Your papers, please. And yes, I’ll hold your teddy bear while you look for them.

(The following appeared on Planet Moron on July 19, 2011.)

It has been a rite of passage for generations now. As the heat of summer presses in, young children across the country excitedly set up tables and chairs, mix up large batches of ice cold lemonade, set out cups, and create hand-scrawled signs announcing they are open for business. Then they wait with giddy anticipation for that first person to walk up and say the words they’d been waiting to hear:

 “I’ll need to see your permit or I’m shutting you down.”

These are the memories children will cherish forever. Christmas mornings, that first day of school, and being run out of business by the government for lacking the proper papers.

Of course, this is America. We cherish the entrepreneurial spirit that made this country great. That’s why here, like nowhere else, if you want to open a lemonade stand, why, all you need is some lemons, a few cups, and a can-do spirit!

And $180 for a business license, peddler permit, and food permit, as some little girls in Georgia recently discovered.

These are just kids, of course, so it’s kind of heartening to watch them in their innocence, believing they can sell a product to willing buyers in a mutually agreeable exchange of goods and services absent express permission from the authorities.

Ah, to be a child again! But as the Chief of Police pointed out, governmental authorities didn’t know how the lemonade was made, who made it or what was in it.

Imagine! Having lemonade prepared by some neighbor kids without close state supervision. Why, you could come down with any number of lemonade-borne illnesses, including an acute case of Sour Mouthicitis, and the need for a Lemon-Seed-in-my-Cupectomy.

But that’s not the only reason we need supervision of lemonade stands. As a couple of families in Wisconsin discovered recently, the government also has a responsibility to see to it that the health and well-being of entrenched moneyed interests are protected from the unwarranted competitive assault of little girls selling lemonade on their front lawns:

“It’s certainly not that Appleton is against little girls setting up their cookie and lemonade stands . But the overall intent of the ordinance was to protect the vendors at these events. To get a little bit of security to the vendors who were at the events.”

Add to the list of oil companies, banks, and health insurers, nine-year-old girls, who are simply wielding far too much power to be allowed to operate absent stringent government restrictions.

Call them, “Too Cute To Fail.”

And so join us in celebrating this very American of traditions, and rest assured that the American dream is alive and well.

You had that dream notarized, right? Also, you’ll need it in triplicate.

Copyright 2011 by Planet Moron. Reprinted with permission.

One Response to Your papers, please. And yes, I’ll hold your teddy bear while you look for them.

  1. […] first time I read about cops shutting down a child’s lemonade stand, I hoped that it was just an isolated event. Alas, no such luck. Lately there has been a positive […]


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