welfare bum

Successfully missing the point since 1977.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

the tim horton's phenomenon

as almost every Canadian citizen knows and understands, the place for you to get a reliable cup of coffee in Canada is Tim Horton's.  some people have philosophized that they put addictive chemicals in their coffee, some people believe that there's something about the cream that they put in the coffee that somehow makes it more addictive, but the fact is that it's just an inexpensive generic and reliable cup of coffee is what truly makes it what it is.  if you buy a Tim Horton's coffee in downtown Toronto, it will taste the same as the cup of Tim Horton's coffee you bought in Vancouver and it's not going to cost you an arm and a leg to buy it.  a generic coffee at Starbucks will cost you over $2, but that same generic coffee at ol' Timmy's will only cost you $1.40.
and anyone who works in the corporate world in Canada knows that Tim Horton's is an essential part of your daily office routine.  my last two jobs showed me that Canadian office workers have an uncanny addiction to the caffeine in the aforementioned coffee and the routine involved in acquiring it.  pass by any Tim Horton's at 8:30 am and you'll see for yourself the lineup of cars that will extend beyond their drive-thru, circle the parking lot and generally go out into the street.
at my new job, i see this corporate coffee addiction on an astronomical level.  there is a Tim Horton's across the street to the north AND across the street to the east.  my direct manager leads a group of 3 people out every morning at 9am and returns with a minimum of ten coffees for various people in the office.  another group heads out at 3pm for the same thing.  based on my calculations, the general area where i sit spends approximately $30 a day on coffee over there.
these twice-a-day guys will often dump unnecessary amounts of money into this habit.  for some of them it's the status of a decent tasting cup of coffee at a decent price.  "at least i don't shell out $5 a cup at Starbucks!" for some it's just an excuse to go out and have a cigarette while "walking" or "getting some fresh air".  the twice-a-day guys are helpful because when they start stirring about you know you can put your feet up and goof off for the next 20 minutes and not get caught (well, if your boss is involved with the twice-a-day guys like mine is).
and then there's the sippers.  the sippers are often women in the office (sorry, not meant to sound sexist or anything) and they buy a coffee on the way to work, usually in the drive through.  they will take ALL DAY to drink the coffee purchased first thing in the morning; it's not uncommon to see one of their half-empty cups of coffee on their desk well into the afternoon hours - but that's not the only bizarre thing about it.  they will claim to have the same addiction as the twice-a-day guys, but will only ever have the one coffee and likely never finish it.  the most odd behaviour though is the transportation of this cup throughout the day.  for any meeting, movement around within the office or general chit-chat the sippers will always have that cup in their hand.  they will likely drink nothing from the cup during the entirety of the meeting/conversation/whatever, but they will have that cup with them.  about the only place the cup won't go with them is the bathroom - but i suppose that i can't really confirm that because i've never actually been into the women's bathroom.
it's almost as if the sippers want to be caffeine addicts, but because they can't handle it they at least go with the status of carrying the cup around.  it kind of reminds me of high school drinking parties - you'd see those two-drink-drunks walking around with that room temperature beer, wasted out of their minds and often talking about how much beer they've had.  everyone knew that they were lying, but nobody had the heart to say anything to their face.  it is much the same with the sippers, walking around with their stale, cold double-doubles talking about how they can't live without their Tim Horton's.
and between the sippers, the twice-a-day guys and all of the casual coffee drinkers, i'd say it's a ratio of about 50% of desks that you can walk past at any given moment and see a Tim Horton's cup.  my company consumes so much of their coffee that the local Tim Horton's actually makes charitable donations and supplies food and coffee when the company does fundraiser events.  it's such an odd place.



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