Vending machine review needed to prevent conflicts with food service contracts

Empty and unused vending machines begin to cause frustration for students with midday hunger


Photo by: Noah Banner

Empty machines enrage fellow students who look to find a snack.

Tyler Hughey, Journalist

   Vending machines at Northwest High School have not been adequately maintained and have issues that need to be addressed. This is due to the school administration not having access to the machines when there are problems and potential conflicts with food service contracts. 

   The machines are not regularly stocked enough and often take money from students at Northwest. There is also a snack vending machine sitting near the front entrance that has not been used and is simply collecting dust.

   Principal Phil Szczykutowicz is the main person who can help get vending machines filled. Still, all he is permitted to do is contact the company involved and follow any contract agreement, which needs to be reviewed because it could conflict with other contracts. 

   “There are two parts to it. We have a contract with SFE (Food Service) and would have to review it with them,” said Sczykutowicz. “They supply us with food, and we have to make sure we do not violate our contract.”

   Violating the contract with SFE could break the connection and could potentially lose free lunch services for all students.

   When the administration reviews the contracts, hopefully, sooner than later, we could have machines filled with items like P3s which are snack packs with nuts, meat, and cheese. 

   Until then, students will continue getting frustrated when the vending machines won’t give them their items or won’t return their money. 

   Senior Owen Khon believes these machines can be useful at times.

   “I like them when you just need a little something before lunch,” said Khon.

   In previous years, before the contract restrictions, Psychology teacher Tracy Dryer’s snack station was available to students but was recently taken away for similar reasons, restrictions with food service contracts. 

    At the beginning of the year, students were frustrated because the snack station allowed them to be less hungry and more focused in class. A simple alternative could be to start putting snacks in the empty vending machine. It would have a positive effect.

   Other students like Junior Aaron Hoaglin have mixed opinions on vending machines.

   “I have not had many issues with it, but I have seen kids try to use it and the card reader didn’t work. But then the next kid’s card did work or the vending machine would just take their money. Besides that I haven’t had many issues with them,” said Hoaglin.

      Vending machines could have a positive impact on helping students stay focused on academics and not when lunch starts. It is clear the students want more drinks and snacks in the vending machines, but for now, they must hope for contracts to be reviewed.