On August 5, John saw a “silly” McDonald’s meme shared on his Facebook timeline “that actually, hit home.”
It’s based on a photo of the fast-food restaurant on Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach.
The meme’s photo is shot from the Florida Street entrance, with arrows pointing to the vehicles entering into the drive thru and reads on top “These people can’t read”; then down below it reads: “For those who don’t quite understand, you’re supposed to drive to the right and around the restaurant to get in line.”
I asked John, a graphic designer from South San Diego, if the meme is accurate.
“Some people really don’t understand,” he said on a phone conversation, “and cut in line, like the four vehicles circled in the meme.”
On August 8, I asked if he could show me the alleged traffic-jam at the same McDonald’s.
We arrived at the restaurant around noon from the same angle depicted — via the Florida Street entrance.
“Ok, now make an immediate right right here,” John said, “this is where people mess up and go straight. Look the sign points that way and reads “Drive Thru.””
“You have to go all the way around,” John said, “go north and you go back around the building to get to the two-lane drive thru.”
As we waited in line, a lady in a white import pulled up and cut off the SUV that was ahead of us. Another thing I noticed was that when people are waiting to turn into the drive-thru lanes, patrons that parked to the right cannot back up because they are blocked in. It took us ten minutes to get to the menu board.
I ordered a large Sweet Tea for a buck and a small Vanilla shake for John for $2. It was 12:34 pm by the time we got our drinks, 17 minutes after we first pulled in.
“That lady cutting in held up traffic for about three minutes,” John said, “now imagine four to five cars that cut in.”
One local on Facebook explained: “I think since people have been entering the original drive-thru like that for a few decades, that it just became habit for a lot of the local drivers.”
John agrees, he’s been coming to this location since 1979 when his mom and dad used to drive him, it was much smaller and a single-lane drive-thru.
“I come here at least once a week,” he said, and sometimes it’s so bad that they have cones out and employees are directing traffic. A Facebook page has been created and called “People against McDonald’s Double Drive-Thru.” The anti-fan page has over 800 followers and features conflicts derived from the newer double-lane drive-thru layouts, and conflicts that occur at nationwide McDonald’s restaurants. One Ohio story was shared — “91-year-old man [that] fires shots at area McDonald’s after other customer throws smoothie.”
John visits other McDonald’s restaurants in the South Bay area and says “each drive-thru has their own issues …. I hope our restaurants don’t make it to that People against McDonald’s Double Drive-Thru page.”