Don’s Vending Blog

Expensive Snacks

I dont know how many times I have heard this!  “You must be rolling in the dough, because of the prices of the products in your machines”.  I shared with you on my last few blogs back that there is a thing called overhead.  Which increases my expenses, to where you have to mortgage your home to buy a bar and a bag of chips from a vending machine.  A few weeks back one of my delivery vans engines blew!  It cost me over $700 to find out that it was blown, towing to the garage, just under $200.  Then another $250 to tow it to another garage to be repaired.  Promised it would be repaired for about $9000.00  by the end of the week, to which I said go ahead.   A week later and no engine!  Then I realized that I was throwing good money after bad and called my mechanic and put the brakes on it.  I decided to bite the bullet and buy a newer van with some warranty left and sell the old one for parts.  I asked my mechanic if he wanted to buy it hoping he would say yes and give me a few thousand.  He offered me $1000.00 which barely covered the cost of his deconstruction of my van.  Since I purchased this van for mere $600 to help me conserve my costs two years ago.  It has grown to close to $16000.00 in repairs so far.  With the engine it would have ended up costing me a further $10,000.00!! Totalling close to $30k!!  So you have to stop somewhere.  I am going to have it towed away so that I can part it out.  At least I will get something for it!  Its practically new everything except an engine of course.  Some would say you should have fixed it and some said use it as a boat anchor!!  So now you know why my chocolate bars are so expensive!

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More Interesting Ideas

So here we have someone stuffing things where they don’t belong!  As well as more coins that are bent or have goo on them!  One has a hole drilled through it so you can attach a line.  Which will allow you to drop you coin in and then remove it and drop it in over and over so that you can buy free stuff!  Sorry that does not work any longer, as soon as the coin is past the sensor you wont get it back!  That’s how it ended up in the cash box.

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Communication

In order to develop a great relationship with anyone it starts with communicating with each other.  In business its the same, especially with your customers, suppliers, employers and employees.  It also has a lot with being Honest.  That is how I have built my business for the last 16 years and it has served me well.  I have over the years built up a trust with my customers but as I have learned you just cant please everyone.  Most people want to avoid any type of confrontation with their service providers and instead will use these statements “We need the space”, “We are going in a different direction” or “We are renovating!”  I have heard this on several occasions over the years and each time I knew it was not the case.  It pains me when I hear this from my customers because they end up loosing in the end.  Sometimes because of the lack of communication they lose an opportunity to provide their own customers or staff the services they require.

As a vending service it is extremely difficult for me to be able to provide the best service I can if I don’t know that there is a problem in the first place.  Usually we can determine what the issue is as soon as we open the vendors door.  Many vending companies have the capitol to be able to afford expensive telemetry gear for each of their machines. Unfortunately my company has, used older equipment and I have to rely upon either my route driver finding the problem while he is servicing the equipment or a note left by a customer on my vendors.  (I love sticky notes!)  I have from the beginning, left a “wish list” on the vendor so my customers can let my route person know that there is an issue.  This simple thing has made many of my customers happy, because they know that its going to be rectified.  Even in this day and age of “sure vend” systems things will still get stuck or malfunction.  On each of my machines I have placed my business information on who to contact if there is an issue.

Once contacted, the vending company should be there within a day.  But I have had a few instances over the years where in a perfect storm of activity it could take up to two and maybe three days, which is normal.  But if it takes more than that then I would reconsider the company that is providing you the service.  If you have to call more than twice in one week to remind your vending company that there is an issue then you may need to reconsider. Even if they do not return your calls, its not a good sign.  But I must add that before you go through the pain of changing your service provider, give them a chance and call them or better yet ask them to pop by for a face to face.  IF you have given them chance after chance after chance then reconsider. If you are having weekly issues with the vending services then you will need to think it over.  I will more than likely be adding more on the topic of what makes a vendor tick but that will be for later.  If you are not happy let them know!!  And on the other sided if you are happy let them know!!  Its awesome when you do!

