With items like condoms and aspirin in addition to a variety of foods and drinks, the new Shop 24 vending machine is bringing the luxury of a convenience store to students on campus.
The new machine, which is located on campus between the Administration Building and the J. Paul Leonard Library, is open 24 hours a day and offers almost 200 different items that can be purchased with cash, credit cards or student ID cards through the University’s currency, Gator Dollars.
“What stood out to me the most is that it has such a wide variety of drinks. Usually with these vending machines you can only get sodas,” said Luis Salas, a freshman biology major.
The machine dispenses anything from full-sized bags of potato chips to various soft drinks and juices. But items like a $2.30 Durex Pleasure Pack of condoms and bottles of mouthwash make it less of a snack dispenser and more of a mini 7-Eleven.
Chris Farmer, director of business services, said the response from a survey of food options that was conducted last semester on campus led the university to install the machine.
“The responses we got showed students were interested in shorter lines, a variety of food and specialty items, and the ability to buy items late at night,” Farmer said.
The SFSU Gator Group, a new division of the University Corporation that handles alternative food options for the University like the food trucks that visit the campus weekly, helped bring Shop 24 to campus.
“The point of Gator Group is really to bring amenities to the campus to enrich the campus experience,” said Constance Cavallas, a representative of the Gator Group. “Shop 24 was brought to campus to fulfill needs for food options after hours.”
In the United States, Shop 24 machines are in malls and airports, but the only three Shop 24 machines in California can be found at Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona and now the SF State campus.
According to Cal State Fullerton’s website that details a list of the university’s completed projects, the Shop 24 machine on its campus cost nearly $55,000 and was constructed in December 2010.
Farmer said the machine was strategically placed on campus near the library for students who often study late at night long after most food locations on campus have closed.
However, it seems most students aren’t quite sure what the Shop 24 machine is until they walk up to the metal hut and peruse through the catalogue of items.
Hundreds turned out for the grand opening of the machine that the SFSU Gator Group held last Friday where people were allowed one free item from the machine between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
“A big part of the event was to get people to try the machine for the first time,” Farmer said. “I think everyone seemed impressed with its capabilities.”
According to Farmer, sales from the machine have been positive since it was installed on campus in July. During the summer, the machine had sales of $200 to $300 per day. Now that school has begun and more students are on campus, sales from the machine have increased and have seen as much as $1000 worth of sales in a single day.