Roll Up the Coronavirus to Win

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,"
-Rahm Emanuel, advisor to President Monkey

With the COVID-19 health crisis worsening, Alberta energy-hating Tim Horton's is taking the opportunity to protect public health improve profitability by cancelling Roll Up the Rim except online using their app. If you're asking isn't that the app with all the privacy and functional issues? the answer is yes.

Is there a risk that Roll Up the Rim will increase the chances of Timmy Ho customers getting the coronavirus? Tiny, but sure. Is there a risk that continuing to use Roll Up cups will hurt the company bottom line? Absolutely.

Just like the charging for plastic bags scam lets companies reduce costs and make you thank them for it using nonsense environmental justifications, this activity will save Tim Horton's money by getting the column-inches and (most of) the sales improvement the annual contest brings without the bothersome problem of actually giving away a lot of the prizes.

You see, when you go to an online/email model instead of a physical model, the number of people who redeem their prizes is significantly reduced. I can't find any figures on the web but I've heard less than half. It's similar to the reason companies love "e-billing": they know that the number of emails we all receive mean the odds of us missing an email about a bill increase versus getting a sheet of paper in our mailbox. That means charging those sweet sweet late fees which drive a surprising amount of the income of utilities. So when you get an "e-coupon" from Tim Hortons instead of a physical piece of wax-covered paper, you are less likely to remember to cash it in. Sure the physical ones can get lost too, but in reality going to an all-electronic freebie model means they have to give away fewer free coffees and doughnuts. Obviously the chances of you winning a RAV4 and forgetting about it because you don't read the "you just won a RAV4" email often enough to stick it in your brain is basically zero. But free coffees? Will people other than regular daily users of the app remember them?

The only health impact from this change is to the bottom line: Tim Horton's is going to make a killing on the new Roll Up the Rim promotion.