What Does the Government Say:  Ice Cream Truck Drivers– Solicitors or Vendors?

ice cream truckSo what’s in a name?  Everything!

During every vending season, ice cream truck drivers get run out of neighborhoods by, sometimes, overzealous neighborhood watchdogs enforcing the “No Soliciting” signage.  So the question is, are ice cream truck drivers solicitors or vendors and why does it matter anyway?  It matters because the government says so.

The United States Department of Labor cares about work titles.  It is under these titles that rights and regulations are formed.  According to The Department of Labor, and the office of Administrative Law Judges, in the Dictionary of Occupational Definitions, job titles and descriptions have been defined in order to “Assist…with the most current and accurate occupational information possible.”  (The United State’s Secretary of Labor)

The United States Department of Labor defines and differentiates vending and soliciting as follows:

Section 291.451-018 …VENDORS (DOL Definitions Page)

“Sells merchandise, such as fruit, vegetables, flowers, or ice cream, on streets or from door to door, usually using basket, pushcart, or truck to carry products. May attract attention by playing chimes or chanting song. May be designated according to product sold as Ice-Cream Vendor (retail trade); Vegetable Vendor (retail trade).”

Section 293 SOLICITORS:

“This group includes occupations concerned with encouraging individuals to join, contribute to, or otherwise participate in activities or causes, such as joining clubs or organizations, contributing money or time to charitable causes, or donating blood.”


So a name, or in this case, a job title, does matter.  More importantly, it matters to The United State’s Department of Labor– The Federal Government.  The ice cream vendor is within their legal right to vend up and down residential, PUBLIC right-of-ways even if “no soliciting” signs are displayed.  Now that we have clarified the discussion, lets all have a wonderful summer because soon enough it will be winter again!