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Poll results: How often do you estimate they get your order wrong at a drive-thru window?

17. You may not vote on this poll
  • 50% or more

    0 0%
  • 33%

    3 17.65%
  • 25%

    2 11.76%
  • 10%

    7 41.18%
  • I do not use drive-thru windows. You havent asked but, yes, I do hate America

    5 29.41%
  • Why all the hate for drive-thrus? I LOVE them.

    0 0%
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Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Tales from the drive-thru

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break

    Tales from the drive-thru

    I woke up hungry this morning but unfortunately Junior’s antics caused me to run late enough that I wasn’t going to have time to make breakfast. I decided to stop at the McDonalds drive-thru and get an Egg McMuffin to eat on my way to work. Perhaps it was the hour of the day or the fact that I hadn’t had my coffee yet, but for whatever reason I failed to recall all the times fast food drive-thru windows have been a disaster for me. Today I got stuck behind a high maintenance customer who seemed to suffer from indecisiveness issues. It took this individual almost [/i]two minutes[/i] (yes, I happened to time it) to place their order (there were only two in the car). That may not seem like much time but sit with a watch in hand and talk to yourself for that length of time and one comes to understand that A LOT of information can be conveyed in that interval. Anywho, after taking an eternity to order it then appeared to take this individual about three times as long as most folks to pay for it (the cashier leaned forward in the window to talk to the customer two times) but the kicker was when they took FOREVER at the pick up window. I don’t know what the hell they ordered but it fit in a single bag and it appeared there were two coffees. Why this took so long I do not know. Had I known it would take so long at the pick up window I would have drove off, but they’d already got my cash and had me hooked. I should have been able to get my McMuffin and get to work with several minutes to spare, but thanks to that Bozo in front of me I end up coming in late!

    This time other customers were the problem, but just as often it seems it’s the employees that are the problem. How many times have you gotten an order screwed up at the drive-thru? I would estimate they get it wrong maybe 25% of the time. Evidently that’s an acceptable percentage because – dummy me- I keep coming back for more punishment. [/rant]

    Let’s hear your tales from the drive-thu: what was the most screwed up order you’ve received? (come to think of it I occasionally come out on the winning end with screwed up orders and have gotten much larger orders than what I paid for on occasion – maybe that partly explains why I keep coming back) Have YOU ever been that nightmare customer? Do you check your order in the bag, unwrapping each item and make everyone behind you waits until you’re satisfied of its accuracy? Do you try repeatedly to order things from the breakfast menu at dinner time or vice versa? I’m sure there are some here that have worked drive-thru windows themselves and can fill us in on the insider perspective – we’re particularly interested in your stories.
    Last edited by Maister; 11 Nov 2011 at 9:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    Jukin' City
    Here's my tale from drive through: I've been through a drive-through only once in my life. Seriously. ZG forced me through one in Mobile AL a few years ago. I was lost; as the driver, she had to explain to me how to order and pick-up. The rare times I order fast food, I park and walk in.

    Call me weird. Maybe I have issues.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  3. #3
    Aug 2001
    Western Pennsylvania
    I avoid using drive-thru windows; like rj, on the rare occasion that I want fast food, I go inside. One of the times I used drive-thru, the cashier was my friend's niece, who proeceeded to hold me hostage while she complained about not getting something that she felt entitled to from her parents. It was petty and made her look bad, and I avoided that restaurant until I was sure she moved on to another job.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
    Mar 2005
    In a 480 square foot ex baseball nacho stand
    More than 2 cars in line at the drive-thru = park & go inside.

    It seems like the "all-star team" works the drive-thru at one particular restaurant here. Competency is a large issue!
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    I always do a quick peek in the bag to make sure we got the right number of items. Of course this doesn't catch the most common mistake I encounter, which is getting a sausage biscuit when I've ordered an Egg McMuffin. And I really despise sausage patties. The other usual mistake is getting two Cokes when I've ordered one Coke and one Diet Coke. Of course, the kid considers this a big bonus for him. On the flip side, sometimes we get an extra unordered hash brown at breakfast.

