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David Emery

Are Vending Machines Deadlier than Sharks?

By June 29, 2005

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Are vending machines deadlier than sharks?Vending machines kill, sharks don't, according to a July 4, 2003 Reuters headline. The article quotes an L.A. lifeguard who asserts that despite a ubiquitous fear of shark attacks in this country, "more people are killed in the United States each year by vending machines" — which smacks of an urban legend but probably isn't.

I say "probably isn't" because statistics on vending machine deaths aren't as easy to come by as data on shark attack fatalities, so it's hard to draw a direct comparison. But if we look, say, at 1995, the most recent year for which I was able to find an accounting of deaths due to vending machine tipovers, two people died as a result of being crushed by falling soda machines in the U.S., as compared to zero shark-related deaths in the same twelve-month period.

Moreover, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission there were 37 known vending machine fatalities between 1978 and 1995, for an average of 2.18 deaths per year. Over the past decade there were a total of six recorded Are vending machines deadlier than sharks? shark attack fatalities in the U.S., for an average of .6 deaths per year. Ergo, barring a drastic reduction in the frequency of vending machine accidents since 1995, vending machines are indeed more deadly than sharks by a factor of almost four.

Moral: Never swim in vending machine-infested waters.


December 10, 2006 at 3:12 am
(1) Rachael says:

i do think that is right because with sharks they only react if you are in their territory and with vending machine people usually shake them to get the snacks that are stuck and also sharks react to movement so people out there don’t think that their vicious and bad creatures they are one of the most fascinating and beautiful creatures that you will ever see!!

January 24, 2007 at 1:21 pm
(2) Holly says:

Um. Wow. This is pretty stupid.

April 24, 2011 at 10:03 am
(3) colleen says:

You’re pretty stupid.

April 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm
(4) Jeannette says:

Probably if people were more afraid of vending machines the world would be better off in many ways such as addictions, etc. that cause a lot of grief and money woes.

July 26, 2011 at 12:39 am
(5) Ray William Johnson says:

Yea i know, search me up on youtube, I have the 2nd most viewed videos on youtube! If you havent heard of me search me up ‘Ray William Johnson’! And it is stupid, u cause the vending maching to fall on you, and sharks have nothing to do with this. :)

May 2, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(6) jackie says:

i know right!!

February 8, 2007 at 6:19 pm
(7) zeke says:

not if it was your loved one who got crushed!

February 26, 2007 at 4:36 am
(8) Rick says:

This really puts it in perspective, i have always known this fact and its good to see the stats. Save the sharks.

March 5, 2007 at 2:05 pm
(9) Dan Andersen says:

I understand the Military is working on an effective Vending-Machine repellent.

God knows how many lives it would save -

March 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm
(10) jamie Hill says:

hope he has his bat shark repellant

April 27, 2007 at 11:34 am
(11) john says:

Vending machines KILL!

May 2, 2007 at 2:53 pm
(12) fatso says:

Vending machines not only kill by falling on you (and they do it on purpose…not because they are being shaken) but they also kill you by spewing poison from a slot on the bottom…

May 3, 2007 at 7:29 pm
(13) Gerritt says:

Vending machines are part of the Darwinian process.
Both for their emissions being consumed to excess as well as their predilection towards crushing those with too much testosterone and too little brains.
Give the Naderites another couple of years and we’ll probably outlaw vending machines as a danger to the public, thus further diluting the gene pool.

May 25, 2007 at 3:42 pm
(14) krista says:

this is not stupid at all, infact, this is very true ^.^


May 31, 2007 at 10:42 pm
(15) Jeff says:

I was never chased by a soda machine while I was relaxing at the beach…stupid statistic comparing two non-related things. Duh!

April 24, 2011 at 10:07 am
(16) Colleen says:

annnnd you were never chased by a shark while relaxing ON the beach either. duh!

July 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm
(17) Neelix says:

Obviously you were one of the lucky ones. Once I was relaxing on the beach, only to be attacked by both a vending machine AND 60% of a shark. It was a terrible experience.

July 21, 2007 at 11:34 pm
(18) Lancer says:

I was never chased by a shark while I was relaxing on the beach.

The point is that the public gets behind ideas that aren’t grounded in reality.

Jeff, you may not know this: Sharks are in danger of being hunted into extinction by people who think they are ruthless killers.

So the point of the vending machine versus shark statistic is that we shouldn’t destroy a species that is nothing at all like the ruthless killers that Hollywood makes them out to be.

