Why is drive-thru technology still in beta?

As I made my way through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru today, it dawned on me that even though the technological advancements of our country have given us such wonders as i-Phones, artificial hearts, and Tang, we still haven’t developed a drive-thru intercom system that outputs ungarbled speech.

No matter which fast-food bastion I choose to visit without exiting my vehicle, my order is always read back to me in a language that not even a Star-Wars interpreter droid could understand. At Dunkin today, my conversation went something like this:

Me: I’d like a box of the 50-count Munchkins, assorted.

Drive-thru speaker: You’d lshieheno lseir ei ni shh shhh sh mme a 25 whh whhh?

Me: No, not the 25-count — a 50-count please.

Drive-thru speaker: Ok, sljdjdj shh mee mee shmee shmaw total is shmee shaww wuuu…

Me: (sigh) OK, I’ll drive around.

Exactly what kind of microphone-speaker systems do these places use? I got better clarity when I made tin-can-and-string phones when I was a kid. Mark my words: the person who invents an intelligible drive-thru voice clarification system will lead this country out of recession (that is, if we’re really in a recession…).

Also, am I the only person who has spent many a sleepless nite wondering why it’s spelled drive-thru instead of drive-through?

2 thoughts on “Why is drive-thru technology still in beta?

  1. Adequate tech requires higher expenditures. Most corporations do not want to incur the expense. Ask yourself: Why do bank and convenience store security cameras have, on average, such low resolution? Why do so many only shoot in black and white? I think part of the reason is the same reason security guards are paid so low. They are not that interested in preventing crime. They want lower insurance rates. A low-res security camera with a sleeping guard does the trick, don’t you think?

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