08/12/2004: Gee, and when I was that age kids joined Junior Achievement....
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we have the heartwarming story of a couple junior entrepreneurs who learned how capitalism works--government regulation and all:
Two girls found the lemonade business sweeter than ever Wednesday, after the St. Louis Health Department shut their curbside stand the previous day.Those of you who aren't native St. Louisans aren't familiar with the name of Msgr. Sal Polizzi (who was merely "Father Sal" back when I was living in South St. Louis). The man has been pastor of St. Ambrose Catholic Church on The Hill since Jesus was a kindergartener there, and he is (I do not exaggerate here) one of the most powerful men in St. Louis. Bar none. Polizzi is too orthodox to actually do something like this, but he's powerful enough that if he got into a pissing contest with the Archbishop I'm not sure I'd bet on the Archbishop. A mere mayor and health commissioner would be putty in his hands.
Mim Murray, 10 and Marisa Miller-Stockie, 12, of St. Louis, have been selling lemonade together for three summers in their neighborhood north of Forest Park. The two friends hope to save enough to buy laptop computers before starting seventh grade in a few weeks. Last summer, they made more than $100.
But on Tuesday afternoon, a city Health Department inspector told the girls they lacked the proper business licenses and were selling unsafe ice cubes, the girls said.
The girls fought back, with a little help from their friends.
Mim's mother, Germaine Murray, called a local television station and their Catholic pastor, Monsignor Salvador Polizzi, who complained to Mayor Francis Slay.
On Wednesday morning, the girls set up their stand at Des Peres and Pershing and taped a paper sign to it that said, "Welcome health department."Actually, I think they learned another lesson too: "There is no such thing as bad publicity."
Melba Moore, the city's health commissioner, stopped by and apologized Wednesday for the mix-up. She said temporary food and beverage vendors are supposed to obtain permits, but exceptions are made for kids' lemonade stands, Moore said.
"All we're talking about here is lemonade," Moore said. "It should not have happened. And I apologize."
Moore said the department is developing a plan to ensure a similar situation won't happen again. She bought a 25-cent cup of lemonade Wednesday with a $5 bill and asked for $2 back. By Wednesday afternoon, Mim and Marisa had $112 in their money box and said thirsty customers were flocking from as far as Wentzville and parts of Illinois.
They said the experience had taught them an important lesson. "You don't have to sit there and take it," Mim said.
Marisa added, "We learned to stand up for ourselves." [my emphasis --LRC]
Len on 08.12.04 @ 08:51 PM CST