April 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm
(19) irving says:

so are many other animals not only sharks like pitbulls for 3 kills a year a deer has killed more
than that

July 25, 2007 at 12:30 pm
(20) Xeej says:

U 4 realz? i thought sharks are more deadlier? dang! peace out and stay safe!

August 1, 2007 at 6:21 pm
(21) denimman says:

Hey, what have you guys in America got – great white vending machines!

August 2, 2007 at 3:03 am
(22) Erica and Uschi says:

I was once stalked by a vending machine on the beach…… here’s my home video.

August 24, 2007 at 8:55 pm
(23) Marty says:

Just like sharks, vending machines only attack you if you’re in their territory. The thing is though, there are a lot more people in the territory of the vending machines.

August 27, 2007 at 1:43 pm
(24) lineco says:

vending machines are a lot like 2,000 pound spiders just waiting in their web to crush someone! next time you see a vending machine just walk carefully around its territory…

September 21, 2007 at 9:41 pm
(25) King Bushwick the Toity Toid says:

Okay,granted Sharks are deadlier than Vending Machines 9 times out of ten!!
But in all fairness,just because some doofus out there tips over a Coke Machine and either winds up in Intensive Care or tells their story to
Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates,does not mean that Vending Machines are lurking in the night waiting to attack!!
(Sounds like a very bad Fox special:”When Vending Machines Attack!!”.)
Yes,Sharks are equally dangerous,but chances are unless your’e going for a dip in the Gulf of Mexico,chances of a Shark Attack are equally slim and none!!
Kinda like the episode of”Friends”where Chandler went to Tulsa on business and Monica surprises him!!
He’s just getting ready to watch some Porn when she suddenly enters his room,
so he quickly changes the channel to”Shark Week”on The Discovery Channel!!
So upon his return home,she tells him”I Know Your Secret and It’s Okay With Me!!”.
He asks her”What Do You Mean’My Little Secret’??”.
She says”Shark Porn!!”and gives him a tape of Sharks!!

March 9, 2008 at 12:19 am
(26) tom says:

quite an interesting fact i read in a book published in 2002. 13 people are killed each year by vending machines falling on them

July 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm
(27) gutsy says:

What was the title of that book?

May 7, 2008 at 4:57 pm
(28) Montana says:

The people who disagree with this are all o fawking Crack because it is true that vending machines kill more people a year that sharks do..

And also this isnt a joke vending machines CAN NOT MOVE but they do kill
i just got home from school and told my mother that and my cousin and they were amazed at what i leared today….. Sharks have been here before we were even alive they were here at least 400 million thousond years longer that dinosours people are killing them for their fins just to fawking make a stupid soup that the fins wont even do anything .it you know someone that is linefishing you should turn them in immeditley it is against the law.

I love sharks it would be awsome to meet a shark.

May 22, 2008 at 6:16 am
(29) Vendings.blogspot.com says:

You can see from the following video that vending machines attack people and we all need to be careful when using them…respect them at all costs!

June 11, 2008 at 10:18 pm
(30) hannah montannaskiesz says:


June 24, 2008 at 3:16 pm
(31) Some guy says:

My friend use to joke that if he ever was a powerful crime lord, he would have a myriad of vending machines on his mansion’s lawn so that statistically he would take out an entire swat team with them.

September 8, 2008 at 2:50 am
(32) MartyMarty says:

Remember though…… sharks will only attack you when you’re wet. Vending machines don’t obey this rule and will kill you wet or dry!

September 9, 2008 at 7:40 pm
(33) Rick Kane says:

But Montana, have you had shark fin soup??? Fawking amazing!!!
Avoid shark bites, LONGBOARD!!!

November 10, 2008 at 9:17 am
(34) Amanda says:

what i want to know is how the machine fell in the first place that makes no sence

December 29, 2008 at 5:15 pm
(35) Sam says:

Vending machines don’t fall on people, dumb people pull them over on them. Working for a vending company, we have yet to have a call that one of our vending machines attacked anyone.

January 21, 2009 at 1:53 am
(36) Sebastian says:

yes….. i like that drug lord comment that is just freaking amazing

March 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm
(37) Yogi says:

Let’s get to the bottom of this….as a test, we should put a vending machine into the water with a shark and let them fight it out. Will the shark smash the vending machine to pieces, or will the vending maching fall on the shark and kill it?

