Carrot vending machine finds home at MHS – Web Exclusive

Samantha Weaver | Staff Writer

The new carrot vending machine at Mason High School has started competition in Debbie Gentene’s Entrepreneurs in Action Class. When MHS Assistant Principal George Coates was approached by Bolthouse Farms, he wanted a way to include education with the carrot vending machine, according to Gentene.

“Mr. Coates came to me and asked if I could see an educational component of having this vending machine in our school,” Gentene said. “I’m always looking for authentic business projects for the students to learn from real-life experiences, [and marketing the carrot machine] will be a good way to do just that.”

Students were placed into separate groups in the class and have one week to try to “outsell” the other student groups, according to Gentene.

“The students were placed in five groups of six students each and…[were] given a week to promote the carrots; whoever generates the most revenue wins,” Gentene said. “We are using this to see what marketing strategies work best.”

Gentene said the students have already completed the research aspect of marketing, and will start the competition on September 27th.

Sophomore Sammy Niesz said that her group has its plan for marketing the carrots mapped out.

“We’re using flyers [and] possibly a banner in the cafeteria,” Niesz said. “Our flyers are pretty creative and I think they will catch people’s eyes,” Niesz said.

“We’re placing the vending machine in B2, [because] our research has shown that this will be the place that will generate the most revenue, as it is in the middle of the school,” Gentene said. “We have had people say, ‘I’m not going to buy them in the lunch room, [because] I can get carrots with lunch by punching in my code. But if they were in the hallway when I really want a snack, I would get them.'”

The main goal of the project is to get students to eat healthier snacks, according to Gentene.

“Right now, students’ only option is to get candy from Mr. Grice,” Gentene said. “By placing this in a hallway that many students walk by every day, we can get healthier snacks out there.”

According to sophomore Brianne Brenneman, a student in the Entrepreneurs in Action class, students will by the carrots because doing so is “cool.”

“I don’t really know how many people even like carrots, but I think people will probably buy them once because it will be cool at first, and then if they try the carrots and like them, that is what will get them to keep buying them,” Brenneman said.

Niesz said that she thinks the peer pressure of students telling each other buying carrots is a “stupid idea” will cause people not to buy the carrots.

“I think that since so many people have been like ‘Wow, what a stupid thing, we now have a carrot vending machine in our school,’ that people may buy them to be funny once, but not again after that,” Niesz said.

The groups in Gentene’s class will have to market their week in the best way they can in order to generate the most revenue, even with the doubts that students will buy the carrots.

“The high school will get to keep all of the money that the vending machine brings in,” Gentene said.

Mason isn’t using the carrot vending machine for the profit, though, according to Gentene, who said that 100 percent of the money made will go to charity.

The proceeds will go to either One Sight or The Lyons Club International, both charity organizations that focus on improving eyesight.

“The students got to choose the charities that the money goes to,” Gentene said. “Since there is a direct correlation with carrots improving eyesight, they thought [these charities] would be appropriate.”