Family Pack Vending Machine

A bag of sweet 'n salty trail mix in the vending machine at work is listed as containing 4 oz. It costs a dollar. I usually opt for a big candy bar, but that size caught my attention. Why am I paying a buck for a "large" Reese's Crunchy whatever bar or even a double decker oatmeal and spooge cookie, when both of those are less than 4 oz? Plus I read somewhere that trail mix or peanuts is a healthier option from among the typical crap in a vending machine.

But I'm also reading nutrition facts a little more lately, after discovering that some items at KFC contain all your sodium for the day in one bowl. So here are my odd findings after I get the trail mix:

Serving size is one ounce, about 3 tbsp. Sure, let me unfold the tablespoon measure from my fucking Swiss Army knife. This bag is meant to be 4 servings, in case you need to feed your entire family out of the vending machine. Or in case you want to visit the vending machine only once each week. It is finally becoming clear to me, in the way that I finally understood all "think tanks" are just inaccurately labelled public relations front groups, that serving sizes on nutrition labels are more a function of minimizing the appearance of all those % Daily Values, not the amounts that people want to eat or are expected to eat. How many people buy a bag out of a vending machine and save three-quarters of it to eat later? How many people planning to eat the whole bag look at the % Daily Value of sodium and neglect to multiply it by the number of servings in the bag?

Sodium wasn't actually too bad, even if you eat the whole bag, but get this fun stuff. Each serving contains 140 calories, which means 560 calories total, or a quarter of your calories if you're on the typical 2000 cal diet. Each serving contains 15% Daily Value of your Saturated Fat needs, so that's 60% if you eat the whole bag.

The first item on the list of ingredients is "confectionary coating". That's the coating on the little fake M&Ms. Usually the order of ingredients is from highest amount to lowest. There's not as much peanut or raisin or sunflower in the bag as there is candy coating.

Wish me luck.


Money and Culture

Great stuff on the radio show Unwelcome Guests this week. The first hour is an audio adaptation of Money as Debt by Paul Grignon, a primer explaining how banks create money based on people agreeing to take loans. Then there's a short speech by Hugo Blanco on eco-socialism, and finally the first few chapters of a feminist anti-capitalist book about the gift economy called For-Giving by Genevieve Vaughan. (The text is available free online as pdf files also at

I'm skeptical that we need to (or could possibly) get rid of the concept of money, which is just a placeholder for things we would trade otherwise, but I'm interested to hear ways that we can make trading more fair and humane.

Unwelcome Guests: #379 - Money and Culture (Hour One mp3)
Unwelcome Guests: #379 - Money and Culture (Hour Two mp3)