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Bob wants a soda/candy bar/whatever from a vending machine. He puts the dollar into the machine, it ejects the bill. He puts it back in, the machine ejects it again. Bob takes the bill out, smooths out the wrinkles, puts it back in. The machine makes a "Ka-ching!" noise, Bob is thrilled.
The machine ejects the bill again.
Eventually, Bob is ironing out the dollar on an ironing board he just pulled out of Hammerspace
trying to get the machine to accept it.
And it still
Maybe he'll try to use coins instead. They end up in the coin return.
Commonly Played for Laughs
Compare Vengeful Vending Machine
Truth in Television
, since vending machines do tend to be quite touchy at times.
Anime and Manga
- In A Certain Magical Index, there is a vending machine that eats people's money without dispensing its drinks. Mikoto Misaka says it's because the machine is old. She gets drinks from it by hitting or shocking it, but she's often forced to run afterwards because taking something from a vending machine without paying is illegal.
- In Silent Movie, there's a Coca-Cola machine that has multiple dispensers, and fires the Coke can at high speed out of whichever dispenser you aren't watching.
- Done in Chicken Little when Runt of the Litter tries to get a soda. A particularly cruel example, since the characters' lives actually depend on the acquisition of said soda.
- The film version of Over the Hedge starts with R.J.'s attempt to get a bag of chips out of a machine. He does get it, eventually.
- In The Monkees' Head, Micky is staggering through a desert, nearly delirious - he finds a Coke machine out there, drops in a coin...and nothing comes out. As he pounds on it screaming maniacally, the Coke jingle plays merrily on the soundtrack.
- Used in the short Blair Witch parody by Toxic Bag, The Bag Witch Project, in which some gamers hopelessly lost in the hallways of a convention center search in vain for GenCon. They keep moving in circles and winding up at the same vending machine, which invokes this trope every time they return.
- In one episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John is trying to buy a snack out of a vending machine and the device fails to push the chip bag far enough forward for it to fall out of its holder. Annoyed, John tries tapping on the glass to see if he can jar the chips loose. Cameron promptly steps up to tap the glass once, and the chips are quickly dislodged, along with about a dozen other snacks. Except that this never actually happened, being all just a dream.
- A vaguely similar joke occurs on Dave's World. In the episode "Cyberspace", a program is described for an evil ATM which, after the customer inserts the card and enters the PIN, gives out nothing, not even the card back.
- In the Scrubs episode "My Best Friend's Baby's Baby and My Baby's Baby", Panicky Expectant Father Turk is given one job: Get ice chips. When the ice machine won't co-operate, he gets his hand jammed in it.
- In the Frasier episode "Rooms With a View", when the Cranes are waiting for Niles to have surgery, Martin tries to get a candy bar from a hospital vending machine. When it jams, an increasingly tense Daphne throws a chair at it.
- In Red Dwarf episode "Only the Good", we get a vending machine with artificial intelligence that gets angry when Rimmer uses a coin-on-a-string to get a free chocolate bar. Rimmer is unimpressed with its threats of terrible vengeance, only to get clonked on the back of the head by a flying soda can at the end of the episode.
- On Diagnosis: Murder, this happened to Dr. Mark Sloan, and in a bit of an Idiot Ball moment he tried reaching into the machine to get the stuck snack and ended up breaking a finger.
- In Zork: Grand Inquisitor, part of a puzzle involves getting out a piece of candy stuck inside a vending machine.
- Done in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Ain't No Kiddie Ride" with a kiddie ride.
- The whole plot of the VeggieTales short "Lunch: An Animated Parable" is about one of these.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Wet Painters", this happens to Patrick when he was trying to put a dollar in a vending machine, which is what SpongeBob is telling him not to do.
- In "Rock Bottom", SpongeBob tries to get a candy from the machine across the street from the bus stop, but everytime he tries he misses the bus. He finally comes through, but as he reaches for the candy bar inside the bus pulls up, going back and forth as SpongeBob sticks his arm in and out, even reving up as he touches the candy bar. Finally, he makes a dash for it and the bus rides off without him. To top it off, someone comes and takes the candy bar, and as SpongeBob crosses the street to catch him, three busses in succession go by.
- A background gag on Futurama features a vending machine for "Refreshing Crack". The vial gets stuck, leading the user to beg the machine not to hold out on him.
- Done more often than it is possible to count on The Simpsons. In one notable case, Homer is trying to buy a soda with a stolen $1 trillion bill.
- Taken to the extreme in the Sealab 2021 episode "All That Jazz", where Murphy is trapped under an Evil Vending Machine for months.
- Beavis And Butthead try to buy pork rinds from a machine that doesn't drop the goods - they figure if they try it again they'll get two for the price of one (?!?) While Beavis guards the machine, Butt-Head cadges a dollar from an old woman and goes to get change at the convenience store. When he spots a bunch of old nachos that are going to get thrown out, he buys them all and heads home, forgetting all about Beavis.
- This happens in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Gone Efficien...t".