Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I Miss Ya, Tim!

The elevator smelled exactly like a Tim Horton's this morning.

No, it didn't smell like a guy named Tim, nor any particular part of his anatomy. For those of you who have never traveled up into the Frozen Wasteland north of the Mason-Dixon line, you are probably unaware of the overwhelming presence of Tim Horton's in those parts.

Tim Horton's is a donut/coffee shop. Sure, they sell muffins and soups and sandwiches, but those comprise maybe 15% of total sales. At the Timster's, coffee and donuts are king. Canucks go apeshit for Tim Horton's. In the mornings, there will be lines of cars circling the stores waiting to go through the drive-thru for the morning fix of caffeine and crullers. Those of us who didn't know any better would force open our sleet-covered car doors and slip & slide through the raging blizzard over the iced-over parking lot to go inside the store. Inside, you would find only Tim Horton's employees, Yanks, and recent immigrants. All native-born Canucks were going through the drive-thru.

So, how popular are Tim Horton's? Let me put it this way. On the drive from my downtown hotel to the client site, a distance of about 8 miles, I passed 5 of them. That's on normal city streets, mind you, not passing by large commercial areas. They are everywhere! I just wonder how long it will take them to start selling gasoline and Pampers, and drive all the convenience stores out of business.

Occasionally, you'd see a donut shop or a coffee shop that wasn't a Tim Horton's. They were rare occasions, involving old claptrap buldings, and usually entailed driving to the dodgy part of town. While I don't deny the existence of Starbuck's franchises in Canada, I surmise that the low ratio of Starbuck stores to Canuckistanians is due to denim & plaid-wearing yobs beating the crap out of prospective Starbuck's franchisees with hockey sticks, then retiring to Tim Horton's for coffee & Timbits.

I kinda wish we had a few Tim Horton's down here. I could give a damn about the coffee, but they had great donuts, and were always clean and well-run. (Canadians, your mileage may vary, but the TH's in Ontario were on top of their game.)

Down here, it's hard to get a decent donut. Krispy Kreme has invaded Texas, but while they're good, they're also pricy as hell, and not easy to find. There are no more Dunkin' Donuts within driving distance, or Winchell's inside of Texas, and Shipley's really sucks ass. I don't even bother with the hole-in-the-wall independents, as they usually only change their fry-o-later oil once a year, and the donuts end up tasting like rancid hockey pucks.

Sigh. The nearest Winchell's is in Oklahoma City, and the nearest Tim Horton's is in Ashland, Kentucky. Looks like another box of Entenmann's Pop-em's to quell my donut-hole jones...