Tuesday, November 15, 2005

CSI: Tim Hortons

I can’t turn on the TV without seeing that mysterious Tim Hortons "hot smoothie" commercial.

The one where the colour-blind woman is painting her living room hot pink and her husband comes home and says, "Wow! It really is pink." She asks if he likes it and he says he does. Except she doesn’t realize he’s talking about the pink drink in his hand, not the colour of the living room wall. Hilarity ensues.

It’s not the most original commercial but it’s powerful. Every time I see it, I want to vomit.

It’s the close-up of the frothy pink concoction inside the cup that triggers my gag reflex. It looks about as appetizing as a steaming hot cup of Pepto-Bismol. Did they have to made it such a toxic shade of pink? And what is a hot smoothie anyway?

So I decided to head straight to the scene of the crime to do some deep undercover research. I walked up to the Tim Hortons counter and asked the hard-hitting investigative questions.

Tim Hortons employee: Can I help you?

Me: Do you guys sell those hot smoothies?

Tim's: Yup.

Me: Um…I’m just wondering what's in them.

Tim's: It's a vanilla base with a flavour.

Me: So there's no coffee in it?

Tim's: No.

Me: Is there caffeine in it?

Tim's: No. Just a flavour.

Me: What flavour is the pink one?

Tim's: Raspberry.

Me: Are there raspberries in it?

Tim's: No. Just a flavour.

Me: Are they popular?

Tim's: Oh yes (nods her head vigorously).

Me: Have you tried them?

Tim's: Yup.

Me: Do you like them?

Tim's: Uh-huh. Yeah. But I like the hazelnut one the best.

Me: Okay. I’ll try a small raspberry one.

Tim's: Okay. $1.35 please.

After she handed me my hot pink hot smoothie, I peeled back the tab on the plastic lid and took a sip. I was pleasantly surprised. It didn’t taste anything like a steaming hot cup of Pepto-Bismol.

It tasted like warmed milk with about 10 teaspoons of sugar. A little too sweet but not as bad as I expected. The fake pink colour was a bit off-putting, though.

After about half a cup, it felt like a sugar bomb had exploded in my stomach. I couldn’t finish it and had to throw it in the garbage.

The verdict? It wasn’t as gross as I thought it would be. But don’t take that as a ringing endorsement. Let’s just say Tim Hortons is guilty -- guilty of selling really bad fake smoothies. Mystery solved.

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