Drive-through chaos

When I was childless, I dreaded getting stuck behind a minivan in a fast food drive-through. It took fast right out of the equation. It still does. Now I am the slug driving the minivan. I still hate the combination of minivans and drive-throughs.

It’s better to be stuck behind the minivan than stuck in it. You stew quietly in your own impatience and breath oaths at the roadblock ahead of you. Inside the minivan, it’s nobody’s fault but yours and your fertile loins’ that you can’t make any progress. Thanks to your fertile loins, there is no quiet surrounding your impatience.

None of my boys can tolerate a fast-food burger the way it comes. It must be altered to suit their whims. Just ketchup; just ketchup and mustard; just ketchup, but add bacon. And those little, minced onions you don’t even notice? My kids notice them. Every kid notices every minute onion fiber.

Then, factor in chicken strips.

Kids like chicken strips almost as much as they like burgers, sometimes more – sometimes exactly equally as much. Chicken strips are a logistical nightmare. You can never get them in the quantity you need, especially when dividing them up among children who need a taste of chicken to wash down their burgers. Chicken strips are a wedge to intra-minivan cohesion whose only rival for spreading chaos is fries.

When they said French Fries could contribute to a heart attack, I thought they meant after you ate them.

I understand not liking a pickle on your burger, and I would be fine with all the special orders if those in the back would condescend to voicing their desires before we are stopped at the speaker. Nobody can focus on what they’d like to eat while the wheels are turning. Only when the little voice from behind the pin-holed metal asks for our order, does the chorus of answers spew forth. It’s an episode of Family Feud, except with more feud.

After the order is finally given, our strife-inspired pokiness continues. At the pickup window there is more gnashing of teeth. Enter the fries tumult:

Child 1: You didn’t get me any fries!

Dad: You didn’t order fries.

Child 1: Yeah! Because you didn’t ask me if I wanted fries!

Dad: You heard other people ordering fries. Why didn’t you say something then?

Child 1: Because you never asked me if I wanted fries.

Child 2: I didn’t get fries either!

Dad: You said you didn’t want fries.

Child 2: But now I do!

Mom: Order them fries before we drive away.

Dad: No! This isn’t the ordering window. Besides, they need to learn to order what they want.

Mom: [Getting that Carol Burnett twitch in her eye] Just order them fries so I don’t have to hear the whining all night!

“Order. Them. Fries.” (Image: CBS Television)

Dad: [Taking deep breaths and wondering how many families are wrecked by French Fries.] Excuse me. Could we get two more orders of fries?

Child 3: There’s a piece of onion on my burger. Can you get me a new one?


I’m sorry, young, single people waiting behind the minivan. Enjoy your quiet fuming while you can.




30 comments on “Drive-through chaos

  1. I definitely count my blessings.
    While I have some tolerance for kids trying to cause havoc at the ordering counter, I have a lot less of it for adults that act like kids.

  2. Kenneth T. says:

    French fries are (supposedly) far worse to eat – than the burger itself – because of “acrylamide.”
    ***Don’t worry too much about it – you’d have to eat an incredible amount of fries to have the ill effects – more so than is humanly possible.

    *** in the meantime – – I still eat french fries, because …well they taste so good.

  3. GoofyEd says:

    And I thought I was the only minivan with kids who couldn’t decide until they could see the board…and then get “the usual”. It’s been a long time since those kids were mine. Now the are my grand and great-Grand…and yours that hold up the line. Great tale, Scott.

  4. CrankyPants says:

    We are childless. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. While you’re at that window I’ll have a burger with no onions, and extra pickles. I mean NO ONIONS! Thanks. Oh and I would like some fries too.

  5. Margy says:

    This might explain why some fast food places have apps now – you can order in advance then just park at the front door and pick up your order. Some places bring your order out to you. Of course, once this catches on, there will be a line up for that too, but at least the ordering part can be less painful.

  6. thegsandwich says:

    So you’re that guy?

  7. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh, Scott! How did I miss this one??? This is SO funny! Sorry. Not for you of course. Your wife cracks me up …. sorry again. We had a VW bus and what Mom ordered that was that. If we didn’t like the pickle, we had to take it off. If we didn’t like the cheese, we had to take it off. If we didn’t like the catchup and mustard we sucked it up. No fighting. If we fought …. we got IT when we got home. Those days are long gone and kids these days have NO idea how good they have it. Tell your boys for me what I said. They are lucky they have the parents they do!

  8. Scott Holmes says:

    It’s all hell! We got home without sides in our happy meal last week, and when I called the expected me to load a 1-year-old and 6-year-old back in the car to come back and get them. Then they hung up on me and took the phones off the hook, that brought out my stubbornness. Did you know an iPhone stops keeping track after 200 calls?

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