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(Yahoo)   Having solved all other problems, city of Houston sues elderly, disabled couple for having too many garage sales   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 65
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3551 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jul 2014 at 5:40 PM (19 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-10 03:23:24 PM  
I swear that these days, politicians make Mob members look respectable
 
2014-07-10 04:05:39 PM  
There has to be more to this story.
 
2014-07-10 05:08:16 PM  
Get on the bus.
 
2014-07-10 05:10:31 PM  

propasaurus: There has to be more to this story.


Probably not.  It's pretty well explained in TFA:

The couple has been hosting the sales on a daily basis to supplement their income. Jorge is blind in both eyes and only gets a meager disability check. According to the city of Houston website, garage sales aren't actually regulated, and there is no "garage sale permit." However, Houston stipulates that "residents are allowed to have only two such sales within a 12-month period. Any more than two and the resident is recognized as having a business and must obtain a sales-tax permit from the state."

Some hick neighbors of a friend of mine used to do this. They would grab salable stuff off Craigslist free listings, or pick up crap that people tossed to the curb on curbside trash pickup day, and then they would have a yard sale every goddamn weekend, filling their yard with a bunch of beat-to-shiat, ugly crap that they were trying to sell (on which they undoubtedly paid no income or business taxes, and definitely did not charge or pay sales tax). It seemed to be their primary source of income, and they were essentially running an unlicensed retail business--a junk shop or thrift store--out of their home, in a residential, non-commercial location.  So every weekend, my friends would have to deal with "customers" coming in and out all day, parking their cars all over the place, hauling shiat in or out, and haggling with the hick neighbors. Apparently someone must've reported them under a similar local statute restricting the number of garage sales a person can have in a year, because after a year or two they suddenly stopped doing it.

And the people in the story apparently were doing this every day, not just on weekends. How would you like it if your neighbors did that? There's a reason that city ordinances restrict the number of garage sales you can have a year--if you want to sell junk for a living, you can buy a retail business location, but you can't turn your home in a residential district into a retail thrift store.
 
2014-07-10 05:42:35 PM  
FTFA : "The couple has been hosting the sales on a daily basis to supplement their income. "

They aren't "hosting too many garage sales", they are running a retail business out of their house.
 
2014-07-10 05:43:42 PM  
Seems reasonable to me. Zoning laws. You can't run a retail business from your home for good reason.
 
2014-07-10 05:43:56 PM  
I've got no sympathy here.  I'm sure their neighbors just looooove living next to a perpetual flea market.
 
2014-07-10 05:44:31 PM  

Jument: Seems reasonable to me. Zoning laws. You can't run a retail business from your home for good reason.



FYI, there are no zoning laws in Houston.
 
2014-07-10 05:46:44 PM  

max_pooper: Jument: Seems reasonable to me. Zoning laws. You can't run a retail business from your home for good reason.


FYI, there are no zoning laws in Houston.


that's true, but still need a license to run a business. This is a second-hand goods store, that's all.
 
2014-07-10 05:47:13 PM  
thecarnivoreproject.typepad.com
 
2014-07-10 05:47:44 PM  

metatronarchetype: I've got no sympathy here.  I'm sure their neighbors just looooove living next to a perpetual flea market.


This.

also, taxes. I expect billion dollar corporate business to pay just like small business.
 
2014-07-10 05:49:05 PM  
They could just get a business license and go legit with it, but that might interfere with their benefits if they make a dollar too much a week or something.
 
2014-07-10 05:49:15 PM  

Geoff Peterson: max_pooper: Jument: Seems reasonable to me. Zoning laws. You can't run a retail business from your home for good reason.


FYI, there are no zoning laws in Houston.

that's true, but still need a license to run a business. This is a second-hand goods store, that's all.


FTA:
[T]he couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business,... However, last week, the city filed suit to shut down their operation. Houston isn't suing the couple directly-they're going after the Ramos' landlord because the sales are a violation of deed restrictions in the community.


Never mess with community deed restrictions.
 
2014-07-10 05:50:43 PM  

Geoff Peterson: max_pooper: Jument: Seems reasonable to me. Zoning laws. You can't run a retail business from your home for good reason.


FYI, there are no zoning laws in Houston.

that's true, but still need a license to run a business. This is a second-hand goods store, that's all.


They did.

