A machine that dispenses food or beverages after you drop money into it and push a button.
Also, a vile thing that causes rage in beefy men and then kills them by falling over on them.
See also soda machines, coke machines.

Employee Lounge
You stand in the break room of the Everything Development Corporation. This is where noders come to take a break from their lengthy hours of literary labor. Noders of a certain age refer to it as the "Bullpen", but most affectionately call it the "Catbox", for the same reasons. In the northwest corner, across a morass of stackable plastic lawn chairs and a few round tables is a vending machine. Next to the vending machine is a pair of pneumatic dispatch tubes and a rack of message capsules. A bank of monitors on the south wall display ENN, the Page of Cool, and Random Nodes.

> examine vending machine
The vending machine is equipped with a coin slot, a bill feeder, the standard ten-and-twenty-four key input pad and an LCD. The front of the machine is a large glass pane, behind which are racks of nutritionless, but tasty treats like Astronaut Ice Cream, capsules of Sticky Monkeywacky wall walkers, Eloi Lotus Blossom Sour Candy, Golden Trinkets™ puffed soy crunchies, My Li'l XP Whore cheese and crackers, Ching!™ mint flavored condoms, Pirate Boypeanuts and tropical fruit snack mix, Stack-o-Crisps in a waveguide antenna (hedgehog flavour), and Xyzzy Daze™ snack cakes with Ritalin. A small brass plaque is affixed to the side of the machine.

> read plaque
This vending machine is placed on Everything2 in accordance with rule number 167/b of the American Cliché Society which requires every work of interactive fiction to contain at least one vending machine.

> put 10xp in bill slot
The vending machine sucks in the ten-XP bill like a child eating a noodle.

> press e
The vending machine's display confirms your selection: E.

> press 2
The vending machine's display confirms your selection: E2.

Inside the vending machine, the coils in the slot labeled E2 begin to turn, pulling a package of Golden Trinkets™ puffed soy crunchies to the fore.

Behind the glass, the coil stops turning. That package of puffed soy crunchies is going nowhere.

> pull machine
The vending machine looks very heavy and you would not like to be crushed by it. How would you node crushed under the vending machine? Besides, there is likely a security camera hidden in the room somewhere.

> kick machine
Violence isn't the answer to this problem.

There are times where vending machines piss me off. Not only that, the people who service them (Vending Machine Administrators?) know damn well what they're doing.

Two vending machines, side by side. One distributes snacks, the other dispenses soda. You walk up to the snack machine, insert your dollar, choose your snack, and get 50 cents in change. You step to the soda machine, and see the price of the soda: 55¢

You don't have a nickel, so while the vending machine breaks your spirit and laughs to itself, you're forced to break another dollar bill. The machine's master likes handling bills rather than change. This is done intentionally.

How about another scenario? You walk up to the soda machine first. You insert your dollar, and get 45¢ in change. You make your soda selection, and it tumbles down to the tray. You grab your soda, and step to the snack machine. You insert the appropriate amount of money and make your selection. The coil starts to turn, almost makes a complete circle, AND...

Your snack refuses to jump!

This is also done intentionally, usually by overfilling the coils. One of three things will happen here.

• You REALLY want that snack, so you beat the shit out of the machine until it relents.
• You REALLY want that snack, so you put another round of money in to get it. Whether one or two of your snack falls, it's still more profit for the vendor.
• You don't care about the snack enough to spend twice as much on it, or to beat the daylights out of the machine. The next lucky person to come along might stumble upon a "buy one, get one freebie", but either way, it's more profit for the vendor.

Vending Machine Dillemmas

  • What do I get? - Why does this taunt me so? Faced with a glass-fronted vending machine, packed to the gills with food I like, I suffer instant option paralysis. To overcome this, I've begun picking items by the numbers/letters that cause them to vend. For example, 139 is a list of ascending multiples. 151 is a palindrome. In 257 all the numbers are prime. C3 is viable, as C is the 3rd letter of the alphabet, etc. Something at position 184 is frankly unjustifable. Of course, my personal node-food (Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles) just happens to be at position E2.
  • Oooh! There's a bar/packet/roll sort of half-dispensed! - Okay, calm down, start breathing. Is it actually something you like? Occasionally I've rushed to take advantage of this situation and been lumbered with two bars of chocolate raisin yak, or something else suitably grim. Another tactic is to dispense something you actually *want* from higher in the same column, and hope that it knocks the original item down. Then it doesn't matter if you're yak intolerant - it's free. Go do something decadent with it.
  • This thing didn't vend! - Shake it. Go on. No, wait, don't shake it, that's what I meant to say. Vending machines crush hundreds of impatient people every year. This would be an excellent allegory, if it weren't for the fact that lots of people get killed. A Fonz style light knock on the side won't do any harm, unless the machine is alarmed. The best option is to go and find some form of admin staff who'll have keys, or otherwise accept the unsatisfactorary result. It'll make up for all the times you've benefitted from someone else doing this.
  • This damned machine won't accept my coin! - Spin it as you put it in. It still probably won't work, but it makes you feel cool. Check that the machine doesn't want exact change; in this situation it may spit out big coins. Occasionally, you'll have to accept that some machines don't like certain coins. So pour salt water in the coin slot instead. (see Ripping off soda machines). If you're fighting with a note-reader (for non-UK residents), don't bother. They are evil.
  • Ack! The item I want is on a row behind a chocolate raisin yak bar! - I offer no solution to this one. If you're jonesing for that particular item, then I'd recommend buying the item in front just to get at your heroin. Nothing else will satisfy you.

What a fantastic device. It provides food, and teaches people harsh lessons in the value of patience. I demand to know why none of them offer milk, though. Perhaps I should move to Japan.

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