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Those of you with candy vending machines know this moment well. You walk up, you insert the change, and then you click in the letter and number of your respective candy selection. The first thing you wonder is whether you've punched in the right selection. Will you get M&Ms, or a Jolly Rancher by mistake? Then the moment comes.

The construction of candy vending machines, that I've seen anyway, is this. There is a rotating curling object which holds all the candy of a particular type. Thus, when money is inserted to the mechanism, the curl is rotated and the candy is pushed out of the curl by rotation until it is dropped.

This is the essence of the vending machine moment. For several seconds, you must wait, hoping that your respective candy selection will drop. If the candy has been improperly loaded by the representative of the vending machine establishment, the candy will not drop. The vending machine makes no apologies. Either you get your luscious treat or you do not. Calling the vending machine distributor will be of no avail. They will usually just ignore you or laugh. And the next person to purchase a candy of that particular type will get two units of candy sustenance for the price of one. All due to your misfortune.

So, the moment happens, you wait for the candy to drop, and sometimes it will sit on the edge. Taunting you.

What are your options? They are few:
  • Shake the mechanism of candy distribution. This is often dangerous and of questionable legality and use.
  • Try to convince a friend to purchase a candy of the same type. You hope that your friend is a moral person and does not simply wait for you to leave and purchase the candy, acquiring the candy that you have so desperately longed for as well as their own. As well, it is difficult to find a person who will purchase the exact same type of candy, and convincing them to give you the extra candy is difficult.
  • Call the distributor of the vending machine. This inevitably leads to failure and laughter on their end.
  • Purchase a second type of the same candy yourself. You only probably wanted one of the candy in question however, and the second unit of candy is unlikely to be enjoyable.
  • Simply give up. Its possible that you no longer have change, or simply do not care enough to try to solve the problem.
Obviously, the solutions available to the candy vending machine dilemma are often inadequate, and this is the essence of the vending machine moment.
There is another option available to you, but it requires some effort and dexterity, and a clothes hanger or other long piece of stiff wire.
  1. Take a clothes hanger and straighten it out. Make it as straight as you can, it must be at least as long as the distance from the top of the vending machine to the candy you are trying to get.
  2. There are a few holes in the top of the vending machine. They are always there. I have no idea what purpose these holes serve other than to allow clothes hangers to be stuck into the vending machine.
  3. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to knock the piece of candy off of it's perch. This does require some time, practice, and dexterity, but it is quite possible.
  4. Congratulations! You have now rescued your piece of candy. Enjoy.

Now, all of you immediately think, Wait, I can use this to steal candy as well. This true, but more difficult than you think, because most of the vending machines have holes that are too small to allow a hook in the end of the clothes hanger. So unless the candy is already about to fall, it is very difficult to get the candy free. You can steal candy this way though. A better bet is to try and steal the bags of chips, which are frequently easier to snag and tend to be near the top of the machine where you can more easily push them around. Disclaimer:I do not under any circumstances recommend doing this. Stealing is wrong.

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