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The lemonade stand: Entrepreneurs or rogue outlaws?

Submitted by on Saturday, 18 July 2009 No Comment
lemonade_standTake one busy-body neighbor, add a gallon of overzealous law enforcement, stir and what do you get?

If you live in a Philadelphia suburb, you wind up with seven kids threatened with charges for selling without a permit. All because  they decided to engage in that age-old rite of passage - a lemonade stand.

According to an article at philly.com, the problems started when the kids - including 5-year-old triplets - decided to sell door-to-door.

That approach might sound odd unless you have a kid who's tried to operate a lemonade stand in recent years. To say business is slow is like saying real estate brokers have struggled in the past year.

First of all, there are few people out on the streets anymore. The rare souls who venture down the sidewalk are likely to have their noses in a cell phone or be in a rush to get back to a video game.

Second of all, the kids among the thin out-and-about crowd are few and far between. And back in the day, friends easily separated from their allowance were the bulk of the lemonade stand clientele. Find a strategic corner where a long, cool drink looks good to passing bikes and you were set.

Alas, those days are long over.

Apparently meddling neighbors never will be extinct, though. It was one such person in Haverford, Pa., who set off the whole concession kerfuffle. He called the police out of concern that the seven salesman were roaming the streets unsupervised. It seems that a call to the parents would have been just as effective, but maybe that's just me.

Enter Officer Overzealous, who was ready to cite the seven for selling without a permit. It's unclear why he didn't also charge them with conspiracy - there was, after all, more than one person involved.

Little did Officer Overzealous  know that, while peddling without permission is illegal in Haverford, the law applies only to those 16 and over.

Luckily, someone a little more familiar with the laws of the city intervened and the seven were spared life sentences. That's fortunate. It's difficult to make license plates before you even know your numbers.

You better believe, though, that I'll study city ordinances, state laws and maybe the Constitution before the guys have another lemonade stand. It'd be a bear to pay more in legal fees than they generate in sales.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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