My very first post here was about a seven-year-old girl whose lemonade stand was shut down by county inspectors because she didn't have a license to sell food at the county fair where she'd set up her little business.
Now we get a couple of 13-year old boys selling cupcakes. Their local councilman spots them, and calls the police to complain.
When Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff, two 13-year-olds from Chappaqua's Seven Bridges Middle School, set up shop at Gedney Park on a fall weekend last month, they were expecting a tidy profit.
Instead, the two wannabe entrepreneurs selling cupcakes, cookies, brownies and Rice Krispie treats baked by them for $1 apiece got a taste of cold, hard bureaucracy.
New Castle Councilman Michael Wolfensohn came upon the sale and called the cops on the kids for operating without a license.
The boys' parents are incensed and can't believe a Town Board member would handle the situation that way.
"I am shocked and sad for the boys. It was such a great idea, and they worked hard at it," said Laura Graff, Kevin's mother. "But then some Town Board member decided to get on his high horse and wreck their dreams."
DeMarchis and Graff, along with two other classmates, Zachary Bass and Daniel Katz, had a simple, if half-baked, business plan: sell their treats at Gedney Park for a couple of years and save up enough to open a restaurant.
Their first day was wildly successful, the boys said. They netted $120, of which they invested $60 to buy a cart from Target and added water and Gatorade to their offerings on their second day, the next Saturday, Oct. 9.
After about an hour of brisk business , during which DeMarchis and Graff — Bass and Katz were not with them — said they made $30, police arrived at their stand and asked them to shut it down.
"The police officer was extremely pleasant. He said he was sorry to have to do this, but that he was following up on a report filed over the phone by a Town Board member," said Suzanne DeMarchis, Andrew's mother, who was called to the scene. "Kevin was so upset, he was crying all the whole way home. He was worried if he was going to get arrested or have a criminal record."
This is what happens to entrepreneurs in America. Kids selling lemonade and cupcakes get busted by dumbass officials for not having spent a day at the local zoning and licensing office getting a $150 temporary permit. If this is what they do to kids, imagine the hoops you have to jump through to open a factory. BOHICA.
And you wonder why it's cheaper to have your computer built in China and shipped halfway around the world than it is to have it built in the U.S. Just multiply what these kids went through by a factor of about a thousand and you'll have an idea what it's like to start a business in America.
President Obama promises we're going to have lots of green manufacturing jobs. Really, dude? Factories are going to be able to manufacture solar panels and wind turbines cheaper in the U.S. than in China, where they don't have an EPA, OSHA, suffocating union contracts, Greenpeace, EEO, and "If you have a phone, you have a lawyer"? Really?
Congratulations, Councilman Wolfensohn (at left); you've just given a couple of boys their first lesson in strangling the American dream.