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August 19, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Travails of a Vancouver fruit stand

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

Here is why people in business get annoyed at the government. From the Vancouver Sun, Aug 16:

“Vancouver fruit stand too successful, forced to close.”

The story is about Rob Smith, who has a business called Berry Mobile. He sells blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries and other good stuff at several locations in Vancouver, B.C. According to the story, a city inspector responded to a complaint of “improper property use” (I wonder who from) concerning Smith’s stand at Blenheim Street and West 16th Avenue.

A city license inspector determined that Smith was sharing a business license with a corner grocer, and was doing more volume than the grocer was. And that was bad, because—well, I don’t know why it was bad. To me, it’s something the man might be proud of, but to the inspector it was not to be tolerated.

If Smith was going to do that much business at a sidewalk stand, he needed a farmers’ market permit. But he can't have one of those because he’s not a farmer.

He shut down, and not too happy about it. “It’s almost like we’re being penalized for being too successful,” he said.

There was public reaction, and not in praise of the municipal authorities. People liked the fruit stand. They liked the local blueberries, which are in season now, and the raspberries, too. So on Aug. 19 city officials changed their minds.

Good for them. It is usually not a good idea to penalize success.

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