OC HIGH / STUDENT NEWS AND VIEWS : Vending Her Sweet Frustrations

Ashley Johnson is a recent graduate of Corona del Mar High School, where this article first appeared in the student newspaper, the Trident.

When I walked on the Corona del Mar High School campus for the first time in my life, I was a tiny, lost, ex-private school girl. Gone was the safety of my uniform. Here you had to be an individual. Here you were a dork if you called break or lunch "recess."

All these were new challenges I had to face, but I still hadn't faced the biggest challenge of all: the vending machines!

In seventh and eighth grade, I didn't have the wonderful luxury of vending machines. I was forced to eat every day what my mother packed for me in my brown bag. When as a ninth-grader I encountered the vending machines at CdM, I went crazy.

Every day I could buy a Coke and a candy bar to add some variety to my sack lunch. I think I lived off Johnny Apple Treats my freshman year. A key advantage to this was that my mother never knew just how much sugar I consumed every day.

By the end of my freshman year, I started to lose my fascination with the vending machines. They had become just another ordinary part of my life. My visits to the vending machines became less and less frequent until, finally, they altogether stopped.

I am very relieved that my trips to the vending machines ended early in my career at CdM, because it became a total nightmare to visit them.

I hadn't been back to them in a long while when, as a senior, I had a craving for a Nestle Crunch Bar that I just couldn't resist.

As I drew closer to the vending machines, the noise became deafening as kids swarmed around, circling like vultures. I finally managed to get into the line for change--where I was pushed and shoved as impatient underclassmen cut their way to the front of the line.

Fuming and frustrated after that experience, I managed to plow my way through the mass of bodies to the vending machines. Shrill voices pounded in my ears, crying "Can I have your change?" After I had made my selection, hands shot out trying to grab my change right out of the slot in the machine. "Don't touch my change, you scrounges!" I roared. I stormed off to complain to my best friend, who had wisely opted not to brave the machines with me.

My personal experience with school vending machines is definitely over. No matter how much I crave a Crunch bar.

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