"According to the city of Houston website, garage sales aren't actually regulated, and there is no "garage sale permit." However, Houston stipulates that "residents are allowed to have only two such sales within a 12-month period. Any more than two and the resident is recognized as having a business and must obtain a sales-tax permit from the state."

Sure enough, the couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business, reports KROI-FM."
 
2014-07-10 05:52:06 PM  

Lanctwa: FTA:
[T]he couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business,... However, last week, the city filed suit to shut down their operation. Houston isn't suing the couple directly-they're going after the Ramos' landlord because the sales are a violation of deed restrictions in the community.


Listen, motherfarker, citing shiat like that clearly implies that I should be expected to read the article before commenting. That's farking bullshiat and you should be ashamed of yourself for expecting me to be informed on the facts before shooting off my farking mouth.

/farking asshole.
 
2014-07-10 05:52:56 PM  

JuggleGeek: FTFA : "The couple has been hosting the sales on a daily basis to supplement their income. "

They aren't "hosting too many garage sales", they are running a retail business out of their house.


Yeah, this.  There's a few homes near my block that do this, and they attract tweakers like dog shiat attracts flies.  Feel bad for the old folks, but you're actively farking up everyone else's neighborhood in the process.  Get a neighbor to drive you to the swap meet and do it there.  Problem solved.
 
2014-07-10 05:53:09 PM  
Houston is getting weird. I thought Austin was supposed to be weird.
 
2014-07-10 05:53:12 PM  
/also, dont fark with HOAs around here. It's a very bad idea.
 
2014-07-10 05:54:43 PM  

suelswalker: Sure enough, the couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business, reports KROI-FM."


Too bad for them, and super-wonderful for their neighbors, is the fact that they are in violation of their deed restrictions.  Houston may not have zoning, but deed restrictions prevent you from plopping down a flea market in the middle of a subdivision.  Thank goodness.
 
2014-07-10 05:55:48 PM  
However, Houston stipulates that "residents are allowed to have only two such sales within a 12-month period. Any more than two and the resident is recognized as having a business and must obtain a sales-tax permit from the state."


That seems reasonable, and I really doubt the city is going to care if you fudge on counting and have 3 in a year.

These people are running an unlicensed (and un-insured, and most likely non-sales-tax-collecting) business in a residential area. Hell, I wish my city had the balls to actually do that to a local hillbilly who runs 365 separate yard sales a year, complete with auto parts and furniture salvaged from stuff left on the curb.
 
2014-07-10 05:56:30 PM  
The couple has been hosting the sales on a daily basis to supplement their income. Jorge is blind in both eyes and only gets a meager disability check. According to the city of Houston website, garage sales aren't actually regulated, and there is no "garage sale permit." However, Houston stipulates that "residents are allowed to have only two such sales within a 12-month period. Any more than two and the resident is recognized as having a business and must obtain a sales-tax permit from the state."

/Nice, so not only is the poor guy blind, and gets a pittance for a disability check, now you are going to force the landlord to boot them out into the street. What's next? Shutting down lemonade stands run by kids? The poor people even got a license, but you weren't happy, and sued them for a zoning law, even though others were holding garage sales as well. My guess is, someone isn't being elected again any time soon. Way to stay classy.
 
2014-07-10 05:56:38 PM  

Geoff Peterson: max_pooper: Jument: Seems reasonable to me. Zoning laws. You can't run a retail business from your home for good reason.


FYI, there are no zoning laws in Houston.

that's true, but still need a license to run a business. This is a second-hand goods store, that's all.


You do not need a license from the Houston to run a second hand goods store(alcohol sales does require on though).

You do need a general business license from the state and if the already have a tax license, so they probably already have the state license.
 
2014-07-10 05:56:57 PM  
hah - what's really funny is Houston used to pride itself on not having any zoning laws - well very few zoning laws....then they started zoning SOBs (Sexually Oriented Businesses - like strip clubs and massage parlors) because they were opening up right and left.  I blame the GOP convention in '92  That's when they ran all the hookers off the streets except in the really shiatty neighborhoods.

So now they don't want a blind man to sell shiat out of his garage because that's the only way he can make a living.
 
2014-07-10 05:57:30 PM  

Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: However, Houston stipulates that "residents are allowed to have only two such sales within a 12-month period. Any more than two and the resident is recognized as having a business and must obtain a sales-tax permit from the state."


