Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Attention: Eastern Time Zone Readers

I live in Wichita in the Central time zone. More and more, I am persuaded that our friends and fellow citizens in the Eastern time zone aren't aware of how time zones work.

Headline from yesterday.
This isn't the first time recently I've seen this suggestion. This past summer, some researchers at Johns Hopkins thought eliminating time zones was a good idea. Presumably, the rest of us would be on Eastern time, where Johns Hopkins is located.

Then, this morning, I was awakened by a very early call. Turns out the representative of this company, based in Columbus, was completely unaware (I asked her) that Kansas is in a different time zone than Ohio.

Before my retirement, this was a periodic issue working with a corporate home office in the Eastern time zone for 12 years. Actual dialog:

Home office: Okay, let's meet tomorrow at eight. 
Mike in Wichita: You realize that's 7am here?!
Home office: What?
Mike in Wichita: We are in the Central time zone. That would be 7 here. 
Home office: There will be many more participating from here; you can do it just this one time.

Of course, it was several times a year, not "one time." Personally, I'd rather have bamboo shoots under my fingernails than be in the office at 7 for a meeting.

Earlier this year, I was working with some people with PBS based in Boston. I had a conversation nearly identical to the one above when scheduling a teleconference.

So, as a public service, let's talk about time zones.
So, to my friends in Columbus, when you call at 8:30am there, it is 7:30am in Wichita.

What would it be like if we look the suggestion of Johns Hopkins and put everyone on the Eastern time zone? In December, the sun would not rise in Seattle until 11am. It would not set in Seattle in June until 11:30pm. I suspect the people of the State of Washington, along with most of the rest of the nation, would object.

Suggestion for my friends in the Eastern time zone, print out the map above and put it next to your phone. Check the state of the person you are calling to make sure it is business hours where they live before you dial.
They will thank you for it!

And, while we are on the subject of time zones, Daylight Saving Time ends Saturday night.

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