Lemonade Is Not a Crime

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Someone has (somewhat randomly) designated August 20 as National Lemonade Freedom Day.

Idea is to get your kids to set up a lemonade stand without a permit to teach them about bad laws, mindless bureaucracy, and civil disobedience. There’s also a handy Google Maps ap that plots lemonade stand crackdowns around the country.

I support this.

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

40 Responses to “Lemonade Is Not a Crime”

  1. #1 |  BillC | 

    What exactly would you be teaching children? That they shouldn’t have to follow laws as long as they are young and cute?

  2. #2 |  Lucy | 

    No, teach them that mindlessly obeying the law is awesome. Obviously.

    I demand 1000 hours of training, health inspections, licensing, unions for those lemonade stand employees!

  3. #3 |  JS | 

    BillC, Or that peaceful civil disobedience is a legitimate way of expressing disagreement at police state policies. It’s not like we can change anything through voting anymore.

  4. #4 |  Eric Hanneken | 

    BillC: That the government goes after people who have harmed no one else, and are even providing something of value to others.

  5. #5 |  2nd of 3 | 

    If someone wants to do this themselves, good on them. If they want to use their child, are they going to explain to them the actual motive for setting up the stand, and obtain their informed consent (insofar as a 6-12 year old can actually “consent” to parental authority) to participate in this civil disobeidience? Considering how every other post here seems to be about a cop having some incredibly disproportionate (read: violent) response to trivial matter, it seems a little…ill advised to use your kid to tug on the tail of the tiger.

    But hey, I’m sure I’m just using the “think of the children” fallacy here, right?

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Quoting a recent editorial…
    “The career structure for scientific research in universities is broken, particularly in the life sciences, my own overcrowded field.”
    So with a big postdoc bubble and no faculty jobs, I have recently told friends
    I’d break away from the no-win bubble and settle down into my own (damned) lemonade stand somewhere. No big salary, but unfettered and un-bureaucratized…

    Needless to say, these Lemonade Gestapo stories popping up are a macabre
    kick in the head.

  7. #7 |  abhisaha | 

    #5, its not like the kids are in danger here from the tiger..um cop. Most likely the parents get slapped with a fine of a few hundred dollars.

    I would not support putting a kid in serious danger in order to further a cause (even a good one). But this seems a perfect way to teach them about bad laws and civil disobedience.

  8. #8 |  2nd of 3 | 

    “I would not support putting a kid in serious danger in order to further a cause (even a good one). But this seems a perfect way to teach them about bad laws and civil disobedience.”

    No, I certainly don’t think there is any real danger here, but I still see a contrast between how police are often regarded on this blog (rightfully so in many cases) as dangerous, and this suggestion that you have your kids interact with them while breaking a (stupid) law.

    Aside from that, I’m have to wonder if you’re really teaching the lesson you think you are. Were this done to me as a child, I think I’d be more pissed at my parents for setting me up (if I didn’t consent) than the police for enforcing the law. Then again, parents are authority figures too, so I suppose it’s a libertarian win either way.

  9. #9 |  2nd of 3 | 

    “I” not “I’m”.

  10. #10 |  anonymous | 

    Do you support lemonade stands when they are prohibited by a private contract?

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011
    Kids’ Lemonade Stand Curtailed By Their Homeowners Association

  11. #11 |  DarkEFang | 

    #1 BillC –

    “What exactly would you be teaching children?”

    The two common denominators in the lemonade stand busts are vendors at special events defending their turf, and nosy neighbors.

    Therefore, you’d be teaching them: 1. Government is not your friend, and neither is business; and 2. Mind your own fucking business.

  12. #12 |  Simbuilder | 

    I’m all for teaching them the government regulatory madness and this is a good way to do it.

    However, I’m not in favor of exposing my family to an outrageous lawsuit by some ‘opportunity troll’ claiming damages from drinking lemonade served on my lawn. I don’t think my kids would make enough money to hire an attorney to convince a judge to throw out such a lawsuit. Why anyone would sell something to another person to put in their bodies without liability insurance and/or the cover of a business in this legal climate is beyond me.

    Until judges establish a track record of throwing out frivolous lawsuits, we’ll drink our own lemonade inside, thank you.

  13. #13 |  Eric Hanneken | 

    anonymous: Do you support lemonade stands when they are set up on your own property without your permission? Is your answer the same when the property in question belongs to someone else?

