Sunday, August 20, 2006

Drive-Thru P.I.A.'s

Yesterday, I was in the drive-thru line at Wendy’s, and it got me to thinking. It is important, yet usually overlooked, ignored, or never even learned. Yes, I’m talking about drive-thru etiquette. To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure an official list exists, and if one does, please let me know about it. However, if one does not exist, let me be the first to start one on this blog (please, feel free to add to it).

First, I think it is important that we come to a consensus about the purpose of a drive-thru. In my humble opinion, a drive-thru’s purpose is to accommodate the customer who knows what he/she wants in a relatively speedy time. It is supposed to convenience the customer by allowing the customer to order from inside the car, and pick-up from inside the car (Now, there are a few places that allow one to order the food from home, or work, and pick up “curb-side.” This rant has nothing to do with those).

1. When going thru a drive-thru, please have an idea of what you are going to order. If you don’t know what you want, why not go inside the restaurant, where you can take as much time as you want looking at the menu, without inconveniencing others who already know what they want, and are hungry as hell. I see far too often, people looking over the menu for minutes at a time, trying to figure out what they want, seemingly oblivious to the line of cars behind them. I think it is selfish and rude, and in a perfect world, these people would be given some sort of ticket or citation for neglecting others.

2. If you have a rather large order, please either go inside to place it, or volunteer to move your car forward after ordering so that other orders can be placed promptly. I dread being behind a van full of people in a drive-thru, because I know that I will be spending far more time in the drive thru than I had originally intended. I understand that people with kids would rather just stay in the car and order the 18 happy meals, but one should really sometimes keep in mind the purpose of the drive-thru (see above). I am sure that when I have kids I may want to amend this one.

3. If you have coupons, or an order that you think might be screwed up when going through the drive-thru, it is best that you go inside to order. That way, you can have the piece of mind of checking the food at the counter, and making sure that the order was fulfilled to your satisfaction. Sometimes I feel like ramming the car in front of me, when the guy who ordered his special burger with onions, lettuce, sweet peppers, gets upset after thoroughly checking his burger and noticing the pickles on the patty. Asshole! Go inside to order you specialty sandwich – THE DRIVE THRU IS NOT THE PLACE TO DO THIS!

4. As with traffic lights, please pay attention to the car in front of you! I hate it when the person in front of me doesn’t realize (A) it is his/her turn to order, or (B) the car in front of them moved 20 seconds ago, yet the person is still sitting in park, waiting for lord knows what. PAY ATTENTION!

5. I’m pretty sure that the speakers in the drive-thru are good enough that one does not need to stick his/her entire upper torso out of the window and scream in order to place an order. I could be wrong about this, as I’ve never worked in a fast-food restaurant before, but I’ve never had to do this, and it seems like they can hear me loud and clear. I know, I know – this one doesn’t really waste any time, but if you get as annoyed as I do in a drive-thru, then you know that any little thing can be annoying.

I’m sure there are more, but this is a start.

Two Funny Quotes from Last Week:

"You know, it's still August." "Thanks, Nostra-dumbass." We were talking about how nice the weather was last week, but how the temperatures were slowly rising. So, Ryk informed us that it was still August. The zinger that Brian left was priceless.

"I thought you had already reached the absolute-zero of crazy." Joe, a coworker, informed us that he was to the point of going crazy. I came back with that comment. It got a few chuckles.


Jeff said...

1. Most places have 40-50 menu items, and only one drive-thru menu. Why not have a 2nd menu, about 2-3 car lengths before the speaker?

5. Maybe people lean out the window because they can't hear the cashier.

Snowelf said...

1. Yes. This drives me crazy. One of my best friends can NOT order food in a timely fashion, so, of course, I razz him like crazy because I am ridiculously efficent and organized when it comes to ordering food. And even when he knows what he wants, they throw him off with an additional question--would you like some pie or something and he has to start all over. I am all for pre-planning orders.

2. It IS a pain in the ass to drag your kids inside, but again, pre-planning an order nips this in the butt too. That being said, I think you should have to go inside if you have more than 2 orders when it's super busy.

3. Food-checkers also annoy me. I understand the process, but move your car out of my way first! ;)

4. Again, agree. How hard is it to pay attention in the drive thru line? Are these people not as hungry as I am or something? No? Then they should be going inside! :P

5. Yea, I don't know about this one either, I've never had to yell. Maybe these are leftover people from the old crappy speaker box days? A lot of places even have face to face ordering now--that's nice. :)

I am adding #6 in the drive thru worker's defense--the people who jump the gun on the menus that show the orders on the screen. God forbid the poor person hit the wrong button on accident and then get an earful of "That's NOT what I ordered!" Customers can be so mean, sometimes--give the poor people more than .004 seconds before you start going off on them.

