Drive Thru I.Q.

Picture 5-1Talk all you want about how quality schools are the sign of a good neighborhood I’ve got a better judge of a town’s character – it’s drive thru lane etiquette, specifically at McDonalds. You will find me there almost every morning at 7:48 getting a large Diet Coke. I’m not a Starbucks girl mainly because I don’t believe in hot beverages and walking into any Starbucks within a one mile radius of a private school, pilates studio or PTA meeting brings back post traumatic stress memories of going through sorority rush. The swarm of women with their calculated casual wardrobes, the mock manners accessorized with smug smiles all while ordering various combinations of caffeine freak me out a little bit. One time when I was meeting someone and they were late I entertained myself by playing Starbucks Bingo – Yoga Pant Edition. The center square was a sugar-free, skim milk steamed, soy latte with Splenda foam. But as entertaining as people watching at a Starbucks is it won’t reveal the true personality of a neighborhood. For that you must experience the fast food drive thru that has two ordering lanes that then merge to one. The merging is crucial for evaluating two things: the intelligence of your neighbors and the everyday politeness factor. I call this the Drive Thru I.Q.

I’m pleased to report that my McDonalds has a high Drive Thru I.Q. until last week. That’s when I experienced a drive thru bully disguised as a mom in a minivan.

There I was going through my normal morning routine when I noticed the car in front of me was not merging. It was straddling the two lanes. Oh, I knew what the minivan was doing. They were playing drive thru roulette in an attempt to hedge their bets on which lane would be moving faster. This is not done at my McDonalds. People do not do anything as crass as a lane straddle. They, oh so politely, follow protocol moving up as soon as the next space is available in an effort to keep the lines in a smooth synchronized pattern. Once the minivan had finally selected a lane, the driver apparently not getting her order taken fast enough at the menu area, honked her horn – three times. And not a quick honk, honk, honk but she really laid on her horn to such an extent I couldn’t hear my NPR. I admit this rattled me a bit and might have led to what happened next. I did something I almost never do and got myself a 460 calories and counting bacon, egg and cheese biscuit.

After I ordered, I executed a flawless, merge maneuver and gracefully had my car back into one lane, while my mind drifted to how good that biscuit was going to taste. Just as I was thinking about the buttery goodness of it all, I was jolted back to reality by someone banging on my car. It was the minivan lady and she was ticked. I rolled down my window and she pointed her finger at me while yelling that I had cut in front of her. Which I had most certainly not done, thank you very much. I was in Lane 1 and had, by not laying on my horn, placed my order before she did in Lane 2, hence I merge first.

My initial reaction was to visually check her for a weapon and my second was to wimp out or as I call it let good manners take over and say, “Oh so sorry.” This did not appease the drive thru bully. She wanted me to pull out of the line altogether so she could get in front of me. And that’s where she made her mistake. No one gets between me and my Diet Coke. I told her that wasn’t going to happen and to “get over herself.” Mistake. She flipped me the bird, got back in her car and then rode my bumper the rest of the way through the drive thru. I was so scared she was going to follow me and I don’t know pistol whip me with her Sausage McGriddle Value Meal that I drove to the extremely close police department and sat in their parking lot eating my biscuit until I thought the coast was clear. Oh, and just so you know the minivan had a “Kindness Matters” bumper sticker. Sigh.

26 thoughts on “Drive Thru I.Q.

  1. Gracie G. says:

    You are not alone! I also had a guy get out of his car to tell me that I didn’t order fast enough at a Burger King. Cray cray.

  2. anna roberts says:

    Snarky –

    I call the McDonalds IQ – Road Rage over here in our part of town (Lee’s Summit MO). I’ve been involved in many of these situations and it freaks me out and have made comments to the McDonalds staff. They comment each time that you have no clue as to what they’ve seen in regards to the rage they’ve watch between cars (grown adults) in regards to the “merge”.

  3. Courtney says:

    OMG so crazy and yet so funny! Who are these people that get so bent out of shape about EVERYTHING! I’m a nurse and this woman’s blood pressure must be through the roof.

