Nanny State

Neighbor Narcs on Florida Boy's Lemonade Stand


Tampa Bay Times video screenshot

"It's all about profit."

That's T.J. Guerrero, a 12-year-old who sells strawberry lemonade and cookies on the corner of Patricia Avenue and San Salvador Drive in Dunedin, Florida, from 3 to 7 p.m. most days. He scoped out the corner after trying several other locations—market research is important for any entrepreneur—and got permission from a neighbor to sell on his front lawn. Other neighbors have even offered their driveways for customer parking. He sees from 10 to 30 customers a day, and charges $1 a cup.

But none of this diligence impresses 61-year-old Doug Wilkey, who lives on the corner and thinks the boy is a nuisance worthy of government intervention. The Tampa Bay Times reports:

According to Dunedin records, Wilkey contacted city commissioners in May 2013 and followed up in October, then again in March and June this year….

"The city could possibly face repercussion in the event someone became ill from spoiled/contaminated food or drink sales," Wilkey wrote in one email.

"If this were a once a year event by a couple kids to earn a little money for a holiday or something, I would not have a problem with it," he said in another. "I am very worried about the value of my home, which is why I built in a residential area, not a business area."

An increasingly frustrated Wilkey, who declined to speak with the Tampa Bay Times, wrote this summer that the stand was back "AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!"

A Pinellas County sheriff's community police officer has been out at least twice in an attempt to defuse the conflict.

Wilkey says Guerrero's friends hang out near his stand and make noise. He has also complained about trash. I haven't had the chance to hit up the stand and see for myself—though local Reason readers should go grab a glass—but those sure sound like complaints that would be better dealt with man-to-boy, rather than man-to-Leviathan-to-boy.

Three cheers for the local Florida authorities, though. Sheriff's deputies have declined to shut the boy down, unlike their brethren in Madison County, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; Toronto, Canada; Holland, Michigan; and Washington, D.C.    

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  1. AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow, 10 or more exclamation points means the person is really serious, yes?

    I make it a point to stop at lemonade stands - a kid is going to do something that takes a little effort, I want to reward that.

    1. Reminds me of that scene in Mallrats where Brody gets upset about the kid on the escalator lol

    1. Only certain, 'beloved', commenters get hat tips.

  2. "The city could possibly face repercussion in the event someone became ill from spoiled/contaminated food or drink sales," Wilkey wrote in one email.

    Doug Wilkey is Tony?

    1. Whatever happened to "caveat emptor"?

      1. You get out of here with that dead language mumbo jumbo horseshit. THIS IS MERKA

      2. +1 Calvin and Hobbes

      3. Whatever happened to "caveat emptor"?

        Whatever happened to "beat the snitch with a broom handle"?

  3. "The city could possibly face repercussion in the event someone became ill from spoiled/contaminated food or drink sales," Wilkey wrote in one email.

    Why or how would the city gov't face any repercussion from someone becoming ill from the lemonade? The city and it's police can kill with near impunity. No repercussions. The city can confiscate your property, liquidate it, and keep the proceeds for practically no reason. No repercussions. I don't think a tummy ache is going to plunder the city.

    1. Because government is us and the children are all of ours. Dur!

    2. Because It Takes a Village - so the whole village is "guilty".

      Wait, no - that's wrong. It Takes a Village, but only when things go right. Anything that goes wrong is the individual's fault, for not relying on The Village.

      So The Village only gets in trouble when people try to not do things in accordance with The Village's collective agreement and involvement.

      So shut this fucking kid down before he ruins The Village. Thank you.


      1. Number Six: Where am I?
        Number Two: In the Village.
        Number Six: What do you want?
        Number Two: Information.
        Number Six: Whose side are you on?
        Number Two: That would be telling. We want information? information? in formation.
        Number Six: You won't get it.
        Number Two: By hook or by crook, we will.
        Number Six: Who are you?
        Number Two: The new Number Two.
        Number Six: Who is Number One?
        Number Two: You are Number Six.
        Number Six: I am not a number! I am a free man!
        Number Two: [laughs]

    3. Three words: E BO LA!
      Watch "Outbreak", it explains everything.

      1. Cup of lemonade? Biting plague carrying monkey?

  4. I will stand up for the old guy here. It may be that he is just an asshole. If, however, the stand really does create noise and trash such that it effects his ability to enjoy his property, then he has every right to complain or sue the kid's parents for damaging his right to quiet enjoyment of his property.

