Cleveland installed red light/speed cameras. You speed, or you go through a red light a fraction of a second too late, and it takes a picture of your license plate and mails you a ticket. Ugh. (they then voted them down or something, cool, whatever.)
One friend, half-jokingly, said he supported red-light cameras because he knows where they all are and can avoid them. In effect, the city put in a tax on drivers that you can avoid (and therefore benefit from) if you do extra mental work to study the traffic maps.
This should have a name. Similar things:
- Ryanair. If you fly with them, you have to check a special box *not* to buy BS insurance, you have to carry on your bag (or maybe check it or whatever, depending on the day), you have to print your boarding pass ahead of time or pay $40, etc etc.
- Mail-in rebates. A bottle of wine is $15, or $10 after rebate, so they can advertise $10 but still make $15 because most people won't fill in the rebate.
- Credit card juggling for miles. (not carrying a balance, I mean signing up for cards to get the 40k miles bonus and then ditching the card.) I make a few hundred bucks worth a year doing this, but it does mean I have to monitor a few cards so I don't end up paying a bunch of annual fees.
If you have lots of free time and/or are good at organizing, you can easily do all of this. If not, you are taxed. This needs a name. "Simplicity Tax"?
(it probably goes without saying that I think most of these are monstrosities.)