Purpose, Reassurance, and Chill
March 30, 2018 6:54 PM   Subscribe

This week, I'll take one of each please!

Jakarta Post: Vending machine dispenses 'snacks' based on your emotional, mental needs

Instead of protein bars and energy drinks, however, bars and packets of “reassurance,” “friendship,” “belonging” and “purpose” are available for consumption. Perhaps you need a dose of reassurance before heading to your next meeting? A sense of belongingness when going to a family reunion for the first time in years, or even a taste of friendship?

Guardian: The Sydney vending machine selling Purpose and Spontaneity for $2 a pop

Jess, a participant, has bought one packet of Chill and one of Structure. She says she was drawn to the mental health aspect of the project.

“Mental illness is the one thing no one is paying attention to,” she says. “I think to a certain degree we all have these problems.

“I’m always complaining that my husband doesn’t have structure and he’s always complaining I should chill. So I reckon we should get one each and see how it goes.”

When she opens her packet, the top card says: “Wake up one hour earlier than usual.”

“I’m not sure if it’s doable,” she says.
posted by Gotanda (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is so fucking twee it makes me want to break something. Vending machines full of stupid fucking aphorisms is not a solution for mental health holy shit arggggg.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:55 PM on March 30, 2018 [9 favorites]


OK, Homo neanderthalensis opened that door. Thank you, and apologies for causing arggggg. I was alternately put off by the equivalence made between "can you just chill" and actual mental health needs. But on the other hand, I'm not sure if that is mainly the framing of the articles or inherent in the exhibit itself. I wonder if some of the people actually there are getting something out of it. Is something that gets people to discuss or think about emotional needs better than nothing? Any mefites in Sydney actually seen this thing or heard people talking about it?
posted by Gotanda at 8:03 PM on March 30, 2018


I was inclined to hate on this. Then I was inspired to second-guess why I'm inclined to hate on this, like some sort of Metafilter stereotype. Then I composed in my head a screed on what it's like to live in the "civilized" world with AD/HD where everything makes noise or makes foul smells or demands your attention however it can.

...

long story short, for me, for my interactions with the built world, for my mental health needs, we already have something better called "a park".
posted by traveler_ at 8:05 PM on March 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Back in the day, vending machines would sometimes have one selection that was a white box with a big red question mark on it. It usually contained either a plastic spider or a compass. Still better than an aphorism.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:08 PM on March 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


Maybe there's a benefit to getting people to ask themselves what they need in order to take care of their mental health, of getting people to learn to trust their deeper compassionate instincts?
posted by kokaku at 10:42 PM on March 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's art! I am normally bad at art but this vending machine appeals to me tremendously. (I have ADHD. I have an anxiety disorder. Close friends have more challenging conditions. And yet, this idea does not offend me.)

I do not have access to this art installation but I would like to. I would totally stand in line clutching a coin in my fist and then, when it was my turn, moon a bit over the choices before finally tipping in my coin, punching in my choice, watching as my item dropped down with a soft clunk, pulling it from the machine, and then opening the packet to see what was inside.

This is great, IMHO. Felt like a little vacation just reading about it. Thanks, OP!
posted by Bella Donna at 5:31 AM on March 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


Yeah, we've got one of these installed at the local hospital near the gift shop. Except ours aren't in a vending machine and are free. It's a bulletin board without thumbtacks, covered in pretty coloured post-its, each one with a word printed on it: Health, strength, resilience, courage, etc.

This doesn't trigger my placebo response, but the thing is, it could. I am guessing that one or two of those post-its get taken down by someone who clings to them, to whom they have meaning, to whom they can feel like they were whispered by God.

They also sell rocks in the gift shop, and those have the words carved in them and the letters painted gold, but those cost $12.99 plus HST, per rock.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:31 AM on March 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is so fucking twee it makes me want to break something. Vending machines full of stupid fucking aphorisms is not a solution for mental health

back in the day, my radio station sold "bullet proof" t-shirts, which actually worked. Nobody wearing one ever died of bullet wounds. And they also functioned perfectly well as ... t-shirts. I don't know what this has to do anything going on here -- it just came to mind.
posted by philip-random at 9:13 AM on March 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


Some of this rebellion/reaction might just be that we expect not to need or want such a prompting but the reality is life is HARD and who are we to mock something that provides a boost? Even if the timing for some is off. “Wake up earlier” might be a prompt to go to bed earlier, and can be very achievable to someone who has little access to a park due to finances or allergies. We’re complicated. I’m a big fan of putting encouragement out into the world inexpensively & checking yourself on the mockery. If the vending machine dies, it would be great that it’s failure is due to people being their best relational selves. Just a thought.
posted by childofTethys at 10:59 AM on March 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Want to feel good? Say hello and hold the door for someone. Makes me feel like I sent out a positive vibe into the world even when they don't smile back.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:01 PM on March 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


When she opens her packet, the top card says: “Wake up one hour earlier than
usual.”

Oh, FUCK that. I just got over the whole time change bullshit. Fuck. That.

(R'sTFA...)

Also, what Homo neanderthalensis said in the first comment.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 1:27 PM on March 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


childofTethys, Some of this rebellion/reaction might just be that we expect not to need or want such a prompting but the reality is life is HARD and seeing this Hallmark card bullshit offered up as some kind of solution seems somewhere between condescending and insulting.

Sure, “Wake up earlier” might be a prompt to go to bed earlier, but WTF is that supposed to accomplish? There still aren't enough hours in the day and now I'm up at 3A.M.? If it works for you, great, But I hate to imagine how infurated I'd be if I actually paid two bucks and got that.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 1:45 PM on March 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Which brings to mind my favorite cartoon of all time (that MetaFilter helped me re-locate several years back--apparent time-warp explained by fact that original [here as #261] was from '99, colorized version from '16 [scroll].)

That is all, carry on.
posted by TigerMoth at 3:20 PM on April 1, 2018


« Older This whole book is but a draught—nay, but the...   |   Sundays in the Park With Bagoong Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments