At first blush, this item would seem like another in the long line of municipal governments or associations doing stupid things, like telling war veterans not to fly their national flag or shutting down kids' lemonade stands.
Because that is exactly what FOUR code enforcement officers did recently in the Tower Hamlets area in London, raiding a lemonade stand being run by a university professor and his five-year-old daughter. The desperadoes committed the ultimate offense in modern life -- they did something without getting a permit. The squad of officers saved Tower Hamlets from certain anarchy by ordering the stand shut down and fined the miscreants £150, but helpfully noted that the amount would be only £90 if "paid quickly." This being London instead of Chicago, that was probably the truth rather than an attempt at a shakedown. In any event, the little girl was in tears and sounds quite distraught based on the account given by her father.
A modicum of sense prevailed at the town offices, however, which immediately canceled the fine when learning of it and promised to call the professor and his daughter to apologize for their treatment. "We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen," the spokeswoman said.
It's hard not to love the British gift for understatement. One would think -- if one thought -- that the proper thing to do when confronting a child's lemonade stand is to go on about one's business. If one lived in a city that for some reason included children's lemonade stands as a fit subject of governmental regulation and could not leave said city before the screen door of the house slammed shut, then one would perhaps buy a cup of lemonade from the youngster and quietly let Dad know that she shouldn't do it again because of the city ordinances.
If for some reason one's neurons have refused to engage enough to present these very simple ideas, then one would think that the sight of the five-year-old child's tearful face would clue one in that one had been dumber than a microcephalic brontosaurus and should figure out a way to redeem this utter embarrassment of a situation. But no evidence presented suggests that these FOUR men can cobble together enough functioning gray matter to realize these things, and so they will now be mocked and belittled.
It's possible that the FOUR code enforcement officers involved might believe that their employers have thrown them under the double-decker bus. But that's not the case, gentlemen. No one had to throw you -- you pretty much dove right underneath it all on your own and you have earned every bit of snide and derision thrown your way.