Our parent company, Cygnus Business Media, has had two offices in lovely, downtown Fort Atkinson, Wis., for many years. We are now in the process of consolidating our offices into one newly expanded and refurbished extra large facility. This move will also consolidate all of our 248 Wisconsin-based employees into one facility — a keen location for our new vending operator, Central Vending of Janesville, Wis.
A state of the art vending bank
Our new facility has two break rooms, each housing one Vendo cold beverage machine and one each of National Vendors' hot beverage, snack, food and combo machines. With the exception of the hot beverage machines, all of the venders have credit card readers! We will have more information for you in coming months because our editorial staff has been following the installation process and monitoring how our sales are doing. An operation profile of our experience will be featured in AM later this year.
Now, by this time you are saying, "So what!" "Big deal!" "Yippee, yippee." The real reason behind my column this month is the story of what happens when you take vending away from seemingly otherwise normal adults.
Transitions can be a challenge
Because our facility is being completed in stages, not all employees moved, en mass, to the new facility. In fact, as of this writing, the AM staff and a handful of other fellow employees are still left behind in the "old" building. However, the transition of vending operators occurred the third week in May, so for a couple of weeks, 80 employees in the "old" building were without vending.
Imagine 80 white and pink collar professionals — whining like you couldn't imagine — because they were suddenly deprived of their cold beverages, snacks, and, Oh My God coffee! If you have customers that say they really could "take it or leave it" when it comes to your services — don't believe a word of it!
'Give us our vending machines!'
We were literally without plumbed-in brewers for approximately 45 minutes — over the lunch hour — and I got one telephone call, three emails and two personal office visits from somewhat hysterical fellow employees who just wanted to let me know that the coffee brewers had disappeared.
For three days, people meandered in, strutted in, and galloped into my office with a complaint about not being able to buy their (fill in the blank) from the vending machine. I might add that these were the same folks who when questioned about their preference for vendible products at our new location, responded by saying, "I don't use the machines." "I don't eat packaged food." "I'm eating healthy." BULL!
Don't think you aren't appreciated
Our industry provides a service that is so important that lack of said service will quite literally, turn an intelligent, professional adult into a quivering lump akin to a cocaine addict in rehab! Give 'em a chip and a soda fix! I find that delightful.
The important point for everyone in our industry to remember is that we are important to the working people of America, more than they may know. Sometimes it takes an experience such as the one we just had to realize it.
And, as an aside to my fellow employees who may have been described above, thanks for caring.