Where innocent children, bucolic images of a lost America, police state paranoia and righteous indignation collide.


"a sad day for American's" (sic)

This is the kind of commentary these stories inspire.

It is a sad day for American’s when children get fined for a lemonade stand.

You know what were happy days for Americans? When unregulated bankers and investors destroyed out economy. Or Abu Ghraib.

That is exactly what happened in Montgomery County, Maryland to six children trying to make a few bucks.

Actually, they were raising money for a charity (good!) amidst licensed food vendors who had obtained the necessary permits to operate near the U.S. Open, a very lucrative site. The parents of the kids are to blame for not doing the same. A good cause does not excuse violating the law.

The stand was intended for fun and refreshment, but that came to an end when a local cameraman from the local news spotted a country inspector that was issuing a five hundred dollar fine to the children.

Actually, the fine was to the parents. An inspector wouldn’t fine children. Also, here are a few questions: Was the fine immediately laid, or did the mom refuse to budge after the inspector informed her they were in violation of the law? What was the interaction between inspector and mom like?

Right. I’m sure that six children selling lemonade outside of the US Open was a severe threat to the safety of those around them. Sure, governmental agencies are forced to uphold these laws, and sure, the laws themselves do not discriminate between children and adults. They are in place to stop illegal vendors who set themselves up outside of sporting events.

Which is what this stand was: illegal. And according to the inspector’s report, large. They were in direct competition with legitimate businesses. And again, the stand was supervised by the mom, so the fine was laid upon the mom, not the kids. As for the safety - one way to ensure that is to observe proper health standards, which is what food vendor permits are meant to uphold.

The country inspector should have used better judgment, because all this ticket did was stir up a lot of bad press for them. By the end of the day, the fine had been dropped and the children were forced to move their stand down the street.

So, in other words, the fine had its intended effect: remove the stand from direct competition with legitimate vendors. The local news story provides an update reporting the resolution to this conflict. Also included, the inspector’s side of the story:

"This is not big bad bureaucracy coming down on little kids," Hughes explained.   She said the inspector was enforcing regulations designed to address concerns about traffic, safety and other non permitted vendors flooding into the area.

Hughes noted the kid’s lemonade operation was serving bottled drinks out of 4 large coolers under a 10X10 tent.  “This is not what you would see when you picture a typical lemonade stand,” she said.

"There Is No American Dream"

This is the first story that inspired this blog.

Three kids attempting to sell lemonade near the U.S. Open were shut down and fined $500 by a county inspector in Maryland. Although the county tends to overlook small stands, which are against the law, the inspector noted the unusually large size of the operation, as well as the lack of proper permits. Also, other vendors were warned and cited for similar reasons.

But cue the outrage:

But dozens of residents with homes near the US Open have been allowed to let visitors park their cars on their property because they paid the county $300.

Golf fans were being charged as much as $60 a day to park their cars with some neighbours reportedly raking in tens of thousands of dollars.

Mrs Marriott told WUSA9 she was having a hard time reconciling the two different perspectives on entrepreneurship at the US Open.

She said: ‘The message to kids is, there’s no American dream.’