Gabriel Sistare, Multimedia Editor
The introduction of new vending machines across campus is inciting resistance from students.
The college stopped receiving services from the local company Natural Nosh, run by Josh Tager, and switched to the franchise H.U.M.A.N (Helping Unite Man and Nutrition).
Tager, who supplied the college for five years, said that the he had no option to bargain, noting that the H.U.M.A.N brochure was presented to him and the college said that it would discontinue business.
“I didn’t like it,” Tager said. “I’m the local guy. They had no problems with me.”
According to Tager, Natural Nosh had no opportunity to bid against the new supplier. His frustration with the decision was clear.
“We have provided superior service to the campus for the last five years,” Tager wrote in an e-mail to Jim Lauer, director of student services. “It is indeed ironic that [the college]…would choose to offer a no-bid contract to a Los Angeles corporation while kicking to the curb a LOCAL supplier with deep roots in the community.”
Warren Wilson was 20 percent of Tager’s business, but he said that he’s found other locations for the rejected machines. Still, Tager was more than financially connected to the campus.
“I will miss coming out there, the campus and the students,” he said.
Despite the new company being based in Los Angeles, the college received the machines from Josh Marr, a franchisee and locally-based schoolteacher who supervises eight other machines across Buncombe County.
Already resistant to the change, students vandalised one of the new machines in Dorland before it was even stocked.
Margot Jebb, the Sage Circle area coordinator, said that the machine was immediately ruined when it was placed in the Dorland common area.
Jebb said that someone wrote on the machine, and duct tape obscured the logos and lettering.
Jebb noted that Marr was very frustrated when he heard about the vandalism. He and his wife took out a home equity loan to finance the machines. The revenue they receive will be saved so Marr’s wife can start a rehabilitative home and farm for children with severe disabilities.
Marr went for the franchise opportunity “so [his wife] could quit her job and pretty much pursue her dreams,” Jebb said.
Marr and the college will continue to host a machine in Dorland, but if more vandalism results, the machine will be moved to another building on campus.
The Natural Nosh machines were vandalised as well, and the college was charged for the damages, something which H.U.M.A.N will not do. In this case, Lauer said that the college could not be responsible for the damages and offered to refund the Natural Nosh commissions instead.
According to Lauer, the college will receive a larger commission of 10 percent from the new machines. With Natural Nosh, the commission was only five percent and the machines required regular maintenance and checkup. The new machines are monitored with a wireless system which indicates stock levels, allowing the Marr to come to campus less frequently.
Additionally, with H.U.M.A.N, the college has more flexibility with contract termination.