You might think that the title refers to how the unhealthy food found in a typical vending machine could lead to poor health, and eventually, death.
But no, this refers to actual deaths from the vending machine itself.
I came across this odd statistic in quite a roundabout way.
I was reading an old Seth Godin post from 2005 (Shark Attack!) and I saw a Trackback url that claimed the following:
“More people are killed every year by pigs than by sharks, which shows you how good we are at evaluating risk.”
When I read that, I became quite concerned that I would have to add pigs to my list of animals I have an unhealthy fear of (snakes, alligators, crocodiles). So I started searching the web looking for something to back up such a statement, but I could not find anything definitive. It was during that search that I came across the following article:
Pigs were not mentioned in this article, but among the 25 items that could kill you were falling coconuts, champagne corks, cows, falling icicles, falling out of bed, and vending machines.
The article noted that 37 people were killed trying to get a snack from a vending machine from 1978 to 1995. That’s an average of 2.18 deaths a year, versus less than one death per year by sharks in the U.S.
Fortunately, despite the fact that there are several vending machines in the building where I teach, I think I’ll be able to deal with such a risk. I’m guessing most, if not all, of these deaths were the result of human anger and error.
So as long as I stay calm during my interactions with vending machines, I won’t find it necessary to add to them to the list of things that frighten me.
As to pigs, the jury is still out, but I will be sure to treat them with a new found respect when I see them.