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Not-so-fast food

Published November 09. 2013 09:00AM

Fast food restaurants.

These are places that people go when they want to get food, fast.

No, they typically aren't the best places to go for a healthy, well-balanced meal, but the process is intended to be a relatively quick one so you can get your food and then continue on with your busy schedule.

Unless you are visiting from a foreign country or have recently hatched from a pod, chances are that you have visited most, if not all, of the big name, fast food chain restaurants in our area and are therefore, familiar with what is on the menu.

I typically only go to a fast food place when I feel I have no other choice and when we need food quickly.

I try to be patient and just go with the flow on a daily basis but the past two experiences at a local restaurant really had me tapping my foot and shaking my head at the lack of consideration and respect for others that I witnessed while waiting in line.

The first time, I was inside and standing in a very long line. It was nearly three o'clock and I was surprised at how busy it was at that time. I had been out running errands all day and had forgotten to eat.

I was reminded of my error in judgment by the shaking of my hands and the increasing irritability I was experiencing.

Ahh yes, the all-too-familiar sugar drop; yet another unpleasant side effect of diabetes.

Standing directly in front of me was a father and his two sons who were hitting and pushing each other nearly the entire time in line. Dad would speak to them every now and again, but not to reprimand them for their misconduct.

He said nothing even when their shenanigans resulted in them stepping on my feet or bumping into me.

For the most part dad just stood there quietly while we all waited.

When it came their turn to order, he turned around to finally check out the menu. He studied it for quite some time, let out a couple of "ums" and "ahs" and slowly pieced together his order. You would think he had never been to that establishment before.

Then he turned to his kids, who were still going at it with each other, and asked them what they wanted. It took him some time to garner their attention and then they began to stare at the menu.

Of course, being children, they were indecisive but eventually they were able to place their order.

When it came my turn, my order was placed in under five seconds, for which I am sure the 10 people behind me were very grateful.

Another experience ironically happened at the same location. I had been busy with work and neglected to take a lunch break.

The shakes hit me coming back from an unexpectedly lengthy meeting and considering I had to go back to work, I opted for the drive through to grab something as quickly as possible.

An SUV was parked at the order station and waiting to order.

It appeared to have a family inside and for how long we all sat there, I thought that perhaps the order taker either failed to recognize that a car was waiting or was too busy to take the order.

Eventually, I heard the voice ask the driver if he was ready to order yet and he promptly responded that he needed more time.

I began tapping my hands on the steering wheel and looked in my rear-view mirror to see that five cars had filed in behind me while we waited.

I could see the driver smiling and casually chatting with his family.

Again the order taker asked if he was ready, and again he was not.

Finally, the driver placed his drive-through order and moved up to pay for it.

I had to wait some more when they were going back and forth on who wanted ketchup or extra salt.

Fast food my butt.

I felt an odd sense of joy and victory when they finally pulled away, only to be followed by confusion and discontentment when they only made it to the parking space directly in front of them where they parked the car and proceeded to eat their meal.

Here's the thing, I am quite certain that there wasn't one person, in either situation, that has never been in that restaurant before.

They are everywhere.

With that being said, I am also quite certain that they are all familiar with the menu and most people already know what they are going to get before they arrive at the order taker.

Which brings me to my biggest gripe; if you find yourself in line, waiting to order food, wouldn't it be a good idea to utilize that time to study the menu so that five or 10 minutes later, when it's your turn to order, you know what you want and can spare all of the people behind you from waiting unnecessarily while you make up your mind?

If you truly can't figure it out, why not be courteous and let someone go ahead of you until you can decide?

Or, how about I just become more prepared each time I go out and remember to pack a healthy lunch or snack so that I don't find myself hungry, impatient and waiting in line for "food" that is more akin to poison than to sustenance.

Yeah, I should just do that.

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