Vending Machines: Newspaper vs Soda

Why are Newspapers sold in vending machines that allow consumers to take more than one unit as opposed soda vending machines which only supply one item at a time?

Throughout the last few decades there have been noticeable changes in the technology associated with snack and soda vending machines.  From the simple machines where you insert a dollar bill and push a lighted button on the side to receive your soda, to the advanced touch screen machines that are able to accept Epayments through PayPal. However even with all the changes to the look of the machines the concept remains similar; put in X amount of money and receive ONE soda/snack in return.  While these machines are constantly evolving becoming bigger and flashier to attract more customers, newspaper vending machines have seemingly remained unchanged.  When looking at a newspaper vending machine they are usually old, banged up, mechanically simple and allow consumers to take as many papers as they would like once money has been deposited.  As such they are obviously simpler to repair, do not require much (if any) maintenance and cost a fraction to produce in comparison to their counterparts.  On the cost side of things it is easy to see that a newspaper vending machine is much cheaper to build and soda/snack vending machines would also be cheaper if built using the same method.  However the distinction is present on the benefit side of the analysis, whereas individuals who consume newspapers get very little utility from getting two or more of the same paper, individuals who consume sugary soda or salty snacks gain much more utility from consuming more than one unit (especially if two units can be consumed for the price of one).  The result of this difference in benefit/consumption is the need for heightened security with the distribution of soda as opposed to newspapers.

The only instance I could think of in which this wouldn’t be the case, is if it’s cold outside and a homeless person would gain utility from consuming more than one newspaper (for a blanket or whatnot).

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2 Responses to Vending Machines: Newspaper vs Soda

  1. kobzeffr says:

    Maybe updates to the newspaper vending machines haven’t made also due to the fact the newspaper industry has been suffering and on the decline since the internet boom in 90’s. Therefore creating and manufacturing a more advanced vending machine would not make any financial sense, newspaper ales have only continued to decline for the last twenty years and the industry does not have the financial resources or demand to improve or expand the vending machines.

  2. Samantha Palmer says:

    There will always be a need for soda and snacks. Even as time goes on candy bars, soda, and chips will always be a need in the daily life of the typical person. They gain utility from it. However, you can get the news anywhere. If you think about it back in early 1900s to the 1990s, newspaper companies hired paper boys to sell newspapers on the street. That is the only way you could get news, other than the radio. Today you can get the news on the internet. As we progress to tablets, the need for a physical newspaper is less and less, even magazines are taking a hit. Essentially when you are buying a newspaper, you are paying for information. Information that can change, after all, breaking news only lasts about a few hours or even minutes before the entire world knows about it through some social media site, but food is abstract and essential. It will always be the same you know exactly what your getting out it.

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