  4. Alexa says:

    I had a very similar experience when parked along the side of the movie theater, waiting to pick up my daughter and her friends. A woman pulled up alongside my vehicle with her 4 kids in her van, and started screaming at me (including curse words.) What ‘s worse is her kids were getting involved. What to teach your kids how to resolve minor problems. So, I said to her, “Wow, you’re really a great mom. Showing your kids how to act in public when they have a problem.” And she continued–albeit even though I was not blocking anyone, another vehicle was, but she was not paying attention, so I received the wrath. After the woman was continuing, with her kid backup posse, I layed into her with a curse word Wrath of Khan. At this point, she drove away. People are NUTS!! If she doesn’t care about modeling good behavior in front of her own kids, why should I? So, now her kids think this is all appropriate and will likely act the same way in the future. #Winners

  5. Sherri Miller Morris says:

    there IS a protocol to merging!! if you do it out of sync from your ordering, then someone else is getting your buttery biscuit and you wind up with their mcgriddle. LOVE the starbucks bingo idea!! thanks for the morning sniggle.

  6. Jan Sprinkle says:

    And we wonder WHY kids are being bullied at such an alarming rate!? Really??!! How about this news flash…THEY LEARN IT FROM THIER PARENTS! Folks, we now live in a society where people are of the opinion that if you are nice you are weak. Sad.

  7. Cy says:

    Oh, I am with you on the Diet Coke–extra ice, please! But now I’m afraid to go! I’ve had enough of crazy strangers, I’ll tell you that!

  8. Jolie says:

    I’ve seen the “ME FIRST” at the merge, thanks for term. The other day there was a car in front of me, and the driver guy had his arm hanging out with his cigarette, so I could enjoy the smoke blowing back towards me on the breeze. I thought, well at least when he’s done I’ll be rid of it. Nope! He “dropped” his butt at the window, so they probably had to smell it until it burned out, and I got it the whole time at the window. I just shook my head and went on, really, a confrontation – even if it would have been possible – probably would not have made a difference to him. Society stinks some times. 😛

  9. laurelisaak says:

    I thought you might have made this up for a good story, but looking at the comments….I guess not. WOW! Not that I haven’t seen a little crazy going on but getting out of your car seems extreme …… oh and a waste of valuable time!

  10. Maggie M says:

    Gotta wonder if this behavior isn’t from some people watching to many shows like Housewives of Blah Blah Blah, etc and thinking that unlike the scripted TV show the world does not revolve around their silly ass lives.

  11. Lisa Sidney says:

    Everyday at my McDonalds to buy my Diet Coke with Lemon – you should give it a try!! And I have to say most people in Chesterfield MO – at least at my McDonalds – seem to be well behaved.

  12. JessAlk says:

    I believe the average IQ of the citizens in a town should be checked before putting a double drive thru in. This has caused a lot of problems for the McMorons in my small town.

  13. Mercedes says:

    Omg what is the matter w these moms?!
    Methinks theyre generally miserable women taking out their frustrations on those around them. Most probably victims of spousal dislike and or contempt. No kidding. Who would love a miserable b*itch.

  14. Donna says:

    I had someone get mad at me over a similarly perceived slight. He called me a fat cow. Everyone who heard him gasped but I just smiled and said “yes I am overweight but I can still do a double back flip, want to see?” He smirked and said yes. I turned my back to him and flipped him the bird over each shoulder. The whole place roared with laughter and he stormed out.

  15. Kim Allen says:

    Nashville, TN. Music City… The worst McDonald’s drive-thru moment I ever had was when a woman cut me off, barely missing my car. She yelled out her window at me, something unintelligible… She was so rude. So she then sits and chats up the employee in the window. When I , finally, got to the window the employee was so excited she had just met Lorrie Morgan.

  16. latetotheparty says:

    I have only recently found you, and I swear we are soul sisters! I am loving catching up on your writing.

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