Outrage of the Week No Longer Outrageous! Lemonade Gal Gets Apology!

Hi Readers — This just in! The top elected official in Oregon’s Multnomah County apologized to Julie Murphy, age 7, who was threatened with a fine for running a lemonade stand without a permit. Here’s a breath of fresh air, common sense and just plain summer joy from OregonLive.com:

While the county inspectors were doing their job, [the county Chairman Jeff] Cogen said, the rules are meant for professional food service operators.

Inspectors need to use professional judgment, he said. “This isn’t something we need to be using our limited resources to crack down on,” he said.

What’s more, Cogen said, he can identify with Julie, noting that he ran lemonade stands as a child and so have his own kids.

When more officials use their hearts and brains instead of being zero-tolerance automatons, we will live in a land of  lemonade and honey.  — Lenore

P.S. I will be at BlogHer on Friday. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

41 Responses

  1. this is absolutely ridiculous that this happened in the first place.
    seriously, fine a 7 year old girl for running a lemonade stand? closing it down wasnt bad enough?
    im so glad that killers rapists and drug dealers are walking free while state officials harrass 7 year old girls for something that has been commonplace for decades.

    morons

  2. Something similar happened in St Paul, MN a few years back. A few kids who lived near the grounds of the Minnesota State Fair decided to take advantage of the huge event that takes over their neighborhood every summer by selling lemonade to those making their way to the fair. They got busted. I don’t remember them getting an apology, but I moved away from the area shortly after the incident occurred, so I might have just missed it.

    Ridiculous. I am an avid patron of kiddie lemonade stands… and I don’t even really like lemonade.

  3. oregon cant find that other 7 year old that’s been missing for 2 months, so they found this one instead.

    brilliant.

    so does this mean if she was selling it on her front yard they would have done the same thing?

    what a waste of tax payer money to support these beurcrats who harrass good people for nothing

  4. Yay! Someone with sense!

  5. Scott, your analogy is off. Health inspectors don’t typically look for missing children.

  6. sorry beth. wasnt actually meant as an analogy but rather irony instead.

    my real point was beuarcrats and paper pushers never do any real good.

  7. Alas, I think that it would be too much to hope that the SFPD might make a similar apology here in San Francisco – http://missionmission.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/sfpd-shuts-down-lemonade-stand/ I knew there was a reason I missed living in Portland.

  8. That is sad Jess. Ridiculous. I also hope that the officials of SF hears about the incident at Multnomah County, and how the official there was a more kind, and decent.

    Don’t know why cops would waste tax payers money to break up a lemonade stand, when there are plenty of real crimes happening.

    I also don’t doubt some miserable, holier than thou, old neighbor ratted them out.

  9. the bay area doesnt even notice when a sex offender keeps a kidnapped girl and her daughters prisoner for 20 years.

    but there right on top of a criminal lemonade stand…..

    bad analogy i know😉

  10. How ridiculous! I know as I walk neighborhoods during events with my family and we stumble upon a youngster with a lemonade stand, we get a huge smile on our face—not only from the delicious lemonade, but the fact that kids are still selling lemonade the good ol’ fashion way.
    Hmmmmm….lemonade OR video games?????

  11. I just finished your book, loved it! I totally am a free range mom. Most of the things I read I have been doing for years, and I got some great new ideas too! It was nice to see that I am not alone and that there are other moms like me out there!!!

  12. I was glad to see this, someone with some common sense. What a relief to see such a happy ending.

    Lenore, if you’re reading this, please do not go PC on us. What I am referring to is the one person who got bent out of shape in the “fun links” section about your usage of the terms “scooter guy (gal)” and “disability scooter.” They were taking offense over nothing, please don’t placate people like that. You strike me as a very pleasant & intelligent woman, with nary a rude or insensitive bone in your skinny body–and you owe no one an apology for your choice of title description. Your frankness and educated line of thought is the very reason we like you so much. Don’t change honey, please!

  13. Oops, PS–Lenore, I just realized, I called you honey. Oh no! I’m a sexist pig! Sound the “chauvinistic” alarm. Sentence me to 3 months of mandantory “sensitive seminars.”

