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Lynn Johnston on the upsized Tim Hortons cup (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
Lynn Johnston on the upsized Tim Hortons cup (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

DRAWN OFF TOPIC

Cartoonist Lynn Johnston on upsized Tim Hortons coffee cups Add to ...

Lynn Johnston’s cartoon strip on family life, For Better or For Worse , runs in more than 2,000 newspapers worldwide.

Are you a coffee drinker?

I am. I love coffee.

Would you be an addict?

I don’t know that I am now. I was. Now I am a connoisseuress of good coffee.

How many cups would you have a day?

Four.

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Is outside coffee better than what you can brew at home?

Not necessarily. I live out in the country. So it means a ride into town. We have a lovely little private coffee shop here in North Bay. They roast and grind their own coffee. That’s my joint of choice.

Who was Tim Horton?

He was a hockey player. I believe one of the first Tim Hortons was a burger joint in North Bay. I do remember his image was on the cups at Tim Hortons coffee places years ago. Then they did an image overhaul and became the icon we recognize today.

Are you a big coffee drinker in terms of cup size? What is your standard order?

Medium.

Which has now become a “small” at Tim Hortons. The names of all their cup sizes have gone down one rank to accommodate the introduction of a new 24-ounce “extra large.” How big is “too big”?

People now have these mega-mugs of coffee, these thermal mega-mugs that look the size of a chamber pot. Maybe if you are a truck driver and wear a special apparatus and can relieve yourself at regular intervals, that would do. But my kidneys couldn’t support anything like that.

The public’s kidneys must. Tim Hortons has said its upsizing was in response to public demand. Are the public dumb and greedy? Would they ever say, “Give us less. More modest portions, please?”

Small seems to have gone the way of the dodo. Have you ever had a coffee in France? They give you a cup of coffee the size of a thimble. And people will sit at a table and drink that thing for an hour! It’s really potent and often very sweet, but it’s kind of a neat little tradition. Here in North America, we are determined that bigger is better.

As a woman, I’ve taken note of cup sizes. Larger cup sizes do not always contain a better product …

This upsizing trend seems to me to be very American. Is this one more instance of Canadians aping an American “bigger is better” mentality?

The people are bigger, too. You used to never be able to buy size 24 jeans. Now you can, but those jeans could cover a Volkswagen! It’s common. And along with that goes a larger cup size, too, I guess. We’ll have to see if it flies in Canada. Certainly, it’ll fly from bathroom to bathroom.

Cup size … I don’t care. I don’t go to Tim Hortons any more. I think the flavour has not kept up with the raucous advertising. It’s the name, the brand, the tradition that brings everybody there, but I don’t think the coffee is that great, myself. My suggestion to them is the larger cup size won’t bring me in, but I might stop more often if the lid didn’t cut my upper lip and wreck my lipstick.

What they should do instead of putting all their energy into a larger cup is re-engineer that terrible lid. Why can’t they put a little hole in them like other lids? Why do you have this fold-back flap that doesn’t work? It sticks under your nose and you have an awful time fitting your upper lip into that triangle slice of plastic.

Will other outlets have to respond to Tim Hortons upsizing? Will we see an escalating coffee “arms race”? Tim’s extra large is 24 ounces. Will Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts have to go to 28 or 30?

They might go to intravenous …

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