10 Reasons Why

10 Surreal Conversations at a Typical Drive-Thru Restaurant

  Note: Since my recent post about a Taco Bell escapade proved to be mildly entertaining, I thought I’d dig another fast-food debacle out of the archives. By the way, PTO = Person Taking Order, the complete twit that has somehow been granted communication permissions at this establishment. And, here we go…


PTO: “Welcomecrackintheboxyourorder?”

Me: “Okay, I believe you just attempted to greet me and ask for my order, although that might have been some type of seizure or a mating call. Can you hang on a minute?”

PTO: “….”

Me: “Hello?”

PTO: “Are you ready?”

Me: “No, I just wanted to make sure you heard me say just a minute.”

PTO: “…”

Me: “Did you hear me?”

PTO: “Are you ready?”

Me: “Do I just not exist to you until I answer ‘yes’ to that question?”



PTO: “Sir, please stop honking your horn.”

Me: “I’m NOT honking my horn. It’s the people behind me.”

PTO: “Why are they honking?”

Me: “I’m assuming they’re hungry. We’ve been in line for twenty minutes and we haven’t moved an inch.”

PTO: “Could you tell them to stop honking?”

Me: “I don’t know them. I’m not telling them anything.”

PTO: “You’re closer than me.”

Me: “Look, can I talk to your manager?”

PTO: “He’s not here, he had to run get some change from the bank and… Hey, is the honking coming from an ugly green Prius and the driver is a butthead?”

Me: “What? Um… well… yes, it appears to be a Prius… not sure about the ugly part… and the driver could be a butthead or it could be Mother Teresa, I have no idea…”

PTO: “That’s my manager. He’s trying to bring me change and you’re in the way. Could you go get the money bag and bring it to me?”

Me: “Why in the world is he using the drive-thru? That doesn’t make any sense.”

PTO: “That’s why he’s a butthead. Can you just go get the bag and stop talking? I’m out of ones.”

Me: “No I cannot go get the bag. What is wrong with you?”

PTO: “Nothing’s wrong with me. You’re the one who’s anti-social and resistant to authority.”

Me: “How do you even know those words? From your police reports?”

PTO: “Those documents are sealed until I’m 18 and that’s none of your business. Are you getting the change or not? I’ve got a lady here who ordered Captain Bucky’s Shrimp Bucket and I don’t have the right change. I already tried to give her a stapler and she didn’t go for that. She’s kinda mad.”

Me: “I’m not getting your change! In fact, I’m not getting anything. I’m putting my car in reverse and I’m getting the hell out of here, and I don’t care if I hit Mother Teresa in the Prius!”

Me: “So you won’t be using any coupons today?”



PTO: “Could you please repeat that?”

Me: “I haven’t said anything yet. Do you understand that the people in front of me aren’t here anymore?”

PTO: “Oh. Well, do you know if they wanted the Diablo Sauce or the Chipotle Cream on their Flaming Flautas?

Me: “Uh…no I don’t. They didn’t discuss it with me. Since I wasn’t in their car or anything.”

PTO: “You didn’t hear them when the ordered? What did they say?”

Me: “I wasn’t recording it to share with my grandchildren when they visit me in the nursing home. It’s your job to listen, not mine.”

PTO: “That sounds racist. I’m calling my lawyer.”

Me: “How is that racist? I don’t even know what race you might be, even if I wanted to have an issue with it, which I don’t.”

PTO: “So now you’re denying me my heritage?”

Me: “I’m not… I just want to order a chicken sandwich. I am not burning a cross or wearing a hood. I’m just hungry.”

PTO: “Chicken sandwich, huh? So you want the white meat. Which means you have a problem with the dark meat. I knew it.” Sounds of PTO partially covering her microphone as she turns to holler into the kitchen. “Order up! KKK chicken sandwich with a side of fries. Don’t bother to cook the fries so they can stay white.” Sounds of PTO uncovering microphone. “There. I’ll go sit in the back of the bus until your order is done.”



PTO: “Please pull up to the second window.”

Me: “Um, there’s only one window.”

PTO: “Oh. That was my last job. Can you just drive until I see you?”

Me: “But I’m already at the window. I’m looking at you right now.”

PTO: “Oh.” Turns to look out window instead of gazing at the tile wall in front of her and practicing dance moves. “Is it you that I’ve been talking to? Then how are you talking at the menu board?”

Me: “I’m not. There was a sign on the menu board saying it was broken and that I should just pull through.”

PTO: “Then how come I can hear you in my headset?”

Me: “That’s between you and Jesus. I just want a Grapette and some tater tots.”



PTO: “You want any ketchup with that?”

Me: “I ordered fries. Why would I not want ketchup?”

PTO: “Some people don’t.”

Me: “Some people do. Like me.”

PTO: “Look, I’m supposed to ask instead of just give. I don’t make the rules. Ketchup costs money, you know.”

Me: “Then add it to the cost of the fries and give everybody the damn ketchup.”

PTO: “Fine. Is one packet enough?”

Me: “I’d like three. There’s only like two drops in one of those things.”

PTO: “That’s a lot of ketchup. Do you know how much sugar that is?”

Me: “Are we really having this conversation?”

PTO: “I think we’re both talking, so, yes, we are.”

Me: “Just give me the ketchup.”

PTO: “You seem to have a lot of anger in you. Violence is never the answer. Here, let me just tuck this brochure for the Buddhist Temple into your bag, so you can read it while you’re eating all that ketchup that you don’t really need.”



Me: “I’d like the Atomic Burrito and a large order of Jalapeno Bang-Bangs.”

PTO: “We don’t have chicken.”

Me: “Both of those things have ground beef. What’s with the chicken?”

PTO: “We don’t have it.”

