The crowds arrived before the sun came up. Lines formed at the Don Quijote store on Kaheka Street early Friday morning. Some customers said they learned their lesson last year when stores sold out quick.
On Saturday, we went back to Don Qujiote and spoke to customers who were turned away.
“I came over here. Thought I was gonna get it,” said Thomas Nakayama, a fireworks permit holder.
“Oh really? Shoots, I gotta go find someplace else then,” said Euell Bongolan, a fireworks permit holder. “Right now with the kids, and stuff like that, I guess they wanna celebrate. And can’t find anything. So I don’t know what we’re gonna do.”
A Don Quijote store manager we spoke to says they brought in 30 percent more inventory compared to last year and still sold out within a day. All they have left are the fireworks that don’t require a permit.
So we went in search of other stores still carrying fireworks, like Bo Wah Trading Company in Chinatown.
“I did bring in more, but we still can’t meet all the demand. So I guess by the time they come around, I may be out already,” said Danny Au, owner of Bo Wah Trading Company.
Other stores, like Foodland in Ewa Beach, only received their shipment of fireworks Saturday morning. So they had plenty in stock through the afternoon.
Last year, 1,600 permits went unused because of the lack of inventory. With many people scrambling and unsure if they’ll be able to use their permits this season, some are wondering if the process should be changed.
“It’s very troublesome for people who go down and get a permit and they come around if they can’t find firecrackers. They get stuck with it. Like last year, a lot of people get stuck with unused permit. So maybe they have to change something regarding our permit system,” said Au.
“They should get rid of the permit like it used to be before,” said Kevin Tom, a fireworks permit holder.
For a list of Oahu locations where permit-only fireworks are still available, click here.