an average of $712 to register the 'average' family car for a year - at least that is according to a recent article in the paper. The article went on to suggest that the government was considering allowing people to pay their registration monthly - and by direct debit.
I am probably much too cynical but I suspect that, if this option is taken up, the cost will rise a little further. There will be some sort of 'administration' fee. It will not matter that any direct debit arrangement will be handled by two computers.
I had to transfer some money to London recently. The amount of paper work involved was extraordinary. It was going from one bank to another bank. Both banks have offices here in Australia. They must make similar transactions hundreds, probably thousands, of times a day. Despite that the way it was handled could only be called 'cumbersome'.
Oh yes, things came up on the computer screen. I read it all as the bank officer was dealing with it. She knows me quite well. I read out a very long number to her and then she read it back to me after she had typed it in. I had to produce three different forms of identification - even though the bank officer was well aware of who she was dealing with.
It is, supposedly, all about ensuring money does not get 'laundered'. I doubt it does anything of the sort. No self-respecting criminal would front up to the bank and ask for money to be transferred like that. What it really does is allow the government to know exactly what we do with our money.
After I had done that I went into the supermarket in the adjacent shopping centre. I do not normally shop there but I had promised to pick up three items for someone and deliver them on my way home.
At the checkout I was reminded of why I do not shop there. I went to pay cash and I was asked for my 'rewards' card. I told the check out assistant I did not have one. The information was greeted with shocked silence,
"But you should have one...it would be cheaper..."
I smiled sweetly at her and said,
"No, it would not be cheaper. I don't normally shop in here. This is for someone else who does not mind paying a little extra just for today. The 'rewards' card just brings the cost of the goods down to the same price as the supermarket I normally shop in. All the 'rewards' card does is ensure people shop here because they believe it is cheaper - and it allows the company to know exactly who is buying what if they use it. It costs the customer to allow the company to invade their privacy like that."
There was silence. My change was given back in silence. I was given the docket. The assistant did not say, "Have a nice day."
I heard her start talking to the next customer and the next customer saying,
"Before you ask I don't have a 'rewards' card either - for the same reasons."
I felt a bit guilty. Perhaps I should have told the checkout assistant to 'have a nice day'.