The community in which we live is small. Less than 10,000 people live here and due to the water supply and being part of the Green Belt, it can’t get much bigger. Some relatively new subdivisions increased the town size, but a lot of the tiny town mentality is intact. I’d like to say that it has a quaint, Mayberry sort of vibe but it’s more of a remote, Appalachian feel. Last summer, I saw a very pregnant woman moon someone in the parking lot of the local discount store (ironically the only place in town to buy clothes). In her defence, she may have been showing the man in the car a tattoo on her rear but either way I think it is a fine example of the cultural ambiance.
Anyhoo, when something – anything – happens in town, everyone talks about it. Since this accident earlier this year, people know where we live by the brief description “where that accident happened”. Some teenagers broke into the elementary school, vandalized the place including smashing an aquarium and the local paper published letters to the editor regarding the community’s anger over the loss of fish life for weeks. Something happens and everybody talks about it. FOREVER.
I was in line at the store buying Adam some pureed prunes when I heard the big news.
Wait for it.
And you ask “So what? A donut store has a debit system. Whoop-di-doo.” But this is huge. When debit cards (using a card to pay directly from a chequing or savings account) came to Canada, Canadians jumped in. It’s available everywhere from grocery stores to fast food restaurants, museums to movie theatres. It’s hard to think of a place where you can spend money and NOT be able to use a debit card. I haven’t regularly withdrawn cash for years.
Tim Hortons held out. If you don’t have cash, your options are credit (interest on donuts? really?) or a TimCard, which is a gift card that can refill automatically, also with your credit card (my parents use this method because my father exists solely on Tim Hortons coffee). I think they were being stubborn because their whole service philosophy is speed. They advertise fresh coffee but the training boils down to “DO IT FAST!”. Interac transactions don’t seem to take much longer than handing over cash and getting change, but there is a few seconds that everyone is standing around waiting for the transaction to be approved. Thomas and I noticed that the Interac system at McDonald’s is unbelievably fast and wondered if that was possible, why Tim Hortons was still being such a luddite.
But no longer. And that is the biggest news to hit town since a kid had his bike stolen in August.