Let's be real. Our Canadian identity is so undeniably intertwined with Tim Hortons it's practically pointless to even mention how lame that makes us. We all know what it really means to be Canadian is to put a shitload of cream and sugar in your coffee, call it a double double, and proudly declare it our national beverage. What it really means to be Canadian is to look at pictures of multi-millionaire Sidney Crosby playing shinny with some kids and let your eyes well with tears. What it really means to be Canadian to know the four seasons, winter, summer, slushy, and roll-up-the rim time.
But have you thought much about what it's like behind the counter at one of Canada's roughly 3,700 Tim Hortons? Have you ever stopped to think about how awful people are towards awkward teenagers just trying to make a couple bucks? Or why the chocolate-to-glazed Timbit ratio always feels off in your 20-pack? This is the stuff investigative journalism is made out of.
So I talked to some current and ex-Tim Hortons employees about what it's really like to work at Timmies. I asked them about their most messed up experiences on the job and here is what they had to say.
Trevor, Ex-Supervisor, Whitby, Ontario
It was around Halloween, and I was working an evening shift. I was in my office and all of a sudden I heard my workers freaking out. I went over to the drive-thru area and it turns out someone drove by and threw a pumpkin through the window. There was bits of pumpkin all over the ceiling, walls and the counter.
There was another time when a van came by in the drive-thru and there was a bunch of piglets in cages in his car. Another time this guy came through the drive-thru and he was just holding a baby kangaroo. The kangaroo was just sitting in his lap.
I also worked with this nice older lady that everyone really liked. But this one customer I guess kind of had a crush on her or something, because he came in and brought her a fish. Just like a full, dead fish from the supermarket. He said it was a gift for her. He insisted on giving this fish to her, but employees aren't allowed to accept gifts from customers so he just left.
There was also a few fights that happened. One time in the drive-thru someone cut another person in line. So they both got out of their cars and started going into a full-out fist fight. That happened again in the store one morning, someone cut the other person in line. They went outside and started going at each other in the parking lot.
Patty*, Current Supervisor, Vancouver, BC
Usually when people's orders get messed up or if they don't get what they want, they throw their coffees on the floor. One time this guy actually threw his hot chocolate in one of our employee's faces. Stuff like that happens all the time but I've been working here for awhile so I'm used to it.
But something that really makes it hard for us to do our jobs is that people always try to flush their Iced Capps down the toilet. That's the main reason why our bathrooms are always out of order.
Kaelen, Ex-Team Member, Saint John, NB
I only worked there for ten months in high school, but there were a couple things that stand out.
A prostitute used to come in and freshen up between customers in our bathroom, which included finger combing her extensions into the sink. What a joy to clean up a sex worker's hair by hand for minimum wage.
There was another time where I was sweeping the floors, near a table by two customers. There was a dad, and his tiny cute son who was probably three or so. His dad started to hit on me, in front of his kid, with the great pick up line: 'I like to watch you sweep, you're very attractive.' (I was also under age and wearing a hairnet.) When I told my store manager, she told me to get used to it.
There was a customer who used to come in, who was always so fucked up that his pupils made him look like a Rick and Morty character. I had to clean up the men's washroom one time (which involved knocking twice, cracking the door, and yelling "cleaning" before walking in), it was a single stall bathroom, so it was super easy to hear. But instead, this guy stays quiet and when I opened the door, he made solid eye contact with me while peeing in the urinal.
AhmEd*, Current Team Member, Toronto
People will use the washroom and they shit everywhere and then they take their shit to the walls. That happens about once a month.
Holly, Ex-Team Member, Markham, Ontario
One time I was working at the drive-thru and this lady was having a shitty day I guess, because when I gave her all her food, right before she drove away she threw one of the Timbits right at my face.
We also had this crazy customer, we called him Bill, and when Nutella came to Tims my boss was pep talking us and hyping it up and telling us to promote it. But Bill was not pleased. He starts shouting, 'What's this commotion about?' My manager was like, 'Nutella is at Tim Hortons! It's the best thing I ever put in my mouth!'
Bill goes: "The best thing I ever put in my mouth was titty."
*Name has been changed to protect anonymity.
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