What is it about vending machines that makes kids lose their minds? Mine would go gaga when they would see one. I have no idea why. Is it some sort of magical, metal box of treats? But of course it is – to kids.

They willingly put their hard-earned chore money in and wah-lah, some treats come out. They are the same treats that could be purchased at a store in a larger bag for a better price. But no, they must come from the machine. Madness.

The candy bars are the same size as what one could purchase at the store. The peanut butter cheese crackers are the same size as in the store. The chips are in smaller bags. Is that it, the smaller bags?

Is it the variety, all in one place, lit up behind the glass? Maybe it is the lighting which makes it more appealing. That and the fact it’s all there and they didn’t have to walk an aisle or two to take in all the snacky goodness.

There were a few times when I didn’t let my three hit up a vending machine which, at times, caused a major meltdown of at least one of the three.

Once everyone calmed down, I would happily take them to the store where, hopefully, I could teach them they could buy more snacks for less money. Did it work? Not always. Do they realize it now? Of course they do.

The difference between then and now is they are really earning their money. They have bills to pay. Finally, it sunk in those items in that nicely lit box cost more. I guess some lessons take a little longer.

I must confess, I do get a little excited when I see a vending machine. Yes, it means I’m reverting to my childhood a little. I’m allowed and there is nothing wrong with feeling like a kid again from time to time. How many of you still hit up a vending machine from time to time? I know there are some of you out there. Let your inner child out. It will make you smile a bit. I know it does me.

April Pedersen is the mother of three children and grandmother of two. She lives in Lansing.