I remember those lyrics from my youth, and would sing along with the commercial, thinking what a wonderful utopia this must be that doesn’t get upset when I place my order of a burger without condiments. You see, I am one of THOSE people who like to actually taste my burger instead of gobs of goo and gunk passed off as condiments touching my supposed meat. But I digress.
My job is one where I must, on some occasions, grab a meal on the go. Today was one such day, so I pulled into the wonderful advance in fast food technology otherwise known as….the drive-thru. You pull up to this little speaker, speak clearly into the speaker, pull around, pay, receive your order, and off you go to toddle on with your day. That is how it is SUPPOSED to work. That is the concept.
Today……my utopian dream was shattered, ground into dust, and blown in my face with a lawnmower! There were only two cars ahead of me in line. I was stoked to be so close. I rolled down my window so I might better render thoughts of encouragement to those passing before me. And then…the speaker said, “May I take your order?” and what followed was a long pause before an elderly gentleman leaned out of the window to shout back… “WAT? YOO SAY SOMETHING?” and the voice from the passenger side…”WHAT DID THEY SAY?”
This exchange went on for several minutes before an employee stepped out of the back door and acted as the interpreter between patron and mechanical speaker. Lots of loud questions, shouting to each other, and finally the conclusion of this part of the transaction. Please pull ahead to pay for your meal, accept your food, and have a nice day (somewhere else please).
The line moved ahead, the employee went back inside, and I was only one car away from the speaker! The work van ahead of me slowly pulled to the speaker, as noxious clouds of toxins freely billowed from the place that once contained an exhaust pipe. The driver leaned out, and proudly stated that he had six orders, each to be rung up separately, and each to be paid separately.
I considered parking and going inside, but when I looked in my mirror, 7 cars had already lined up behind. I had no escape. So I rolled up my window, turned off my ventilation, and honestly fumed. After another 17 minutes, all of the work vans orders had been registered, and they pulled forward.
MY TURN!!! I was elated! Finally, I could get a bite to eat and only be 10 minutes late to the session I was to conduct. I rolled up, placed my single order, heard the weary voice give me the price and to please pull forward. I enthusiastically told the speaker box “THANK YOU” and drove around the corner of the building to see the van waiting for the elderly man (who had gotten out of his car) counting out EXACT CHANGE for his order