What’s the world coming to when kids can’t hold a bake sale without getting busted by the police?
Here’s what happened; two entrepreneurial 13-year-old boys were selling cupcakes and cookies in a town park in Chappaqua, New York when New Castle Councilman Michael Wolfensohn called the police to report they didn’t have a permit.
The boys, Andrew DeMarchis and Kevin Graff, were charging $1 each for cupcakes, cookies, brownies and Rice Krispie treats. Business was booming. In fact, the kids in $120 on their first day of selling. They used their first day’s earnings to buy a cart and increase their inventory.
The boys were even starting to dream about opening a restaurant one day with their earnings.
But once Councilman Wolfensohn learned the sale wasn’t benefiting a charity, he called the police.
“I am shocked and sad for the boys. It was such a great idea, and they worked hard at it,” Laura Graff, Kevin’s mother, told The Journal News. “But then some Town Board member decided to get on his high horse and wreck their dreams.” Graff said they were “good boys” who were upset by their run-in with the police.
“All vendors selling on town property have to have a license, whether it’s boys selling baked goods or a hot dog vendor,” Wolfensohn said.
He acknowledged that “in hindsight” he probably should have just given the boys a warning and told them that they needed a license instead of calling the police. “The police are trained to deal with these sorts of issues,” he said.
The police officer told the kids that he was sorry to have to shut them down, but that he had received a report from a Town Board member.
“Kevin was so upset, he was crying all the whole way home. He was worried if he was going to get arrested or have a criminal record,” Suzanne DeMarchis, Andrew’s mother, told The Journal News.
A permit to sell in the park costs $150 to $350 for two hours and a $1 million insurance certificate is also required so it’s unlikely the boys will try to get the stand running again.
“We were being entrepreneurs,” Andrew DeMarchis said, “but now I feel a little defeated.”
He’s got a point – shouldn’t we do everything we can to encourage young entrepreneurs? On the other hand, we also need to teach our kids to abide by laws.
What do you think? Was the town councilman being a stickler for the rules or did he do the right thing?
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