    Oh what have I done! I called an intelligent, well-educated and independent woman “honey.” I’m such a pig! What will the others think? Did those 4 years of college do me no good at all? Have I not learned how sexist that is? When those gas station clerks and waitresses called me “hon,” did I not realize I was the victim of sexist behavior myself? I should’ve called the 1-800 number and reported them to their superior immediately. I should’ve hired a layer to file a sexual harassment suit. I can’t believe I let myself be victimized that way & only further enabled it by not fighting against the tyranny. Arghh!!

    (Obviously I’m being extremely sarcastic.)

  14. Why are people bagging on cops? The article stated that health inspectors shut down the lemonade stand, not police officers.

  15. Wow! I *totally* did not expect this story to have a happy ending. Hooray!!!

  16. “use their judgement,” hmmm? Well isn’t that what we’re trying to instill in our little ones?

    Just goes to show you that grown-ups make poor choices too.

  17. This is so funny to me because when I read this story in the local OR paper, I thought for sure everyone here would be all “OMG! Classic case of over-involved mother, non-free-range kid!” She wasn’t in her own yard… she wasn’t even in her own neighborhood for heaven’s sake! Her mother DROVE her to another neighborhood (city?) to attend a festival because (to quote the local paper’s original story), “she knew her daughter wouldn’t get very many customers in her yard.” This mother ridiculously packed up all the makings of a lemonade stand and to a different neighborhood so her little princess wouldn’t be disappointed by slow sales. Mom specifically chose the day of a community festival where all vendors are required to be licensed.

    It makes me curious… I don’t think people will drop dead from tainted lemonade, but at what point does it stop being cute? What if she were 17 instead of 7? What if she were selling hot dogs and burgers at a street fair instead of lemonade? Why are so few questioning this mother’s judgment? Seriously? You’d think it was a grand idea to drive your kid down to your town’s summer fair/festival and set up a lemonade stand and then think no one was even going to blink? My kids are somewhere outside right now fighting about how best to set up a lemonade stand but if they came in and told me they wanted to go down to the street fair tonight and set up shop in front of the local restaurants who will be selling dinner items, we’d be having a talk about appropriate venues and why local governments have regulations on business in general and restaurants specifically.

    Sorry, Lenore, I think you missed the boat on this story. The learning opportunity here was “What is involved in you setting up a business at a street fair?”, not “What is involved with mommy driving you to a street fair with lots of foot traffic so you can make a lot more money than you could sitting in your front yard?” If we’re talking free range parenting here, the mom is the outrage in my book, not the health inspector.

  18. i think its safer to drink her lemonade then it is to drink any of the tap water in ths country.

  19. ““she knew her daughter wouldn’t get very many customers in her yard.” This mother ridiculously packed up all the makings of a lemonade stand and to a different neighborhood so her little princess wouldn’t be disappointed by slow sales. Mom specifically chose the day of a community festival where all vendors are required to be licensed.”

    Jane, what makes you think that “wouldn’t get very many customers in her yard” meant trying to make money? As in the whole point of her setting up the stand was to make money. Even if she gave the lemonade for free, she see probably wouldn’t see much action in her yard. Which wouldn’t be what she saw on tv, which was what inspired her in the first place. I don’t think the little girl said “mom, I want to make some extra cash like these guys (pointing at the cartoon)”. She probably didn’t even have a clue as to what “income” is. More than likely, as we all did at that age, she saw some cartoon characters having a great time, meeting people as they sold lemonade for 50 cents. You are now assuming what the mother was thinking in the first place.

    Like most people, the mother probably already knew of the fair, so why not set up over there. It’s not far fetch that she didn’t know about needing a license to set up a lemonade stand. For all any of us know, this was just about a mother wanting her child’s first experience in setting up a lemonade stand to be a nice one. Just as her little girl imagined it from the cartoon show that inspired her. Not about the money. Would anyone else here think differently if she was giving it away? Like some have said, law is the law. If she was giving it away, chances are, most people would probably start thinking “oh, what’s wrong with the lemonade?” Then there would be more paranoia about a health risk.

    I think YOU missed the point of the post. A mother letting her child experience what a lot of kids have done past to present. Letting her experience a sense of accomplishment in something she did on her own (well of course with the help of mom). But like many in society today, they hold back the development of children because of fear, greed, and ignorance. Let kids be kids I say. Before the world corrupts them and they actually start using lemonade stands as a front for more lucrative ventures.

