I have a small project in mind. Strictly speaking, it requires a building permit. Even more strictly, the building permit will not be issued without a variance because I live in a "nonconforming structure." That is, my little house, on about one and 1/4 acres, sets only 30 feet from the rear property line. The Smugleye-on-Lake Commissariat requires 35 feet. No credit is given for the the 200 feet of grass and trees in front of the house even though the greensward fans out to a generous 310 feet along the road.
It costs $200 (actually, about the cost of the project istelf) to beg for a variance. Nonrefundable. The zoning czars and the variance czars will get around to saying da or nyet in a matter of mere weeks or months.
So, since the project would change no footprint, would be unnoticeable to neighbors, and could probably be done without alerting the zoning checka, I'm thinking just going ahead and pleading ignorance or something if my victimless crime comes to official notice.
But that isn't the sinful impulse.
One of the village council commissars peddles used cars. After the customer agrees to the deal, he tacks on a "documentation" fee, that is, he makes the sucker pay for his paperwork. (light bulb in the text balloon)
I write up the variance request, cut the check, fill out the long building permit form, and let the SOL bureaucracy play with itself until the issue is settled. I then surprise the Smugleye Politburo with a dun, my documentation fee. "Net 30 days; 1 1/2 per cent per month on the unpaid balance thereafter...Thank you for your business!"
I respond to nothing they say, just keep sending "Past Due!" notices and, when the fun of that wears off, file a small-claims action. That costs $30, and -- even with the variance fee -- it strikes me as cheap thrills. -- even if I don't slip a tip to a reporter friend known for her weird sense of humor.