When I was little, we didn’t have fast food restaurants. We weren’t in a hurry. We mostly ate at home. You know, meat, potatoes, and a vegetable. Oh sure, there was the local A&W root beer stand. We were able to drive to the parking spot, and a girl would come out and put a tray at our window. We would order and the food would be brought to our car. This doesn’t work too well when it rains or there is a twelve inch snow fall. Hard to eat while wearing mittens.
Elby’s Big Boy was another place that had the same drive-in scenario. If you looked like crap, but were hungry, you could drive in your curlers or greasy hair and eat in your car. How convenient. And fast.
So, it wasn’t long before someone figured out that people would love to pull up to a sign with the menu written for them. They could order, be told how much it was going to cost at the next window, and then at the last window, pick up their food and be told to have a nice day. How wonderful would that be?
Although there were other chains who first claimed the ”drive thru,” the first drive thru McDonald’s was established in 1975. I was in college at the time, and I don’t remember what year the concept finally got to Fairmont, West Virginia. Probably last week. I would have loved a drive thru, as we had to put “scarf on head” and head to McDonald’s to nurse a hangover. Seems I wasn’t the only one who felt better eating greasy food the day after drinking jungle juice or swamp water at a party. But, no, no one thought to put a drive thru in a college town. They could have made so much more money during the mid seventies.
There are problems with drive thru windows, however. Just yesterday, my friend and co-worker, left McDonald’s and realized 15 minutes later that the goofy cashier did not return her change. $8.00. And to top that, she reported that the tea was so nasty that she couldn’t drink it and had to throw it away. First of all, I would never ever drive off without my change. Now, one time when I was trying to multi-task think, I drove right up to the window without stopping to order. But, her experience yesterday made me realize the two things that happened to me after leaving a McDonald’s drive thru once upon a time.
To be honest, I have a lot of things happen to me at fast food joints. Sometimes the person at the window drops my change on the ground and then just looks and says, “Oops.” I think that is translated as, “Open your door and pick it up.” But, one day I came home with something extra special. The thought still turns my stomach.
No, I didn’t get a severed finger or a rat’s foot in my sandwich. That would have made me rich. No, my delight was in my medium regular Coke.
Now, I love my Coke. But, this Coke had a hell of a lot of ice in it. I could tell when the goofball head handed it too me. I was a little miffed, knowing that meant there was probably two sips of Coke and the rest ice in my cup. But, I drove home with my cup of ice and my cheesburger and french fries.
I took a couple of sips of my Coke, and realized I was right. Shit. Those stupid people put more ice than Coke in my medium Coke. I took another long sip and well, that was it. Not happy. So, I took the lid off and looked at the ice.
What ice? Oh, there was a couple pieces of ice. But, sitting in the cup, smiling up at me, was a part of the contraption of the Coke machine. The part where the Coke comes out into your cup had somehow fallen into my cup. It looked like a large plastic piece……..with…….MOLD all over it.
I immediately starting gagging. I was sick to my stomach. Dear God, the moldy coke machine was in my cup.
After I faux vomited for about ten minutes, I got pissed. Pissed like I was going to drive right back and shove it down someone’s throat.
So, I drove back to McDonald’s with my little toy surprise. I marched in and asked for the manager. He came right out and I began my little tirade.
“Um, are you by any chance missing something?”
“I’m sorry. Missing something?”
“Uh, yeah, like a part of the Coke machine?” I then opened my coke cup and revealed the black moldy cokey piece.
And this is the part that made me want to spit nails. He said to me.
“Thanks.” And walked away with Moldy. The hell you say?
“Excuse me??? Seriously, that is it? I drove home with MOLD in my drink. I wasn’t able to eat any of my Quarter pounder meal because I was vomiting. I think you owe me a new meal…..and an apology instead of a thanks…..And please write down your name so I will be able to give it to my lawyer.” I don’t mess around. Notice I super-sized my original order.
The manager gave me back my money and gave me a new Quarter pounder value meal. Which was much better than the cheeseburger and small fries that I had to begin with. Well, I wouldn’t have lied if he had apologized profusely the first time.
The second time the drive thru window did me wrong was sort of comical. I can’t remember the deal, but our McDonald’s had a certain day when cheeseburgers were like $.50 each or something pretty damn cheap. I went through the fast food window and got cheeseburgers for the fam and chicken nuggets for my daughter as even back then she did not like hamburgers. So, I drove home and unloaded the burgers, the fries, and went to the fridge for the ketchup for the fries. And then my husband spoke up.
“Vick, where are the cheeseburgers?”
“Um, right in front of you.” Duh.
“No…..where ARE the cheeseburgers?”
My husband lifted up his bun to reveal a….bun. I brought home six cheeseburgers and none of them had the patties in them.
“You have got to be kidding me!”
So, I drove back to McDonald’s and asked to see the manager. I showed him the meatless meal and pointed out that all of the large french fries, sitting on my kitchen island, were cold now because I had to drive all the way back here….from Saskatoon, Canada….or three minutes down the road.
I had to laugh at that one. That’s like going to Kentucky Fried Chicken and coming home with a box of mashed potatoes and a roll. Or something like that. Maybe that Hamburglar really does have a problem with stealing. You just never know about Old McDonalds.
So sure, fast food drive thru’s may be convenient and quick, but are they really? How many times do people go home with the man’s order who was in back of you in line? How many times did you get a mixture of tea and Sprite instead of a Coke? And how many times did you not get a straw or napkins when you were planning to eat while driving? Maybe it’s worth it, and maybe it’s not.
I wonder what the future holds for fast food. I’m thinking the Jetson’s. You won’t even have to go out of your space pod. Just push a button and it will appear. A Food-A-Rac-A-Cycle.
And hopefully, it won’t come with a side order of mold or no meat.