I used the new toll road to go to and from a volleyball game a few weeks ago. It was a time saver and therefore a gas saver. Then I received the bill. So, I am not only throughly creeped out that the government does indeed track me when I have no little magnetic kind of thingie, but I am so very disappointed in myself for not realizing I was stealing from myself.
My toll bill is a whopping $0.90. The state paid $0.37 to mail it. The bill included two pieces of paper printed front and back and a pre-addressed #10 envelope. Between the postage, materials, and human labor involved in taxing me, I ended up losing my own money. Because I am the state. I pay the salaries. I pay the benefits. I pay for the paper and the VISA fees, etc etc etc.
But because I can’t leave well enough alone and because I have nothing to do since I am a stay-at-home mom, I decided to call 1-877-769-7277 and press 9. I spoke with a young man named Dale. I asked Dale, “What is the least expensive way for me to pay my $0.90 bill?”
“I’ll be happy to take your payment over the phone. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Disvocer, and American Express.”
“But, Dale, those all have fees attached.”
“We do not charge anything additional to take your payment over the phone.”
“Visa and the others will charge the state a percentage fee to accept my payment and that makes it more expensive to me.”
“Well, yes, but you don’t pay the fee, the state does.”
“Dale, I am the state. I am a taxpayer. I am the state. I pay your salary, your benefits, for your cubicle furniture, and the bill from Visa, et al.”
“But there is no cost to you.”
“Yes. Yes, Dale, there is. I’ll just remit my payment via check. Thank you for your help today.”
“But I am happy to take your payment here and then you won’t have to spend money on a stamp.”
“Dale, I would rather spend the money I have that has only been taxed once than to spend the money on a second and then third tax to pay it using a credit card. This whole thing is a sham. We both know that. There is no way the government can pay for this ‘privately built road’ in any reasonable amount of time. At least not with the terms that would be afforded me as a private citizen.”
“But we do collect a lot of late fees.”
“And there is your fourth tax on money that should only be taxed once. And even that is theft. Dale, the role of government is to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I am sorry I chose to use this road and I will not choose to use it again. But I thank you for your kind help. Have a good day.”
“OK. Thanks for using NC Quick Pass.”
Seriously. That was the conversation. Sure, I may have missed a word here or there, but that was it. And I knew how it would go. But I had to call. If that one conversation causes that one man any pause for reflection or if that one man shares the story of a stupid woman with another and it causes that person to pause, then the call was worth it. I am skeptical, but hopeful. Because I need some change.