    You have a common law right to do whatever you like with your property right up until what you are doing affects your neighbors' enjoyment of their property. This might actually be a case of that occurring. You can't tell from the article but I don't see where they guy complaining is necessarily wrong.

    1. Get off of my lawn!

      1. Well it is my lawn isn't it?

        I think the difference in this case from the usual lemon aide stand cases Reason publishes is that in this case the complaint is from a land owner who at least alledges actual damage to his rights rather than a city enforcing some idiotic rule. That is a big difference.

        Again, maybe this guy is an asshole and really has no case. But if he does and the kid and his friends are making noise and dumping trash in his yard, the old man has a legitimate case. And that is totally different than the city enforcing some pinheaded rule.

        1. Reading the article it doesn't appear to be his lawn that they're on. He's one of the other four houses at the interesection. The stand got permission from the homeowner whose land they set up shop on.

        2. If you actually read the article, he's an asshole and really has no case. He's not even asserting that they have dumped trash in his yard, just that they *could.*

    2. I appreciate you wanting to play Devil's Advocate here, but when your complaint centers around "Hey, someone MIGHT maybe in the future get contaminated lemonade", I'm gonna go with asshole.

      That, and I don't believe in zoning. If the kid were littering, fine, make him pick up after himself, but there's no indication in the article that he's violating the neighbor's property rights.

      1. That is not his only complaint. He also claims the kid is making noise and leaving trash around. Those complaints are if true legit.

        1. Well, it's not like the ol wanker could get off his grouchy old arse and go talk to the kid and maybe even call on the kid's parents. No, he had to get the authoritah involved. This old fuck is a big part of what's wrong with this country.

          1. Well, it's not like the ol wanker could get off his grouchy old arse and go talk to the kid and maybe even call on the kid's parents.

            Maybe he did. Maybe the kid is an asshole here.

            1. Perhaps. Although I suspect that if he'd talked to the parents, he would have mentioned that in the interview.

              I agree about the man having a case if there's trash and noise, but I suspect that the guy is the asshole in this situation.

        2. Making noise from selling lemonade? Doubt that. If it is from cars stopping there, you don't build your house next to public street and then get to be shocked that cars are gonna drive on it.

          If he's leaving trash around, fine, but again, the only indication that that is the case is from the curmudgeon's complaint. And you'd think that could be handled without resorting to government police or courts. Talk to the kid, if no joy, talk to the parents.

          1. A kid and his friends standing around making noise? Yeah, that would never happen.

            And as far as the cars and traffic, you are right it is a public street. The law says he has to let people use it. Well, the law also says you can't run a business out of your house. So if you are going to use the law to justify using the street, why can't he use the law to shut you down?

            Yeah, I know you don't like zoning laws. And that is a fair complaint. But if you didn't have zoning, these neighborhoods would just have covenants that did the same thing. The kids' parents bought the house knowing the zoning laws were what they were. So how can they now complain? It is not like anyone changed the rules on them.

            1. Jeebus John.

              The law is the law, huh, and anything that might violate the law can only be handled by calling in the cops?

              Tulpa? Is that you? Have you stolen John's handle?

            2. What?!? People standing aroound *talking*? In a neighborhood?!?

              WTF is wrong wth these people?

              Or maybe the grumps who wat silence shoudl go live in a graceyard. But they'd probably object to relatives standing around talking when they visit graves once a year.

            3. A kid and his friends standing around making noise?

              That has nothing to do with a lemonade stand.

              They can do that just because.

              1. A kid and his friends standing around making noise?

                That has nothing to do with a lemonade stand.

                They can do that just because.

                As my neighbors' kids remind me every day....

        3. Those complaints are if true legit.

          No. The complaint should be about those littering; the lemonade stand does not cause littering. Everything you do (including breathing) makes noise. During daylight, we all anticipate noise; if old fuck has nothing better to do than sit at home between 3 pm and 7 pm, perhaps he should open his own lemonade stand to drive the kid out of business by undercutting him. I don't see any valid "noise" issue during normal business hours.

          1. Furthermore, I think the old guy owes the kid money, because the kid demonstrates (on a daily basis) how safe the neighborhood is, and how conducive it is to raising children. This increases his property value and old fuck hasn't compensated the kid in any way; kid's owed money.

