Little Bob's Lemonade Stand
Have you noticed lately how many more little concession stands are sprouting up along A1A and on Heckscher Drive into Jacksonville. Also on 14th Street right here in Fernandina Beach I see vegetable and seafood stands gaining permanence and on my favorite Saturday morning trek around the local garage and yard sales I notice more and more lemonade stands and coffee desks as a side business. Of course I cannot claim with any accuracy or surveyed rationality that this is where all the recently unemployed are finding means to sustain themselves somehow, but that street side vending is a profession on the rise, is undeniable.
Not having a clue how the licensing process for this type of entrepreneurship works these days I envisioned following scenario for Little Bob’s Ultimate Nightmare and a glimpse of our pending future:
Little Bob asked his dad one morning if he could set up a lemonade stand on the grass near the roadside when the family was holding its weekly yard sale. Bob intended to help out the family and do his share since dad had lost his job at the car dealership when Chrysler pulled the plug on them. Having just turned nine, Bob felt he was old enough to contribute in a more effective way to the family’s household budget than just doing dishes and take out the garbage.
Dad, seeing the gleam and excitement in his son’s eyes of course gave him his blessing and asked Bob what he would need to get started on his venture.
Bob‚Äôs dad always supported his son in his endeavors and as he went to Home Depot¬†with the list of things Bob had written down, he proudly thought, my boy has a great entrepreneurial spirit, fondly remembering the times he made some extra money on a paper route, a teenage job now almost extinct.
Back home with the items from the shopping list, he build the stand from some leftover wood in the backyard, cut the plywood in half, painted both boards and when he was finished little Bob quickly made two signs up that said ‚ÄúBob‚Äôs Refreshing Lemon-aid, 15 cents a cup‚Äù and set it aside in the garage so it could dry overnight. They all went to bed early knowing that 6 a.m. would come around and they’d have to set up the weekend’s yard sale on Saturday morning, which always turned the usually quiet street into an extremely busy thoroughfare on the weekend.
When he woke up at 6 a.m. he quickly dressed and started to make the lemonade. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs my secret formula Dad!‚Äù while chopping up the lemons to toss in the pitchers. As the tangy-sweet mixture aged in the refrigerator, he helped his mom setting out the garage sale items while dad placed the sign and stand with chairs. The other sign was quickly nailed to the old tree at the beginning of the street.¬† With an old cigar box he had gotten from his grandfather, some change out of his piggy bank, several dozen plastic cups and two pitchers of lemonade, Bob was ready to start serving thirsty customers.
Just as he sat down, his best friend Karl rolled up on his bike and shrieked ‚ÄúWow man, I wish I had thought of that! Can I help you? Can I? Can I?‚Äù Bob smiled from ear to ear and said ‚ÄúSure, what can you do to help?‚Äù Karl got all excited and said ‚ÄúI’ll be your barker. I‚Äôll ride up and down the street steering customers your way!‚Äù Bob smiled and said ‚ÄúFabulous! I‚Äôll give you a nickel for each customer that said you sent them to me!‚Äù
By 10 a.m.¬† they had sold 70 cups of Bob‚Äôs Lemonade at 15 cents each and they could not believe how busy they were! ‚ÄúMom, mom” Bob said excitedly, “Look we have ten dollars and fifty cents! We‚Äôre getting rich!‚Äù Karl rode off smiling from the good news to get more customers. He had made $1.75 so far. But when Karl returned with the next customer though, Little Bob’s ultimate nightmare began.
The Nightmare Begins
Karl was so excited. He started to yell at Bob ‚ÄúLook who I got! Look who I got!‚Äù and Bob replied innocently ‚ÄúGood work Karl, I‚Äôll give Mr. policeman a discount!‚Äù Officer Damone however was a tough, by the book officer and he had no smile when he got in front of the table.
‚ÄúHello Bob, I‚Äôm Officer Damone from Code Compliance and I would like to see your business license and tax permit?‚Äù Bob was puzzled and looked back at his mom helping some yard sale customers, who then replied ‚ÄúWhy would we need that sir, it‚Äôs a little boy‚Äôs lemonade stand?‚Äù The officer shook his head and opened up his ticket book and started walking around the stand and the yard mumbling and writing‚Ä¶.
– NO BUSINESS PERMIT ON DISPLAY $25
– NO TAX CERTIFICATE ON DISPLAY $25
– NO FOOD SERVICES PERMIT ON DISPLAY $25
– NO SHELTER OR RESTROOM FACILITIES FOR CUSTOMERS $50
Annoyed, he tore the ticket out and handed it to little Bob and said gruffly ‚ÄúYou and your mom have 30 days to pay or appear in court‚Äù and then he walked away. Bob looked at the ticket and his eyes welled up as his mom started to say something using words that Bob had only vaguely heard Grandpa use when the Jaguars had lost yet another football game. Mom yelled on top of her voice ‚ÄúPHIL, I NEED TO SEE YOU NOW!‚Äù
Bob, not overly disturbed by this government intervention, looked at his friend Karl and said ‚ÄúWe now have to make over $100 just to break even! You had best get busy!‚Äù¬† Karl was not gone five minutes when another officer returned, this time a Nassau County Sheriff‚Äôs deputy and he had his ticket book out also. ‚ÄúMOM!‚Äù Bob yelled all upset. His mom came rushing out and yelled at the deputy.
‚ÄúNow what the hell do you want?‚Äù
The Deputy, being very professional, pointed to Karl on his bike. ‚ÄúIs this your kid?‚Äù Even though Bob‚Äôs mom shook her head no, the officer started writing and mumbling.
