Before you choose a vending machine snack… read this


Makenna Lee

The authors hugging the vending machine, it smiles back affectionately.

On the second floor sits CVHS’s vending machine: a friend and a foe. One test can ruin your day, but to make up for it, the vending machine is an angel in disguise. After taking an emotionally scarring test, you run up the stairs, into the science hallway and face the vending machine with your dollar in hand. The snacks peer at you, silently tempting you to pick them. In the end, you picked your favorite snack, the snack that was worth every dollar. You straighten the dollar into the slot, click two buttons and patiently wait for the bag to fall. It moved forward, wiggled a bit, but nothing came afterward. It was stuck. 

The vending machine knows everyone, just as everyone knows the vending machine. It is a source that many hungry students turn to in desperation for food. For options. But of those options, which snack is worth your dollar? Which one is worth walking the distance for? Which one doesn’t leave you with regrets?

9.) Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Adorable packaging; whose grandma’s cookies are these? Grandmas make the best cookies, so we were excited to try these chocolate chip cookies. The brown packaging housed around 10 bite-sized cookies topped with tiny chocolate chips. The cookies were surprisingly thin and firm and looked like toy food, so we began to doubt the taste of the cookies based on their outward appearance. Unsurprisingly, they were crumby with a light chocolate taste, then began to melt into an earthy, dirt-like aftertaste. Even after swallowing it, we could still feel the dryness of the cookie. These are definitely not our grandmother’s cookies.

RATING: Is it yummy? No. They are always present at the vending machine for a reason, 1/5.

8.) Cocoa Puffs Cereal Bar

Cocoa Puffs cereal bar (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Our initial perception of this cereal bar was that it would be subpar. Our predictions were right. The Cocoa Puffs bar looked just as we pictured it in our heads, a brick of overpowering chocolate cereal bound together with chocolate marshmallows. If we do the math, there is way too much chocolate going on. The bar was so dry, it left us craving water to relieve our throats, and we were incapable of finishing the entire thing. In comparison to the other cereal bar in this list, the cocoa puffs were definitely the underperforming middle child in the cereal bar family.

RATING: Not worth your dollar, 2/5.

7.) Strawberry Pop Tarts

Strawberry Pop Tart (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

A classic. We were always envious of kids who ate toasted Pop-Tarts for breakfast, and we could live that fantasy at school with no parents to chase us down. The strawberry Pop Tart is in a classic blue wrapper labeled “whole grain” and looked precisely like the appealing picture on the front, which made us even more excited to inhale the tart. It did not catfish us. However, we had yet to learn that what’s on the inside matters more than appearance. Its stale, flavorless crust contrasts with the soft, jammy, sugary strawberry jam that tastes like strawberry-flavored lip gloss. The lip gloss flavor is overpowering, and we understood why we were never allowed to eat strawberry Pop-Tarts for breakfast.

RATING: Is it yummy? We don’t know if it’s the “whole grain” label, but no, it is not yummy, 2/5.

6.) Welch’s Fruit Snack

Welch’s fruit snacks (Photo courtesy of Target)

Commonly bought in bulk at Costco and packed as a lunch snack, everyone knows what Welch’s gummies are. Just looking at them, we were able to recall the strong fruity taste, stiff gummy texture and how each gummy had a slight powdery residue. All ages enjoy this snack, from little kids to older adults, but would we ever go out of our way to spend a dollar on it? Absolutely not. The size of the package in the vending machine is so small, it is a crime at this point to be selling it for a whole dollar. Most of the time, 40% of it would contain grape gummies, which we can all agree is the worst one of the bunch. If we were craving something sweet, it would be a better choice to buy the Rice Krispies over this snack.

RATING: It’s a mid snack, 2.5/5.

