Steve, I know the feeling, although I dont get hit by the $1000 from China.
One solution that I have been using which generally works (except for USA) is when presenting my passport for inspection is using a paperclip or a yellow sticker with a polite comment to please do not use an empty page.
I have to say the Thai and Vietnam border controls are the best, keeping the stamps very neat and close together and making the most of each page.
I have an old USA open ended Visa, which I showed to an Immigration official a couple of years back in an out of date passport, the type you got in the 80’s. He took one look at it and said “not now” as he ripped it out. I was a little shocked, but merely answered, thanks for the quick response!!