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Lydia Coenen, 9, Has Her Lemonade Stand Banned in Appleton, Wisconsin

By Pete Kotz in Corruption, Politicians
Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm
Lydia-Mann_opt-1.jpg
UPDATE: Red-faced Appleton officials have reversed course, apparently realizing they looked like assholes. It seems the city health officer proposed the law, hoping to ward off rivals selling snacks at the city's car show. See update after the jump...

In today's nefarious installment of The Sphincter People, we take you to Appleton, Wisconsin, where evil and depravity lurks on the city council. Every year, 9-year-old Lydia Coenen and her sister Vivian run a lemonade stand during the Appleton Car Show.

On their best year, with four kids working the stand, they pulled in a little over $100. Each walked home with a handsome $26 for their day shlepping 50-cent glasses of lemonade to people headed to the show.

But that whopping tally apparently ran afoul of vendors, the kind of shitheads who worry about 9-year-old girls cutting into their income. Never mind that if you can't compete against little kids, you pretty much suck at business. Also never mind that if complain about said kids, you're a huge asshole and your wife should divorce you on grounds that you're probably French.

Anyway, the vendors complained to the city council. And like government bodies everywhere, the Appleton city council cares way more about business than its constituents. So it banned unauthorized stands within two blocks of the car show.

Before the show, an unlucky cop was forced to go to Lydia's house, informing her that she couldn't have a stand, since the city council was in league with the Anti-Christ and hates America.

Lydia had already made gallons of lemonade for the show. But being far more gracious than the council, who should be charged with treason, she simply gave it away to passing residents.

The council apparently hadn't thought far enough ahead to ban charitable acts by little girls. (Special thanks to reader Allison for the tip.)

UPDATE: Appleton backtracks, no longer considered evil.


This seems to be a case of semi-good intentions gone awry. A few months ago, city health officer Kurt Eggebrecht proposed banning vendors from a two-block radius of the car show. He's a member of the Kiwanis Club, which sponsors the show and raises money by selling snacks.

He says the Kiwanis' profits have been declining each year, since ice cream trucks show up early and grab the primo parking spots. So he wanted to keep the renegade ice cream villains away. The city agreed, passing the two-block ban.

Before the show, Eggebrecht sent a letter to the police, reminding them of the new law and asking them to enforce. So an officer went around nearby neighborhoods telling kids they couldn't sell lemonade, though it had been a 15-year tradition.

But after word got out, residents began bombing city officials, telling them they were assholes and douchebags. The police chief admitted it wasn't his department's finest hour. And even Eggebrecht says lemonade stands pose negligible health problems.

So the ban on lemonade stands has now been banned. The people have triumphed. (Special thanks to reader Sangelia for the tip.)

See our last episode from The Sphincter People file: Julie Bass Faces Jail in Oak Park, Michigan for Planting Vegetable Garden.

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