At this point, just about everyone in the industrialized world has had the opportunity to try out a few of the compact fluorescent bulbs. You may have your opinion on the twisty bulbs, but some Germans are betting a market for traditional bulbs will continue to exist.
Beginning Sept. 1, the European Union will start its phase out of traditional light bulbs in favor of the new compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs. They start with banning the 100 watt bulb and work their way down to lower wattage bulbs and “burn out” all of them by the fall of 2012.
As the EU messes with the laws of supply and demand, the market reacts.
Hardware stores and home-improvement chains in Germany are seeing massive increases in the sales of the traditional bulbs. Obi reports a 27 percent growth in sales over the same period a year ago. Hornbach has seen its frosted-glass light bulb sales increase by 40-112 percent. When it comes to 100-watt bulbs, Max Bahr has seen an 80 percent jump in sales, while the figure has been 150 percent for its competitor Praktiker.
“It’s unbelievable what is happening,” says Werner Wiesner, the head of Megaman, a manufacturer of energy-saving bulbs. Wiesner recounts a story of how one of his field representatives recently saw a man in a hardware store with a shopping cart full of light bulbs of all types worth more than €200 ($285). “That’s enough for the next 20 years.”
And hoarding doesn’t seem to be just a customer phenomenon. The EU law only forbids producing and importing incandescent bulbs but does not outlaw their sale. “We’ve stocked up well,” a spokesman for Praktiker told SPIEGEL.
Will the EU end up outlawing the sale of these bulbs? Will they flat out outlaw the use of the bulbs? Hah … you’re thinking they would never do that dontcha?
The way I figure, it would cost me a couple of hundred dollars to collect my own stash of light bulbs that would last 25 years.
I might just do it to tick off the government and the environmental wackos.
I’m envisioning naval blockades with cargo ships full of climate-killing bulbs circling offshore looking to offload the banned cargo. How about outlaw bulb-runners driving trailer-pulling dune buggies with customized soft-suspensions to protect the bulbs as they traverse the dirt roads of Mexico’s Baja skirting the law to get the bulbs into southern California?
Somebody’s gotta write a song.