A Critique of the School Vending Machines

Caleb Conklin, Reporter

At our high school, it’s a common opinion that the vending machines aren’t very good. You hear this all the time from students to the point where some of them will sneak into the teacher’s lounge in order to use their vending machine. Just how bad are these machines, and why are they like that?

I have multiple critiques of the vending machines. For one, they are only open during lunch, and if you have first lunch, administrators take about ten minutes to open them. I understand that they aren’t always open to prevent kids from wandering the halls to grab a snack during class, but I feel they should at least be open before class in the morning and maybe even in between classes.

Sometimes the selections in the student vending area are just a bit lacking.

They’re also not restocked or repaired as much as they should be, with them often being out of order or devoid of snacks. Several times, I’ve put money into these machines, and it didn’t give me anything and just took the money, and other times they have failed to dispense change. This occurs so often that the staff has hung up signs warning students that they may not get their money back.

Look into a stocked vending machine and you’ll see much of the same: baked chips, whole-grain pop tarts and cookies, fruit snacks, and cereal bars, with all the sodas being diet. Many students are upset by this, and want full snacks without dietary elements, but why are they like this to begin with?

As of 2014, all foods sold at school during the school day are required to meet the Smart Snacks nutrition standards. In simple terms, these standards say that any food regularly sold in schools must not exceed pre-set limits on fat, sugar, sodium, and calorie content. Most average snack food simply doesn’t meet these requirements, hence why they use the dietary versions of most of the snacks. This is really the only way to serve these snacks at schools. So remember, next time you complain about the lackluster food in the vending machines, it’s not the school’s fault, it’s a matter of law.