Ciearra Baker probably never thought she’d become known as the “Vending Machine Mom” when she made a Christmas Eve post on Facebook.
The single mother from St. Louis, MO, quickly went viral when she posted a photo of her children with a rather unconventional “present.”
“Let’s not handicap these kids making their lives easy,” wrote the woman who would become known as the Vending Machine Mom. “I’m not buying toys my kids most definitely will understand. Life is not easy and making the right choices with money & etc… So I came up with the idea to invest in a vending machine for the kids as Christmas gift #Young bosses in the making 👌💪🏽👏🏽🤑 MERRY XMAS!”
Some commenters thought the idea was a good one. “I love this so much! I started selling candy at school when I was little to make my money and now I’m 24 and have a small business and I love it!” wrote one woman.
Others, however, weren’t as welcoming to the idea.
“Not you shaming other parents for getting their kids gifts instead of vicariously living out their business goals through their kids. 100% guaranteed they did not ask for this. It’s the fact that you’re making it seem like it’s all about them. So let them do what they want to with the profit and don’t take any of the earnings or control it. That will teach them about life because they won’t always have mommy looking over their shoulder in the real world,” wrote another commenter.
Regardless of the good and bad comments, we can’t help but congratulate a mom for trying to teach her children about financial responsibility…even if she went about it unconventionally.
Here's What We Know About Vending Machines As A Business Move:
While the so-called “Vending Machine Mom” certainly meant well with her controversial gift, the vending machine business is by no means one that is as profitable as other business investments (such as ATMs, which this father did to great effect).
NerdWallet reports that the average vending machine makes about $35 per week, and one in a high-traffic location can only generate about $400/month in passive income.
And there are other expenses tied to the vending machine business, too. The constantly increasing prices of inventory, the maintenance of the machine itself, and the risk of theft and vandalism often mean that a vending machine can take years to break even — let alone turn a profit on — and this is assuming the machine owner doesn’t have to pay rent to the location.
Finally, there’s the expense of income taxes: according to the IRS, anything that generates income over $600 — even in barter income — is taxable by Uncle Sam.
In short, vending machines are a risky business…even under the best of circumstances.
But that said, they can generate some (not a lot) of passive income.