That seems reasonable, and I really doubt the city is going to care if you fudge on counting and have 3 in a year.

These people are running an unlicensed (and un-insured, and most likely non-sales-tax-collecting) business in a residential area. Hell, I wish my city had the balls to actually do that to a local hillbilly who runs 365 separate yard sales a year, complete with auto parts and furniture salvaged from stuff left on the curb.


The article said they already have a sales tax permit.
 
2014-07-10 05:58:30 PM  

Geoff Peterson: Lanctwa: FTA:
[T]he couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business,... However, last week, the city filed suit to shut down their operation. Houston isn't suing the couple directly-they're going after the Ramos' landlord because the sales are a violation of deed restrictions in the community.

Listen, motherfarker, citing shiat like that clearly implies that I should be expected to read the article before commenting. That's farking bullshiat and you should be ashamed of yourself for expecting me to be informed on the facts before shooting off my farking mouth.

/farking asshole.


www.thesmartlocal.com
 
2014-07-10 05:59:07 PM  

Geoff Peterson: Lanctwa: FTA:
[T]he couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business,... However, last week, the city filed suit to shut down their operation. Houston isn't suing the couple directly-they're going after the Ramos' landlord because the sales are a violation of deed restrictions in the community.

Listen, motherfarker, citing shiat like that clearly implies that I should be expected to read the article before commenting. That's farking bullshiat and you should be ashamed of yourself for expecting me to be informed on the facts before shooting off my farking mouth.

/farking asshole.


/pats you on the back gently, hands you a beer. Why should you be any different than 90 percent of the posters here?
 
2014-07-10 06:00:41 PM  

Bit'O'Gristle: What's next? Shutting down lemonade stands run by kids?


"Next"??
 
2014-07-10 06:02:40 PM  

JuggleGeek: FTFA : "The couple has been hosting the sales on a daily basis to supplement their income. "

They aren't "hosting too many garage sales", they are running a retail business out of their house.


There are a couple of these around where I live.  It's pretty tiresome, and gets to be an eyesore even in a neighborhood where people are generally very tolerant of what goes on in someone else's house and yard (i.e., weird paint colors, highly imaginative yard art, front-yard vegetable gardens, wide variances in mowing, weeding, and watering practice, etc.).  It's one thing to have a yard sale.  It's another thing to run an open-air junk shop, which is what it sounds like in the article.
 
2014-07-10 06:05:10 PM  

Geoff Peterson: Lanctwa: FTA:
[T]he couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business,... However, last week, the city filed suit to shut down their operation. Houston isn't suing the couple directly-they're going after the Ramos' landlord because the sales are a violation of deed restrictions in the community.

Listen, motherfarker, citing shiat like that clearly implies that I should be expected to read the article before commenting. That's farking bullshiat and you should be ashamed of yourself for expecting me to be informed on the facts before shooting off my farking mouth.

/farking asshole.


You tell 'em. How are we supposed to be perfect armchair quarterbacks if they sneak facts into the article?

I vote for censure.
 
2014-07-10 06:05:50 PM  
maybe this is why Texas doesn't do much regulating, cause when they do, they absolutely suck at it.
 
2014-07-10 06:06:18 PM  

metatronarchetype: suelswalker: Sure enough, the couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business, reports KROI-FM."

Too bad for them, and super-wonderful for their neighbors, is the fact that they are in violation of their deed restrictions.  Houston may not have zoning, but deed restrictions prevent you from plopping down a flea market in the middle of a subdivision.  Thank goodness.


yeah, next hing you know someone might open a barber shop, a bar, or a grocery store in neighboring houses.

that would be chaos.
CHAOS!
 
2014-07-10 06:06:27 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: Bit'O'Gristle: What's next? Shutting down lemonade stands run by kids?

"Next"??


Wait till a SWAT team murders a kid while shutting down one of these stands.
 
2014-07-10 06:07:22 PM  
Ohhh and yet I'm the dummy who chose to live in an HOA. This is why, well one of many reasons why.
 
2014-07-10 06:07:58 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: Bit'O'Gristle: What's next? Shutting down lemonade stands run by kids?

"Next"??


The girls needed a business license, peddler's permit and food permit to operate, even on residential property. The permits cost $50 a day or $180 per year.

Wow, really? What kind of a douchebag cop asshole jack booted storm trooper would even bother stopping to talk to them? That cop deserves a special place in the annuls of assholedom. And this is the opinion of a retired cop.  What ..a...dick.
 
