Thursday, November 19, 2009

Home Vending Machine

Ever notice when you walk into someone's house, the one thing that's always missing is a vending machine? Mercifully, Maytag cared enough to do something about this injustice and created the

Personal Beverage Vendor, or "SkyBox."

This item doesn’t need money to dispense drinks – you just push a button. Bummer. What consistently ruins entertaining for me is the fact that guests can always pull a cold one out of my fridge without paying for it. So right there, you're losing the most attractive benefit. (When guests ask what to bring to my party, I tell them, "Cash.")

Still, there are plenty of reasons you can't live without your own vending machine, according to the product description. It reads, "Want to hear that satisfying vending-machine 'ka-thunk' when grabbing a cold beverage at game time? The SkyBox by Maytag brings the concession stand right to the living room, so you can savor the excitement of punching a soda machine. A backlight illuminates the front panel for that exciting vending-machine glow."

I'm sorry, but if you find the sound and the glow of a vending machine "exciting," and you aren't a Cyborg, then maybe you ought to get out more. Do you also become euphoric when brake lights come on, and find yourself aroused by ice machines? You may have a bigger problem than unorganized beverages.

A real perk: you can customize your SkyBox with the sports logo of your choice. (In their 42 choices for college teams, I notice they don't have a panel for the football team of my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Maytag must be afraid Ivy Leaguers find drinking out of cans too lowbrow.) And certainly, a vending machine improves anyone's d├ęcor. I'm ready to chuck my houseplants and antique credenza just to make room for this classy machinery that until now I've only had the privilege of admiring in institutional hallways.

Of course the best part of owning this product is that your kids will be even more drawn to drinking soda than they were before, if you skip using the parental locks. Do you realize how much money you've been wasting on your kids for toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and dentist visits? You won't have to pay for any of that anymore once they've drunk enough soda to rot away those high maintenance teeth for good. Even better, you can use the allure of the machine to finally get them into the habit of drinking beer. Many a parent has struggled with how to get a kid off Ritalin and onto something just as calming that the kid will stop forgetting to take. Problem solved.

I just wonder, though. Can Maytag meet expectations for authenticity? The thing would have to fail to dispense half the time. The labels would have to be rubbed off so you can't tell what you're ordering. It would have to be sticky as hell, be loud enough to wake the dead, and be easy to tip over. And it would definitely have to pop out warm Diet Rite no matter which button you push. Now for those kind of quality features, I'd pay double.