Posts Tagged ‘corporate’

An Ugly Truth About Urban Sprawl

August 13, 2008

Koodo2008081203Another corporate chain has apparently decided to abandon the the Glen Cairn neighbourhood in order to relocate in the new Meadowlilly development to the east. The one which is built on top of what used to be very productive farmland. The one where Wal-Mart apparently has it’s eyes on a location right next to protected green space.

Where are Roger Caranci and Cheryl Miller while this established but demographically poorer area of the city is allowed to degenerate? Do the city councillor’s who were elected to represent the welfare of our residents care at all about the serious negative impact that the migration of businesses out of this area will have on it’s many citizens who will find it extremely difficult (or impossible) to access them in their new locations?

Timmie Rates a ‘Thumbs Down’

May 14, 2008

closed to community valuesIn this post about the Tim Horton’s employee who was fired for giving a Timbit to a baby, I questioned if the company truly cares about the communities in which it’s privileged to make it’s profits, or if everything it does is simply PR-motivated. And I referred to having had some personal experience in that regard.

Over on Dan Brown’s LFP blog (sorry, but you’ll have to search; they don’t provide permalinks) he suggests that “in the collective imagination, the typical Tim Hortons outlet has become the equivalent of a community centre. Their stores now serve the same purpose.” And he asks, “what do you think of my theory?”

Well, truth be told, he directed the question at another regular blogger. So, being as shy as I am about expressing my opinion, I agonized about answering it here. For about 1 second! 😉

I’ve got two different examples to share, which help to explain why I don’t think that the hugely successful coffee franchisor values the communities in which it does business.

The first example involves my experience as a local BookCrosser. I suggest that you read this media article to begin with. And then read the letter that I hand-delivered and never got a reply to.

The second example involves my experience as an active member of my local community association. Specifically, my repeated attempts to acquire permission to post notices of upcoming association meetings and community events in the two local TH franchises. Simply put, the reaction has always been the same… “It’s company policy that we aren’t allowed to put up notices.”

Bah, humbug. Go Scrooge yourselves! 😡

Added 2008/05/18:

Surprise! I received a telephone call on Friday from somebody at the TH head office. After she confirmed that it is company policy that franchises not post notices of community events, she tried to suggest that putting notices in the store windows would obstruct visibility and create an unsafe condition. When I countered that a simple notice could be allowed someplace else (eg. on a wall just inside the entrance) she simply repeated that the chain’s policy was to not allow any 3rd-party ads. Countering that spin, I pointed out that a community association cannot fairly be placed into the same category as a commercial advertiser and that assisting the promotion of a CA would be an excellent way for the chain to demonstrate it’s appreciation for the fact that it is privileged to be able to profit in our community. No dice. The spokesperson simply repeated the “it’s our company policy…” mantra and thanked me for my communication.

What do you think?

Added 2008/05/21:

self-promoThe Timmie’s spokesperson at it’s head office who telephoned me tried to suggest that allowing community-related notices to be posted on it’s premises would ‘junk up’ the environment, but witness what the chain is willing to do itself in order to solicit financial donations from it’s customers.
Kettle = Black?

What do you think?

Other Links:
2008/05/23 – NowPublic: Tiff at Tim Hortons

2008/05/28 – WinExtra: Make sure you count your Timmie change

What does the Tim Horton company value?

May 8, 2008

What does the Tim Horton company value? Besides corporate profit, and positive PR? Anything?

closed to community valuesAfter the local paper hit the stands this morning with the story of a Tim Horton employee who had been fired for giving a Timbit to a baby, I included a link to it in my daily index which I titled ‘Cold-hearted Tim Hortons PR blunder’ 01.

The story was picked up by CP and quickly went national 02. And international 03. And as I had anticipated, the reaction was not favourable for the most successful coffee franchisor in Canadian history.

The coffee chain’s head office did top-notch PR damage control after the story gained wide-spread exposure and “reinstated” the 27 y.o. single mother of four, throwing “an overzealous manager” into the jaws of public opinion in order to protect it’s corporate reputation. But can Tim Hortons head office be excused for what happened? Does Tim Hortons corporate head office actually have a positive outlook on such things as community values, or is it’s intervention simply a case of self-serving deception? Would Tim Hortons corporate head office intervened if the story had remained local? if the incident had been reported to them but not reported in the media at all?

Stay tuned for my follow-up post which will detail my own personal experience with Tim Hortons.

01. 2008/05/08 – LFP: Timbit for baby costs job
02. 2008/05/08 – TorStar: Tim Hortons fires single mom…
03. 2008/05/08 – Digg: Woman fired at Tim Hortons…

Roll Up The Environment

February 28, 2008

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Rumours to the contrary, the Tim Hortons coffee chain is not single-handedly responsible for the deterioration of our natural environment. But it’s certainly one of the culprits.


When Does It Stop Spinning?

February 2, 2008

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The world spins. In fact, I recollect a long time ago being told by a teacher that it’s a good thing, and that if it were ever to stop spinning we’d be in a heap of trouble.


