Entrepreneurship

Guy Who Tried to Shut Down Kid's Lemonade Stand Gets a Taste of His Own Medicine. And That Totally Sucks.

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Tampa Bay Times video screenshot

Remember Doug Wilkey, the grumpy Floridian who tried to get a lemonade stand that was operating next door to his house shut down by local authorites? Whelp, looks like he's getting a taste of his own medicine

A tipster contacted the city and pointed officials toward records that show Wilkey, as recently as March, listed his Patricia Avenue home as the principal business address for Bayport Financial Services.

Planning director Greg Rice said officials were drafting a letter notifying Wilkey, 61, that all companies operating in the city require a business tax license, which costs about $45 a year, and that home-based-business owners must sign an affidavit agreeing to follow special rules.

It's tempting to say "Karma's a bitch, sucka!" and leave it at that.

But that's the wrong response.

Yes, Wilkey, 61, started it by trying to bring in the government where simple human-to-human interaction should have sufficed. But is is just as troubling that the local government has now decided to use its powers to harass this man, simply because he's kind of a jerk with unpopular opinions. 

Crotchety old men aren't as photogenic as entrepreneurial kids, but they deserve the same rights and protections. All the reasons why Guerrero deserves to be left alone to make an honest buck apply equally to Wilkey. In fact, running a financial services company out of your home likely has even fewer negative externalities than setting up a lemonade stand.

It seems pretty clear the city is looking into this guy's business because he managed to draw attention to himself in a negative way. And of course the hypocrisy here is as delicious as a glass of Country Time on a hot day.

But I guarantee you that there are other home-based businesses on that block. In a time and place where nearly every human action is smothered in laws, rules, and regulations, enforcement will necessarily be arbitrary. Limited resources mean that cops and licensing bureaus get to choose who they go after, and those choices will usually be made for reasons that have little to do with efficiency or justice. 

When I wrote about the lemonade stand, I gave the local Dunedin authorities "three cheers." I take them back. When a grumpy tipster complained about a commercial activity by a cute kid who wasn't hurting anyone, they looked into the matter and wisely chose inaction. Then the same situation presented itself with a less appealing protagonist, and they did the opposite. Zero cheers.

NEXT: "The Hunger Games, The Giver and Divergent all depict rebellions against the state, and promote a tacit right-wing libertarianism"

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  1. Is there an Iron Lore somewhere that sez “me today, you tomorrow”?

    So looks like it’s Wilkey today.

    I’m guessing there won’t be any sudden reform on business licensing in this town soon.

  2. Yes, Wilkey, 61, started it by trying to bring in the government where simple human-to-human interaction should have sufficed. But is is just as troubling that the local government has now decided to use its powers to harass this man, simply because he’s kind of a jerk with unpopular opinions.

    You don’t bring in a wild beast (the government) to maul your neighbors, then cry when its hunger is unsatisfied and it turns on you.

    Ideally, Mr. Wilkey will learn that government is rarely the solution. Reality says he won’t.

    1. My guess is Mr. Wilkey won’t even make the connection.

      1. My guess is Mr Wilkey is not mentally capable of making the connection.

        1. The bigger problem is that none of his neighbors will see the connection either, they’ll just enjoy the schadenfreude with their morning coffee.

    2. The only thing as bad as this creep Wilkey, is the fool Mangu-Ward that is trying to defend him. She is a moron.

  3. enforcement will necessarily be arbitrary

    Which, by the way is the point.

    Easily predictable and clearly defined laws and enforcement don’t keep the populace hiding in the reeds in fear.

    It’s fear that runs this country and without it, the government’s power is too easy to question.

    To able to go after anyone, at any time by dropping the regulatory phonebook on its spine and have it open to a random page with an applicable regulation… that’s power.

  4. The lesson: Never, ever, ever, ever draw the state’s attention to yourself.

    1. Centuries ago, the phrase was “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    2. Not sure I agree with that. Is it better to fight tyranny or hide from it?

      1. Define better.

        I’m a “hider”, but thankful for the fighters like Snowden.

        1. Freedom won’t happen unless enough of us stand up and demand it.

          Hence the commonly misunderstood saying, freedom isn’t free.

          1. The only contribution I make is to try to spread the word. I avoid any contact with the gov’t for the sake of my sanity, not so much for safety reasons.
            But again, I admire the ones on the front lines.

          2. ” freedom isn’t free.”

            Of course not. Everybody knows it costs a buck-oh-five.

        1. Many of them are films with Kevin Costner in them.

          1. I like Costner.

            But +1 on the retort, though.

