Regulated Market - Permit Required
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.
Even though she’s only 6 years old, Abagail 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 Abagail.
But a few days ago, Abagail and her friends were put out of business by a neighbor.
"We didn't have a permit so she called the cops,” said Abagail.
The police arrived and shut her down.
"We had to take down our lemonade stand,” said Abagail.
Abagail did not have a temporary business permit, which is technically a city violation.
If I were the father of that little girl, I would have done something. But not what the mother did.
"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, Abagail’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 Abagail’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.
Isn't it nice that the City is kind enough to grant Abagail a full license? Isn't their Oops! How very impolite of us; please, keep your lemonade stand open. Keep the fee money. Your girl can feel free to run her business demeanor just lovely? Ha ha, silly rules! There's always that random occurance where their trampling power hits someone as innocent as a child! Ha-ha! Obviously she deserves an exception. Such a nice girl.
It's not like she's doing this thing full-time and making any real money, is it?
It would be funny, though. Funny, if she choose to continue to run her business in front of her house whenever she could. Funny, if her lemonade began to actually catch on due to some new technique or material she uses. Funny, if it developed over time to be a serious source of pride and experience, turning into the direct joy of entrepreneurship.
Funny, if the City one day asked her to pay the license fee or even go full-tilt and require her to apply for a permanent permit/license. Of course, it's highly unlikely they'd ask for the latter application: I doubt the City allows permanent business to be held in residentially-zoned areas. I also highly doubt local, state, and federal employment laws would allow such a young girl to work many hours, if at all. Doing so might put her parents in a position liable for child endagerment and improper child labor. We can't forget mandated reporting forms for the IRS. They've got to be filled out by someone who knows what they're doing. Then there is the chance that Abagail's success earns the attention of the politically well-connected citrus industry.
Good thing the self-employed aren't covered by OHSA - that might really put a cold wash on the idea! HA! HA!
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 Abagail.
It's not funny at all how far this country has fallen.
It was only nine days ago that Avigayil was known to passers-by as the cute girl who sells plastic cups of lemonade for 50 cents in front of her Old Naples house. Today, she's known as the Naples lemonade gal who has the whole country rooting for her and her ambitious little lemonade stand.
It turns out not many folks knew someone needs a city permit to operate a lemonade stand. Even Naples Mayor Bonnie MacKenzie bought lemonade from the small setup before Avigayil was forced to close it.
"I've been a customer of hers more than once," MacKenzie said. "That means I've aided and abetted. You know what, I'm not one bit sorry. It's good lemonade."
So, the laws you are supposed to create, enforce, or otherwise maintain really don't mean anything. At least, not in the face of tremendous media coverage. It doesn't matter if the mayor honestly believes the girl and her mother make good lemonade or if MacKenzie feels cavalier about breaking her city's own laws. What bothers me is the complete lack of attention in this update article on the actual problem: the existence of the permit laws themselves.
Although the Naples police officer who answered the call was only doing his job, he felt so bad he bought a cup of lemonade. City officials shook their heads in shame. So they waived the permit fee, which was $35.
After a temporary shutdown, the city allowed the business entrepreneur to reopen.
"One guy was yelling, 'are you proud of what the nation thinks of your city?'" city staffer Michael Moose said. "It's pretty bizarre."
Naples police Chief Steven Moore said the city police department has received several calls, including one at 4 a.m. Friday from a man asking if officers had anything better to do than to shut down a lemonade stand. Others called irate, claiming they heard the police took Avigayil to jail.
"It's taken on a life of its own," Moore said with a smile.
There's no understanding of the wrong being perpetuated here. These officials have granted a special case exemption on the basis of feeling shame over denying a young girl the warmly eulogized stereotypical business endeavor of young children. Even if they amended the law to exclude business run by young people or business that make less than a certain amount of money, the problem I have would still exist.
Avigayil says she's famous. But she doesn't realize how many people know about her. She bases fame on how many coins and dollar bills are in her tip jar — a glass vase with a sign taped across it letting customers know spare change can be tossed inside.
Since news of the lemonade stand began spreading earlier this week, she expects to be "famous" for a long time.
"It makes you get lots and lots of money," Avigayil said, while holding her tip jar. "It's really fun."
It's nice hearing someone actually enjoying the profits they've made with their work.
This opinion piece gets it.
More here. A lot more.