Tomatoes, Drive-Thru, and Hot Sauce

October 16, 2005 — 8 Comments

I must confess something. I hate drive-thrus. I know it might sound weird coming from someone spent two and a half years working at a place that has one, but I do. The main reason I hate them is because they’re so frustrating. Today, Brea and I went to Taco Bueno after church and of course went through the drive-thru. I wanted a combo and with no tomatoes. You would think that I asked for a Big Mac. As soon as the word “combo” comes out of your mouth, they immediately reply “What drink would you like?” Have we never been through a drive-thru before? We know the process. A combo comes with a drink. Don’t worry. We’ll let you know what kind of beverage we want. Heaven forbid we’d want to make a modification to our combo before we let you know what drink you want. Not only that, but how hard is it to figure out that when we say “Combo # 5 with no tomatoes” we mean we want no tomatoes ON THE ENTIRE COMBO!!! If we only wanted no tomatoes on one item, we’d say that. Every freakin’ time they have trouble unwrapping this mystery of the no tomatoes order.

With Taco Bueno in particular, I really don’t think they really listen to what you say. When you’re finished placing your order, they ask if you want hot sauce. It doesn’t really matter what you say here. You’re getting hot sauce. I can’t remember one time that they haven’t given me hot sauce, no matter what I say.

Ok, I feel a little better now. I’ll probably order from a drive-thru again.

Kevin

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8 responses to Tomatoes, Drive-Thru, and Hot Sauce

  1. And don’t forget when you go to the movie theatre and order a medium drink, they ALWAYS ask “Would you like to get the large for only 50 cents more?” No! I can see your prices right there, if I wanted a large, I would have said large. I’m trying to limit the chances of me having to get up to go to the bathroom during the movie, and I save money.

  2. President Rossen,

    I must concur. I also have the semi-hatred for the drive-thru voice. I do find it amusing that to further complicate and confuse the issue, many places have recently gone to putting a different person at the window than the one on the microphone. It has so inspired me to indicate to you my top ten complaints about going through the drive-thru:

    10 – Stop asking if someone wants an apple or cherry turnover with their order. In my experience, I have rarely ordered a dry, sitting-under-a-heat-lamp-for-the-past-four-days pastry as an impulse purchase.

    9 – Don’t just assume that because I am fat I obviously meant to Super Size my order and just forgot about it (by the way, go ahead and Super Size it, since you mentioned it) or that the three entire bags of food are just for me to gorge myself on … yes, I am single and live alone, but that doesn’t mean its all for me. Why must you judge me?

    8 – Can we find a middle ground? Why must you assume that I either want one napkin or enough napkins to have destroyed a small forest of trees? There are numbers between one and infinity.

    7 – Raido Shack is having a sale, how about upgrading your “1970’s Drive-in Movie” speakers to something vaguely coherent. The dashboard speaker on my ’77 Datsun F-10 had a better sound and it had a salad fork jammed in it.

    6 – (ne for good old White Castle) Are the security windows necessary? You serve centimeter thick burgers by the sackful. Are White Castles a major theft target. Let’s all take a moment to consider this and act accordingly. Open the window you freak!

    5 – Fast-Food Manager Thought Process: Let’s see, I have Joe Thomas, Frank Smith and Nehibli Dksithuthdali … who should I have communicate with my customers at the drive-thru We all know who it will be, dont we? (In the voice of Apu: Thank you, come again)

    4 – (For KFC) The Colonel died. Quit using the comical recording of his voice to welcome me to the KFC Drive-Thru. It is too creepy to hear the Clownish Colonel say, “Don’t forget to add a corn cobbette to your order for just 99 cents. Just a minute and one of our good folks will be along to take your order.” I mean seriously, does Disney World have some freakish animatronic version of their dead founder welcoming people to the Magic Kingdom?

    3 – (This is mainly for Wendy’s) You destroy my self-esteem by forcing me to upgrade my purchase with the phrase, “Uh, could you Biggie-size that for me?” How humiliating … This is not a normal human comment. It is like what an alien trying to blend into our society would say to sound natural. It’s just wrong.

    2 – Not enough drive thru workers embrace the mini-boom microphone look and launch into a Vin Scully imitation … three out, Dodogers have runners on the corner and Davey Lopes strolls to the plate … at least I would be amused momentarily while I wait for the order of hushpuppies you forgot to include.

    1 – (For McDonald’s … a recent addition to the Greenville franchise) When you give me my food, don’t say, “See you tomorrow” like I am some pathetic loser who won’t cook for himself, eats fast food every day and is somehow addicted to this sad lifestyle. It is an insult to me as a human … oh yeah, see you tomorrow.

    —————————————
    By the way, true story … happened last night. I stopped at a drive-thru (for legal purposes, I’ll call the restaurant Smaco Bell) and ordered just a Code Red Mountain Dew. When I picked it up at the window, I was asked it I wanted hot or mild sauce with it. Yum!

