Vending machines provide snack convenience and lucrative side hustle


At lunchtime, the Cougareat fills up fast and students get impatient waiting for their food. Some students have figured out a trick to skip the wait in the Wilkinson Student Center: the vending machines.

Even though students know the vending machines only sell overpriced snacks, they are willing to pay a few extra dollars to save some time.

“To avoid the Cougareat, I will do anything. Because it is incredibly full of so many people and the lines are super long,” BYU student Sarah-Jane Christensen said.

The convenience of snacks often blinds students from the prices they are actually paying for the products.

“I do not look at the prices, I just buy what I feel like buying,” Christensen said.

“If I were to try to go to the Wilk and try to buy something, I’m probably going to be standing in line for at least 20 to 25 minutes,” BYU student Ryan Mitchell said. “I can pay a few extra dollars and get something at the vending machine for two minutes.”

According to the Penny Hoarder, most students and vending machine customers don’t realize that owning a vending machine was named one of the best side hustles in America, especially after the financial crash of the pandemic.

“The stuff they buy is incredibly cheap to buy in bulk then they price it really high compared with what you are getting, so I imagine they are making bank,” Christensen said.

For 2021, the Penny Hoarder blog said the vending machine industry gets $24.2 billion in revenue yearly, and is growing rapidly.

“Vending machines are overpriced, but I mean, people can charge whatever they want in a vending machine because of their convenience,” Mitchell said.

In 2019, the Automatic Merchandiser’s annual State of Industry survey showed that there were 2,175,756 vending machines in service with 6.5% located on a university or college campus.

Whether you are hungry for food or a lucrative side hustle, just remember vending machines are always an option.

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