I don’t often go to Tim Hortons, but I ended up there tonight because my Thursday night knitting group (yes, that’s a story in itself) was temporarily relocated from our usual spot. I headed to the counter to get myself a herbal tea and was immediately horrified by a little sign beside the cash:
“The names of our hot cup sizes have shifted to accommodate our brand new 24oz Extra Large cup. For example, a large Double-Double will become a medium Double-Double. There isn’t a change in the price or amount of beverage – it’s only the name of the size that’s changing.” (original emphases)
I felt like I was watching “Super Size Me” all over again. Most North Americans know there’s a widespread problem with portion sizes being too big, yet companies will continue to offer them and people will continue to buy them, drink them, and get progressively unhealthier – that is, if they’re drinking the most popular “double-doubles” (2 sugars + 2 creams, I learned after googling it, because that’s how little I know about their coffee menu!) and not herbal teas. Twenty-four ounces is equal to 3 cups of liquid… 3 CUPS! That’s one heck of a lot of juice to pee out within the following hour. An adult stomach is also supposed to max out at 32 oz of liquid or food, so one extra-large cup is basically three-quarters of a meal. (Perhaps they reasoned that it leaves one quarter for a donut.)
Is there consumer demand for this new extra-large size, I wonder? Are people buying 2 mediums (10 oz each) when they go through the drive-thru? Or is this merely a marketing experiment? With a bit more research, I was quite interested to learn that 24-oz has already been established as the extra-large in Tim Hortons’ numerous American locations, while it remained 20 oz here in Canada. I guess we Canadians felt we had to catch up with the Americans. How disappointing. Why not stand up as an example of self-control and show them that we’re satisfied with less… because it’s better for us! It seems that it’s too darn tough to pull away from instinctive human obsession over value: quality vs. quantity. Sadly, the prices are usually better for the bigger portions.