McDonald’s: The Drive-Thru to Nowhere

There are two things in this world that I despise: lines and stupidity. And lima beans. Okay, there are three things in this world that I despise but I’ll stick with the first two for now: lines and stupidity. The place where these two things converge is considered by many to be the portal to hell, but to others it is known simply as the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Luckily I’m not a person who blames McDonald’s for all the ills in the world. People are fat—it’s McDonald’s fault! The country is in a state of moral decay—it’s McDonald’s fault! I was late to pick up my daughter from school last Tuesday!—it’s McDonald’s fault! Well, that last one is technically McDonald’s fault because I was stuck in the drive-thru waiting for a completely nutrition-less yet ironically life-sustaining Diet Coke.

Yes, I visit the McDonald’s drive-thru more than any person probably should. Yes, my daughter enjoys the more-than-occasional hamburger with pickle only and extra french fries. Yes, I’m weak and they have one dollar large Diet Cokes. Just one dollar and I don’t even have to get out of my car. Trust me, I appreciate the brilliance behind that idea.

One of the most annoying occurrences in the McDonald’s drive-thru lane is when the little mystery voice in the speaker interrupts me mid-order. I have my McDonald’s order down to a science; it is only slightly complex but it never varies. Ever. Don’t stop me after I say “Happy meal” to ask what drink I want; I know what comes next and I will tell you in due course. But I can’t just rattle off my food needs all willy-nilly. I need things to happen in a logical sequence. In other words, my way.

But my real problem isn’t with McDonald’s at all. What makes my hatred of lines and stupidity even worse is my complete and utter lack of patience. I really have none. I think fast, I drive fast, I want things done fast. All of these things are nonexistent in the McDonald’s drive-thru. The real problem is the people in the drive-thru who seem to become desperately confused and disoriented at the sight of the menu and the ordering speaker. I think it’s time we established a few ground rules to follow when using the drive-thru lane: 1) if your order requires that you stick your head out of the window, you should park and go in; 2) if your order requires the use hand gestures, you should park and go in; 3) if your order requires the asking of more than one question, you should park and go in; 4) if you find it difficult to decide whether or not to upsize your meal, you should go park and go in (come one, who doesn’t want more fries?). I think these guidelines could really clear up a lot of the congestion found in the McDonald’s drive-thru.

One thing is certain though: the executives at McDonald’s are visionaries and they obviously still have faith in the intelligence of humanity. The proof of their optimism in human kind: the dual drive-thru lane. This is a complex system in which people can order in one of two lanes then merge into one lane to pay. The problem is: the general public can’t handle the responsibility of the dual drive-thru lane. Usually people are scared of the second lane and everyone just ends up waiting in one lane until that brave pioneer steers around everyone and pulls into the other lane. Don’t fear the second lane—it’s there so that we may all obtain our cheeseburgers in a timely manner. Then there’s the problem of knowing when to merge (a skill most people don’t possess as witnessed on any freeway on-ramp). People panic and start directing the other cars in front of them, not knowing that they are setting off a chain reaction of badness up at the window. Now the guy in the Prius just got your Big Mac and the woman in the Expedition is drinking your chocolate shake. Disorder and chaos in the drive-thru; it’s the first sign of the apocalypse.

Maybe next time I’ll go to Taco Bell.

3 thoughts on “McDonald’s: The Drive-Thru to Nowhere

  1. I am glad I am not the only person not afraid of the second lane. About a month ago though I pulled up and before me I see an empty second lane and 5+ cars in the “primary” lane. Being that I have no way to communicate to the others in line that it is there for a reason, I used the second lane. After I order and pull around this man who had been in one of the 5 vehicles proceeds to park his vehicle and approach mine on foot. So never mind that you were causing a traffic jam before he is straight up blocking it now, and proceeds to tell me I was rude for cutting the line. Against my better judgement I engaged and informed him that I used the second lane that existed for everyone’s usage and I did not cut anybody. Which enraged him more so at that point I had to give him the side eye window roll up. He continued to yell at my window, it was awkward then the line finally moved. I hope he moved his truck eventually.

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