I’ve been a Tim Hortons customer for years. Just like all the others, I’ve lined up in a way that only zombies and Tim’s fans do. Actually cattle going to the slaughter bear a striking resemblance, but I originally omitted that reference so as to not offend our vegan readers. I never really like the coffee at Tim Hortons. If you put me in that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where the creepy Nazi dude with the glowing fire-place poker thingy was waving it in my face trying to get me to talk, I still could not explain why I kept lining up. I’d tell him everything I know which is this:
Tim Hortons has grown to become an iconic company in Canada. They became a publicly traded company a few years ago, loosening their Canadian roots. Many believe going public has resulted in a cheaper, lower quality product in an effort to increase earnings per share. The power of their branding, at least in Canada, is formidable.
Tim Hortons does enjoys a cult like following. No one within the cult will admit it exists. They kinda have a ‘the first rule about Tim’s Club is that you don’t talk about Tim’s Club’ thing going on. Ask one of them, they won’t admit it. Instead they will feed you a line of crap about how great the place is. Once indoctrinated, the loyal followers are programmed to meet any criticism of Tim’s with swift, decisive, verbal venom. I wrote in an earlier article that Tim’s fans are similar to Apple fans. They line up, they wait, they are loyal, and they will call you an asshole if you suggest trying the other guy’s product. While I understand the Apple cult, since they do make cool stuff and everyone else just copies it, I do not understand this allegiance to shitty coffee. Maybe the rumors are true and Tim’s does use some kind of mind altering chemical to addict their customers. Many people try to break the hold yet fail. The reader that sent us the picture of the ‘unwiped ass’ donut may have had his allegiance shaken but regrettably our sources indicate he is back in line.
I do know the vicious cycle can be broken. I did it. I would be the founding member of Tim Hortons Anonymous if such a thing existed. I started to wake up the day the hand of the late, great Tim Horton intervened and gave ‘ol complaintsoffice.com the smack down with a coffee shower. Apparently, preventing some Jackass from jumping the line is considered Tim’s Club insubordination. Dissention amongst members is not tolerated at any level, including the highest. That story can be found here: http://complaintsoffice.com/they-screw-you-at-the-drive-thru/
There are few steps in my program. Start with forcing your vehicle off the road as you pass by a Starbucks. You will be tempted to continue to a Tim Hortons location but you MUST resist the calling. Remember, this is just the brainwash at work. Have someone jerk the wheel if need be, but pull up to a Starbucks. You may notice a remarkably shorter line than you are used to. I do not recommend going in on your first or second visit, as experiencing the pretentious, self-important assholes ordering their triple sow cow lattes can be off putting. You know the type: they listen to CBC radio, eat a lot of granola and work really hard at finding things to be offended about. Anyhow, for the first or second visit, use the drive thru to become used to the product and new environment. After that, going inside is no problem.
The second thing that you will need to adjust to is the service you receive at Starbucks. Not only will you be warmly greeted, it’ll be done by someone speaking English. The person will likely be a hot 20 something called a ‘barista’. She will smile and hand you the coffee you actually ordered. Starbucks has not perfected coffee roulette the way Tim Hortons has. Don’t worry, there are no double zeros here.
The third step in my program involves memory. Starbucks will treat you with dignity and respect. They don’t assume you are senile and forgot to order a cookie or a muffin. They will not increase wait times by trying to ‘upsell’ everyone. They seem to operate under the premise that if you are too fucking stupid to remember you wanted a cookie and forgot to order it, you deserve to go to the back of the line. What you don’t deserve is to be reminded, making everyone behind you wait longer while you decide between the chocolate chip or the oatmeal fucking raisin.
Now, there are downsides to Starbucks in addition to the smug dipshits ordering the double lutz. As far as I can tell, they do not have contests that fall suspiciously short of promised 1 in 6 odds of winning. You can read that story here: http://complaintsoffice.com/roll-up-for-a-rimjob-at-tim-hortons/ So if biting up the rim of your garbage every February to win an invite to bite again is a must do, Starbucks will disappoint.
It would be unfair to not mention that Starbucks is more expensive than Tim Hortons. Maybe that is why the lines are shorter. Perhaps that extra money is actually spent on staff that can put cream and Splenda in a cup of coffee in combination and amounts that were actually requested. It costs me an additional 70 cents for the comparable sized cup of coffee from Tim’s. That sounds like a bargain when we recap the benefits:
a) Significantly shorter wait times
b) Order taken in a friendly, intelligible manner
c) No roulette wheel. Coffee served as ordered
d) Coffee tastes like coffee
e) No reminding that you forgot to order a cookie
I’m no genius, but to me each of those is worth an easy 10 cents. Now, cult members may say ‘hold it, you only listed six benefits, that only equals 60 cents: Tim’s wins!’ However I should add that a few days ago I entered the drive thru and there were four or five cars in line instead of the typical one or two. I waited about five minutes and when I pulled up to the window I handed up a finsky. The nice barista says and I quote ‘we think you waited too long, this one is on us’. Not only was that worth the extra 10 cents for years to come, but it provided the antidote to any remaining Tim’s fever I had left.