It was one those mornings when I arrived at work and the only thing I wanted to drink was something carbonated. Not coffee, not water, not anything else. My body was craving a soda and that was the only thing that would satisfy it.
So up to the kitchen/dining area I went to deposit 75 cents into the machine and punch in Number 51, the slot reserved for my ice-cold, luscious and beloved Diet Pepsi.
The machine we have at work isn’t the standard soda-vending machine with the selection buttons and the dispensing hole that’s barely large enough to accommodate the can once it drops from an unfathomable height from within its mechanical bowels. Instead, it’s got a bar that raises from the bottom that is triggered the second you make your selection. Once the arm reaches the appropriate level, a mechanical hand extends from it to gently grab your beverage – it offers various types and not just soda – which then lowers to the right side of the machine. A door then opens and the robotic hand hand gently places your beverage into the door. It closes and a door in front of the machine opens and voila, satisfaction.
If only it were that easy today.
Getting back to my story. After I chose Number 51, the machine slid over the the slot, and the hand extended and attempted to grab the can. I say “attempted” because that’s exactly what it did.
For whatever reason, the hand could not grab the can so it tried again. Nope, it slipped through its fingers like so many grains of sand. A third time and still nothing.
The display prompted me to make another selection so I did just that: a Diet Coke on the same row.
Yeah, pretty much the same thing happened. It was like playing one of those damned claw machines that you never win shit with because the stuff inside is systematically designed to weigh more than the claw’s capacity. Again, it tried three times with this can and nothing.
So I try for the Diet Coke a few rows up and wouldn’t you know it, the same thing happened.
By now I was running out of choices. I don’t drink regular sodas because they are too sweet I didn’t want to put more money in the machine because, let’s face it, those things rob you blind with the mark-up on the items inside.
The only diet soda left in the machine: Diet Mountain Dew.
This was it. It had to work because I was like a smoker having a nic-fit. I entered the appropriate slot number, watched the bar rise to it, the hand extend and…
Nothing. Nope, it failed once again. But it continued to try and on the third attempt, the hand had succeeded and I was finally on my way to enjoying something carbonated, regardless of its flavor.
It was like watching something in slow motion. The anticipation. The overall joy. The elation of finally getting what I wanted was about to happen.
I watched the arm, hand lovingly holding the can of Diet Dew, slowly make its way to the bottom of the machine and oh, could I taste it.
And that’s when shit happened.
Within seconds, my sheer elation had turned to WTF? when I witnessed the hand suddenly and uncharacteristically squeeze the living shit out of the can, splitting it in half. All I heard was the PFFFFFZZZZKT of the spraying and then saw Diet Mountain Dew all over the inside of the machine and on the glass. The arm then tried to lower to the door to dispense the can but it was sideways in the hand, split open, oozing all over the place. The arm then rose about a foot and stopped.
The fucker didn’t even give me my change.
This moment was too good to pass up so I ran down to my desk to grab my phone so that I could take a picture of the carnage:
Ka-poosh. Fuckin’ Diet Mountain Dew all over. I went back to my desk unsatisfied.
I then had to share the story with the boss since she needs to know about these kinds of things. She even requested the picture you see above. And in the end, I was able to recoup my loss when I saw the guys working on the machine during lunch, telling them that I was the unsuspecting and indirect cause of the machine’s malfunction.
…and it wouldn’t give it to me.
Not bad, eh? The situation wasn’t a total loss, and those will look pretty sweet on my mountain bike.