    Speaking for myself, I draw a distinction between a property owner’s right to exclude lemonade stands by rule, and the rule itself. I support the former. If I were a member of a HOA, I would oppose the latter in my community. I don’t pretend to know enough about other people’s circumstances to have opinions about the best lemonade stand rules for their own properties.

  14. #14 |  ClubMedSux | 

    For the record, the date of August 20th isn’t arbitrary. That’s the birth date of lemonade magnate Clifton P. Countrytime.

  15. #15 |  anonymous | 

    Eric Hanneken @ #12:

    Instead of answering a question with a question, a simple “yes” or “no” would suffice.

  16. #16 |  Eric H. Voltaire | 

    I disagree with the H.O.A. telling kids they can’t have a lemonade stand on their driveway or in front of their house, but I’ll defend to the death the H.O.A. corporation’s right to tell people what they can do on or in front of their own property.

  17. #17 |  TomG | 

    Hopefully there will be a few stands close to where I live so that I can support them. I love lemonade…and fresh non-licensed lemonade is the best!

  18. #18 |  anonymous | 

    “fresh non-licensed lemonade is the best!”

    The lemonade tastes better when the petty bureaucrats are crying.

  19. #19 |  MacGregory | 

    I don’t have any kids but I will support any of the lemonade stands I find. Hell, I don’t even like lemonade, unless there is tequila involved. Easily fixed, I suppose. Might take a little walk around the neighborhood. See if I make it home sober.

  20. #20 |  DoubleU | 

    #19 | MacGregory you should try Tequila and grape juice. I called it “a Purple Mexican”… but that was before political correctness.

  21. #21 |  Brandon | 

    #15: Have you told your family about all the children you’ve touched? A simple “yes” or “no” will suffice.

  22. #22 |  anonymous | 

    Bradon @ #21:

    Your logical fallacy is known as “the loaded question.”


    In my question @ #10, I was asking about a real world example of a libertarian form of government cracking down on a children’s lemonade stand, enforcing some document called a contract.

    Your hypothetical question presupposes that the respondent has inappropriately touched children.

    You’re also equating libertarian philosophy about private contracts with child molestation.

    ****ing sick.

  23. #23 |  Wesley | 


    I’m pretty sure the loaded question from Brandon was intentional, to prove a point regarding your demand for a simple “yes” or “no” answer. I’m hard pressed to wonder how any reasonable person could think he was serious, so I can only conclude that you are a troll.

    I would advise others to stop feeding him.

  24. #24 |  Wesley | 

    *sigh* I probably shouldn’t bother, but oh well. A private contract is distinct from a government regulation based on the very, very simple premise that a private contract, to be enforceable, must be entered into with the full and voluntary consent of all parties involved. I don’t like HOAs and how micro-managing they can be, but my personal preference does not give me the right to demand others abide by it.

  25. #25 |  Bronwyn | 

    I’ve been hankering to set up a lemonade stand with my 4-year-old in the backyard, which sits alongside the 5th green. I’m sure the golfers would love a cool drink and a complementary (donations suggested) golf ball from our bucket o’ lost balls.

    The only question is, who will shut us down? The HOA president or the golf course?

  26. #26 |  SamK | 

    Wesley, I’m not weighing in on lemonade or contracts in general today…but if you have a moment I’d be interested in your take on HOAs. It’s my understanding that HOAs can prevent someone from purchasing a home in an HOA’s area if they don’t wish to sign on to the HOA. Personally I think that’s BS and that I should be able to buy a home and only sign onto the HOA if I find it beneficial, but without forced membership I don’t see HOA’s surviving. In effect the HOA is denying private citizens the right to purchase a home and use it as their private residence without becoming a member (the previous owner signed away their rights to sell to non-HOA interested parties, but let’s assume the property was repossessed and is being sold by the bank). Is this appropriate?

  27. #27 |  Chris Rhodes | 

    The bank is generally a party to the same HOA agreement when the property is purchased (by the buyer that is eventually foreclosed upon). Therefore when the property reverts to bank-ownership, they must abide by the same rules, including not selling the property to anyone who doesn’t sign the HOA agreement.

    Banks spend a ton of money on foreclosed properties to keep them compliant with the local HOA rules.

  28. #28 |  anonymous | 


    @ #23: Of course Brandon’s loaded question was intentional. So what? He didn’t prove any point, nor was he being clever. He was just asking a loaded question. I’m not even sure what your point is.

    1. Brandon’s loaded question was intentional, to prove a point
    2. It should not be taken seriously
    3. Therefore, anonymous is a troll

    I don’t get it.

