I know iPad and iPod and gizmo-disgorging vending machines are nothing new, but it was still unnerving to see one as I passed through a Macy’s men’s department this weekend. I kind of hate it, and I kind of love it.
The machine was against the wall, to the side of several round tables stacked with dress shirts. It was an unexpected sight. I guess impulse buys aren’t just for Skittles anymore. Yes, the iPad vending machine. Perfect for those times when you’re running late and need to pick up a 3-pack of Hanes and a $499 multitouch WiFi-enabled tablet computer in the same trip.
Then again, I had to go to this mall twice in one day as I was dropping off and picking up my laptop for repair at the Apple Genius Bar. When I hit the epicenter of the mall on the second trip, I became very tired and felt like I had entered into a time vortex. I parked in two different places, which only amplified the feeling of disorientation and despair. Why does it take so long to get from one part to the other? Why do I feel like I’m moving so slowly? Is someone really buying a Power Band from a mall cart?
So, maybe a vending machine with a gadget that I want right by the door of the anchor store’s men’s section, letting me dash in and out of the mall’s event horizon without getting sucked into its singularity, isn’t just not the worst idea ever. It’s a kiosk of convenience, dispensing mercy.
I just hope my hundred dollar bills aren’t too wrinkled for the machine to accept.