Tim Hortons Tries to Kill Me


I spotted a variant of the above poster during an afternoon visit to my local Tim Horton’s. Instead of “So long little one” and an “X” through the cup on the left, the writing above the cup on the left says “extra small”. Beneath the cups was the following announcement:

We’re changing the names of our hot cup sizes.

Starting next Monday, the names of our hot cup sizes will shift to accommodate our brand new 24oz Extra Large cup. For example, a large Double-Double will become a medium Double-Double. There isn’t a change in the price or the amount of beverage — it’s only the name of the size that’s changing.

Except that, had I not known about this change (which had no other advertising copy in the outlet), I would probably have ordered “an extra large, triple cream”, expecting a 20 oz cup at $1.71, and received a 24 oz cup at a higher price.

What’s a little bit disturbing is that I probably will still order “an extra large, triple cream”, and pay what the cashier asks for. Indeed, I expect the overwhelming majority of Tim Horton’s customers to do the same.

I’ll give the local franchisees credit for not dropping the smallest cup size entirely, as has been the case in a number of test markets across Canada, renaming it “extra small” instead. But Tim Hortons is fooling no-one if it suggests that changing the names of the cup sizes won’t result in most customers choosing to order the larger sizes and paying the correspondingly higher amount — something which profits Tim Hortons considerably, I expect, due to the economies of scale.

Yes, a person who wants a 20oz cup of coffee that used to be an “extra large” and is now a “large” can change their order from “extra large” to “large”, but they won’t. Because we’re creatures of habit. Worse, most of us are trying to deal with the fact that it’s morning and we haven’t had our first cup of coffee yet. Does Tim Hortons’ seriously expect the majority of us to be able to wrap our heads around new menu choices that early in the morning?

No, I don’t think they expect that of us. In fact, I kind of think they’re counting on us not doing so.

“I’m so tired, I’m seeing five different sizes instead of my usual four!” / “There, there, poor customer, have an extra dose of coffee to perk you up and figure this out!” / “Gee, thanks, Tim Hortons! — Wait a minute…”

I think we have seen the future of Tim Horton’s, and it is downright scary. See below:


[Picture source here)

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