Custom Vending Machines and The Need for Fewer Choices

vending machineI was coming out of a restaurant with my girlfriend in a hip part of town and I saw a custom vending machine. It was filled with bike supplies, spare tubes, patch kits, wrenches and the like. How convenient, I wondered, with so many bikes in this part of town, right under the bridge, surely this bike vending machine gets lots of business. What a great idea. I had never seen a custom vending machine like that before.

That you could put anything in a custom vending machine and watch it sell, goodness willing, really blew my mind. If I had my druthers I’d put literature in custom vending machines. I’d place them in airports and train stations and doctors offices — shorts stories and novels by Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Chekhov. Classics, you know. When you give people too much choice, it’s overwhelming. Give them ten or twenty choices and they can eliminate what they don’t like and choose what they do.

In the meanwhile I guess I’ll be on the lookout for other vending machines, ones that are there for me when I need them. And when I really need them, they’ll be there, because that’s how fate works.If not, I’ll take my business elsewhere, and probably be overwhelmed with choices.