Are Vending Machine Bans Creating Black Markets?


Can you put a price on Funyuns? - IMAGE VIA
Hank Cardello, a former food-biz executive (Coca-Cola, General Mills, Cadbury-Schweppes), has posted an op-ed piece on the website of The Atlantic (via Eater) in with an intriguing argument against banning vending machines in schools:
The recently passed Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act offers some positive steps to improve how our children eat in schools. But in trying to make schools nutritional oases, public health officials have unwittingly unleashed the black market genie ready and able to fill the void left by departing sodas and snacks. Now, budding student entrepreneurs are rushing in to meet the demand for snacks and beverages that are no longer available legitimately.
Cardello then rattles off several examples of such black markets, including -- I kid you not -- "an eighth-grade student body vice president in Connecticut ... forced to resign after buying Skittles from an underground 'dealer.'"

Cardello provides five examples in total. While does meet the "three's a trend" rule of journalism with two examples to spare, I can't shake the sense that this is one of those pseudo-trends that Jake Shafer of Slate does such a great job eviscerating.

However, if this trend truly is sweeping schools nationwide, then I have a message to all the kids who are spending their parents' hard-earned money on black market junk food:

The Gut Check Vending Machine is open for business!

That's right, kids. Not only do we have all the sweet, sweet candy and sugary, sugary soda that you want, we will beat ANY price your junk-food dealer quotes.

But wait! There's more!

For a limited time, while supplies last, first-time customers will receive a free bag of Funyuns with every order because Funyuns are terrible and we don't want them around us.*

Interested? Email your order to One of our trained Junk Food Price Evaluators will get back to you promptly. Please note that at this time, we can accept only unmarked, small-denomination bills or your unwanted gold jewelry as payment.

* - No, but really: Funyuns suck.

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