  20. A local radio station, 105.1 The Buzz, is sponsoring a lemonade stand run by the Murphy family today from 4-6pm in the Les Schwab parking lot at 16685 SE McLoughlin Blvd, Milwaukie, OR. Head on over and show your support, Portlanders!

  21. @scott – I assume that comment is sarcasm. Because if it’s not, it is a broad generalization that is unsupported by facts. Especially since most lemonade is just tap water with a little lemon and sugar.

    Almost all of the tap water in this country is perfectly safe to drink: http://environment.about.com/od/healthenvironment/a/tap_water_safe.htm

    From the link above, bottle water is “subject to less rigorous testing and purity standards than those which apply to city tap water.”

    That said, your tap water and my tap water may not be the same (mine is excellent, by the way). Testing is helpful, certain types of filtering are helpful. If you have specific concerns, you should address them specifically.

  22. @damian – I think Jane has a valid point even if this wasn’t about money. Isn’t the idea of FRK to let kids come up with ideas and run with them? Did the mom really need to pack her up and move the venue to make the experience a “good” one? Couldn’t she have been happy to have neighbors buy her lemonade? My daughter sold artwork one summer. She sat in our front yard every day for weeks flagging down cars while making more and more pictures. She only sold about 5 pictures but she wasn’t disappointed. On the contrary, she was so excited and proud of herself. Could I have packed her up and brought her to the Great New York State Fair to have access to more people? Maybe…but I think it would have been wrong of me. It wasn’t my place to “improve” it for her it was my place to let her experience it for herself.

  23. obviously my humor is lost here😦

  24. This bums me out. I can’t believe that this was ever an “outrage.” The apology is completely political, because the press, and apparently Free Range Kids, bought into a non story.

    Now we can hit Last Thursday, and expect to see kids selling who knows what. Today’s media culture is out of hand, and it’s very unfortunate to see Free Range Kids somehow end up promoting that culture.

    I’m very disappointed. Are there adults left in the world?

  25. “Jane, what makes you think that “wouldn’t get very many customers in her yard” meant trying to make money?”

    The Portland newspaper: “The two live in Oregon City, but Fife knew her daughter would get few customers if she set up her stand at home. ”

    The festival was 15 miles away from her home town. The kid is seven; who cares if she only sells a couple glasses of lemonade to her neighbors? The woman decided her kid was a failure before she even tried and instead of letting the child slop some water and drink mix in a packet and drum up business from neighborhood kids, she decided she had to get in the middle of it, buy bottled water and make the kid wait a month (the paper says she had “just attended” June’s Last Thursday and promised to take her to July’s Last Thurs. when the child decided she wanted to have a stand) so mom could drive the kid 15 miles away to a street fair so the 7 year old could have the “right” lemonade stand experience. This whole story is silliness and plenty of other parents have been called out on this blog for this type of behavior.

  26. jeez you’d think she and her mom jim jones’d the kool aid and forced people to buy it at gunpoint.

    its a lemonade stand not a crime syndicate.

    the head beaurcrat admitted this was a stupid decision on they’re part, what is the big deal?

  27. Poor Scott. I got it.

  28. thanks beq😉

  29. “its a lemonade stand not a crime syndicate.”

    You’re focused on the lemonade. I could care less about the lemonade. I’m interested in the mother’s actions and the lack of response about it here. I find the intellectual inconsistency fascinating.

    If the health inspector had been off duty that night or looked the other way and this had been instead a human interest story about a little girl whose mommy decided her lemonade stand would be totally lame in her front yard so she drove from the burbs into the city of Portland to set up shop at a street fair, I suspect the response on this blog would have been very different.

    I find it curious that the health inspector getting involved suddenly generates “outrage” (not my word choice) over a completely abnormal childhood experience. Most of us were content with a card table and a pitcher of Koolaid in the front yard. This girl’s mom had to have a booth at a street fair. Almost every other FRK blog entry blasts helicopter parents and kids not being able to be kids without parents orchestrating and managing the entire experience.

    I honestly don’t care how much lemonade and where and when the child sells it and whether the inspector was right or wrong. What I’m very curious about is why in this case FRK readers feel it’s perfectly fine for the parent to take a humble lemonade stand and turn it into something bigger & better. I find Lenore’s & the readers’ responses very surprising.

