Time Zone Report

Following Daylight Saving Time legislation in the US

Business and Commerce

Well, if there is one area where people are for Daylight Saving Time, it’s here. I’m tempted to just tell you to contact your state or local Chamber of Commerce to get all the information you need on why Daylight Saving Time is “good for business”, though you’ll rarely hear a Chamber mention the negative side of DST transitions.

To be fair, Time Zone Report isn’t against Year-Round DST, we’re just against DST transitions.  Going to DST and staying there is fine with us — it’s just not fine with the US Congress and our nations federal regulations.

And to be more fair, I’m telling you up front that I’m mostly editorializing on this page. If you want to keep your state swinging between “spring forward” and “fall back” so that “business is good”, you can do your own research on this point!

While having more daylight so more people will go out and buy things may be a good thing for companies, this article from Time online doesn’t necessarily agree.  And a similar article from the Economic Policy Journal echoes the sentiment.

Who Really Benefits?

Golf facilities

If there’s more daylight, people will go out and play golf and stay later, especially business folk who skip out early to whack a few in the afternoon.  But retired folks can go out earlier, and in fast most of them prefer to go out earlier.

Convenience Stores

The articles mentioned earlier point out that if it’s daylight later, people will stop by convenience stores and buy gas. Wait a minute… you mean if we don’t go to DST, people don’t have to buy gas?  If the needle is swinging toward the big E, you’re going to stop and get gas — day or night.  Is there a huge spike in robberies of gas-filling customers I haven’t heard about that’s causing people to not fill their tanks and run out of gas?

Candy Companies

There is an informative online article citing a book on Daylight Saving Time by Michael Downing, a lecturer in English at Tufts University. The article’s author points out many salient points — it’s a good read.  The book, too, is very informative, though published in 2005.  In that article, though, Gail Bambrick points out:

In 2005, seven months of DST became eight with the passage of the Energy Policy Act, which moved the start date to the second Sunday of March and ended it a week later, on the first Sunday in November. The change from the end of October to early November was not driven by energy savings, but by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), who wanted Halloween to occur during DST.

“It gave the children more time to trick or treat and eat more candy,” Downing says.  Of course, in addition to Snickers bars, Americans buy 80 percent of their gasoline at convenience stores, and the NACS credits that extra month of daylight saving with a $1 billion increase in annual sales.

So we have an extra week of DST just so that candy companies (and grocery stores and yes, apparently those convenience stores benefited too) could sell more candy?

Hmmm, maybe there’s more!  All that candy of course leads to more business for dentists, too. All those cavities to fill!  More toothpaste and tooth brushes to sell!  Who knew what a boon to commerce that extra hour of Trick or Treating could be!

Barbecue Grill and Charcoal Companies

Mr. Downing’s book goes on to mention, according to the Tufts article:

“The barbeque grill and charcoal industries say they gain $200 million in sales with an extra month of daylight saving—and they were among the biggest lobbies in favor of extending DST from six to seven months in 1986,” he says. Lobbying alongside them that year was the golf industry, which says that additional month of daylight has meant more time on the links and an additional $400 million in revenue.

Positive Note Wrap-Up

Again we’d like to point out we’re not opposed to declaring Year-Round DST, so the benefits posed by us here (though much of it tongue-in-cheek) are fine as long as a state chooses to follow DST — forever!  Why miss out on those benefits in the winter months?  Rake in an extra 50% by expanding DST from 8 months of the year to 12!

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