Yesterday I got a call from an East Coast vending operator who was mad. He was mad about the calorie posting mandate in the health insurance reform bill. He was mad that the government is trying to require vending operators to post calorie information. He was mad that the industry isn't fighting it. He was also mad at me for my October column. I suggested operators should consider video screens as a way to meet the requirement. This operator felt that a trade magazine should speak out against a proposed rule that places an onerous burden on vending operators. He had a lot of good points about the rule and the way in which the industry is responding to it.
The problem: There are simply too few operators like him who will take the time and trouble to make a phone call. More importantly, there are too few who will support their trade association -- the people trying to protect their interests. Nutrition disclosure is coming. The vending industry can't make it go away. The best it can do is suggest language that minimizes the work operators will have to do.
Who's fighting for vending? The National Automatic Merchandising Association. But vending operators can do something too. Join NAMA. Membership has always been low, and not due to the economy. Even in the prosperous '90s, not even a fifth of the operators joined. Maybe if more operators cared enough to support their trade association the industry would have a better chance of preventing unwanted regulations. So are you up for it? Let me know.