Ok, I admit it. For a brief moment I actually thought about suggesting a general boycott of Tim Hortons. For various reasons, from the "factory fresh" donuts to their evident willingness to openly and unapologetically lie to their customers. Decisions that definitely do not make for "warm and cuddly" customer relations.
But I realized, Tim Hortons is so damned successful, there's really no way to avoid it. They put almost everyone else out of business. Seriously. According to Wikipedia, Hortons "...commands 76% of the Canadian market for baked goods (based on the number of customers served) and holds 62% of the Canadian coffee market (compared to Starbucks, in the number two position, at 7%).
They're everywhere, like a frat boy's hands in a game of touch football.
So if you can't boycott them, then the next best thing you can do is bypass them. All I'm suggesting is this: if there is a reasonable alternative to Tim Hortons nearby, please use it. Don't go miles out of your way! If there's a Hortons right by work, then use it! But if there is some other - any other! - coffee shop nearby, then please use it.
This might only result in a small drop in Hortons' overall numbers. But even as small a drop as 5-15% will be enough to send a message. The current owners of Tim Hortons seem to be very good at noticing things like money. Sadly, they are losing track of things like customer service, and loyalty.
So what is the message?
We want our old fucking Hortons back.
The ones that cops were allowed to sit in. Because that was better than the ones that have to close at night because of drug dealers.
The ones where usually the same two or three people served you, everyday. The ones you tipped extra on their birthdays. We want those people back, because now it seems service has degraded to the point where barely cognizant, drably garbed drones (80% of whom have name tags introducing themselves as "Trainee" and seem to rotate daily) peck aimlessly at a large board of conveniently tabled pico-text buttons consisting of every possible combination of donut and coffee order imaginable. You have transformed what was once a warm and personable experience into the sociological equivalent of a tooth cleaning.
We want the tidy Hortons back. The one where the servers took time out to clean up once and awhile. It seems today that you send someone out to clean the tables with about the same efficiency and regularity as the HSR sends buses. If you are unfamiliar with the HSR service schedule, the previous analogy was bad.
Today, for some unacceptable reason, the donuts come from trucks. They used to come from the same guy who had been making them there for 15 years. The guy you swore made the best donuts, even though your buddy claimed the lady on Friday night made the city's best crullers. Those amazing donut bakers drive newspaper delivery trucks now.
Always fresh 'cause they keep truckin' 'em in!
So, anyway, that's it. If you want your old Hortons back, then start giving them a miss. If there's a Robins Donuts across the street, give them a try. A Country Style on the opposite corner? Walk on over. Even Starbucks. Yeah, I know, I hate saying "grande" too, but it makes them happy, so humour them.
Maybe if our numbers drop off, they'll finally start to notice us.