The Vend-O-Vacillator

vendingAre you a “vend-o-vacillator?” You know who you are and you know if you’ve encountered one. I know I did today.

Here’s how it went down. You’re rushing from your desk to grab a quick afternoon snack to give you enough oooph to get to quitting time. You know that speedball of a Coke and a Twix bar will do the trick. You build up a head of steam towards the vending machine but mere inches from paydirt a lumbering co-worker who began his journey hours ahead of you waddles his butt to the finish line a moment before you.

While you know exactly what you want, the Waddler plans to make this his afternoon activity. First he presses his sweaty nose up against the glass to get a better look at the choices. He will examine each one, from the Raisinets to the yogurt-coated trail mix to the Snickers and Kit Kat bars.

Aha! His right hand approaches the numbered and lettered buttons that will deliver the goods but not until he counts out every penny he’s been saving since yesterday’s bivouac to snackland. You imagine a choice has been made and your turn will arrive but oh, cruel fate, this vend-o-vacillator has second thoughts about the honey roasted pig’s knuckle jerky. He removes his fleshy fingers from the keyboard and once again ponders which cellophane-wrapped comestible will satisfy his urge.

He suddenly notices a new offering which sparks another round of in-de-snack-cision. It’s raspberry-coated Slim Jims with guacamole dip. It seems like just the thing to both fill his stomach and slather on the middle age acne that now decorates his man boobs.

Shuddering with excitement his left hand quickly dives into his pocket, scooping out a pile of silver. He nervously picks out the correct complement of coins and slams them into the slot. When the message light finally invites him to “make your selection” his right  hand takes over but it is uncontrollably shaking. E143, E143 he says aloud. He must press the individual keys with the letter E, then 1,4 and 3. Done correctly the silver spiral will rotate, freeing his quarry and dropping it to the space he will enter with his hands and retrieve it.

But, oh no. Instead of ecstasy, the vend-o-vacillator’s face is contorted in pain and disappointment. In his excitement he did NOT enter E143, but rather, E144. The difference was as large as that between a rose and ragweed, American Idol and talent, Donald Trump and sanity.  There, at the bottom of the vending machine lay the utter dregs of vending, the lowest of the low, no one’s first choice…sugarless Spam.

Famished and defeated the vend-o-vacillator refused to surrender, even as I begged to just quickly get my Twix and be off. With his last 60 cents and dwindling lucidity he settled for a bag of salted peanuts. Common….salted…peanuts. He sullenly removed them from the machine, sat down and just stared at the unwanted snack asking himself so everyone could hear, “should I have chosen the cinnamon almonds?” Because the vend-o-vacillator’s mind never rests.

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