          2. That’s why I quit taking bath salts.

          3. Water world we live in that includes long, boring Kevin Costner films.

            1. Chumby, I think you meant ‘What a’. Auto correct must have screwed up The Post, man.

              1. It was a pun, dummy.

      2. Not sure I agree with that. Is it better to fight tyranny or hide from it?

        I’m a fighter by nature, but no fool, either, and I’d rather not get squashed in a meaningless conflict. David didn’t beat Goliath by fighting Goliath’s fight.

        1. Safety in numbers. If a third of the population stands as one, there will not be retribution. We saw this in the 60s. You get enough people protesting, it swamps the resources available to exact retribution against individuals.

          1. That’s not “David’s fight” though. That’s more like Goliath vs: Goliath.

            And, uh, I dunno if you’ve looked at the percentages that Libertarian candidates get lately, but “a third of the population” it ain’t.

              1. Not if you keep advocating for open borders, legal heroin, and anarchy.

                1. Amen. The Libertarian’s just don’t get it. They will never be a political powerhouse because they are so far out in … Well, I started to say left field, but that’s not right. Let’s just say the are out of touch.

              2. so are the predictions of the global warming alarmists /sarc

    3. No, the lesson is that when you see someone planting the seeds of a state, you should kill it before it grows.

      1. And shoot the sheriff.

        1. But do not shoot the deputy.

  5. (a) Yes, it sucks that these laws are on the books.

    (b) Given (a), I shed no tears when these laws are turned on people like Wilkey.

  6. It sounds like it was the tipster that targeted him not the gubment.

    1. And yeah. Fuck him.

    2. The government was just the weapon. Which should really be against the Geneva Convention.

  7. But I guarantee you the there are other home-based businesses on that block.

    That sentence just made Tony break out in hives. What sort of hellscape is this, where people conduct economic transactions outside the gaze of Top Men?

    1. I heard there was a lemonade stand running regularly just down the street.

  8. Most victims of govt oppression fall short of Libertarian Purism – so it’s a Good Thing that KMW isn’t making the tempting cheap shots and keeping her principles.

    1. I mean, you can find some guy who got beaten by cops and say, “aha! he voted Democrat, let’s see how he likes statism *now!*” or you can champion the cause of the victims, bearing in mind that painting the victim as unsympathetic is a favorite tactic of those who justify oppression.

      1. I mean, you can find some guy who got beaten by cops and say, “aha! he voted Democrat, let’s see how he likes statism *now!*”

        Hold on there baby doll.

        I think this is much, much closer to calling the cops to turn in the people hiding Anne Frank in the attic of the house next door, and then getting hauled in yourself for being a homosexual.

        The tipster looked at this guy’s action and decided to treat it as a maxim. Since that’s perfectly fair, Wilkey has no grounds for complaint.

        Is there a line? I guess so, since your example seems to be on one side of it. But Wilkey’s case is on the other side of that line, AFAIAC.

        1. The tipster looked at this guy’s action and decided to treat it as a maxim.

          People forget that the Golden Rule has a flipside, namely, that, by ratting out a neighbor, you have done unto others, and so you must wish that they do the same unto you.

          Really, the only difference between “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “An eye for an eye” is timing.

          1. I refer to giving people what they have go me to others as the Silver Rule.

            1. go me = done

              Thanks autocorrect.

        2. I don’t agree with the Godwinning here – this was a dispute over a kid’s business on private property, not whether to send a kid to an extermination camp.

          1. But let’s pursue the Godwin argument – looking at history, we find that many of the people murdered by totalitarian governments were themselves statists or even totalitarians. Eg, Trotsky and Ernst Rohm. Their murders were still crimes worthy of denunciation, and emblematic of the wickedness of the regimes which murdered them, even if Trotsky supported Commie dictatorship and Romh was a thug and terrorist.

            1. I dunno, Notorious. I just have a hard time shedding tears over people who are enthusiastic supporters of a regime but are subsequently victimized.

              I guess I just think anyone who falls afoul of an Iron Law should have seen it coming and essentially “assumed the risk”.

              Me today, you tomorrow.

              1. Unless they actually realize their error and change.

                1. When the ax is cleaving your skull it’s a little late for that.

              2. (see below)

  9. All the reasons why Guerrero deserves to be left alone to make an honest buck apply equally to Wilkey

    All but one, Wilkey’s willingness to use the government against his neighbor. At some point, it is Just for one who “lives by the sword” to “die by the sword”.

  10. No, this doesn’t suck. The city didn’t “go after” the guy; the story clearly says it was “a tipster,” same as Wilkey was when he turned in the lemonade saleskid.

    This is fair turnabout. If you want a more transcendent solution, the lemonade kid’s mom and Mr. Wilkey could work together to stop such government interference.

  11. When I wrote about the lemonade stand, I gave the local Dunedin authorities “three cheers.” I take them back.

    All of them?

