Monday, March 12, 2012

Youngman Brown Vs. The Vending Machine



I had a pretty bad headache at work the other day.

Being the tough man that I am, I resolved to get through my day without dealing with it.

It was the weekend, however, and the poker room was busy.  I was going into overtime.  And the headache got worse, as headaches do.

I needed Tylenol in a bad way.

I asked around, and none of the ladies I worked with happened to have any in their purses.

Pondering other solutions, I vaguely recalled the existence of a vending machine outside the wardrobe rooms that offered necessities to employees such as energy drinks, toothburhses, and vitamins.

When I finally got a break, I made my way to the vending machine and scanned the items: Pantyhose, trouser socks, 5-hour energy, shaving cream, razors, lip balm, and …

Bingo!  My beloved Tylenol:  A4.  $1.25.

I pulled out my wallet to find a few twenties, two tens, a five, and a one dollar bill.  The machine only accepted ones and fives. 

So I inserted the five and selected A4.  The machine obediently dropped my Tylenol and I hungrily grabbed it out of the slot, ready for the capsules to quell my pounding head.

     Pet-choo!

The machine shot a quarter into the change return.

     Pet-choo! 

Then another.

     Pet-choo!

And another.

I rubbed my temples consolingly.  With my head tied up in more painful affairs, I hadn’t really anticipated the fact that I would be getting a handful of quarters to pay me the $3.75 the machine owed me.  Fifteen quarters, I calculated.

     Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!

With a dollar bill at my disposal, I suppose I should have sought a coworker for a quarter before inserting my five-dollar note into the machine.  But in my achingly disoriented state, I suppose I envisioned the machine silently and gracefully offering me change in the form of one dollar bills.

 
Instead, I was at the mercy of the machine.

     Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!

God DAMN this thing is loud.

     Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!

What the hell.  Dammit, someone is walking by.  Why does it have to be so loud?

     Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!

Okay, this is way more than fifteen quart-

     Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!

Oh my God.  It’s out of quarters.

     Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!  Pet-choo!

I stood there in what can only be described as a panicked daze.  I can’t be sure exactly how long it took for the machine to finally spit out the last of my change.  Thirty seconds?  One minute?  Two hours?

All I know is that it was enough time for:

  • Five or six people to walk by with smirks on their faces.
  • Someone from Wardrobe to come out to see what was going on.
  • Me to eat the Tylenol.

At one point during this event, which had the look, sound, and feel of one of the jackpot wins that was taking place in the casino below, I considered grabbing the change that had come out and bailing on the rest.  It simply didn’t seem worth the embarrassment.

I reached in to grab the change that had already been (loudly) dispensed when, Pet-choo!  One of the nickels was shot like a bullet onto my fingernail.

It hurt like a bitch.

That was the moment that I vowed that I would stand and wait for all of my change and take everything I could from this obnoxious machine.

     Pet-choo!  Pet-choo! ……….

And then nothing.  Finally nothing.

It was over.

I could once again hear the everyday sounds of my workplace.  Just like when the washer or dryer finishes its cycle, I could hear myself think.  Although it hurt to do so.

The vicious vending machine beast stood before me, eerily silent.

I thought about my change.  The change that I vowed claim.  The change, which was rightfully mine.

I approached the machine cautiously, as one might approach a deadly bird of prey as she sleeps atop her eggs.

The change compartment was quite small, and it took five or six scoopings from my middle and index finger to finally retrieve all of my silver.

During one of the withdrawals of coin, a coworker offered a strange glance as he walked by.  My face flush, I murmured something along the lines of “heh heh,” as I dropped a handful of change into my pocket and then went for another.

I felt like a thief.  As if I had discovered some secret combination of numbers and letters that only vending machine technicians were privy to.  The people walking by were witnessing a bandit who had just cracked the code and was ravenously securing his loot.

All in all, my spoils consisted of five quarters and forty-eight nickels, which were all safely stowed in my right pocket.

This is what five quarters and forty-eight nickels looks like.