June 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm
(38) aaron says:

uhhh…..yogi….are u serious? this isn’t a game….i’m going to kill you….mankind is better without you

August 10, 2009 at 9:05 am
(39) Martin says:

Get a life rachael you loser

October 7, 2009 at 12:42 am
(40) Carlos says:

I never imagined you could get killed by a vending machine. Buying from a vending machine is not a great idea, for now on I will go to 7-Eleven!!!

October 26, 2009 at 9:46 am
(41) Jazmin says:

my friend told me people got killed by vending machines and i belive her!! i guess some idiot comes and just wants a free stupid sack and BAM! he gets killed.

November 23, 2009 at 11:32 am
(42) The People For Vending Machines Rights says:

on behalf of our comitee sharks r bad. i eat them witha side of fanta.I LOVE VENDING MACHINES!!!1!!!! my wife is 1.

November 23, 2009 at 11:35 am
(43) 8============D says:

can a vending machine kill a shark??????

December 9, 2009 at 11:17 am
(44) The Vending Machines Right Association says:

I think this is obsurd, I LOVE VENDING MACHINES, they give us various drinks like Capri Sun. I have 2 vending machines as parents…….so stop commenting about my beloved! @#$%&s

December 12, 2009 at 4:16 pm
(45) Ashley says:

People are way overreacting. There not trying to ban vending machines or anything there just trying to make u realize that sharks arent as evil as people think. Theyve gotten a bad reputation mainly from movies like jaws. They use vending machines as an example because its so stupid.

February 4, 2010 at 8:28 am
(46) Jules says:

Should vending machine companies be forced to post a warning sign on their machines such as “Danger, may fall on you and crush you!” or “Hazardous Tipping Zone!” or be forced to securely bolt it to a wall? Most likely the people who were killed were installing or moving it like up or down some stairs.

March 2, 2010 at 9:13 am
(47) abby (vendig hater) says:

in my opinion i hate vending machices only be cause i was allmost killed by one and i like shakr

March 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm
(48) Three Nurses says:

As ER nurses, we know the damage a vending machine can do. Thats why we keep them at our triage door. To weed out the moronic tools that really just want a work excuse.

August 8, 2010 at 8:37 am
(49) Doug says:

Just remember never to use vending machines at sunset or ones that are positioned near inlets.

October 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm
(50) Rob says:


Actually Vending Machines DO react to movement

November 5, 2010 at 12:18 am
(51) Mark says:

Vending machines can kill quickly! But keep eating the crap they spit out and they”ll kill you slowly!!!

November 7, 2010 at 6:24 pm
(52) Milo says:

I’m wiith you Rick if sharks weren’t around we wouldn’t have a facinating ocean creature to admire.

December 23, 2010 at 9:38 pm
(53) Dennis Hatton says:

Shoot a vending machine, Save a shark,
Before the vending machine kills it.


January 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm
(54) Blah.! says:


February 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm
(55) (_!_) says:

I can’t believe I got all the way to the bottom of these.

March 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm
(56) Allie says:

MLIA if that brought you here….turn around someone is looking at your earlobes

March 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm
(57) Justin Bieber says:

Like OMG. Kill those soda machines!

April 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm
(58) aaronkeller says:


May 4, 2011 at 11:22 am
(59) katie says:

my speech is comming up and i found this info very useful and brilliant! email me more for tips and facts about shark finning and this globaly problem an fyi im in grade six people

June 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm
(60) Morgan Freeman says:

I think that this is stupid very much because ii once was relaxing on the beach and turned around to see a man being chased by a vending machine!
* growl *

June 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm
(61) Zipppers says:

i find this very scary. just think about it a man running away from a vending machine

July 22, 2011 at 10:30 am
(62) me says:

There’s a shark in the vending machine!

August 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm
(63) Jay Bar says:

I wonder what would happen if a shark fought a vending machine?

August 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm
(64) vito says:

if a shark ate from a vending machine it would probably die instantly

August 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm
(65) Brecken says:

ninja is awesome and fully sick bro with cheese and crackers

September 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm
(66) It says:

how does 2.18 people die? i never heard of .18 of a person…. i guess the other .82 was eaten by the vending machine…

November 2, 2011 at 7:45 am
(67) jonzo 'big boy' walker says:

wow. this is true, i once knew a kid who got crushed by a vending machine. He was trying to get a loose mars bar but the vending machine mangaed to topple over. When the cops got to the scene, he was pronouced dead at the scene. I heard that his brains popped out of his ears and his heart was so compressed that it got shot 20 meteres out of his chest cavity, through the ribs. Look the moral of the story is that vending machines are dangerous and that they should be outlawed. However they do provide convienient snacks and they don’t call me big boy for nothing.

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