How to lose $260K: Let the Government run your Business

A story from our Canadian neighbors, courtesy of the National Post:

When the Tim Hortons at Newfoundland’s Health Sciences Centre opened in 1995, the hospital’s administrator predicted the shop would turn an annual profit of up to $300,000 and pay for seven nurses — or 11 support staff, or maybe even pay for the increase in chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients.

Instead, the coffee shop at the St. John’s hospital lost about $260,000 last year, offering what critics say is a cautionary tale of what can happen when the public sector gets involved in things better done by private enterprise.

A Tim Horton’s? The Canadian government couldn’t run a Tim Horton’s? The food is great and the service is consistently some of the best I’ve found (Ohio has them all over the place). The place is a money-printing machine: all the government needed to do was follow the existing template.

And they couldn’t, …or perhaps the better term is: wouldn’t.

“Let me tell you why [the hospital franchise loses money],” Vickie Kaminski, the authority’s president and CEO, told reporters on Tuesday. “We charge you a buck-ninety-four for that large coffee, but we insist that the staff who are pouring the coffee are Eastern Health staff, and they get paid $28 an hour. No Tim Hortons pays that.”


“Somehow it became public employees running a doughnut shop,” said Lloyd Matthews, who was Newfoundland’s health minister when the location opened at the Health Sciences Centre in 1995. “It brings us all home to the issue of waste in health care …. [It] makes us all a little interested in where else money is being wasted.”

A cautionary tale, to be sure, and one that we need to keep an eye on here: the college loan industry, GM, Chrysler, and all of the crony recipients such as Solyndra.

Makes me glad to see that this is not lost on the Romney campaign.

6 responses to “How to lose $260K: Let the Government run your Business

  1. Heck, I’d be happy to work at Tim Horton’s (or Wendy’s, or Arby’s, or even Mickey D’s) for $28/hour. Anyone wanna bet those are union employees serving up the coffee and donuts?

    At an event in downtown Ann Arbor yesterday morning, I was approached by a woman circulating a petition aimed at, as she put it, “guaranteeing the right to collective bargaining in Michigan.” I hadn’t heard about this, but in any case it’s not something I’d sign.

    Came home and did some research. What it appears to be is a bid to pre-empt a right-to-work law that isn’t even a law yet by enshrining the right to collective bargaining in the Michigan State constitution, according to this site:

    Quote from the article:
    “Approved was the proposal dubbed Protect Our Jobs, which was developed in response to legislative initiatives in the last year to curtail public employee unions and the perceived threat of passage of a right-to-work law.”

    Apparently union apparatchiks figure that a Republican governor and a GOP-controlled House and Senate will pass a right-to-work law—and I hope they do. Before November.

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