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Drive Thru Etiquette

So is there such a thing??

The other day I was in line at the Uncle Timmy's drive thru and one driver was leaning out the car window with a list in her hand talking to the box. After a couple of minutes I pulled out of line and went inside instead. When I walked out she was just getting her order. In other words, she really tied things up for a while.

So the question is, is this an etiquette issue. Should you go inside if you have an order that'll take a while to expedite?? Or for some other reason that I can't think of??

Just to point out a few facts, she didn't have a child in the car. It wasn't raining and she didn't have a handicap sticker anywhere. All would be understandable reasons for being in the drive thru.

DT

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  1. If I'm ordering for more than two people, I always go inside.

    I don't hold up the drive-thru lane, and I can make sure they don't screw up the order, which I find harder to check for a crowd when I'm in a car. It also saves me from having to park and go inside if they do mess it up. I can basically monitor exactly what they're putting in the bag and make sure they're getting everything right.

    So to answer, yes, I think it would be proper (if you aren't handicapped, with children, etc) to go inside as opposed to the drive thru when you have a lot of items to order.

    Here's my etiquette issue though...I'll pull up to the speaker and sometimes I'm not sure what I want...so I order spontaneously because I feel rushed. Sometimes I wonder if I should just go inside so I can examine the menu a little more closely.

    2 Replies
    1. re: QueenB

      Well if you're in line, you can peruse the menu while you wait. If there's no line, why feel rushed??

      DT

      1. re: Davwud

        Some of the drive-thrus I go to don't have a visible (to me) menu until you're actually up to the speaker. Some have the menu posted twice...ahead of time, then again at the speaker...which helps.

    2. You're in your car listening to your radio and relaxing, I guess I wonder if this is really a big deal?

      Maybe she can't or doesn't want to carry it all by herself? Could that be a reason?

      1. Until and unless they have a 10 items or less line at the drive thru, sorry, there is no such thing as drive thru etiquette.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PeterL

          Agree completely. 9 out of 10 times I visit the drive-through it is because I don't feel like getting out of the car, NOT because I'm in a hurry.

        2. Tsk, tsk, YOU are the one who made the strategic dining blunder by even using the drive thru which is single threaded, subject to delays for all of the obvious reasons, and there's a greater chance that your order will be screwed up due to garbled communications.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Scagnetti

            My order is coffee. Black.

            Not a hard order.

            I generally don't use the drive thru. A local TV station here did a comparison at Tim Horton's (Uncle Timmy's) and found that, on average, it was 7 minutes faster to go inside than to get in line. That's a lot of time.

            DT

            1. re: Davwud

              Not to mention you're spending that much time (and more) setting your car to idle.

              1. re: Blueicus

                I only use it when there is a couple of cars or less.
                I just about never use it for food. Just coffee.

                DT

              2. re: Davwud

                I am surprised that the TV station found it faster to go inside then drive-thru. I find at Tim Hortons that they usually have 7 people working the drive-thru and only one person on the counter. Which is why during the morning rush I will wait in the drive-thru line rather then go inside.

                I like the think of the morning drive-thru at Tim Horton's like that Visa Check commerical. Everything is running great until one stupid person who doesn't get the way things work brings everything to a halt.

                If you have so many orders that you need a list go inside and order. Especially if you are ordering food at a coffee shop like Tim's. Its one thing to order a coffee and a muffin, but to order 10 coffees all different ways and then order 4 sandwiches and three bagels ... GO INSIDE.

                If you can't carry it all out by yourself, then staff will help you. (I worked in fastfood during highschool there is always someone who can help you)

            2. I've never really understood the appeal of drive-thrus.

              It's generally not faster for a variety of reasons, including the one Davwud mentions (e.g. a customer with a large and complex order).

              And as others have noted, there is a greater chance your order is screwed up when going through the drive-thru.

              And, finally, at least for those 24-hour drive-thrus, I also think it's more dangerous using the drive-thru late at night as it increases the chance of a carjacking.

              Just my 0.02.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                When McDonald's initially introduced its drive-thru, staff were required to get the customers from the speaker to driving away with their order in some ridiculously fast time like one minute flat. It was supposed to give faster service, but with the apparent don't-seem-to-care attitude of some employees and customers that order for 15 through the drive-thru, it is hardly fast anymore.

