After languishing in the U.S. market, on June 29 — just in time for Canada Day — Tim Hortons announced its return to the Great White North. Headlines brewed with words such as Tim Hortons Canadian Owned Once More!
However, the way I understand it, the coffee chain is still owned by a U.S. parent company, but is converting to a Canadian-based corporation for tax purposes. But I could be wrong. There are a lot of things I don’t understand. Our eagerness to buy coffee in a cup is one of them.
What drives us to wait in line ups for 15 minutes or more, morning after morning, just so we can pay an exorbitant price for a liquid we could easily brew in the comfort of our own home for pennies a cup?
People get nasty in those line ups. It’s bumper to bumper even at the drive thru. Well, only at the drive thru. If it were bumper to bumper inside, which would mean more than one vehicle had just crashed through the wall.
Outside it’s bumper to bumper. Inside it’s just bum to bum. There’s this one coffee shop that shares a parking lot with a gas station and let me tell you that trying to get into that gas station, especially between 7 and 8:30 a.m., is virtually impossible. People are just ugly about it.
Shoulders hunched over the steering wheel, toe tapping the gas pedal, bleary eyes focused on centimetering their way to that magical sliding window from which all things caffeine emerge. No one is willing to let you slip through even though you’re after a completely different type of octane.
So to summarize, the lineups are long, no one is happy about the wait, coffee shop prices are high and rising, and yet we continue to descend on these establishments with robotic determination day after day.
Why? Coffee makers are cheap. You can pick one up at a department store for under 20 bucks. Five or six flavoured lattes later, and it’s more than paid for. A couple more and you can even afford a bean grinder.
Not only would you save money, but time as well. You could use the time you spend in coffee house line-ups to sleep in.
Some brewers even come with a handy brew delay setting, so when you crack an eye in the morning, the first thing you hear will be the sweet grumble of the coffee maker wafting caffeine loaded aroma down the hallway to your bed.
Think about it. You could pour yourself a cup of coffee without even getting out of your pyjamas. Or you could be stark naked.
Your choice. But if you are mind that you don’t spill it on yourself. And close those blinds. You know how that snoopy Mrs. Henderson next door likes to feed her birds first thing in the morning.
You couldn’t get a coffee in the nude at Tim Hortons. Well, you could, but it would only get you arrested and I doubt they would serve you coffee in jail. Caffeine is a drug after all. Why do you think police officers are always at the coffee shops? Because they don’t have any coffee back at the jail, that’s why.
This brings me to the only theory that makes sense. Coffee houses lace their drinks with cocaine. Or something addictive. Or maybe Viagra. Or maybe both.
Who knows what they’re putting into the dark brew, but it has to be something more than caffeine or humans wouldn’t be lining up every morning like a bunch of sheep.
Speaking of sheep, and these days it seems I always am, we might not even have the bean if weren’t for our fine fibred friends.
Coffee beans were first discovered by a flock of sheep in Caffa, Ethiopia when their herder noticed that the sheep became extra bouncy after eating the red beans from a certain plant.
Curious, he sampled a few beans for himself and was soon bouncing around the hill tops as actively as his herd. Word spread, the beans were eventually brewed and that’s how coffee drinking spread around the globe.
Without those sheep not only might we never have discovered coffee, but worse, we might never have experienced the thrill of rolling up a rim to win. It’s enough to keep you awake at night. If it does, try counting sheep.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can visit her online at www.shannonmckinnon.com