Co-inky-dink or not Co-inky-dink: Is the Cult of Tim Horton’s for Real?



Co-inky-dink or not Co-inky-dink: Is the Cult of Tim Horton’s for Real?

RODSERLINGGrumpy spent his misspent youth watching a lot of television, an object his father, Joe, referred to as the “boob-tube”. Of particular interest were episodes of the TWILIGHT ZONE, a series that showcased odd events of fantasy, science fiction and the supernatural. Rod Serling called this unusual place another dimension, “. . . a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man.” He described it as a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity; the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.

Today Grumpy calls this middle ground Tim Horton’s Donuts and Coffee. He believes that the cult of Timmies surely has equal power to that of the influence of anything found in the TWILIGHT ZONE.

This trip to and from Florida exists as a case in point.

Grumpy will set the scene this way.

One of the last acts the Grumpy’s complete before they cross the border at Windsor is to hit up the Timmies near the University of Windsor. (Grumpy has a Tim Horton locator-app on his cellphone.) The Grumpy’s know they will not likely have an opportunity for a “Roll-Up-The-Rim” until one week hence. Believe me, that last coffee is sipped down to the very last drop.

timmiesIt goes without saying that upon the return trip north, the closer one gets to the Canadian border, the more the Grumpy’s begin to crave that long lost cup of Java.  As we drove away from Saddle Bag Lake the father-in-law remarked, “By the way, there’s a Tim’s the second exit on the I-90, going east to Buffalo!” You see we decided to avoid the traffic of I-75 and head back to Canada via another route. (I-95 to I-77 to I-79)

Indeed, upon making the big turn at Erie, PA that Timmies sign bloomed like a searchlight, drawing us in like a powerful electromagnet. Neither the car, nor the driver could resist.


As is their routine, the Grumpy’s visited the rest room first, emerging refreshed and with bladders capable of holding a large double D!

As Grumpy walked to line up at the counter he heard these words from the Good Wife.

“Oh my God, Doug, what are you doing here?”

Say what?

Turning around he saw his brother-in-law’s father and mother, his brother-in-law and his nephew coming through the door. The Grumpy’s and the Wilson’s had arrived at this Tim’s at the exact same moment, over a thousand miles from where they had holidayed together in Lake Wales, Florida.

Now this event was remarkable given that, the Wilson’s left Florida much earlier, stop more often than the Grumpy’s, and take full meals on their breaks. As it turned out, they had stayed overnight one exit apart from the Grumpy’s in West Virginia the night before.

To arrive at the Timmies in Erie at the exact same moment in time had to be more than a mere co-inky-dink. It was really quite EERIE!

Stare at this and repeat, "I love Timmies Coffee! 50 TIMES!

Stare at this and repeat, “I love Timmies Coffee! 50 TIMES!

There were so many factors that would suggest this was impossible – traffic delays, weather, number of stops, highway speed, and Grumpy’s propensity for getting lost. This had to be a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity; the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition – THE TWILIGHT ZONE!

Nonetheless, there is real science to prove this magnetic cult like effect Timmies has upon us. This is why the Grumpy’s were drawn to Erie and why after over 1000 miles two independent drivers with different driving modes ended up in the exact same place at the exact same time. Let’s call it the “TIMMIES EFFECT”.

Researchers describe this as “(a) company’s decision to present itself as an essential part of the practises of Canadian life has successfully created traditions that link the firm with individual, daily activities.”

Stated more academically (bafflegab) this approach leads to an “appeal (that) helps to solidify the feeling that Tim Hortons is an essential part of a project of nation-building precisely because the schematic narrative can be understood by most citizens across the country. In so doing, Tim Horton’s has gained the reputation as one of the most, if not the most, Canadian companies in the nation.”

Say what?

In a nutshell we are drawn to Tim Horton’s because it’s the Canadian way! It’s our habit, eh!

You can read the whole darned thing here.

 History as social memory assets: The example of Tim Hortons: William M. Foster, Roy Suddaby, Alison Minkus and Elden Wiebe: Management & Organizational History 2011 6: 101

 And, Grumpy would add that their coffee is damn good, too! A sip of Timmies Coffee makes its American counterpart seem as if you’re drinking sewer sludge by comparison.

But did you know there is a ridiculous urban legend that suggests “a sinister ploy by the coffee company to ensure that customers return, by adding nicotine to the coffee.”


 Oh, really? If so – get me the Coffee Patch, STAT!

 Anyway, whether it was a co-inky-dink, a habit or a cultish obsession, meeting up with the Wilson’s made our day, particularly since we had missed an opportunity back in Florida to wish our nephew, Justin, a safe trip home. We did it then and there with a hug in Erie PA. – despite the fact we were only a hop, a slip and a jump from home.

GRUMPY: “Safe trip, Justin!”

JUSTIN: “Thanks. Hey, by the way, I never got to ask you. How did you get all of those scratches on you arms, Uncle Grumpy?”

GRUMPY: “Let’s just say a little too much Agave tequilana, buddy!”

JUSTIN: “Huh?”

GRUMPY: “Never mind. See ya in Canada!””

So, that is the rest of the story. You know that Grumpy will continue to stumble through the Twilight Zone, just as he has continued to do through many a “Jimbo Moment” in these blogs. Really, Grumpy’s life is all about the unexplained and the bizarre and then some.

Do-Do-Do-Do……….. Do-Do-Do-Do!


2 thoughts on “Co-inky-dink or not Co-inky-dink: Is the Cult of Tim Horton’s for Real?

  1. It is funny that you met at Tim Horton’s – and in the same way that Kim and Bill met the Wilson’s by the firehall in Winterhaven – following each other into the gate. Steve and family left at 4:30 – stopping for the night. Kim and Bill leaving at midnight – yet arriving together.

    Love Leslie

    • That first incident just makes the second one that much stranger. Must be the power of the “SHERMAN” family magnetism. Hard to be apart for long. LOL

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