When Drive Through Becomes Park and Wait


Let’s remember what a drive through is

 McDonald's adding window to speed up drive-thru

Darn it.  I budgeted just enough time and planned my route well enough that I could swoop through a drive in, grab a quick coffee and still make it to my meeting on time.  And then I got unwittingly merged into a park and wait the line ahead of me crept ever so slowly ahead one car length and again stopped.  Fast food turned into slow boil.

I am old enough to remember old fashioned values. We held doors open and offered seats to women. We took our baseball hats off once inside and would never dream of sitting in a restaurant while still wearing a hat.  In fact, sidewalks were not mine fields of spit out gum.  Yeah, if you ask me, much has been forgotten.  Not the least of those forgotten things that makes living in a society a bit more civil and pleasant.  Things such a manners, respect for others and courtesy.

Along the way, at some point, a few lazy, selfish and rude patrons of the drive through phenomena had determined that since they are able to; they may as well “go for it” and order lengthy and complex food items that these customers must understand from the get go will take time.  Little thought is given to those lined up behind these self absorbed individuals.  I suppose it is a sign of passive aggression that permits a person to close his/her eyes to their own conscience and believe that, “as long as I am okay, to heck with anyone else”.

The simple cup of coffee was the ideal door opener for the drive through craze.  It could be poured from the decanter, sweetened and/or lightened while the car riding customer may pay and pick up his caffeine fix at a rolling stop.  I can’t really blame those in the food retail business for seizing opportunity and attempting to always up sell. Despite the fact that a cup of coffee is what it is, a cup of hot water with some flavor added and in itself is one of the most profit intensive items on the menu it is also one of the least labor intensive items as well. Thus, it became the logical product for drive through business.

I really don’t believe that any business would say no to a customer attempting to pick up a lengthy order by way of the drive through or even politely request that the customer park, come into the restaurant and pick up his her order at the counter.   

There must be some perverse and twisted part inside the brain of some people.  You have run into them. I am certain. They are the ones who will push a full grocery cart up to the express check out at a grocery store. They will blithely ignore the large sign that reads, “Eight Items or fewer ONLY” and reward you with a childish and vulgar outburst if you dare to ask them to get into the proper line.  Yes, the line is much shorter at the express check you dummy. It is shorter because it is moving faster. But, look over your shoulder as the cashier processes your six or eight bag order.  You have just made the express line as long or longer than the regular line you refused to use.  But, I guess as long as you are okay, to heck with anyone else.

I can’t blame the cashier at the grocery store or the drive through for saying nothing. After all, they may not speak “idiot”.

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