By Zofia Ciolek
Once upon a time vending machines were seen by some as a quick and easy way to grab a drink or a snack, by others as automated food dispensers filled with junk, and by still others as demon machines which sucked in your money, giving nothing in return. But, in the age of COVID-19, vending machine priorities have shifted drastically. While earlier one might have dropped by a machine to pick up a bottle of water, now you can stop by one of the two machines in Warsaw, at either ul. Mozarta 1 or on the corner of ul. Wołoska and Odyńca, to purchase a mask, antibacterial gel, or a pair of gloves.
“It gives a lot of accessibility to those who maybe are unable to make their own masks or buy them in stores,” states Greta M, an eleventh grade student, when asked about her opinion on the idea of the new vending machines. “It is also more accessible for those who are homeless or not in a stable financial situation.”
This is definitely an upside to the vending machines, especially when it comes to plastic gloves, since they cost 2,50 pln, which is definitely accessible. Unfortunately, masks cost 8,80 pln, which is a bit pricey. However, there are a few other firms looking at creating their own quarantine-friendly vending machines, meaning that the prices could possibly drop very soon.
According to Gazeta Wyborcza, not only would these new firms make the masks even more accessible — there would be more vending machines placed first around Warsaw, then Krakow, and then following into other bigger cities.
“I feel like it’s a good idea since I feel like those masks aren’t very accessible for many people and they are running out quick in stores,” says Kitty B., another eleventh grade student. “So this would be a good way for people to quickly get masks while they’re outside and do not necessarily need to buy in bulk.”
The quarantine has led to a drastic shift of priorities in the daily lives of people all across the world. The question is, what new things will we see in Poland next? And more importantly, how will this prepare us for any similar crisis further down the line?