  3. For the most part I agree with your opinion of Drive Thru’s. I worked one for a year at Braum’s and gained a perspective from both sides of the equation. (I’d never had the overwhelming urge to drag someone out of their car until I started working the drive. That old man was asking for it…but thats a story for another court case…er…blog.) But I do see a few problems in your story.

    Kevin…I must ask you why on earth you even frequent Taco Bueno in the first place? (I know, I know…”I like the food there.” Yeah…sure you do.) That is your first problem. I’ve never been to a Taco Bueno and come away thinking that it was a good experience. There used to be one in Enid that tried to compete with the Taco Bell. I don’t think it is there anymore. If so, I’m surprised because it always seemed more “white trash” then most other restaurants in Enid. That is a really saying something too. At one point Enid had the highest number of restaurants per capita of any city in the US – even N.Y. – yet there is not a single Olive Garden, Friday’s, and the only Chili’s – which I don’t prefer – only got there a few years ago. Applebee’s is the best restaurant there. (As an example of the lack of quality restaurants, last I checked there were 4 Sonics, 3 McDonalds, and at least 3 Braum’s in a city of 47K+.)

    Second, as Senor Smith mentioned, most of the drive thru’s don’t have good sound technoloy. However, I must wonder how much worse a small chain like Taco Bueno’s is…

    But, as I mentioned, I understand what you’re getting at. One time Lisa and were ordering from the drive at a Taco Bell (the only worthy, fast Tex-Mex place) and I said that I would like “A Frito Burrito.” They rang it up as “8 Frito Burritos” and then said please pull up before I could clarify. When the total came to me as $32 dollars, Lisa and I knew something was up. I asked the guy to read back my order and that is when I discovered the problem. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “well, sure, I can see that. A simple misunderstanding of two words that sound similar.” Unfortunately, this WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN A PROBLEM IF THEY HAD GOTTEN SOMEONE ON THE SPEAKER THAT COULD SPEAK PASSABLE ENGLISH!!! For once the speaker actually worked pretty decently. The problem, again as Mr. Smith mentioned, is that the best speakers in the world are worthless if you simply can’t communicate with the person your dealing with.

    In conclusion Kevin, I would say to you that yes, drive thrus suck. However, the biggest travishamockery here is that you went to Taco Bueno in the first place.

  4. Oh, and Brian, don’t forget next time to just order and “Extra Medium.” (Or the one with the arrow that says “Best Value.”) 🙂

  5. Oh, my goodness. I laughed so hard at your entry, and then kept laughing even more at all the comments. Thanks for the lift!

  6. Without going into a long spiel about customer service, let me simply say this: As long as people don’t bring it to the attention of the service providers that there’s a problem, the problem WILL CONTINUE. Albert Einstein said insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I had a similar experience as Chris’ at a Wendy’s close to my work where there was a language barrier.After the second time consecutively in two days, I wrote the corporate office a letter, describing the problem and gave the location of the store. Within a week, the problem was addressed and I had none after that.

    Companies THRIVE on customer service…it’s their bread-and-butter. The ONLY way for companies to know that something is wrong is through communication. I use the Internet to find addresses of corporate offices (HINT: a physical letter via snailmail is more effective!). Don’t expect companies to be surfing the Net to find blogs like this one to determine if they’re doing a good job! WRITE THEM! Trust me, companies want to know how they’re doing and want to provide better service for their customer. REMEMBER: Customer service is there frontline of attack! Who knows? Not only will the service most like change, you might get sent a letter with free coupons!

  7. Ok so I just found the blog for assemblies of God and somehow came to this story about tomatoes and drive thrus. I laughed out loud several times. I 100% agree with you about the fact that Taco Bueno will give you hot sauce no matter what you say. One time I tried immediatly telling them when they opened the window to tell me my “amount due”. Before they could say “that will be $3.53” I said “please do not put hot sauce in my bag” They smiled and said OK. Liars!! I thought I had gotten through to them but no. As I pulled away I reached in my bag and pulled out not 2 but 3 round containers of hot sauce. The maddnes will never end. Thanks for listening. Have a great day.

  8. Okay quit crying like a little girl…i’ve worked at taco bueno before and yes when u order a combo we automatically ask for your drink first…why because on the computers we cannot move forward in the order until we have your drink request, when a customer starts saying they want no this and no that and they want to add this but take this off, it is much easier to get the drink out of the way first…and sometimes the customers act like we can read their minds like when they want no tomatoes we will put no tomatoes on everything and then they throw a hissy because they just wanted no tomatoes on one thing…although they didn’t specify we just have to grin and bare it. Heaven forbid taco bueno isn’t a magical place were they just get everything right. and please man it’s just hot sauce remove it and throw it away it’s not like it tainted your food.

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