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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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SARAH says:
3 November 2019

For the safety of the public, to help keep vulnerable adults safe, for all wildlife, for all domestic pets – the public have repeatedly called for the ban of sale of fireworks to the public.
Unfortunately we live in a society of increasing anti social behaviour and all too often these ‘explosives’ end up in the wrong hands causing complete distress within communities.
This shouldn’t be a discussion it should’ve been banned years and years ago.
Congrats Sainsbury for having the balls to say NO! ! I hope others follow swiftly.
I’m sure it will also go in some way to help relieve the stress on hospital A&E departments too

Congrats Sainsbury you have stood up for the greater good here. Too many animals die every year either through fright, by being too close to the let off site (wildlife) or by psychopaths attaching them to family pets for “fun”. Fireworks should not be in the hands of joe public you should have a licence and be a reputable organisation to buy and let off fireworks in an organised event, and if at all possible these should be the silent ones . Hopefully more supermarkets will follow suit but I think greed will always win with some outlets.
Well done Sainsbury you have the public behind you.

Helen northall says:
4 November 2019

They should be banned or just used in professional displays n banned from the public to buy .they are dangerous in the wrong hands which has already happened in knowle someone in car shooting rockets out of it not good!

Carol Bannerman says:
4 November 2019

Well done Sainsbury’s. Need all other retailers to do the same. In fact they should not be on sale to the general public at all. Organised displays only AND only on 5th November. I speak as someone who has rescue cats and dogs who suffer greatly when random fireworks go off over a 2 week period, then again at Christmas and New Year. Wildlife suffer too and vulnerable people. The quieter ones also need to replace the loud ones

The effect on pet dogs seems to figure largely in these comments. I wonder whether those owners of dogs that bark and yap, disturbing and annoying their neighbours, would vote for such pets to be banned as well?

I agree that dogs that are allowed to disturb neighbours, often day and night, are a confounded nuisance, but this is in almost all cases the fault of owners. Almost all dogs can be trained not to bark without cause, I trained dogs for many years and found that it was the owner that needed training in most cases.
Living near forest land I find that fireworks can cause unreasoned panic in wildlife, which has resulted in road accidents. Injuries to private users, and fires the caused by fireworks stretches the emergency services.
Organised displays are safer, better organised and a far better spectacle.

Perhaps we could have a Convo on everything we would like to ban. Lets get things out in the open and out of our systems.

Amanda Murray says:
4 November 2019

It’s about time that Government, local authority and retailers do the right thing. Fireworks are explosives, they shouldn’t be readily available for the general public to buy over the counter. They are dangerous and should be controlled properly. I’d support a similar position to that of Northern Ireland where a license needs to be granted for an organised display or event.

Sharron Roe says:
4 November 2019

I don’t usually shop at Sainsbury’s as I have 3 other major supermarkets close by, but last week I drove miles away to the nearest Sainsbury’s to do my weekly shop to show my appreciation for them not selling to the public.. I have a GSD who is terrified of the loud bangs..
I don’t think fireworks should be banned, nor do I think that the shops should stop selling them to the public… it would be impossible to make it law to not have them except on bonfire night, and let’s face it, they’re used to celebrate lots of occasions these days…..it’s down to the manufacturers making them with such loud bangs.. in built up areas it sounds like a war zone..they’re not just terrifying to animals, lots of children and the elderly are disturbed by the noise too.. make them quieter please.. it is easier to prosecute manufacturers who make loud explosive ones, than it would be to prosecute stores for selling to imbeciles, or the imbeciles who misuse them..

It is a shame the supermarket had to do this, government should have. As I saw yobs hurling fireworks around the streets of Peckham this year and saw a house catch fire from an informal bonfire party a couple of years ago I favour a ban on sales of fireworks to the public and private bonfire parties. I used to work on a burns unit and saw horrendous burns that children suffered from misadventure related to bonfire night.

Best news there has been this year. The fuse was not lit to blow up parliament so why do we blast fireworks in the air to celebrate it. ( mind you with this Brexit carry on perhaps it should be) Too many of our pets and wild animals and birds are scared at this time of year when they can be trying to hibernate etc. and get wakened up. Birds scared from their roosts and then we come to the amount of people that are injured and property damaged. Well done Sainsburys I for one am very pleased with this choice you have have made and hope you will do the same next year.

What people are celebrating, Gwen, is the thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot and the arrest of Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators. Í agree it does not have to be so noisy and troublesome, and until a few years ago it wasn’t – there was a general sense of discipline around the annual event. Now it is legalised mayhem.

