Keep It Simple Stupid; 6 Simple Rules for Going Through the Drive-Thru

Image courtesy of Yahoo images

From McDonald’s to Starbuck’s everyone seems to have a drive-thru nowadays.  Many drive-thrus are even open 24/7.  We have become a fast paced and spoiled society.  We want things to come to us quickly, easily and cheap!

The bottom line being that drive-thrus are convenient for customers on-the-go.   The convenience factor is important in today’s high-speed world.  You go through the drive-thru:  When you are running late (because it’s quick), for ease (if you have a baby/little one in the car, it’s much easier to go through the drive-thru for your vanilla latte then to park, unbuckle, rebuckle, etc. (any mom will get this), and in bad weather conditions, no one wants to jump in and out of the car to run into Dunkin Donuts for a hot coffee when Chicago winters hit twenty below zero.  You also might choose to go through the drive-thru out of sheer laziness on any given day.

I, like everyone else, go to the drive-thru for all of the above reasons.  I go at least once/day generally in the morning for my caffeine fix.  I go to a number of different establishments (I like to mix it up), and I find myself getting aggravated on an almost daily basis due to some moron in front of me who does not know drive-thru etiquette. 

After several venting posts on Facebook, in which I detail the one offense the jackass in front of me has committed, I decided it’s about time I sit down and put it all out there, you know, lay down some ground rules, so I can get a coffee in the morning without experiencing daily anger and/or anxiety due to the following:

#1 – Be Polite
How hard is it to greet the person who greets you?  When the speakers says ‘Good morning, can I take your order?’ 3 out of 4 people respond with ‘I want a large coffee.’  Where are your manners people?  Greet the speaker back!  ‘Good morning!  I would like a large coffee please.’  They give you the total and ask you to pull around.  Why not say ‘thank you?’  Our society has become so rush-rush that we are not even courteous to each other anymore.  We’re so used to computers that we’ve lost any personal interaction.  We don’t even realize that there is a person standing behind that speaker.  So remember to mind your manners – a simple please, thank you and have a nice day will do.

#2 – Limit Your Order to 2-3 Items
Drive-thrus are meant to be for quick and easy service.  If you have five people in your car who are ordering five different meals – and for the love of God may be paying five different ways – have some common courtesy.  Think about the person/people in line behind you – probably me – who wants to order one item.  Ordering too much in the drive-thru always leads to confusion between the “orderer” and the “orderee” which then holds up the people behind you.  When you are ordering that many items do us all a favor and get your fat ass out of the car and go inside to place your order.

This brings me to #3 – No Special Orders
It always amazes me that there are people out there who go thru the drive-thru and try to order their McDonald’s cheeseburger exactly to their liking. ‘Yes, I would like a cheeseburger, but nothing on that except ketchup and pickles.’  This inevitably always confuses the speaker who will respond with ‘What?’  Then you will repeat your order and this fiasco will go back and forth until you finally resign to just pull around to the window.  Again, remember the drive-thru is a place of speed and convenience – for ALL – not just you, Princess.  So if you want your tall non-fat, no-whip, extra foam, extra hot, double shot mocha than as I said above do us all a favor and get your lazy ass out of the car and go inside to place your order.

Which brings me to #4 – No Coupons
Do not, I repeat, do NOT try to use coupons when going through the drive-thru.  This is not Jewel.  These people do not see coupons on a regular basis.  So when you order an entrée from Panera Bread and you tell the speaker you have a coupon for a free drink this will cause the speaker confusion.  The speaker cannot simply hit a blanket ‘coupon’ button on their system that will magically know which coupon you have and for which dollar amount.  Generally the speaker will need to see the coupon in order to enter the correct coupon code into their system.  It’s common sense, but in case you didn’t know, all coupons have a bar code or a numerical code printed on it.  So let’s repeat, if you are choosing to use a coupon with your purchase, please do us all favor and get your cheap ass out of the car and go inside to place your order.

