The idea started out simple. Stay in your car, drive around to a window and get your food. Fast and convenient, it was a great idea. What has happened?
Today’s drive thru has become a mental and physical obstacle course that might make you think twice about just going inside like the huddled masses. But if you must go to the drive thru window, here are some rules to remember.
- 1. First make sure to watch your tires. The drive thru lane is barricaded off from the rest of the world with cement median strips. Once you go in this cattle chute, there is no turning back.
- 2. Make sure you understand the tests along the way to obtain food tossed to you out a window. First you must go to the order stop, then pull up to the pay window and then go to the food window to get your stuff. Hopefully your brakes are in good shape.
- 3. After being overwhelmed with a five foot menu with pictures like a giant scrap book, you must shout your order into a microphone the size of a dime. The sound quality is right from the Dixie cup and string system from your childhood.
- 4. And the voice talking back to you sounds like some covert spy from behind enemy lines. One suggestion is use the numbers of the meal. As in a hostage negotiation, say as few words as possible, use single syllables and nobody will get hurt.
- 5. Now for the options. What size? Curly or straight? Cheese or not? Ketchup, mustard or sauce? Rock, paper or scissors? You didn’t know there was going to be a test? What were you ordering again?
- 6. Try to keep your order from the “grid.” When you go off the “grid” and want something “your way,” you’re going out on a limb. Fast food workers are trained by the numbers in a defined robotic procedure. If you throw a monkey wrench into the system, you might get the “drive around.”
- 7. The “drive around” is when, because of your fancy French restaurant preferences like “no pickles,” your order can not be prepared the usual way. You are directed to “drive around” the side and wait for your completed masterpiece. This will be by the dumpster where the other food preparers are hacking out their lungs on a smoke break.
- 8. If you are lucky enough to order correctly, you will get your fast food treat and now have to pay. What! You didn’t have your money ready? Now behind you, buying food for a “Happy Meal” wedding reception is a large woman getting antsy. No pressure, just dig the wallet out of your back pocket that you are sitting on.
- 9. Exact change would be nice. A large bill will bring the restaurant to a grinding halt as the manager now has to open a Fort Knox like vault to break your twenty dollar bill.
- 10. You got your food and you have paid. But not so fast! Did you get the right order? How about your drink, a straw and napkins? Once you pull away, all is lost. There is no confusion like having to set foot in the main restaurant to explain to the counter person that you just came through the drive thru window which is all of ten feet away.
Congratulations on conquering the maze of fast food delivery through a hole in the back of a building. Maybe next time just make something at home and have one of your kids toss it out the window to you.