Today I had to get some balloons from Party City. I know, it’s silly that I would have to pay full retail price at Party City for my balloons, but tomorrow is my little son’s birthday, and he is all about Toy Story. Problem is, my local distributor doesn’t have any Toy Story balloons, and I procrastinated until it was too late to get them from out of state- what can I say, shoemakers children… Anyway, I find it shocking and disappointing that Party City, probably the largest retailer of Mylar balloons, refuses to comply with the California balloon laws. I went in to pick up my balloons, and was handed a group of mylar balloons without a weight. I asked for them to please weight the balloons in order to be compliant with the law, they told me they could put a clip on it (which was an insufficient amount of weight for the size of the balloon) or I could purchase a weight. I told them that I didn’t care if the weight was a piece of cardboard, or a bag of rocks, but that my balloons, and every other mylar balloon that walks out of the store MUST be weighted.
Well, I’m sure that they saw me as the balloon police, but the reason for the laws are to protect our power lines from accidental failure. Here’s a link to a video I made on the subject of CALIFORNIA BALLOON LAWS. I may be a little fanatic about it, but I was part of a group that worked really really hard to lobby against the ban on mylar balloons that almost happened a couple of years ago. The law banning balloons actually passed, but lucky for us, we got off on a technicality- Gov. Shwartzenegger vetoed it because he was trying to get the California state legislature to balance the budget, and had said that he would veto all bills until the budget was balanced.
I have this same conversation every time I go into a Party City or a $1 store. If the largest retailers aren’t compliant with the laws, how can we expect the general public to observe them- or even know about them? It’s our job as decorators and retailers to educate the consumers. Anyway, if you go into a store in California and see that they are selling mylar balloons without the proper anchors, please take the time to say something to the manager. If we want to continue enjoying the color and happiness that mylar balloons provide, we all need to take care to observe the laws. Otherwise, we may lose the right to use them in California- as almost happened a couple of years ago.
Just to keep everything in one place, here’s a quick synopsis of the main points of the California Balloon Laws:
Every balloon that is made of an electrically conductive material (mylar) and filled with a gas lighter than air (helium) must be individually anchored to a weight that is heavy enough to keep it from flying away.
No balloon that is filled with a gas that is lighter than air may be attached to a material that is electrically conductive (so no mylar ribbon on latex balloons).
There are a couple more points, but those are the biggies.
All right, off my soapbox and onto the birthday cupcakes….