Not so ‘fast’ food

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It’s happened again!

I made a vow the last time that I was asked to pull up and wait for my order at a fast-food drive-thru that I would flatly refuse that request.

But no, no me, not good Cal….I swallowed my pride again on Saturday at lunch and scurried off like some wimp when informed my order wasn’t ready.

After covering the Hertford County Polar Plunge on Saturday, I drove back to Ahoskie with food on my mind. It was about 1:30 p.m. and hopefully the lunch time crowd had thinned out.

So much for a quick, to-go order and then get back to work. For the better part of 30 minutes I was left waiting for a simple order. Nothing special, no unique order requiring the expert touch of a minimum wage employee; just a regular menu item with a Diet Pepsi. Heck, I’ve taken arrest information over the phone from a law enforcement official and wrote the story in less time than it took to fill this simple lunch order.

In the name of fairness, I’m not going to reveal the identity of the particular establishment. In their defense, they were extremely apologetic due to the long period of time I was forced to wait. However, I’ve been sent to the “pull lane and wait” spot before.  I’ve actually seen vehicles decline in value while sitting in line.

To help pass the time, I thumbed through the radio dial as I waited. I smoked a cigarette while I sat waiting. I cleaned out the glove box, plucked the trash off the floor and, if I had the material, would have reupholstered my car seats during my extended waiting period.

Finally, after sitting and watching five vehicles pull-up to the drive-thru window, hand over their money, get their “fast” food and leave, I decided my waiting period had come to an end.

Once inside the restaurant, the manager assured me that my order was ready. She confirmed the side order I had placed and, upon checking on their status, told me that it would be two more minutes before one of those items would be ready.

Two more minutes? I’ve been waiting outside for nearly 30 minutes and now I have to endure an added delay before my simple side order is ready. For crying out loud, why isn’t my side order already prepared? Does it take longer than 20 minutes to fry a potato? I’ve personally dug ’em, washed ’em off, peeled ’em, sliced ’em, deep fried ’em, smothered ’em in ketchup and ate ’em within 20 minutes.

Sure enough, two minutes later my order was finally ready and the manager handed it over with an apology. I was told my patronage was appreciated and to please come back again.

Perhaps I will return one day when this particular brand of fast food strikes my fancy. But upon arrival, I’m going to first see if anyone is waiting in the dreaded “pull-up lane.” If so, I’ll pass on through and save my valuable time.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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