Hot Dog Stands and Bureaucracy

How many times have we all seen the story, maybe it happened to our kids. Kid opens a lemonade/hot dog/whatever stand to make a bit of change in the summer, and some Permit Patty calls the government. Well, it’s happened again. Let’s let The Victory Girls tell us about it.

Jaequan Faulkner is a thirteen-year-old budding entrepreneur whom any parent would be proud to call their own. He’s the owner/operator of a hot dog stand in North Minneapolis, and what’s more — he’s been doing this for two years already.

It all started in 2016, when Jaequan asked his uncle, Jerome Faulkner, if he could borrow his hot dog roaster. Jaequan got the okay, and it was off to the races for him. He began selling hot dogs that summer to get money for clothes, but now he operates his stand out of sheer love for business. And people:

“I see someone go by with a frown on their face. I’m there with a smile, then I see a smile on their face. I just made a smile on somebody’s face by selling them a hot dog.”

But you know this story, some idiot reported him to the Health Department, and bureaucrats being bureaucrats you know what happened.

Uh, No, you don’t. Kim reports:

Not so fast. Instead, the Minneapolis Department of Health stepped in to help Jaequan become legit. As director Dan Huff said:

“We can help him get the permit. Let’s make this a positive thing and help him become a business owner.”

And help him they did. Health inspectors showed Jaequan how to cook his hot dogs to the correct temperature. They provided him with a hand-washing station. In addition, they put him in touch with a local nonprofit that helps local entrepreneurs get started.

In short, he’s in good shape for this summer. The city decided in his case to do what they should do instead of what they can, and help a guy out. In truth, those regulations really are there for a reason, to prevent disease and it’s far better to help a kid meet them than shut down his dream.

Far too many of us adults have stories of trying to dig through the great gray fog of the bureaucracy to not feel discouraged from trying much of anything. But not Jaequan. Because for once, the bureaucracy decided to help, not hinder.

May such things spread like a plague of kindness, we’ll all be better off. You know, there used to be a term for people like Dan Huff, and his people.

Minnesota Nice.

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

19 Responses to Hot Dog Stands and Bureaucracy

  1. Scoop says:

    I have some mixed thinking on this story. If it is simply a summer deal, in his neighborhood (limited number of customers and his own neighbors) then what is the point? It is not as if he is storing a mountain of dogs in an unrefrigerated bin with rats and cockroaches running all over the place. It is, to me (if it is anything like we used to do when I was a kid), just like having someone over to the house for a cookout or dinner. We don’t demand a license to throw a party. The only difference is that a cookout is not a business and you don’t exchange money or own a piece of property in a commercially zoned part of the city or town.

    On top of that, is the city going to shut down every dinner or coffee and donut breakfast at every church that offers this after their Sunday worship? If not, then leave the kid alone, period, end stop. Churches even collect money from such events and such fund raising activities. There are bake sales and a number of things that are similar.

    Just more huffing and puffing by the liberals and then, in this case, an education of a young man into the real world of the politicians if he wants to actually go into business once he is a grown man. That will be useful to him for sure. But it even being on the radar seems to smack of elitist control of everybody else life. They get involved in everything we do and when they start there what is going to stop them from coming into our homes and inspecting our kitchens before we let anyone come to Thanksgiving dinner?

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      From what Kim wrote, I think they used the special event clauses to get around the regs, the same one that we use in the churches and civic organizations for fish fries, pancake suppers and such. I have no problem with it, the point to health regulations is to prevent spread of disease, not to limit competition, and they found a way. Is it perhaps something that is not appropriate for the government? Yeah maybe, but what is, is, and they found a way.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scoop says:

        Yeah, I know what the point of the law is and all laws should be for the common good but I also know that in the real world a fifty dollar bill in the hands of an inspector will get you a food license. It’s become a protections racket in some sense; just like the mob.

