Academic Probation
Adrienne Shumlich/the Gauntlet

Reason for Tim Hortons lineup discovered

Publication YearIssue Date 

A student at the University of Calgary has offered an explanation for why he joins the Tim Hortons lineup when it is the longest one in the food court. The phenomenon of students queuing in not one, but two, Tim Hortons lineups has baffled U of C researchers for years. Studies show it also baffles anyone not addicted to Tim Hortons.

“I feel enlightened. It’s like meditating,” third-year biology student Frank Mason said, explaining why he joined a line over 20 people long. “I really just love standing in line.”

Mason had another shocking confession. 

“I just love how generic the food tastes. Every time I go to Tim Hortons, it’s exactly the same — it’s comforting. I hate trying new food,” Mason said, while he ate a turkey bacon club and an ice cap. Along with a Boston cream, this food comprises Mason’s “usual.” 

Mason believes that standing in line has been better for his soul than yoga and tai chi, although he has tried both. 

“I just love waiting,” Mason repeated. “It’s how I’ve achieved inner peace.” 

Mason’s friend, third-year geology student Rick Shepard, also loves standing in the Tim Hortons line, but for different reasons. 

“I love coming into MacHall at lunch time, when both lines dominate the food court. It actually excites me,” said Shepard, with a double-double crazed look in his eyes. 

Shepard confessed to comparing the lines, and joining the longer one because he loves waiting for Tim Hortons food that much. 

“Sometimes I grumble and complain about how long the line is, but that’s just for show. I simply love standing there. I feel like I’m a part of something because there are so many other students standing and waiting with me,” said Shepard.

Shepard has tried standing in lines for other vendors, but he says that none of the others really do it for him like the Tim Hortons line, which is why he keeps coming back. 

“It’s the highlight of my day to wait for my ice cap. It’s not like the food tastes better than anywhere else on campus, but I just love standing and waiting for it,” explained Shepard.

Despite the generic taste, Shepard maintained that Tim Hortons does have variety. 

“They’re always coming out with a new type of food,” he exclaimed. “Those paninis? Magic. And all the different types of breakfast sandwiches? Fuck-my-life fantastic.”

Researchers have been flummoxed for several years now as to why U of C students need to stand in the Tim Hortons line for so long. U of C anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists and even biologists have done countless studies, but have not been able to wrap their heads around the long Tim Hortons lineups in MacHall. 

Psychologist Martin Hull has this explanation, though. 

“It’s what we call the ‘lemming effect,’ where as soon as one member of the species does something, other members nearby do it too, for no apparent reason,” said Hull. 

Hull has watched students, drawn by an almost magnetic pull, come into MacHall and, without noticing anything else, join the Tim Hortons lines. 

“The ‘lemming effect’ is an evolutionary adaptation for species that have limited mental capacity. It’s fascinating to observe this effect in students. I wonder what that says about our species,” Hull continued. 

Sociologist Dr. Belinda Gerber studies behavioural patterns in different societies. 

“This is one of the least effective ways of procuring food,” Gerber stated. “Why, for the love of all things nutritious and tasty, would they stand in such a long line?”

The students show signs of strong habituation and repetitive behaviours, Gerber explained. 

“They compulsively come back to the lineup every day,” she said. “Frankly, it’s bizarre. And disturbing.”