                1. re: NewSushiFiend

                  I remember a promotion McD's did a few years back where if you were at the final window for longer than one minute you got a free certificate for a chicken sandwich or cheeseburger. I imagine there were a lot of people getting a lot of free food for the duration of that stunt.

                  1. re: ArikaDawn

                    No doubt!

              2. Seems to me that if you have a written list, it would be easier to hand it to someone than to hope it translates over the speaker. But yes, it might have been too much for her to carry back to the car.

                We don't eat fast food often, usually on road trips. We will use the drive thru and then park the car and eat in their parking lot. My car is more comfortable and usually cleaner than fast food dining rooms. And I can use the trash cans that are right there so no trash remains in the car.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mojoeater

                  I use the drive-thru when I am picking up lunch for people at work because I can't figure out how to get 6 to 10 people's food and drinks out to the car by myself.

                  I know, I know, make two trips. But what do you leave sitting there? The drinks? The food? What if some other customer grabs someone's lunch while I'm in the car.

                  So I am that person with the list at the drive-thru. Oops.

                  1. re: jnstarla

                    See, when you put it that way, it's understandable. Not much fun for those of us behind you but at least understandable.
                    My feeling would be to try and get someone in there to carry out for you. If they say they can't, you know the next time to drive thru.

                    DT

                2. I used to love the drive through window but then I used to be a cab driver and any sap who wanted to let me sit there and run the meter in that line was welcome to do so.

                  Something almost always goes wrong in the drive through line but I think you are mistaken to assume that in your incident, the fault lay with the driver. The person on the other end of the line may have been the problem. Or the equipment may have been garbling their conversation. Too many other things could have gone awry to question her lack of etiquette.

                  1. To paraphrase Leo Getz (Lethal Weapon), "They [mess] with you at the drive thru!"

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ricepad

                      soon as I saw this post - it was the 1st thing that came to mind!!!
                      very true statement!

                    2. The drive-thru window is convenient but my anal side seems to compute that you run the risk of having a complicated order get betweeen you and your simple order at the pick-up window. If I'm ordering something simple I will usually go inside if there are two or more cars in front of me (not scientific, just habit and guessing, and depending on the speciic place). Most of the time I see the car that would have been in front of me leaving and I pick up my order next (in the same order as if I'd stayed in line).

                      Unless I'm in a hurry, though, I really think it's not worth the hassle to worry about this issue. That is.......... until I wind up behind the person that sits at the window for forever and my little order is right there when I pull up (and I know it's been there a while).

                      Can't have it both ways, I guess.

                      1. IMHO it's considerate to avoid tying up the line whenever possible -- i.e., know what you're going to order (if you can), don't use the drive-thru for huge &/or complicated orders, try to avoid unneccessary questions (I once overheard "does the chicken salad come with chicken?"), and have your money ready. After all, the idea of a drive-thru window is that it's supposed to be convenient for other people too, not just for the offending driver.**

                        That said, not everyone is going to be considerate. So it's smart to keep your eyes open, and realize that if there's any kind of line at all, going inside will probably be quicker.

                        **One time I am willing to let these "rules" slide is if it's a mommy-van full of kids. The poor woman is better off sitting in the van for 20 minutes waiting for her food, than herding the chilluns inside and trying to control them for the duration -- and the customers inside the restaurant are better off too. If I see them ahead of me in the line, though, I park & go in.

                        1. I live in Manhattan and never go to drive thrus (unless I happen to be in the suburbs, and even then, only on a very rare occasion).

                          But, you question whether someone with a large or complicated order should go inside. You also state...

                          "she didn't have a child in the car. It wasn't raining and she didn't have a handicap sticker anywhere. All would be understandable reasons for being in the drive thru."

                          You were in the drive-thru. Did you have a child in the car? A handicaps sticker? (Obviously it was not raining.)

                          I'm not saying it's not annoying to be stuck behind this person -- it is -- but why should she be any more inconvenienced than you just because she has a large order? It would be equally annoying to be stuck behind this person on the line inside.

                          Maybe on the flip side the drive thru line should be exclusively for people with large orders?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: valerie

                            The big difference is, I was buying one coffee, black. Do I have more right to the drive thru?? No. That's why I question if there is etiquette. Do you have the right to drive in the passing lane?? Yes, but it's etiquette not to. Do you have to have your order ready when you get to the counter?? No, but it's etiquette to do so.

