Saturday, September 22

Does Anyone Have Abe Foxman's Phone Number?

I have reason to believe the vending machines at my office are anti-Semitic.

Yesterday, I had gone to the break room in search of one last snack and drink before sundown. I dropped 65 cents in one of the vending machines and selected a Snickers bar. The machinery whirred, the candy bar fell, and then -- as if shot from a cannon -- the Snickers ricocheted off the glass and into a vacant space near the gum and mints.

It just could have been a fluke of physics, but it felt as if the vending machine deliberately threw the candy bar against the glass, instead of just dropping it, so that it wouldn't land in the right place.

I fished in my pockets and came up with another 65 cents. I selected another Snickers. There was a pause, a hesitation, but eventually the machine let the candy bar fall.

Then I went to buy a drink from the neighboring vending machine. As I didn't have enough change, I unfolded my wallet and retrieved a dollar bill.

I inserted the bill. Didn't work. I tried another. Nope. The machine wasn't even reading the bills and spitting them back out: it wouldn't even suck them in.

If I hadn't been forced to buy a second candy bar from the first vending machine, I would have had enough coins for the soda vending machine. Of course.

Yeah, it's kind of pathetic that a nice Jewish boy has to resort to a Snickers and a diet Coke as last meal before the 24 hours of repentance, prayer and fasting that we call Yom Kippur. (And, in this case, I didn't even get the diet Coke.) These are the sorts of compromises that I'm assuming nearly every Jewish American makes as we try to fit our religious holidays into our professional, secular lives.

However, it's really pathetic when the vending machines in your office conspire against you as you're trying to eat one last bit of food before you rush off to Yom Kippur services.

I went back to my desk and ate my Snickers. I complained a little. And, of course, I did make sure to go back and leave a note on the vending machine that owes me money:

Oops! In an effort to weed out extraneous photographs from my Flickr account, I accidentally deleted a few necessary pictures from my blog, including this one.

If I remember correctly, the note I taped to the vending machine said something like: "Denying someone a Snickers bar before sundown on Yom Kippur -- that's just cruel! This machine owes Dave Simanoff 60 cents." A few days later, I finally got a reply: it said that people who "loose" money in the vending machine should contact the security department to arrange for a refund. (Added on Dec. 13, 2007).

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