Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Fought The Law, and The Law Won

I went to Concord on Friday to pick up some new enhancements at Lowes for the folding door of our maple syrup evaporator, and smoke a cigar at Castros.  I parked my car at a meter right in front of the cigar shop and popped in two quarters - good for an hour.

I was sitting on a couch inside and could actually see my car when I looked up from the magazine I was reading.   I noticed that my time was almost up, pondered putting another quarter in the meter, but figured I'd be done in 10 minutes anyway.  I looked down to read an interview about Ernesto Padilla, and when I looked up some sort of ninja meter maid had placed a ticket on my windshield and disappeared without me even noticing.  

My meter had been expired for about 4 minutes, and I was peeved.  I walked out, opened the envelope, and saw the fine:  $5 if paid within a week, otherwise it goes up to $15.  Now I was actually happy - genuinely happy.  It made my day.  NYC expired meter fees of $65 are a lot more annoying that these $5 tickets.  Then I started wondering what the optimal balance of meter fares and ticket penalties would be.  In other words, I was happy to pay the $5 - so happy, in fact, that next time, if I'm a few blocks away or something, I won't run over and feed the meter.  The city wins if they catch me - they get a $5 ticket instead of another 25c in the meter.  Of course, they won't catch me every time, etc etc etc...  However, in NYC, I'll do my best to avoid the $65 tickets - they will get the extra quarters (worth only 15 minutes there, though!) but they won't get the $65 windfalls - hopefully.  Anyway, parking meter game theory is somewhat interesting.


1 comment:

J Johnson said...

Reason's I love this post

-Cigar smoking is involved (I myself consumed last evening)

-Game Theory (always a fun subject)

-Home Improvement projects

Doesn't get any better. I think this is the first time I have commented on your blog, so I will just say you are my fav, enjoy the poker, finance etc etc - keep up the good work!