First they forced me to buy sunflower seeds against my will.
Then they developed chemical weapons and forced me to buy pink sissy lemonade.
Today, though, I declare a victory in the battle against vending machines!
The Coke machine here is an odd one – it has a clear glass front with faux icicles to make it appear cold. You can see all of the 20 oz bottles, and selecting one causes a conveyor belt to rise from the bottom, the Coke is pushed forward and falls on its side, and the conveyor belt delivers the Coke to an opening on the side. It’s like playing a slot machine at Vegas. I’m a winner!
This morning, looking at the front panel, a Diet Coke has slipped forward in the rack labeled C5 so that it looks like it’s about to fall forward. Aha! I can extract my revenge and gain 2 Diet Cokes for the price of 1! And at only 85 cents per bottle, that’s a steal.
I put in my 85 cents. I pushed the C5 button. *click* SOLD OUT. Bummer.
Ok. No big deal, so I don’t get a free Diet Coke. I punch the button for C6. *click* The Diet Coke on C6 is pushed forward and gets stuck, just like the C5 Diet Coke! Horrors! I watch helplessly as the conveyor belt rises and whirs, delivering nothing to the appointed slot. *whir whir whir* The conveyor belt gives up, and travels dejectedly back to the bottom. I’ve been robbed! The sinister machine has taken my money and delivered absolutely nothing, just like those “tax and spend” Democrats in Washington! (Oops, sorry. Didn’t mean to slide a political dig in there).
No free Diet Coke. No Diet Coke that I payed for. And no money.
But wait – what’s this? The conveyor belt is again rising – apparently aware that it hasn’t delivered on its promise
like the dirty Democrat that it is, the conveyor belt is returning to the row of Diet Cokes! Quick, what to do, what to do… I push, hard, at the top of the Coke machine. A quarter comes out of the change slot. What? I push the top of the machine again, rocking it ever so slightly, and BOTH Diet Cokes dislodge – but the conveyor belt has a metal ridge on the back, preventing the Diet Cokes from reaching the conveyor belt! Horrors^2, the engineer thinks exponentially.
The conveyor belt again dejectedly lowers back to the bottom. The two Diet Cokes, no longer restrained, slide forward and stand at attention on the conveyor belt. As the belt lowers, I watch the Diet Cokes fall away with it slowly, reminding me of that scene in Titanic where Leonardo DiCaprio slowly sinks into the dark ocean and I think, “I hope my Diet Cokes are as cold as Leonardo.” The conveyor belt stops at the bottom, two Diet Cokes on the belt. All is quiet. Just like Leonardo.
The Coke machine spits out my 85 cents. I now have $1.10 in change. Somehow rocking the machine dislodged a quarter from somewhere in the machine’s bowels, and although I still am not caffeinated, I am 25 cents richer. Huzzah.
I put the quarter in my pocket; I put the 85 cents back into the machine. I push the button for C7. The conveyor belt rises, the Diet Coke on C7 slides forward next to the C5 and C6 Diet Cokes. All three at attention. The conveyor belt spins, all three Diet Cokes fall on their sides. *plunk* *plunk* *plunk* All three Diet Cokes are delivered to the opening. It’s a gallimaufry of Diet Cokes, I think, trying to make that word part of my vocabulary. Wo0t! It’s my lucky day!
Courtney’s lucky day, too, apparently. Quick as a flash, she darts forward and snags all 3 Diet Cokes. She graciously offers 2 of them to me. I accept, sort of bewildered. I’m thinking, “Hey, that was mine…” but it *was* free, after all. I decide that I cannot get my 3rd Diet Coke back without sounding greedy, so instead I decide to magnanimously be generous while simultaneously making her feel guilty about it. “No, I don’t want it, you can have it. But that *was* mine.” Courtney’s unimpressed by my attempt to make her feel guilty; her husband’s family is Jewish and my attempt is amateurish at best. Jewish guilt trounces Catholic guilt, gotcha. “Thanks!” she says.
“Er… you’re welcome.” 😛
Three Diet Cokes for a total of 65 cents! Today, I am victorious against the machines! Hoo-rah!
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