After ten more minutes, my break was over and I jingled back down to the poker room, where I was promptly informed that they no longer needed me and that I could go home.

That was a relief. 

Or maybe it was the Tylenol just starting to kick in.

*   *   *

My head still hurt when I got home, but not as bad.

Not bad enough, at least, to not realize that I could write about my battle with the vending machine.

I laid the coins on my bed and snapped a picture of them for proper documentation, as presented above.  Then I counted the money to see how many Pet-choos! I had endured.

It only added up to $3.65.

The machine shorted me ten fucking cents.

As I began re-counting the money in an effort to confirm the unfairness of the world, my headache began to creep back to its former glory.

-Youngman Brown


The evilest vending machine alive.  Yes, alive.


50 comments:

  1. Firing the nickle into your finger was the machine spiking the ball of assholery.

    I'm fairly convinced that there is a hidden camera in all vending machines and that people somewhere are laughing their asses off at our pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would make for a great reality show.

      Damn, now I am going to be paranoid.

      Delete
  2. That is quite an eventful story! I love how the little moments in our lives kick us around like that.

    You are hilariously funny and totally make my day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I am reading your Lorax post right now!

      Delete
  3. I have a love-hate relationship with vending machines. I love them when they give me two of anything - like when I drop something on the half-exposed attempted-purchase of the unfortunate who came before me, and I get both - and I HATE them at absolutely any other time.

    I'm getting angry just thinking about them. Them and printers. If the machines do rise up against us, their weapon will stress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The machines would definitely win in this scenario. I mean, just think of the next guy to purchase something in my vending machine. Sure, he won't have to endure the barrage of nickels, since the machine apparently ran out of change. But he also won't get his change.

      The machines always win.

      Delete
  4. I think you're the only person I know who could make a post about coins coming out of a machine interesting enough for me to stick it out to the end. Well done, sir!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And bravo for sticking it out.

      Delete
  5. On the bright side, you now have some serious change to kick ass on some slot machines!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I don't think I will press my luck with the machines.

      Delete
  6. Yesterday the campus vending machine took my money and gave me a granola bar. Not the magically fruit-flavored Skittles I had requested, but a fucking granola bar. I may or may not have lost my shit on said vending machine like Chris Brown on Rihanna...and the Dean may or may not have been present...I shall not be attaining tenure any time soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mean, why would it give you what you paid for?

      That would make too much sense.

      The machine was just trying to offer you a healthier choice of snack.

      Delete
  7. We used to have a vending machine in my office. But I got it taken away. For a couple of reason. The main one being that if left unsupervised, I could single handedly eat the entire contents of said vending machine in one afternoon.

    Secondly, It once ate a $5 note & I never got anything back out of it. Apparently my boss thinks it's not constructive for our business image for passing customers seeing an employee repeatedly round house kicking the snot out of a vending machine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your boss is dumb.

      Seeing an employee round-house kicking a vending machine would definitely bring more customers.

      Delete
  8. what a nightmare. weighs a fair bit too, all that change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, it was rather heavy and loud. Fortunately, I got to go home immediately after.

      Delete
  9. LOL!!!!! All that and it shorted you 10 cents???

    First off, I NEVER put my hands in those things. One day there will be some killer poisonus creacture lurking in there waiting for some poor unexpected sole to reach its hands inside!

    but the fact that it ran out of quarters and started spitting out nickels is pretty humorous. Sorry for laughing at you while you had a headache :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's okay, it is healthy to laugh at one's misfortunes.

      And you are right... I never really considered the dangers of the killer poisonous creatures, and will be more careful henceforth.

      Delete
    2. Thank goodness. I would hate for you to lose a limb to a vending machine and you say that I never warned you!

      Delete
  10. Best post ever. And best use of onomatopoeia too.

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    Replies
    1. Kind words, thank you!

      And I had to look up onomatopoeia.

      Delete
  11. I like the ones that give dollar coins back. Have you seen the ones that now accept debit cards? I realize the ridiculousness of it, but yea, I've tried it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I would be annoyed if given a dollar coin back, because I would feel weird spending it.

