Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mmmm... donuts

How often have you been in a store or a restaurant while a child has been crying and/or begging for something nearby? How often have you felt the urge to go ahead and give the child what they are craving, especially if said item is small? How often have you lost your job because of it?

That's what happened to a Tim Hortons employee from London, Ontario. Seeing a distressed toddler who wanted nothing more than a Timbit (which are kind of like doughnut holes), the woman decided to help out, and gave the sugary treat to the youngster. Unfortunately, when the cameras caught her giving away product, the woman was fired. This is especially disheartening because the treat itself retails for 16-cents.

Yes, you read that correctly. For "theft" of less than a quarter, and for probably providing a little peace of mind to the people around the distraught child, the woman was fired. Thankfully, there is a happy ending to the story, as the chain has realized their mistake, and are working on the details to rehire the woman, plus pay for the time since she was cut loose.

While we commend the corporation for coming forward (admittedly, not without media pressure, but come forward they did) to try and fix the error caused by the "overzealous decision" of a manager, we still have to question overall what kind of culture leads to such a manager being that concerned over the loss of a 16-cent ball of dough. It's not like the woman was stealing a tank's worth of gas, or the latest video game system to try and quiet this child down. They were simply handing over a doughy, fried ball. Having worked in the food industry, we have to admit to having done similar things ourselves. While we've never given away anything too ridiculous, either in size or price, we also never offered something as inexpensive as a single doughnut ball.

Maybe the manager was afraid that the child had some super-sensitive taste buds, and by having a mere taste, they would be able to identify all the ingredients that make Tim Hortons so popular in Canada. Perhaps they were simply trying to protect industry secrets. Or maybe they just overreacted to an employee doing something nice for a customer.

After all, it was just a doughnut hole. Or Timbit, if you prefer.

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