Tim Horton’s. The iconic, quintessential coffee joint of Canadialand. Brown and yellow and nothin’ fancy.
All over this great country, no matter where you go, you can pull up to a Timmy’s and indulge yourself in a donut and a coffee. All Canucks know it. All Canucks love it (and if they don’t, they’re dead to me anyhow). It is a part of growing up here. You’ll start on the hot chocolate and the Timbits, and graduate to the coffee and Boston Creams. Nowadays, they’re even getting fancy coffees, so you could go in and have an espresso and roasted red pepper chicken sandwich. Tasty treats for all palettes at your local Timmy Ho’s.
Where I grew up, it was the only place open 24 hours a day….or past 10 PM for that matter. You’d see everyone you knew and everyone you wanted to avoid, wasting away hours at a time in there. The plastic seats, the sticky floors and the apathetic, slow workers were a constant and they were comforting. It’s like that Seinfeld episode where they discuss how they like the cafe so much because it’s always the same (was that a Seinfeld episode or am I making that up? uh…..you get the idea, I’m sure). No matter if you’re in Victoria or St. John’s, Winnipeg (shudder) or Saskatoon (w00t!), you can be guaranteed a solid cup of coffee that tastes just like it should and a nice assortment of donuts. Us Canadians are the donut freaks of the world, dontchya know.
Perhaps the greatest thing about Tim Horton’s is their annual ‘Roll up the Rim’ contest. They run it from the end of February until whenever it is they run out of the proper cups. It’s so nice. Just when you want to kill yourself because you think winter in this forsaken country will never end, you see the bright red signs everywhere and you remember, ‘Oh boy! It’s Roll up the Rim time!!!’
For all you
ignorant Americans and other foreign visitor to this blog, I shall explain the premise of Roll up the Rim. Normally you are served coffee in a brown and yellowish coloured cup from Timmy’s.
Come Roll up the Rim time, blammo! The cups are now RED and yellow. You can see them from down the freaking street. And see them you shall, cuz we love our fucking Tim Horton’s up here (have you gotten that part yet? I’m not sure that I’ve made it obvious enough). Once you’ve consumed your beverage of choice, you get to roll up the rim and see what’s printed inside. You could win a car, money, donut, coffee, muffin, TV, blah blah blah. More often than not, you’ll see ‘Please Pay Again/Whatever the hell the french saying is for that cuz it’s a bilingual country and the Quebecers will cry if it isn’t there…..wah, wah, wah, I’m from Quebec’.
BUT, if you’re lucky enough to win something, then you get to take your crusty old coffee cup back to any Tim Horton’s and claim your prize. That’s right, they’ll take back your spit-covered cup that you’ve dropped in the snow six times and give you a free fucking donut! If you’re polite, you’ll just rip off the winning tab part thing, but screw that.
So, if you come to Canada during this national time of celebration, here’s some thing you’ll need to know.
1) Don’t be scared when you see perfectly acceptable looking business people gnawing obsessively at their coffee cup rims. They’re only trying to get that dumb thing to roll up. It’s literally impossible to do it without biting it and almost tearing your teeth out of your mouth.
2) Volume at the stores increases exponentially. The lineups are already long enough, so when it gets even longer, do not even THINK about stepping into the lineup unless you already know what you want. If you get up to the cash and sit them hmming and hawwing, you’ll be drowned to death with maple syrup or something. It is expected in Canada that you have the entire menu memorized and you don’t fuck around when you get up there. Go go go!!!
3) Once you’ve ordered, move over. The other person will bring your coffee. Don’t stand in front of the cash register. This isn’t how it works at Tim Horton’s. You order, you pay and you move over. Your coffee will find it’s way to you. I don’t know how, but it does. Remember, the idea is to not slow down the line.
4) Tim Horton’s takes cash. ONLY cash. They don’t want your fancy plastic (except in Saskatoon, which for some reason (probably cuz prairie people aren’t in the same crazed hurry as everywhere else) they take debit). Have your cash ready. Again, you should know the price with tax off by heart. If you waste time counting change, you’re likely to get beaned in the back of the head by a renegade Crueller or something.
5) If it’s your first time into Tim Horton’s, go with a native during this contest period. You don’t want to be that asshole who pisses us all off, do you? No. You don’t.
Finally, if you do happen to score a big ticket item from the inside of your coffee cup, don’t lose that sucker! AND don’t EVER forget to roll up your rim. Cuz if you throw it away, someone’ll fish it out of the garbage and see what they’ve won. Inevitably, it will be a car and then you’ll feel like a real douchebag now, won’t you?