Moustaches – On Demand – for a Loonie

Posted on April 30, 2013

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Gumball vending machines

Gumball machines can be magical to a child.

When I was a small child and learned to appreciate the smallest treasures, it was over-the-moon exciting to plop that dime or quarter into the coin slot, give the knob a good crank and peek into the drop cavity for a gum ball, a plastic novelty, or perhaps a handful of penny candy. I was too young to understand the blatant marketing that targeted kids with sweet treats, or the immediate reward factor instilled at an early age; the simple act of interacting with an inanimate machine was kinda fun.

My innocent curiosity would easily be satisfied nearly every time my parents shopped for groceries. Whining for a treat usually fell on deaf ears; however, I often took the opportunity to “get fussy” about the same time as the groceries were being bagged. Bagging always took far too long for my liking since there was often chit-chatting with the till clerk. Dad had the shorter fuse, so he would cave in first: just give the little twerp a coin to keep ‘er amused, hopefully ’til we get home. What the heck, pocket change couldn’t buy much anyways, the evils of tooth decay were absent, and a bit of peace and quiet was priceless in a family of six girls.

Marketing to kids using vending machines really hasn’t changed much over the decades. The variety, however, has expanded to holographic stickers, transformable characters, cheap jewelry and boyish “splat” things (eeeew). Placed at eye-level, it’s pretty much a given that any kid walking by a vending machine will “need” whatever novelty is being offered. Whether or not there’s a responsible adult around to guide that child towards a wiser use of funds often depends on parenting styles. Sometimes, as a parent, you pick your battles, and try to be a better role model the next time.

fuzzy face moustaches

Wouldn’t you be just a bit curious to see this on a vending machine?

So I was surprised as anyone to find a bizarre, moustache vending machine placed just inside the entrance of a local pub in town recently. A group of us had just finished a lovely pub dinner and were heading out the door to retrieve our vehicle, when I spotted a couple of vending machines against a stair bannister. Probably selling mints or the like I figured as I walked past them. But something unusual about one of them triggered me to walk back for a second look. Holy smokes … you could buy a fake moustache for a dollar … a dollar!

I had to point it out to our friends, it was just too weird. And although the sane part of my brain was yelling “A dollar?! Are you joking?!”, that little kid’s voice inside me started to implore me to dig for a loonie ($1.00 Cdn) coin – just because. I actually had to jostle with the machine before it spit out an acorn-sized plastic capsule with something twisted inside it. It looked like a flattened caterpillar made to fit the tiny pod. With much hilarity, our group headed back home to explore “the find”.

SnidleyWhiplash/Dudley Do-Right

I loved how Dudley (of the RCMP) always captured poor Snidely Whiplash and saved sweet Nell.

In contrast to the fuzzy, Movember-like moustaches pictured on the front of the vending machine, my sorry selection paralleled a version like Snidely Whiplash’s pencil-thin one. (Any hockey fanatics will know what I’m referring to: the ritualistic process of growing as much facial hair, moustaches especially, as possible during the hockey play-offs.) The recollection alone of the comic escapades between Snidely Whiplash and the Mounties’ Dudley Do-Right over saving Sweet Nell was well worth nearly losing my loonie in the vending machine. (Watching the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, with all the crazy cartoon characters, was one of my happiest childhood memories, no question.)

So … the burning question is: Did I actually wear this cheap excuse for a moustache? The short answer is no, but I do foresee a resurrection of poor Snidely in the near future when my friends least expect it. Maybe they’ll find it floating in a punch bowl (Halloween?) like a centipede, or stuck onto the wedge of stinky Bleu cheese in the fridge, we’ll see. As I have discovered poking around on the computer, even the gals like to have some fun wearing a funny moustache for a laugh – and that mini-‘staches are quite trendy on fashion nails. The point is, if it gets a laugh, why not give it a try. So until I have to rid myself of some real upper lip hair (please God, no), the fake variety is just a vending machine away.

Moustaches on nails

Pretty … and fun nails!

Moustache phone cover

Love it!

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Posted in: Leftovers, Traditions