vending machine antics

So I was in this caf that I go to a lot – its in the basement of a church and is run by the London Catholic Workers – its such a great place and saved my life (almost) last winter when I didn’t have anywhere to go with my girls.  They charge 50p for a bowl of soup and for that you get a warm welcome and, if you’re lucky, tales of their latest anti war/arms trade campaigning and subsequent imprisonments… so I think its a complete bargain all round…  Anyway, I was there this week and there was this new sweet vending machine, which of course caught Isla’s eye.   I was caving in and about to put my money in when someone explained that it was in fact a special machine, no less, which gives you the option of putting in either 50p or 40p. Apparently the idea is that the next person who comes to buy sweets will get more if you put in 50p but you will get exactly the same amount yourself if you put in 40p or 50p!   Anyway, much to our delight someone had put in 50p before us so we had loads of sweets, and as I’d managed to find a 50 pence piece I was quite happy to bless a stranger with an abundance of m&ms.  Afterwards the people who designed it asked me a few questions about it for a documentary their making and explained that its trying to get people thinking about how they can take responsibility for others through the way they consume… I had a look at their web site and they’ve got some really interesting things going on, including little music boxes placed around the streets which are powered by solar….they play uplifting music when its sunny to help people feel positive about being in a place  – cool.   Another idea I liked was trying and get people to like windfarms by putting images of them on products that try and promote idyllic images of the countryside, like Yorkshire Tea and Ambrosia Creamed rice.  Very funny and interesting I thought. Check ’em out…



3 responses to “vending machine antics

  1. Hi Rachael

    Will check out their site now.

    There used to be a 2p toll road in Porthmadog (don’t think it’s there anymore) and I always used to pay the bloke (yes, they paid someone to sit there and collect all the 2ps) 10p and tell him that the four cars behind were with me and watch in the rear view as they’d try to explain that they hadn’t a clue who I was.

  2. Hi Ed – its still there you know, only now its more like 20p – scandalous – and there is still a man there collecting. I like the idea of paying for the people behind though. When we were little we use to try and make friends with people in other cars by making big signs saying ‘Hello, how are you’ – in fact it was only a holiday activity so we were probably driving very close to the very road you’re talking about in fact, because we only ever went to Snowondia – poor us!

  3. good stories – bridge in lincoln like that, 10p and old man collecting – funny [michael]

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