7th Circle of Hell

Continuing on my little Canadian track, today I thought I’d talk about my time at Tim Hortons – or as I like to call it, the 7th Circle of Hell.

hipster coffee mornings quirky eating out

I’ve made this reference before, but working at Tim Hortons really is like having a dementor suck all the happiness out of your life. I would be having the most spectacular day, heading into work in a good mood, and as soon as I put on my visor and clocked into my shift, I would have an instant headache. The vibe in that place killed all happiness

el chapo escapes

provided via giphy.com

I’ve worked at 2 different Tim Hortons over the course of my life. First, when I was 15/16. It was in Kitchener. Thankfully it was in a gas station so we weren’t open 24/7. I was hired with the understanding that I wouldn’t be able to work Sunday mornings because of church, and the manager said she would make a note of getting me out at a decent time on Saturday nights as well to accompany that. At first it was good. Then an odd Sunday morning shift would appear on my schedule. I would mention it to my manager and she would say “Oh I’m sorry I forgot! Is it ok just this once?” I should have said no, but it being my first real job, I said ok, just this once.

Being a high school student meant that I would work after school as well. Again it started off as good shifts, 330-830 or something like that. But after I started taking a firm stance on my Sunday mornings off, I started being scheduled until 11 on school nights, including Friday, and then opening on Saturdays (having to be at the store by 5:45am), then closing on Sunday nights (11pm). It was a rough time.

Once, I had spent the entire night before throwing up, so as soon as I could I called into work sick. I was told by the manager for the day that I had to come into work. Again, it was my first job so I went. After taking a good half an hour to stop crying at home. Thankfully they sent me home after the busiest part of the morning was over.

Once I actually fainted at this place. It was around 6:30am in the middle of summer so just at opening. One minute I was perfectly fine, the next I had a sharp pain in my side and my vision went all black. I guess I freaked everyone out when I went down. I hit my head off the top of the toaster, then the edge of the counter, before landing on the concrete floor. I woke up on my back, but don’t know if that’s how I fell. I was taken to the hospital where the ridiculous male doctor told me it was from period cramps (I didn’t even have it!) and that “women are more sensitive to sharp pain” and then sent me home with instructions to make sure someone was watching me while I slept for the next 24 hours incase of a concussion.

I lasted a full 9 months at that job.

The next time I worked at Tim Hortons, it was out of necessity. I was living in Huron County after returning from Korea. I got back in November and took about a month off before trying to find a job. I didn’t have a car so I was confined to the small town I lived in, which only has mom and pop run stores, and Tim Hortons. There is also a casino but you’d have to be like a blood relative to the mafia to get in there. So in January I applied, and in January I started.

I had previously come from a unionized job, so starting here I was shocked that in an 8.5 hour shift I was only given two 15 minute breaks. Apparently that is legal so there was nothing I could do about it. I actually checked – at this job I started standing up for myself (and others) more.

Working here, I lasted until August. Although I left because I was moving away for teacher’s college. This job allowed me to add to my savings enough to buy a car and to take a trip to Scotland for a week. After teacher’s college, I spent about a month trying to get a job in Kitchener where I was living, but had to make the hard choice of moving back home. I had enough money to last for one more month of expenses, or I could move. So I called up my old boss, was guaranteed an afternoon full time spot and later that week I was packed and moved.

This time, after a month I was moved up to a supervisor and I saw the owners for the real horrible people they were. It was a married couple and they took advantage of everyone working there. Especially since they knew there were no other jobs in the town and most of the people working there had kids to support and no form of transportation.

Workers were forced to take midnight shifts, pull double shifts, work when sick/injured, work with less than the legal limit of 11 hours between shifts. Even with a doctor’s note saying one lady was legitimately sick, she still got written up for missing work. A few weeks later her father died and she didn’t call in sick, she showed up the same day because she knew if she called in she would get written up again.

After I quit, benefit payments kept being taken off the remaining pay that was owed to me -the owner said that they pay benefits after the working period, as oppose to every other benefits company in the history of the world who has payment at the beginning of the working period not the end. I was bullied and lied to, forced to work/clean machines I wasn’t properly trained on, written up for jobs I had never agreed to take on etc. Yet I still stayed for just over 2 years.

It’s so true that you can do things when you tell yourself “it’s only for a few months”. I kept telling myself that I would have a teaching job and that Tim Hortons was only for a few months. But even with a spot on the supply list, I still had to work there just to have enough money to cover my bills (which honestly wasn’t that much considering I was living at home). I finally had enough and quit, ending in the middle of August, but the loathing that I have for those owners I don’t think will ever go away.

There were some good parts to working there, mostly the people I worked with and the regular customers. Once I got myself back onto an afternoon shift (the 8th circle of hell is reserved for the person who made up the horrible morning rules), I had a great team of teenagers to work with. Yes I had to give up every single weekend for two years, but the people I worked with were amazing.

I made some great friends out of the customers as well. If I was sick, they would notice. They found me after I quit and would tell me how they had stopped going because the new vibe wasn’t up to my bubbliness.

Then of course there were the people my own age. I made a few good friends while working there – and a few crushes too 😉 Mr. Crush sent me this video one day while I was on my break

Ps: everything in this video is basically true. Except it IS called a triple triple. Which is exactly what Mr Crush ordered, and why he sent it to me. So the next time he came in, I said “ew it’s called a triple coronary” “oo are you going to drink from it now too?” so I did! I drink double doubles, so had no idea what a TT tasted like (ew just cream and sugar). Unfortunately an assistant manager was working, saw the flirting going on, and I got told to just ask him out already! and yelled at for drinking from a customer’s cup…..as if that’s a rule!! His beautiful face and tattooed chest made working there so much better. I would literally stand off to the side on a slow night and talk to him for 40 minutes straight. Being supervisor meant that I had to delegate, so I did which meant I was always free to stand and flirt talk.

We also once had a town lock down while I was working. Got to lock all the doors and windows, send all the customers home, and only run the drive thru. Had to lock Mr. Crush and his friends out of the store though…..but he did stick around until my shift finished and walked me to my car to make sure I got there safely. All of the (literally) 5 steps from the door. *girlish sigh* good memories….

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