Picture this: a man (who may or mayor be played by yours truly) is sitting at his desk when all of the sudden he is overcome by both thirst and post-lunch drowsiness.
This is no ordinary man though. He has both a dollar and a dream. The dream won't be satisfied by a simple sip of cold (free) water nor by pod of coffee. There is only one destination for this traveler, the soda vending machine in the office kitchen.
As I slide my last, wrinkled dollar bill into the slot and listened to the my can of Zero land with a resonating, KATHUNK, I started to question this model of supply-side economics.
If my can costs me $1.00 in the machine, how much money is the machine's owner pulling in?
Well my rough calculations show that if I go to the supermarket and buy a box it will run somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.00 but if I get the sale price, I could get 3 boxes for $10. That breaks down to $.36 per can.
Small digression here because I'm leaving out some obvious bulk savings like warehouse stores, beverage distributors, and plain old stealing off the back of the truck. I acknowledge that any of these would yield a lower per unit price but I want to keep to numbers that any housewife or pothead could have access to.
So on a single can, the vendor is getting a profit of $.68. Let's say that each machine holds 100 cans, that is a $68 profit per machine per week. Now there are 10 machines in my office spread across 12 floors, so our vendor's profit is $680 per week. Take that over a 52 week year and you get $32,640.
Not a bad starting point? Right, but even I know that's only a gross number. Even in the fly by night world of beverage vending there are expenses. Besides the cost of products which I've already covered, you need to pay for upkeep and maintenance. The electricity needed to run the units is free of charge (read your tax dollars). I'd figure another $2k for general maintenance on the machines.
You also need some labor to keep the machines stocked with beverage goodness. You could save some money and do it yourself but come on, you need a career (and health insurance). Please so hire a "guy" and pay him $10/hr. He needs about 2 hours to cover the entire building and works for 52 weeks. The this brings your labor costs to $1,040 per year.
Add up your expenses and your burgeoning soda kingdom is nerinf a cool profit of $29,600 per year. That's a few really nice vacations, a car payment, and a lot of lottery tickets. Who's going to front me the start up money to get in on this racket?