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Sainsbury’s isn’t selling fireworks this year – is it the right call?

Sainsbury’s has become the first major supermarket to stop selling fireworks, but do you agree with its decision? And will other supermarkets follow suit?

03/11/2020: Update

Sainsbury’s has confirmed its decision not to sell fireworks will extend to this year:

With many Bonfire Night events called off due to the pandemic this year, it’s likely that most of the fireworks we do see and hear this Thursday will be back garden displays.

Do you support Sainsbury’s continued decision not to stock them? Should other supermarkets follow their lead?

01/11/2019: Sainsbury’s stops selling fireworks

As Bonfire Night approaches the debate over whether fireworks should continue to be sold to the general public will always resurface. It’s one I’ve written about before here on Which? Conversation.

When we posted about the subject on Facebook back in 2016 it sparked a huge debate around the responsible use and sale of them.

Last year, a petition to ban them ended up attracting more than 300,000 signatures. This is, without question, a topic that people feel very strongly about.

Sainsbury’s stops selling fireworks

This year’s debate has taken a further twist, with Sainsbury’s becoming the first major supermarket to stop selling them completely.

It hasn’t said exactly why the decision has been taken, but did tell the BBC that the information was commercially sensitive.

In that case, perhaps it’s a cost-related decision rather than one down to campaigning pressure. But whatever the reason, those who want to see them banned have been expressing their support for the supermarket’s decision.

Regardless of the reasons behind the move, do you support Sainsbury’s decision to stop selling fireworks?

Last year we discussed whether back garden bonfire and fireworks events were safe enough.

Kate pointed out that while there are no specific bonfire bans in the UK, there are some restrictions that people should definitely be aware of.

This includes the fact that you could be fined if you allow smoke to drift across a road and become a danger to traffic.

Experiences with bonfires and fireworks

Do you think back garden displays are safe? Speaking from experience, I have my doubts. When I was around four years old, my family attended a display in a friend’s back garden.

After a rocket was lit, it became dislodged at the last possible moment and came hurtling towards me and my dad. I have his quick reactions and a very thick leather jacket to thank for not being seriously injured – he was able to shield me from it just in time.

Fortunately I was ok, if a little shaken, especially after seeing the huge hole burnt through the leather. If you are having a display this year please do be as careful as possible, especially if there are children around.

Have you ever had any similar experiences to mine? Do you want to see the sale of fireworks banned in the UK? Should they be limited to officially organised events only?

Every year the calls seem to get louder – perhaps it’s just a matter of time?

How do you feel about Sainsbury's not selling fireworks this year?

It's a good decision (97%, 4,560 Votes)

It's a bad decision (2%, 113 Votes)

Other (Tell us why in the comments) (0%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 4,692

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It is all fault advertising campaign. It’s saving money for the company. To cut staffing hours and not having a specific unit out the back just for fireworks.

I think that common fireworks it’s waste of money. I can understand why people buying fireworks. It’s spectacularly. But not many of people think about pollution that firework make after blowing up. Prople, just think about nature. We need to be close to her. With her.

I totally agree Wilh5080!

Last night I couldn’t believe what I witnessed on my street. Some lads were using fireworks as some form of ammunition, pointing them in the road causing cars to swerve and emergency stop. It was ridiculous and frightening. Thankfully, it was over really quickly and that no one was injured.
I think organised events are great. This is where you get to appreciate and enjoy them at their best and safely.

Mr David E Amphlett says:
6 April 2020

I think they are a complete waste of good money. All that money going up in smoke could have been put to better uses.

I think it is a waste of money that could be put to better use. Think of all the animals that get traumatised

fireworks are a disgrace, I feel that in this day and age only organised events should be allowed. They terrify The Elderly, Pets and Wildlife! And why are we celebrating a failed attempt to overthrow the Government after all these years anyway??

graham says:
4 November 2020

spot on there.totally agree

Fireworks are an abomination. They are dangerous in the wrong hands, they are hideously noisy and intrusive. They terrify animals, small children and the vulnerable and elderly in particular. They are a pollutant in every sense. They are misused by some to terrify and frighten others so why are they tolerated?