      Delete
  12. I now know that I am not the only one. Thank you for this!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I grew up in a tiny town that had a soda machine outside. Every time we used it, it would give us our soda and then spit out $1.50 in quarters. The soda only cost $.50.

    As long as you had the money to buy the first soda you could get all you wanted with the extra money it would kick out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was one in my high school like this, too!

      It didn't last very long though.

      Delete
  14. Ha ha! This was hilarious! The way in which you write, makes it so easy to envisage the events.

    Oh and I almost choked on the remains of my cookie, at the fact that after all that pet-chooing, you were still short changed ten cents. Priceless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lily!

      And yes, that machine hurt my feelings by leaving me short-changed.

      Delete
    2. No...not priceless! It cost him ten cents! lol

      Delete
  15. This is insanely well-written. I've also had that happen and I would have gone all fucking Real Housewives on that damn machine. Or at least how I assume they behave since I don't have cable. Anyway, LOVE this as always.

    P.S. I've always wanted to work in a place that had "Wardrobe". Color me jealous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is not as glamorous as you might think.

      Delete
    2. That's what they all say. Ha!

      Delete
  16. Why in the hell would it pay you in nickels? I think the vending company is playing a practical joke. It's bad enough having 3.75 in quarters in you pocket...but all that in nickels? That's so wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Being from Canada, we have $1 & $2 coins, which would save me the embarrassment of waiting for the machine to dispense the $3.75 in nickels. On the other hand, we have to walk around with 3lbs of coins in our pockets everyday of the week, not just when a vending machine wrongs us! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always wondered why people were so jingly up there when I visited.

      Delete
  18. I literally burst out laughing at this post. I'm so sorry that evil machine put you through this hell... and then added insult to injury by shorting you. Please tell me you're going to kick the damn thing the next time you see you. Thanks for the laugh!

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    Replies
    1. I don't kick it, but now I glare at it every time I walk by.

      Delete
  19. LOL! When I was reading this, I was thinking you were going to wind up with $10 in quarters! LOL! You were still shorted? That's jacked up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually didn't remember that I initially had this thought until you just mentioned it. But for a moment I actually did think that I had been on the receiving end of good fortune and was receiving a windfall of quarters.

      I quickly learned better.

      Delete
  20. I am sorry to laugh at your pain but this is hilarious. thank you for the giggle

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think the put vending machines at work to insure that people have CRAPPY DAYS. I mean, you go to get a freakin' bag of chips and leave the desk for a minute, and you come back w/ less money, no food, and in an even worse mood!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Please don't think badly of me, but this post made me laugh like a loony hyena! I actually snorted at one point! Not pretty!

    The more I read, the more I kept thinking: "Vending machine? Sounds more like a one-armed bandit!" I see we were thinking the same thing! For all the trouble it caused you, you should have had a couple of free Vegas showgirls in sparkly pasties to ogle while you waited for the change! Can't believe it stiffed you on top of everything, too! I hope your finger is OK.

    There was a nasty machine in the corridor of my college that would always misbehave, I think it was badly packed. Time and again people would complain about it swallowing their change and not delivering the goods. One guy got his arm stuck in it, trying to pry his packet of chips out! Now, to an miserable sleep, caffeine and nicotine deprived art student, withholding a chocolate bar is a VERY bad idea! I actually pulled the machine over and started shaking it in an attempt to dislodge the chocolate! The security guard came over and said in a thick West African accent: "Miss, please! This is not a good thing that you do." Not my finest moment, I'll admit! Bloody modern technology! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really interested in hearing your "loony hyena" laugh.

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    2. Oh, sweet lord! Nobody needs to hear that! :D

      Delete
  23. Only you could make something funny out of a vending machine fiasco. I just get pissed ;D

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  24. I am a new reader, and was looking through some of your old posts. This had me laughing hysterically! But really, when your coworkers came by, you should have jumped up and down, screaming, "I won, I won!"

    ReplyDelete

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