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Things you don't know about your morning Tim's

Darius Mirshahi | Interrobang | Opinion | September 17th, 2007

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
On a scale from Green to Black, Tim Hortons environmental footprint is blacker than the coffee they brew.

As I watch students wearing “Gimme my Timmies” t-shirts, sluggishly moving through the 20 minute line-up for their daily cup of Tim Hortons coffee, I wonder how this coffee chain has managed to ingrain itself into the Canadian identity, and why many people are willing to wait in such long tedious line-ups, not just on campus, but across Canada for their fix. Many people's lives revolve around their next cup of Tim Hortons and they religiously purchase these beverages. Why are people so attached to this corporate chain?

Tim Hortons should not be considered part of the Canadian identity, as it is not Canadian. Many people believe that it is, but in fact Tim Hortons is actually owned by the American fast food chain “Wendy's.” However, whether it's rich Canadian executives or rich American executives that own this chain really makes no difference. The real problem is not which capitalist elites own Tim Horton's, but how this corporation conducts its business. And Tim Hortons is far from ethical.

Unlike many other coffee houses including other big chains such as Starbucks, Tim Hortons has refused to even offer a fair trade option. Of the 4.5 million coffees Tim Hortons sells EVERYDAY, not a single drop is Fair Trade. It is all bought at the lowest possible price on the NYSE. This means that they are exploiting coffee farmers in third world nations and paying them as little as possible (slave wages) for their hard labour. Tim Horton's only pays 13 cents per pot of coffee that they brew (most of which goes to the distributor not the farmer), and marks it up 6000 per cent to the Canadian consumer. They could easily buy fair trade in bulk, letting coffee producers earn a living wage, while still making a killing off caffeine addicts here, yet they choose to exploit the poor in order to maximize profits.

Tim Hortons not only exploits third world coffee farmers, their workers here are exploited as well. Having many friends who've taken a part-time job there, I've heard horror stories. They get minimum wage (below the poverty line for a full-time employee), are understaffed, overworked, are called in on short or no notice, forced to stay late and expected to work without breaks sometimes for over six hours straight in a highly stressful environment. Not one of my friends who have worked there enjoyed it or would recommend it.

As for the environment, well let's just say that Timmie Ho's is not concerned with the planet's health. On a scale from Green to Black, Tim Hortons environmental footprint is blacker than the coffee they brew. Tim Horton's has never recycled, currently does not recycle, and has no future plans of recycling anything. Everything gets thrown into landfills and our streets are littered with their cups. These paper cups are non-recyclable, and the chemicals in these cups are non-biodegradable. The only part that can be recycled is the lid, which usually gets thrown out with the cup. They regularly double cup their beverages for their customers, meaning even more waste. There is also an incredible amount of food wasted on a daily basis in order to keep everything fresh. Tim Hortons does not mark down day-olds or donate them to shelters; instead they toss everything in dumpsters. Their policy is to waste literally tons of food everyday, while people go hungry.

Tim Hortons also fuels car culture by having ‘drive-thrus' at most locations. Pass by in the morning and you'll see 20 cars lined up, sometimes right onto the street, idling in lines that last five-to-10 minutes on average. To add insult to injury, Tim Hortons refuses to serve pedestrians and cyclists out of their drive-thru window once the seating area is closed. When drive-thru is all that is open, Tim Hortons becomes for motorists only.

For a more ethical coffee choice on campus try some fair trade coffee at the Oasis. In the city get it at the The Little Red Roaster or other coffee shops that serve fair trade coffee and do not have drive-thrus.
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