An Unfortunate Anecdote
During my time in the vending business, my friend at Chow Time Vending went through an experience that I hope does not happen again for him or anyone else with a vending business. We were at a location in which he needed to remove a snack machine because he no longer had the account. Because he had waited a while before getting the machine, the manager at the location had offered to put the vending machine on the curb, which my friend did not mind because there was not much he could do at the time; his truck was not working very well, and he had no other way of getting to the location in order to remove the machine. I came along with him that day to help him out.
When we arrived at the location, however, the manager told us that the machine had already been picked up, but she did not remember by who. The machine was a newer machine that had a value of about $2,000. The manager said that she did not put the machine on the curb because someone had picked up the machine, and she was told it was by someone from Chow Time Vending, although she did not remember the name nor did she remember who the person was.
My friend lost the account because of bad vending business practice. He shared the account with another local vendor, but the other vendor only did soda machines, not snack machines. They worked out a deal with each other that my friend would supply the snacks and the other vendor would supply the sodas. However, the other vendor thought it would be a great idea to get into snacks and started bad mouthing my friend at the location in order to get his vending business out. Eventually, he offered to do both soda and snack, and the location manager agreed, making my friend lose the account. He was only notified of this when it was all said and done.
Therefore, when my friend found out that the machine was missing and had been picked up by someone else claiming to be a part of his vending business, he called the other vendor to find out what was going on. The other vendor cursed loudly at him over the phone and hung up on my friend a few times. He would change his story during each phone call, first saying that he had no idea what had happened, to hearing that someone stole the machine, to saying that he had picked up the machine but threw it away for scrap. The last lie made even less sense than the other lies because the machine was in great condition, still had money inside of it, and could be used in other locations to make more money. Any good vending business would understand this.
Unfortunately, we never figured out what happened to the machine because the truth was always hidden from us. However, this situation brings up an interesting idea: is the vending business cut-throat, or are there just some bad apples out there using poor vending business practices?
The Golden Rule of the Vending Business
From what I understand, a vending business tends to follow the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. I have not heard many stories about vendors using bad practices against another vending business in order to gain accounts, but I have heard about vendors speaking poorly of other vending operations in order to gain favor in gaining certain contracts. This practice is not something I think the vending industry should condone nor is it something that any vending business should indulge in. Speaking poorly of others says more about a person than it does about the people a person speaks poorly about. It shines a poor light on a vendor and his or her vending business, and overall, I do not think it is a great business strategy.
Competition is what makes an industry grow and become great, but burning bridges and tearing down others is not the way to promote the industry nor is it a way to gain more customers. I am not sure what happened to that vendor who broke his word with my friend in regards to the account and claims that he threw away a perfectly good vending machine full of money, but I hope that he does not continue doing bad business. This is just something to think about the next time you are trying to gain new customers for your vending business. Treat others the way you want to be treated, and do not perform bad vending business unless you want your business to fail long term.