OK, here’s one for you: What do daylight saving time and Halloween have in common? … Stumped?… The answer: CANDY! Still puzzled? Then read on.
If you listened to “All Things Considered” on NPR last night, you might have heard a piece about our new daylight saving time that begins this year. This year, daylight saving will begin this Sunday, March 11th (3 weeks earlier) and continue until November 4th (1 week later). The theory is that a longer daylight saving period will save energy, in fact this measure was passed as part of the 2005 Energy Bill.
The interviewee (Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time) was skeptical of the energy saving argument and instead attributes the increased length to various industry lobbyists. I am too uninformed to enter into a debate about the potential energy-saving aspects of daylight saving versus lobbying influences, however I was shocked to learn that one industry that has long lobbied strongly for this change was the candy industry.
According to Mr. Downing, the candy industry has been trying to extend daylight saving past Halloween for the last 25 years. In 1985 their representatives even went so far as to place a candy pumpkin on the seat of every senator as a reminder. Apparently with one more hour of daylight for trick-or-treating, kids will get more candy. If they get more candy, the manufacturers make more money…a lot more money.
Perhaps I should feel happy that the candy manufacturers will prosper, the economy will be helped, jobs will be created, etc. However my initial reaction to this was shock and disbelief which has now, after some thought, transformed into discomfort and distaste. This does not feel like a positive decision for our children. Do kids need more candy? Doesn’t this encourage obesity, rotten teeth and greed? Will the American Dental Association be the next group to rise up in support of this change? Isn’t this using our children for economic gain?
Maybe I should just “lighten up” and quit seeing evil intentions where none were intended (I hope). Besides, Arizona is one of the few states that doesn’t observe daylight saving time…yet I can’t quite shake this uncomfortable feeling.
If you are interested, click here to listen to the story on NPR’s website.