Based on an analysis of data provided by Howard County (HoCo Vending Machine Locations and Income), it appears that purchases from vending machines have little impact upon many individuals or the population of Howard County as a whole. The gross sales of $147,181 is just too small to have an impact upon the health of Howard County.
The data provided by Howard County is somewhat incomplete and ambiguous. Some listed locations are not listed in the sales data. Some buildings have different names on the two lists. Some buildings such as the District Court and the Ascend Building are surprisingly missing. Whether the vending machines at the Robinson Nature Center were in place a full year is not known, or whether it really has sales of only one or two items a day.
While some buildings such as the Police Department are open every day, others are open only on weekdays, and others are open on weekends. Thus, the 365 and 250 day columns are approximate guesses for daily sales.
With most items costing about a dollar, it seems that roughly 147,000 were sold. The data shows that some machines only have a sale a few times an hour on average or some just once or twice a day. The Department of Corrections is the most busy and has the most sales. It accounts for nearly one-third of the gross revenue for the County.
Some opponents of CB17-2015 argued that the Bill would adversely affect the small businesses vendors of the machines. Based upon the available data, providing vending services to Howard County seems to be a losing business anyway. After paying a 35% commission to the County, 50% or more for the food, and 6% sales tax, there is only 9% left to pay for labor, vehicles, fuel, insurance, overhead, and the cost of the machines themselves. (The current contract can be found here). Approximately $13,000 is not very much for these expenses. If anyone has better data, I’d like to consider it here.