Lemonade turned to lemons thanks to overzealous law enforcement
Summertime is lemonade-stand season across America, and a 10-year old from New York City was following the time-honored tradition of whipping up a few ice-filled pitchers and a batch of cookies. She set up shop in one of the few shady patches of Manhattan's concrete jungle, Riverside Park.
According to this account in the New York Post, business was going swimmingly for Clementine Lee (what a great name for someone selling a citrus beverage!) until she was visited by officers from the city's Parks Department.
The officers issued Clementine a $50 ticket for operating as an unlicensed food vendor.
A similar thing happened recently in Tulare, California, too.At 50 cents a glass, it would take a lot of lemonade for the 10-year old to pay that fine. What's more, she actually got off easy, according to the Post, since the maximum fine for her lemonade lawbreaking is actually $200.
She and her father, who was at the park with her, weren't even given the opportunity to move across the street or declare a "liquidation" and simply leave when they were informed of their mistake. Poor Clementine has learned from a very young age the importance of "location, location, location."
A girl had her lemonade stand shut down by officials in Tulare, Calif., recently, making this the summer of no love for young entrepreneurs.
The Parks Department is the same agency that attracted media attention and outrage for charging a hot dog vendor $53,558 per month for the privilege of selling franks outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A couple of weeks ago, the vendor was given the heave-ho when he couldn't pay his rent, an amount which totals a whopping $643,000 annually. Given the recent flap over the vendor's eviction, you'd think the Parks Department would want to keep a low, gaffe-free profile for the foreseeable future. Apparently not.
When the Post contacted the Parks Commissioner to ask why the department was running around issuing tickets to schoolkids, the commissioner backpedaled. He blamed the officers' training and offered to dismiss the ticket, inadvertently teaching Clementine another very important lesson about doing business: If you need to bend the rules, it helps to have the media on your side.
At the very least, she'll have a heck of a "what I did on my summer vacation" story to tell her classmates when she returns to school in a few weeks.