Death by Vending Machine

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:

25 shocking things more likely to kill you than a shark

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.

14 thoughts on “Death by Vending Machine

  1. Thanks Jim, I have a graphic picture of anyone of a nervous disposition,sidling cautiously up to a vending machine dressed in a Michelin type suit, carrying a fire-extinguisher….It does make one wonder! (And it hasn’t even got teeth…) Cheers.


  2. Luckily, I don’t come across those much anymore, not that I would buy anything from one anyway. I figure there must be a stupid person on the other end contributing to his death so…Karma? Anyway, that sounds just like one more reason to steer clear!
    Those shark statistics sound low, I’m from Texas and we here about attacks all the time, maybe not deaths, but STILL!


    1. I haven’t used a vending machine in a long time either. And regards to sharks – ideally, we’d retire somewhere warm and on the water, that had no sharks. Unfortunately, I don’t think such a place exists!


      1. Even with all the occurances, I still want to retire to the coast some day, whether in Texas, Florida, or the Carolinas, we aren’t sure yet, but we will find “our place” some day!


  3. What a great sense of humor you have! Love it!!! Of course I guess if I were a pig and people were treating me the way I have heard pigs are treated in the slaughter houses, I would likely kill one of those people if I had the chance too!!! Poor pigs!


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