McDonald's restaurants in the UK have put license-plate cameras in their drive-through parking lots. The cameras watch how long you eat for; if you go over 45 minutes, a fine is sent to your house automatically, charging you £125
, and if you don't pay, the fine goes up and up and up.
The company that manages McDonald's car parks, Civil Enforcement, also works with a string of other blue-chip companies. BP used it until recently to monitor some of its petrol station forecourts.
One motorist, Jamie Thomson, told the Guardian of his experience at a McDonald's near Gatwick: "I ordered a burger, chips, a doughnut, coke and coffee. I sat in my car eating my lunch, and listening to the radio. After eating, I continued to sip my coffee for a time, and ate my doughnut. Then I left. All perfectly normal." He says he was in his car for about an hour.
Several weeks later, he received a letter from Civil Enforcement demanding £125, or £75 if the charge was paid quickly. At first Thomson, a businessman from Sussex, did not even realise that he was being charged for spending too long at McDonald's, as the notice gave only a partial address.
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