The Machine Took My Money

Inoperable vending machines frustrate students on campus


A sign bears the bad news of a nonfunctioning vending machine alongside small frustrated messages from students. Photo credit: Lily Lopez/SAC.Media.

As soon as your class ends, you rush out and begin to walk to your next class but feel thirsty for a soda, Bang Energy Drink or Gatorade to get you through your day. With only a few minutes to spare, you walk over to the Mountie Stop but find waiting in that long line is out of the question, so you resort to a vending machine. You look around and pick your favorite drink, but nothing comes out. The machine has just taken your money, wasted your time and you’re still thirsty.

Students on campus often lose money due to inoperable vending machines, but Fiscal Services has only had about one student a month come forward requesting a cash refund. Time is often limited when walking from one class to the next, and calling the number posted on the vending machine can be time consuming. Students have to ask themselves, “Is it worth the time for two dollars that have been lost?”

On Oct. 24, hand written notes were posted on a vending machine for beverages located on the 2nd floor of building 26A.

Some of the notes read,


“Not in Service! (don’t even bother trying) We apologize for the inconvenience!”

One note simply said,

“That sucks.”

The vending machine is located in a busy walkway that connects the building to a parking lot. Throughout that day, students rushed by and glanced at the signs posted on the machine. Some hovered around the machine, pointed and laughed at the notes written. Others rolled their eyes as they walked by.

Nursing student Melissa Pham stood in front of the vending machine unsure if she should use the machine.

“This is my first time using the machine; I was hoping it would work. I’m going to go downstairs to see if that one works,” Pham said.

Unfortunately, students often encounter this problem on campus, but don’t have time to figure out how to get reimbursed.

“I bought a Bang the other day and it actually took my money,” nursing student Moses Lopez said. “I was late to class and didn’t want to waste my time calling the company.”

According to Yadira Santiago, executive assistant to the vice president of administrative services, an official printed sign made by the college is normally posted if a vending machine is out of service. The handwritten notes that are displayed were most likely written by a student who had trouble with the vending machine.

“I don’t know who might have done that, but it’s nice to know now so I can contact Canteen and let them know there’s a problem,” Santiago said.

That same day, the notes were taken down, and a Canteen technician was called to solve any issues.

Students who have lost money have contacted the number for Canteen located on the side of the machine and have gotten no response from the company. If a machine is inoperable, the administration is in charge of contacting the company directly.

Students are often moving quickly from one class to the next and do not have time to figure out how to get their money back. For cash refunds, students are advised to go directly to the Fiscal Services office located on the first level of building 4.