OPINION: Four minutes at the drive-thru

Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer

abbey column

Working at a Culver’s drive-thru, I’ve seen a variety of people: anything from a whiny kid demanding custard after an arduous rec basketball game from his mom’s minivan to an old woman hauling a tractor with her seemingly out-of-character Ford truck. Despite the wide range of characters, everyone can ultimately be categorized into two groups.

There are those who whiz by in a flurry of impatience, a rude demeanor and permanent frown etched upon their faces, and there are those who have the decency to make eye contact and say, “Thank you”. The second type of people is extremely rare.

With today’s constant hustle and bustle, politeness is forgotten while curt and impolite behavior runs rampant. When we want something, we want it now–because that’s what we’re used to. We can refresh a page and receive breaking news, we can Google a question and have an instantaneous answer. In a world of notifications and ringtones, simple face-to-face communication is lost because there simply isn’t enough time.

Outside the realm of technology, person-to-person encounters are all I experience at my job. It brightens my day when someone takes the time to glance at my nametag and personalize their “thank you”s, or when someone smiles and compliments me. On the flip side, I become irritated and quickly upset when someone harshly comments on pricing of which I have no control, or rolls their eyes because I took too long to scoop a chocolate cone.

The way I see it, you can either spend the four minutes of drive-thru wait time one of two ways. You can cheerily chat with your passengers, crank up your favorite song, roll down the window to enjoy a nice day, and kindly thank the employee who hands you your meal when it’s ready, or you can restless drum your fingers on your steering wheel, glare out your window at someone who is trying to do their job, and snatch your bag when it’s ready and drive off in a huff.

Either way, you still wait those four minutes.

 Originally published in The Chronicle on May 15, 2015.


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