Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Honeypot Parking Ticket Revenue

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(+3, -5)
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The driver is thrilled to find what looks like a parking spot just steps from the theater. Alas, he checks the sign: it reads "Absolutely No Parking On This Block Anytime" and threatens a ridiculously high fine, like $2,000. It says "You Will Be Towed!"

However, the block is lined with parked cars, and none of them have tickets and they aren't getting towed. Maybe the sign is a fake? After all, who ever heard of a $2,000 fine for parking?

The driver decides these other people "must know something", and leaves the car for a night at the theater. When he gets back, of course he finds his car has been towed, and he is out the $2,000. The other cars on that street had been unmarked police cars. Another victim!

phundug, Sep 24 2012


       Hmm. Try as I might, the only thing I can find really problematic with this idea is that it makes me want to punch you in the face. [-]
ytk, Sep 24 2012

       I wondered briefly if this might be entrapment, but judging by Wikipedia's definition, this is more like a legal 'sting' operation.   

       In contrast to what [ytk] said, though, the idea of using fines primarily to raise revenue for the police is the bit I find boneworthy. [-]
Wrongfellow, Sep 24 2012

       No way this idea should have fishbones. It's sociology, it's science!   

       A customer walks into a large department store and everywhere he looks he sees people pocketing goods. Seeing no store emplyee around to point out the offences he too pockets an expensive item. Subsequently apprehended by store security he is coerced to make the purchase or be sent to jail. The other shoppers were all employees of the store.
rcarty, Sep 24 2012

       evil[+] horrible[+] punch-to-the-face- desire-making[--]
Voice, Sep 24 2012

       Sociology says people will be fooled into complacency, regardless.
Famous examples: No one helps a crime victim because it happens in the middle of a public place.

Or a study showing that students will say that the smallest item on a chart is in truth
the largest if 19 people before him make the same claim.
4and20, Sep 24 2012

       Ah yes, the halfbakery needs more ideas involving confederates.
rcarty, Sep 24 2012

       Confederate is a little known term used in social psychology experiments to refer to those secretly in on the experiment.
rcarty, Sep 24 2012

       Its moments like that that make me crave the HB.
WcW, Sep 25 2012

       I know about the Hawthorne effect. One of the first social psychology experiments by E. A. Ross was simply observing workers spooling wire, I believe. Just by watching the workers the spooling rate was increased. This is a significant observation because it demonstrates the same thing as the hawthorne effect that social situation changes social behaviour.
rcarty, Sep 25 2012

       Entrapment comes to mind. Do you work for the Cops?
Lessor Spotted Kiwi, Sep 25 2012

       Read what [Wrongfellow] wrote, to clarify.
blissmiss, Sep 25 2012

       I think this idea would work because No Parking signs are notoriously cryptic, sometimes aren't in effect, sometimes get turned to point the wrong way; etc. Since the law is fuzzy, the victim may fall prey to suggestion.   

       This is not like shoplifting, which everyone knows is illegal.
phundug, Sep 25 2012

       There's no doubt in my mind that it would work, in terms of getting people to fall for it. I'm not 100% sure it would stand up in court, however. Not for entrapment reasons, though (for one thing, that only applies to criminal offenses, and most parking offenses are civil matters).   

       You might have claim for arbitrary and capricious enforcement, since technically unmarked police cars aren't supposed to be parked on that block either, although that probably wouldn't fly to be honest. The better claim is that a $2,000 fine constitutes an excessive fine for a parking offense, and is thus prohibited by the Eighth Amendment (assuming you're in the U.S., of course).   

       Also, I believe that while local jurisdictions are allowed to define no-parking areas, the penalties for violating parking restrictions are set by the state, so it would take nothing less than a government conspiracy to essentially defraud an unwary public to make this happen. I have a feeling that trying a stunt like this would make you fairly unpopular come re-election time.
ytk, Sep 25 2012

       //This is not like shoplifting, which everyone knows is illegal//   

       So you disagree that the scenario I presented would not work in the way described, and that it isn't based on the same principle?
rcarty, Sep 25 2012

       This is just about the same as traffic lights with cameras and the yellow set to unsafe frequencies, forcing drivers to pay fines for safe driving.   

       Also hidden speed limit signs declaring unreasonable speeds and strictly enforced. I'm planning a 1500 mile trip across America soon and I'm budgeting $200 for these de- facto road taxes.
Voice, Sep 25 2012

       $200 might not cover half of a speeding ticket in California. A rolling right turn on red can get you a $471 fine here.
ytk, Sep 25 2012

       //A rolling right turn on red can get you a $471 fine here.//   

       Per tire.
phundug, Sep 25 2012


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