THE BLOG

Why I'm Boycotting Tim Hortons

03/13/2014 12:21 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 05:59 EDT

I've been blogging for almost two years now and I sort of have my own personal guidelines before I decide to submit my post for review. One of those rules is trying not to single out an individual or a corporation. As the old saying goes: rules are meant to be broken.

I believe that no corporation or human is perfect and we are all prone to making mistakes. What really matters though is what we take away from those mistakes, what we learn from, and what we do to correct them to try and prevent them from happening again in the future.

Like many Canadians I love to indulge in a cup of Tim Hortons coffee. They're Canadian, there are lots of them, and they're affordable. And who doesn't love their infamous Rrrrollll Up The Rim to Win contest? I am willing to put my pride aside and in fact boycott Tim Hortons indefinitely.

Tim Hortons front-line staff seems to have challenges when it comes to serving their customers.

Here are some examples:

In 2010 a London, Ontario boy in medical distress was not allowed to use the restaurant's phone during an asthma attack. The company's response according to The Toronto Sun: The employee didn't realize the boy was in medical distress

In 2013, Tim Hortons blocked the website of Canadian LGBT newspaper Daily Xtra. The site was blocked by Tim Horton's daily wifi vendor because the website "is not appropriate for all ages viewing in a public environment." A spokesperson later apologized and said Daily Xtra should have never been blocked in the first place.

On Wednesday, CTV News reported that a Montreal man alleges he was attacked after he tried to place an order in English. A front-line staff member refused to serve him in English. Tim Hortons says they're reviewing the incident.

Also on Wednesday, CTV News reported a London, Ontario man was kicked out of Tim Hortons after an employee mistook a man's 3-wheeled scooter wheelchair for a regular electric scooter.

You're probably wondering what a mental health advocate is doing writing about this issue and why it bothers me so much. It should bother all of us. In addition to being a mental health advocate I am also an advocate for equal rights and believe diversity enriches all of us.

Tim Hortons employs tens of thousands of Canadians and many of them serve people each and everyday without problem. Every large corporation has been in the media at one point or another for the mistakes it has made. However, with some training and some diligence mistakes such as those made at Tim Hortons can be prevented.

It is clear that some Tim Hortons employees are either ignorant or lack understanding on how to better serve customers who don't fall under the 'status-quo' who are unique. I am even willing to bet most employees don't mean to discriminate but nonetheless their actions are disturbing and sloppy.

Tim Hortons should take pride that their customer base is unique, it is a place that Canadians from all walks of life gather. However, I can no longer support a company that lacks respect for its customer base. Quite frankly, I am tired of opening up a newspaper and seeing the company issue yet another apology for being ignorant towards a customer who clearly can't help that's the way they are.

I am hopeful Tim Hortons is ashamed as well but until its management, franchisees, and front-line staff get the memo that these kinds of things are unacceptable and start changing their behavior, I'll choose another Canadian business to buy my daily cup of java from.

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