Is It Illegal To Shake A Vending Machine In Michigan? Here’s What the Law Says

Vending machines are ubiquitous in our modern society, providing convenient access to food, drinks, and other products. However, their mechanical nature can sometimes lead to malfunctions, leaving customers frustrated and tempted to take drastic measures, such as shaking the machine. While the urge to do so may be understandable, it’s crucial to understand the legal ramifications of such actions. This article examines the legality of shaking a vending machine in the state of Michigan, focusing on relevant laws, potential consequences, and alternative solutions.

Michigan Law

The laws governing vending machines in Michigan fall under the category of property damage. The relevant statute, Michigan Penal Code Section 750.380, states that a person who “wilfully and maliciously destroys, throws down, damages, injures or removes any property, real or personal, belonging to another…” is guilty of a misdemeanor. This statute encompasses damage inflicted on vending machines, making it illegal to shake them with the intent to cause harm or malfunction.

To understand whether shaking a vending machine constitutes a violation of this statute, it’s important to analyze the elements of the offense:

  • Willful: This element implies an intentional act, meaning the person shaking the machine did so deliberately and not by accident.
  • Malicious: This element requires proof that the person intended to cause damage or harm to the machine.
  • Damage: The act of shaking must result in actual damage to the machine, even if it’s minimal.

Based on these elements, it’s evident that shaking a vending machine with the intent to cause it to dispense products or function correctly could be considered a criminal offense. If the shaking results in any damage, the offender could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment for up to 90 days.

Consequences of Shaking a Vending Machine

Beyond potential criminal charges, shaking a vending machine can also lead to civil consequences. The owner of the vending machine may file a lawsuit against the offender seeking compensation for the damage caused. This could result in significant financial penalties, especially if the damage is extensive.

Furthermore, the incident could also damage the offender’s reputation and create difficulties in future interactions with the vending machine owner or their business. Moreover, if the shaking causes injury to someone, the offender could face additional legal repercussions.

Alternatives to Shaking a Vending Machine

Instead of resorting to potentially harmful and illegal actions, there are several alternative solutions for dealing with a malfunctioning vending machine:

  • Report the issue: Most vending machines have contact information displayed on them, allowing customers to report problems directly to the owner or service provider.
  • Contact customer service: Many companies have dedicated customer service lines or online platforms for addressing vending machine malfunctions.
  • Seek assistance from a staff member: If the vending machine is located within a store or building, a staff member may be able to assist with the issue.
  • Move on and try another machine: If the problem persists, choosing a different vending machine is a safer and more responsible option.

By adopting these alternatives, customers can avoid legal trouble and maintain good relationships with vending machine owners and businesses.


Shaking a vending machine in Michigan is not only illegal but also carries significant potential consequences, including criminal charges, fines, and civil lawsuits. In addition, it can damage the machine, injure others, and tarnish the offender’s reputation. Remember, alternative solutions like reporting the issue, contacting customer service, or seeking assistance are always readily available and ultimately more beneficial. By understanding the law and choosing responsible actions, everyone can enjoy the convenience of vending machines without legal repercussions.

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