Save the lemonade stands
By Shannon McKinnon, Slice of Life
Airianna Bayne, 3, pours a cup of lemonade at her and her friends lemonade stand in the Crystal Lake area in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Monday, July 8, 2013. Bayne and her friends are trying to raise enough money to go to the movies. August 10 is Lemonade Freedom Day; a day where people all over North America are encouraged to set up a lemonade stand. AARON HINKS/DAILY HERALD-TRIBUNE
Saturday, Aug. 10 is Lemonade Freedom Day; a day where people all over North America are encouraged to set up a lemonade stand to exercise their right to sell lemonade without a licence.
The idea is to make people aware that voluntary exchange is not a crime. It certainly is a grey area. As, I suppose, are garage sales. More and more the two are combined with hopeful children setting up their lemonade and cookie stand – or sometimes simply bottled pop and water – while their parents host the garage sale.
When you think about it, who else is allowed to sell food, beverages or goods without a business licence or a health inspection? And yet I would hate to see either practice shut down. The very idea seems like a poke in the eye of democracy.
Who isn’t charmed by the initiative of children setting up a lemonade stand?
Judging by the headline “Sour Neighbour Calls Cops on 9 Year Old Boys Lemonade Stand” a woman in Oshawa, Ont., was one such person. According to the article the woman phoned 911 to complain about the stand. Well, first the neighbour tried to bribe the children with five bucks to close the stand down and then she phoned the cops. To make matters worse, the stand was part of the children’s annual effort to raise money for the SickKids hospital. According to the children’s mother the police ordered the stand closed because they didn’t have a vendor’s permit.
Like everything there is always another side to the story. When the police were contacted by the press the sergeant confirmed an officer was called to the stand around 2 p.m. after a woman from the neighbourhood dialed 911.
Apparently the neighbour was concerned for the safety of the children after hearing screams. When the officer arrived he did indeed find a child running up and down the sidewalk screaming. The child – a nine year old boy with autism – was shouting at passersby in an effort to drum up business.
However, the sergeant denied the officer had ordered the stand to be closed down. “We don’t shut down lemonade stands,” she said. “No one was ticketed, no one was cautioned or arrested, it was only one officer at the scene and that is the extent of what took place.”
The organizers of Lemonade Freedom Day were all over the incident like an ice cube on lemon juice, urging their neighbours in the north to open stands in Canada on Aug. 10 as well. In fairness to these organizers, it would appear that in the States stands actually are being shut down for not having a valid licence. And since it is such a grey area, I suppose it could be a problem up here as well.
And that’s just silly. Let the kids have their stands. I try to support these wee entrepreneurs whenever I can and I have yet to be poisoned. And I can bet that any money earned quickly finds its way back into the local economy.
Growing up in the country on a lonely dirt road lemonade stands were not part of my childhood. I only recall setting up a stand once and that was under the influence of a city cousin.
We worked for two days on a sign that simply read “Lemonade 10 Cents”, positioned our table by the road and set up our cups, pitcher and most importantly, our cash box. We counted crows and listened to the hum of a distant tractor and the occasional moo from a cow in the pasture.
And then … we heard the sound of an approaching motor. The truck rolled by without stopping, but we caught the look of surprised confusion on our neighbour’s face before he disappeared around the bend. Another hour passed during which we drank all the lemon juice and had to return to the house for more.
And then … another motor made its approach, this time in the form of a grader. We marked its painfully slow approach down the hill and almost passed out with excitement when it pulled to a halt in front of the stand. The door swung open and a large man swung down the steps onto the gravel road.
“Lemonade hey?” he said, taking off his cap and wiping the sweat from his brow. “That would sure hit the spot right about now.” He drained two glasses and then a third, plunked down an entire dollar bill and said, “Keep the change.”
I was so excited I grabbed the money and to the mortification of my older cousin, took off running for the house to tell my Mom about our newfound wealth before the man even had a chance to turn around to climb back into his grader.
We never got another customer for the rest of the afternoon, but we each made 50 cents. Enough for a couple comic books and some candy the next time we went into town.
In other words, we were rich.
Original article here: http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/2013/07/29/save-the-lemonade-stands