Splendid Snacking

Vending machines provide valuable service, suffer constant malfunctions


Sophmore Alan Conway uses the vending machine to buy a bag of chips during lunch.

Diego Perez Palomino, Staff Reporter

As students rush to their next class, they are met with a familiar sight: the row of vending machines in the upper commons. While vending machines may seem like a small detail in the grand scheme of a high school, for many students, and athletes, they play a crucial role in their daily routine. Currently, there are 9 vending machines available to students, six in the upper commons, two across from the school store, and one in the gym.

However, as students gather at the vending machines for their mid-day snack fix, they are often met with frustration when the machines don’t work. Some machines display strange error messages, refuse to cash payments, or are just turned off completely. According to Scott Cole, a lunch monitor, and backup substitute teacher, this is a common occurrence due to the high level of usage the machines receive on a daily basis.

“Because they receive so much use, as well as the age on some of the vending machines, they tend to go out of service every once and a while,” Cole said. “But they’ll eventually get fixed, and some of the snacks are available in the cafeteria. “

Nevertheless, the broken vending machines are not only an inconvenience, but they also limit the availability of certain snacks for students. Sophomore Charan Ramidi is a frequent vending machine user, buying snacks during lunch, or after practice before a long car ride home. He, along with other students have reported that their go-to snacks are only available on machines that are frequently out of order.

“It’s really frustrating because I know I can only get the Barbecue Lay’s from the vending machine in the upper commons, but it never seems to be working when I need it,” said Ramidi.

The broken vending machine in the gym hallway has caused particular frustration for students taking physical education classes, or after school sports. With that vending machine being the only one in the athletics department, athlete’s like Ramidi can’t refuel after wrestling or cross country practice.

“It’s kind of annoying because that vending machine is actually in a really good spot,  if you were in the weight room, or in a gym you could buy a snack if you forgot to bring one,” said Ramidi. “But it’s been broken since like September. It’s not too bad though, because at least the cafeteria is close enough.”

Despite the occasional hiccup, the vending machines bring many benefits, and can be very convenient for their users. Sophomore Yuvi Sharma, an avid vending machine user, appreciates the ease of use they provide, and the simplicity behind Apple Pay. The tap-to-pay feature allows students to simply hold their compatible phones, cards, or smartwatches, near the terminal, and pay for their food.

“I love using Apple Pay, it’s so easy to use,” Sharma said. “Because I don’t have to worry about carrying around cash. It’s honestly such a lifesaver on days when I’m running late.”

As freshmen, many must adjust to life in a new school, one aspect that has stood out for many is the abundance of vending machines on campus. For students who attended Central Middle School, the difference in the number of vending machines available is notable. Freshman Auggie Wahmoff, for example, takes advantage of the machines multiple times a week, a privilege he didn’t have last year.

“I remember in middle school, we only had like two vending machines for the entire school and they weren’t even that good,” said Wahmoff. “But here at the high school, there are vending machines everywhere and they have a lot more options.”

While some freshmen are excited about the additional snack choices provided by the vending machines, others are less enthused. Freshman Jayden Gordon isn’t completely convinced on the idea of vending machines, and uses them rarely. He’ll sometimes buy a friend a snack, but feels that his lunch is enough.

“I don’t use the vending machines that much, especially since they don’t always work,” said Gordon. “In middle school, we didn’t really have this many vending machines so it wasn’t an issue. I’m not sure if I’ll use them more now that there are more, I haven’t used them much so I don’t think so.”