Buying tokens isn’t nearly as easy as it looks

I ran down to the subway stop at 34th and Market today after work to buy some tokens, as I was almost out. I walked up to the booth, slide my $20 through the stainless steel cutout and said, “I’d like to buy 15 tokens, please.” The clerk, from whom I’ve bought tokens every couple of weeks for the last nine months greeted me, and held up a quarter. He said something about the quarter, but the microphone on his end wasn’t on, so I didn’t understand him. I asked back, “Did you say that was your last quarter?” I didn’t really understand what the quarter had to do with my buying tokens (other than I’d get two of them in change). I just wanted to get my tokens and be on my way. But he had to get his point across. He turned on the microphone, and started telling that he was giving me his last Nevada quarter, and that I had to promise not to spend it if he gave it to me. I nodding at this request, feeling a little incredulous. He continued to say that he’d give me a Nebraska quarter next time I come by.

With that, he slid me my tokens and quarters, I smiled and walked away. It was kind of a strange encounter. I was happy to have been treated like a human by a Septa employee (a rarity), it was also weird that he was trying to tell me what to do with what would become my quarter. Since I tend to read more than is necessary or appropriate into encounters such as this, I’ve put the quarter in a safe place, just in case.

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