Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fee Collection the Cajun Way

There are many different ways to collect fees. On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, there are still a few live workers to collect a toll and make change if you don’t have an Easy Pass. In Houston, you can toss the correct change in a conical basket as you drive slowly off the expressway ramp. On Avery Island, you drive up to a small hut and are greeted by a smiling, elderly gentleman.

When Ed stopped the car, I first noted that the gate was on the passenger side of the car – unusual but makes sense since I’m always reaching for cash at these drive-up windows, not the driver. Then, I noticed his delightfully innovative toll collection device.

“Now this is Cajun ingenuity,” he laughed with self mockery as I angled to take photos of his long-armed clip. “The clothes pin holds the paper money. The hole is cut for people who pay with quarters.” His device held my dollar firmly in place, secure from the gently moving breeze.

After this jovial man took our money, he passed the long-arm clip back through the car window without a strained reach. On this second pass, he handed us the windshield display Entrance Pass secured by the clothes pin…very clever, so entertaining.

“The entry fee of one dollar supports conservation and security on Avery Island. Thank you and have a pleasant visit.”

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