This morning, I stood out in the lobby as I waited for a meeting to start. A vending machine caught my eye and I took a long look at its contents. I thought to myself, this machine has some really good snacks! I couldn’t help but take the below photo.
Tonight I want to rank the various snacks according to the order in which I would purchase them. A couple notes: The machine happens to have 57 different spots (my lucky number). Out of those 57 spots, five snack options are offered in two different spots (i.e. you can find Snickers Bites in #702 and #711). Also, as I sit here on my couch, there is one snack option that I can’t identify (#205) from the photo. Rather than leave my home and go back to campus to figure out what it is (my wife would not be pleased), I am just eliminating it from the draft. Thus, this draft will have 51 rounds. Here we go.
1. Lance’s Peanuts – My go-to snack in any vending machine is a bag of salted peanuts. No questions asked. My #1 every single time.
2. Peanut M&M’s – Why not throw a layer of chocolate on those peanuts?
3. Cheddar Chex Mix – I love salty snack mixes, especially ones that have cheese added.
4. Snyder’s Hot Buffalo Wing Pretzel Pieces – These are tasty and have a great crunch plus they pack some heat. You don’t always find these in vending machines.
5. WhatchaMaCallIt – Speaking of rare finds, you don’t find this candy bar that often in stores, let alone vending machines. Chalk its high ranking up to nostalgia.
6. Mike & Ike – These go a long way. Fruity and light, Mike & Ike will keep you snacking for longer than your average candy choice.
7. Plain M&M’s – Can’t hold a candle to its brother (Peanut M&M’s) but still pretty good.
8. Strawberry Pop-Tarts – Did you know I like Pop-Tarts? My first choice out of the breakfast options available in this machine.
9. TGIFridays Bacon Ranch Chips – Used to get these out of the vending machine when I worked for Grizzly Athletics. Satisfying snack.
10. Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – You get two decent-sized cookies in the pack. If I kept milk in my office I might get them more often.
11. Ritz Bits (Cheese) – Another item that is perfect for snacking on, I loved eating these as a kid and still do as an adult.
12. Twix – My wife’s favorite candy bar. I can purchase it from the vending machine and eat one of the bars for myself and give the other to Sid when I walk through the front door after work.
13. NeKot Lemon Crème Cookie Sandwiches – Reminds me of Lemon Oreos. That’s a good thing.
14. Lance’s Popcorn – Vending machine popcorn is underrated…trust me.
15. Bugles – How can you not enjoy this crispy, salty snack? Only disadvantage of going with Bugles is that the vending machine pack doesn’t contain very many of them.
16. Snickers Bites – I like Snickers but I like it even more when it is broken down into a snackable, shareable option. Although on the expensive side, these are good.
17. Big Texas Cinnamon Roll – Definitely not a Cinnabon but still pretty good. Of course that depends on how long it has been in the machine for.
18. Soft Batch Cookies – Never had these before but if I was craving chocolate chip cookies and the machine was all out of Grandma’s (see 10) I would go with them.
19. Toasty Peanut Butter Crackers – I love peanut butter.
20. Nekot Peanut Butter Crackers – Toasty (see 19) just sounds better than Nekot, okay?
21. Almond Joy – Some people despise Almond Joys but I find them enjoyable. Another choice that you can share.
22. Snickers – Although my first option would be Snickers Bites (see 16), the original bar isn’t a bad alternative option.
23. Extra Watermelon Gum – Who doesn’t want watermelon flavored breath?
24. Skittles – Who doesn’t want rainbow flavored breath? Ah, I will go with watermelon. Although I have no problem with Skittles, I will always choose chocolate candy first.
25. Rice Krispies Treat – I really enjoy any type of rice krispies treat but in the past when I have gotten this out of the vending machine it has been on the hard side.
26. Extra Wintergreen Gum – If I had an important face-to-face meeting with someone, I would purchase a pack of this gum.
27. Pizza Pringles – I love all the different types of Pringle flavors out there. The pizza variety wouldn’t be my first or last choice.
28. Nature Valley Peanut Butter Protein Bar – You had me at peanut butter.
29. Elfin Crackers – Don’t have a passionate opinion one way or the other, would probably just be something decent to munch on.
30. Baby Back Ribs Chips – Every now and then I can go for a bold flavor such as these.
31. Kit Kat – Give me a break and pass me a Kit Kat only if it is the last chocolate option in the vending machine.
32. Airhead Bites – Airheads were fun as a kid…not so much anymore. I just taste pure sugar. The fact that they are bites intrigue me though.
33. Juicy Fruit Gum – Enjoy the taste of this gum even if it only lasts for a minute.
34. Duchess Cinnamon Roll – Looks much less tasty and quite a bit smaller than the Big Texas (see 17) cinnamon roll.
35. Tom’s Barbecue Chips – I enjoy barbecue chips every now and then, just not usually at work.
36. Nature Valley Fruit Nut Bar – This would be my #1 option if I was looking for something healthy.
37. Planters Tropical Fruit and Nut Mix – More expensive than the fruit nut bar (see 35), it doesn’t sound awful but would probably be something I would go for only if I was on a health kick.
38. Lances Cheddar Cheese Crackers – Take them or leave them.
39. Big Red Gum – My lowest ranked gum in the vending machine. I have nothing against chewing it but it just doesn’t stand out.
40. Sour Gummi Worms – Not a fan of sour candy. It is saved from dropping further down solely because I like original gummi worms.
41. Tom’s Sour Cream & Onion Chips – Would never buy these at the store so I would rarely buy them from a vending machine.
42. Sweet Tarts Chewy Sours – Could be a good study snack but you know how I feel about sour candy.
43. Lance’s Cream Cheese & Chives Crackers – Combination is not my cup of tea.
44. Jumbo Honey Bun – Perhaps decent out of the oven at the factory, I prefer to stay away from old, hard, sticky pastries. The cinnamon rolls above (see 17 and 33) have frosting and are more visually appealing.
45. Creamy Ranch & Habanero Chips – I try to stay away from ranch-flavored snack foods. Just a personal preference.
46. Sunmaid Blueberry Greek Yogurt Chips – Do I look like someone who eats Greek yogurt? In all fairness, I have never tried these before.
47. Tom’s Kosher Dill Pickle Chips – Another chip flavor that I am not fond of.
48. Jolly Rancher Hard Candy – I have discussed Jolly Ranchers before and I don’t really understand their appeal. I can appreciate one piece but I don’t need an entire pack.
49. Tom’s Vinegar & Salt Chips – I can’t tolerate the smell of salt and vinegar chips, let alone phantom what one actually tastes like.
50. Wallace’s Pork Skins – A snack that just makes me quiver. Don’t know what it is, but just the sight of pork skins, especially in a vending machine, turns me off.
51. Hannah’s Red Hot Sausage – I will never in my life purchase/eat meat from a vending machine.
Have I jumped the shark or just come up with a really creative blog post? Regardless, thanks for sticking around for my 51 round draft. What would be your #1 pick? Don’t Blink.