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But after the most basic prize, your chance of winning a $100 Tim’s Card becomes one in 10,438. Odds of winning the top prize of a Toyota Rav4 are one in 6,546,585. To bring in the age-old comparison, you literally have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than drinking a coffee and ending up with a new vehicle.
Yet consumption of these cups is pushed on consumers. Someone with a reusable coffee mug will still be offered a promotional paper cup - for the sole purpose of rolling its rim, likely to see the words “please play again.” People can even receive a cup, no purchase required, by sending a letter to Tim Horton’s headquarters.
And while this may be fun for the buyer, it comes at an environmental cost.
The Tim Horton’s website says that while the cups are recyclable, not all recycling programs currently accept them. Even in the stores themselves, recycling bins for cups are not always available. Add to that a consumer culture that is used to throwing away cups as soon as it gets its fix, and you have the potential for 260,959,840 cups to show up in the landfill.
The advertising ploys are well executed to convince consumers that, after all these statistics, buying an extra coffee or taking the extra cup is a good idea.
But it would be wrong to put all the blame on the corporate giant. Clearly consumers think it’s worth it. Unless they are desperate for the food calories of a donut a week and can’t afford the 93 cents, it quite clearly is not.
On April 26 when Roll up the Rim ends, 40 Canadians might have a new car, but millions of coffee cups will have a new home in the landfill.