The vendor will load trucks specifically designed for each particular machine with the exact quantity need.

This improves inventory control and means more profit for the company and lower prices for the consumer.

At the heart of vending machine industry, we see consumers getting the product they want at an acceptable cost and in a timely fashion.
It’s really that simple and vending machines are a beautiful symbol of capitalism.

Tom Liberman

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