Popcorn Without A Permit: Hardware Store Forced To Unplug Popcorn Machine

Eric Scheiner | May 17, 2018

The state stops the pop.

A La Jolla, California hardware store has been forced to remove their popcorn machine they say was used to treat to customers for free over the last 25 years.

KGTV reports that Meanley and Son Hardware was investigated for serving free popcorn without a permit.


"Everybody has had fun with this until now, but we have to obey the law," said co-owner Bob Meanley.

One of the store's owners says the inspection happened after someone complained.

A customer reportedly saw another person reach into the popcorn machine barehanded.


In the report, the inspector said the small Gold Medal brand popcorn maker was seen in use and (gasp) with “popped popcorn prepared.”

The health department says the hardware store will need to install three sinks and go through the permitting process if it is to offer free popcorn again.

The San-Diego Union Tribune reports that the county Department of Environmental Health, “has a long tradition of cracking down on these scofflaws.”

“Three years ago, inspectors cited Encinitas’ Crown Ace Hardware and San Carlos True Value Hardware.

“The Health Department came in,” said San Carlos True Value manager Danielle Matheny, “and told us if we wanted to continue giving away free popcorn and coffee we’d have to install a bigger vent system, a bigger and better sink in the break room — a lot of rules and restrictions they put on us.”