      1. So, like 2.7 cheers, then.

        1. Less. A cheer loses 15% of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot.

  12. Fair is fair. If you want to have rules, you have to live by them. But the fact that this guy doesn’t think the rules should apply to him, doesn’t say anything good or bad about the rules.

  13. I agree with the principle that if oppressing the kid was wrong, so was oppressing the old fart.

    But my overall take is different. Coercive government is the given and very unlikely to change. Thus what does count is the grump being hoisted by his own petard.

    The theoretical chance of getting rid of the oppressive state is fantasy. Educating a few people to not trust the state is a real opportunity, and the fact that the grump brought the attention on himself just makes it more fun.

    1. OK, let’s see what happens with imposing a niceness test on victims of civil-liberties violations:

      Miranda (of Miranda Warnings fame) almost certainly kidnapped a young girl and drove her into the desert and raped her, putting her in fear of her life.

      The victims of Stalin’s Purge Trials were generally hard-core Commies.

      The suspects tortured by U.S. forces (or foreign governments to whom the task was subcontracted) were frequently no-kidding terrorists.

      “It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.” Felix Frankfurter, dissenting in United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950).

      1. Your examples are not very consistent, or I am very dense.

        Miranda, a scumbag, was helped by a court ruling, which also helped countless others in holding off an oppressive government. This might have been a useful analogy if the state had realized the error of its ways and dropped its oppressive laws concerning grumpy, but they didn’t.

        Stalin’s victims, scumbags as bad as Stalin himself, were not helped by anything, and would not have been helped by anything, since they were as bad as Stalin.

        The US torture victims were yet another class of scumbags who were victimized by other scumbags.

        See, that’s not what I wrote about. I made the very small point that theory is nice, but theory isn’t going to change the oppressive state, and having this grump oppressed by his own petard might actually educate a few people about oppressive states.

        If Trotsky’s death by his former colleagues educated a few people about the nature of communism, that’s a better result than Trotsky surviving and continuingto fool people about the true nature of collectivist dictators.

        You go ahead and argue theory all you want, and change nothing.

        1. OK, based on some of the discussion above, let us stipulate for the sake of argument that people who invoke oppressive laws against their neighbors deserve, in a cosmic sense, to have oppressive laws invoked against them in turn.

          But poetic justice is not actual justice.

          Does the *public* deserve having oppressive laws enforced at all, even against bad people? No, the public doesn’t deserve it.

          And stipulating that the rigid enforcement of oppressive laws will turn people against these laws, that *still* isn’t a justification for enforcing bad laws, because it’s wrong “to do evil that good may come of it.”

          1. Everyone who wants to enforce oppressive laws claims that this will bring about good results!

            1. “Miranda, a scumbag, was helped by a court ruling, which also helped countless others in holding off an oppressive government.”

              And there in a nutshell is much of the history of liberty.

              Sometimes you get someone out of Central Casting – a virtuous defender of righteousness who is unjustly persecuted – the lives of the Saints can be mentioned here.

              But just as often, it’s some bad actor like Miranda.

              But the precedent set in the case of the scumbags affects the virtuous and near-virtuous as well.

              1. Oh, and I would add that being a scumbag doesn’t mean one forfeits one’s human dignity and rights.

                1. Why are you sticking up for the cops?

                2. Hmmm. It’s hard to have much dignity when you’re a scumbag.

          2. I’ll try to make it even simpler.

            Trying to change government to not be government is a waste of time.

            Laughing at a jerk who got stomped by the government he was trying to use to stomp somebody else is great fun, and might even educate a few people.

            Trotsky dying at the hands of Stalin didn’t change Stalin or Communism, but it might have enlightened a few people.

            Getting all upset about the theory is pointless. Laughing at fools whose dogma got run over by their karma has nothing to do with my own theoretical purity, how I would behave, or how you would behave.

      2. Just a note-a few years after Miranda was freed because of the Court’s ruling, he got into a fight in a bar, was stabbed and died.

  14. I’m no libertarian Jesus. I’m frail, human, and prone to imperfection….

    So while it sucks for the old man, karma’ same bitch!

    1. Wtf…. Kama’s a bitch….

  15. I don’t know what it is with cities and “business tax”. I got hit with one- because the second house on my property is rented out I have to pay a business tax of of 50 bucks, because of my rental “business”. I’m not sure what that money is supposed to be for. If I don’t rent it out, it’s not like there is $50 less demand for city services, and the increased value of the property as a rental is already figured into the purchase price, which means my property taxes already take into account the rental unit. They do these ticky-tack fees because they can, they make them big enough to get some cash out of you but they make it a small enough amount that most people won’t complain.

