Honestly what is it about Tim Hortons that makes people line up?

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Really. I mean, the coffee isn't that great, and the donuts are not worth the paper they are made with...


Today I wanted a bagel, tea optional, and the lineup at 11:30 in the morning was crap. I went over to McDonalds who have great coffee now too, and no lineup or anything.

Why are people lining up and waiting an eternity for a Tims coffee? Is there drugs in it? Is there a spell cast over it?

Do the people think its a Canadian thing to do? Or that it's cheap coffee?


Is it the marketing or the colour Brown?

Is it the "Roll up the Rim" gambling opportunity?

Is it how you order a Tea with sugar and cream and they give you a coffee surprise with sugar and cream (cough, spit, choke) and you find out about it later at the office?

I haven't been into a Tims in months (I began my international boycott on September 21, 2007) and am glad to see how quickly it's caught on here in Prince Albert. not.

But they still have lineups 9 cars deep and 17 people deep at the door.

What makes you line up for a Tims coffee?

Teach me, tell me, help me understand.


  1. I rarely buy to-go coffee anymore. The big question for me is why people bother with Tim's when their service is so poor.

    A couple of possibilities:

    1. The price-quality ratio: Tim's may not be good coffee (though I don't mind it), but it only costs $1.50 for a large. Starbuck's coffee is also not all it's cracked up to be (though I don't mind it, either), but it costs $36.50 for a large.

    2. Convenience: All I have to say is "large double double" and I have a coffee ready to drink (assuming they give me the correct beverage---I've never had a problem). Which leads me to

    3. Dependability: I can say "large double double" and I know exactly what I'm going to get each time (assumng they give me the correct beverage).

    4. And this is the biggie, because I don't think Timmies are this busy elsewhere: Prince Albert is not, by and large, a fancy coffee town. There are enough connoisseurs to have a couple of good coffee places, but if you've spent any time at Superstore, you'll have seen plenty of people loading up on those yellow 2kg containers of no-name ground coffee.

    Have you tried Great Western, by the way? They also have drive-thru convenience.

  2. Well... we don't have a Tim Horton's here so I suppose it is just the novelty of it. Plus the ice capps. I like ice capps.

  3. I don't really get it either. The new Tim's by us in Saskatoon always has at least 8-12 cars in the drive thru (same with the one over by my mom and dad's place in west end of S'toon). I like their donuts, but if I want them most times I will go in to the restaurant so I can see what actual selection they have available. I know a lot of people who will only drink their coffee, they swear it is the best out there. I am not a coffee drinker, except for the occasional iced capp or frappaccino at Starbucks. My mother-in-law claims that they put cocaine in their coffee to make it more addictive. Not sure if I believe that....but I think people get sucked into the Roll Up the Rim stuff too. But that lineup is always long...

  4. Honestly, I don't drink coffee--I know, I'm a bad Swede and a bad Covenanter. But I kind of like Tim Horton's (maybe it's just being an American, and appreciating the novelty), here's why: I like the cheapness of Timbits--that I can walk by with my kids and pick up a ten buck for less than a toonie and have a fun treat with them (and there's a couple flavours I don't mind), and I also like that they have more than just coffee and doughnuts (sure they're sandwiches and soup aren't gourmet, but they're edible). That's my 2 cents--but I'm an American, so figure in the nominal exchange rate on that.

  5. My mom gets sick every time she drinks Tim Horton's coffee. The same kind of sick every time she'd have wonton soup at our local Chinese food restaurant back when I was a kid. Her guess is that there's MSG in both.

    I'm waiting for my brother to reply on this one, b/c, as you probably read on my site this week, I don't get it either. :)

  6. NO coffee is as good in the morning as a large regular from the Cornerstone Tim's - a perfect coffee everyime. The one by Zeller's always tastes burnt, and the one on the hill tastes burnt 1/2 the time.
    I also enjoy their bacon breakfast sandwiches on a 12 grain bagel.
    For me, it's about the routine, and what I enjoy. The luxury of a Tim Hortons coffee. :)
    I also enjoyed a REALLY good Burger King coffee one day, darn near as good as Tim's.

  7. Well I am not a coffee or tea drinker and while I do enjoy a tim's smoothie I rarely go to Tim's because I find them expensive and I Hate waiting in line for something so simple.

