Singapore family sets up vending machine outside home, offering free drinks for workers

637 drinks dispensed in first month, as entire family chips in on this "Thank You Very Much drinks" project

Last November, Dr Chiam and his wife developed the vending machine idea with their triplets, Andre, Ethan, and Sophia
Last November, Dr Chiam and his wife developed the vending machine idea with their triplets, Andre, Ethan, and Sophia. (PHOTO: Eric Chiam/LinkedIn)

SINGAPORE — A family residing in Siglap has set up a drinks-vending machine outside their home, so that food deliverymen and other workers can enjoy free drinks.

According to The Straits Times, Eric Chiam and his wife developed this vending machine idea with their triplet children, Andre, Ethan, and Sophia.

They called this family project "TYVMdrinks" or "Thank You Very Much drinks", said Chiam in a LinkedIn post on Friday (3rd March).

Each of the family members had specific roles. Chiam's son wrote the first ideas and critical considerations in a Google Doc, while his other son designed the logo and vending machine stickers. His daughter manages the Instagram account, his wife orders the drinks and Chiam himself funds the project.

Although he had initially intended to store drinks in a fridge by the gate of his home at Yarrow Gardens, he encountered "significant difficulty" in constructing a shelter.

As a result, they decided to install a vending machine that can keep beverages cold and withstand outdoor weather conditions.

637 drinks were dispensed during its first month of operation

During its first month of operation in January, the machine dispensed 637 drinks to food deliverymen, postal workers, and anyone else coming by on a work errand.

Chaim pointed out that postmen and refuse truck workers use the vending machine daily. "The Grab and Lalamove guys were in two camps, some took the drinks, but others were in too much of a hurry to notice its presence," he said.

"We reckon news of the drinks machine has not gone around in their WhatsApp groups much yet."

On average, 21 cans of beverages would be dispensed daily. According to Chiam, green tea and 100 plus beverages were the clear favourites.

The Straits Times reported that setting up and decorating the vending machine cost about $3,000, and the canned drinks cost less than 50 cents each.

Besides replenishing the vending machine twice a week, the family also discusses the types and number of drinks to buy over meals and ways to improve the project.

Dr Chiam suggested a pay-it-forward system to improve the project where others can chip in to purchase drinks for the delivery workers.

Having kind comments about the vending machine online has been encouraging. Chiam told The Straits Times, "The most rewarding part of this project is definitely seeing the smiles of delivery men, drivers and service people who use it."

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