Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time Marches On

When I was young, lo these many eons ago, we had in this country a plethora of different kinds of vending machines. They were everywhere -- supermarkets, barber shops, schools. Coin-operated dispensers, mostly junk food -- candy bars, soft drinks, gumballs.

There were also machines that offered real food -- milk, apples, hot chocolate. They didn't get much use where I lived.

Vending machines are still around, of course, much different, but less ubiquitous. (And they were way were cheaper back in the day. Penny for gum, nickel for a candy bar or a coke. We had a coke machine behind the cafeteria at the primary school I attended, the little 6-1/2 oz. bottles, and I recall the time in 3rd grade when the price went up to 6¢, which we thought was criminal. Can you imagine? What highway robbery!)

Those 50's machines are collectibles now. If you can find a Jacobs 56 Pepsi Vendor in good condition, it'll set you back five grand, and restored Coke machines of the same era are also pretty spendy.

I came across the machine below in a Fred Meyer store recently. A quarter for your weight, and it would generate a "lucky lotto" number for you. How does it determine that the number is lucky? I wondered." Plus your daily special message." I didn't go for it, but I also wondered. Is my daily special message the same as for the next guy to stand on the machine? If I coughed up another quarter, would the message be different?

And who would drop a quarter into the thing when they can walk a couple hundred feet to the housewares department wherein they can stand on one of a couple varies of bathroom scale for sale there, for free? No special message or lucky lotto number, though.

Time marches on, and it brings new toys to replace the old ones. Some day, assuming we survive, our great-grandchildren will probably be nostalgic for 2D television sets and computer keyboards ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember ...

The top opening vending machine with the rows of bottles of soft drinks. Like a top opening freezer.

When you could go to a soda shop, and they would make you a Coca-Cola by mixing Coca-Cola syrup & soda water right there in a glass.