Vending Machines

How to use a vending machine to get snacks and drinks on the go

Vending machines are a great way to get snacks and drinks on the go. If you’re using a vending machine, all you have to do is insert money and press the button for the item you want. If your item gets stuck inside the machine, you can either try to shake it so the item falls down or contact the company that loaded the machine for a refund.

Operate the vending machine

Find the price and code under the item you want to buy.

Look for the code and price under the item you want to buy. The code is either a series of numbers, letters, or both that you must enter to receive the item. Each row starts with a different number or letter. The price is usually to the right of the code. If the vending machine doesn’t have a clear window and only has pictures of the items, press the button for the item you want to buy. The price should then appear on the screen next to the coin slot. Otherwise, it will show that the item is out of stock.

Enter the correct amount of money for the item you want.

Flatten any bills you plan to feed into the machine so they are nice and flat. Look at the sticker next to the bill slot to find out the correct way to feed the bill. If you want to insert coins, put them in the coin slot. The amount of money you need to insert should be visible on the machine’s screen. Avoid using broken bills as they may not be accepted. Some machines do not accept banknotes over €10.

Swipe your credit card if it’s a newer device.

With newer machine models, you can also pay with a credit or debit card if you don’t have any cash with you. Locate the credit card reader next to where you are supposed to insert the bills. Swipe your credit card to complete your purchase.

Enter the code or press the appropriate button for your item.

Check the code for the item you want and enter it correctly. If you make a mistake, press the delete key or the cancel key on the keyboard. If the device doesn’t have any codes, just press the button for your item. Once the code is entered, the machine will eject the item for you to retrieve. Some soda machines dispense the bottles in a bin on the side of the machine.

Check the coin chute for change.

Look for the coin chute at the bottom of the machine where the change goes. If you inserted more money than your item costs, lift the coin chute door and remove your change.

Tip: Before you buy anything from the machine, check the coin chute and see if there is any change left in it from the person who used the machine before you.

Items received when stuck

Open and close the vending machine’s door when your item is near the floor.

Push the flap open to create suction inside the machine. If your item is loose enough, the vacuum will suck it down so you can remove it.

Shake the machine back and forth so your item falls down.

Place your hands on the side of the machine and hold it tight. Push it slightly to the side and now shake it. Any items that are loose or stuck should now fall down. If you can’t move the machine with your hands, stand to the side and use your body weight.

Call the phone number on the device for a refund.

Next to the coin slot, look for the phone number of the company that stocked the machine. If you weren’t able to retrieve your paid item, contact the company that stocked the machine and tell them about your problem so that you can get a refund. In the future, avoid using this machine where the items are stuck so you don’t lose any more money.


About the Author

Dylan Roberge

Dylan Roberge is a San Francisco-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience covering money saving and deal hunting. Before going freelance, he got his start as an editor at Yahoo Finance. These days he writes about mobile, tech gadgets, and lifestyle subjects for a variety of publications.