Once a month I want to kill people

by The Lotus Queen

One day, when I was at work, enjoying my ten minute break staring at the vending machines, I got called to the washroom on official female business. I had neglected to stock my purse with the necessary supplies and had to resort to patronizing what all women dread: THE PUBLIC WASHROOM TAMPON MACHINE.

Public washroom tampon (and pad) machines are pathetic vending machine throwbacks that have not changed since the 1960s or whenever they were invented. Vending machine engineers have obviously decided that tampon machines are no longer worthwhile projects to invest research and money on. The vast array of vending machines I was staring at earlier contained a staggering number of features. Lighted numeric panels, cups dropping from slots and filling with coffee, digital screens telling you if the product is sold out or the machine is not working, signs telling you what type of coinage to use, a 1-800 number to call should the machine eat your money…etc. In fact, there is one machine that sells ice cream bars; upon depositing your 2.25$, a long Inspector Gadget-type arm reaches into the freezer and vacuums up your Klondike bar and drops it into the slot where you can pick it up. Amazing!

Down to the remote basement washroom I go, a foreboding feeling coming over me at the thought of using this tampon machine. The machine is grayish white with chipping paint, a cheap-looking coin slot and a dent in the corner. There is a decal that says “25 cents” on it. I realize I only have 2 dimes and a nickel and no other money. The last time I had to use one of these, I had to run upstairs and buy a juice from the vending machines to get a quarter. But this time, only 2 dimes and a nickel. Well what the hell, I think, and put a dime into the coin slot. Of course it was too small and jammed the turning mechanism. The wheel wouldn’t turn. Since the slot was kind of bent, the dime was not easy to remove. So I spent a good 10 minutes trying to fish it out with my nails (luckily they were really long), hair clips etc. At this point I did not care if I was late for my break because I would force them to realize that this was an important reason and they could all kiss my ass if their male minds didn’t agree. Finally I removed the dime. “Fucking shit!” I said. In a stroke of luck, another woman came out of one of the stalls…so I asked her if she had a quarter in exchange for my dimes and nickel. She did so I stuffed the quarter into the slot and turned the crank. To my horror, nothing came out. The machine was empty! I had to go to another machine in another washroom.

These goddamn machines don’t even have basic vending machine technology such as a coin return or clear panel to see how much product is left inside. It is almost as if the makers of those machines don’t want the contents on display. Really, who’s it going to embarrass or offend? Ok so that’s a bit too conspiratorial and silly a reason. So then why isn’t there a coin return, if we can’t see the amount of tampons left? And signage indicating the exact type of change required? Perhaps these radical features, found on cola machines, phone booths and parking meters everywhere, are too expensive. But with all the change dumped into machines that have no product inside, these jerks could probably afford to install Inspector Gadget arms that inserted the tampons for you. Or at least stock the pad machines with pads that were actually thin and absorbent and didn’t feel like diapers or phone books between your legs. Sure these pads are thin by 1970s standards when you still needed belts to hold them in place… For the love of God!

This whole business is like the match thrown on the gasoline of an already volatile segment of society: menstruating females! We are a group that should not be pissed off. This explains why the machines are always dented. No one messes with beings who bleed for 7 days and live. Why there are no 1-800 service numbers on the machines? Fear, that’s why. The men that run the companies that make the machines (and it must be men, for no woman would ever subscribe to this sort of illogic concerning our own bodies) are afraid. They know that hoards of angry women would call up when those bullshit machines ate our money, and they would not know what to do. So of course the best thing to do is hide. Yeah that’s right, fuckers, hide….but you can’t hide forever.

  • Once a month I want to kill people
  • by The Lotus Queen
  • Published on August 1st, 2001

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