Tim Hortons' "Mom-Sized Coffee": At Last, A Thoughtful Free Food Gimmick

The free food beat is a tough one sometimes. How does one balance one's appreciation for a nice complimentary burrito with the knowledge that a giant corporation is exploiting that appreciation in exchange for loads of publicity and the side of chips and guac you're obviously going to buy to go with said free burrito? We are not pawns except, now and then, when it comes to gratis snacks.

So when a promotion crosses our desks that doesn't make us gnash our teeth and spin into a mini-cycle of self-loathing, that's a good day. Enter Tim Hortons, which is giving away the best kind of free food—the no-strings-attached-kind—on Mother's Day. Better still, it's also kind of funny. The "Mom-sized" iced coffee is a 52-oz. behemoth, which, per a press release, "holds nearly enough coffee to fill one of our famous pots." The same release says that the "Mom-sized" cup is the largest currently offered " by a renowned major coffee chain in the U.S." For reference, the Trenta Iced size at Starbucks is a paltry 31 ounces.

To get one of these suckers, all you have to do is show up at a participating Tim Hortons (in Buffalo, Columbus, Detroit, Toledo, and New York City) on Mother's Day, ask for an iced coffee, and then when the cashier asks you what size, you reply, "Mom-sized." Simple. Here's where it gets interesting: There's no need to pick up your offspring and hold them up in the cashier's face like a mewling I.D. badge. If you're a mom, you get the coffee, and Tim Hortons will take your word for it: "All Moms, even dog moms, are welcome to get the Mom-sized iced coffee on Mother's Day."

A representative for the company confirmed that the hope here is to be as inclusive as possible. That's a small thing that's not all that small, for some people. If you identify as a mom, Tim Hortons is saying, you deserve one of these comically large iced coffees. Is your child human? Canine? Cat? Doesn't matter. It's also open to moms of all genders.

Mother's Day can be particularly loaded and tricky for some. Perhaps you lost your mother, and it's still painful, or never knew her, and it's uncomfortable. You might be estranged from your mother, or unable to find a healthy balance in your relationship. Perhaps you had children but don't any longer, or want to have them but can't, or don't want to have them but feel pressured to do so. Maybe yours is a found family, and there are those who refuse to recognize the importance of such a family. That's a partial list. What's great about this deeply silly free food gag is that Tim Hortons isn't attempting to define what motherhood is, or asking anyone to prove that they meet any specific definition. If you say you're a mom, you're a mom. Have a coffee on us.

That said, if you're thinking about bringing your mom a free Mom-sized iced coffee as a gift on Sunday, perhaps offer the gift of some time off instead. Then your Mom can decide if drinking FIFTY-TWO OUNCES OF COFFEE is a good idea, and if not, perhaps a trip to the spa is in order instead.