No, really: I HATE the drive-thru. But not for the reasons you may think.
- I don't hate it for the service - (or lack thereof).
- I don't hate it for the deliciously unhealthy food most drive-thru restaurants offer.
- I don't hate the drive-thru because no one spells it right ("thru" vs. "through").
Boom. There it is. I said it. And now you think I'm a hippie.
But I'm not. The reality is, I've probably spent way more time thinking about this than I should have. And here's what I came up with...
For thousands of years, mankind has had to focus almost his entire being on just staying alive. Except for the very rich, human history has generally been devoted to subsistence living. Only in relatively recent times, i.e., since the industrial revolution, has food production become so mechanized and downright easy. In the western world, scarcity of food is far from being a problem; distribution is the problem.
While many, many millions of humans around the world live in squalor, the truth is that food has by-and-large never been easier to come by on a daily basis.
Don't get me wrong, I am so glad to be living in the world today. The basic necessities of life are so incredibly easy to obtain; clean running water, food, shelter, heat - these things are in greater supply today than ever before in human history. I thank God for hot water every time I step into a shower. Talk about a blessing that is taken for granted by so many people!
The same can be said for the drive-thru.
It is absolutely stunning to ponder the fact that most of us have hot, satisfying nourishment only a few short minutes away, at a cost that adds up to mere pennies on the dollar considering all the work that has gone into making that sandwich, taco, or pizza. But besides the proximity and economies of scale, with the advent of the drive-thru some 50-60 years ago, we don't even have to get out of our cars! Forget for a second that cars, which are a very recent phenomena as well, are in themselves amazing feats of technology and just think about how easily we in the United States can obtain a hot meal.
It should make you feel truly blessed by the Almighty. Yet, I would argue that few people ever pause to consider how lucky they are.
As for me, that feeling of being blessed stirs up the desire to completely reject the drive-thru, park my car, and walk through the front door to order my food. I mean, come on people. At the very least, shouldn't we be expected to walk just a few feet in order to get our food? Besides, a couple extra calories burnt walking into Taco Bell should make up for at least one bite of the 7-layer Burrito I'm about to get, right? If you're so lazy you can't take a 20 second walk, you probably should put down the Big Mac.
If exercise isn't your thing, think about all the gas you waste waiting in line in the drive-thru. Depending on how much you get fast-food, that could really add up. And beyond the cost saving benefits, the drive-thru really isn't all that much faster than walking in. It's the same people preparing the food. They'll get to your order whether you're in your car or not. The only time you save is the ten seconds from your car to the front door and the ten seconds back.
Of course, if you have kids, the time saving thing can turnout to be completely wrong. BUT! Here's the good news: you can turn that daunting trip into the fast food restaurant into a learning opportunity. Going into the restaurant, instead of just sitting in the car, can teach your kids valuable lessons about behaving in public. Gotta teach them sometime, right?
It really isn't all that complicated. No matter which way you slice it, the drive-thru is decadent and the embodiment of laziness. The only question is whether or not you're still going to use it.