2014-07-10 06:09:22 PM  
Why can't old people just have the good grace to up an die. Just get in the box already and go.
 
2014-07-10 06:11:07 PM  
You have the right to make a living.  This is exactly the type of thing a person should be doing if it is all they are able to do.  If there are people willing to buy, damn right these people should be trying to sell!  If they are following the law (and business licence laws are bullshiat, everyone who makes an income is a business - it's about time we start realizing this) and not directly harming anyone, more power to them.
 
2014-07-10 06:14:46 PM  

Butterhorn Swirl: You have the right to make a living.  This is exactly the type of thing a person should be doing if it is all they are able to do.  If there are people willing to buy, damn right these people should be trying to sell!  If they are following the law (and business licence laws are bullshiat, everyone who makes an income is a business - it's about time we start realizing this) and not directly harming anyone, more power to them.


/its much like the gambling laws. It's not that the politicians have a moral objection to gambling for money, they just want their cut.  Same with anything they can think of to slap on a tax, a fee, or a license.  It's all about them getting their cut, for the pork barrel buffet.
 
2014-07-10 06:15:01 PM  
In my area I think you are limited to two garage sales permits a year.  I used to go to a lot of garage sales and I saw some shifty things.  One time I saw what looked like the contents of a Walgreens truck for sale in a yard sale.  New drugstore makeup, kid's plastic toys still in packaging.  I think the stuff was stolen.
 
2014-07-10 06:15:37 PM  

Butterhorn Swirl: You have the right to make a living.  This is exactly the type of thing a person should be doing if it is all they are able to do.  If there are people willing to buy, damn right these people should be trying to sell!  If they are following the law (and business licence laws are bullshiat, everyone who makes an income is a business - it's about time we start realizing this) and not directly harming anyone, more power to them.


Citizens would throw a fit if all the people who office out of their homes had to comply with existing business laws.
 
2014-07-10 06:19:17 PM  
Wow this just makes me want to puke in the faces of the ones suing them. I mean is there really nothing more pressing going on at all in their entire jurisdiction that they have to pull crap like this? This legal system needs a complete overhaul, mainly clauses which allow for the use of common sense and decency in situations like this rather than sticking to the black and white of the god knows how old rules.
 
2014-07-10 06:24:00 PM  
I used to do a lot of garage sales and the guys with frequent sales of the same crap made it hard to find the new shiat.
 
2014-07-10 06:27:10 PM  

Isitoveryet: maybe this is why Texas doesn't do much regulating, cause when they do, they absolutely suck at it.


This is Texas, shouldn't they just execute them ?
 
2014-07-10 06:27:17 PM  

Geoff Peterson: Lanctwa: FTA:
[T]he couple got a permit from the state of Texas allowing them to run a home business,... However, last week, the city filed suit to shut down their operation. Houston isn't suing the couple directly-they're going after the Ramos' landlord because the sales are a violation of deed restrictions in the community.

Listen, motherfarker, citing shiat like that clearly implies that I should be expected to read the article before commenting. That's farking bullshiat and you should be ashamed of yourself for expecting me to be informed on the facts before shooting off my farking mouth.

/farking asshole.


I LIKE this comment.  This is what keeps me coming back to Fark.  Thank you.  It made my day.

///you should get an honorary PhD from Fark, if you don't have one
 
2014-07-10 06:28:27 PM  

Bit'O'Gristle: Shutting down lemonade stands run by kids?


That happens. There's a reason lemonade stands aren't all that common a sight anymore.
 
2014-07-10 06:28:51 PM  
Had a nice old couple who did this kind of thing when I went to college; he was about 90 and so his retired son ran the "yard sale" to add a little to their Social Security.  They'd been doing it for about 20 years at that point, and the city just kind of gave up and let him be as long as he didn't advertise.  It was all decent condition used furniture - chairs, tables etc that students bought to furnish their meager apartments, then would bring back at the end of the year if it was in good shape so he could sell it again.  He also had a little homemade book of typewritten "doggerel" (as he called it) for $1.  Small college town, all word-of-mouth, early 1980s, I think if the city tried anything strongarm, they would've had a riot on their hands.  Good times.
 