    My biggest issues with the drive-thru employees are generally rudeness (like it's gonna kill her to throw a couple packs of ketchup in the bag...) and of course talkingsofastintothosecrappyspeakersthatIcan'tunderstandaword. Or maybe someone has a difficult order and instead of telling them to pull on up and it'll be brought out to them, we all idle until that order is finished.

    But all that pales in comparison to the idiot customers:

    Many times at lunch hour, I have been behind single-occupancy vehicles (good, she/he should be quick) who stop at the speaker and pull out their cell phone to call the office and confirm that Harry wants Italian dressing, Mike wants extra ketchup, Ed wants blah blah blah.

    The soccer mom or dad who has half the team in the car and didn't ask anyone what they wanted while they've been in line for 5 minutes. For god's sake, just ask them if they have any allergies and then order for them!

    The people who have to dig in their purse, coin purse, pockets, and every storage crevice in the car to find enough money to pay. When they get to the payment window, never before.

    People like RJ who've never been in a drive-thru before and don't have a front-seat coach like he did. You also see a lot of these inside; usually old people who stand at the counter and read the entire overhead menu 5 times and then have questions about anything they're remotely interested in.

    The idiots who order, pay, and then get to the pick-up window and want to CHANGE their order. These are the ones who always have the nerve to get huffy. Good grief.

    The moms and dads who want a certain toy in the happy meal and will argue to no end. This went on a lot when the kid was little and Pokemon toys were a huge giveaway. Of course they won't give you the exact one you want; that way you'll eat lunch there every day for months to get the one your kid wants the most.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
    Nov 2009
    The Glass City
    Back in my youthful undergraduate days I survived by slinging coffee. Being a barista was exceptionally awesome btw, but that is a tale for another thread. One of the coffee shops I worked out had a drive through. The experience has scarred me so deeply that I now refuse to patronize coffee shops that feature those beasts.

    Me: (beep beep beep beep) Welcome to (whatever random coffee shop I am working at), what can I get you?
    Car Person: Hello? Hello?
    Me: Yes, hello! Welcome to (whatever random coffee shop I am working at), what can I get you?
    Car Person: Can you hold on a second?
    Me: Sure, take your time. Let me know if you have any questions.
    Car Person: No I wasn't talking to you.
    Me: .....
    Car Person: No it is the drive through lady. She is talking to me. I know. Yeah. Yeah. Can you hold on?
    Me: Let me know when you are ready or if you have any questions
    Car Person: Hold on! I am on the phone. I need a minute.
    Me: Excuse me Ma'am. If you are on your cell phone could you please pull off to the side, there are several people waiting behind you to order.
    Car Person: (rolls window up) blah blah blah blah blah
    Me: (facing into the coffee shop now) I'll give someone a free shot of espresso to go outside and tell this lady to get off her cell phone!
    Random Starving College Student: I'll do it!
    Car Person: HELLO!! I said HELLO!!! I'm ready to place my order now. Are you still there?
    Me: Yes I am still here. Go ahead
    Car Person: I'll have something totally irritating to make and skinny. Did I say skinny? And decaf too! Did you get that? I better not get 2% milk!
    Random Starving College Student: (knocking on car person's window) Ma'am get off your phone! There are other people here! The sign says no cell phone in drive through!
    Me: (hahahahahaha)
    Car Person: (speaking into phone again) I can't believe how rude people are these days! I know it is crazy. What has this world come to! (drives forward)
    Me: Here is your drink lady. You owe $$$. Also, in the future, for your knowledge we don't normally serve customers who are on their cell phone. It is really rude to the people behind you waiting in line. So, please refrain from having a conversation on your phone when you are placing your order. Next time, come inside. I'll even buy your coffee for you.
    Car Person: Something nasty. Mean mean crabby lady. Center of the Universe. Don't you know who I am? I'm calling your boss!
    Me: Okay have a nice day. Come again!
    Random Starving College Student: (waiting patiently, puppy dog look in eyes)
    Me: Here you go kid. Have a double!