I suspect the profit that Sainsbury’s have lost through not selling fireworks has been more than compensated for by the money they have made through selling the most appalling Hallowe’en tat at silly prices.

thwarting of the Gunpowder Plot” ?? I suspect most people having these celebrations are wishing the plot had succeeded 🙁

Others think it did and that Parliament has been well and truly sabotaged.

Joanne Shrimpton says:
4 November 2019

I think it’s fantastic, family pets suffer, the wildlife suffer because of fireworks. The environment suffers, children have been badly burnt, if people want fireworks it should be displays only for one night not for them to be banging night after night, I hate this time of year

I think most of the commenters have missed the point i was trying to make,November 5th has been celebrated in this country for hundreds of years,it is false to say that in the past it only happened on the one day,I am in my late fifties and when i was a kid in the sixties and early,seventies you could buy fireworks for weeks before the date and we did and threw them all over the place,bangers,jumping jacks,aerial bombs,helicopters etc,we also had caps and torpedoes all year round,and there were whole generations of older people who had been through two world wars.They did not complain about the noise and problem with there pets etc,they joined in, because living in a society with its traditions is what society is all about.Fireworks are used by many societies globally to celebrate events,and in a more noisy and violent way than the uk,e.g. China, India,Spain.Its about living in a society and the traditions that go with it is the point I am trying to make,Remember when the government tried and did ban ‘free rave parties’ by saying that repetitive beats are ‘bad’ just because they felt they could not control it in licensed clubs.Using your choice to have a pet as a reason to ban everyone else’s traditions is just totally selfish

Hannah Cook says:
5 November 2019

Totally and utterly agree Frank. At last some common sense. We have two dogs, guinea Pigs etc. Our family love everything about fireworks including our small children. I feel there is a lot of selfish attitudes now in a very controlling and dictatorial way. There is also a tendency for totally exaggeration when it comes to something they don’t like or it offends them in any way.
There are also so many posters on social media nowadays (including on here), who have no idea what they are talking about and believe everything they see and hear regarding fireworks. They gather snippets of information and think they are an expert!

why let facts or truth get in the way of a good story!

HUGE well done to considerate sainsburys but what a shame that a supermarket has had to do the governments dirty work for them though !!!

Hannah Cook says:
5 November 2019

Wrong Tricia. Nothing to do with being considerate to Pets. Purely a Commercial decission from Sainsbury based on costs etc. Please read other posts in this thread which go into more detail.

Fireworks should only be sold by certain certified sellers. In Holland an adult can order the fireworks but can only collect them on the day of the event. Parents should also be more responsible for letting their kids use the fireworks.

jane says:
4 November 2019

Definitely the right decision should only be sold for organised displays – animals are scared stiff never mind all the wild life and another cat has died having a firework attached to it – lets hope other shops follow suite – they get into the wrong hands these days
Well done Sainsburys

Hannah Cook says:
5 November 2019

Jane. How do wildlife cope with thunder storms? If you read the RSPB’s website they explain fireworks are no worse than any storms. this is a FACT not made up. Please check it out. Wildlife will simply move away from said noise source etc.

Also why are you congratulating Sainsburys? because they have made loses on fireworks? Once again they have not stopped selling them because they want to be kind to our pets. However they will be back selling them if it’s a viable/profitable once again.

Plus where is the story of the Cat that has been killed from having a firework attached to it? I take it you mean this year?

You can’t really compare fireworks and thunderstorms. Thunderstorms produce very low tones in the main, which do not seem to affect animals all that much. Many fireworks, however, produce a lot of harmonics and sounds with extreme amplitude in the ultrasonic range. They’re what tend to affect – specifically – dogs.

S green says:
5 November 2019

I think a compromise would be the best idea, still having fireworks BUT without the bangs. I believe asda are selling them this year .

A banner on display at the local Tesco:

These are not my idea of family fireworks.

Those look broadly similar to the items listed in Asda’s brochure, which did include a family selection box for £50.

I did notice that some of Asda’s offerings were described as “low noise” items.

Carrie says:
5 November 2019

It’s a great decision but all others must follow. And also the pop up shops need to be monitored. I believe all private use fireworks should be banned but until then they should only be sold on the 5th, not weeks before and still weeks after

Hannah Cook says:
5 November 2019

I shake my head. Have you read nothing in these posts on this thread!

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I don’t know many people with dogs but had a chat with a friend who adores them. One is frightened of fireworks and will be kept indoors tonight, one enjoys watching them, and the third barks at them.