Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kids' Lemonade Stand Shut Down, Slapped With $500 Fine...

BETHESDA, Md (WUSA) You can make a fortune selling parking spots outside the US Open, but don't even dream of setting up a lemonade stand.

A county inspector ordered the Marriott and Augustine kids to shut down the stand they set up on Persimmon Tree Rd, right next to Congressional. And after they allegedly ignored a couple of warnings, the inspector fined their parents $500.

"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."

Jennifer Hughes, the director of permitting for the county, says it's technically illegal to run even the smallest lemonade stand in the county, but inspectors usually don't go looking for them. She said this one was unusually large. Hughes also says they've warned all kinds of other vendors they couldn't operate near the US Open because of concerns about traffic and safety.

But that did little to console Carrie Marriott. "Does every kid who sells lemonade now have to register with the county?" she asked the inspector.

"Cute little kids making five or ten dollars is a little bit different than making hundreds. You've got coolers and coolers here," the inspector responded. "To raise money for pediatric cancer," Marriott replied.

What's funny is that the county has given scores of other neighbors permits to let golf fans park on their front lawns. The permits cost almost $300, but prices per car run as much as $60 a day. And some neighbors are reportedly raking in tens of thousands of dollars.

"I'm a little upset with the rip off that's going on," said Ron Simpson, who was getting ready to pay $50. One cop says a neighbor told him he'd made enough charging for parking at big golf events at Congressional that it had paid one of his kid's college tuition.

Carrie Marriott is having a hard time reconciling the two different perspectives on entrepreneurship at the US Open. "The message to kids is, there's no American dream."