        4. If the trash aint in his yard, or the street, he should shut the fuck up.

    3. I am really tired of the trope that it's a dastardly deed to lower neighboring property values with unsightly lawns or junk or noise. It's one thing to harbor rats or cockroaches or other vermin, but lowering property values? I'll be concerned about that when those same neighbors do the opposite for someone who raises values by putting in a beautiful garden or upgrading his house. It works both ways.

      My property is my property. If you want to control my property in any way, contract for it. Otherwise butt out and piss off.

      1. It does lower property values. Who wants to live next door to a dump? Whether that is actionable or not depends. If your property came with a covenant that said you wouldn't turn it into a dump, then you never owned the right to turn it into a dump and you better clean the place up or be forced to pay up.

        But noise and smells and things like that are a trespass on other people's property and have always been actionable at common law. If you want to run a lemonade stand, great. Have fun. But the moment the noise from you doing that affects my ability to enjoy my property, I am suing your ass. You don't own the right to send your noise over to my property.

        The solution to these issues is covenants. Everyone gets together and voluntarily agrees to give up the right to run a business or whatever on their property. Then when they sell their property the person who buys it is on notice of what they are getting and can't later complain about it.

        We really don't need zoning. We have the common law which solves all of these things

        1. And are you going to be the first in line to pay your neighbor when he upgrades his house and your house now effectively lowers his property values?

          Who gets to define "too much noise" or unsightly front yard statuary?

          As far as covenants go, they are tosh. Once property is sold, that'e the end of its control by anyone else. If you make a deal with a neighbor who later sells his house, you can sue him for breaking the contract for all I care, but the buyer has nothing to do with it. Otherwise it's not really a sale.

        2. But the moment the noise from you doing that affects my ability to enjoy my property, I am suing your ass.

          Good luck suing all those ASSHOLES that have the audacity to drive down your street.

        3. But the moment the noise from you doing that affects my ability to enjoy my property, I am suing your ass.

          The law of nuisance requires a substantial and unreasonable interference with use and enjoyment, John. Not just noise you find unpleasant.

    4. How much noise does a lemonade stand generate? Sorry, but If you can't handle listening to a few people laughing with the lemonade boy, then you have no clue what it is like to be part of a community, and I really don't give a shit about your libertarian property rights principles.

    5. The old guy might indeed have a legitimate beef. While I applaud the kid for his ambition and entrepreneurial spirit, a daily business on my residential corner that creates a constant nuisance might be extremely annoying, especially if trash, traffic, noise are real issues here.

      He still should have tried to work it out with his neighbors instead of summoning the demon of law enforcement. I'd probably have some fum with it and offer to buy lemonade for everyone on the sex offenders list.

    6. He has a right to complain. His neighbors, and fellow citizens, also have a right to ignore him.

      Oh dear! Some uncontrolled child is playing Startup Capitalist in a front lawn (with the lawn owner's permission)! There's noise and trash!

      Unless the kids are brinhing large outdoor speakers, I seriously doubt the noise rises to a level any sane person would complain of. If he wants absolute peace for contemplation, there are lots of Buddhist temples he could move to. The trash is another matter, but I suspect that if it were much of anything a) the cops would have done something more serious and b) the kid wouldn't have permission to use that lawn anymore.

      1. He has a right to go to the city and have them enforce the law. Since when do "oh but the kid's cute" mean the law doesn't apply?

        I doubt his complaint is a very good one. But I don't know that and neither do you. The point is that a neighboring property owner complaining is totally different than the city complaining.

        1. I agree with you John. But it is unseemly that a 62 year old man can't handle a minor matter with a 12 year old without invoking the coercive power of government.

        2. Considering the city did nothing from his earlier complaints, maybe he should be quiet.

        3. Considering the city did nothing from his earlier complaints, maybe he should be quiet.

    7. Maybe.

      If I was the crotchety old son-of-a-bitch I would just go buy a lemonade and explain to the boy what his responsibilities are as a business owner. Have him quiet his friends down and police the neighborhood for trash after he closes. Chances are pretty good he would listen and that I would buy a lemonade every day.

      Complaining to the city just makes him an asshole.

