I’m pretty sure that most of you have heard about some of the stuff that ends up being sold in vending machines across the world. There are all kinds of weird food items, high-end electronics, and all manner of items that you wouldn’t normally think would end up in a machine that sits side by side with a soda can vending machine. The fact that these new machines continue to pop up is testament to the love affair that the world seems to have with vending machines. The latest group to hop on board the vending train are the great minds at Harvard, and unlike some of the pother crazy machines across the globe, the items in the school of higher learning machine makes perfect sense.
While you might expect the average vending machine at a university to be filled with snack foods and energy drinks, the Momba machines at Harvard contain items that every student needs in order to survive. The machines contain such essentials as shampoo, toothbrushes, red cups, and of course phone chargers so that students can call home for an extension on their credit card. They can actually use those cards to pay at the Momba machines, as well as cash and even campus currency.
While some may be quick to write off this new breed of vending machines as nothing more than a cool little gimmick, the reality is that the idea actually delivers on a need that students have. The university is located in an urban area and has experienced a recent spate of violent attacks and rapes on and around campus. the last thing a student wants to do is run out of something vital, only to be forced outside late at night. The Momba machines allow them to get the items they need without putting their personal safety at risk.
The name Momba is derived from the phrase “mom bot’” because, let’s face it, it’s usually the matriarch of the family that is responsible for making sure that their child received regular care packages filled with all those essential items. The machines aren’t likely to take the place of Mom any time soon, but they can help cover the students during those times when they run out of the essentials before the next care package arrives.
It’ll be interesting to see just how well the machines do at Harvard, with success likely to lead to Momba machines showing up in schools all over the country. If you have given some thought about getting into the vending machine business and think that the Momba machines will take away some of your potential business, think again. As much as students need toothpaste and cell phone chargers, they still need those energy drink and sugary snacks to help them cram through the night for that next big exam.