And I love those quotes!


Los said...

Jeff - I know that a lot of Wendy's have the 2nd menu a few cars back, but people seem to ignore this menu for some reason. Also, I have no problem with people sticking their head out of the window, but yesterday, a guy stuck his entire torso out the window.

Snow - I like your addition. A lot of times with value meals, it first calculates everything individually, and then eventually shows the value meal price. There are too many people who are not qualified enough to go through the drive-thru (this is also the case at banks).

I have one extra "rule." People going through the drive-thru should not point to the items they want - the person inside can't see this, so it is pointless!

Ink and Stone said...

Well, it IS August you bastard!!!

I agree with every drive-thru etiquette point you made. At one point in time, I worked a drive-thru at a McD's back in Baltimore. People would come through and SCREAM into the mic to be heard. "We can hear ya just fine, Godzilla, now drive around!" - That's from a comedian, can't remember who though.

Bob Kaelin said...

I check my food after each order because I can't tell you how many times these fast food places can screw up a simple order. However, I make sure I pull up and out of the way of the person behind me because I know it's rude to stay in the way. Half the time I find myself having to park the car and go in and get my missing food. Taco Bell is good for that.

Steph said...

Agree wholeheartedly about drive thru's.
It is supposed to be FAST. Move it people!!

Nostru-dumbass? That is GOLD, I'm stealing it. Thankyouverymuch.

Corey & Carson said...

I'm not good with drive-thrus...too much pressure! That's why I go in to the restaurant to look over the menu then just hop back in my car...I don't want to be the asshole hoolding up the line!

Los said...

Ink - You worked your way up to Drive Thru???? How long where you there, 5 years?

Bob - I have no idea with people checking their food. The people that work there aren't rocket scientists. But, I do appreciate you pulling forward to do this.

Steph - We were very proud here at work with the "Nostra-dumb-ass" comment. It has been used many a time this past week, and will probably become part of our rotation.

Los said...

Corey and Carson - See, I respect you for knowing that you are not good at the drive-thru, and that you go inside so that you don't inconvenience others - Bravo!!!

El Padrino said...

Drive Thru is for the intelligent people only. Everyone knows that.
Except of course the dumb people. It's why they are dumb.

Ink and Stone said...

Los, you idiot. I didn't say I worked up to drive-thru, I said I worked a drive-thru. I mainly worked as maintenance, taking apart the machines and fixing them when they broke down (and sometimes when they didn't, hee hee)

Hmmm, your comment proves El Padrino's comment - Los, you are so wee tall did.

Los said...

ELP - I agree, idiots should not go through drive-thrus.

Ryk - Go play in traffic.

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

Drive thru thoughts...

You know, if there's a pickle on your burger and you don't want it there, you can take it off yourself. It won't kill you.

Taco Bell is probably the worst at screwing up orders of all of the restaurants.

Special ordering a burger at a drive thru does not bother me as much. Some establishments encourage that kind of thing.

If you want your burger done the same way all the time with the things they think you should have on your burger, just go to McDonalds.

Reverse said...

My favorite Wendy's drive thru comment," Sir... you can't order two meals at the same time in the drive thru."

Dirty Birdie said...

I have recently been spending far more time in drive tru these days and have to agree with all of your assessments. Plus a few more:

- Turn your damn radio down, I don't need to hear you thumping in the drive tru at Jack in the Box.

- STOP SMOKING! I'm right behind you and all your toxic smoke is billowing right into my car asshole.

Los said...

Smokin - Welcome Back!!!!!!! I don't think I've ever had a problem with the Taco Bell ... The Micky D's on Delaware Ave in Philly is a whole other story.

Reverse - We might have to start taking some of those awards that Wendy's has down, eh?

Dirty Birdy - I agree whole-heartedly with turning the radio down ... AT ALL TIMES! I love seeing those "kids" in their 1979 Grand Am's with the tinted windows, the nice shiny tires with the rotating rims, and the neon rope light underneath the car bouncing up and down to some sort of overdone baseline, with their hats on sideways ... I just want to tell them that I wish them the best of luck in the fast-food field.

Superstar said...

I think far too much of the blame is being put on the customer...Ever consider the person operating the machine for those "special" orders? Why is it that they put all the "new" peeps on the drive thru? They are not as advanced and able to keep up with us thrifty order folks. I am always asking for no pickles and when they are on it..I laugh and take them off my self...Not so hard. BUT I do feel for the "guy" that got a less than what he ordered hamburger!!!!