    @ #24: Are we at least agreed that H.O.A.s are a libertarian form of government; i.e., governance by private corporate contract is a libertarian ideal?

  29. #29 |  Highway | 

    SamK, Many of the HOA agreements are ‘deed restricted’, so it’s not a case of the HOA preventing someone from buying a house if they don’t agree to the HOA, it’s that the property cannot be bought without agreeing to all the conditions set forth in the property documents.

    It’s not anything the previous owner did or didn’t do that a prospective owner is agreeing to. It’s that when the property was subdivided, those covenants were written into the very existence of that particular lot, and the lot cannot be owned by anyone ever after without agreeing to those covenants.

    Anonymous, you’re still trying to trap people. The idea that private contracts should be enforced is certainly in accordance with libertarian principles. The idea that restrictions can be placed in perpetuity on a piece of property is not so clearly libertarian.

  30. #30 |  Mannie | 

    #10 | anonymous | August 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Do you support lemonade stands when they are prohibited by a private contract?

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011
    Kids’ Lemonade Stand Curtailed By Their Homeowners Association

    I support the right to form contracts, so I guess I can have no objection. But I won’t live in a place with a Homeowner’s Association.

  31. #31 |  Rich | 

    My philosophy at one time copied from some self help book was if your ever too busy to stop and buy lemonade from a couple of pigtaled and freckle faced kids, then your too dam busy. The first one I stopped at demanded there Dixie cup back after kicking back 4 shots. They only had one cup! Sometimes Hepatitis sucks, some days its not as bad as the others. Just gotta take it one day at a time. Least im not shooting the Heroine anymore.

  32. #32 |  BillC | 

    Crooks and Liars has an interesting piece up on the Patriot Act and the efforts by Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall to make it public. You guys may want to check it out if you get tired of lemonade stand articles and the Cory Maye backpatting festival.

  33. #33 |  Radley Balko | 

    Goodbye, BillC.

  34. #34 |  2nd of 3 | 

    What’d he do?

  35. #35 |  steve | 

    Some kids should set up a lemonade stand across from the White House. It’s sure to get busted in front of cameras. It might even make the national news. Heck, make sure the kids are at least 10-12 and understand what is likely to happen while you are at it. Oh and make sure the kids are cute.

  36. #36 |  SJE | 

    @34: I will let Radley speak for himself but I would say that Radley just helped win the freedom of a man on death row. He deserves to feel really good about it, not pissed on.

    Second, while investigating the Patriot Act is important, I take the bloviating of politicians second to actual day to day impacts on people’s lives: like kids lemonade stands and people wrongly sentenced to die. Even as someone living in DC, marinating in the political culture, I think that we spend too much time on relative abstractions and not enough on actual results. Radley asks you to think of the morality of actual situations instead of another BS article about “thinking of the children” and “protecting our streets from drugs.”

  37. #37 |  BenSix | 

    First they came for the lemonade sellers
    And I did not speak out because the pips get between my teeth…

    Seriously, though, I think of kids selling lemonade as an American institution. The Simpsons, Calvin and Hobbes — it’d be an insult to your cultural heritage to let it be prohibited.

  38. #38 |  JS | 

    BenSix “Seriously, though, I think of kids selling lemonade as an American institution. The Simpsons, Calvin and Hobbes — it’d be an insult to your cultural heritage to let it be prohibited.”

    Where I live they tried to force people to get a permit to have a garage sale. You would need to purchase permission from the government to sell your own stuff on your supposedly although we all know better property. Enough outraged letters and emails (including my own) persuded them not to.

  39. #39 |  Leah | 

    Kids understand a lot more than some of people here are giving them credit for. My 5 year old gets indoctrinated by her school constantly about how police officers are heroes. If I take this as an opportunity to explain why lots of people want to set up stands on one day to support some kids who’ve been treated unfairly, she gets a chance to feel supportive of lots of other kids and gets a little lesson in what it feels like to try some civil disobedience. I am skeptical anyone is advocating throwing your kid out on the lawn to fend for themselves and making them pay the fine they get – or making them do it without explaining anything and therefore “setting them up.” But showing a kid the importance of supporting civil disobedience and (possibly) being able to model respectful (but not submissive) interactions with authority figures? I think that’s a spectacular lesson.

  40. #40 |  If It’s Not Lemonade Stands, It’s Something Else | Truth and Justice For All | 

    […] Radley Balko puts it succinctly: Someone has (somewhat randomly) designated August 20 as National Lemonade Freedom Day. […]