Berkley vs CASA Vending Machine Review

Disclaimer: In an ongoing investigation into vending machine quality, Jane Heller and Aria Dwoskin have decided to not only rate Berkley’s and CASA’s vending machines but also compare them to see who comes out on top. May the best vending machine win.

Berkley’s vending machine is a treasure filled with marvelously mediocre snacks. The food is tempting, but we have all had our share of hard times with the trusty vending machine. It won’t take your payments (it has returned countless quarters and dollar bills to me and rejected my credit card), and even when it does, it often eats your money with no food in return. But this also adds an element of surprise–and who doesn’t love that? Sometimes you will pay five dollars and get nothing you ordered, sometimes, you will pay for one, and it accidentally gives you three Cheez-its. Its malfunctions are both loved and hated, but they don’t stop the Berkley students from investing in it. Our vending machine may let us down, but we seem to think its snacks are worth that risk. I am going to investigate if this is true and take a deep look into how good our snack options really are. The following vending machine sections are rated out of a top score of 5 stars

Options: Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn, Lays Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips, Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles, Funyuns, Sour Sweet Chilli Doritos, Flaming Hot Cheetos, Munchies Snack Mix Flaming Hot, Frito Honey bbq Flavor Twists, Cheez-it.
Breakdown: There is absolutely nothing better than a cold vending machine Cheez-it. These hold my heart, and definitely boost the overall rating greatly. Another great chip option included is the Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles, which are a great option. In my opinion, the Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos and the Flamin’ Hot Munchies are both confused. They don’t know what they want to be–sweet, spicy, or tangy. It is confusing to eat a snack that is confusing, because then you yourself don’t know what you are supposed to be eating. The fact that Berkley has both of these in two of their limited chips slots is, to be honest, disappointing. Positively though, Salt & Vinegar Chips and Popcorn are solid staples. There are only nine chips in total, some of which are good, most mediocre, and some are just bad. The chip section definitely needs work, so I am rating it a 3/5.

Options: Frosted Strawberry Pop Tarts, Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts, Chewy Granola Bar, Welch Fruit Snacks, Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Bite Size Cookie, Rice Krispy Treats.
Breakdown: The fact that Welch Fruit Snacks and Chewy Granola are counted in the candy section of this vending machine definitely says a lot. But even with that said, Welch Fruit Snacks are amazing. Having this as an option definitely boosts the candy rating! This vending machine also has Rice Krispy Treats–but don’t get too excited. Most of the time, the Rice Krispy Treats are cold and stale to the point of inedibility. On the other hand, Amos Cookies are the perfect snack. I myself am not a Pop Tart fan, but for the majority that is, that’s a great feature of this section. Overall, I rate the Candy a 2.75/5.

Options: Aquafina Water, Nature Twist Sugar-Free Strawberry Lemonade, Arnold Palmer, Snapple Apple, Kiwi Strawberry Snapple, Mango Snapple, Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi, and Cherry Pepsi, Grape and Fruit Punch Mountain Dew Kickstarts, and a plentiful array of Gatorades, including Cool Blue and four Gatorade Zero options.
Breakdown: First and foremost, an honorable mention to the Arnold Palmer—one of the best drinks to exist in our world. We are lucky to have this drink in our vending machine, and it is always refreshing and amazing. I also love a good Strawberry Kiwi Snapple and a great Cool Blue Gatorade. On the other hand, some of these drinks are downright random. Kickstarts? Sugar-Free Strawberry Lemonade? I’m not saying these drinks aren’t fine drinks, but where are our classics?! Where is regular lemonade, sprite, and regular Pepsi? We need to go back to our roots! Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi, and Gatorade Zeros are not very compelling everyday school drinks. In my opinion, we have three solid drinks in our vending machine–four if we include water–yet we have two full-drink vending machines! We could do better, so I rate this section a 1.75/5.

Although all of these sections are seen to be lacking, the Berkley vending machine is a place I hold near and dear to my heart. It’s a destination, a social place, a break from the tedious school schedule. Yes, their snacks are somewhat a letdown, but it is a Berkley treasure, so my overall rating of the vending machine experience is a 3.5/5. Foodwise, I guess I would say a 2.5/5.

While Berkely is our adored homeschool, CASA’s vending machines could be arguably better. These state-of-the-art high-tech vending machines provide students all over Oakland country with such a great variety of food one could get lost in all the excitement it has to offer. Even though CASA barely covers half a city block, it has one massive vending machine for snacks and one equally enormous one for drinks. Below is a guide to help you navigate your way to finding the best CASA snacks.

CASA’s snacks deserve a hefty 5/5 on our scale. With the 22 different snacks to nosh, how could you complain? You could eat a different snack every day for an entire whole month without repeating any! The assortment of snacks they have to offer are lays classic, lays sea salt vinegar, lays sour cream and onion, lays barbecue, Cheetos puffs, Cheetos crunchy, ruffles cheddar, Doritos cool ranch, Doritos nacho cheese, Cheez-it original, Cheez-it white cheddar, Funyuns, Fritos original, Fritos chili cheese, potato skins, gardettos, chex mix, Munchies, Salsitas, peanuts, sweet and salty trail mix, and finally, sunflower kernels. CASA has a snack for all your afternoon cravings!

First, I tried the lays sea salt vinegar chips from the glorious machine. As I opened the bag, a delicious salty smell entered the air. With every crunch of the chip, it burst with flavor. Even though there weren’t many chips in the bag, which is not the fault of CASA, of course, it was a great purchase. The next snack that I loved was the Cheez-its. This snack is a classic and will never disappoint. The last snack was the ruffles cheddar. Personally, I thought these were just gross. It tasted old and fake. I will still give the snacks a solid 4.5/5 mostly because of the variety and partly the flavor.

If you are still hungry, CASA has a candy collection for your sweet tooth. To start off with the classics, they have peanut m&m’s, snickers, Butterfinger, M&m’s, Skittles, 3 Musketeers, and Babyuth. CASA also has some unique items like danish pastry, strawberry shortbread, raspberry shortbread, cupcakes, and honey buns.
First, the M&m’s are a must. They are perfect for a quick, chocolatey snack. On the other hand, the pastry and shortbread seemed dry and as if they’d been sitting there for a few years. Unfortunately, I give the candy category a ⅗. I have come to this conclusion because, compared to the snack collection, the candies need some work. They only have 12 different candies vs. 22 snacks. I also think this way from the unappetizing snacks.

Last but not least are CASA’s drinks. It is always nice to have a nice cold drink during your afternoon CASA classes, and the CASA vending machines are always there to provide you with that hydrating satisfaction. They have Dasani water, Minute Maid lemonade, Minute Maid pink lemonade, Coke, Diet Coke, Doctor Pepper, Sprite, Vernors, Pepsi, Crush, Squirt, and blue and orange Powerade. The water was very refreshing and at a perfectly cool temperature. The lemonade was an ideal size and also a great fresh temperature. The drink section deserves an overflowing 5/5! There is such a wide range of all the drinks it can’t possibly leave any student unhappy or even worse… thirsty!

Although Berkley’s vending machine has a lot to offer, CASA’s machine definitely is triumphant!