Tim Hortons’ Valen-Tims enough to drive Cupid to Starbucks

I’m imagining how my wife might react if I got her a Valentine’s Day card from Tim Hortons.

She’d smile and read the message aloud: “Will You Be My Valen-Tims?” She’d laugh, assuming this was a joke. I’d be standing close, not laughing, tenderly caressing her shoulders with bedroom eyes. Then when she realized this was not a gag to throw her off, say, a pair of diamond earrings I was concealing behind my back, she’d offer a tepid thanks, excuse herself and go upstairs to secretly call Telehealth Ontario to see if I might be suffering from a brain injury.

“You’re a Dream Donut Come True.”

“You Make My Heart Beat Double Double.”

“You Are Mug-Nificent.”

Those are three other “Valen-Tims” the beloved coffee house unveiled this week as part of a 16-card set available via contest to any Canadian who is presumably not familiar with the expression “in the doghouse.” That’s where you will end up if you hand your loved one a card this Valentine’s Day that pun-ponders romantic existentialism: “Where Have You Bean All My Life?”

In a press release forwarded to me by more than one colleague on Wednesday — for some strange reason, I’m not on Timmies’ distribution list — the company is now assuming the role of Cupid.

It’s like the Gap trying to horn in on Friday’s National Working Naked Day.

It makes no sense.

From the press release: “Whether you want to tell that special someone in your life that they’ve ‘Iced Capp-tured Your Heart,’ that “Muffin Compares To You,’ or ‘You’re My Best-Tea,’ there’s a perfect card in the Valen-Tims collection for that sentiment!”

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Right. This is only “perfect” if the ulterior goal is to sip gross java on a train to Splitsville.

I’m sorry, Tim Hortons. Really. One of my 2024 resolutions was to be nice to you. But you maniacs are a box of Timbits filled with more hare-brained marketing schemes than Canadian Tire has tires. You don’t see the Star encouraging Canadians to snag a print copy and then cut out and glue down random headline letters to create bespoke Valentine’s Day cards. You know why? We don’t want the lovers of our readers to fear they are in relationships with serial killers.

Leave the holiday greetings to Hallmark. When I need to a sympathy card, I don’t go to Taco Bell. On my wedding anniversary, I don’t hit up Burger King and ask a clerk to scrawl a message to my wife on a Whopper wrapper: “Babes, you are the juicy tomatoes to my flame-grilled beef.”

Valentine’s Day and fast food are as incompatible as Labour Day and foreign sweatshops. It’s why McDonald’s isn’t pushing heart-shaped McNuggets this month that come with honey dipping sauce and a pun-tastic bon mot from Grimace.

They know this would just make your loved one grimace. And then file for divorce.

Tim Horton’s keeps expanding into merch, into partnerships with Justin Bieber, into an array of beverages on the tundra side of the Celsius scale. All while still failing to produce a cup of hot coffee that does not induce gagging. I’d drink a brew of fava beans filtered through Valen-Tims and left to percolate in an asbestos carafe before I’d hoist a double-double to my lips.

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You’re not selling coffee, Tim Hortons. You’re getting away with mediocrity.

Fix the core product before you start moonlighting in the tertiary.

Now instead of just taking Canadian taste buds for granted, you’re jeopardizing the relationships of my compatriots? How can I ignore this and stay quiet when I just fell out of my chair after reading this: “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, I Love You As Much As A Timmies Brew.”

You love me as much as a cheap cup of joe that should come with Gravol?

If someone told me there was now a sleeper cell operating inside Tim Horton’s, sent by a competitor to sabotage the company from within, I’d be less shocked than when I was forced to taste-test the Cold Brew. My tongue has never recovered. My tongue has PTSD!

And now my heart and soul are reeling from these Valen-Tims.

Mug-nificent? Only a mug in a doomed relationship would try to get away with word play that clumsy and bad on Valentine’s Day. Why not just tell your significant other they melt your heart like a Bacon Grilled Cheese? Or that your destinies are commingled like a Strawberry Watermelon Real Fruit Quencher? Or that their beautiful eyes remind you of the Fiesta Farmer’s Wrap?

Timmies, since you’re obsessed with puns and rhymes and hyphens and the letters T-I-M, here’s a verse, free of charge, your customers can borrow to update their relationship statuses on social media after Feb. 14: “I got my sweetheart a Valen-Tims / She ran over it with my rims / I overes-tim-ated the in-tim-ation / She said there is no chance of reconciliation.”

I mean, honestly. Anyone who thinks a Valen-Tims is a great idea needs a lobotimmie.

“You’re Sweeter Than a Tims Chocolate Dip Donut!”

“I Love You To Timbits.”

“Our Love Is Always Fresh.”

Somewhere, even Cupid is gagging on his way to Starbucks.


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