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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • iVend

    March 26th, 2007 by Russell Viers

    I was walking through the Dallas airport yesterday and noticed a vending machine for iPods and accessories. I walked over and checked it out. It had all the goodies: video iPods, Shuffles, Nanos and various cases, cords, etc.
    My first thought was that I don’t have enough quarters for the 80 gig video version, and even if I did, would I have enough time to drop all 1,396 of them into the slot. That’s when I noticed that Apple had the foresight to put a credit card reader in the machine.
    My second thought was of the bag of M&Ms I didn’t get the day before from one of these darn machines.
    I can just picture myself shaking it, screaming at it to “give me my iPod…give it to me now!!!” …repeatedly pushing the Coin Return button…sticking my finger in the hole over and over just to see. Shaking it and yelling at it some more “You piece of crap vending machine from hell…give me my $349 iPod.”
    Wouldn’t be funny if the iPod was $349 but they added $9.95 for shipping and handling…that’s an expensive drop.
    They’ll vend anything, these days. I’ve seen Ice cream, phone cards, personal hygiene products, baseball cards, candy, drinks and Motorola phones.
    I think they should have a machine to vend small domestic animals…Vend-A-Pet. Of course the fish would have to be on the bottom row, so the tanks don’t break when they drop out of the little spiral holder thing. It would also make sense to put the cats on top, as it is well documented that cats have an incredible ability to land safely from very high altitudes. Also in there would be puppies, turtles, snakes and ferrets all looking cute behind the glass, begging for freedom.
    I do believe that the behavior of a vending machine is directly driven by your Karma. Good karma = treat, bad karma = tough titty, no M&Ms for you, pal. If I ever get ripped off by a machine, the first thing I do is look internally. I go inside myself and examine my behavior over the past 24 hours and I reflect on the cars I cut off trying to exit the freeway, elderly people I didn’t help across the street or not feeling sorry for Anna Nichol Smith and her mess of a life the world seems so interested in. I don’t feel sorry for Phil Spectre, either.
    So, before I ever approach an iPod vend-o-matic and pump in 350 smackers, I better have behaved like a cub scout the week before.

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