FROM THE EDITOR: September 2006
A Terror-able Predicament
By Cam Wood
Any vending operator worth their weight in change should be thinking of
ways to capitalize on the latest terror threats facing Western society. With extreme travelling conditions placed on the millions of people who
venture in and out of our country, come a few personal dilemmas.
Hygiene has been attacked in the name of public safety, throwing the
doors wide open for vending operators to profit.
A Terror-able Predicament
Any vending operator worth their weight in change should be thinking of ways to capitalize on the latest terror threats facing Western society.
With extreme travelling conditions placed on the millions of people who venture in and out of our country, come a few personal dilemmas. Hygiene has been attacked in the name of public safety, throwing the doors wide open for vending operators to profit.
With travellers no longer allowed to carry on any liquids, gels, and the like, vending machines at final destinations can provide relief to the embittered – if not odiferous – individual. Toothpaste, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes – all vendible – will be needed.
And the convenience to the traveller may also take automatic merchandising one step further toward being seen as a solution-based service instead of an impulse purchase vehicle by the greater public.
Check your baggage?
The United States Department of Homeland Security is quite clear: no liquids or gels of any kind will be permitted in carry-on baggage. These items must be in checked baggage. This includes all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel, and other items of similar consistency.
However, most business travellers use carry-on as their only baggage. It’s faster at the arrival end, and provides a better sense of security over ones belongings. Anyone who has left on that important business trip, only to learn they made the connection and three days of underpants went to Wisconsin knows of the extreme inconvenience of such.
Start checking baggage just to take your own shampoo or toothpaste? Sure, some might. But this is where the real opportunity lays for the vending industry.
And yes, the naysayer will claim hotels and resorts provide these services free of charge. Our challenge to you is to upgrade these “freebies” to quality merchandise.
The vast majority of hotel chains purchase in bulk and sacrifice the additional cost of quality.
Our society is primed with vanity in this modern age. Image is key, and consumers – both men and women – rack up millions of dollars annually on vanity products. The same kind of products the airlines will now be taking away.
Do I want to stand in front of a group of key industry professionals and ponder why they are staring at the shoulders of my jacket instead of in the eye? Do I want to take the additional hour or so in search of a good stick of deodorant after spending countless, useless hours in the airport line-ups?
No, I want convenience. I want to arrive at my final destination, find the products I need that I am no longer allowed to travel with, and feel human again.
Any vending operator that has hotels, tourist locations, airports, car rental services – anywhere someone from out of town might stop – needs to see the opportunity for convenience in this day of inconvenience. o