The annual madness of changing our clocks happened on Sunday morning here in the US.
Most of North America changes on the second Sunday in March, Mexico being an exception where it happens on the first Sunday in April, and Europe generally changes on the last Sunday in March.
An often cited reason daylight saving time (DST) is to benefit farmers is totally false may be the original “fake news.” Actually, farmers hate it, and they instead would prefer to do without it.
Other goofy reasons for daylight saving time are that it somehow benefits our health and makes us happier or that it conserves energy.
The last one is often mentioned by energy conservationists probably not realizing this myth is based on the German started this whole mess during World War I to conserve coal. Some of the Europeans followed, but most countries abolished it after the war.
While some countries stayed with it, this madness then was reintroduced during the 1970s oil crisis.
Again, another dubious reason was made up for its existence, and there is some evidence that it promotes higher oil usage because more people may be out driving around for sports activities or going shopping.
This counteracts any study that has shown any marginal saving in electricity use.
The largest group of businesses that supposedly benefit from daylight saving time are retailers. In a JPMorgan Chase & Co. study from 2016, they seemed to confirm the upswing in retail sales during the summer months.
But the same study showed a very disturbing downtrend at the end of DST. An even larger decline in retail spending than was gained by changing the clocks.
Shopping From Home Doesn’t Require More Sunlight
While the JPMorgan Chase & Co. study did not mention eCommerce. The recent massive gains in eCommerce during the holiday season may be the largest factor of the retail sales decrease during that time period.
It may be coincidental that DST ends around the time the holiday season now really gets into gear, thereby skewing the results of the study.
But as shoppers become more accustomed to eCommerce, the effect of a shifting purchasing pattern from retail to online makes the whole madness about changing clocks an even more questionable practice.
Certainly, some retailers or restaurants may see a slight benefit from more daylight, but the overall economy seems to have shifted.
If that extra daylight is so crucial to retail (or “reduce” crime as some have suggested) then why not just change to DST all year around?
But what about places like Las Vegas or Miami Beach and others that benefit from a “Night Life.” Do they really want to have more daylight going into the evening?
It becomes pretty clear that pros and cons are probably really canceling each other out and the real need to continue this madness of changing clocks.
Maybe it is time for countries just to pick a time zone and stick with it.
eCommerce may have made DST even less of an economic factor (if there was one to begin with), thereby should be contributing to the demise of one annual ritual that needs to be thrown into the dustbin of history.
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