– UNAUTHORIZED SOLICITATION FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES $125
– VIOLATION OF CHILD LABOR MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS $500
– UNLICENSED OPERATION OF A VEHICLE FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES $500
– DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY $500… as he pointed at the tree in the beginning of the street where the sign was hammered into.
With that the officer handed the ticket to Bob‚Äôs mom as he said, ‚ÄúMake sure his mom¬†or dad gets this. There is a number to call to set up the court date should they elect to show up in person and challenge the fines.”
As Bob gets real upset now and his mom is screaming something about the officer‚Äôs mother, another man walks up in a plain suit. He flashes a badge with lightening fast efficiency and has a ticket book of his own whipped out. ‚ÄúWho the hell are you?‚Äù, was Mom’s reaction.
‚ÄúState Department of Health and Food Safety Inspection maa‚Äôm‚Äù the man said and started writing and mumbling…
– FAILURE TO WEAR HAIR NET $10
– FAILURE TO WEAR PROTECTIVE GLOVES $10
– FAILURE TO PROVIDE PROPER SANITATION FOR DISPOSAL OF CUPS $25
– FAILURE TO HAVE PROPER RECYCLING PLAN ON DISPLAY $25
– FAILURE TO DISPLAY NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION $25
– FAILURE TO USE RODENT AND PEST REPELLENT $100
– FAILURE TO MAINTAIN PROPER TEMPERATURE FOR FOODSTUFFS $100
– FAILURE TO DISPLAY FOOD INSPECTION PERMIT $100
– FAILURE TO PROVIDE CUSTOMER RESTROOM FACILITIES FOR MALES $100
– FAILURE TO PROVIDE CUSTOMER RESTROOM FACILITIES FOR FEMALES $100
– FAILURE TO PROVIDE FOOD SAFETY & TESTING¬† INFORMATION FOR THE PUBLIC $100
– FAILURE TO POST SANITATION CERTIFICATE IN PROMINENT PUBLIC LOCATION $15
– FAILURE TO USE NON-TOXIC FOOD GRADE PAINT & WOOD IN MATERIAL CONSTRUCTION $250
The sounds of the tickets being torn from the books kept getting louder as were the tears and cries of the young entrepreneur and his parents. The profanities from his father are getting louder, as he chases his bawling son into the house. His tears were sad in a pathetic sort of way as during the fit he cries out ‚ÄúI just wanted to earn enough money to help you and mom out‚Äù. Phil hugs his son while his wife is on the phone with the family attorney for advice. Suddenly and without warning a huge racket sounds from the front of their yard at the street. There are suddenly two groups of protesters and that really was the last straw. Bob‚Äôs dad grabs a baseball bat and runs out the door only to drop it when the Deputy threatens to taser him. ‚ÄúSir, they have a permit for this boycott of your son‚Äôs business.‚Äù
One group was circling at the end of the driveway. It was a group of various racial, cultural and social minorities holding signs protesting Bob‚Äôs unfair hiring practices and treatment of minorities. Beside them circling the mailbox and trampling on the lawn and flowers Bob‚Äôs mom worked so hard to plant were ten SEIU members banging on aluminum garbage can lids and screaming that his dad was using illegal child labor and should have hired union members. It was too much for Bob‚Äôs dad and he grabbed the bat, consequently got tasered and went down for the count.
Bob walks out to the curb holding his mom‚Äôs hand tightly to try to confront all of these people and end this nonsense once and for all. The SEIU local head walked up to the two of them and said to his mom ‚ÄúAre you the enslaver?‚Äù
Bob swallows and looks up at him and says ‚ÄúLeave my Mom alone! I started this business without anyone‚Äôs help! I wanted to earn some extra money since my dad was laid off. LEAVE US ALONE, PLEASE, LEAVE US ALONE!‚Äù
The union guy retorts quickly ‚ÄúNo problem kid, give me $20 and we‚Äôre gone.‚Äù Bob runs inside, opens the little cigar box where he kept his sales and hands it over to the thug. The SEIU protesters leave and so do the other freaks, who had trampled their yard and left his dad in a slow daze after the officer who tased him walked away¬†saying ‚ÄúMy bad, I thought you were a threat to my union friends.‚Äù
And then the sirens are blaring in the distance ….
‚ÄúNow what?‚Äù mom frowns. Minutes later the sirens stop at their front yard when a man in a suit walks up to little Bob and identifies his presence with the I.R.S. Enforcement Division badge and hands a pile of papers to his mom. ‚ÄúWhat is this for?‚Äù her mom asked puzzled.
‚ÄúLady, your son set up a corporation without filing the proper documents for incorporation or income tax collection purposes. In fact, we show no record of any earnings since he was born so we‚Äôre going to audit your taxes as to ensure you have not been hiding his income all of his life.‚Äù Exasperated and groggy his dad scrambles up again and grabs the baseball bat, only to get tasered this time by the I.R.S. officer who muttered ‚ÄúDamn that was fun. I‚Äôve always wanted to do that‚Äù as he walks back to his car.
I guess you already have figured out the moral of this story?
Most Governments big and small are using every law on the books to impede the ability of anyone and everyone to start a business and make a profit. Without entrepreneurs and private enterprise leading the way, a ‚Äúrecovery‚Äù in our economy is impossible as governments do not create demand, they only tax it, defer it or suppress it.
Fortunately, this story does have a happy ending (at least for little Bob and his family) as the Fed chairman Ben Bernanke got wind of Bob’s predicament, called up his famous helicopter and dropped bags of freshly printed $100 bills on Bob’s front yard because he stated in a press release that Bob’s qualifications for running a business surpassed that of many others already receiving government largesse and because Timothy Geithner thought it would be neat to have an entrepreneur at the scheduled press conference of the same height as he is.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!
You can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!