Sunday, May 20, 2012

A (super) Sonic rant

The Sonic fast food chain markets itself as "America's Drive-In." I thought that going there would be a fun old fashioned drive-in experience à la American Graffiti. Instead, it turned out to be more like a scene from one of the Saw movies. (I haven't seen them, but I hear they're about people who go to restaurants and get bad service, right?) Anyway, here's what happened.

When I pulled up to the place I was excited - it definitely looked the part. There was a line of parking spots, each space outfitted with its own back-lit menu and shiny speaker-box. I pulled up and ordered a burger combo.

A few minutes later, a shifty looking slacker shuffled out to my car, carrying my food. I couldn't help but notice that he had a pair of roller skates slung over his shoulder. Now, I'm not an expert on old school drive-ins but I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be wearing the roller skates. Anyway, I digress. I eagerly grasped for the tray and asked how to secure it to my car door. He looked genuinely confused and stated that they were not allowed to let customers handle the trays. I asked if they had any type of place-mat or box that I could eat on, and he said "no." He handed me my food in a bag and walked off, leaving me to consider just what exactly was the difference between this "drive-in" and any other "drive through."

After pondering this existential dilemma I decided to go eat at a table in front of the building. I walked over, spread out my food, and realized that I had no ketchup. I got up and tried to go inside the restaurant to get some, but the door was locked. I could see employees inside, but nobody came to the door (I found out later that customers are not allowed inside). So, I had no choice but to trek back across the parking lot. I stood next to my car and awkwardly bent over the speaker-box to ask for some ketchup. The employee agreed to meet me back at my table and I set off to walk back across the lot. (I should mention that later in the meal I ran out of napkins, but I just used the paper bag. I didn't want to spend another five minutes walking back and forth through the parking lot.)

So it turned out to be a pretty far cry from my dream of an American Graffiti experience, unless you count the actual graffiti in the area of the restaurant. I mean, I wasn't expecting Harrison Ford to drive up wearing a cowboy hat (although that would have been awesome). I just thought that it would be at least as convenient as a freakin' drive through.

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