Those Words Do Not Go Together

With McDonald’s recent innovations in having double order boxes in their drive-through lanes but still only one set of windows, they’ve codified a practice that should fill them with shame: asking someone in the car to please pull forward.

Let’s unpack just how disparate these words are when jumbled together.

For starters, once you’ve been asked to park, it’s not longer a drive-thru. Man, how I hate to misspell it to keep up with the current marketing-based illiteracy. But if you park your car and someone brings you your food, it’s car-hop service, not a drive through. I go to a drive through because I want immediacy. I want to grab a sack of food I’ll regret later and be on my way. I don’t want a moment to reflect on the significance of signage at McDonald’s. If I had this much time, I’d have stopped at Sonic.

Priority? Obviously, my priority was continuing to keep in motion. If we’d adhered to my priorities, I’d be a mile or so down the county highway by now. No, my sitting here fits with McDonald’s priorities of getting more money in the cash register inside the window by shuttling people through with ever-increasing speed. Obviously, it’s past the point where they can adequately service the customers in a timely fashion. Also, note I’m parked in the second pull-ahead spot. I’m not even the top priority among the secondary priority customers.

A drive-through pick-up? The very concept wars with itself. And it’s not a pick-up except when I’m parked there. It’s a quick toss of a sack through the car window before the employee runs back into the McDonald’s before you discover the error in the order. At the normal drive-through window, you can sort through the sack and account for the received goods. If there’s a discrepancy–because, as Leo Goetz says, they make mistakes in the drive-through–you’re right there at the window to demand remediation.

When you’re at #2 Drive-Thru Priority Pick-Up and the employee has run back inside and out the back door for a smoke break, you’ve got to further impede your vehicular progress by exiting your car and going inside to get your missing cheeseburger.

Suddenly, your exclusive “priority” “drive-through” experience involves walking into the store.

Bah. I’m glad I’ve mostly put drive-through dining in my rear view mirror.