You can get live bait, 24/7

I know I have lived a sheltered life. I grew up in the area, after college I got a job in the area and now my family lives in the area. I haven’t been on foreign shores (unless, of course, you count Canada as foreign). I know I work in the media and see a lot of things, but, still I’m a small town (some say minded) kind of guy.
So, I was shocked and awed when I noticed the pop vending machine outside of Art & Dick’s Party Store in Oxford. Instead of Coke or Pepsi products for sale, the danged thing is selling ‘live bait.?
I kid you not. For a few bucks you can get your choice of live minnows, worms or leeches from a vending machine.
‘It’s the coolest thing ever,? Art and Dick owner Chuck Walleman said. ‘The customers love it. I don’t understand how they can keep live minnows in there, but when you buy them they’re alive and happy.?
Well, Chuck, the minnows are as happy as any creature can be living in a plastic quart container, ready to be strung up on some biped’s fishing hook.
‘I guess they don’t mind the dark,? Chuck added.
The live bait machines are popping up around the area because Ron Jedlicki, from Hook Line and Sinker Bait and Tackle in Lake Orion, has got the drive and will to make this business a success. Nothing fishy about it, he tends to the machines three times a week to make sure the bait is, um, fresh (?).
Ain’t America great! Where else can you buy live bait 24-hours a day, seven days a week? (Other than Canada, probably.) Chuck said the bait vending business has been good at his location.
And I quote Chuck, ‘For a while we were the number one sales location. Ron says he see’s lots of coins in the machine, which, he says, means a lot of kids like buying the live bait.?
Boy, have things changed. Both Chuck and I can harken back to our perspective youths.
‘When we were kids and we needed worms, we’d get the hose out, soak the yard and go out and pick ’em up.?
Me, too. And, as we got older, I can remember midnight raids to area golf courses to pick the crawlers up off the greens. It may have been illegal, but heck, we were young and doing the course owners a favor — no self-respecting golfer wants to putt over greens covered with crawler slime, do they?
That was then, this is now — I guess the kids find it easier to shell out four bucks or so for prepackaged worms from a machine. Man, all the good things happen these days — bikes with 27 gears, the World Wide Web, I-pods, cell phones and now live bait machines. Yep, you guessed it: I am jealous.
I guess the only thing that really needs to happen in the world of fishing is to sell pre-wormed hooks. It still is icky to thread a worm on a hook and then have to tear it in half, because it’s too long. Gross!
Ron has been baiting his vending machines for since spring and has another machine at the Sunoco station on M-24 in Lake Orion.
‘Business has been good, better than I planned. I wish I would have bought them years ago!? Ron said.
And, how do the minnows survive?
‘That’s the secret we don’t like to give up . . . let’s just say we just add water,? the cagey Ron replied.
Thanks, Ron. Thanks.
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