Many tales have been relayed over the years about the patience and the ability to endure possessed by the successful outdoors enthusiast. But I believe that pales in comparison to that possessed by the average employee at the drive-through window who must deal with them. Those people are the real heroes.
The sad part is most of us are blissfully unaware of what drive-through attendants must tolerate. But, if you think about it, no hunting or fishing trip would be complete without a drive-through visit on the way there and back.
Typically, there is very little verbal interaction in on the first visit. The outdoors enthusiasts involved are too eager to get to where they are going, so they can become the heroes they were meant to be.
The real problems begin on the way back.
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How bad is it? Well, I once witnessed a poor drive-through attendant listen patiently as a veteran outdoorsman wove an entire hunting story between the ordering a medium coffee and a blueberry muffin. It was even difficult for me to take, and I was the one telling it.
Sadly, this is their fate every day during the hunting and fishing seasons, whether the news is good, bad, or just exaggerated. That’s because a drive-through basically serves as the outdoorsman’s or outdoorswoman’s confessional.
A typical conversation starts something like this:
Drive-through attendant: Hello, welcome to (Place establishment name here). How can I help you?
Outdoors enthusiast: You can help by making me a regular, medium coffee, and you can help my friend by teaching him how to use his bait-casting reel….Har! Har! Har!…”
After that, the attendant is typically regaled with how the fishing day went, the hilarious hi-jinks that occurred at the boat launch, and perhaps given a presentation on the finer points of lure selection. Then he or she will be fooled into thinking that the customer is going to pay-by-phone when in fact, the outdoors person is just offering up photos of the biggest fish of the day.
The thing we should all appreciate most is that the drive-through attendant is essentially the first responder for these stories. They are the ones who blunt the traumatic force of the tale before it ever gets home. If it wasn’t for them, the family, and friends of the outdoors enthusiast in question would get the first draft, before it is refined and edited for brevity.
The drive-through attendants also take the heat for the problems we cause. If you are angry at being in a line-up, often it’s not so much about slow service as it is about a long-winded fishing or hunting story.
And while many people think this job requires little technical skill, they are wrong. A good drive-through employee must possess an ungodly degree of discipline and diplomacy.
For instance, when you show them a photo of a 2-pound lake trout you caught, they have to be able to refrain from showing you a 4-pounder they caught at the same lake. Because that’s called poor customer service.
I remember this happened to me one time at a roadside establishment whose fast food and coffee I really enjoyed. It was not a big deal really and it hardly bothered me at all.
Every now and then though, I wonder if they are still in business.