    1. “They do these ticky-tack fees because they can, they make them big enough to get some cash out of you but they make it a small enough amount that most people won’t complain.”

      Yes they do – its the idea of “Death (or, theft) by a thousand papercuts”.

    2. Good thing you paid up and don’t live in Philly, or your property might have been suspected of some sort of criminal guilt, then taken from you.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/in…..n-lawsuit/

  16. Next up, lemonade kid also forced to acquire “business tax license”. Oh, and you have been remitting sales tax on those lemonade sales, right…

    The cops gave the kid a pass, the bureaucrats, not so much.

    1. The cops gave the kid a pass

      So you are saying that they killed his dog and shot him, non-fatally, in the leg?

  17. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    1. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      1. I fail to see why children should be expected to be fully compliant with the regulatory State.

        1. It’s edumacational.

      2. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        Sometimes they do.

        As in “justifiable” homicide when you shoot someone in self-defense.

        Which, BTW, is another good example of the flipside of the Golden Rule: if you start it, you don’t get to complain when the tables are turned.

        1. “As in “justifiable” homicide when you shoot someone in self-defense.”

          Please list the 2 “wrongs” in this case.

      3. If that thy roof be made of glass,
        It shows small wit to pick up stones
        To pelt the people as they pass.

  18. Country Time is disgusting.

    1. Anyone who’s had ACTUAL lemonade knows this.

  19. The kid wasn’t trying to run a legitimate business. He was operating a lemonade stand. ANd you had no problem with it before. SO you problem is actually witht eh city ordinances that req

  20. The kid wasn’t trying to run a legitimate business. He was operating a lemonade stand. ANd you had no problem with it before. SO you problem is actually witht eh city ordinances that req

  21. So you were previously OK with the child not having city ordinances forced on him (as he shouldn’t; he was having a day of fun, not attempting to operate a business at a profit) but for some reason you now take that back because this 61 year old man operating a for-profit business is being forced to follow the law? You feel no one should have to follow the city ordinances then, is that your issue?

    His actions were brought to the city’s attention and they dealt with it. Anyone else operating a business illegally would also face the consequences should it be brought to the cities attention. I encourage you to inform the city if you know of any others.

  22. While I see Ward’s point on a one-off basis, I’m not sure I can agree given that this entire matter happened on a multi-iteration process. That this happened to Wilkey is wrong. But, it happened given his behavior towards Guerrero. In that case, I’d say there’s a certain justice in the entire matter. Ideally, there should be some downside in sicking the state on someone. Otherwise, what incentive is there to not do so? You have as case of getting your way if statists are sympathetic and no loss if they aren’t. Across the board, let these sorts of folks have to eat their own cooking. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll loose the appetite for it.

    1. Why is it wrong that it happened to Wilkey? he is a tax dodger and a weasel. Are you suggesting he is above the law?

  23. Doug Wilkey is a stinking hypocrite and got what he deserved.

  24. While the law itself is ridiculous, here are two arguments for why it’s fine by me that Wilkey got nailed.

    A) He started the entire debacle by bringing the government down on a little kid out of apparently little more than spite. Turnabout is fair play.

    B) His neighbors get to see what happens when you snitch to the government over inconsequential things. Cautionary tales that make examples of capricious assholes are a good thing.

  25. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail

    ———————- http://www.jobs700.com

    1. But will I need a business tax license from the government?

  26. Ignoring laws isn’t the answer. Yes, they should enforce the regulations on the book strictly. Hopefully, that will piss enough people off to change the laws.

  27. It was one of you guys, wasn’t it?

  28. Dealing with the government usually guarantees a Libertarian convert. Maybe only for a little while, but every bit helps. Maybe the heart and mind of Mr. Wilkey will be won over now that he knows how it feels, or at the very least question getting the government involved in the future. What can I say, I’m an optimist.

  29. Hello! 61 is not an “old man”.

    1. i felt old at 61 – altho it was difficult to admit

  30. i give them 3 cheers – it’s the law – the old guy tried to get it enforced against a youngster – which brought his own illegal activity to the fore

    sure – there are other similar law breakers – but as the cop writing a ticket to the one speeder among many he pulled over – who protests “why me” – the reply is “do you catch all the fish when you’re fishing?” – in this reality – you catch the bad guys when you folow the evidence – or at random – or when they shoot up flares

    i don’t believe in kharma – but if someone is going to break the law – however i feel about that law – he better not use that law against someone else

  31. my neighbor’s step-aunt makes $74 /hour on the internet . She has been out of a job for seven months but last month her check was $12917 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    find more information========== http://www.jobsfish.com

  32. It doesn’t get hot enough in Death Valley to make Country Time taste good.

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