I'll Trade You My Soda Authorization for Your Ice Cream Authorization


Here's an interesting alternative to yanking soda, potato chips, and candy from vending machines in schools: A company called Vend Sentinel offers a system that allows parents to pay for their children's beverages and snacks in advance and decide which items they're allowed to buy, using a swipe card and PIN number. I imagine this arrangement might lead to a gray market in vending machine cards, as kids with stricter parents pay kids with more permissive ones for the privilege of buying a Coke or a Snickers bar. Still, it puts the responsibility for controlling what kids eat where it belongs, while providing a diversity of options to reflect a diversity of parental preferences.