It was there for a while. A little while to be sure, but to be sure, it was there. Or they were there. Those two words. Those two words that are almost never heard at a fast food drive through window. Thank you. So rare are they that we were certain they had just been substituted by some unfamiliar phrase and thus we posted a page of translations one might find useful when pulling around to Window Number One (“The 21st Century Drive-Through Translator,” May 8, 2014). Now, however, after a more recent visit to Drive Through Land, he is certain that those words, or lack of them, are iceberg tip zone.
It was a couple weeks ago that he was starved and needed something to eat and needed it fast. Ahead of him he saw arches and pigtails and crowns. Didn’t matter where he stopped, they were basically interchangeable. He pulled into the first one and saw only one mini-van at the speaker. This should be quick he thought. Mini-van equals kids, equals kid meals, equals one-two-three ordering. Wrong!
As he pulled behind the van and lowered his window he caught the sound of the lady ordering loud enough that she could have done so without the speaker set-up. “…and a bacon ranch salad without the bacon.” A pause presumably while she read the read-out on the speaker’s screen. “Not a side salad. A bacon ranch salad, hold the bacon.” The response came through just as loud. “That is a side salad with ranch dressing.” “No it’s not.” Here is where he should have turned around and moved on to contestant restaurant Number Two.
Eventually the mini-van lady and the disembodied speaker voice came to an agreement of what kind of salad she was going to get (even though nobody really understands why these places serve salads anyway). She pulled around to Window Number One and he gave his order which the headless speaker person totaled to $4.28. He reached into his change cup, pulled out a quarter and three pennies, felt for a bill in his pocket hoping to snag either a five or a ten and was relieved to find a ten between his fingers, and made his own way to Window Number One, the very window where the mini-van was still stationed!
“…don’t ever change my order again like that. If I ask for a salad I want that salad not a little side salad. I know what you people make on those things. Is that the phone number to call complaints to. I’m dialing it now.” And off to Window Number Two she went, probably misdialing all the way.
He took the now vacated place, the no longer headless voice repeated his total, and he passed over the bill and four coins. The young lady in the window asked if he wanted his receipt, he said no thank you and waited for his change. Instead of money she handed him his receipt (yes, the very one he said he didn’t need) and uttered those immortal words, “There you go.” He continued to wait and when she didn’t get it he tried a verbal cue. “Hmm, my change?” “You gave me 28 cents,” she said. “Yes,” he said, “but not with a four dollar bill.”
He looked up and saw that the mini-van was still at Window Number Two. He wondered if the mini-van lady was ever a drive through worker.
Now that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you.