    That is a true story to the best I can recollect.
    Occupy Your Brain!

  7. #7
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Dec 2005
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Blog entries
    15 Year Veteran of Fast Food & Drive Thrus....
    1. If you order an item to be specially made (no onion, no pickle, plain etc) double check it before you leave the drive thru.
    2. If you have an exceptionally large order (more than $20) please come inside to order. Everyone else in the line and the employees will like you a whole lot more, especially if you are the type to rifle through every damn bag to count/check every item. No joke that people order $40-$50 worth of food at a time and get pissy with you when it's not ready in 2 minutes, then spend 5 minutes looking through everything.
    3. Have payment ready when you get to the window that you pay at, it makes things go much faster. I can't tell you how many people dig around forever for a few coins so they get all bills back as change.
    4. If you want condiments like ketchup, salt, pepper, dipping sauce ask for it. No it doesn't kill the person in the drive thru to put it in your bag automatically but each one costs 1-5 cents per packet x 500 cars a day x 30 days adds up. Fast food is not a dollar business, it's a penny business with tight margins.
    5. If you come in at 10:30 or 11:00 when the menu changes from breakfast to lunch don't get pissed off when you might not be able to get the exact item that you want. We try and cook enough to last through the time frame so we can get lunch ready to go at the appointed hour (involves changeover of equipment). Some chains do offer breakfast all day, but others do not.

    Some of my most recent shining star customers:

    Lady in DT orders a skinny latte. She is asked if she wants it iced or hot. She says hot. It gets made with the machine where a specific combination of buttons is punched and the machine produced the drink-the employee has minimal control over the finished product. She gets to the pick up window and is presented with her drink, she says she now wants it iced. The drink gets made again but iced this time but she happens to have a view of the process and gets pissed off. Says that her skinny iced latte does not look "skinny" enough like it does at Starbucks. We apologize and offer something else, she insists that we make the drink like Starbucks does and we explain that we cannot because the machine makes the drink. The customer behind her honks the horn at her and shouts "Lady this isn't Starbucks. Take your coffee and get out of here!" Priceless on our end and we give that customer a free meal

    An Indian man comes in and orders chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink. We serve it to him and off he goes. 5 minutes later he comes inside and I ask how I can help him. He says "I ordered chicken nuggets and I got these (shows me box of chicken nuggets)." OK sir, those are chicken nuggets, are they cold or is something wrong with them? "They are made out of meat and I am a vegetarian! Well sir, they are made out of chicken which is not vegetarian which is why they are called CHICKEN nuggets. "Well in my country they are vegetarian." I am sorry sir, I am aware that McD's changes menus to suit whichever country they are in, but we serve meat in all our restaurants in the USA. Can I make you a veggie burger or a salad without chicken? "No, I will eat the nuggets." OMFG.

    "I'd like a cheeseburger no cheese" OK one hamburger. "No I said a cheeseburger no cheese!" Yes, that's a hamburger. "I don't want ham on my burger!!" OK one cheeseburger no cheese

    Customer seriously asked me "So what kind of qualifications do you need to work here? I mean it can't be all that hard, you couldn't find anything better to do with yourself?" Well sir, I have two masters degrees-one in urban planning and the other in public policy. I graduated last year when the job market crashed, accepted a job offer that fell through at the last minute after I left my previous employer, and McDonald's was the only place hiring in a hurry. It's better than collecting welfare isn't it? "..." Other customer says, "Dude you are an asshole and you need to tell her your sorry or leave!" He apologized profusely, I think he learned a lesson that day.

    Over many years I've been yelled at, cussed out, had body parts flashed at me, been sprayed with water guns, had beverages tossed back at me, change thrown through the window, lit firecrackers thrown through the window, been held up at gunpoint, had to deal with drunk/high customers, and everything in between. If you want good service be a kind customer.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  8. #8
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    May 2005
    The Fox Valley
    Blog entries
    Since I frequent drive-thrus a lot and tend to know what I'm doing, I usually don't get my order wrong. If I do, a lot of times it's my own fault, because I ordered the wrong thing, forgot to ask for "no mayo", or something along those lines.

