Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The things you don't want to hear over the drive-through speaker

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 8:30 AM

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Communication over a drive-through speaker is at best as irritating as trying to walk your parents through a technology failure over the phone. At its worst, it morphs into something between a sitcom moment and the reason you've got new high blood pressure medication. I've been through enough drive-through lines to understand that a short line doesn't mean you'll be out of the parking lot in a short amount of time. But at 10:15 a.m. yesterday, I heard two things that did not bode well for my coffee order at the new Dunkin' Donuts on Wornall.

It's a weird moment when you realize that you're hearing someone's internal monologue before you can even see them.

"I must be going crazy," said the voice over the drive-through as I rolled my window down and came to a stop at the outdoor menu. For the rest of the conversation, it was clear that the mute button wouldn't be in play. I have felt that kind of exasperation, but I still remained hopeful because, after all, we're just talking about coffee and doughnuts, right?

I waited until I was addressed and, as a pre-New Year's resolution, I agreed to forsake the pleasantries (I have a tendency to ask drive-through workers how their day is going, which exasperates my wife and thoroughly confuses people who are used to punching in an order and keeping the line moving). I laid out my order for a coffee, doughnut and egg sandwich, using the diction and projection I acquired courtesy of middle school musicals.

"Oh, I don't know how to make that," were the next eight words out of the drive-through speaker. This was not in relation to my order; it was for the gingerbread iced coffee that the car in front of me had requested. In the drive-through team's defense, I don't know what a "gingerbread iced coffee" means either.

Two cars and a quarter of an hour later, I was back on the road, glad that I don't have a direct pipeline to the inner workings of the minds of everyone I come across. I'm sure the results would be equally disastrous.

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