2014-07-10 06:29:30 PM  

Dirty J1: Wow this just makes me want to puke in the faces of the ones suing them. I mean is there really nothing more pressing going on at all in their entire jurisdiction that they have to pull crap like this? This legal system needs a complete overhaul, mainly clauses which allow for the use of common sense and decency in situations like this rather than sticking to the black and white of the god knows how old rules.


As we all know, city authorities can only sue one target at a time. All speeding tickets, murder investigations, and road construction are on hold until this is sorted out, as is the prosecution of some other permanent "garage sale" across town that's fouling up residential traffic and waking up the neighbors at 5 AM every day.

Sarcasm aside, I do sympathize with these people - disability assistance is damn near "cat food and ramen" level, and I can understand wanting a little extra income. But I also sympathize with their neighbors not wanting to live next to a thrift shop in a residential area.
 
2014-07-10 06:37:29 PM  

Archfeld: Isitoveryet: maybe this is why Texas doesn't do much regulating, cause when they do, they absolutely suck at it.

This is Texas, shouldn't they just execute them ?


hah!

just blame the whole thing on Obama, cut some taxes, request federal aid & then execute the elderly disabled couple.
 
2014-07-10 06:44:28 PM  

Cyberluddite: propasaurus: There has to be more to this story.

Probably not.  It's pretty well explained in TFA:

The couple has been hosting the sales on a daily basis to supplement their income. Jorge is blind in both eyes and only gets a meager disability check. According to the city of Houston website, garage sales aren't actually regulated, and there is no "garage sale permit." However, Houston stipulates that "residents are allowed to have only two such sales within a 12-month period. Any more than two and the resident is recognized as having a business and must obtain a sales-tax permit from the state."

Some hick neighbors of a friend of mine used to do this. They would grab salable stuff off Craigslist free listings, or pick up crap that people tossed to the curb on curbside trash pickup day, and then they would have a yard sale every goddamn weekend, filling their yard with a bunch of beat-to-shiat, ugly crap that they were trying to sell (on which they undoubtedly paid no income or business taxes, and definitely did not charge or pay sales tax). It seemed to be their primary source of income, and they were essentially running an unlicensed retail business--a junk shop or thrift store--out of their home, in a residential, non-commercial location.  So every weekend, my friends would have to deal with "customers" coming in and out all day, parking their cars all over the place, hauling shiat in or out, and haggling with the hick neighbors. Apparently someone must've reported them under a similar local statute restricting the number of garage sales a person can have in a year, because after a year or two they suddenly stopped doing it.

And the people in the story apparently were doing this every day, not just on weekends. How would you like it if your neighbors did that? There's a reason that city ordinances restrict the number of garage sales you can have a year--if you want to sell junk for a living, you can buy a retail business location, but you can't turn your home ...


Had a jerk like that in my neighborhood, but he went a step further. Besides the truckloads of crap in his front yard, he had set up a restaurant in his back yard. He was so bold that he would plaster surrounding neighborhoods with fliers advertising his home restaurant. I mailed one of the fliers, which was written in Spanish, to the county health department. Within a couple of weeks the health department paid him a visit and he was cited for, I guess, selling food prepared in an kitchen that has not been inspected and certified.by the health department. Not too long after his encounter with the health department, the county laid restrictions on yard sales. Residents can have only one yard sale every six months.

County code enforcement paid him a visit after vermin started to nest in his junk. Other neighbors were pisses off too because not only was his front yard an eye sore, it was driving property values down. He cleaned out all the junk and the house actually looked respectable again.

Thinking that he had learned his lesson and he was well on his way to being a good neighbor, he sets up the restaurant again in his back yard. He made sure that no tables were set up and no signs were out before 6pm. I figure that he was thinking that all county employees clock out at 5pm and no laws are enforced. All it took was a quick call to the health department and within a couple of days, several inspectors waited until people to show up and then they made another inspection. This time he was lead away in handcuffs. Not only was he selling food illegally out of his house, he was selling liqueur without a liqueur license. He was sentenced to jail and as soon as he got out, ICE agents were waiting for him.

Audios amigo!
 
2014-07-10 06:45:54 PM  
"That's a good deal on that book. OK, $5."

4.bp.blogspot.com
 
2014-07-10 06:49:07 PM  
Having just had my first (and last) garage sale, I don't know how these people do it.

If the elderly couple in TFA stop selling, I hope they're able to find a way to supplement their income. Can someone get a kickstarter going for them?
 
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