    Some things that irk me (but I usually don't complain about):
    When they don't have a menu item that I want
    When the pop machine goes bad and I end up with watered down pop
    When the quality sucks at a certain location, but not at another (in these cases, I will just frequent the better location)

    If I do get my order wrong, and it's not my fault, I will usually go back and show them the receipt, and ask for what I ordered instead. They will usually comply and I will go about my day. If they don't, then I will call corporate and complain, but I can't recall this ever happening.

    Some things that irk me (that I have complained to corporate about):
    When my McDonalds fries were so salty it seemed like they dumped the entire canister of salt on them
    When I ask for ketchup on my burgers at White Castle and it seemed like they dumped entire bottles of ketchup on them

    It's also a nice surprise when they give you a bigger drink or fry than you asked for (sometimes they do this if they are out of the smaller sizes or to compensate for a longer wait time or sometimes it's pure accident). And one time, I was upset when my Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit turned out to be a Chicken Biscuit sandwich, but it turns out this must have been thrown in as a freebie, because when I dug deeper in the bag, I found my Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Biscit. I also like when they give you an extra Chicken Nugget or two.

    The long lines at the drive-thru typically don't bug me, and even if they do, I don't complain about it. Usually, these things are beyond the control of the people working there. It's usually because the people ahead of you ordered the whole menu or are complaining about something, or because the restaurant is short-staffed, or it's a quiet period and the food isn't ready yet. To me, I still think it's amazing how fast the service is as fast-food places. Since most times I get my food in just a minute or two, if it takes 5 minutes sometimes, it's ok. 10 minutes or longer is when it starts to get ridiculous...this rarely happens though.

    I tend to be pretty sympathetic with the staff at fast-food places. Since I've worked in fast-paced retail work environments with drive-thrus, namely a pharmacy, I know how stressful it can be, and how mistakes can happen. It is pretty amazing how rude and demanding people can be. It still irritates me that people get this impression that Walgreens is like McDonalds in that you can get your drugs instantaneously, when there are a lot more legal implications and life vs. death scenarios that command extra time and carefulness to process.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    I am like the others here who usually prefer to go in. I don't eat at fast food places near home, only when on the road. In those cases my stopping is more likely to be to use the bathroom than to eat the food. When I do use the drivethrough the usual order is something like a cheeseburger with no onions (for the dog) and an ice cream (for me). The dogs often won't eat their dog food when they have been riding in the car all day, so a burger will do, even if it is from McDonalds. On some occassions we will split an order of fries.

    In North Dakota right now there is a shortage of workers for retail and restaurant jobs, and a huge influx of oilfield workers who eat out most meals. The work force problem is so bad that the fast food places (which have signs offering $10-15 per hour) will often have the dining room closed and only offer drive thru service. The line of pick-up trucks is often a dozen or more deep.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
    May 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Similar to kjel, my years working at KFC have provided me with a multitude of stories to share with others. In general, most people know what they're doing when going through a drive-thru, and no the unwritten rules. One thing I hated - people who go through drive-thrus when their windows won't role down, and they have to open their door. It's usually the fat lazy people.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  11. #11
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Mar 2007
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    I don't use the drive-thru when I stop for food or drink or go to the bank or anything really. I stopped using them years ago when I had an old Jeep Grand Wagoneer with a front window that would only go up and down when it wanted to so it usually wasn't worth the hassle. Plus, I like using going inside as an excuse to get off my butt to get my Chicken McNuggets. I have however been tempted to go to the drive-thru only coffee place near my office where the waitresses wear bikinis or lingerie.

    I've never worked at an establishment with a drive-thru and this article from a couple weeks ago really made me appreciate that: Customer reportedly urinates in drive-through bank tube
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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