    8. Well, the "business district" comment sounds like he doesnt like cars stopping on the road.


      Of course, the main problem is zoning.

    9. neighbors' enjoyment of their property

      I doubt that's the bar. I suspect it's more like "a reasonable person's expectation of adverse impact".

      My personal preferences are insufficient to dictate a civil settlement.

      And considering that, it's incredibly unlikely that old man grumpy would have a legitimate civil case, even in libertopia. The impact to property values here, from the perspective of an impartial observe, is almost certainly nill.

      1. I know I would certainly not put an offer on a house if I saw a lemonade stand down the street. "What's next," I would ask myself, "Houses in unapproved colors?"

        1. It's hard not to see a child's lemonade stand as a community asset, because it reflects positively on the quality of the parenting who are supportive and encouraging children who work hard. And also the parents/kids feel they are in a safe enough neighborhood to engage in such commerce.

          It's only a negative if you were expecting to find a 55+ community.

      2. Nuisance is a substantial and unreasonable interference with someone's use and enjoyment of their property. That's actionable. It's intended to prevent things like your neighbor operating a tannery in his backyard: because there's no physical intrusion on your property it's not a trespass, but the stink and the noise and the filth don't respect property lines.

        It's conceivable that a lemonade stand could rise to the level of a private nuisance, but it would have to be the world's filthiest, stinkyest, noisiest lemonade stand. Quotidian neighborhood noise and litter isn't actionable as nuisance.

  5. It's just a good thing that some upstanding and aware citizen reported this situation. Who knows what could be in that lemonade? Who measured the sugar? Was the FDA there to oversee this operation? NO! Then shut it down, for the children!

    Last week when wifey and I arrived home from work, I some kids down the street about 50 yards had set themselves up a lemonade stand. My wife noticed also, stopped and started off in that direction out of curiosity. She said something to me, but I walked ahead of her a little and said 'don't go down there, just keep walking towards the house'. She looked at me sort of funny and after we were safely in the house, I told her that I didn't want her near that thing when the swat team arrives.

  6. The ultimate get off my lawn story. From Florida of course.

    1. The ultimate "Get off my neighbors' lawn" story.

      1. Yes, of course, even better.

    2. You would almost think that Florida has a surplus of grouchy old curmudgeons.

      1. Curmudgeons, sure. But do they have enough coots, geezers and oldsters?

  7. comments tell me this is about Old Tea Party Republican type who only cares about himself and his property values, and that Government is Wise because they saw that Kid was no problem. This is why Power is Always Used Responsibly.

    ""Who has an interest in making a big deal about this absolute nothing of a story?

    The boy should sell tea as well as lemonade. He could put up a sign advertising the "tea party" and his neighbor would then be happy. To make it genuinely sour "tea party" tea be sure to add lots of lemon""

    You see this is all logical because Cranky Old People that Hate Children are Republicans.


    1. My experience is that assholes can be found in every political ideology, including libertarians.

      1. Yes indeed

        But Assholes that Complain to the Government to Deal With Problems they Are Too Lazy To Address Personally...?

        That's the *special* kind

    2. Missing an opportunity to tar someone who seems like an asshole as part of the other TEAM is like not stopping a bus full of children from going over a cliff.

      1. -Anders Breiveik, Manifesto

    3. IOW, John lives in Florida

  8. I hope that from now on,that somebody calls the cops and reports a nuisance every time Doug Wilkey leaves his house, or makes a noise that can be heard by anybody outside his house.

  9. Complaining over ten to thirty customers in a three hour period? What a douche.

  10. The old man's just begging for a burning paper sack of dog shit on his front porch, isn't he?

  11. I suspect it's not a neighborhood zoned for business, but if the cops aren't shutting the lemonade stand (and we all know how restrained and sensible cops are), maybe the stand is legal.

    1. There are a lot of localities with all kinds of exceptions to the residential vs business zoning that allow for things just like this, garage sales, selling your car, etc.

      You are right, if it was truly illegal, they might have already shut it down.

    2. The idea that lemonade stand is a "business" that is subject to zoning codes, etc. is a symptom of something gone very wrong in our society.

      The notion that people with permission to be on a neighbor's property should have the cops sicced on them because they are making noise, during daylight hours, is also a symptom, etc.

      If your neighbor's litter is getting on your lawn, the reflex to sic the cops on them is a symptom, etc.