The King of Trans-Fat?

December 21, 2007

Sally Brown (CEO; Heart and Stroke Foundation) labelled Burger King the “King of Trans Fat” earlier today because many of the company’s products still contain unacceptably high levels of trans fats.

Fast-food companies often simply use the chemically changed oils (liquid to artery-clogging semi-solid) in their products because it extends shelf life, and that means increased profit.

“Not all companies are reducing them in all products, but Burger King isn’t reducing them in any products.”

Appended 2007/12/22:

click for larger imageHere’s the BK at Commissioners/Pond Mills in London, Ont; as you can see, being newly-crowned as king of trans fats doesn’t appear to be hurting business any.

2007/12/20 – CBC: …Burger King in the hot seat
2007/12/20 – Toronto Star: Burger King takes … trans fat crown
2007/12/20 – CityNews: …Government Report Names Names
2007/12/21 – Toronto Star: Burger King scores worst on trans fats
2007/12/21 – Globe & Mail: Burger King reigning leader in trans fats
2007/12/31 – Globe & Mail: Calgary cracks down on trans fat

Molson Promo Dissed

November 28, 2007

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It appears that Molson Canada felt compelled to end it’s ‘Campus Challenge‘ contest early, following criticism from the university community that it promoted the abusive use of alcohol. Post-secondary students were enticed to upload their pictures from campus parties, with top honour going to the university which simply had the most submissions.

Given recent media reports about obnoxious Fanshawe student behaviour, it’s a timely reminder that not all students are created equal.

Or corporations either it seems.

2007/11/15 – The Gazette: Memorial is the number one party school?
2007/11/20 – CBC: Molson’s Facebook contest leaves some …
2007/11/21 – Molson bashed over Facebook contest
2007/11/22 – Globe & Mail: Molson photo contest brews up anger
2007/11/25 – Globe & Mail: Molson pulls plug on Facebook photo contest
2007/11/26 – Globe & Mail: Molson ends Facebook contest
2007/11/28 – The Gazette: Molson promo challenged by universities

The Bell Public Art Project

November 17, 2007

During last year’s municipal election campaign, I suggested a number of anti-graffitti remedies that could be tried, including business-sponsored public murals.

According to the City of London website, Bell Canada undertook a pilot project as part of the City of London’s Graffiti Management Strategy. It’s similar to a previous Toronto project that I posted about on my blog last April (click HERE).

Two murals have been painted on utility boxes. One of the boxes is located at the Queens Ave. former library site, and the other one is on Queens Ave. just east of Adelaide St.

Click HERE to see the slideshow of how they’ve done the same thing in Brisbane, Australia!

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Timmy Environmentalism

August 26, 2007

In Save 40 Bucks a Year at Tim Hortons (London Commons; 2007/08/24), Annmarie decries disposable paper cups. And she’s right to do so. Discarded Timmy cups seem to be everywhere. They’re a frequent eyesore at LTC stops, even the relatively few locations that actually happen to have a waste receptacle (I won’t rant about the LTC benches with the built-in but sealed-up waste receptacles here… that merits it’s own future post).

Annmarie suggests that TH’s will reduce the cost of a coffee by 11 cents for those people who bring their own mug. But even if that’s true, should we jump to the conclusion that TH’s cares a hoot about our environment? Isn’t it equally possible that it’s simply a calculated, economic decision? By the time you figure in the purchase/replacement costs, handling/washing, etc. of cups and plates, isn’t it possible that TH’s simply figures that paper products costs the company less? After all, it isn’t as if TH’s has to pay the costs of dealing with discarded product once it leaves their stores. It isn’t as if London levies a tax on such things in order to recoup the cost of having to deal with TH mess.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Ever see one of these? If you’ve ever ordered one of their donuts or cookies, etc. then you’d have to be pretty quick not to. It’s as if all of their employees are trained to give you a paper product by default

And it makes no difference if you happen to be an in-store customer. It doesn’t usually even matter if you specifically tell them that your order is “for here” instead of “to go.” In my experience, it often doesn’t matter if you specifically tell them “I don’t need a bag.”

And of course, each of these orders is accompanied by up to a half-dozen paper napkins. It doesn’t matter that the bag may only contain a single item. It doesn’t matter that each customer table has a dispenser from which the customer can help themself to however many they may require (usually fewer, I’m guessing). It doesn’t matter if they’re used or not. Just toss them in the garbage on your way out.

I haven’t seen much evidence that the Tim Horton company cares about the environment. Oh sure, they spend some of their advertising bucks trying to convince you that they’re a good corporate citizen, but how often do you see any truth in advertising? By extolling you to “Respect the Environment” on the back of their bags, I suppose they’re hoping that you will jump to a conclusion that they care. But does that qualify as proof?

When Tim Horton’s starts to serve up everything on china, by default, and customers are required to specify paper in order to get products that way, then maybe I’ll be willing to consider whether or not they actually give a damn besides anything other than their bottom line.