So, let’s talk about the ‘drive-thru.’ More specifically, I want to talk about drive-thru windows at fast-food restaurants. The ‘drive-thru’, aka ‘drive-through,’ is considered a replacement for the ‘drive-in.’ The ‘drive-in’ has parking spots where you still order from the car and someone will bring your order out to you. You never need to leave your car.
The ‘drive-thru’ (yes, this is accepted spelling) lets you just keep moving (well, pretty much) and get your food to go…..home, or work, or ‘wherever.’ I think folks choose the drive-thru option to save time. Sometimes this plan works….
The first thing I want to say is that the ‘drive-thru’ window is NOT really a ‘drive-through’ window. I’ve never seen anyone actually ‘drive through’ one of those. It seems to me that you can drive-up, drive-by, drive-past, and/or drive-on. Let’s just call it what it is!
Anyway, using a fast-food drive-thru is supposed to be quick and easy. I pull into the lane designated for the drive-thru window. My turn to order is up next.
Here is where it gets a little tricky. In order to order (ha), you end up in a conversation with what I call the ‘voice-box.’ This is a small speaker with a kind of ‘scrackilly’ (yes, I made that word up….) voice that says something that sounds like ‘place your order when ready.’
So, being ready, I place my order. Voice-box repeats my order back to me, tells me what I will owe, and to please proceed to the first window. I do that. Money is exchanged, and I am handed a bag with my order.
Ah, I think. This smells good and I am getting hungrier by the minute. I do, however, refrain from digging into the bag on the drive home, but as soon as I pull into my garage, I grab the bag, dash into my kitchen, and tear open the papers. But wait! What’s this – definitely NOT what I had ordered!
“Damn,” I think. “What now?”
I consider my choices…1. eat this anyway, 2. throw it away and scrounge something from my fridge, or 3. get in my car, return to the restaurant, and ask for my money back or the right order.
Now, ordinarily I would not make such a big deal about this. However, in the past couple of weeks, I have experienced the following:
My order – Super Nachos with no meat.
In my bag– Super Nachos with absolutely NO NACHOS!
I am not sure how this can actually happen, but it did. Everything else was there except the nachos had been replaced with tater-tots.
My order – All-Bean Burrito. No meat please.
In my bag– All-MEAT Burrito.
I am beginning to wonder about these voice-boxes. I think they need more training…
(I decided to try something other than Mexican food)
My order – $5 dollar ‘fill-up’ – Chicken sandwich with fries, a drink, and a cookie.
In my bag – The No. 7 dinner! Chicken strips, coleslaw, and no cookie!
I’m beginning to wonder if there is some kind of fast-food conspiracy….or if there is a fast-food god, why is she messing with my mind!?!
Back to my immediate dilemma: what do I do with the food order that sits in front of me right now? I tried to imagine what would happen if I opted to return it…
First of all, there is NO drive-thru window designated for ‘Returns!’ That leaves the option to get back in the order lane, pull up to voice-box, and say that I don’t have an order, but that I have a return. Somehow, I think this might cause more havoc than is really worth my time. It might be fun to try this and see what happens…
There is one more incident I want to tell you about regarding ‘fast-food dilemmas’… My friend was working yesterday. It was a really hot day. I decided to get her a cold drink and take it by to give her a little break. I pulled up to ‘voice-box’ to place my order.
“Order when you are ready,” voice-box announced.
I was ready, so I said, “I want two small iced Mochas.”
“You want coffee,” voice-box asked.
“No,” I said. “I want two small iced Mochas, please.”
‘Oh, ok,” said voice-box. “What size do you want?”
Again, I said “I want two SMALL iced Mochas, please.”
“Do you want those cold or hot?”
Voice-box clearly has a problem!
This is a true story. I couldn’t make this stuff up anyway, and undoubtedly, I will order from a fast-food drive-thru again. Depending on ‘what’s in the bag,’ I might have to initiate a return move. This could be fun….
Just a thought …
Jim Potter says
Another possibility: Park car at restaurant. Walk inside. Get in line. Order. Receive order. Check on order. Return order.