        My grandfather sold prints of artwork to get through medical school . . . early 1900’s. No license required. I tried to do the same on Boston Commons back in 1970’s and was run-off for not having a peddler’s license. So it isn’t just food . . . which could become deadly . . . but it is governments getting a cut of the action. So much so, that the license cost more than I could make by selling the prints. So it becomes a ‘big boys’ arena. Only the rich who get the licenses and hire street people to sell hot dogs or goods out in public are able to continue do so.

        I was thinking, wasn’t Getty or Carnegie who started out buying apples for a nickel and selling them on the street for a dime? I don’t remember and it may only be an urban legend but the point is that entrepreneurship is not what it used to be; too many regulations.

        Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          Yeah, I know, and you read regularly here of the guild of licensing.

          Some things, and food for consumption may well be one require regulation. I’ve seen studies that say that bread in London in Victorian time was mostly (and I mean that word) fillers, and stretchers. You could eat two pounds of bread a day and starve to death. No reason that it wouldn’t happen today. An informed market helps, but I doubt it is enough.

          Getty maybe, Carnegie started as a telegrapher on the PRR at about 12 y. o.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Scoop says:

          I’m all for food regulations for the public good. I’m simply speaking of carrying the idea out to non-sensical ends. A mom isn’t going to be sending her kid out in front of her house to serve contaminated food to her neighbors.

          When I was a kid, we all did it and nobody heard a peep from anybody. And I wasn’t born so long ago that we didn’t have food regulations and licensing.

          As I say, if we are going to get this ridiculous on enforcement, you can send in the food nazis to inspect each of our kitchens I suppose. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          I agree, it never should have been reported, but it was, so the department did the right thing, they shouldn’t ignore reports either. If they had gone looking, my take would be different. 🙂

          We didn’t, but we were working on farms and such by the time we were his age. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • Scoop says:

          Yes, and if you lived in the city you were a paperboy more than likely or stocking shelves and bagging groceries and such. I guess the child labor laws killed a lot of that or else the big chains with their minimum wages prevent kids from working now like we did when we were kids. Too bad. It seems that this is the last bastion for kids who want to make an extra buck during the summer.

          No wonder they try to make outrageous videos to go viral to make money. Seems that is the new job for kids and they learn nothing except how perverse society is. I feel for these kids . . . nothing normal about the new world that they occupy.

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          A lot of it is insurance. Dad ran a business, and had about 20 square feet of grass, local kid offered to mow it for a buck or so (in the sixties) and did a good job. Insurance agent (across the street) noticed and quietly told dad that if he got hurt, the company would face treble damages. So dad had to let him go, bad outcome for both sides. That’s why I worked for dad, not the company.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Scoop says:

          And that’s why lawyers are so hated. They litigate everything that moves. Nothing left for kids to do anymore and most channels for their rite of passage to manhood have been eliminated.

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          Indeed so.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Scoop says:

          I don’t know. Do you have a valid breathing license? You better hope that it hasn’t expired . . . or you might. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • Nicholas says:

      Personally, depending on real issues to do with safety etc, my general rule is “caveat emptor”, which is why I dislike a lot of this licensing business. If the customer freely enters the transaction, he is assuming the risk. John Stossel has made the point that some of these licences are essentially a form of protectionism: unions and other lobby groups get the state legislatures to create licences to stop a flood of newcomers from entering the market and lowering prices through competition. I daresay that is not the whole story, since health and safety are legitimate concerns – but things like a licence for hair-braiding – give me a break.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. the unit says:

    Interesting that you all actually did that. Lemonade stands as kids.
    For me there were ads in comic books for selling Christmas cards door to door. Didn’t even think about needing a license.
    One year in the fall I tried it. When a lady would answer the door bell I’d say “Lady, you DON’T want to buy any Christmas cards do you?” Mostly they didn’t.
    That was ’53 or ’54, still learning then. By ’57 had a paper route. One Saturday morning naked Lady answered door and I said “here to collect” and she said “here to pay”.

    I know. What that got to do with food safety? Hot buns. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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