                            DT

                            1. re: valerie

                              "It would be equally annoying to be stuck behind this person on the line inside."
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                              There are almost always several lines open inside, while there is usually one line in the drive-thru.

                              And it seems there are others who feel the same as the OP re: drive-thru etiquette:

                              http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A810325 (scroll down a bit for the drive-thru etiquette portion

                              )

                              3. Orders of £10 or more should really be made inside. The drive-thru is for people in a hurry, and large orders slow everyone down. Put yourself in the shoes of the person behind you. If all you wanted was one small drink and you were delayed ten minutes because the person in front of you ordered 20 burgers and 15 orders of fries, how pleased would you be?

                              and

                              http://kristopherjohnson.blogspot.com...

                              and

                              http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti... (go to Page 2 for point about going inside for large orders).

                              And just so my "vote" gets tallied - I agree with the OP. The drive-thru is *supposed* to be fast and large orders shouldn't be placed there. If one person cannot handle the large order for the office, then s/he should recruit someone else to come along. Special dispensations granted for Moms with a minivan full of screaming kids. :-)

                            2. This issue made me laugh--thinking about if there were drive-throughs in Colombia. The bad news is that the people of the class with cars, while nice to each other in person, are completely oblivious to all others in public. If there were drive thoughs, most would take forever to order, would ask all sorts of questions, and would take an inordinate amount of time with purses, wallets, checkbooks (!), and noting purchases in paying, and would take at least five more minutes to carefully check and then accomodate their purchases before driving off. The good news is that people here are not all that impatient--each would take a loooong time, but wouldn't get all that excited about the people in front of them doing the same.

                              1. I am a drive thru ignoramus, here. I don't eat fast food very often, and when I do, I'm often eating at off hours, so I rarely encounter a line at the drive thru. So, my question is--can't you all with orders for 6 or more people call ahead? Do fast food restaurants do that? It seems to me the obvious answer is to go inside and request that an employee help you out to the car with the complete order, but maybe that kind of service is an unreasonable expectation?

                                All those questions aside, other than people exhibiting basic consideration for the general public, I know of no drive thru etiquette. Some would probably argue that this situation falls into the "basic consideration" category, which I suspect is less commonly practiced now. There are also an awful lot of people running around without any common sense, or who are so tired and overworked that they rarely think about others. Davwud, this person may have been one. It seems to me life is more harried than ever, and etiquette is falling by the wayside as we get busier.

                                13 Replies
                                1. re: amyzan

                                  To say "There are also an awful lot of people running around without any common sense, or who are so tired and overworked that they rarely think about others" in my mind doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of life in the OO's. I can't tell you how often I'm going down an aisle in the grocery/Costco store and see a person with their cart blocking the entire aisle. How am I gonna get by?? As I'm walking through the parking lot, I'm getting my membership card out. So I don't hold up the line getting in. How often do you get the person in front of you, get through the doors and come to complete stop to put on their sunglasses/put something in their purse or pocket/whatever. If you're gonna stop in the middle of the road, pull over.
                                  When I used to work cash, if the line up got bad, I tired to pick up the pace/move customers along.
                                  Not to mention all the non Chowhound topics where it comes up.

                                  DT

                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    I find it funny that the OP feels the person with the large order should go inside so that the OP's order can be filled more quickly. It seems the OP's time is more valuable than the person with the large order.

                                    1. re: Rick

                                      Holy smokes Rick, that's pretty harsh. A pretty large step from point A to point B too if you ask me.
                                      To be honest, my time is worthless. I don't have a cattle prod in my back at work or at home. I CAN wait forever. That does not mean for a second that I want to. It's all about common courtesy. I'm not even saying I'm right. I'm just asking the question.

                                      DT

                                      1. re: Rick

                                        If you are ordering for more than 2 people, you should go inside. I think of the drive-thru like the 10 items or less line at the grocery store. UNLESS they have a waiting area where you can park your car and they will bring your large and or complicated order out to you.

                                      2. re: Davwud

                                        "OO's?" What does that mean?

                                        1. re: amyzan

                                          "00s," not "OOs." Clear as mud, right? :-) They are referencing the decade were are in, as distinct from, say, the 50s, the 90s, the teens, whatever. Said aloud, it would be "the aughts". Am I spelling that right?

                                          1. re: Mawrter

                                            According to Dictionary.com you are. Thanks for the translation. I was in a hurry. It seems my time is very valuable.

