Change for the Better

There was a time, not too long ago, when all vending machines were coin-operated. You didn’t have to go far to find a reason to dig into your pockets for some spare change.  Laundromats, bar pool tables, arcades, and even pay phones all relied solely on loose change. With many publications choosing digital print to cut costs, newspaper dispensers are likely on the way out the door. And unless pay phones figure out a way to attract pedestrians, they’re soon to become relics of a simpler time too.

But vending machines should last. As long as they are refitted with modern amenities like additional forms of payment, the machines still serve a purpose. It’s also possible that the next generation of vending machines won’t simply adjust how you pay. In the United Kingdom, a 2014 prototype used facial recognition technology to try and anticipate the desires of consumers. It remains to be seen just how or if it will be used for the public. There are even vending machines that have added fingerprint scanning in lieu of cash. And as cash transactions steadily decrease, these machines may forgo paper currency entirely. The rise of credit and various mobile forms of payment have made doing this much easier.

As long as what’s inside these machines appeals to people, there’s a future for vending machines. And who knows, maybe some will even retain their coin slots. “Retro” contraptions seem to find their place in society. Especially when curious millennials have their way. At the very least, we should always be able to visit coin-operating vending machines in museums.

Do you still get a kick out of coin-operated machines? Are they more nostalgic joy or antiquated nuisance? Share some thoughts below!

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