The year was 1976. I was attending Catawba College and involuntarily was assigned to an evening class with real adult people actually working out in the real world.
Several of the men told us they were working on a business proposal that seemed far-fetched at the time. The idea of low speed wireless data was brand new and their idea was that they could build a cell phone like device into vending machines.
This would allow the vending route person to know what was selling in real time, allowing fewer replenishment trips, changing the prices in the machine without having to visit in person, and to call the police if somebody was trying to break into the machine.
All of that has come to pass – today I finally took the plunge and used my debit card to buy a soda from the soda machine at the AAA garage while my car was being inspected.
Unlike a normal machine where you put the money in first, then choose your selections and get change – when you’re paying by debit card they need to authorize the card first before you choose what you want.
I was a little bit confused, so I actually wound up buying two sodas! In some things, I’m the last guy to arrive at the party.