Quick fixes get a bad press (i.e., "there are no quick fixes"). But some problems (e.g., not remembering postage rates, sitting in long lines to exit parking garages) really are easily fixed (forever stamps, pay machines by garage elevators). In the May 26 Wall Street Journal Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke, considers why it is that people lie or cheat in small everyday ways ("Why We Lie"; this appears to be an excerpt from a new book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty).
Over the weekend, The Washington Post took a look at how D.C. residents are adapting to a new five-cent tax on plastic bags that went into effect on January 1. It turns out that shoppers are now taking extreme measures to avoid paying that extra nickel—even schlepping groceries in their arms if they didn’t bring a backpack. The fee may drive people crazy, and the Journal may grumble about “bureaucracy,” but it actually seems to work: Stores report giving out half as many bags as they did before they started charging for them.