May 09, 2008


I heard in the news that a single mother of four was fired from her job at Tim Horton's for giving away a 16-cent Timbit to a small child. At first you hear this story and you think her boss is an idiot. I mean, the Timbit (which is a donut hole, by the way) is only worth 16 cents, and secondly she gave it to a cute little kid. So you're reading this story and thinking this boss person is a ruthless tyrant. Then you hear that upper management of Tim Horton's gives this lady her job back. Yay, you think. Stick it to the man!

But upon reviewing it further, were they right to fire her in the first place? There are several factors involved here.

First off, is it company policy to fire an employee for giving away their merchandise? If you went into a shoe store and an employee gave you a shoe for free, wouldn't that employee get fired? The 16 cent Timbit might not be the issue -- maybe Tim Hortons has a policy of firing their employees when they give things away for free.

Secondly, do we know the entire story? Maybe this lady was a bad employee to begin with. Maybe she shows up to work late every day, and this little Timbit escapade finally broke the straw on the camel's back. Maybe she ticked off her boss for several other things that led to the firing. Maybe this wasn't first time she'd given something away.

Third, the entire store is a little too.. sensational. Tim Horton's would never have had to re-hire this lady if the story hadn't gotten so much publicity. What if this story had been about a high school dropout working at the store, or some older dude, like a child-molester who had just been granted parole? Would it have gotten as much attention? What if instead of a Timbit, it had been a bottle of pop, or a dozen donuts? Would such a story have the legs to go national the way the original story went? I bet it wouldn't have even made the local news.

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