Vending machines require recalibration after change in vendor

Jackson LaMarNews Writer

Hoot Loot is one of the convenient features for students to pay for food, supplies, etc. It raises concerns however when that convenience is taken away for something so simple like a vending machine.

Since the start of the year, nearly every vending machine on campus lost its ability to accept Hoot Loot. This technical difficulty has to do with a change in the vendor.

Todd Mason, director of Financial Business Applications at the card office, shed some light on the situation.

“We had Coke do our beverage machines for a long time,” Mason said. “And they didn’t keep their end of the bargain so to say.”

The problem with coke is was that they did not fill the machines as quickly as Southern wanted.

Because of this, many of the machines were empty for an extended period of time.

“We re-contracted with Berkshire who does the snack machines, to also do the beverage machines,” Mason said, “and what’s happening right now is the transition between those two.”

Part of that transition between Coke to Berkshire is also changing the card readers from the old readers from Coke, to the new readers from Berkshire.

“I don’t know when we do keep in contact with Berkshire about it,” Mason said. “They haven’t given us a definitive date yet, but it is in the process.”

Hoot Loot is a part of every Southern students life and some students need this card to buy drinks and snacks because they may live to far from home. However, for some students it is seen as an unnecessary step that they can not live without. Marvin Wilson, associate director for the Office of Residence life, spoke that Hoot Loot might be on its way out the door.

“I think it’s probably one of those things where depending on who you speak with, the response will be a little bit different,” Wilson said. “A lot of students honestly have a credit card, a debit card, or cash now.”

Wilson said that this feedback came up a couple times during a couple of Residence Hall Association’s meetings. Because of some of these suggestions from students there could be a change for students who live on campus.

“Some students use the Hoot Loot for the laundry machine,” said Wilson. “And actually may move away from that because we got feedback that students don’t like to have to add money to their card to utilize things, they rather use their cash or their debit, or their credit card.”

There are no concrete plans at this moment to replace drying machines.

Exploratory major Austin Farb, freshman says that every student has their ID at all times so might as well make it accessible.

“I feel like they should use it,” Farb said. “It’s probably the easiest way of paying since everyone has their card at all times, so why not.”

Although this problem seems rather minor, vending machines still could be an important part of a student’s life and they will need to be able to
access them.

“It’s a small enough issue that could be fixed and benefit most of the students here,” Farb said. “It’s just simple and easy to use your card for paying for anything on campus, and I see a lot of people getting energy drinks all the time so they rely on those vending machines.”


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