You know, there are certain signs once should heed. It could be one of those instinctive things that your gut just naturally tells you not to do or it could be one incident that might just eventually lead to a chain of catastrophic events.

Mine came a few weeks ago and yes, I should have listened.

I’m a brown-bag lunch kind of guy and have been since I decided to lose weight. Granted there are times when I decide to eat out for lunch or tag along when a group of co-workers goes somewhere but for the most part, I pack my own. And on occasion I look in my bag and decide that what I packed wasn’t quite enough or not exactly what I wanted.

That’s when vending machines come in handy–or drive you crazy.

It was a few weeks ago when I posted this picture to Twitpic, expressing my overall disappointment in the fact that my bag of Pop Chips was thrown into a state of suspended animation as it was dispensed. As you might be able to see, there is another door inside the vending machine that I suppose is designed to deter or discourage theft. When you stick your hand in the machine, the secondary door appears from out of nowhere and protects the machine’s precious cargo from those looking for a freebie. (But should you be fortunate enough to have pliable limbs like Plasticman, you’re still good.)

This somewhat superfluous door, however, presents a few problems as well. First, it increases the chances of items getting caught while making their break for freedom and, if they do get stuck and no matter how hard you shake the machine, it’s damn near impossible to get them out.

But let’s get back to the signs.

This morning, instead of opting for what’s becoming an extremely unwanted habit of drinking a cup of Michael Jackson Coffee (you figure that one out), I meandered over to the cafeteria for a can of Diet Pepsi. I had brought enough change from home to easily buy a few if I needed to.

So I plop 75 cents into the machine and make my selection. Nothing happened.

I try it again and still, nothing. It was then when I looked at the blue LED screen and it was flashing “EXACT CHANGE ONLY” (or 65 cents). Only having quarters I figured I might as well try the bottle machine instead. I wanted my fix.

I take a few steps over to the bottle machine which gladly took my 5 quarters. I make my selection and this time the machine’s display reads, “Please Make Another Selection”. I guess I didn’t want that Diet Pepsi today.

A bit disappointed, I hit the Change Return button–and only get 4 quarters back. Sonofa…

Dejected, I trudge my way back to my desk and get to work. Hours pass and it’s now lunchtime so I head back.

I entered the cafeteria and gave both machines the stink-eye. I could almost hear them telling me, “GET OUT OF HERE, MORENO!” But I didn’t. Instead, I walked right past them and thought I’d take my chances with the food machine again. After all, what were the chances of having another bag of chips get caught in there, right?

There were bags of Harvest Cheddar SunChips in there. My favorite. Much like Sun-Dried Tomato Wheat Thins, I think the secret ingredient is crack or something because once I start eating them I just can’t stop.

I reached into my pocket, grabbed 4 quarters and dropped them in, make my selection and as the machine dispensed my 15 cents in change, I could almost taste the cheddar cheese goodness that was about to hit my tongue.

Except for one small problem…

Yeah, so…how was your lunch today?

UPDATE: For some reason, I’ve gotten over 300 hits today! Go figure!