    I think I would have to disagree with Marc that Tim's is not busy everywhere else except for PA. It wasn't any better in YK. There was always a line up and half the time they never had anything they should.
    In fact one time they didn't even have any doughnuts. Only muffins and bagels. And when we tried to order a sandwhich they said they didn't have any lettuce or tomatoes yet they were right next to a grocery store

  8. People get into a habit of getting a Tim Horton's coffee and they think its the "in" thing to do. Everybody who's anybody drinks Tim Horton's coffee, not. Do they put something in it also? I thing its just a habit people get into and keep on doing it. There should be a petition going around about all the "great" service and the "short" waits, not to mention the danger on 2nd avenue with the zillion cars coming onto the street.

  9. It's the same at every Tim's across the land - I don't get it either, but I need it on a daily basis. I really wanted to completely switch to Great Western, but I find it really bitter. I'll drink it, but it ain't my favorite....

  10. We like sheep.......

    It's the maccy D effect in a 'coffee' shop.

  11. BTW I like the teeny tiny smilie at the very bottom of the page.


  12. If I want just good coffee - strong, then I make it myself. Takes about 7 minutes to boil the water and press it.

    When I go out for coffee, I want good strong espresso shots that have a kick to them so that I taste all that coffee goodness in my mocha or my latte, etc. Tims does not have the quality that I want in this kind of a drink so I go to one of the good coffee places for that sort of a drink. I like Tims iced caps in the summer but they are more like a coffee milkshake than real coffee.

    The line ups just make it impossible.

    But if someone wants to go and pick up Tims I will not turn it down!

  13. Let's not forget that for many people Tim's is a "community" - it is the place where they go to meet friends, stop at on the way to school/work, grab something there on the way out of Wal-Mart - remember Cheers? Dean and I go there every Monday morning and, yes, there is the regular crew that we see every Monday morning. We sometimes greet each other, know where each other sits, what time they come, when they should be leaving. Community can be found anywhere, and the "fellowship" does sometimes outweigh all of the other negatives, or at least what others may perceive as negative. To some of these people, what you think is a negative, isn't.

    However, let's not just pick on Tim's, if you want to talk quality. Please tell me why McDonald's is so popular. The food - certainly not quality.

    Everyone's standard of "tasty" is different, I guess!

  14. I don't really like Tim Hortons coffee, although the people I work with love it. I am going to disagree with Marc and say Starbucks is much better and actually not that much more.

    We in Winnipeg are lucky for we have many options for coffee. Plenty of small places with high quality coffee and no line but yet Tim Horton's has long lines here too. I don't get it either.

  15. Well said, Maureen!! Agreed!

  16. As per Dixie's request I will make a comment.

    "No comment."

    No, really, I like the coffee, but I will drive right on by if I need to be somewhere quickly. Otherwise, I enjoy the time of peace & quiet whilst waiting in whichever line, and anticipating my blueberry bagel & 'liquid comfort'.

  17. And don't even get me started on Prince Albert and the quality of food purveyors.

  18. I like my Tim Hortons coffee black. However if the line-up is long I'll go somewhere else. When I'm not in a hurry, my favorite coffee place in P.A. is the Bison Cafe - no drive-thru but great coffee.

  19. Yeah, Bison Coffee is smooth coffee, not bitter.


  20. yeah Toni,

    I don't think that happy face shows up in all the browsers.


  21. man, this post reminds me of the good days of Strathmore living. when i worked for CBC, i often was on airport runs, and of course, the person most often in the front seat of my road-wearied sunfire was Neil. Neil and I love coffee. Stopping for coffee, especially for the drive back to strathmore, was always imperative, and because of the constant line-ups, McDonalds coffee also became our poison of choice. man, i miss that guy.

  22. Hey, CBC Coffee girl,

    Are you in Minnedosa this weekend? Neil will be there.

  23. i know, in fact that's part of why i was thinking of that wonderful family today! i'm going to be in winnipeg, but not until saturday, so i'm hoping that i can somehow get to 'dosa for a service. we'll see...

  24. Tim Hortons -- I go because my parishioners give me gift certificates/debt cards, and I drink the hot chocolate and not coffee!

  25. tim hortons-- i go because i have a passion to consume processed and packeged foods produced in a
    a large factory.i love timmys frozen soup,doughnuts,bagels,muffins,shall i go on or does everybody understand my point FROZEN!!!!!what the heck happened to always fresh?the coffee is not great and gives me heartburn and the employes are mostly rude and ignorant and never really in much of a hurry and need to ask multiple times"what did you want in your coffee" well how about mayo pickles and cheese,since you seem more interested in selling me fast food than a good cup of coffee.....why do we go to timmys??


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