Tom Britten is president of Britten Management Services, based in Zephyrhills, Fla. He is a full service consultant to the food and vending industry. He can be reached at 813-469-5437; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Force vend is a condition where the vending operator programs the machine not to give a refund after inserting payment, but not making a selection. This practice is considered to be unethical to many within the industry, but, some operators and bottlers still practice it.
Proposals promise a flood initiatives designed to sky rocket customer satisfaction, and infrared sensors are used to guarantee product delivery, double your money back refunds are offered if you’re dissatisfied with any product, all to create a positive vending purchasing experience, yet, operators often program their machines in a force vend, anti-customer, mode in direct conflict with their own customer satisfaction policies.
The vast majority people in this industry work very hard to advance the image of their company and the vending retail delivery system as a whole, still, as incredible as it may seem this practice persists. Honest mistakes, an occasional slip up, that’s understandable; but to deliberately mistreat the customer in this way is inexcusable.
According to a representative of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), while it has business and ethical standards that all members are required to sign, there is nothing in these standards about the practice of force vend. In my view this is an omission that should be addressed
I am not looking to police anything, but an industry position statement is needed to address the practice of "force vend." I offer these comments, as constructive criticism, to people and an industry that I care about.