I had a new customer at a sawmill and I was there a month or so after purchasing this location.  In the process of stocking the machine I was approached by a big burly fellow who did not look very happy.  I thought oh oh someones not happy and I am about to get it with both barrels.  The guy walked right up to me and in a gruff voice demanded “is this your machine”  I replied yes and to my surprise he said “Keep up the good work” and walked away!  Wow I was almost speechless.  I had been preparing myself for a confrontation and poof it was gone in an instance!  It made my day!

As a customer you deserve great service!  My company’s motto is Honesty, Integrity, Service and Service!  Its how I have been able to stay alive in today’s market.  As one customer once told me “your machines may be old but the service is great!”

 

More junk

Hello snack fans!  Here is a photo of the items I discovered in todays haul!  IMG_0618.JPG

As you can see four of these coins will jam up the coin mech so no one can get their snacks or beverages.  Two are from another country, one is from I think is the philipines and other one that looks like a toonie, I am not sure!

Common Issues with Vending

In today’s blog I will be discussing issues that you may come across with vending machines and why.  For example you are standing in front of a vending machine money in hand and you drop it into the machine and make your selection but nothing happens.  Well people sometimes accidentally drop in a nickle thinking they dropped in a quarter.  Have a look at the screen to see what your credit is, is it the amount needed or are you short? Did it drop into the coin return and you missed it?  IF you are short drop in the appropriate amount that you may have missed and voila you have your snack or beverage.

Many many times I have been called to a customers location to service a machine that is taking peoples money.  The first thing I do when I get there I drop a coin down the slot to see if the coin is getting to the cash box or if it is getting stuck somewhere down the line.  If I don’t hear it hit the cash box, dollars to donuts there is a coin jam somewhere.  After opening up the machine I can quickly determine what the issue is.  Here are some examples of things that I have found in my machines that do not belong there.

In the first photo you see two dimes and a nickle, they have sticky residue on them that cause them to stick together and create a log jam.  Which eventually clogged the coin mechanism right up to the top. Effectively blocking anyone’s attempt to get at their snacks or beverage of choice.  In the next photo you see various examples of “coins” from around the world that do not work in our machines either.  In the third photo you can see a toonie that depicts our Queen on one side and a bear on the reverse, hence the Queen with a bear behind!  LOL  I digress!  You will notice the greenish goo all over it.  Well  I got a call from a customer complaining that they never got their change back.  This is what I found in the mechanism.  This coin ended up in the coin mechanism and not the cash box and when they paid for their item it could not eject the appropriate change as it was stuck together with another coin jamming the ejector.  If you are wondering the goo is it was mint gum!  Oh another trick, DON’T drop more than one coin down the slot, your just begging to get your cash taken.  And now your not only broke, because you used your last toonie until pay day, your still hungry and now your stressed!!

Some people wonder why snacks and beverages are expensive, more so than going to a corner store.  Well you have just witnessed some of the daily problems I have to deal with.  These small but insignificant things costs my company in time and labor, not to forget lost sales!  Also upset customers!  Which could potentially cost me the location due to continual “issues”  with my vending equipment.  Here is another reason that the price is higher than a corners store!  Vandalism!  I spend a lot of time and money on repairs to equipment that people get mad at for losing their quarter!  In one location three people were fired for vandalism and theft.  Some of my more expensive costs are cooling systems for the beverage machines.  Last year they cost $500 to purchase and now due to the low buckeroonie, they now cost as much as $1000!!!!  It also costs vending companies money to purchase the equipment.  It also costs my company anywhere from $150 to $300 to move my equipment to and from a location.

Any way folks I could go on and on about this  and I will later!  But I just want my customers to know the costs that I incur while having to deal with the day to day wear and tear on my equipment.  Some of my costs are: equipment, vehicles, gas, insurance, maintenance, wages, stock, loss of stock due to dating yada yada yada you get the picture! Its what we call in any business as “overhead”!    One other thing I would like to add is that “we deliver”  you don’t have to leave your work space to find a corner store to buy a snack from using up your break doing so! Anyway enough for now, I have another great topic for next time.  If I forget it will be on “Communication”  Have a great day and remember “IF you need Calories, I’ll Connect you”!img_0018