Freshmen vs. Ramaz Vending Machines: Peace Was Never An Option


Aviva Schilowitz ’24

Some days you just want to eat Cheez-Its for lunch. There are no other kinds of days. Unfortunately, finding a stocked Ramaz vending machine this year is harder than finding Clorox Wipes in a CVS. The problem is that every time the Ramaz vending machines are restocked they are empty almost immediately. That may sound like an exaggeration but a few weeks ago a vending machine on the third floor was full in the morning and by the end of the day was down to misfits of the snack machine kingdom: Chex Mix, nuts, a few Hershey almond bars, and jelly-filled cookies, whatever those are. 

When stocked, the Ramaz vending machines have some good options. Based on my highly scientific research method of looking at the vending machines way too often, Cheez-Its are a popular choice and sell out almost immediately. Next, the chocolate snacks sell out; first the Twix, then M&M’s, then Snickers. Things took an unexpected turn with the last restock, when Hershey’s Milk Chocolate With Almond bars were added. Surprisingly, it was one of the last chocolates to sell out. 

Further research showed that the vending machines are emptied in a predictable order. It usually takes two days to empty the third-floor vending machine. Once that is empty, freshmen travel to the fourth floor, pretending to visit their lockers but really raiding the vending machine there, like ants travelling farther and farther from their hole as they use up local resources. The fourth floor vending machine sells out about a week after getting restocked. The sixth-floor vending machine is the last to sell out, probably because it’s the farthest away from the freshmen.                                                                                       In  a normal year, this is not a big deal. Ramaz has a lot of options available for lunch. This year, however, when there is no universal lunch and, worse, no Ramaz cookies, and students have fewer options and can’t share food easily in a pinch, the vending machines are an oasis in a food desert. Empty vending machines take away an option at a time when there are very few alternatives.                                                                                              

    I  think Ramaz can do better in the vending machine department and I’m here to help with suggestionsFirst, let’s start with the most obvious solution: restock the machines more frequently.

Second, make sure that when the machines are restocked, the machines are fully restocked. Recently, when the vending machines were restocked, it was only with a measly few snacks, usually Cheez-Its (yay), Chex Mix (meh), and chocolate bars (yay-ish). There is no reason to restock only part of a machine. That’s a lost opportunity. Whenever possible, machines should be fully restocked.

 Third, instead of wasting space in vending machines with unpopular snacks, like jelly-filled cookies, use that space to stock more of the snacks that sell out fast. I dream of a day when there are double or even triple rows of Cheez-Its and Twix, lined up like soldiers waiting for their F5 or F6 marching order. In light of the limited food options this year, I would also suggest adding some foods that resemble a light lunch, not just candy and snacks. For example, how about offering some Kind bars and trail mix? 

Finally, Ramaz should look at this problem as an opportunity. We’re Ramaz. Let’s have excellence in the vending machine department matching our school’s excellence in other areas. Maybe we need a Dean of Snacks. I volunteer myself. Ramaz could distinguish itself from other schools by offering MadeGood granola bars and balls. This is a very popular snack and healthier than most of the current options. Let’s also get some refrigerated vending machines so we can have more options, like Sabra hummus and pretzels, yogurt, and string cheese. Just make sure to keep them stocked because we freshmen are hungry!