      This all Total State fascism shit: "Nothing outside the State (no unlicensed lemonade stands, no sorting out issues with your neighbors)"

      Fuck this old guy, and fuck everyone who thinks he has even a scintilla of a point.

      1. "I pay these goddamned taxes for police service, I'm goddamned well gonna get something for my money!"

        /grumpy old statist

  12. Old guy should help the kid out and put an ad in the adult sections of Craigslist and backpage for him.

    ? ????????? ?? ? ? ? ? ? NEW.?. Pre-Teen has something sweet for you !*?* *?* *?*$1 SPECIAL .?Tasty Treat. ? ? ? ? ? ?? ????????? - 12 (Some City, FL)

    Corner of third and main. cum see my "lemonade" stand. Sure to satisfy and quench your thirst. All real lemons, fully functional sugar. Don't bother neighbors!

    1. Old Man With Candy? Izzat you....:)

  13. See something, say something.

    Ain't Doug just an upstanding citizen. I'm sure he would have thrived in late '30's Germany.

    (Please excuse the preceding Nazis connecting bit. I just couldn't help myself)

    1. We haven't seen a thread Godwinned in a while. At least I haven't.

      I applaud your service to the Commentariat! Bravo! Huzzah!

  14. Wait, why weren't the kid's parents arrested for leaving him unattended? Somebody call Lenore...

  15. It's easy to get outraged at nosy killjoys like this, but it's far more fun (and productive) to fuck with one if you happen to live next door to one. You just gotta raise that level of pain beyond the point at which they finally decide to move to that retirement community in Florida.

    Oh, wait... this is Florida. Kid, you're fucked.

    1. I'd definitely leave a flaming bag of shit on old fuck's doorstep.

  16. those sure sound like complaints that would be better dealt with man-to-boy, rather than man-to-Leviathan-to-boy.

    Libertarian advocates vigilante justice.


  17. Cool. I was expecting a nut punch. Fuck Wilkie!

      1. I was going to ask what Wendell Willkie ever did to you?!

  18. IF there is some sort of genuine "littering" issue, I would expect the actual property owner where the stand has been given permission to operate would be the primary complainant.

    As in: "Kid, if you can't keep this place picked up, I'm not going to let you set up here any more."

    Voila! Problem solved.

    1. But Brooks, you can't possibly expect that a potential issue might be resolved without cops shooting up some dogs and/or a lemonade stand. Fucking anarchist.

  19. Man, nothing keeps me from enjoying my property more than kids laughing and playing in the neighborhood.

    Suppose that John is correct and that the old codger has a legitimate complaint. Where does it stop? Kids have been riding bikes/playing in residential neighborhoods for centuries. And all of a sudden, now the claim is being made that doing so lowers property values.

    Maybe if he wanted to enjoy his property in silence, he should bought real estate with more acreage, further away from the street, or out in the middle of nowhere.

    I just don't agree with requiring kids to stop being kids.

    1. A friend's little brother had a similar complaint from a neighbor when we were 16 and he was 9 or 10, he was selling donuts and lemonade out of his front yard and a neighbor lady complained to the police, and when that didn't work she started screaming at anyone who stopped to buy doughnuts or lemonade. We, being 16, did doughnuts in her front yard with several vehicles. Hopefully some socially-conscious individual will give this dude the same treatment.

  20. I'm paying for tv commercials to encourage kids to go out and be active, where, they will be encountered by the Wilkey's of the world and my taxes will be used to harass and jail them.

  21. One expects Old Man Wilkey will take to wearing a ghost costume in an attempt to scare off the meddling kid...

  22. Always a baby boomer. Is it just me or does that generation seem to have way more than its fair share of d-bags?

  23. Well, if kids were allowed to enter the labor force and earn money like an adult can, they wouldn't have to resort to menial jobs like mowing lawns, paper routes and running lemonade stands.

  24. I'm gonna send this to some Dunedin people I know.
    hopefully they will go.

  25. Awww God, I wish that old fart who is complaining about that kid would just go shoot himself already or die of a heart attack. I hate, HATE busy bodies and nosy people with a bleed seething passion, those kind of people are on the right and left and they cause of most of the problems and ills in society. Can't believe the John guy above would defend this sorry excuse for a human being, he'd be the first one to rat you out to the Secret Police.

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