Aug 3, 2005

Teaching children a lesson in civics

Posted by Mary |

Sausage Vendor Fights Lemonade Stand
SALEM, Mass.-A sausage vendor has given two Salem boys trying to make a buck selling lemonade a lesson in cutthroat business techniques. Police shut down a lemonade stand on Salem Common run by Dominic Serino, 9, and Ryan Decker, 11, on Saturday after getting a complaint from a local sausage vendor about the boys selling lemonade without a vendor's permit.
"He said we were taking business away from him," Serino told the Salem News. "The police came," Serino added. "They didn't want to kick us out, but I guess they had to."
Salem police said they had no choice but to evict the boys. Lt. Scott Englehardt said that while "it is ridiculous that little kids can't sell lemonade," they have to enforce the rules.
Sausage seller Jarrod Clowery said he regrets ever calling police, and added he's been getting icy stares around Salem. Clowery told The Boston Globe he just wanted police to ask the boys to move their stand to a different location where the two operations wouldn't be competing. The sausage stand also sells lemonade and pays $2,200 for a permit.
"I didn't tell the police, 'Listen, throw these kids out of here,' " Clowery said. "I am superapologetic. I just didn't want them to be within direct line of sight. It's a tourist area. We
spend big money for the spot."
But the owner of the sausage stand, Kevin Kefalas, was unapologetic about the incident.
"I'm not the bad guy here," Kefalas told the Salem News. "I don't care if kids want to make a little money, but why can't they go to Pickering Wharf? Why do they have to do it 40 feet
behind me?"
Ryan Decker's mother, Angela Decker, said the boys started selling their powder-based brew on the Common last summer and made a "killing" — $130.
After Saturday's eviction, the boy's relocated to a spot in front of Serino's house, just down the street.
"We got a few customers, but not nearly as much," Serino said.
The boys can't afford a license. But city's Licensing Commission chairman Harold Blake suggested it might be worth their time to come before the commission for a permit.
"We'd probably waive the fee," he said.
I think my main problem with this is that the "lemonade" is made from a powdered mix, according to one boy's mother. The only thing powdered "lemonade" should be mixed into is vodka. Make real lemonade, for crying out loud. And what's the the commission saying they'd "probably" waive the fee? If you want to waive the fee, that's fine. But just remember that these kids will then learn that if they turn their big eyes to you and start to cry, you'll give in. Never let children see you cave.