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Drive-thru screw-ups

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How many times ahave you gone through the drive-thru and you don't have what you ordered? This happens often enough, we always pull over and check before we leave. Just wondering how common it is for other people.

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  1. This is why I hate going through the drive-thru. Besides the long lines, I never seem to get what I ordered. The last time I did the drive-thru I got all the way home once from Wendy's and realized they'd forgotten my dipping sauce for the nuggets. That was the last time I did that.

    1. I always check - the one time I forget to is always a massive screw-up.

      1. Here is southern california it seems that drive through places frequently put someone at the window with limited english speaking ability. When I place on order and they repeat the wrong item back to me in a heavy hispanic accent, I order in Spanish. Works almost every time.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Paul Weller

          So, how do you translate "Big Mac"?

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            dame un big mac

            me gusto un big mac

            y un coke.

            1. re: dtud

              Here in Colombia where all ordering is (obviously) in Spanish, we also don't translate "Big Mac" (which is what I was wondering about). But we are a bit more polite: "Quisiera un Big Mac, por favor" or "Me gustaria un Big Mac con una coca, por favor".

              1. re: dtud

                Same in the Miami airport, "Un 'quarter pounder' y un Esprite grande, por favor'".

            2. re: Paul Weller

              It's the same almost everywhere in North America. Thank God for immigrants. The last time I stepped inside McDonald's here in Calgary (25% foreign born here), every single employee was from either the Philippines, China, the Middle East or Africa.

              Thank God for immigrants. Nobody would staff these service jobs otherwise.

              1. re: John Manzo

                John
                The vast majority of employees at our local fast food restaurants are American born &/or, raised kids who speak (the scary kid form of ) English. On those rare occasions when I see an adult of ANY etinic group, I am thrilled b/c it usually insures a properly put together order..
                I don't think it's a matter of "Immigrant" Vs American raised. It's more a matter of Teen Vs Adult work ethic. .

            3. Now when I get to the pick up window, I always ask about the plasticware/sour cream, salad dressings/dipping sauces/ketchup/napkins, etc.Invariably,rather than check, they just toss more into the bag. I also always keep non refridge extras in the car

              1. happened to me last week at Wendy's with a big office order. Got back to work and they had missed out mine. I was not a happy bunny. I should have checked. Annoying when it's been paid for and they omit it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: smartie

                  smartie
                  I hear ya... I hate that.
                  My only suggestion: If you have the time, pull into a parking space and check the order. Annoying and time consuming, but really the only way to be sure.
                  I have notiiced that fast food places that have a "pay" window AND a "pick up" window, seem to do a much better job. Makes sense. I imagine taking orders while packing up the previous order can be a daunting task, esp at peak times. I actually know of at least one fast food restaurant that will take 'call ahead' orders! I wonder if that is unique or something that will spread?

                2. Hasn't happened often, but did happen one time at McDonalds. Got my Big Mac, fries and soda. Started eating the Big Mac after driving for a few minutes. Tasted cheesier and saucier than ususal. Soon realized why. It had everything a Big Mac should except any beef patties. Kind of an important piece to the sandwich, I think.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: jdf

                    jdf... I'm laughing!...
                    I was once at a Wendy's where the same thing happened and the customer, who was an older woman, took it up to the counter and got to utter the famous line: "Where's the Beef? ..Anyone within earshot cracked up, Even the Mgr laughed. They gave her 2 free burgers... It was hysterical !

                    1. re: Tay

                      Pretty funny stuff. I went back and told the drive thru guy what happened. He yelled out to his co-worker that I got no Mac in my Big Mac. Nothing free for me, though. Oh well.

                      1. re: jdf

                        That's b/c you are too nice and you didn't get annoyed.
                        .
                        I just looked at this and thought: Isn't it an awful thing to live in a word where people can be considered "Too nice?"... Sigh!

                        1. re: Tay

                          Tay,

                          Probably true. But then, I didn't want to make a big stink and not see what they did to the free stuff they would have given me. Maybe just urban legend, but I didn't want to push my luck.

                        2. re: jdf

                          Same thing happened to me too. McD's drive thru...asked for a plain cheeseburger. I got home and had a bun and a piece of cheese. Cant get too much plainer than that . I guess I was lucky I got the cheese.

                          1. re: gingerbread girl

                            g girl
                            I had to laugh at the cute way you (sort of) put a positive spin on your experience. :-}

                    2. That is one thing that I love about Krystal (besides those tasty little burgers)- they put your order in a clear bag so you can visually check it without removing everything! Really cuts down on mistakes when the person at the window *knows* that you will be checking your order before driving away- in fact since they have started doing this, I have never had them screw anything up.

