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Local Kids Fined $500 for Rogue Lemonade Stand Near U.S. Open Golf Course

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By HVnews on June 17, 2011

Well, little kids have to learn about bureaucracy sooner or later, right?

This year’s U.S. Open golf tournament, currently underway at Congressional Country Club in Montgomery County, Maryland, will draw hundreds of thousands of spectators to Bethesda over the four-day span. So kids from the the Marriott and Augustine thought they’d set up their little lemonade stand and raise a few bucks for pediatric cancer. (Well, not for the cancer itself, as it’s unclear what a cancer would do with money — the kids tried to raise money for fighting this disease.)

Until a county inspector came by and ordered the kids to shut down the stand they set up on Persimmon Tree Road, next to the Congressional course. “And after they allegedly ignored a couple of warnings, the inspector fined their parents $500,” according to WUSA9.

“This gentleman from the county is now telling us because we don’t have a vendors license, the kids won’t be allowed to sell their lemonade,” Carrie Marriott told us, her voice trembling.

The kids can’t seem to understand it. “I don’t agree, I think the county is wrong.” “We’re sending the money to charity.”

WUSA9 has more on the story:

The fine may have been a little excessive, both in doling out punishment and the amount of money, but the families can’t say they weren’t warned. Besides, every other vendor in the area did have to apply for a permit from the county, including those residents who applied to allow people to park on their lawns at gouge-worthy prices. The ugly truth is, these parents and kids were at fault.

Shutting down a lemonade stand in the middle of an empty street is one thing, but outside a major golf tournament? These kids stood to make thousands of dollars from the arriving crowds. You could argue that might be a good thing, and that they have every right to do so, especially if the proceeds are going to cancer research. It’s the slippery slope argument that hurts, though: If you make an exception for these kids, then why wouldn’t other businesses use kids as fronts to skirt adult responsibilities?

This situation definitely sucks, but it’s hard to muster the proper outrage when it looks pretty clear that these families had a big operation but didn’t want to pay for a license.

What do you think? Was the county too harsh or did the families ignore the warnings?

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