An Illusory Intertwingling of Reason and Response

Philosophy: I wax philosophical, and many times violently politico-philosophical. If you can stand the heat, here’s the kitchen: enjoy your stay . . .

Tafel :: philosophy :: political

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Freedom of Commerce, Summer Style

Sure you did. Admit it. You had a lemonade stand when you were a kid, didn't you? Good for you. Not only was that one more nostalgic part of childhood, but you were exercising a fundamental freedom, unrestricted. But as Calvin says, "Another nostalgic part of childhood goes 'Pppbth'."

I'm sure you've heard several stories about the cops raiding such juvenile sole proprietorships, with results as varied as simple shutdowns to the parents being charged with sales tax evasion. I'm not going to dwell on such oversteppings, since as much has already been done, and I'll equate you with the Wicked Witch of the West if you think the government is in the right to react so to kids who actually display initiative.

That's right. That veiled reference was all the rant I'm going to put here. The reason I'm writing this is that yesterday I ran across some kids actually displaying initiative and running a lemonade cartel beside their driveway.

I was going too fast to stop when I saw it, so I turned around in a driveway a ways ahead and came back: as I pulled into their driveway, the kids (probably six and nine, but I'm bad with age-guessing) jumped to serve me.

"Do you want to buy some lemonade?" Nearly ecstatic.

"That I do!" I said, getting out of my truck and fumbling around for change. "How much is it?"

"Twenty-five cents a cup," he said proudly. I dropped fifty cents into their change bin ("And a quarter tip," I added, which the older of the two punctuated with a surprised thanks). I wish I'd had more cash on me: I'd have given them five bucks just because they weren't turning their brains into spaghetti with a TV or video game.

I take the proffered lemonade. "Thank you!" they say.

"Oh, thank you!" I reply. "You have a nice day!"

"You too, sir!"

Ahhh . . . of course! That explains why they have initiative. They've been raised right!

Cops Shut Down Little Girl's Lemonade Stand

NAPLES, June 18, 2003 A six-year-old girl was heartbroken when her small lemonade stand was put out of business because she didn't have a temporary business permit. A neighbor called the police and her stand was shut down.

"Gotta get ready for the sale," said Avigayil.

Even though she's only 6 years old, Avigayil prepares for another day at work.

"We like making money at our lemonade stand. We want it to stay cold so they can have cold lemonade on hot days," she said.

A young entrepreneur who does the cleaning, even the advertising and it is paying off.

"We are making lots of tips in our tip jar," said Avigayil.

But a few days ago, Avigayil and her friends were put out of business by a neighbor.

"We didn't have a permit so she called the cops," said Avigayil.

The police arrived and shut her down.

"We had to take down our lemonade stand," said Avigayil.

Abagail did not have a temporary business permit, which is technically a city violation.

"So we had to do something else to play," said Avigayil.

"I was kind of shocked because I didn't know we needed a permit for 6 year old girls to sell lemonade," said K.C. Shaw, Avigayil's mom.

According to the city, they have to act on a formal complaint.

"Normally we don't get involved in it but once we do get a formal request we must take action," said Al Hogrefe of the city of Naples.

So Avigayil's mom went to the city code enforcement office with wallet in hand, prepared to buy a permit.

"$35 every single time for a single use," said Shaw.

Not wanting to be sour, the city played Mr. Niceguy.

"No we did not charge her, no," said Hogrefe.

They did finally get the permit.

"Basically a blank check to have as many lemonade stands as we can stand," said Shaw.

So Abagail is back in business and learned laws can be tough, even for a six year old's lemonade stand.

Shaw said the police officers who shut down the stand felt terrible, but they had to do their job. One of the officers even bought a glass of lemonade from Avigayil.

NBC2 News Online (at Archive.org)