#5 – Have Your Money Ready
Apparently this was such a big problem at McDonald’s that they have actually posted signs throughout the drive-thru reading “Please have your money ready.”  This is another thing that strikes me as common sense.  You probably order the same thing everyday – especially us early morning stoppers – so more than likely you already know the order total, or you’ve sat in line behind two or three people, so can’t you at least open your wallet and pull out a $20 if you don’t know the total?  And for the love of God, do not dig for change in your wallet, ladies!  You can only give change if you have it in your hand prior to pulling up to the pay window.  Or – and this is a gray area – or if the change is relatively easy to pull out.  Do I need to spell this out?  $2.26, OK.  $3.01, OK.  $4.96, NOT OK.  Give a $5 and get four cents back, and further, give your four cents to the McDonald’s charity, cheap ass!

And last, #6 – Speak Clearly
This goes for both sides.  Often during the busiest times companies will put a heavily accented employee on the drive-thru.  This makes no sense to those of us placing our orders.  This gets us all off to a bad start.  And the same applies to those of us placing our orders:  Turn your car radio down, tell your kids to shut up and please get off your cell phone!  The drive-thru attendant does not care if this is a phone call with President Obama.  Not only is it annoying, but it is also extremely rude to be on your cell phone while in the drive-thru.  If you must be on your phone – tell your caller when it is your turn to order so when you say “Hi, an iced mocha please,” the caller doesn’t say “What?” and then you say “I’m at the drive-thru,” and then the speakers says, “What?”  And it is a vicious cycle of chaos!  Tell your caller to hold on.  And set your phone down and review #1 when you get to the pay window.  You do not need to be on your cell phone discussing last night’s Grey’s Anatomy episode while throwing a $20 bill at the employee.  Have some class!  Just because they work a drive-thru does not mean they are beneath you.

So what prompted this rant besides saving my own self the frustrations I endure on a daily basis?  Well, on Sunday morning I was behind someone in a McDonald’s drive-thru who actually committed each of these “sins.”  No joke.  It’s one thing to commit one or maybe two at a time, but to commit all six?  As I sat behind him in the drive-thru for 10 – yes 10 – minutes, when I simply wanted to order an iced coffee, I nearly popped a blood vessel in my neck.  I was like raging pissed over this.  I sat in my car talking to myself, saying things like “Are you kidding me?”  “Move your @ss!”  and then finally “A f*cking coupon?  Are you serious right now, a f*cking coupon!”

I almost lost it over the coupon.  I’m not kidding you.  I almost got out of my car and walked to his window to let him know the absolute disgust I had for him at that moment.  And then it occurred to me, maybe other people don’t know?  Maybe other people are as clueless as this dope in front of me?  At that moment I decided it was time to turn my anger into a positive thing.  Or somewhat positive.  And hence the beginning of JLEE’s blog.

Enjoy my rants, or don’t.  I really don’t care.

Author: jlee5879

Office manager by day...struggling writer by night

8 thoughts on “Keep It Simple Stupid; 6 Simple Rules for Going Through the Drive-Thru”

  1. Gosh! I wish ppl actually read this. I recently got a job at DQ and i worked the drive tru the whole time i was there today, for the first time ever! It was very very frustrating. I agree with ALL of the above rule. I HATE when they get all picky. AND when they’re quiet as hell, like please speak up, i can hear over the machines that are going on behind me. Geez, lets just say that it was a tough day. I also get frustrated with grumpy ppl, like really, i ask you things over and over just to make sure its right so you dont complain later.. geez some ppl need to work on teir patients. AND someone tried to order a freaking CAKE through Drive Thru! Like WTF?! Get inside and do it in person. Geezes! ugh, but man, i love this blog, wish i could make them into real laws.. haha oh well… xP

  2. I can totally agree with this. There is such a problem with lazy people using the drive through in the morning for coffee and ordering so many different things that there’s been talk in the city of people getting tickets for those people too lazy to get our of the car and go inside and instead, their cars are lined up out into traffic and causing jams. There are times when it would be better to just go inside the restaurant and if you’re going to potentially cause an accident, that’s one of those times.

  3. Good blog – even if I don’t agree with part of it. 🙂
    I see too many excuses to why “this or that” would confuse the drive thru person. Maybe they need a better speaker system. Is this job really that hard?
    A cheeseburger with no pickle shouldn’t be reason to go inside either. It might be a special order; but it takes a special person to screw that up.

  4. Ha, good rant! I’ve seen people do some elaborate things with change. For example, the total is $5.62 so the person pays $11.12, to get back an even $5.50. Not acceptable–it just takes extra time to explain your money magic trick to the cashier.

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