OPINION: How can changing clocks ‘save’ daylight?

Opinion: Tommi Halvorsen Gatlin’s column contribution

I will admit right out of the chute that I’ve always detested “daylight savings time.” We set our clocks ahead one hour as spring approaches, then set them back an hour in the fall with the notion that it’s somehow increasing our quantity of daylight.

I’d also like to point out that I’ve never found anyone else, ever, who favors all that clock-changing.

I seem to recall as a child that it was foisted on folks to give farmers an extra hour of light toward the end of the day. My father, however, who never took anything simply at face value but thought through new ideas, believed it was actually a ploy of merchants to give shoppers an added “opportunity” to spend money at their stores after work.

In any case, I don’t see how setting and resetting our clocks “saves” daylight. To save something, we must keep it instead of spending it, to increase the amount we have.

Changing clocks can also wreak havoc on folks with stringent medication regimens. It’s very hard on one of my brothers, who takes a number of medications during the day for a serious health issue.



I’m also in a bit of a snit lately about another issue involving time. It seems we always have to rush through everything, such as checking out at grocery stores. As a retiree, I’ve become even more frugal with my money than while I was working. It’s a necessity on my retirement income.

So I peruse grocery ads and clip sale coupons and keep others handy in my “smartphone”. But when I noticed the amount I was charged was sometimes higher than the one advertised, I mentioned it to a checker. She said their computers don’t always get the sale prices right.

As I shop, I try to estimate how much I expect my purchases to total. But modern cash registers can make it difficult to know if an item has actually rung up a sale price correctly since some don’t show that information until after doing some mathematical gobbledygook after ringing up all of the items.

My solution is to put the sale items at the front of my other purchases before the checker starts and ask him or her to please tell me each price as it’s rung up. It doesn’t take long — unless the computer rings up a wrong charge.

I’m aware, though, that not everyone in line behind me is happy about waiting a few minutes longer than if I’d just trusted the cash register to do the right thing. But is their impatience more important than my working to cut my losses when I’m checking out?

I also believe that the push seemingly to hurry all day long, every day isn’t good for our health. I try not to inconvenience others, but sometimes I have to make a wise choice for myself.



My mind wandered along this path recently as I waited my turn at the McCleary Timberland Library for Pam Ator and her team of fellow AARP volunteers to prepare my tax return. Most of the others there for the same reason also had to cool their heels a while.

After filling out some paperwork, I waited more than two hours — but it was well worth it. The service is free and virtually painless. And while I waited, I became acquainted with a new friend and also chatted with friendly library employees, including its manager, Karen Kienenberger.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve taken advantage of the service, which has been offered annually for years to senior citizens and low income persons. There are some perks in growing older, and enjoying my “golden years” has included this assistance a number of times.

The best payoff is leaving afterward with the knowledge that my taxes have been filed, and I don’t need to give it another thought. And even if a senior citizen’s or low-income person’s income is low enough not to have to file, Ator says doing so can head off (or alert us to) a possible case of identity theft.

“Tax Help” also will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, March 16 and April 6 and 13, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, March 18 and April 8, in the library’s Simpson Community Room.

No appointment is needed. Bring photo I.D., proof of medical coverage and your Social Security card.

The library is at 121 S. Fourth St. Library staff can be reached at (360) 495-3368.