I Tried to Open a Lemonade Stand

John Stossel tells us about trying to legally open a lemonade stand in New York.

Here are the steps involved:

— Register as sole proprietor with the County Clerk’s Office (must be done in person)

— Apply to the IRS for an Employer Identification Number.

— Complete 15-hr Food Protection Course!

— After the course, register for an exam that takes 1 hour. You must score 70 percent to pass. (Sample question: “What toxins are associated with the puffer fish?”) If you pass, allow three to five weeks for delivery of Food Protection Certificate.

— Register for sales tax Certificate of Authority

— Apply for a Temporary Food Service Establishment Permit. Must bring copies of the previous documents and completed forms to the Consumer Affairs Licensing Center.

Then, at least 21 days before opening your establishment, you must

arrange for an inspection with the Health Department’s Bureau of Food Safety and Community Sanitation. It takes about three weeks to get your appointment. If you pass, you can set up a business once you:

— Buy a portable fire extinguisher from a company certified by the New York Fire Department and set up a contract for waste disposal.

— We couldn’t finish the process. Had we been able to schedule our health inspection and open my stand legally, it would have taken us 65 days.

I sold lemonade anyway. I looked dumb hawking it with my giant fire extinguisher on the table.

At least he didn’t get arrested like these people did.

  • Chris

    How safe will you be without a working free market?

  • Orthzar

    The problem with the situation is that they were operating on public property, as far as I can tell.  This is a problem regarding public property, not regulations.  The lines of ownership are so blurry on public property, that even libertarians think that they have a right to operate a business on public property.

    If the lemonade stand were operated on private property, such as a front-lawn or a private park, then libertarians would have a very strong case, and would be fully within their natural rights, assuming they got the permission of the property owner.  However, these individuals chose to use property that they did not own and did not get permission to use.

    Note: I am not defending the actions of anyone.  The cops could have merely kicked the lemonade operators off the public property and been done with it.

    This is poorly-focused activism and overzealous security.  The lemonade liberators cry for freedom on public property, while the cops say that they can’t use the public property for that purpose.  Instead of merely evicting the lemonade liberators, the cops arrest them.  There is nothing good about either side of this activism.

    • They paid for that property with their taxes.  There is no legitimate reason not to let them sell lemonade on it if they aren’t bothering anyone.

      • Chris

        It seems these days you need to pay tribute to engage in trade. 

    • 675676764

      Public property is not really public; it’s government property. Public property represents land that can be bought only with the money that has been stolen from the taxpayer. 

      The cops are actively enforcing immoral laws, and therefore they are always in the wrong. The law does not dictate morality.

      • Thanks for the civics lesson.

        I stick by what I said.

    • Uruz2012

       They did this in response to quite a few children around the country being told that they can’t sell lemonade on their front lawn without a license… See the John Stossel article for the story of how hard that can be.