At a Clock Shop, Time Change Leaves Little Time for Play

Article excerpt

Daylight-saving time is revered as a time for more play, but for Donny Sobel it brings added work.

Mr. Sobel, an owner of the Clock Shop of Vienna, faces the daunting task twice each year of resetting the 500 clocks in his shop. In his 25 years in business - that's 50 daylight-saving time shifts for those of you scoring at home - he's learned not to wait until the last minute.

Two weeks ago, his family began setting forward the clocks as they needed winding, while showing them to customers or displaying new ones. At opening time tomorrow morning, he faces only about 100 clocks needing adjustments.

"It's a project," Mr. Sobel sighed.

As the time changed forward an hour at 2 o'clock this morning, it moved sunset back an hour to 7:36 p.m.; some church-goers likely missed services; babies slept uncharacteristically late; and Deb Sanderson, associate editor of the Old Farmer's Almanac, finally quit answering those phone calls from people inquiring about the origin of daylight-saving time.

"I find myself this time of year giving a thumbnail sketch of the history of daylight-saving time. People who are a bit older remember the energy crisis when daylight savings time was suspended and they remember the same thing during the war, so they get confused," said Ms. Sanderson, who works for the publication read by 4.5 million.

Besides bedeviling almanackers and clock repairers, daylight saving-time trims the country's electricity usage by about 1 percent each day it's in effect and boosts the income of pediatricians who treat more broken bones of children who can play outside longer. …