Tag Archives: vending machines

Stories from a Vending Machine


There are many crazy vending machines that can be found around the world. Recently, we wrote about the world’s largest vending machine hosted by Alibaba and Ford in China – it dispenses Ford cars! And of course there are the more common vending machines that provide beverages, foods, supplies, electronics, and many more choices. But, here is one that is very unusual – a vending machine that dispenses short stories. Yes, short stories are available from vending machines that offers a selection of timed literature in increments of one, three, or five minute stories to be read and shared.

The story began in 2016 in Grenoble, France, with a company called Short Edition, a French publisher of short-form literature; to date, they have installed more than 150 vending machines around the world. And, now, the vending machines are available in more than 30 locations around the U.S. at restaurants, schools, universities, libraries, transportation hubs, and government offices.

The vending machines dole out literature and expose more people to the creative and stress-reducing power of the written word. Push a button and a story unfurls on a long strip of paper (kind of like a register receipt). More than 100,000 original submissions are stored on a computer catalog, and genres include children’s stories, romance, holidays, and more. Short Edition procures the stories by holding writing contests, often under specific themes such as “new beginnings.”

If you want one for your school, the dispensers cost $9,200 plus $190 per month for content and software. Most stories are shared and read by multiple people.  And the best part – the stories are free of charge to print and read!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students. Have them list all the different types of vending machines that they have encountered.
  2. Show video: https://youtu.be/1Rq0eDc52g0
  3. Short Edition Web site (in English and French): https://short-edition.com/en/
  4. Note that stories are available online from the Web site also. Select one in class to have students read and comment on.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with a promotional tactic that could be used to promote the vending machine and gain readers.

Source: Holson, L. (16 April 2018). The vending machine that spits out short stories. New York Times.


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Buy More Than a Soda at the Vending Machine


Question: When is a vending machine not a vending machine? Answer: When it does more than dispense a soft drink!

Enter PepsiCo’s new interactive vending machine that allows customers to buy not just a soda, but also play games, send virtual gifts, and even charge their mobile phones. Customers can also send a bottled beverage as a gift to a friend by entering the recipient’s name and email, along with a personalized message.

The vending machine begins a new era of ‘social vending’ that is designed to engage consumers, and of course, keep them loyal to the beverage company. The new touchscreen machines display nutritional information, play current advertising campaigns, and have consumers compete in an on-screen games to win free sodas. And, just in as a cold soda provides the customer with much-needed energy, the machine also has AC power outlets and USB ports to help charge up the customer’s mobile phones with energy.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the video about the new vending machines: http://youtu.be/u92iFy8iOKE
  2. Discussion: Will the new machines impact consumer behavior in terms of customer loyalty and increased sales?
  3. Are there other services that vending machines could provide to customers?
  4. What are the marketing implications of the new vending machines?

Source:  Brandchannel.com, 10/9/12

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Calorie Counts on Soda Machines


The rise of obesity in America has caused a rise in legislation that aims to help combat consumers’ bad habits. Already, New York City has a new law banning sodas larger than 16 ounces in most NY establishment (effective March, 2013). Other municipalities might soon follow New York’s lead. And soon, calorie counting will be practiced not just by individuals – our vending machines will also be counting (or at least easily showing) the number of calories it dispenses.

The American Beverage Association (ABA), representing the giant soda companies, is getting ready to launch a “Calorie Count” vending machine program. The program will assist consumers in easily identifying the soda calories they consume by placing the calorie counts directly on the buttons of the vending machines. According to the ABA, “the calories count vending program will offer consumers clear calorie information, encourage lower-calorie beverage choices and remind them that calories count in all the choices they make.”

The front of the vending machines will have signs that include “Check Then Choose” or “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage” and the selection buttons will include the calorie count for the beverage container. The new machines will be placed in municipal buildings in Chicago and San Antonio beginning in 2013, with a nation-wide launch following.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. First, list students’ favorite sodas and beverages on the board. Have the students then guess how many calories are in each serving – and even how many servings are in each container.
  2. Next, have the students look up the correct calorie counts for the beverages.
  3. Alternative: Have students bring up the following Web site and take the quiz on soda sizes and calories – http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/the-well-quiz-supersize-soft-drinks/
  4. Discussion groups: What are the responsibilities of beverage companies to consumers?
  5. What about other foods dispensed in vending machines?
  6. Should the same procedure be used on other vending machines?
  7. What are the marketing implications of the new laws and programs for food and beverage companies?

Source:  New York Times, Brandchannel.com, other news sources, 10/9/12

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