Vending machines, authorizing annoyance

Aaron Pabon/Staff Writer

Everyday, a handful of students at FIU will make a gamble.

That gamble: trying to make a purchase at the vending machine.

Many times, vending machines designed for our convenience rise up and decide to steal students money. Sometimes the issue is the machine will simply eat your money, other times your prized snack is stuck hanging from a coil. But living in the 21st century, our “first-world problem” has evolved and transferred over to the card readers.

The use of the card was designed to make buying something from the vending
machines easier, but even the card readers have been plagued with

They almost never work.

The reader display will often say “cash only” and others are not even
connected to a network to even read cards. You will, however, occasionally find the one that looks like it will work.

Looks like.

You pull out your Panther Card and swipe it. You then see the pack of Pop Tarts that will hold you over in your two hour class. You punch in the  code to buy it, but the display tells you to “make another selection”. Dumbfounded by this, you make another selection, but it also doesn’t work.

After trying every code, you give up and hit the red button that will cancel
your selection, but the display still says to “make another selection.”

Sometimes the machine will charge your card for all of the selections you made.
Recently, I tried to purchase a muffin from a machine in GC. I had the
“make another selection” issue, so I settled on a bag of cookies. The
screen then said “authorizing request.” I waited about three minutes,
hoping that the coils would turn.

After punching the code three more times to make the purchase, I gave up. I
decided to hit the red “cancel payment” button, but the display still
read “authorizing request.”

I went to the ATM to make a withdrawal, and was surprised to notice that
the “purchase” from the vending had went through and charged my card.

While you can go to the OneCard office to get a refund, this is a major inconvenience.

I ask FIU to fix the readers, connect them to the network, or just get rid of them.

I would rather elbow check a machine with my snack hanging by the coils than deal with an untrusting card reader.