Would You Like a Side of Eavesdropping With That?

I was perusing Reddit over the weekend, looking for amusing GIFS and new Comet Ping Pong conspiracy theories, when I came across a discussion that will shock anyone who uses the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant.

Apparently, most of the drive-thru systems allow the employee to hear the entire time from the moment you drive up until you pull away with your bag of soon to be disappointing french fries.

I worked at a McDonald’s in Charleston, WV for two days while in High School. It wasn’t for me, and moved on to the clearly superior Pizza Hut for the duration of the summer (to be clear, that was back when pan pizza was a revelation and before stunt crusts became all the rage). While at the arches of gold, I never worked the drive-thru, but I did learn that when a car initially pulls up, the employee working the lane hears a tone to alert them that they have a customer.

Turns out, that tone also signals the opening of a constant one-way audio feed from you to the employee. While you are waiting to be greeted, they can hear you. When you pull forward and wait for your food, they can hear you.

I’m not sure this is something to be worried about, unless you’re in the habit of discussing classified military tactics or calling your Urologist while waiting for a sack full of French toast sticks.

I was pleased to read that some workers actually use this super power for good. Sometimes they can tell that someone is having a bad day, and they’ll throw in some extra ketchup packets or a few more onion rings.

So the lesson here, I think is that next time you’re going through the drive-thru, mutter something about having a bad rash or getting fired from your job at the abattoir. You might come away with extra hot sauce!

Bill Handel

Bill Handel

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