Something to get off my chest
November 27, 2009 11:07 AM   Subscribe

If I strap a suitcase to my chest so that it's open, almost like one of those trays that an old-style 'cigarette girl' has, and walk on the street downtown, selling little odds and ends, is it legal?

I wouldn't be selling cigarettes, maybe little handmade zines, candy, quirky items that you might find on Etsy. I ask this because in my head, this is kind of a grey area, legally.

I have googled garage sales, and in some places they want you to tell the city that you're going to have one, but in other places they don't care, or the law goes unenforced. But then the other day I passed these tables on the sidewalk downtown and the people there were looking for donations and signatures to shut down puppy mills and cruelty to animals. I asked them how it was they were just on the street outside this major dept. store and they told me that they had to apply to the city for a permit. Which leads me to think that I would need a vendor's permit too.

But then I think about the people who sell stuff on Craigslist, then meet in some parking lot to do the trade. Technically they are selling something too.

I guess what I am asking is, is it okay to sell stuff off your chest on the sidewalk if you are just walking along with the wares displayed on your chest-tray? Has anyone heard of such a thing before?
posted by Sully to Shopping (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You probably need a peddler's license.
posted by The Deej at 11:09 AM on November 27, 2009

Oh that sounds right - thanks!
posted by Sully at 11:18 AM on November 27, 2009

As you yourself note, it depends on where you are.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:26 AM on November 27, 2009

It really, really depends on where you are. Some places, no license is required. Some places, it's nearly impossible to get permission. Where are you?
posted by decathecting at 11:29 AM on November 27, 2009

Montreal, CANADA.
posted by Sully at 12:00 PM on November 27, 2009

A brief google suggests they might also be called hawkers' licenses in many commonwealth countries, not to be confused with the licenses you can get from Quebec to hunt small animals with birds of prey. Looks like most permits are dealt with at the borough level in Montreal. Again, more information is needed about where you are.
posted by hattifattener at 12:31 PM on November 27, 2009

My understanding is that Montreal doesn't allow ANY roaming street vending and very little fixed vending except for a few specific locations (certain spots on Ste-Catherine like Phillips Square, tam-tams, etc.).
posted by furtive at 2:30 PM on November 27, 2009

2002 Montreal Mirror includes this quote:
Montreal’s draconian ban on street commerce was maintained with an iron fist throughout the Drapeau era as sidewalk sales of everything from jewellery to newspaper boxes was emphatically policed.

And seems to imply those rules were never let up.
posted by furtive at 2:35 PM on November 27, 2009

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