High-Tech Vending Machines May Be In Our Future

By Eric Schlotzhauer –

Students may arrive at school one morning to find vending machines that are a lot like the technology they use everyday.

One of the new high-tech vending machines. Photo Courtesy slumz.boxden.com

Vending machine usage has gone down in teenagers.  In this day and age, teenagers would much rather swipe a card than dig through their bags for change.

Touch screens and smart machines that can talk may be the solution to the decreasing revenue seen from vending.

“We now have machines that look and act like giant iPads,” said Dan Mathews, COO at the National Automatic Merchandising Association, during an interview for USA Today. “We’re changing the stereotypes.”

Vending machines designed to snag the dollars of today’s Y generation range from:

  • Made-to-order Ramen Noodles (fresh and customized)
  • Made-to-order Cotton candy (fresh and on a stick)
  • Live crabs that are stored at the correct temperature
  • Talking machines that allow for you to not touch the germ-covered buttons
  • Social vending that allows you to leave a message for your friend by entering their mobile phone number

“(Smart Vending machines) would be beneficial for people who don’t really carry around change or small bills,” said Collin Decker, a senior at Penn Manor High School.

“I don’t even use the vending machines,” said senior Emily Eddowes.

Reasons for the decline in vending machine usage seem to revolve around one main factor according to Penn Manor students: money.

“I don’t carry change around,” said senior, Eddie Bley.

“I stopped using vending machines because of the prices,” said Decker.

Interest in vending machines seems to rise when more convenient products are placed inside of them.  Some students have an ideal product that they would wish to be sold within our school.

“Energy drinks that are more herbal, to help kids get through the day,” said Decker.

“I want a big mac coming out of my vending machines,” said Bley.

With the lack of use that the vending machines are experiencing, small changes like the appearance, the features, or even what is inside, could change how often students use them.