A UTM spokesperson said the new vending machines have built-in anti-theft features. ZEAHAA REHMAN/THE VARSITY

In the latest in a series of vending machines that have sprung up across UTM, a new Best Buy Express vending machine has made its home in UTM’s Communication, Culture, and Technology Building (CCT).

Since the summer, UTM has added four branded vending machines. The UTM Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre (RAWC) acquired a My Lil’Healthmart vending machine earlier this summer, while a Reis & Irvy’s frozen yogurt vending machine — which is reportedly not working very well — was put in CCT sometime in September. An automated THEOS Coffee Espresso Bar machine replaced the Second Cup in the Instructional Centre (IB).

“We have found that our students are spending more time and longer hours on campus [including] evenings and weekends,” explained Suresh Krishnan, Manager of Retail Services at UTM’s Hospitality & Retail Services Department. “We work diligently to accommodate their needs when other food services are not available.”

Most food services on campus close by 7:00 pm. Only the Pizza Pizza in the William G. Davis Building and the Subway and Quesada in IB remain open until 9:00 pm, while the Tim Hortons in the Davis building, the Starbucks in the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Center (HMALC), and the Chatime connected to the Student Centre remain open until 10:00 pm, from Monday to Thursday. The Tea Bar in Oscar Peterson Hall (OPH) is open until 9:00 pm every day, and the Colman Commons Dining Hall in OPH is open until midnight from Sunday to Friday and until 9:00 pm on Saturday.

“We have recently expanded our vending program to include a second tier of products,” said Krishnan, “including ice cream and specialty coffees as well as non-food items such as those offered through the My Lil’Health Mart and Best Buy machines.”

When asked about why Best Buy was chosen over other vendors like Staples or The Source, Krishnan explained that a variety of factors influenced the decision.

“Brand recognition and customer service records are critically important considerations,” he expressed.

The Best Buy vending machine sells a variety of technological devices ranging from Bluetooth headphones, Fitbits, external hard drives, and phone chargers to instant cameras and even an electric razor. Customers can purchase these items with a credit card, and exchange or return these items at any Best Buy store. The vending machine also guarantees customers the lowest prices, promising to match prices from Best Buy Stores and BestBuy.ca.

Krishnan added that the machines have built-in anti-theft features.

“In general, UTM is a very safe environment,” he elaborated. “Our campus police are dedicated to creating and maintaining a safe and secure environment, and officers are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 [days] a year.”

Krishnan did not explicitly say whether UTM planned to add more vending machines around campus in the upcoming months, citing feedback and demand as deciding factors.

“If there is a demand for additional vending machines,” Krishnan added, “we welcome hearing from students, staff and faculty.”

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