                                            ;^)
                                            DT

                                            1. re: Mawrter

                                              Ahhh, the oo's threw me!

                                              Davwud, consider moving to the Midwest, perhaps? We're still living in the 90's! (joking...)

                                        2. re: amyzan

                                          No. Fast food places will not take orders by phone. You can, however, make arrangements with management a day or two ahead of time for a large party (like 20+). But who looks that far ahead when you're talking about burgers and fries? And if there's a line, you certainly aren't going to get an employee to come out from behind that counter to help you carry something. I wish it was different, but fast food is definitely not about service.

                                          1. re: mojoeater

                                            Yeah, I wouldn't have known that, thanks. I'm sooo glad I've never had a job where I was a go-fer.

                                            1. re: mojoeater

                                              During peak periods, they have a person doing the dining room. I would think a good manager would either have them do it. If they didn't do it themselves.

                                              DT

                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                I really doubt it. The dining room person is a table busser and wiper. They need those tables to turn over fast. During peak times, the manager is usually helping the kitchen. Now, if you went with a large order at an off-peak time, like at 11am instead of noon, you might have better luck getting help to the car.

                                              2. re: mojoeater

                                                Actually, our Sonic does take phone orders even for one or two people!

                                            2. This is one of those where its pretty to think that everyone takes the effect of their actions on others into account...but we don't. That's a generalization, but a fairly accurate one. Most people generally go through their day doing what they need to do and not thinking much about how what they do in order to accomplish those things plays out in terms of the people around them. As people have noted, the drive-thru isn't a 10 items or less line, so there's no rule about large orders or about people who order slowly or order something sort of complex. They have no obligation to modify how they're doing things for anyone else and, importantly I think, they have no guaruntee that if they go inside instead of ordering at the drive-thru that it would improve the lot of any of the people who happen to be at the restaurant at the same time. The real logjam in the whole process is going to be getting the food put together and out, not the ordering process. So, one that large order is in whether through the drive-thru or at the counter, its going to slow down the proces of other people getting their orders simply by virtue of taking up more resources than the average order. But that's how it goes. So, bottom line to me on this one is that there's no ettiquite question going here at all because there isn't a direct relationship to the person with the large order altering how they're doing something and a positive effect accruing to the person behind them. (The example of a supermarket checkout line where you've got a basket full of items and a person is behind you in line with a bottle of water and a sandwich: you let them go first because it will cost you two minutes and save them as many as, say 15. In the fast food restaurant, you might let the person behind you order first...but you don't know that its going to really save them much time versus just getting your order in and moving on).

                                              1. jfood has truly enjoyed this thread, thanks all.

                                                since jfood is not a fast-fooder (maybe twice per year) he always goes inside because basic queing theory and more cashiers just seemed logical. that being said jfood believes that when someone gets in a line in which there is one exit then one takes the risk of any single person in front having a "long" order. it's just the risk one takes with a single exit.

                                                if someone is in a hurry, it's not everyone else's responsbility to "get out of the way". if your in a hurry, don't get in the single exit line. if someone has a large order and does not want to go inside because of any number of reasons and wants to sit in the drive thru, it's their choice. there should not be the complete "OMG there may be someone in line who just wants a cup of coffee." First come first served.

                                                jfood thinks a better question is why fast food restos do not have an express line inside for the <3 or <5 items with no changes. then the single cupper or the egg mac w a cup of joe can go in this line. that's a better solution.

                                                and yes jfood does get upset when in the grocer and there is one custo with 25 items in the <10 line.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  I've seen cash only/exact change lines in FF places. Not places like McD's or any of the big ones but smaller stand alone or regional chains.

                                                  DT

                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                    >jfood thinks a better question is why fast food restos
                                                    >do not have an express line
                                                    >
                                                    1. some people may have different notions of what is reasonable here.
                                                    like "i just asked them to leave onions OFF, rather than cook the patty a certain
                                                    way ... that's not a special order". and kicking somebody out of a express line
                                                    probably pisses off the customer ... and that's probably not a good practice
                                                    for a store [an interesting problem for what to do about the person with 12items
                                                    going though the 10 item lane ... do you really piss off one customer to "teach
                                                    them a lesson" ... in this case the time has already been wasted. in your case
                                                    of the 25items ... that's egregious and you are likely to notice before getting deep
                                                    into the order ... i cant remember seeing somebody that far over.]

