A Little Girl’s Lemonade Stand

A little girl’s lemonade stand was shut down because “she needed to obtain a temporary restaurant license.” The public goes crazy, the health inspectors receive death threats, and finally, the Oregon state officials apologize for shutting down the stand.

But why are they apologizing? The laws say that you can’t set up an establishment that prepares and sells food without a restaurant license. Taco stands and small food establishments get shut down all the time, without remorse, under those same laws. Do we only apply laws and regulations to people who aren’t cute?

More importantly, why are people angry? Are they upset this little girl is having the same standards applied to her that the entire state of Oregon (and most of the country) faces? I don’t think so.

I think the reason people are so upset is because they see someone trying to make an honest living in the only way they know how, and the big ole government is coming in and stomping it down in order to maintain control. The fact that she’s cute doesn’t change the morality of the situation- it just gets more people’s attention. What’s bad for that little girl is bad for anyone who’s trying to start a business.

So next time you favor any sort of regulation on any sort of business, try to picture that little girl as the owner of that business, and see if those regulations still seem fair to you.

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2 Responses to “A Little Girl’s Lemonade Stand”

  1. Robert Brown Says:

    Maybe the law should be changed to exempt cute little girls. I’m not sure I want to eat in a restaurant that has not been visited by health inspectors and does not follow standard food handling rules. Total lack of regulation is not really any more desirable than over-regulation. I think the real problem is contained in the blunt way the law was written.

    • Tristan Brown Says:

      What if that restaurant has been visited and reviewed by hundreds of customers, as well as private certification agencies like Zagat’s, and all of them give good reviews, many citing excellent food handling procedures?

      Consider the way eBay works. Individual reviewers do the job that the government otherwise would, and they often give much more scrutiny, while still leaving the choice up to you.


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