It’s a drive-thru world


I did the strangest thing today — I bought a gift certificate at a drive-thru.

I had the task of picking up a gift card for our daughter’s bus driver. Since a lot of the drivers meet at the Golden Arches prior to heading out in the morning, we thought it would be appropriate to get her a little thank you from there.

I had intended on just walking in the building. Instead, as I listened to tunes, my truck must have gone on autopilot, and next thing I know, I’m at the speaker box. I chuckled and explained what I needed.

The lady on the other end was unfazed. Ditto for Katie, who was working the drive-thru window. I laughed and told her of my mental lapse, and she quickly completed my request. Turns out they keep gift cards on hand at the drive-thru.

That had me a bit concerned. What does that say about our society. Have we all become so lazy as to prefer to remain in our vehicles whenever possible?

Drive-thru restaurants. Drive-thru banks, drug stores (at least for prescription pick ups), etc., etc.

Heck, when we lived in Lindsay, there was even a place to drive through to purchase dairy products.

These options are of great convenience if you’ve got young kids in the car. Hauling them out just to go into the bank to use the cash machine is a pain in the butt for a parent. Ditto if you are just getting everyone a snack for a morning drive, or whatever.

But what about the rest of us? We’ll see a long line of vehicles waiting in the drive-thru lane of a coffee shop, moan about it, but pull in behind the last car anyway. And the parking lot is half empty, so you know the lineup is shorter inside.

At busy times, I like to park and go inside, keeping an eye on the vehicle that I would have been behind had I opted for the drive-thru. I rarely get my order before the driver. The staff must cater to the unmerry band of lethargic impatient folks first. To come inside the restaurant is to admit you aren’t in a hurry. But to align your vehicle for food and drink says otherwise.

I also think of engine idling. If you creep along in a long drive-thru line, you’re squandering fuel, and selfishly adding unnecessary greenhouse gases to the air.

Some of my friends who think they are the most environmentally conscious people out there think nothing of sitting in those long lines each morning.

I used to pull into one of those lines once or twice a week. But I would try to time it just right. In the morning, if you get in line at the top of the hour, or on the half hour, it is generally when drive-thru traffic is lowest, as these are typically work start times for folks. But if you slide 15 minutes either way, you are in for longer wait.

Or better yet, park your ride and slip inside the shop. Chances are you’ll see a friendly face or two, much better than interacting with a speaker box.


  1. When I was driving I would normally head inside anyway,, mostly because of the human interaction. Partly because of the speaker break-up that happens over time and the minimum wage staff doesn’t know how to fix. After a while of hearing “We ome to M Don ld Ho c n I h p y u” you just know that there is nothing you can do but think,, “fix your damned speaker phones”

    Personally I prefer to casually walk into their place of business, receive a smile from the greeter as they ask me what I would like to order. not to mention,, If I am going into Tim Horton’s for a coffee and a donut, I want to see if they actually have the donut I am favoring for that day, rather than hear “s rry W ‘re out of Bos n Cr m” and have to play donut roulette to figure out which donut I can purchase this time through.


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