Nov 05 2011
I don’t want to change them but I’m supposed to turn my clocks back an hour tonight.
Daylight Saving Time (DST) was invented for people like me whose work is ruled by the clock but who spend their leisure time outdoors. It’s really inconvenient for those who work by the solar day — farmers, for instance.
Though I like Daylight Saving Time I hate changing the clocks no matter which direction they’re going.
The twice yearly jog causes trouble for nationwide schedules, computer programs, and our sleep patterns. We saw this when DST’s start and end dates moved by law in 2007. Computers that missed the patch stayed on the old schedule. Most annoying to me was the computer that unlocked the doors for the business day but remained on Standard time in early March. It was too old to patch so we changed its time by hand. Three weeks later it “knew” to change to DST and was wrong again. Aaaaarrrggg! (We got a new computer.)
Even worse are the clock-change effects on people. In March the loss of an hour makes everyone groggy. Studies have shown that there are significantly more workplace accidents on the Monday after we “spring forward.” Not only that, everyone’s grumpy for days! I am, too.
Most of the world doesn’t suffer through this. DST wasn’t standardized in the U.S. until 1966 and it’s not observed in Asia, Russia, most of Africa and most of South America. It’s not even observed in Arizona and Hawaii.
So why do we have Daylight Saving Time?
In a word: Lobbyists.
DST had a few early champions (G.V.Hudson, William Willett, and Pittsburgh’s Robert Garland) but it didn’t really catch on until lobbyists urged its use. The start and end dates moved in 2007 because the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores began lobbying for it in 2005. Their sales benefit from outdoor leisure time.
We don’t have to live like this. If I was in charge, we’d turn the clocks forward one night in March and we’d never go back.
I’m telling you, my clocks are just fine!
(photo in the public domain from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the photo to see the original.)