Scantron vending machine benefits students after bookstore hours and on weekends
It’s five minutes before your biology test as you realize you’re out of an 882-E Scantron and a No. 2 pencil. The long lunch lines at the Kennel Bookstore would have created a problem for you seven weeks ago, but now you have an alternative way to get the supplies you need in time for your test.
The new Scantron vending machine is located on the lower level of the University Student Union Pavilion, next to the Kennel Bookstore entrance and the ATM.
Kennel Bookstore Merchandise Manager Jack Gartner said he thinks the machine is in a great and secure place for students to access when the store isn’t open or if the lines are long.
“We’ve talked about having something like this for after hours and days we’re not open for some time,” Gartner said. “We’re usually open most Saturdays during the school year, but with some of the budget cuts we’ve had to close about half the Saturdays.”
Assistant Merchandise Manager Kim Spencer said the only drawback of the Scantron vending machine is that it doesn’t sell single Scantrons. The Scantron vending machine is only equipped with packs of Scantrons to prevent jams.
“If you only need that one Scantron, then the machine really isn’t for you,” Spencer said. “You’re going to need to go into the store and just get the one Scantron.”
Spencer said the machine has double sections for their most popular items: 882-E Scantrons and large Blue Books. She also said there was an empty section, so they decided to fill it with a popular candy bar—Snickers.
“We’ve already sold about 10 [Snickers] out of there,” Spencer said.
Aside from more than 10 different Scantrons and Snickers, packs of No. 2 pencils and highlighters are also inside the machine.
Gartner said he thinks the success of the Scantron vending machine will increase once more students know about it.
“I think it’s done a little better than we thought initially,” Gartner said.
Some colleges throughout the country have a Scantron vending machine, including Fresno City College. Gartner said he guesses that less than half of colleges have a Scantron vending machine.
“I think it’s because of the expense,” Gartner said. “It’s almost an $8,000 investment to just get the machine, and then you have ongoing labor everyday.”
Gartner said the machine requires three to four hours of maintenance each week with stocking and removing money. Coins are removed everyday and the supplies are refilled once a week. Once that’s done, items sold must be rung in the cash register to maintain inventory.
Students can access the Scantron vending machine as long as the USU Pavilion is open. Gartner said the Scantron vending machine is on campus to assist students, rather than to make a profit.
“The financial gain out of it is very minimal, I think it will probably operate at a loss for years,” Gartner said.
Although there are no immediate plans for a second machine, students have found having just one beneficial.
“The students seem to like it,” Gartner said. “It’s been real positive so far.”