A Summer-of-Snitches Subversion: City Helps Teen Rather Than Shut Down Unlicensed Hot Dog Stand

When he grows up and gets that food truck, though, he'll probably have a very different experience.


Hot Dogs
Brian Enright /

A teen in Minneapolis has been running a hot dog stand, partly to raise money and partly because he likes having his own business. Jaequan Faulkner, 13, started his own little pop-up venture two summers ago, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

This summer he hit a snag. Someone called the Minneapolis Health Department and complained about the kid with the unlicensed hot dog stand.

It's been that sort of summer, with snitches finding the dumbest reasons to call the cops and other authorities on other people, often kids and teens.

Faulkner's story has a happy ending, though: Rather than shutting him down, the city decided to help him go legit. They gave him the equipment that the health department demanded to operate in compliance with city code (everything from meat thermometers to cleaning equipment), and they covered the $87 required for a "special event permit" to operate legally.

It's nice that the city helped him, but there's something a little unsettlingly self-promotional about its approach. The only reason this story has a happy ending is because of the kindness of some cogs in the city's bureaucracy. This is a story about a teen's entrepreneurial spirit, but it's also a story of the noblesse oblige of those with the power to decide whether or not Faulkner can sell hot dogs.

Faulkner is an adorable, photogenic kid with a dream. He wants his own food truck someday. He's a great story. He's also an "innocent," somebody easy to root for. That's why stories like this go viral. That's why stories about officials cracking down on lemonade stands go viral. That's why lemonade manufacturer Country Time was widely praised for a summer program to pay the costs of permits so that kids can legally run stands.

Does Minneapolis treat everybody who needs a bunch of permits and equipment to do their jobs with such a charitable response? Look at all the business licenses Minneapolis demands. If your kid is selling candy bars to raise money for a band, the band director is supposed to register for a youth fundraising permit. And each kid selling candy is supposed to carry around an identification card with the name of the organization, the permit's registration number and expiration date, and the telephone number for the appropriate office in the city government, in case any of those snitching grown-ups want to make sure you're legitimate.

If you've got an arcade (or I guess a bar/arcade, these days), each machine requires its own license. Heck, you have to get permission to put out a bench on a public sidewalk. It's not all terrible, though. As of 2016, Minneapolis no longer requires special business permits to operate skating rinks, to run bowling alleys, to deliver milk, or to have a jukebox.

It's genuinely great that Minneapolis was kind to Faulkner and didn't succumb to bureaucracy's worst tendencies. But ultimately, these officials want us to praise them for not being as bad as their own ordinances allow them to be. What happens to kids caught up in harsh government regs also happens to adults across the country every single day—and for them, it's not about earning some extra spending money. If Faulkner gets that food truck when he grows up, he's going to discover that many cities have deliberately hostile business environments because other businesses in town (restaurants) don't want the competition.

And if he values his freedom, he won't do something really crazy, like wrap his hot dogs in bacon.

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  1. I guess it’s easy to be nice when you’re spending someone else’s money. But it would be nicer still to simply let the kids alone.

    1. But what if somebody got food poisoning from one of the hot dogs? Think of the children!


        1. Yep, all of ’em.

    2. Hitler had a hot dog stand too, maybe. So you’re going to defend Hitler now?

      1. Yes, simply because the image of Hitler selling hot dogs is really funny.

      2. Oddly, Hitler was a vegetarian.

        1. If you’ve ever tasted or even smelled a vegetarian hotdog the news that Hitler invented them would not come as a surprise.

        2. Vegeterrorists go ballistic when I tell them that. It’s hilarious.


  2. Cute kid privilege!

  3. Is snitching a white person thing? Every time it’s happened to me it’s usually some busy-body white person sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. Recently my company’s accountant (an old, white lady) saw me looking at PG-13 images of women on my work computer. She not only reported me, she came down every day afterwards to ‘check’ on me. As long as I’m getting my work done (which I do) why should it matter? It didn’t affect her at all other than the fact she didn’t personally like it. I HATE snitches.

