I MADE IT UP: Driving crazy

Mark Sage
Washington County News: Living >
Tue Jul 01, 2008 – 03:31 PM

by Carl D. Clarke, Jr.

The increase in gas prices has not affected Americans’ driving habits.  I know this because the drive-thru lane at Hardee’s is just as long as it ever was.  People are too lazy to get out of the car and buy their food.  They burn gas in the drive-thru lane and curse the person in front of them who is ordering food for his entire office.  Fast food has become slow-to-medium food.
When gas was cheap (when was that?), every business had to have its own drive-thru lane: restaurants, banks, Starbucks, pharmacies, utilities, etc. Teenagers in this country have never experienced a fast-food restaurant that does not have a drive-thru lane.  One study found that 39% of teenagers believe that if you park and go into McDonald’s when it is raining, you will melt.  20% believe that leaving a heated car in the wintertime to enter Taco Bell will cause a cold.
The above figures come from an independent and unbiased source, the Committee to Abolish Drive-thru Lanes in America (CTADTLIA).  I believe that we could reduce consumption of gasoline in this country by 20% if we just closed drive-thru lanes.
But by now the drive-thru lane is a common-law right, and Americans will sell the country to OPEC before giving it up.  Here is my prescription for weaning America off the drive-thru lane.
It takes leadership:  U.S. gas consumption would drop 5% if McDonald’s alone would close its drive-thru lanes.  Who could resist the slogan, “The Golden Arches Goes Green”?
Handicapped and Mothers with Children Only. It is now considered cruel and unusual punishment to ask a young mother to unbuckle and de-seat two children to buy a pizza.  Everyone else will have to actually go inside and order from a human being.
Poor service.  Only the least experienced “team member” will be allowed to work the drive-thru lane.  Once your two-cheeseburgers-and-a-coke order comes back as three chicken biscuits a few times, you’ll park the car and go inside.
No squawk-box upgrades:  It will be against federal law to upgrade the audio on the squawk-box through which you order your meal.  You can’t hear them now.  Wait ’til the thing gets really old.
A 20% drive-thru surcharge.  Hit’em in the pocketbook.  If it costs more in the drive-thru lane, at least some people will get out and walk.
Of course, once my plan is implemented, there will be riots in America. Protest groups for and against will be organized.  Lawsuits will be filed.  Whole Earth types will form human chains across drive-thru lanes.
The wheels of change grind exceeding slow.  I sure hope no one gets hurt.

Carl D. Clarke, Jr. from Abingdon is a weekly columnist for the Washington County News.  He may be reached at carlclarke@embarqmail.com

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