Campus News News Op-Eds Opinion

Ask Not for Whom the Bell Tolls

Nick Lovett
Staff Writer

There are some occupations in this country that are constantly overlooked by society, jobs that are not even given a second thought even though most people come into contact with them every day.

These jobs range from the mail man, to that one guy at Dunkin’ Donuts who seems to stare just a second too long and always seems to be way too interested in your life.

A job that falls into the same category as those is the toll booth collector. You know, the job that is being overtaken by Fast Passes? Yeah, those guys. Ever notice how miserable they look? Well, that’s because we are. Fun fact: we were actually one of the jobs on the highest suicide rate list.

Working at the toll booths for an entire summer was an experience in itself. I have seen it all.

On my very first day on the job, I had a woman pull up who sold paper flowers to pay for gas, and she hadn’t slept in three days. Now, looking past how unsafe that is, this is the information that people share with me. I see these people for thirty seconds and they talk to me like I’ve known them for 10 years. Sometimes it’s funny, but in cases like this, it’s just plain weird.

After that, we get constantly hit on. Like seriously, all the time. This sounds fun at first, but then it just gets borderline creepy. You find out fast that cougars have the most confidence in the world. They don’t have shame. They will hit on you no matter if their kids are in the car or not.

The next worst to the cougars are the preteen girls. I have had my picture taken so many times it’s ridiculous. Weird how I can see the phones sticking out of the window and hear the shutter make sound. The giggling afterwards doesn’t help their case either.

Those aren’t the things that make us miserable, though. Those are the things that entertain us. We have a much longer list of the dark side of the job.

Being yelled at for something that isn’t your fault isn’t the most fun thing in the world. It isn’t our fault the prices are how they are. The state sets the prices, we just ask for the money, and no, the prices don’t change daily.

Actually, the prices don’t change much at all. Giving us dirty looks because the prices aren’t what they thought they were (see Dennis Green) doesn’t change anything either; you still have to pay the amount the ticket says.

And God forbid if you don’t have the money. First of all, why would you go onto a toll road without money? And second of all, please don’t get upset when we have to fill out a piece of paper because you didn’t think when you left your house; again, that is not our fault.

Probably more annoying than that is when people forget their ticket. This is the part, by far, where we get the most complaints and attitude. Now for those that don’t know, if you forget your ticket or go through the fast lane when you get on the Mass. Pike, you have to pay from the farthest point on the Pike no matter if you came from the next closest exit or not.

Again, it is not my fault that the ticket flew out your window, got eaten, lost, burnt, etc. It is only my job to collect the money. So, even though your toll was initially 25 cents, you forgot your ticket so it is now $2.10. Do not give me dirty looks and do not try to argue with me. I cannot change that and the more you argue, the less I want to help.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, the next time you go through a toll, have close to exact change ready, use common sense, and be nice, make our day.


Toll Collectors Everywhere

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