Don't get behind this guy in the drive-thru

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Column by Larry Jobe

By Larry Jobe


Perhaps this experience will seem familiar to you.

You are going through the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant. You obviously made the choice to use the drive-thru because you were hungry and limited on time.

When you pull in the drive, you see others in line who must be equally hungry and in a hurry. So you wait and wait and wait. Finally, it’s your turn to place your order. You roll down your window and a barely audible voice asks for your order through a broken speaker. Your choice for a meal is identified by a number and is repeated back to you by the same barely audible voice through the same broken speaker.

You think the order confirmation sounded right and the price seemed close so you inch your car forward behind the long line for the opportunity to pay.

Finally, you’ve made it to the pay window and a smiling face confirms how much you owe and completes the financial phase of your purchase. Now you’re waiting again for the next and final phase: Receiving what you’ve paid for.

Thus far, while the process has been longer than you expected, you’re not surprised because there obviously are a lot of hungry and hurried people in the world. Given the fast pace of life, waiting in line for your turn has became relatively acceptable.

The anticipation that you soon will satisfy the feeling of hunger becomes overwhelming as you continue to wait for your order.

Finally, the car in front of you gets its order and pulls off. You’re next. It’s time for the pay off for your patience.

You roll up to the window and another smiling face hands you a drink. Then suddenly your world drops out from under you as you’re asked to pull forward so people behind you can get their order before you.

To me, this defies all laws of fairness. I mean why should people four cars behind you be allowed to get their meals before you?

If the fast-food establishment wasn’t prepared to fill your order then they shouldn’t have accepted payment for it. Oh, they will tell you if you’ll pull up we will bring your order right out to you, but it never works quite that way. You inevitably sit in your vehicle and watch driver after driver who was in line behind you, pull off with hot meals in hand.

Most fast-food restaurants are graded based on their efficiency and timeliness of service at the drive-thru window. The company has a expectation all patrons will get their orders within a given time period. The clock starts when you place your order and ends when you pull away from the last window — even if it is to pull forward and wait for your order.

You’re off the clock and the restaurant is corporate compliant.

The way to effect change in today’s world is to dare to be different. Therefore, I applaud those of you who refuse to pull up. If enough of us do it, eventually the fast-food restaurants will understand the unfairness and will change what now has became common practice.

For those of you working in the fast-food world, stop asking us to pull up.

Larry Jobe is advertising director of The News-Enterprise. He can be reached at (270) 505-1409 or ljobe@thenewsenterprise.com.