Are all breakups this bad?

February 1, 2018

The breakroom vending machine.  A true love/hate relationship.  It’s always there for you when you are in a desperate state of hunger…for a price.  Earlier this week, I failed to bring a lunch, and found myself too busy to get out and buy a lunch before my shift, so lunch less I went.   As I sat in the studio, my stomach grumbled, yearning for a snack…a…snack. 

                That’s when I was reminded of an old friend.  A friend, I have long forgotten about since my diet started a little over a year ago.  The vending machine.  I told myself, “You can hold out. You don’t need a snack that badly.”  Plus, it would be weird.  I mean, I was the one to end our long term relationship.  What would I say?  “Hey, how’s it been?  Still only accepting ones and change?”  Alas, my hunger was just too much, I knew what needed to be done.

                During my next commercial break, I ran out into the cold, unlocked my car, and grabbed four quarters (a dollar for those struggling with the math).  I figured, “This should be enough for a candy bar.” I went back inside, went down the hallway, and rounded the corner into the break room.  As I walked into the breakroom, the glow of the florescent lights and the hum of the machine, welcomed me in. “Hello old friend,” I mumbled under my breath. 

                As I approached the machine, I already had a clear idea of the snack I wanted.  “Reese sticks,” I thought, “The perfect snack.”  My mind racing as I got closer (yes, this is a big decision) “I need a backup, just in case Reese sticks aren’t an option,” I coached myself.  “Ok, Reese cups will be the backup.”   With the plan all set, I made my final steps to the machine. 

                I glanced over the machine, my eyes scrolling over each number and letter selection.  The top section, the chip section, not even on my radar.  “Yea, who wants to pay for a bag of air?  Next!” The second row, more chips….bummer.  Finally, we get to the third row, the money maker row.  This is the 1st class row, the members only, the best of the best row.  “This is it, the big dance. “ I told myself in confidence.  The first two snacks, peanut butter crackers.  The peanut butter was a check on my snack list, but missing that crucial ingredient, chocolate.  Next up, in the third spot, a Whatchamacallit.  “Now this is a fine candy bar!” I thought in excitement.  But that excitement was met with even more joy, because in the next spot, in all their glory, sat none other than, Reese sticks. 

                I couldn’t believe it! I was shocked, I was flabbergasted.  I went into this, thinking thing would be awkward between the machine and me, but here was the machine, arms wide open, welcoming me back!   I quickly put the quarters into the machine, as the fourth quarter dropped into the coin slot, my fingers were already pushing D4.  As I pressed the 4 key, I wasn’t awarded with the sweet sound of the coil rotating, and the candy hitting the bottom of the machine, but rather three harsh beeps, and a message reading “use correct change”.  My eyes quickly went back to the D4 to inspect the price.  $1.75 read the tag.

                And just like any ex in a relationship, the hard feelings are mutual and not forgotten.  Those wide open arms of the vending machine, were not to give me a welcome back hug, but rather, to reach into my back pocket and steal my wallet!  At this point, I needed to get back into the studio, because my commercial break was over, and if I missed one too many talking segments, my career would be like the commercial break, over.  I wanted to stay and fight with the machine, tell it what I really thought about it, but I decided to be the bigger person and let bygones be bygones, and just pick a different snack. I settled for D3, the Whatchamacallit. However; the machine wasn’t done fighting.  Once again the words, “Please use correct change” popped up. “Now this is just getting ridiculous!”  I said out loud, as I now noticed the price for the Whatchamacallit was also $1.75.

 I was over the childish behavior of the vending machine and its outrageous prices.  I punched in D1, the peanut butter crackers, and finally I was awarded my snack.  I took my crackers and my change, gave the machine once last look over, and coldly said, “It’s over between us.”  I turned around, walked out of the breakroom, shutting the light off behind me, leaving the vending machine in the dark.   As I walked down the hallway, I wondered, “Was a little too harsh on it?”  Vending machine, if you’re reading this….lower your prices.