As a boy growing up in Denver, I recall that one of the benefits of big winter storms was the opportunity for me to put a few extra dollars in my pocket by shoveling snow for my neighbors. I would suit up in my two pair of corduroy pants, rubber boots, down jacket and gloves, and go door to door soliciting business. My father, ever the diplomat, was always curious as to why I was so anxious to shovel the neighbor’s walk-way, while neglecting ours. The answer was obvious: the neighbors were paying cash money!
It was hard work! As I think about it, I never charged enough and truthfully, probably never did an outstanding job. It was back breaking work!
Enter, two Bridgewater, New Jersey high school students, who were anxious to take advantage of the incoming storm and make some extra spending money by soliciting their neighbors, offering their snow-shoveling services.
Unbeknownst to these two budding entrepreneurs, local city ordinances required that they have a permit to solicit. Pop! Went the dreams of a new pair of sneakers, or a new sound system for the car. Also “popped,” it seems to me, is the entrepreneurial spirit that Americans are supposed to have and nurture. Rather than stay inside the house, playing video games or watching television, these young men took it upon themselves to take on the back breaking labor some of us are loathe to do, in order to make money for themselves. THAT is how a free market economy is supposed to work. It is only the brilliance of a bureaucrat that would come up with an ordinance that would actually stifle the spontaneity of youthful businessmen.
You can read the entire story here.
Lest I fall prey to the charge of wanting NO regulation, let me say for the record that what I desire is prudent regulation; Two separate things. Are we really suggesting that a world in which neighborhood kids are forbidden to solicit services for grass-cutting, snow-shoveling, babysitting, etc. in order to make a few extra dollars, is a better world? As my grandfather used to say, “Somebody’s got to have some sense!” Certainly, there is a middle ground. Surely, there a common sense answer that allows room for the relatively harmless solicitation depicted in this article. Yes?