                                                    2. a given item at a given time depending on what is "cached" may be
                                                    fast or slow. a ready to go big mac under the heatlamp might
                                                    have a 10 second turn around while the quarter pounder pipeline might
                                                    be starved. if you order a burger, coke and fries, and you have to pay
                                                    a cache miss penalty on the fries, that will cause a much longer stall
                                                    than 5 cached burgers.

                                                    3. anyway, the real answer is decoupling the ordering from the pickup ...
                                                    most fast food places support some kind of out of order delivery ... this
                                                    is really the major benefit from going inside. the head-of-queue problem
                                                    is slightly mitigated [although you can only look like line length ... you cant
                                                    tell how many things somebody is going to order ... no equivalent of a
                                                    full shopping cart ... but you can switch lines if there is a problem] but more
                                                    importantly the replies [the completed food orders] are not returned in the
                                                    order the requests were placed, but in the order they become ready [the
                                                    backend resource allocation to make this come out reasonably is beyond
                                                    the scope of this post].

                                                    i think the correct optimization for fast food restaurants would be way too
                                                    complicated. at the very least a fast food place is probably has two modes:
                                                    when the total delay is domainated by "time to order" delay [long lines, food
                                                    caches are 'warm and deep"] ... where and express line would make sense,
                                                    and when they are domainated by food prep delay [short lines, but it takes
                                                    a while to get your food] ... in which case out of order food delivery is more
                                                    important than getting your order in slightly earlier.

                                                    places line in-n-out do some unusual things like have a fellow walk to
                                                    you window to find out your order, so in their case it is hard to
                                                    figure out if drive thru or coming inside is better ... they may be doing some
                                                    resource allocation/prioritization based on whether orders going into the
                                                    kitched are tagged as drivethru or inside orders and this variable length
                                                    buffering.

                                                    maybe the right thing to do with express line abusers is to charge a say 10cent
                                                    per item overlimit surcharge. of course that would potentially make "Lexus Lines" out
                                                    of them. [as would a fast food express line that had a 5cent/item surcharge]. also see
                                                    israeli daycare late fee study.

                                                    you could try to start a new social norm of going up to the guy second or third in
                                                    line and trying to buy his spot in line [note: not bribe him to cut in line, but replace
                                                    him in line, sending him to the end. that would be pareto improving.]

                                                    seating in movie theaters make for much more difficult problems, BTW.

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      The Murphy's Law of drive-thru's holds that by the time you realize the guy in front of you is going to take all day, another vehicle has pinned you in from behind so a hasty retreat is no longer an option.

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        Isn't it a bit much to expect an "express lane" in a fast food restaurant? Isn't fast food the express lane of restaurants as it is? Any faster, and you're just going to have to find a vending machine.

                                                        1. re: Sisyphus

                                                          jfood expects little from a fast food resto.

                                                          jfood's job is to think of solution to various situations. before fast food, the idea of fast food was revolutionary, let's keep going and make it better for some.

                                                          if you can segregate the quickie from the long, why not? For example jfood would love to see a coffee only line at starbs. all this frappay, latay, chai-soy orders take a while. All jfood wants is a large coffee, period. but intil that happens jfood stands on line watches people works on the b'berry and patiently waits for his turn.

                                                      2. Etiquette?
                                                        I'm sorry but wouldn't it be faster if you just went inside?
                                                        And so tell me, why does she have to have a child, be disabled, or it be raining for her to use the drive through? There is a strong possiblility that something happened inside the restaurant beyond her control so it's not fair to assume that this lady was at fault.
                                                        To be honest. The times I do use the drive through I don't think about " drive through etiquette" I thought it was there to use as a convenience and it was my choice either to use it or not. Besides, I I have always found it faster to get out of my car and go in.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                          Child in car = extract child from car seat and re-do when finished from the store. Pain in the butt.
                                                          Handicap = Not being as mobile as others. Thus, more difficult to get in and out. Drive up to window is so much easier.
                                                          Raining = Wet walk through parking lot.

                                                          So we seem to be split on this idea. Some say, "Hey, do whatever you want" and other say "Keep your fellow patron in mind." I'll always opt for option two. I just wish more people were like me.

