Reddit Agrees That Drive-Thru Anxiety Is A Thing

When the drive-thru was first invented, it may have been seen as a giant leap forward in making fast food truly fast ... although as anyone who's ever been stuck in a mile-long line knows all too well, expectations don't always live up to reality. Still, drive-thrus have proven popular with people who prefer to grab a bite to eat without having to get out of the car. What's more, we do have to acknowledge that without drive-thrus, our only other option for restaurant food during those grim months of pandemic lockdown would have been to pay exorbitant delivery fees. $20+ for something off the dollar menu? Thanks, but no thanks.

Even though business has more or less returned to normal by now, a number of chains may be planning to do away with the dine-in option on a permanent basis. While most may greet this news with a "meh" – who goes to Mickey D's for the ambiance, anyway? – a number of people are upset over the fact that no dine-in also means no more option to order in-store. This means dealing with the dreaded drive-thru, and frankly, some of us are pretty freaked out by that. Reddit threads dating back to the 20-teens show that drive-thru anxiety predates the pandemic, but the recent industry trend towards pushing us to this mode of delivery may only serve to exacerbate the stress.

Why using the drive-thru stresses us out

What makes the drive-thru such a fearsome thing? Let us count the ways ... First, there's having to order through a speaker, particularly when, as one Redditor puts it, "their microphones are so bad so u have to yell like ur Godzilla for them to be able to hear u." Another points out that "sometimes the line of cars doesn't line up so I can talk to them," while a third frets over "interaction between people I haven't met over those speak-into-the-box things."

Another problem mentioned by an anxious non-drive-thru user involves "hand[ing] over money without dropping it," but the biggest issue seems to do with the fact that once you do wait through the interminable line, suddenly the clock starts ticking. If you haven't memorized the menu, you may need a moment to look it over, but a Redditor who works in fast food confirms the fact that yes, the cashier will be upset with you if you take more than a few seconds to order. To be fair, they suggest that delays could cost the cashier their job – great, a side of guilt to go with that stress. Finally, once you do get your food, it takes nerve to stop and check to see if it's correct or even to roll up your car window. As this Redditor puts it, "I always think, oh God, they gave me my bag and shut the window, here's my cue to haul a**!"