    1. Without a doubt it’s a white phenomenon.

      1) white people are usually in charge so it’s easy for other white people to summon them in the office or in the state
      2) white people trust authority because they a rarely punished by it in overtly unjust ways

      1. 2) white people trust authority because they a rarely punished by it in overtly unjust ways

        This may be true for some, but I’m as white as they come and the few times I went to the police they accused ME of breaking the law rather than the person/persons who victimized me.

        1. the few times I went to the police they accused ME of breaking the law rather than the person/persons who victimized me.

          Remember, the law is powerless to help you, not to punish you.

      2. Trust of government authority figures correlates more with affluence than ethnicity. Poor white trailer park kids aren’t big fans of the cops either.

    2. Old white dried up leftist hags are definitely some of the most annoying fucks anywhere. I guess their only options in life are to fuck with and snitch on other people, or talk to their cats all day long.

      1. The license plate on her car is PAWKAVE (Paw Cave), so I think you nailed it.

        1. Or they have a bumper sticker proudly claiming to be a “pet grandmother”.

      2. More likely some conservative Bible-beating moralist but Simple Mikey is too stupid to see the percentages.

        1. There’s no difference between the far Left and far Right–they both hate seeing people having fun doing something they disapprove of.

        2. Perhaps Antilles can tell us if he works in a liberal city or in a place full of Bible-beating moralists.

          1. Huntington Beach, California. Most of my coworkers lean to the Left, so I usually have to bite my tongue and hide my Libertarian leanings.

            1. So, almost certainly a leftist asswipe, just like Dipshit up there. Thank you!

        3. Wrong again as usual, dipshit!!

    3. Assuming you are male; report her for harassment. Make a report each day she comes by your work station without a bono fide work reason.
      On the other hand, it no longer matters if you are male, just do it.

      1. Nah, if I snitched on her then I’d be no better than her. I moved my desk so she couldn’t sneak up on me, but then she started entering my office and leaning over to check my screen. She eventually gave up and I haven’t seen her in months.

        1. I moved my desk so she couldn’t sneak up on me, but then she started entering my office and leaning over to check my screen.

          Good fucking God, i can’t imagine what would possess a person to invade another’s personal space like that. I don’t know if I have the self control not to punch someone who does shit like that.

          1. And after checking my screen she’d give me this glance as if to remind me she was watching me. I was so stunned the first time it happened I didn’t know how to react. But she’s a tiny, old lady so I’d never consider hitting her.

            1. At the very least I would flip her the bird and hope she has a heart attack.

              1. My coworkers suggested I Photoshop her face into a graphic porn scene and have it on my screen the next time she comes by.

            2. Don’t need to hit her. Treat her like a Chihuahua humping your leg. Keep a spray bottle on your desk, and squirt it in her face when she misbehaves.


    4. Give her a quilt with some custom stitching and see if she gets the hint.

    5. Personally I’m concerned about your well being. I’m not sure I trust your judgement on the appropriate rating for these pictures.

      Please post links to the pictures you were looking at so the commentariat can judge if they are work appropriate. The more links you provide the better our response.

      Thank you.

    6. At the risk of supporting a collectivist conclusion, every time I’ve been snitched on, it was by a girl. Not all of them were white. What they had in common was that they were the kind of snotty little shits who constantly sought praise from authority figures.


  4. Only marginally better than the usual MN news that finds its way to this site.

  5. I think we’re missing the actual problem here. This kid is selling phallic centric food which are sometimes dubbed “wieners”. That’s not OK.

    1. Maybe I’m too far gone, and I believe all hope for this world is lost; but if I went up to this hot dog stand and ordered a couple “wieners” from the kid I feel like I’d very much be at risk for another snitching to some government authority.

      1. You’re probably right.

        I don’t know how you could order that without snickering, though.

        1. When you get Sonoran Hot Dogs, which are a true piece of Tucson food culture and evidence of GOD’S loving nature, they call the, the spanish name for hot dogs, weenies. And you can often get “two weenies in a single bun” style Sonoran Hot Dogs.

          This is the decadence of my home town. This is what made me who I am today.

          1. I’ve never had such a hot dog. It sounds exotic.

              1. This made my day… sounds amazing… wrapped in bacon… although I’d pass on the mayo.

          2. Two weenies in a single bum sounds a little crowded.

          3. “two weenies in a single bun”

            “You usually have to pay double for that kind of action.”

