Vending machines for the new millenium


When I was a kid, summers meant trips to New York and Cape Cod. As we grew used to the incredibly long car rides, my sisters and I would develop traditions, milestones, road games, and other ways to make the time pass a little less excruciatingly slowly.

One of our regular stops was at the Maryland House, a rest stop on interstate 95, fairly close to the Delaware line. This was a good place to take a minute, grab some food, hit the bathrooms, restock on all the things we forgot, and generally stretch our legs. Best of all, it had a bank of beautiful, exotic vending machines. [AOL Small Business has a great gallery of quirky vending machines here.]

I remember staring at the wondrous goodies, trying to decide if I was going to spend my handful of change on a whoopie cushion, a smoking monkey, a key chain, a pair of magnetic dogs, or one of the dozens of other cool trinkets. I would weigh their relative benefits and deficits, until my parents made it clear that we absolutely had to leave, at which time I would employ the wisdom of Solomon to make my choice. For the next couple of hours, my parents could count on the little toy to keep me occupied in the back seat.