Bonfire night is exciting for the little ones. It is part of the perpetual calendar which includes birthdays, Christmas, Easter Eggs and Halloween among other things. They, of course, look upon these things as treats and don’t draw the inferences than adults do. Thus burning Guy Fawkes has no horror, and the Easter Egg story has little to do with the religious “festival” that marks the event. The family gathering in the garden, for those that had one, was domestic and controlled and the bonfire a warm centre on a chilly evening. However, life moves on. Bonfires are not allowed in most domestic settings, fireworks are seen as dangerous out of the controlled event environment, and, indeed we are much more aware of the pollutant problem that is caused. Fireworks were always expensive and over too soon, and the fire brigade were kept busy, but somehow that was the balance that was accepted. The enjoyment of the little ones is now, probably less important than other considerations, though I hope an odd sparkler would not be frowned upon. The world has grown up and fireworks need to grow up with it. I therefore support the lack of sales outlets for domestic use and Sainsbury for leading the way. The expense of the New Year bash is money that could be spent in a better way, but the world would be a duller place without some celebration. This year firework night should be cancelled for heath reasons. In future years it should be firework night and not Guy Fawkes night. Sinner though he was, his incineration is a shame on our society and its brutal past.

Pete says:
3 November 2020

Maybe a curfew after all it gets dark around 5

Gill Ludlam says:
3 November 2020

Definitely the right thing to do, in my opinion. I have never liked fireworks and as a child would become hysterical and hide under the table with the terrified dog and with my fingers in my ears.

Mike P says:
4 November 2020

An excellent decision!

albert Greenway says:
4 November 2020

As we are of the older generation my wife and i feel as though fireworks should only be used in an official displays

Unfortunately the younger.generations( or some of them ) seem to want to cause distress to us by throwing bangers or similar, even worse when pets are nearby

The retailers don’t give a hoot whom they sell too

Marnie Mailey says:
4 November 2020

I appreciate Sainsbury’s doing this for what ever reason they had. Fireworks effect so many animals (pets and wildlife a like).

Bonfire Night on or near 5th November with a fairly modest selection of (small) fireworks – a 5/- box of Standard fireworks was a good display – was an enjoyable evening for children and adults when I was young (and with our children), with hot cocoa and jacket potatoes and home made toffee. A shame, I think, that some want to prevent this kind of enjoyment. They are entitled, of course, to opt out themselves but not to impose their wishes on others. But, I would like to see home fireworks limited to either November 5th and the Saturday following, and the size of fireworks restricted.

As far as Sainsburys are concerned they can sell what they like. I would be more impressed with their attitude if they, for example, abolished unnecessary plastics packaging around the stuff they sell everyday.

They are entitled, of course, to opt out themselves but not to impose their wishes on others.

I think one argument being made is that users of fireworks that detonate loudly are imposing their wishes on others. We don’t see or hear any up here, but as a child I well remember we started hearing them from early September and it was fairly terrifying to the nervous.

In my view the best option is to encourage people to go to public displays rather than use fireworks in built-up areas.

I assumed that this would be a good year for those who are not keen on fireworks, but with public displays cancelled, people may hold them in their gardens and most modern homes have small gardens. Of course there are many who don’t have a garden.

We think it is a bad decision. For those worried about large gatherings, then wear your masks and maintain social distancing, but just try to enjoy something with other people for a change. If you do have real concerns and/or health issues, then how about a small home fireworks display in your garden to share with your children?

Last night was strangely quiet, but in my area, you would have thought firework night was the 4th November as they were going almost non-stop from dusk until quite late although we had them Saturday and Sunday also.

It is the animals I feel sorry for. Neighbours with 2 horses told me years ago it cost them £60 to sedate each horse that needed doing twice when the 5th didn’t fall on a Saturday.

It was quiet here but I spoke to a friend whose dog was upset by the noise, though the other dog was not affected. Another said that the rabbits were suffering.

I forgot all about bonfire night last night. It isn’t really a thing here as much and fireworks are harder to get here.

We have a new puppy and she dealt with Halloween fireworks very well. I hope it continues. 🙂

If we are out of lockdown by then, I think New Year’s Eve will be highly explosive. I think we shall have to take the dog out into the country to avoid the racket and the commotion. He was disturbed last night and kept jumping up and barking at every outdoor sound [before they registered with us].

I wouldn’t wish to ban fireworks but feel that further moderation is justified to restrict the prolongation of the whole thing from last Saturday to Sunday next. The rockets and shells seem to have been toned down a bit this year; have new limits been introduced, or have they just become too expensive?

sheila says:
29 December 2020

Fed up with fireworks? Join the biggest UK firework petition and make your feelings known
#fireworkpetition and #fireworksenoughisenough https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/319891
petition is still open until 21st Jan. Please share everywhere!