New Vending Machines Offer More Variety

By Aaron Ortega
Opinion Editor

On Nov. 5, the students, staff and faculty of Brookhaven College underwent dispensable beverage and snack item turnover. That Monday, patrons  across campus faced a brief drought of vending machine items, temporarily threatening rehydration and blood sugar levels.
Last September, the Brookhaven board of trustees approved a recommendation that would shift then-current vendor, Dr Pepper and Custom Food, to Canteen Food Services. Dawn Bishop, assistant to the vice president of business services, said this changing of the snack machine guard replaced the previous vending machines to incorporate more variety in available items.
One advantage of the change to Canteen Food Services, Bishop said, is offering a wider selection. With the previous vendor, students’ and faculty’s selection of soda had limitations. But with the addition of the new machines, Coca-Cola Co., as well as Dr Pepper and Pepsi products, are all available.
Bishop said another advantage of the new machines will be the addition of healthier snack options for those who want an alternative to the staple candy bars and potato chips.  “As far as the snack vending goes, we’ve asked for a long time to have more healthy food options in the vending machines. This contract agreement allows them to put at least two rows of healthy foods,” she said. Healthier options will include snacks consisting of less sugar and salt, as well as some kosher items.
With the exception of a wider variety of new items, some Brookhaven students shared light criticisms of the new machines. One student, fraught with frustration, struggled with the card reader of a machine in B Building. Jonathan Burns, a student, said, “Never trust new technology.” Bishop said, however, the campus community expressed interest in providing at least one machine with a credit card reader in each area.
Another drawback drawing some concern is the price change to various products. Alex Avalos, student, said the new machines look better. However, he said, “The old ones had better prices.” Burns echoed this sentiment. After minutes of debating the machine’s many options, Burns said, “This machine proves to be quite a rip off.”
Bishop said the new vending machines’ only impact on the college’s budget is positive.  The new machines provide favorable revenue of commissions. These commissions flow into Fund 12, the student auxiliary fund, which provides Brookhaven with revenue for  programs such as student clubs, food services and the bookstore. Bishop said: “That’s why we’re excited to provide them the vending machines. Not only to refresh us, it also helps provide funds for the students.”
With the new vending machines in place, some nuances drew Bishop’s attention. One example, Bishop said, is the inability to sell bottled Dr Pepper products in Coca-Cola Co. machines. However, Dr Pepper cans are possibilities in competitors’ machines.
The placement of the new machines will remain identical. Bishop explained if three machines occupied one space, three new vending machines will fill the same voids. New machines can be found in buildings: B, D, H, K, M, Q, S, T, W, and X.

Photo by Amy Price | Coca-Cola Co. employees install and fill new vending machines.