15 Habits You Need To Drop Before You Pull Into Your Next Drive-Thru

15 Habits You Need To Drop Before You Pull Into Your Next Drive-Thru

Drive-thru etiquette is real.

Having worked in a drive-thru for two years now, I have seen plenty of habits people seem to think are acceptable. I am here to tell you that they are not. Here are 15 things you may be doing that your drive-thru workers sincerely wish you'd stop:

1. Ordering from the passenger’s side.

We cannot hear you. It's as simple as that. Our speaker box picks up the noises that are closest to it, and you are not one of those noises. You can scream your order as loud as you'd like, but at the end of the day you could save yourself, your driver, and your drive-thru worker the pain and simply have the person in the driver's seat order for you.

2. Talking to your steering wheel.

This is similar to the previous issue. When you neglect to turn your head to speak towards the speaker box, your order becomes a concoction of muffled noises. Look up from your phone, turn your body away from your steering wheel, and project your words towards the box. Please.

3. Saying “Hello?” before we get the chance to greet you.

There are exceptions to this rule. If you have been waiting at the speaker box for more than 60 seconds and have yet to hear a thing from the worker, it is perfectly acceptable to kindly grab their attention. Sometimes malfunctions can occur and we never receive the "ding" letting us know you're there, or maybe it was simply human error.

However, if you just pulled up to the box three seconds ago, it is not acceptable to ask for the worker's attention. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes. And it is possible that the drive-thru worker is attending to that and is unable to take your order right away. Please be patient.

4. Using pet names.

Unless we know each other personally, please refrain from calling me sweety, honey, babe, or anything else of the sort. You may be genuinely trying to be kind, but it makes many of us uncomfortable and can come across as demeaning.

5. Neglecting manners.

This one is rather broad. It also seems infantile to have to remind people to use their manners. However, if I didn't see it every day I wouldn't feel a need to write about it. Consider the following phrases:

"I need a..."

"I'm gonna have a..."

"Give me a..."

While they may not seem ill-mannered at the surface level, consider a few alternatives:

"May I please get a..."

"I would like to have a ____ please."

Pleases and thank yous will never go out of style. We just ask that you reconsider your word choice before ordering.

6. Dumping your old drink in the drive-thru lane to make room for your new one.

I will admit my guilt: I did this frequently before becoming a drive-thru worker. It wasn't until I saw just how disgusting it made the drive-thru lane appear that I knew I needed to stop this habit. Unless you are dumping water, your beverage dampens the appearance of the lane, will likely create a foul smell, and will now be the job of a worker to clean later that day.

7. Repeating your entire order when we only asked for clarification on one element of it.

Just because I need you to repeat one modification of your order does not mean I did not hear the rest. Trust that we know how to do our job.

8. Treating us like we are incompetent.

This point is closely related to the previous, but it is more all-encompassing. The stereotype that drive-thru workers are dull, unintelligent low-lifes needs to end. I will be graduating a semester early with my Bachelor's and am using this job to get me through school. I work with a Ph.D., college students and graduates, future nurses, mothers, intellectual thinkers, and many other competent human beings. Treat us as such.

9. Not making eye contact with us at the window.

This is just a general rule of respect. If your avoidance comes from social anxiety, make an effort to connect with us in other ways. However, if you simply neglect to so much as look at the person handing you your items, you are communicating to them that they are not worthy of your attention for whatever reason. We are human beings, not machines.

10. Holding out your payment the second you reach the window.

This may be a silly pet peeve, but I know I am not alone. Holding your form of payment out your car window as you pull up sends a message of impatience, even if that is not your intention. Please wait until we greet you to present your payment to us.

11. Expecting us to be able to break your $100 bill.

While this may not apply to all drive-thrus, it applied to a vast majority. We are not a bank, nor are we a large retailer. At the beginning of a shift, we are given a till with a set amount of change in it that will need to last us. We cannot simply break your large bill and expect to have enough change for future customers. It's not common knowledge, so if you have tried in the past there is no ill-will. However, if the worker politely tells you they cannot accept that form of payment, do not get angry with them. That's just the way it is and your attitude will not change that.

12. Driving away from the speaker box immediately after placing your order.

Once again, this communicates impatience. If you drive away without getting confirmation from the drive-thru worker there is no way to ensure they got your order completely correct.

13. Adding to and/or changing things about your order at the window.

Not only are we expected to deliver exemplary customer service, but we are also on a mission to get our customers in and out as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you order something once you get to the window you are throwing this goal off its tracks. It's acceptable at times, especially if you are polite with your request, but we just ask that you be prepared with your entire, correct order at the speaker box.

14. Smoking in the drive-thru.

I am not judging smokers of any kind. That is your lifestyle choice and I respect that. However, I find it very difficult to believe that you cannot curb your urge to smoke for the few minutes you'll be in the drive-thru. You never know what someone may be allergic to, or what can irritate someone, or simply if someone detests the smell of smoke. Show respect and wait to partake in this activity until you are out of the drive-thru.

15. Overall, showing complete disrespect toward the person serving you.

If any of these points are news to you, you are not alone. I do not believe that every person who comes through a drive-thru intentionally does things to irritate or disrespect the workers. However, now that you are equipped with this knowledge you can be a better customer, and we can serve you more efficiently and effectively.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplashed

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.

In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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One Year Later, Charlottesville's Legacy Brings Out Solidarity

On the anniversary of Charlottesville, we saw the power of solidarity come at full force on the streets of Washington.


It has been just over a year since we saw neo-Nazis descend upon Charlottesville, Virginia in full force. In a moral low point for modern U.S. history, the so-called United the Right rally led to many deplorable events, including the death of Heather Hayer and Donald Trump equating anti-fascist activists to the literal Nazis antagonizing the crowds that day. Mind you that Trump has still not clarified or denounced these white supremacists, 365 days later.

Fast-forward one year later in Washington. Instead of marching in the same site as last year, Unite the Right organizers planned to demonstrate in the nation's capital. But in spite of having protesting permits in Lafayette Square and having unfettered, exclusive access to DC Metro trains, their two-dozen or so crowd was no match for the counter-protesters that outnumbered them two-to-one in areas across DC.

Last year, I wrote about the urgency that when it comes to Nazism relapsing, it is critical to speak out against hate whenever we see it. Fascism and other forms of hatred pick up steam by relying on the ignorance and silence of the many. It was how Adolf Hitler came to power. It was how Mussolini came to power. It was most certainly how Donald Trump came to power.

What we saw in DC is a testament to the claim that organizing in solidarity against these right-wing extremists works.

There is a commonality among all of us that we can all say no to vile hatred. The counter-response seen in Washington to the mere 24 neo-Nazis was the culmination of the hard work of organizing and mobilizing done by local activists. However, while this is no doubt fascinating, we need to capitalize on this momentum and keep the ball rolling in resisting white supremacy. Unlike white nationalists, the left does not have a system that embodies their views and desires. Because of this, it is critical that whenever white nationalists feel emboldened and have the need to freely demonstrate their prejudice in the streets, that we as a collective struggle punch back harder.

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