Business: Scam
Vending Machine Fraud   (+10, -2)  [vote for, against]
Increase Sales of your vending machine through the art of fraud

Fill your vending machine with soda as usual, but before you leave post semi-formal looking notice on the front that says something to the effect of "IF YOU GET A CAN OF BEER FROM THIS VENDING MACHINE PLEASE CALL THE FOLLOWING NUMBER xxx-xxxx". Put the phone number of your local laundromat or something.

My theory is that the note will give people the impression that there is a chance that you will get a beer out of the soda machine. This will of course attract lots of underage kids willing to insert all of their lunch money on the off chance of getting a beer. (A machine near a school playground is optimal for this.)

Also, if you word the notice properly, you could give people the impression that they could become part of a class action lawsuit if they happen to be one of the unfortunate people to get a beer out of a soda machine. There are lots of people looking for that kind of action.

Each time you come to refill the machine, grab the notice off angrily and crumple it up (in case someone is watching), and then have someone discretely repost it later.

I am curious as to whether this would technically be fraud or not.
-- blahginger, Oct 26 2000

You'll be dead from worry before you're forty. Why not just be creative and spike your attitude with a little reverse psychology: "40% of the product in this machine benefits minors under the age of 17." or "You didn't invent thirst, you just obey it -- buy your buddy a can!"
-- reensure, Oct 26 2000

reensure: please explain the 'reverse psychology' of writing an advertisement praising your product.

The intention of the notice was to make it look like it was from someone other than the vending machine owner...possibly an angry customer looking to get a list of complaints. Maybe include a paragraph to the effect of "...the owner of this machine has been notified and refuses to remedy the situation...". sorry if this was not clear originally.
-- blahginger, Oct 26 2000

A comedian once said for bar or restaraunt owners, to make money you can hang condom machines in the bathrooms, and not stock them. People put in money, but how likely are they to come up and complain?
-- StarChaser, Oct 26 2000

You could get away with it. You never actually say there IS a beer in it, but the problem is that some guy can say he caught his 12 year old son drinking a beer he bought out of YOUR pop machine. Then you could kill them and pretend you're an elf.
-- AfroAssault, Nov 10 2000

Yeah, [reensure, blahginger] don't try that reverse psychology stuff.
-- hippo, Nov 10 2000

What do you mean 'pretend' Afro-get off your high unicorn. sheesh. Anyhoo---actually, a good sales tactic is to say, "LIMIT-3" on an oddball item that is a slow mover--gets the product moving in a big way. For the vending machine consumer[at a v.m. that has 'fair street price', I offer this hot tip: Use nickels. Lots and lots of nickels. Rolls of nickels. What happens is...A] you get junkfood or soda at a reasonable rate. B]you hit the jackpot when the nickel tray overflows or completely empties. A-B=Breakeven or profit with coinage and /or really inexpensive snacks. Rinse and Repeat. Or go to a Casino and play Nickel Machines-When you hit the Jackpot...give away soda and have the elves put you on your unicorn.
-- thumbwax, Nov 10 2000

Actually, this is similar to an idea I had a few years ago. I figured if you put approx. 6-8 cans of beer into the machine in a "random" spacing in a location where teens hang out, they will pump every quarter they can get their hands on into the machine. Psychological studies have shown that if the reward comes at irregular intervals, the subject is more willing to keep "pressing the button" trying to get a reward. And, since they would actually get a beer just as they were about to give up, they would keep buying with renewed vigor until the machine was empty.
-- Furthur, Dec 16 2000

Thumbwax, i'm not sure i understand your nickel theory... why would you jackpot when the nickel tray overflows or completely empties?
-- djhotsauce, Dec 16 2000

thumbwas: I have never seen a machine that will accept a nickel as payment but return it if the nickel chute is full. What happens instead is that "overflow" nickels will fall into a hopper along with quarters and "overflow" dimes. This limits the consecutive number of people who can use quarters or dimes and still get nickels back, but it doesn't pay off "jackpot style".
-- supercat, Dec 17 2000

Someone will present the authorities with a can of beer that was, for all intents and purposes, dispensed by your machine. Make what you will of the consequences.
-- dsm, Dec 17 2000

blahginger: I wasn't ignoring you. Hey, now...what you are saying would work pretty well if you wanted an obscure item (say, some morphene tablets) and couldn't figure out a way to get it legitimately. Post a "reward offered" sign for information leading to the return of your morphene. Take the first lot that some poor bastard tries to sell you. Then join a RICO suit against that rip-off artist.
-- reensure, Dec 17 2000

reensure: the idea here is not to get a can of beer for yourself, but instead to trick people into thinking that there is a can of beer in the vending machine.

Furthur: you certainly have the same idea, except I am sure that there is something very illegal about actually putting beer in a soda machine intended for teens.

Back to the idea: To avoid any potential lawsuits against yourself as the owner of the vending machine, you can hire some third party company to keep your machine stocked. They will then have to deal with anyone who comes forward with a can of beer allegedly from your machine.

The only way to get in trouble now is if someone can tie you to the anonymous note on the machine.
-- blahginger, Dec 17 2000

You could put a different note on saying 'If this machine empties half it's change all over your feet leaving you with enough money to buy new trainers, please call...' Then you avoid the beer/kids thing.
-- Hyperion, Jan 30 2001

random, halfbakery