iPods for sale in college vending machines

'This is where they hang out all night, so we thought we would stock the machines with more convenient items,' says Columbia's head of dining services.

For those Columbia students who really can't wait to have the latest iPod accessory, there is now an iPod vending machine in the student union Cyber Cafe. An article in the The New York Times reports that now student can have an iTune gift card along with their chips and candy bar, thanks to a boomlet of “automatic electronics stores” being installed in select student unions across the country.

“This is where they hang out all night, so we thought we would stock the machines with more convenient items,” said Larry Levitas, director of dining services last term.

The vending machines are relatively common in airports and hotels where travelers congregate, but placing them in universities is a new marketing strategy. Of course students don't get bargain rates for the privilege of instant gratification— iPod Shuffles cost $80, compared with the usual $69.

Oddly, since the vending machine has been installed, four iPod’s have been bought and four have been stolen. “Isn’t the first thing they teach in vending-machine school supposed to be locking the door?” Mr. Levitas asked.

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