There’s this wonderful thing in the lobby of my workplace. It dispenses tasty food with the touch of a button (and some cash), and that food has the power to make me happy 5 seconds to 5 minutes after it goes into my mouth (depending on whether I needed a psychological boost or a blood sugar boost). It really is fantastic.
There’s a dark side to vending machines, however. A candy bar or a pack of vanilla cream cookies shouldn’t cost $0.75 or $1.00. I could buy an industrial-sized pack of MoonPies with the money I waste each month on vending machine food.
So here’s the dilemma. (Please note that the dilemma is not about whether I’m killing myself by eating massive quantities of candy bars and vanilla cream cookies.) When I do buy junk food at the grocery store and take it to work, I hypothetically save myself the expense of vending machine snacks. But an entire bag of mini-Snickers bars can disappear in under a week at my desk. A box of Oreo cookies can mysteriously vanish in a couple of days. In fact, I ate a box of Oreos in one day a few months ago.
Instead of having cheaper snacks, I end up spending the same amount of money and consuming five to ten times as much junk food. I’ve tried sharing with co-workers, using self-control, and just plain avoiding junk food. None of those things fixed the problem, and avoidance made me extremely grumpy. Nobody wants that.
I’m really unsure of the best solution to this problem. Admit that I love vending machines and continue with my poor spending habit? Start putting snacks into zip lock bags every morning and keep the rest of the temptation safely locked away in my pantry? Continue to waver between excessive snack spending and excessive snack eating? Yeah, that’s probably what will happen. At least all of my self-control will be saved up for things I have a chance of conquering–things like running and vacuuming on a regular basis.