Vending Machine Vices – Condoms and Candy Bars


An argument for staying at motels without vending machines in the lobby.

There is something unseemly about a vending machine that hangs boxes of condoms next to the Twix candy bars. Such was the case at the Cheapo Motel where I stayed during a trip to Boston. The room included no amenities, no mini bar, coffee maker, or tube of shampoo. However, everything needed could be found in the vending machines in the lobby: toothpaste, shampoo, miniature soap and, yes, even condoms. There was no room service unless you included pizza delivery from down the street.

Since the motel room really didn’t exactly provide a fine dining ambiance, I ate at the more upscale Mexican joint on the next block where I sat drinking Appletinis at the bar. Maybe, if I had allocated booze money toward my trip budget, I might have stayed at a one-star or even a two-star motel. The Cheapo Motel had no star at all, red giant, or dwarf.

However, despite the low life decor, the motel had excellent service. The pseudo concierge, desk guy was always helpful. When trying to figure out which tours to take of Boston, he always offered advice by answering questions with, “I honestly don’t know.”

“And your name is . . .?”

“I honestly don’t know.”

Someone else must have been hitting the Appletinis besides me, I thought. Though I had pegged desk guy as a beer drinker. The six-pack he used as a paperweight on the front desk was a good indicator. Other than desk guy’s lame responses, he was a rather affable fellow. He smiled a lot despite a hunk of lettuce permanently wedged between his two front teeth. I found out later that he did know another phrase besides, “I honestly don’t know.” A line he uttered twice as often. “You can find it in the vending machine.”

Three over-sized vending machines barely fit into an alcove off the lobby. One machine contained candy and drug store items, the other soda and water, and finally last, but not least, ice, which was quite popular among the brown bag-huggers who stumbled into the lobby with drool running down their chins. Not being an expert on hobo toxicology, I naïvely thought that ice went into a drink but was wrong. One brown bag-hugger I encountered waiting for the elevator felt obligated to explain why he held a bag of ice along with a brown bag.

“I keep it for hangovers,” he said.

“Ah,” I responded, then took two steps back. His 100-proof-breath nearly knocked me over. If I had remained close to him for another minute or so, the fumes would have likely intoxicated me. It was 3 p.m. I never drink before 5 p.m.

Hugger had his own set of rules, too. “I only buy booze when I’m sober,” he muttered, before stepping into the elevator. Then added, as the elevator doors closed, “So the liquor store guy doesn’t think I’m a drunk.”

Somehow, what hugger said made perfect sense.  I pondered his words while sauntering over to the vending machine alcove in front of the candy/drug store items. I stared at the Twix candy bar hanging next to the box of rubbers. Maybe it was the drunk’s breath talking, but suddenly it all made sense to me. I had never realized it before, but there was something slightly phallic-looking about a Twix candy bar.


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18 Comments Vending Machine Vices – Condoms and Candy Bars

  1. Bonehead

    Nothing more frightening than those cheap roadside motels. I spent a week one night at one in Shawnee South Carolina and that unique musty smell has really never left my memory.

    I'm more of a Three Musketeers fan, but will never look at a Twix Bar quite the same way!

  2. Lauren

    It was horrible. A smell like that can linger in your head forever. I actually like Twix bars but will never forget that image of the vending machine.

  3. kasabiangirl

    That must have been a horrible experience but you have described it in such a funny manner…I can't stop smiling when I think about how the Cheapo motel, the desk guy and the vending machine must have been like 😉

  4. Lauren

    Hi Kasa,

    Welcome back!!! Hope you had an amazing holiday. I'm glad you liked it. It was a horrible experience. But as always, the best thing to do about a horrible experience is to make light of it.

  5. pinklilybit

    Interestingly, K-mart is situated in much the same way in our town, though its childrens back packs and lunch boxes half a row away from lubes and condoms, and of course, when the condoms fail but the lubes do their job, pregancy tests, a solomn reminder to buy the condoms.

    Loveing you blog, following you!

  6. Lauren

    Hi Pink, (can I call you pink?)

    Why do stores do that? Bad stores! And I thought sex education belonged in the home. Just bring your child to K-mart and take her down the sex ed aisles to explain the birds and the bees. Why do they call it the birds and the bees any way? That would be cross-pollination. I'm following you, too.

  7. Name: Holly Bowne

    Hmmm…perhaps the desk concierge guy was not a native English speaker. Then again, "I honestly don't know." Ha, ha, ha! A funny post!

  8. RJ Roxas

    Wow, I'm so sorry for that experience. I've had the complete opposite happen to me, actually; I've stayed at well known brand name hotels, but the service and quality was about as poor as that cheapo motel you unfortunately had to experience.

    The phrase "You get what you pay for" has died after my stay.

  9. RJ Roxas

    The only way to get a pizza was ordering it from a restaurant from the area. Ironically, the "cafe" in the hotel had a limited amount of choices, with the cheapest item being about $25 or so. That one hotel probably ruined my opinion about the other ones in the chain.

  10. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

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