Hello! Thank you for the warm welcome into the industry. I have now worked for VendingMarketWatch and Automatic Merchandiser magazine for a little over four weeks and wow how much I have learned.
My introduction into Cygnus Business Media and Automatic Merchandiser was very much analogous to jumping from a diving board for the first time. In both instances, there was something unknown in the experience. I couldn’t tell what was on the other side, but it looked incredibly interesting, so I took a chance, jumped, and hoped for the best. The scary thing about taking risks is being unfamiliar with the landing. For me, there were many questions: What could I possibly have to say about the vending industry? What does OCS stand for? People keep talking about micro markets, what IS a micro market? So naturally, as a Millennial, I Googled the terms “micro market” and “OCS” on my first days at work. What I encountered were old Wikipedia results, incorrect acronyms (there is no way OCS could stand for Officer Candidate School in this industry) and articles about “cashless vending.” Within one hour of my employment I realized two things: the vending industry is not simply black and white and I couldn’t have been more relieved that I took a chance and jumped right in.
No quarters, no candy
When I was younger, getting a snack from vending machines was always a privilege. Vending machines required quarters and as a child, I always somehow managed to lose all of the change I found. Because I rarely had quarters or dollar bills, I was ecstatic whenever I could gather enough change to walk up and choose from the dozens of items behind the vending window. Over the years, however, I got my first job as a lifeguard and immediately obtained a debit card. The end of cash and quarters was upon me. Pulling out the rectangular piece of plastic became second nature to me and it has been habit ever since then to never carry any cash or change. Everything I buy, I buy with a card. Now I really couldn’t use vending machines.
In college I worked at a gym that had one food vending machine and one drink vending machine, both of which were “cash only.” There were many days I would search through my backpack for loose change, but alas, without any luck. I would think I should invent a vending machine where I can just use my debit card or better, my ID number! I had no idea that type of technology has been in existence…for years. Over the last four weeks I have been introduced to vending and OCS companies, brands, manufacturers and distributors who have all confirmed to me that this industry is both large and vital. With all the new technologies and emerging vending ideas to enhance consumer experiences, I believe that students and children younger than me will have a different vending experience.
Until we meet
It is fascinating how innovative the vending and OCS industry is becoming with the growing popularity of micro markets and EMV technology devices. Even in the few weeks of working in the industry, I have witnessed multiple acquisitions, company leadership changes and new technology introductions. There is still so much I have to learn about the industry and I am very fortunate to be able to work with such a knowledgeable staff at VendingMarketWatch and Automatic Merchandiser magazine. I have had the wonderful pleasure of meeting several industry representatives already and I look forward to working with and meeting many of you in the future. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments. You can reach me at Adrienne.Zimmer@VendingMarketWatch.com.