                                                          DT

                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                            FWIW, in hs (many, many years ago) I worked at a couple of fast food places and the times alloted for drive thru was much shorter than in lines. I don't know if it's like this anymore, or if any of the workers care, but back then we had 30 seconds to process a drive thru order and 90 for inside ones. And, there were days when the manager stood there w/ a stopwatch. So, even if it's not for yourself, do it for the workers who get evaluated on time when it's not always their fault that customers take forever so they can get that nickel raise.

                                                            1. re: Davwud

                                                              Well I guess if you say so, but I don't seem to hold the same expectations, they were after all ahead of you.

                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                <Keep your fellow patron in mind>

                                                                Back in the late 70's or so humorist Tom Bodett did a wonderful written piece on this topic:

                                                                PWNT, or People Who Notice Things.

                                                                To paraphrase, he was in line with a pack of gum at the supermarket. A harrowed-looking mom accompanied by several unruly children stood in front of him with a huge basket of groceries. She turned around, saw his purchase, and said, "Oh, Hon, please--go ahead of me!" She didn't have to, but was being conscientious (and also setting a good example for her kids) and it wowed him.

                                                                Truth be told, there aren't enough PWNT around these days. It's something I try to keep in mind, that story of his.

                                                            2. This thread has been fun to read. Apparently my little town is either the only, or one of the very few, where the FF places have a drive ahead and wait area. If your order is larger than can be accommodated quickly, the window teller asks you to pull ahead and "someone" will bring your order to the car. This lets everyone behind move along.

                                                              1. I think it is interesting that we have swallowed the fast food chains marketing that drive through is fast and easy. It isn't about speed, it is about convenience. And we each need to decide if it is more convenient to wait an additional 3 or 4 minutes or to park our car and go inside. Unless you are there when there are fewer than two cars in line it is almost always going to be faster to go inside. I got behind one of those "mamoth" order people yesterday. As I drove up I saw that the previous total was $138.52. That is food for a dozen people. At this drive thru, there was no escape lane, so I was compelled to wait in line no matter what. Fortunately they did have a pull-ahead spot so the customer was not blocking other traffic. It is easy for me to say that ordering that much food was a rude thing to do, but for all I know it was a single parent on the way home picking up food for the entire extended family. Or perhaps it was a grandma on her way to visit the grandkids and picking up McDonald's is her special treat. Either way, expecting that person to wait for a parking place to open up in the lot, go inside and then haul 4 or 5 bags of food and two trays of drinks back to the car may have been a more daunting task than they were up to. Maybe it was someone with a migrane. In point of fact, In spite of my irritation at the time (and I WAS irritated), it actually only added about 3 minutes to the 5 or so minutes drive thru usually takes. I figure I have 3 minutes to be considerate of someone else, even if they didn't have a "good reason" other than they just felt like it.

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                  Very well put.

                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                    K

                                                                    agree that this is nicely said. reminds jfood of the time when his boss was discussing de-planing at LGA and is perfect plan to get to the cab line as quickly as possible. in the end he said "this could save me 3-5 minutes." Jfood shook his head since we had just spent 5.5 hours on a plane and 3-5 was the critical path.

                                                                    if someone gets in front of jfood in line they are serviced until finished. if jfood does not want to stand behind said person, jfood's responsibility to figure out a better way or leave. if you live to 75 years old you have close to 40 million minutes, what's 3-5?

                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                      This whole conversation is interesting - I've never been under the impression that the drive through is designed to give you faster service. Instead, it's a convenience issue - you don't have to get out of the car.

                                                                      Seems to me that the theory that a large order is inconveniencing those behind you line would apply equally at the drive through or in line inside. If it's not busy, there may only be one cashier. If it is busy, you may have already invested time in waiting in line, only to find that the person directly in front of you has a huge order - do you wait there, or get into one of the other long lines.

                                                                      Of course, I'm in LA, where there will be lines down the block for the Krispy Kreme drive-thru, but not a sole inside. It's a convenience issue.

                                                                      1. re: cyberroo

                                                                        But part of convinience is time saved. At least, in my mind it is.

                                                                        It seems sometime that I get in line at the grocery store and the line stops moving while someone fumbles through their wallet for stuff they could've had ready ahead of time. It seems that I get in line at the ATM to take out $20 and I'm behind someone doing a hostile take over. In line at the drive thru. The list goes on.
                                                                        I don't pretend my time is more valuable, as I said earlier and I don't think I have more right than anyone else.
                                                                        I just hate waiting in line. In my car, on foot, on the phone, whatever. There's too much of it these days. And I'd like us as a society to consider others when while we're backing up the line.