  30. Jane,

    I’m pretty sure being free-range doesn’t mean NEVER helping your kid out with tasks that might be a little beyond them, or helping your kids with ideas that might make their inspirations more successful. There are kiddie lemonade stands not in the kids’ yard at most of our street fairs/festivals/markets in my town as well – I don’t think a stand not in one’s own neighborhood is inherently bad, nor that the mom suggesting that going where crowds are to do some selling is a hallmark of helicoptering.

    I had a little garden when I was a kid and sold the bazillion cherry tomatoes I grew at a stand. I did all the signs/packaging/selling, but my mom sure as shooting helped me set up the stand in our front yard. At 7 I wouldn’t really expect a kid to be able to physically handle carrying and setting up a table and other elements of a stand entirely by themselves even if they do handle the business end on their own.

    Nothing in the story struck me as horribly over-involved, just a mom and kid working together and being supportive. It is not impossible that she was hovering, but I don’t think we have enough information to judge that.

  31. jane she wasnt forcing her into gymnastic competitions or parading her in beauty contests dressed like a 20 year old……….i seriously dont see where you get she was ‘helicoptering’.

    do parents have absolutely zero right to encourage there kids? there’s a diffrence between encouragment and maniuplation.

    i think your missing the point.

  32. @ Larry

    You crack me up again!

    “when … waitresses called me “hon,” did I not realize I was the victim of sexist behavior myself”. Another so annoying thing I’ve had levied against me in my server days. Usually by women. Outrage! ‘Don’t call me ‘hon’! That’s condescending and verging on harassment!!’

    Wow. Chill pill hon. And I suppose if I called yo Ma’am you’d yell ageism? Or Miss you’ll yell … I don’t even know.

    Anyway, off topic.

    Glad the 7 year old got an apology. I’m fenced on this one… I mean, it’s totally stupid to shut down a lemonade stand, or fine a 7 year old, but I do kind of have to agree about the whole setting a date for when there was an event, and hauling the whole thing 15 miles. That might be a bit excessive on the helping for a 7 year old’s first business enterprise. I don’t think I’d have done it. Go to the corner! See what you can make happen.

  33. I wasn’t sure where else to send this, but I thought you might be interested in checking out this story.

    http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/region_north_cincinnati/mall-implements-%27youth-escort-policy%27

    “CINCINNATI – As you walk through the doors at Tri-County Mall on a Friday or Saturday night you’ll now see security guards checking identification for everyone who looks under 25.

    It’s all part of the new Youth Escort Policy.

    The new rules require anyone under the age of 18 to have an escort with them 21 years of age or older.

    The policy applies every Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to close.”

  34. I’m pretty sure the Mall of America has restricted teens on weekend nights for years. There’s a mall in Milwaukee that does that too. I’m not sure I see the problem; if teens can’t act appropriately, they don’t need to be there.

  35. To Scott:

    “my real point was beuarcrats and paper pushers never do any real good.”

    But these aren’t paper pushers. They are inspectors. And do plenty of real good every day.

    And how do we know these are “good people” being harassed?

  36. […] 7-year-old gets apology, she can go on running her lemonade stand after all [Skenazy, Josh […]

  37. I’m disappointed to see the government cave on this one.

    Imagine if an adult decided to set up shop at a festival without getting a license.

    He’d probably be chased out with pitchforks and torches.

  38. I believe that respect for children is at the core of FR parenting.

    Blanket curfews based on age are disrespectful toward plenty of law-abiding cildren & young people, and I’m surprised to see comments like this:
    “if teens can’t act appropriately, they don’t need to be there.”

    Which teens, exactly? The ones who do volunteer work with people with disabilities? The ones who babysit their siblings (and maybe take them to the mall)? The ones who *gasp* have jobs at the mall?

    What if Pizza Hut instituted a policy of “no women allowed” and the CEO said “women are always cackling on about something insipid like fashion, or makeup, or how bad teens are. If women can’t act appropriately, they don’t need to be permitted entry into our restaurants.” What if Kinko’s did the same thing based on the inappropriate actions of say…asians? or jews?

    Such bans are poppycock, and do nothing but fuel the fires of disrespect which in this case leads to fewer free-range kids (which then creates more problem teens, and so on and so on).

  39. Maybe this young entreprenuer & her mom should start a Kids’ Market like this one:

    http://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/hf-46/

    I’ve never been, but it sounds like a great summer project for kids, especially if they can’t have a stand otherwise.

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