Friday, December 31, 2004

Between Fireworks Temptation & Tsunami Aid

German politicians and aid organizations are urging Germans to donate the money they'd spend on fireworks to the tsunami victims.
Usually Germans spend a lot of money -- €97 million ($130 million) last year alone -- on rockets, firecrackers, and sparklers.
The 3,000 people employed in Germany's fireworks industry have worries because of this call.
"I think it's unfair that the call for donations has focused exclusively on our industry," said Klaus Gotzen who heads the business association for the German pyrotechnics industry. It would have made more sense to leave it up to people to decide for themselves what they'd rather go without."

Germans have already started to take Agro Action's message to heart. On Thursday, retailers reported less demand for fireworks than in previous years. A department store employee in Frankfurt estimated a 20 percent drop in sales. And a newspaper in Kiel reported how one shop was even prepared to give customers refunds for fireworks they'd already paid for.
But people are not alike: "There's no way I'm going to give up my fireworks," said one young man stocking up on rocket-like devices near Leipzig. "A proper fireworks display is part of New Year's Eve."
For other Germans, it's not a question of one or the other. A father in Kiel, out shopping with his children, said he'd still spend around €10 on fireworks, but that the family would also make a charitable donation, as it does every year.