The birth of a Vending Machine

When buying our laundromat we discovered the large, always running vending machine was not paying any dividends to the store at all. The vending machine distributor conned the previous owner into this massive refrigerated unit to be installed with no share of profits or payment towards utilities. I wanted to ask the previous owner to have it removed because the owners verbal contract was with the vending company not us but the previous owner said the customers liked it. We kept it not wanting to upset things. Laundry customers like things to be consistent.

We called the vending company and asked to have it removed and he gave us some story about storage and he could not pick it up, basically a brush off. We continued to look for an alternative vending machine as we knew this is a service that should be continued. A few customers are care givers and they brought their caregivees (not a word I know) with them the vending machine was important to give them a treat while they did laundry.

Vending machines are expensive and good information is hard to find. We eventually found a used machine and bought it. But what a different world vending machines are… One day after a brief contact with a vending machine supplier, I was called and told a vending machine is being delivered. I had no idea it was coming on this day. As I showed up the driver was glad I showed up and said he would take it off the truck. I thought great, I would be on my way. I was with a group of colleagues and I persuaded them to stop by the store to accept the delivery. We were near by and I said it would be quick.

The delivery guy did not appear to be in good shape to be delivering heavy machinery he was a big guy but not in height, and unfortunately had not bathed in months. I saw him in the truck and thought he must have a good way to bring it in. Spoiler alert he did not, his system was to inch by inch the machine to the liftgate at the back of the truck. Every few minutes he inched the machine forward I was thinking great it is close to lift gate, good I can get going. He then inched it forward, a bit more, but I mean micro inches, and would gain some ground. It seemed like he was getting close to the lift gate and then it was micro inches again, this went on for 20-25 minutes it was literally like childbirth waiting for the head to crown. My colleagues and I could not tell if we should help or just not watch. At one point he had a tether that would go around the machine to keep it from tipping off the truck it was around his neck and the machine. At this point we stopped watching.

He continued to inch it forward and my colleagues left to get coffee they just could not bear the idea of the machine dropping and him going with it. Once he got it in the store, which was not easy to watch either, he backed it in and back and forth (think Austin Powers) Then he insisted to teach me how to use the machine, but he did not know how. He ordered up a bag of chips inserting some cash, the chips would not come out they got stuck. He said the chips do that, he proceeded to get a snack bar same thing. We were left with a machine that needed an arm to bring the products to the delivery chute, a compressor to keep the sodas cool and we had to clean it was dirty. Do NOT buy used machines on Craigslist! He said I fix it and opened it up, closed the vending machine and tried again same thing. This happened a few times, I said look I have to go, I have people waiting.

He said he would fix it and leave the keys in the drop. I said great and left. He left the keys but did not fix it.

We finally got the old vending machine removed this was after many calls, the vendor had covid, his son had covid, his grandson had covid, the vendor hurt his back because everyone had covid. He told me he would work on it after he went to the doctor in about two weeks, this was after 6 weeks of waiting. After the first call they stopped filling it, so we turned it off, they came back and turned it back on, yet did not fill it, it looked bad. Then they showed up and took it, It is gone now, we are learning.

Due to my husband’s handiness we have a vending machine that is on the mend. We have figured out the issues and cleaned up the new machine, now we have to fill it, but I expect it will be good soon. I do hope the installation of new washers and dryers goes smoothly as it in the next thing we are doing that we know nothing about. We also put cameras in and one day I watched a guy taking his clothes off..

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