          4. Looks like a version of the Danger Dog sold in Los Angeles.

            1. Says they’re both from Hermosillo originally.

  6. Paradoxically, as John Holt knew, the sense of the “cuteness” of kids occasionally works to their advantage. In merely another instance of ageism, Minneapolis is doing special favors for a “cute” kid that it won’t do for grownup entrepreneurs.

    1. In my opinion, libertarians should stop asking “Who is John Galt?” and start asking “Who is John Holt?”

      1. John Galt had a sex change operation and is Maxine Waters.
        Deal with it.

        1. Was he kept under anaesthesia for too long? ‘Cause there seems to have been some brain damage.

    2. Or for that entrepreneurial ugly kid.

  7. In my opinion, libertarians should stop asking “Who is John Galt?” and start asking “Who is John Holt?”

    A pioneer of home schooling (good for him) with crank views on childhood and education.

    1. If Holt was a crank, then so was Frederick Douglass. Some of us are fed up with the treatment of the young as the n*****s of their elders.

      1. If Holt was a crank, then so was Frederick Douglass. Some of us are fed up with the treatment of the young as the n*****s of their elders.

        Naw, Frederick Douglass was a great, great American.

        John Holt and his acolytes was/are cranks spouting BS as evidenced by your little BS contribution above!

        Have at it, be as fed up as you wish..

      2. Oh, by the way, we do consider our kids as belonging to us.
        Even asked one a while back, “who do you belong to?”
        Reply; “You and mom”

        See, even kids know Holt’s shtick is BS.

        1. SNP: All your kids are belong to us.

          1. Yeah, just try that here in TX.

            Why we have the Second Amendment.

  8. And he’ll be able to go to college for a couple of years “debt free”.

  9. Why didn’t the city try out a ‘profit-sharing’ scheme with him?

  10. “Unlicensed Hot Dog” was my nickname in culinary school.

  11. Fuck this “Jaequan Faulkner” kid. Why do I, an enterprising and pansexual man who’s experienced inter-dimensional travel, have to tolerate being vituperated and fined for my business? This fag selling his hot dogs isn’t different from me selling my SmegCrack crackers in front of the local middle school; hell, I use my own non-GMO and ORGANIC dick cheese to bake my shit. “Jaequan” (By the way, what kind of stupid name is that?) is worsening his patron’s health with his shit dogs. (I bet they’re some crap brand like Ball Park.) I even service my customers without pants and underwear to be transparent about where the cheese comes from. But what happens to lil’ me? I get the boot on my throat because I’m not some “photogenic” little turd.
    Fuck this dimension.

    1. Has the Libertarian Dimension been overtaken by intactivists? I may have to rethink my stance on minimal government…

  12. A friend of mine who lives in Wisconsin sent me pics of the licensed mini bakery he and his wife built in their home. I asked him about the process and he said that the city officials were actually very helpful and easy to work with. It seems they wanted to help him get the project together rather than just get in the way.

    Unfortunately the pictures of the triple chocolate brownies just got me hungry and I do not live anywhere near Wisconsin.

  13. This is just contributing to the food desert in that neighborhood.

  14. Could be worse. Could be a lutefisk stand..

  15. This was a nice story about the city helping a teen who needed money to afford to buy clothes for himself. They helped him run a legal hot dog stand.

    I think most people want there to be some regulations on food trucks and restaurants. Nobody wants to get food poisoning and that why we have the regulations.

    On the other end, I have known people that have started restaurants and clubs, and the permitting process can take so long that if a person doesn’t have a lot of money to work through a long permitting process, they will never be able to open the business, or when they do, they are deeply in debt. They have been renting or paying a mortgage on a space, but have been able to sell anything for months (and in the worst case scenario 2.5 years) as they waited for the permitting process to complete.

    While no one wants people to get sick eating out, the city officials should be required to complete their work within a reasonable amount of time and make an effort to help all new business owners get started.

    1. As a first step towards Libertarian Nirvana, how about a single requirement to post a voluntary rating by the health department. You don’t have to get the rating but you have to post that fact. At least it’s on a slippery slope moving in the right direction.

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