                                                                        DT

                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          Yes, I agree with you that someone should have their money ready and not have to fumble through their wallet. Totally annoying anywhere.

                                                                          However, it's not really their problem if they want to place a big order and the people behind them don't like it. Just like in the supermarket. Should someone only buy a few things just because the rest of the people in the store don't want to wait behind them? And the ATM...should someone only perform a single transaction because of the other customers? Absolutely not.

                                                                          Believe me, I take public transportation around Manhattan, and there is nothing more annoying then getting on the bus on a cold, rainy day and the person in front of you can't find their "metrocard" or coins. I mean, they know that they're getting on the bus, so I can never figure out why they aren't prepared.

                                                                          But to me, that is a separate topic.

                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            This has all been quite an interesting read. For me, it is very difficult to understand how the person with the large order was in any way being inconsiderate. That drive thru is there as a service to customers, I'm guessing with the idea of generating business. Where is the line for what can be considerately ordered in the drive thru? One meal? Two meals? Where do we draw the line between when the person in the car in front of you has just as much right to the drive through as you do? And why must someone have money out before knowing a total? If I don't know my total, and I'm paying with cash, I'm waiting to hear the amount so that I know which bills and coins to actually take out of my wallet.

                                                                            We seem to have a growing inpatience as a society--that in itself is one side of being inconsiderate.

                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                              Not necessarily having the money out, but having a wallet ready and not have to start searching through a handbag that's in the back seat when it comes time to pay. Whether it's $1 or $100, you know that you'll need money.

                                                                      2. I have heard that a person with a large order at Tim Horton's (Canada's ubiqitous and insanely popular coffee spot, for those who may not know) will occasionally pay for the order of the car behind as an apology for taking so long. There was a small article in the local paper after 14 people in a row all paid for the order of the following car. Apparently, this also happens sometimes after someone cuts off another driver to get in line.

                                                                        This is the closest thing to drive-thru etiquette that I'm aware of.

                                                                        IMO, you're a sucker if you volunteer to pick up coffee or food for more than 4 people. Just get a pizza or anything where you can phone or fax the order in.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: El Puerco

                                                                          But what happnes is you ask one person if they want you to pick something up, and someone overhears, and then another person, oh and so and so has a deadline and can't leave the building so I should really ask her, oh, and we should ask the new guy or he'll feel left out, and then your boss catches you just as you're going out the door...so yeah, they may be suckers, but "volunteer" is a stretch! ;-)

                                                                          Luckily though, I go home for lunch, so I've never actually had to go through the drive-thru with the order from hell!

                                                                        2. this is a very interesting topic. I hadn't thought about the "large order" factor, my first thought when I saw the heading was that I HATE it when my DH shouts at the order box!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                            My favorite is when you pull into the fried chicken place and there is "NO CHICKEN FOR TWENTY MINUTES" -- but they take your order anyway. They do instruct you to pull out ahead to wait and they will bring the food to you, but this is risky. And, you would have to wait inside as well. I would say that anything more than three items and you have a fifty percent chance of them getting it wrong or not evening giving you all of what your ordered in your bag -- after charging you. The last three times I did the drive through I was shorted chicken, mashies, and biscuits -- in that order. At a minimum you will get no utensils or napkins. This is why inside is best for anything except a simple coffee or burger. The chicken places are the absolute worst drive through lanes because food takes so long to cook. I now go in unless the inside windows are closed because it's late.

                                                                            1. re: RGC1982

                                                                              When I use to frequent drive thru chicken places, I had never heard them say 20 minutes. They ALWAYS have chicken ready. Is the one you frequent a smaller mom and pop type place or a chain? I live in S. CA so maybe with all the competition around, it behooves the chain to have items ready to go all the time.

                                                                          2. If theres over 3 or 4 cars usually faster to go inside thats my proven hypothesis.*

                                                                            *Results may vary

                                                                            1. Where I live they tell ppl with large orders to pull ahead and they bring your order out to you.
                                                                              They may also have 2 windows. You pay at the first one and pick up the food at the second.
                                                                              I do think it's a matter of consideration. If you are going to take 15-20 mins ordering $135 of food at rush time then perhaps it's best to go inside to make sure you have everything correct and not hold up a dozen ppl.