                      Krystal went from the worst drive thru to being among the best! Free wi-fi too!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Clarkafella

                        Hmmm..
                        I am not familiar with this chain. Where are they located?

                        1. re: Tay

                          Not sure how far they go, but they seem to be all over the south...

                          http://www.krystal.com/

                          1. re: Clarkafella

                            Rats!
                            None here!
                            Thanks for the info.

                      2. In my university days, i worked at Wendy's, and i think alot of the screw-ups there are because they expect you to get the food out super-quick, before you've barely had a chance to even look at it. I was seriously afraid of my supervisors who barked orders and doled out blame and degradation at every opportunity. Sometimes, a meat-less bun came back i think as a result, and the place was also known for forgetting fries. I remember once a bus load of people came into the restaurant and we were still expected to get the orders out in two minutes. It was not a happy place to work.

                        Stuff there was done assembly line style, so the person who put the toppings etc on the bun, was not in charge of cooking the meat....under pressure it'd happen once in a while that you assumed the meat was there and just wrapped it up.

                        I always check though, but it's hard to do that if you're handling other people's orders, and some times you just don't want to hold up the line while you unwrap a sandwich to confirm if it is, in fact on whole wheat.

                        I REALLY don't like coffee with sugar, and that's happened a few times as well....driving on down the road, oooh, coffee has cooled enough, open it up, take a sip, blech.

                        I don't eat meat either, and i am still paranoid any time i grab a fast food veggie burger that they'll screw it up and give me the regular kind. For now, however, knock wood, this has only ever happened in sit down restaurants.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: im_nomad

                          I don't order drive-through (don't have a car) but isn't it also possible for a lot of errors with drive-through because of the microphone? I can see how the people who take the orders may misunderstand what the customer wants because of the acoustics.

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            I can hardly understand or hear the person taking the order!! And I hate being first in line at a drive thru because I never know what I want and feel rushed.

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              Maybe it's being outsourced:

                              http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/11/tec...

                              1. re: chowser

                                Jfood remembers this was a section in Tom Friedman's "The World is Flat" as well.

                          2. About once a week, I stop for McBreakfast for myself and my office-mate on my in to work. Last Friday, I ordered and paid for two meals (breakfast sandwich, hash brown, drink). Only got sandwiches and drinks. So I parked and went inside. When I told the girl at the counter (who happened to be the one who handed me my order) that I was missing the hash browns, she nodded and said "yeah... they'll be ready in a minute and a half." I hate to think that they did it on purpose, but I actually saw her and another employee check the contents of the bag against the order screen before she handed it to me. Really annoyed about that.

                            1. It's not often that my order gets screwed up, but one event stands out in my mind. My college girlfriend and I rolled through the Jack in the Box drive-thru at about midnight after a particularly long day. We were both famished. When we got our food home they had gotten the order totally wrong and omitted a few items. I was too tired to really care, but to her it was the last straw.
                              She dragged me out the door, made me drive her back to JITB, and proceeded to climb over me from the passenger seat so she could stick her head through the order-window and scream at the guy taking orders. Needless to say, he gave her whatever she asked for.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ajs228

                                Depending on your mood, degree of hunger, etc It can really make you crazy...

                              2. All I could think of after reading your post was Joe Pesci's line in Lethal Weapon II - "You always get f***ed at the drive through!".

                                But seriously - if there are more than two cars in the line up, I always park and go inside; I find it much quicker. I've seen people waiting with 10 cars ahead of them when I've gone inside; when I come out, they're still waiting five cars back. Makes no sense to me.

                                1. It just boils down to the lack of good customer service in all aspects of food-service, whether its at the drive-thru or at a upscale sitdown restaurant. I loathe going through the drive-thru because I expect my order won't be correct. Its ridiculous. I can only hope that there are CH's that live a double life, the other being someone working for one of the fast food places. Maybe they will read these posts and it might make a difference.
                                  I do pull over and check my order, and yes as others have posted, the one time I don't is when I get home and find out the order is completely wrong.

                                  1. easy fix,

                                    What I do, on the rare(once or twice a year) occasion I actually eat from a place with a drive-thru, is to get out of my car & go in and order and get my food. That way the order will be correct, and I can burn off a few of the calories I am about to consume walking and standing. ;-)

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: swsidejim

                                      Jim...(SIgh!)
                                      That would be far too easy and makes far too much sense. How could we trade drive in disaster stories if we did the smart thing and actually went into the FFP? No...Far better to be hopelessly lazy and whine about the silly (albeit incredibly annoying) incorrect and/or missing items. EG: Last week at lunch, my friend picked up salads,and met a friend in a local park, only to discover the enclosed plasticware consisted of one knife and one spoon!.

                                      1. re: Tay

                                        great post, thanks for the laugh this afternoon.

                                        1. re: swsidejim

                                          :-}