Officials Apologize for Fining 5-Year-Old $195 for Selling Lemonade at Stand

Human Rights

A five-year-old girl was fined $195 for a lemonade stand.


André Spicer, a professor of “organiational behaviour” at the Cass Business School at City University London, reports, “four local council enforcement officers stormed up to her little table.”

Professor Spicer helped his daughter make four “jugs” of lemonade, which she sold at 50p ($.65 American) for a small cup or £1 ($1.30 American) for a large cup.

The girl was fined £150 ($195 American).

Spicer is co-author of the book, The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work.

“But don’t worry, it is only £90 if it’s paid quickly,” one officer reportedly said. That is still $117 American.

The officers made the young girl cry.

“My daughter burst into tears, repeating again and again ‘have I done a bad thing?'” Spicer said, noting his daughter sobbed the entire walk home.

“When she had finally calmed down, I started to try to make sense of what had just happened. I’m a professor in a business school, so I probably should have known some kind of permit was required,” Spicer said. “But this was a five-year-old kid selling lemonade. She wasn’t exactly a public safety hazard.”

The BBC explained how the child would have to wait a dozen years until she was 17 years old to comply with all of the rules:

  • To operate a market stall, you will need a street trading licence
  • There are two types of street trading licences: temporary and permanent
  • The application fee for both temporary and permanent licences is £75 ($97 America)
  • You must be over 17 years of age to hold a licence
  • To sell hot/high risk food, there are several extra restrictions in place on a street trading licence

Local authorities have announced the fine will be cancelled.

“We are very sorry that this has happened. We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen,” a spokesperson told the New York Post. “The fine will be canceled immediately and we will be contacting Professor Spicer and his daughter to apologize.”

When Spicer told his daughter they could get a permit and set up a stand again, she told him of her lost interest.

“No,” the five-year-old said. “It’s too scary.”

“She just wanted to put a smile on people’s faces,” her father told the BBC.  “She was really proud of herself.”

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by fontsempire.com.