Me: “But I’m not ordering anything with chicken.”

PTO: “We don’t have chicken.”



PTO: “Would you like to super-size that?”

Me: “No, thanks.”

PTO: “Would you like to super-size that?”

Me: “NO! Regular size is fine.”

PTO: “Would you like to super-size that?”

Me: “Are you some kind of upgrade terrorist? I don’t want the big one, I want the little one.”

PTO: “Bigger is better.”

Me: “No, it’s not. Not if I don’t want it. God.”

PTO: “God wants you to have bigger things.”

Me: “Just shoot me in the head.”

PTO: “Would you like the super bullet with that?”



PTO: “Can I take your order?”

Me: “Uh, I was already ordering. Did you not hear me?”

PTO: “That was Yolanda. She’s on break now.”

Me: “So Yolanda can leave in the middle of an order?”

PTO: “We have a union. There are rules. I don’t know why you’re here if you don’t support that.”

Me: “Are you serious?”

PTO: “No, she works the midnight shift. I’m Melvin. Can I take your order?”



Me: “Does the Hawaiian Chicken Surprise sandwich have tomatoes?”

PTO: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Is there somebody you can check with? I don’t want tomatoes.”

PTO: “I don’t know people in Hawaii.”

Me: “Okay, does the person who is making the sandwiches know?”

PTO: “I’m not allowed to go back there.”

Me: “Is there a manager I can talk to?”

PTO: “He’s not Hawaiian.”

Me: “Why are you making this so hard?”

PTO: “You’re the one asking all the questions.”



PTO: “Could you please pull through and park in front of the building?”

Me: “Why? What’s taking so long?”

PTO: “Your order.”

Me: “I get that. What, of the things I ordered, is causing the problem?”

PTO: “Everything.”

Me: “Even the water?”

PTO: “Yes. Especially the water.”

Me: “How can there be a problem with a cup of water?”

PTO: “Um, no one ever orders that, so we’re not sure what to do.”

Me: “You don’t know how to put water in a cup? Are you serious?”

PTO: “I’m very serious about food. That’s why I work here. Why are you questioning my values?”

Me: “I’m not questioning… Look, if we skip the water, can things happen faster?”

PTO: “You’ve already paid. I’m not authorized to do refunds.”

Me: “The water didn’t cost anything.”

PTO: “But it’s on the receipt. See? Item 4. Water.”

Me: “Let’s just pretend that you’ve already given me the water and I already drank it, okay? Now, can I just get the rest of the food?”

PTO: “Um, okay.”

Me: “No more problems?”

PTO: “No. Wait. Yes. Hang on.”

Me: “What now?”

PTO: “They’re calling me on my headset. One sec. Okay. Okay. Sir, your chicken sandwich?”

YOU: “Oh, God.”

PTO: “Tina’s calling from the kitchen. She says she’s holding the tomato right now like you ordered. But she doesn’t know what you want her to do with it after that and she wants to know when she can put it down. It’s almost her break time.”


Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 08/05/11 and “Bonnywood Manor” on 07/19/14. Minimally revised and updated with extra flair for this post.

Story behind the photo: Close-up of the side of my house, representing what I was running into simply trying to place an order…


34 replies »

    • Well, I’m not really supposed to reveal this, per protocol, but if you’re Italian and you accentuate that final “e”, it identifies you as someone who has mastered the art of a perfect marinara sauce. I really don’t like to brag, so I soften the the “e”….

      Liked by 1 person

  1. BWAHAHAHHHAHA!!! Thanks for livening up a boring Sunday morning….and I’m giving notice that this has ‘sparked’ a post of mine own about the PTO (? abbrevs. were never my thing) who had taken Jesus into her heart…. ❤ Thanks! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I inspired a post? Yay! Rushing off to find and read it. With “rushing” meaning “I’ll probably forget my life goals within three seconds but I’m sure going to try”… 😉


  2. I want the Jalapeno Bang-Bangs! Super-size!
    I remember being asked once to pull through and park. I thought I had done something wrong, violated some unwritten drive-thru rule and now had to face my punishment. (As you can see, I find drive-thrus terribly stressful.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It completely upends your life balance when they ask you to do the pull-through. Is this the part of my spiritual journey where I end up in a Turkish prison with very mean people asking me questions that I can’t answer?… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, 400 years ago when I was in high school, I had a good friend who donned such skates whilst working at a Sonic drive-in. She hated it and she only lasted three days, but I heard about it for at least three years… 😉


  3. Yep, I can believe any of these conversations could take place! My daughter always has trouble ordering water for my grand-daughter, just like you say. You know, you have a cup, ice, and water…what’s so hard about that? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sweet Baby Jesus, Brian! This was hysterical. How do you know my experiences at drive thrus? The people were absolute morons in your vignettes. Those speakers never work and always make me feel like I am in a spaceship talking to mission control although the connection is really weak. GREAT material!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Susan! There have been so many times when I’ve been idling in a drive-thru lane, breathing in the fumes of exhaust and poor choices, and wondering how in the hell I got to this shameful point in my life. But I then find the strength to go on when I realize that I can (eventually) drive home and write a blog post about the whole mess… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. At our local Chick-fil-A they always ask if I want any sauces for the chicken, fries, etc. Sometime ago I decided instead of letting them decide to give me two or three packets of Honey Mustard I’d ask for three. I want three. Instead of hoping for three why not request precisely what I want? I have found since this specific request of both quantity and flavor has taken back the staff a bit. I can only surmise others treat the question each time out like something to be pondered over, ask over and over again what sauces they have, etc. Knowing the answer to this question would logically speed up the check-out process…but indeed the staff seems to linger for a few seconds wondering…what just happened here? Someone knew exactly what they wanted…

    Liked by 1 person

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