When Corporate Vending Machines Go Too Far

It’s usually great fun to read about the latest advancements in vending machine technology, but this week we saw an example of corporate vending that we can’t help but feel has crossed a line.

Japanese company Dydo Drinco has begun developing corporate vending machines that are capable of speaking in your boss’s voice.

And this isn’t one of those crazy prototypes that’ll likely never see the light of day. According to The Japan Times, these machines have already been installed in “a number of businesses.”

The machines can be programmed to make up to four five-second comments, all in the commanding tones of your boss. It’s been claimed that the idea is to foster better communication. Examples have been cited of vending machines in taxi companies advising workers to drive safely and smile.

But other examples are cited, too, ranging from the banal to the outright offensive: “thank you”, “you must be tired”, “are you sure you need that can of Coke, fatty,” and, worst of all, “what are you doing away from your desk?”

Yes, such comments are probably meant to be taken in jest, but for us this is an example of a vending machine having gone too far.

Why? Two reasons.

First, when employers install vending machines, it sends a strong message to their employees – that they’re valued, and that their happiness is important. With this in mind, for a vending machine to ask “why aren’t you at your desk” – even if it’s a joke – seems counterproductive.

Second, vending machines can be fantastic for keeping your staff motivated, and for keeping up team morale. When the going gets tough, and when the terrible 3P.M. slump rolls around, a can of Coke really can work wonders.

But do you know what isn’t good for team morale? Calling your staff “fatty”. In fact, that might even get you sued.

When it comes to corporate vending, we believe that it’s best to keep things simple. Provide your staff with whatever they need, whether it’s gourmet coffee, chilled soft drinks, delicious snacks, or healthier options, and you can foster a positive workplace atmosphere. Anything more, no matter how amusing it might seem, could complicate matters or, worse, have a detrimental effect on motivation and morale.  In line with this, any messages that are transmitted verbally or otherwise to staff should be positive in nature. 

For more information about corporate vending, call us on 0800 169 3181, or email