An 11-year-old Oregon girl hoping to help her father pay for her braces by selling mistletoe recently learned a lesson that every small-business owner in the United States understands: Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t highly appreciated by the rulers of a bureaucratic society.
After learning that her orthodontic treatment would cost her father $4,800, Madison Root hatched a plan to chip in and help her family with the bill.
“I felt like I could help my dad with the money,” she told KATU.
So the youngster decided to take to the busy Portland Saturday Market over the weekend to sell neatly packaged mistletoe complete with a red bow to customers getting a jump on holiday shopping.
As she attempted to sell her goods among a crowd complete with buskers, beggars, protesters and the peddlers of various other handicrafts, the girl was approached by a private security guard employed by the market who ordered her to stop. The reason, according to reports, is that the child hadn’t filed the proper paperwork required by city ordinance to sell her products.
“I wouldn’t think I’d have any problems because people are asking for money, people are selling stuff, this is a public place,” Madison told the local news station.
The guard told Madison that she had two options if she wished to raise money for her braces. Either she could move away from the square and the other vendors, or she could simply beg for donations without selling any goods.
The second suggestion in particular didn’t sit well with the young entrepreneur.
“I don’t want to beg! I would rather work for something than beg,” said Madison.
“It’s crazy. People can get money for pot. But I can’t get money for braces. I’m working for this! They’re just sitting down on their butts all day asking for pot.”
According to reports, a spokesman for the market explained that begging was not prohibited because it is considered “a form of free speech, protected under the First Amendment” and exempt from the Portland ordinance that requires a license for display of “goods, or descriptions or depictions of goods or services, with the intent to engage any member of the public in a transaction for the sale of any good or service.”
In a happy twist, orders for her mistletoe have skyrocketed in the days since local media told Madison’s story.