At a time when the country needs innovation and entrepreneurship, you'd think government officials would welcome signs of initiatives in kids. But they're not. Instead, here and there city officials have -- no, this isn't a joke -- fined kids upwards of hundreds of dollars for having unlicensed lemonade stands. Even comedian Jerry Seinfeld's son found his lemonade turned into lemons when some neighbor in the Hamptons called the authorities to complain.
And the sales were for his mother's charity. Insane, right?
Lemonade brand Country Time, owned by Kraft, took objection and also saw an opportunity to do good and get some smart promotion. Late last week, the company announced its Legal-Ade program:
Any child fined for running a lemonade stand without a permit can have his or her parent apply for reimbursement. To apply, simply upload the image of your child's permit or fine along with a description of what your lemonade stand means to your child, in his or her own words. The submission will be reviewed by the Legal Ade team and if it complies with the terms, you will receive the exact amount to cover the permit or fine, up to $300.00*. Visit www.countrytimelegalade.com for complete details.
The company will reimburse up to $60,000 to pay fines and fees.
As with the young Seinfeld, most of the actions seem driven by some crank who doesn't remember what it was like to be young, driven, and possessing a bucket of ice.
Let's hear it for Utah, which passed a state law to ensure that kids could run lemonade stands without worries of a run-in with The Man.
First, this is totally the right thing for the company to do. If you don't teach children that it's possible to work hard and accomplish something without every crank screaming "Get your lemonade off my lawn!" and calling the cops, the country is in pretty bad shape.
Second, this is such a smart promotional move. At most, it costs them far less than a normal marketing campaign, but it's going to run up a lot of coverage and good will. Even the Institute for Justice -- an organization that regularly opposes government overreach -- has written about the Country Time Legal Ade promotion.
So, squeeze on, oh noble lemonade producers at Country Time and help kids wage the good fight and show they can make a few well-deserved bucks on a hot day.