Covid-19 lockdown: UK mum buys vending machine, gets kids to do chores for their snacks

Mark Ryan Raj


The UK mom decided to fork out over RM500 for the machine to stop her kids from stuffing themselves with junk food. — Picture via Facebook/Sarah Balsdon

PETALING JAYA, May 27 — Keeping kids away from their junk food is no easy feat, especially while they are being cooped up at home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

In a bid to solve the recurring “snack shortage” problem in her home, Sarah Balsdon, mother of four, came up with an ingenious idea to regulate snack supplies and get her kids to pull their weight around the house as well.

By purchasing a vending machine.


Hahahahaha let’s see if they can sneak sweets and treats now! So sick of the arguments about unhealthy snacks (esp with...

Posted by Sarah Balsdon on  Sunday, May 24, 2020

Balsdon, who hails from Northumberland in the UK, uploaded a post onto her Facebook and Instagram pages two days ago depicting her newly bought and fully-stocked vending machine.

She said in the post that she grew tired of quarrelling with her children — two daughters and two sons — over the disappearance of snacks around the house and decided to get the machine to end that problem once and for all.

“Let’s see if they can sneak sweets and treats now! So sick of arguments about unhealthy snacks (especially with lockdown), so I have bought a vending machine!” she said.

Balsdon added that the only way her kids could pay for their snacks was by using the “wages” they get from completing their household chores, in order to fully understand the value of money and make them think before reaching for a treat.

“If they want sweets they can do things like chores and schoolwork to earn money for them. The kids are excited about this but not as excited as me!

“I’m not unreasonable, I’ve put them at a cost price,” she joked.


Balsdon also said in the comments section that she acquired the second-hand vending machine for £100 (RM536.75) from Facebook Marketplace.

She said that after purchasing the machine, she then went down to the local supermarket and got “strange” looks from the staff as she stocked up on the treats needed to fill up the vending machine.

The kids even asked her to get some of her and her husbands' favourite chocolates and sweets too, levelling the playing field so that they have to pay up if they want something unhealthy as well.

Balsdon’s post has made its rounds on social media, with many people saying that they loved her creative idea and even wished they had a vending machine for themselves.

The family were even featured on BBC's Breakfast talk show yesterday.

Some social media users were even more excited than Balsdon about the new vending machine. — Screengrab via Facebook/Sarah Balsdon

“I love this so much! I want to have a go. When lockdown lifts I’m coming around with a pocket full of change,” wrote one user.

Some users also joked that her kids might end up “smashing” their way in if they start to get desperate.

Balsdon isn’t the only mom out there to come up with an innovative “snack rewards system” for her kids either as Malaysian mother-of-two Nurafiza Nadzirah Razali also gained social media attention when she opened up her own “mini-mart” at home last month to discipline her children.

Nurafiza wasn’t playing around either as she even made a list of the chores to be done. — Pictures via Facebook/Puan Nadzirah Razali

Nurafiza’s “Kedai Runcit Ibu” (Mom’s Mini Mart), similar to Balsdon’s vending machine, rewards her two sons with money to buy their favourite snacks — upon the completion of their household chores.

Her mini-mart even came equipped with its own cash register and hand sanitiser as well.

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