Friday, June 21, 2024
Laugh a LittleOpinion/ColumnPropaganda Watch

Tim Horton’s contest disappoints coffee drinkers for a second year

Timmie’s is not sorry enough to refund fished-in coffee drinkers

It looks like Tim Horton’s has a new annual event now: informing thrilled customers they have won something, and then announcing it was just a mistake, and there are actually no prizes.

Meanwhile, people are buying coffee during the “Roll Up the Rim to Win” campaign in good faith. I have not read of anyone refusing to pay for their coffee and announcing to Tim Horton’s, “I did not mean to order that coffee I drank. It was a mistake.”

Below the Tweet on this year’s Tim Horton’s Promotional Disappointment is my column on last year’s disappointment. This new annual event is not a good look for Tim’s.

This column was originally published on March 12, 2023.

Why bother rolling up the rim? Some winners in Tim Horton’s contest received a message that they had won $10,000 which Tim’s later told them was a mistake – even if they did have a screen shot of the message they received on their computers. Image: Tim Hortons

Rita Smith

The astonishing saga of Tim Horton’s attempt to evade paying out $10,000 Roll up the Rim to Win prizes is anti-Canadian.

What’s astonishing is not that Tim’s claims that because a mistake was made, they are not paying out. The astonishing part is that Canadians are shrugging and accepting this blasphemous idea without protest.

Personally, the mental test I apply to any credibility-challenging situation is this: “What would the Bruce County boys in my Grade 8 class say about that?”

When I moved to rural Ontario from Detroit in 1974, I experienced a new educational concept I referred to ever after as “Ontario Grade 8 Boys.” As a group, they were among the most jovial yet skeptical beings God put on this Earth. As an adult, I realized I might have learned more from the Grade 8 boys than I ever learned in class.

“Whoa, you got fished right in, eh?” Steve Ferris would ask me if I repeated something unlikely.

“Being fished right in” was a risk everyone guarded against. In fact, if someone started lying or spouting stories, an Ontario Grade 8 boy didn’t even need words to communicate: he would simply insert his index finger inside his mouth and jerk his cheek sharply to the side in a gesture reminiscent of a fish getting caught on a hook and “fished right in.”

Fortunately, there was a simple cure to getting fished right in, and that was to smarten up quick. There was no embarrassment in getting fished right in as long as you smartened up real quick.

As a 13 year old girl, I hadn’t yet realized that people would lie to me, for their own gain or just to make me look stupid. Steve Ferris not only knew more about this than I did; he would actually alert me to other peoples’ tall tales, standing behind them and silently making the finger-in-the-cheek “fished in” motion while they were talking.

Then there was Brad Miller. Brad never ran out of skill-testing compliments:

“I stood up for you the other day,” he once announced to his brother. “Someone said you smelled, and I said ‘Like shit!’” His brother promptly thumped him.

The bait-and-switch nature of having someone “stand up for you” by telling you that you smelled like shit was a gullibility test. Frankly, no one with brothers should ever believe one would stand up for you and then brag to you about it, so if your feelings were hurt by being told you smelled like shit, that meant you had been completely fished right in and had better smarten up quick.

Another of Brad’s classics went like this:

“I stood up for you the other day. Someone said you blew dead bears and I said, ‘No way! I saw one get up and walk away!’”

Again, anyone gullible enough to believe Brad Miller had “stood up for them” deserved what they got in the punchline of the joke. This joke tested not just whether you were naïve enough to get fished in, but also whether you had enough of a sense of humour to laugh at the idea of someone blowing bears they only THOUGHT were dead.

An American girl new to Canadian boys, I loved the good-natured humour that sugar-coated the underlying message of these exchanges: be careful. People are out to fool you.

On March 8th, Canadians were regaled with news stories about how Tim Horton’s “made a mistake” in its Roll up the Rim to Win contest. Several people were told they won $10,000, but then Tim Horton’s said it was a mistake and they got an apology instead of $10,000.

I am trying to imagine what my class of Ontario Grade 8 boys would say about this. They would not get fished right in; they would demand that Tim Hortons smarten up real quick and deliver the promised $10,000 or get thumped.

Tim Horton’s is not just trying to fish in the winners they now claim are not winners; they are trying to fish in every Canadian who bought a coffee during the contest period, hoping to win.

Tim’s owes the money, and they need to pay up.  Don’t let them fish you in.