Country chooses Double Double over trouble
By Klara Woldenga, Humour Editor
Tim Hortons was in the news again last month after the company cut employees’ paid breaks and work benefits in Ontario to offset the province’s minimum wage hike. This has been one in a long line of problematic actions from the company, with other issues including their degrading food quality and various human rights disputes. There have been short-lived protests against the cuts, but despite the country-wide outrage towards the company, many Canadians have done little to make change happen. The Other Press decided to send a reporter to the source of the problem to find out what the fuss was about and exactly why, despite the outrage on Facebook through posts and poorly-made memes, Canadians aren’t doing more to push for policy change.
Getting into a local chain took a very long time, as I was held up by two people saying “No, after you,” at the door for 20 solid minutes. Once I was inside the establishment, I was surprised by the amount of people buying food and coffee instead of chanting catchy protest slogans and holding signs with bad puns.
“Oh yeah, I was pissed!” said Carley Alben, local Tim Hortons customer, though her words were nearly inaudible due to her mouth being full of at least two donuts. “I can’t believe this company would do such a thing.”
She then pointed to the food I had bought and asked if “I was gunna eat that donut.” After watching her consume her own donuts at a speed previously believed to be humanly impossible, I certainly wasn’t going to eat mine.
When asked why she didn’t boycott Tim Hortons, Alben stated that she just didn’t want to be seen as “that person.”
“I just didn’t want to be rude and make a fuss, you know? As Canadians, we’re supposed to uphold this standard of politeness. We can’t let a little human rights violation and corporate greed from a Canadian company throw us off our niceness game.”
When told that Tim Hortons is no longer owned by Canada, she pushed the need for politeness further, stating that “If Tim Hortons isn’t even a Canadian company anymore we have to be even more polite, since they are guests in our country.”
John Ternik, a local advocate for workers’ rights who holds his weekly meetings at a 24/7 Tim Hortons in downtown Vancouver was also angry when he heard the news about the wage cuts.
“I was definitely outraged when I learned what Tim Hortons was doing,” said Ternik. “But, bringing these issues up to the people in charge would just be a super awkward conversation, you know? I didn’t want to be rude or anything. It’s better to just leave it.”
When asked how successful Ternik’s advocate group was in getting fair rights for workers, he told the Other Press that they are “not very successful, and for the life of us we can’t figure out why.”