5.) Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispies Treats (Photo courtesy of School Specialty)

There’s no doubt everyone knows this snack as it’s been present in almost everyone’s childhood. Made of Rice Krispies cereal combined with marshmallows, it has a perfect blend of sweetness along with a crunchy texture. Although it is a boring choice, choosing Rice Krispies will never leave you disappointed taste wise. However, we believe the size of the bar needs to be upped for it to be truly worth a whole dollar.

Overall, Rice Krispies are a snack that no one ever craves. You would only ever find yourself eating it if it was just lying on a table at a friend’s house.

RATING: Super boring, 3/5.

4.) Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Bar

Cinnamon Toast Crunch (Photo courtesy of School Snack Shop)

Right off the bat, the thought of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal bar scared us because who would’ve thought to transform cereal into a bar? We had only ever paired the cereal with milk, but we were pleasantly surprised by the snack. The bar’s appearance is a hybrid between a granola bar and cinnamon toast crunch—oatmeal, various grains and familiar square pieces of cinnamon toast cereal crushed together. When we bit into it, every component of the bar was present with none of the flavors overpowering one another. We tasted hints of cinnamon, the granola’s nuttiness and the bar’s slight vanilla coating, which made it taste surprisingly elevated and gourmet. It would make a good breakfast, but everyone seems to doubt it, like us, so don’t hesitate to try it.

RATING: We’re sorry for doubting you, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but we won’t ever buy you again, 3/5.

3.) Baked Sour Cream and Onion

Lay’s Baked Sour Cream and Onion (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

For all the folks who cannot tolerate spicy foods, baked sour cream and onion chips have been the ultimate savior. Within the bag holds the healthier cousin to the classic Lays version, every bite tasting seemingly close to the original but trailed with a mediocre touch. The flat, hexagon-shaped chips were coated in loose powder, similar to expired seasoning found in the back of someone’s kitchen cabinet. These chips appear in the machine once in a blue moon, and when they do, each bag would only ever have 10 pieces max. 10 pieces of staleness and disappointment. 

Even though it does serve as an alternative to spicy chips, it would be better to just leave the vending machine and go back to class. Save your dollar for those college funds.

RATING: 3/5, a.k.a it would pass with a curve.

2.) Doritos Flamas 

Doritos Flamas (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

Standing at the vending machine, the flamboyant purple packaging stuck out like a sore thumb in contrast to the other chip bags. Inside the bag, the bright red spicy powder was never spread evenly on each chip, but it left our mouths watering. Despite being reduced fat (RF) chips, Doritos Flamas is one of the main highlights of the vending machine. Always stocked in full, these chips have captured the attention of most students at CVHS, including us. There was one time we spent $4 on four bags of chips in a row, which is insane given that each bag only ever contains five pieces max. It teases us. Robs us of our money. But are we mad? Not really.

RATING: 5/5, but I wish it fed us more.

1.) Baked Hot Cheetos

Cheetos Baked Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

The words “50% less fat” stared at us on a minimalistic bag with vibrant red chips and a chili pepper beside it. How different could they be from regular Cheetos? Very different. Good, spicy cardboard. These three words sum up the taste of baked hot Cheetos. After putting a chip in our mouth, the chip gave a soft crunch, and its texture is reminiscent of chips left open overnight, except the chips were never opened. Initially, it tasted like wet cardboard topped with a fiery kick. Then, the spice began to evenly coat our tongues and left us desiring more of the cardboard deliciousness. We reached out for another chip, but before we knew it, the bag was empty. 

These chips are worth every dollar. We would throw all our dollars at it. The bag is filled with 70% chips and 30% air, which makes it easy to feed many friends. The taste of cardboard might not be for everyone, but who doesn’t love a friendly snack?

RATING: Easy 5/5.

Overall, common similarities found between most of the snacks include dryness and staleness: two deadly combinations. The vending machine supports many students who come to school hungry, who want to escape class, who desire to have a choice in what they want. But in order for there to be more profit and satisfaction, these snacks need an upgrade.

This poll has ended.

What is YOUR favorite vending machine snack?


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