I’ve worked in many offices in my time and never saw people gather around a water cooler like they do in TV and movies. I don’t see why; it’s only water. However, as recently as last year I’ve seen a handful of people congregate around soda vending machines. Most of these machines dispense bottled water but for most people plain water isn’t enough; they need a little kick in the pants with a shot of sugar and/or caffeine. For those who want sugar without the caffeine or vice versa, I’m sure there’s a vending machine that can provide that. And guess what, the water cooler is only going to be dispensing one thing today.
Snack vending machines, to a lesser extent, is another place for people to gather around. While people are trying to decide which candy or snack the want, they can talk a bit. When they insert their money they still have to wait for the item to drop to the bottom for them to fish it out. There’s a lot of time in between all these actions to chat about the day or what’s going on around the office. Again, there’s a lot of variety there a water cooler simply can’t beat.