Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"what fresh hell is this?": the Kentucky egg license

From Warren Meyer at (hat tip: Craig Ladwig)...

After running my own small business for 10 years, I tend to react to any piece of mail with a government return address much like Dorothy Parker did to a ringing phone: What fresh hell is this?

I run a company that conducts business in 12 states and more than 30 counties. This means that I have file cabinets full of government registrations...So I am conditioned to some fairly high base level of government hassle.

Its seems, though, that I can still be surprised. A while back an employee of mine who manages a campground in Kentucky called me breathlessly to say that an inspector was in our small camp store accusing us of being out of every experienced small business person will confirm, it is impossible to be totally in compliance....

So with calm based on long experience, I asked her in what way we were allegedly out of compliance. It turns out that we had no state egg license. Really. Understand, we don't have any chickens. We have a small camp store where we sell cartons of eggs from a recognized local supplier. We probably sell about three dozen eggs a week.

Well after a half day of research, I found that the only requirement to get an egg license was to fill out our name and address and mail it to the state with $10....The process appears to be a self-sustaining fiefdom, with licensing fees that serve only to pay for inspectors, whose only job is to make sure the licensing fees have been paid.

The Kentucky egg license is, in the words of Douglas Adams, "mostly harmless." By costing me only a half day of productivity, it is actually among the least objectionable government irritants that come over my transom.


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