Roll Up The Rim for the wrong reasons

By in Opinions

A hallmark of the second semester for university students nationwide is Tim Hortons’ Roll Up The Rim To Win contest. However, should students play to win, or is there more to life than what’s waiting under the lid of their coffee cups?

It’s early Monday morning and you’ve just stepped off the bus — where is the first place on campus that you choose to visit? For many students, the simple answer is Tim Hortons — or more specifically, the inevitably long line-up in front of the Canadian coffee shop.

With four locations on campus, it’s not too hard to get your hands on a promotional cup. Trash bins will no doubt be filled with their torn and mangled remnants until the end of this year’s contest.

The odds of winning are not too bad — approximately 30 million free coffee prizes and 12.85 million doughnut prizes are up for grabs nationwide, and the overall odds of winning at least something are one in six. There are also cash, gift card and television prizes to be won.

Additionally, despite what the rumour mill might lead you to believe, according to Tim Hortons’ official Facebook page, if you roll up the rim and win one of 38 Honda Civics in Canada, it’s yours to keep. Tim Hortons doesn’t just pay for you to lease the car, but actually gives it to you.

It seems awfully generous of this multi-million-dollar corporation to be handing out free cars and beverages, doesn’t it?

However, the principle of the promotion is to sell more goods. As such, some students might feel wary of buying into the hype, if only because a coffee habit can get expensive.

Jessica Quan, a third-year political studies student, recalls an experience winning the $100 Tim’s gift card prize during the 2015 Roll Up The Rim season. Sitting in an early morning English class, she got much more than just her regular double-double.

“While I was rolling up the rim, I noticed something different — there were numbers and letters printed. I didn’t think much of it but I kept on rolling it and it said I had won the $100 gift card. I started freaking out and everyone was just kind of looking at me. It was a big lecture and I created a disturbance,” Quan said.

Despite winning big last year, Quan doesn’t plan to increase her Tim Hortons purchases this year. In fact, she says she has been spending less time at the chain.

“I think I just kind of realized that the hype wasn’t worth it. Maybe it’s because I’m winning less this year — maybe I’m angsty towards corporations. Plus, I think reusable mugs are much more sustainable,” Quan said. 

Roll Up The Rim is genius marketing. All of the essential components to a good advertising campaign come together to literally become a part of our national culture. There’s even a smartphone app where players can win music downloads and gift cards.

Still, the most important thing to remember this Roll Up The Rim season is to stay true to your values. Don’t want to directly support a corporation? Try visiting a local coffee shop like Collective Coffee or Drift Sidewalk Café in Saskatoon. Can’t justify spending more money or producing more waste for only a chance to win another beverage? Make your own cup of joe at home and bring a reusable mug.

Lastly, if you do decide to play the game, play smart and save your losing rims for 20 per cent off any hot beverage at Louis’ Loft.

Emily Migchels