Sharks or Vending Machines: Which is Deadlier?

It’s another 90-plus degree scorcher and the beach sounds awfully nice. Sapphire waves beckon—people young and old are playing, swimming, surfing, and having the most refreshing time imaginable.

But Shark Week was on TV last night, and the thought of 15-foot-long hungry swimming tubes with teeth is enough to keep any sane person’s feet firmly planted in dry sand. A cold soda would be equally refreshing, and there just happens to be a vending machine on the boardwalk…

So which is safer, the swim or the soda?

Choose the waves. The odds a person will die from a vending machine accident in a year are 1 in 112,000,000, while the odds that a person will die from a shark attack in a year are 1 in 251,800,000. This means that a person is more than twice as likely to be killed tipping a soda machine than to end up as food for a large toothy fish.

Admittedly these are both rare occurrences, but in the United States 2-3 people per year die as a result of being crushed by vending machines. It’s common, on the other hand, to have a year with no recorded fatal shark attacks in the US.

A friendly Saint Bernard running into you at full tilt or an angry Pomeranian can pose more of a threat than either vending machines or sharks. The odds a person will die from being bitten or struck by a dog in a year are 1 in 9,356,000, roughly 12 times the odds of being killed by a vending machine and 27 times more likely than meeting your end in the jaws of a shark.

Vending machines dispense injury and death when rocked or tilted by frustrated customers or overzealous cheapskates trying to score a freebie.

Sharks do not normally hunt humans for food; most attacks are exploratory bites. But no doubt that’s small comfort to anyone who’s been bitten.

For a deeper analysis of these odds, click here.

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