The vending machine survey

I created a survey a long time ago that I’ve always wanted to solicit responses to. The results may be useful for an entry I’m writing. It asks two questions -ostensibly about vending machines- along with simple demographic questions (age/sex). No personal information will be collected. I’d appreciate it if you’d humor me by taking it. Thanks!

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  1. emily says:

    Done! I’m so curious what you are planning to use this for! I have to say, the clincher for me was the “too weary to continue walking” bit. That phrase changed how I normally would have answered.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I didn’t want to get too wordy but imagine you are very tired and very thirsty with no other options in sight. You’re between a rock and a hard place.

  3. Jay says:

    OK. Let’s see now, Sex…..(gosh, this is kind of personal). What the hell, I’m almost 60 and I wouldn’t call what me and the wifey do as sex…..but for the purpose of survey I’ll answer


    Next question is age. Oh boy. It used to be the Michael Jordon era but that isn’t an age and that’s probably just because I’m in Chicago. I used to say atomic age but I think we are past that.

    Age….computer age

    Are those the answers you are looking for K.F. ? (do you realize that if you married a guy named Cooper for example, your initials would be K.F.C. but then you’d have to grow and goatee and wear a white suit.

  4. Natasha says:

    Nothing gets between me and my diet coke. Even when I’m not hot and sweaty I will put more money into the machine to get one.

  5. The key for me is also too tired, and Hot… thinking I would go for it one more time,9 after giving the machine a shake… I also want to know what else is in the vicinity of the machine? water faucet, machine owner? surveys always leave little room for nuance.

  6. I’ve answered how I think I would respond, but the truth might be different…

    I’m inclined to think that if I were that desperate in the face of a thief machine, then the next thing I would put into it would be a brick, not more money.

  7. Sandra B says:

    Hmm, my response is probably quite different, because vending machines here charge $2 or $2.50 for a soft drink. So putting more money in is still cheaper than the norm, and therefore worth taking the risk that the second time will work.

  8. LizPf says:

    $0.75 is a very low vending machine price, at least in my area. [$1.50 is more typical.] This definitely affects my decision.

    But you didn’t give me the option to examine the machine and give it a good hard thump where I think it would do the most good.

  9. Barb Taylorr says:

    So I guess I’m an oddball, but I didn’t think the physical conditions even would effect my decision at all. I approached it logically and figured the odds of more coins making any difference were slim to none. Maybe the dollar bill portion of the machine would be a different function and not be broken. Perhaps that comes from having a father and a daughter that are engineers.

  10. Tricia says:

    My response was influenced by my past experience with the machines we have in my office building–EVERY time you use them is a gamble, but sometimes you get 2-3 items instead of just one, and sometimes an additional quarter or a different coin denomination can return results. I’ll gamble with $1 or $2 because I can afford to lose that, the reward is something I value, and on the office machines I can recoup my losses if I’m willing to fill out a form and wait a week.

  11. oriole says:

    You also didn’t mention if this machine had a glass front. The ones in our building do, and the soda usually gets hung in it rack and the window. So you can pick another number and have a better chance at getting your drink. Without the window I voted no on both especially if I can’t get my money back.

  12. Kathleen says:

    You also didn’t mention if this machine had a glass front… So you can pick another number and have a better chance at getting your drink. Without the window I voted no

    Some might look at this comment and think it’s splitting hairs but you know, it works for me Let’s say you can see product through a full glass window, nothing obstructs your choice but it doesn’t drop. Do you make another selection?

  13. sfriedberg says:

    I would try another selection.

    Like Mary Lombard, I would try again but with a limit on much I would sink.

    Like Sandra B, I am used to soda vendors charging more than $1.00, so the “.75 again” versus “1.00 escalation” isn’t a strong factor.

    As an engineer, it is frequently the case that a tool or an approach to solving a problem (quenching a thirst) doesn’t work. Trials to solve a problem aren’t free (in time or tool investment), so trying again is going to cost. But failing to solve the problem also has a cost. Deciding when to give up is an important management role, and it’s best when you can decide that before undertaking a solution in the first place!

    Unless some chance is involved, you don’t want to exactly replicate the previous trial. After all, it proved unsuccessful. In the vending machine case, it would be prudent to try a different selection. I am undecided whether to consider the escalation from .75 to 1.00 is an opportunity cost for the second trial itself, or a reflection that the second trial is fundamentally more expensive. Certainly we have some evidence suggesting that the machine isn’t returning change normally.

  14. Victoria says:

    I was unable to take the survey, based on the first question. You said , “You have more quarters, do you try again?”. To me, everything hinged on How Many more quarters I had. A pocketful would prompt me to try again, maybe dislodge something. Just three more , I would really have to stand and debate with myself.

    The dollar bill was easier, because it had more to do with the mechanics of the machine, and my previous 3-quarters ignoring that.

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