MBTA buses have fare boxes that sell passes/cards. If your bus ride costs $2 and you feed the box a $5 bill, it will spit out a neat little ticket that's good for $3 towards more rides. It's a nice system, when it works.
This morning I got on a bus and fed the fare box a $10, since it was all I had on me. The fare box made a horrible noise, said "PRINTER ERROR" on the display screen, and spit out a ticket which said $8 and had NOT GOOD FOR TRAVEL printed on the back.
Me (pointing to NOT GOOD FOR TRAVEL): Your fare box just ate my $10 and gave me a ticket I can't use on other buses.
Bus driver: Nah, don't worry about that. It just means the fare boxes on other buses won't be able to read it. But it has a $ amount printed on it, so just show that to the bus driver and they'll let you ride.
Later today, I got on another bus and fed the NOT GOOD FOR TRAVEL-infested ticket to the fare box. Unsurprisingly, it spit it back out.
Bus driver: Yeah, that ticket's no good. Says so right there.
Me: Oh, I know. The printer on the bus this morning was broken. The driver said if I showed you the $ amount printed on the ticket, you'd honor it anyways.
Bus driver (giving me a pitying look): Of course he told you that. He didn't want to spend time arguing and make his bus run late. No one's going to let you ride on that ticket.
Me: ...okay, but what about my $8?
Bus driver: Well, you can go to [big central ticket office at one of the downtown stations] and tell them what happened. But it's not like you have any proof.
I have now paid a Stupid Tax of $8 to learn a very important lesson: Before I feed any money to a fare box, have the voice recorder on my phone turned on and recording, and take a photo of the display screen.
It's not that $8 is a huge dent in my budget or anything. It's that I hate, hate, HATE being lied to.
Seriously, fuck the T.
That is all.