One of the things I've noticed in my travels is a much more aggressive assault on the tourist wallet. It really struck me this past winter how bad things have gotten. The big one that jumps out is parking. That's the first place they get you.
I used to know some great, sorta legal, and free parking places in Key West. Those have been either blocked, or have brand new shiny high dollar meters. It's like that all over the state. On the opposite end of the state at St. Augustine, parking prices have also skyrocketed. They've gotten a lot more serious about their enforcement too.
They've even hit up the boating crowd. In an area that was free anchorages is now a mooring ball field. I'm told that there are sensors on the mooring ball that send a signal when a boat is attached. A boat comes out from the town marina and collects the fare. Lovely.
When so much of the economy has gone south, the harvesting of tourists has gotten more aggressive. It's reached the point, at least in my case, where it's begun to backfire. My wife and I cut our shopping short one day because we had to run back to an expiring meter. Once there, we decided to leave rather than feed the beast once more. Might have saved me a few dollars in the long run, but the merchants lost out.
One day I was looking out over the new mooring field. Way in the distance, I saw a couple shabby looking sailboats at anchor. They weren't paying for those mooring balls. Later, I saw a dingy coming down the channel. They'd come from far enough out that I could not even see their boat. It warmed my heart to see people dodging the exorbitant fees. Bet they were my kind of people.
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