STFU Parents: Should Parents Get Preferential Treatment At Drive-Thrus?
In 2015, much of our culture has been suburbanized, and accommodating “families” (i.e. exhausted parents with young children) has become a top priority for much of the retail and dining world. Balancing profits against consumer desires usually means taking a tiered approach to running a business, putting certain customers’ wishes above others. That’s why, for instance, parents are usually met with frowny faces when they ask flight attendants where the diaper changing station is on an airplane. Families do make up some of the airline industry’s profits, but not nearly as much as business travelers do. No airline (yet) is willing to forego hundreds of dollars in seat tickets just to rip out a row or two of seats and make bigger bathrooms to help out frustrated parents. If anything, they’re finding ways to make the bathrooms even smaller, prompting complaints from parents, as well as passengers who are forced to endure parents’ cleverly devised “seat” changing stations. In this scenario, parents of small children are the losers.
But in a lot of other contexts, parents are winning in a big way. Last year I wrote about the controversy surrounding “parent parking spaces,” which have popped up in many a parking lot in order to accommodate parents who are maneuvering massive SUVs or attempting to yank giant strollers from their backseat. They’re also meant for pregnant women who don’t want to walk an extra 100 feet for any number of reasons. Essentially, they treat both pregnancy and parenting as a disability — which is probably part of the reason so many moms consider themselves “disabled” now once they have children. Anything that takes longer than it used to, before sleeping babies and tottering kids entered the picture, further proves their point. And if there’s one thing parents, and moms in particular, are dealing with on a daily basis, it’s attempting to run errands with their kids. Talk about the ultimate in feeling disabled in society! Some kids don’t even want to wear shoes, much less calmly make their way through a grocery store. Can you even imagine how annoying that is?? (Answer: Yes, anyone who’s spent five minutes or more around small children can imagine that quite easily.)
The same principle applies to drive-thrus, which are already the pinnacle of laziness in any civilized society. Millions of people use them every day, and it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of those people are not actually disabled in any way. There are reasons people might feel disabled when pulling up to a fast food location or Starbucks and choosing whether to park or go through the drive-thru (it’s cold, it’s raining, you’re sick, you’re old, you have sleeping babies or pets in the car, etc.), but ultimately the decision comes down to this: For most people, going through the drive-thru is already a negotiation; if it’s fast food, it’s a means to an end, and if it’s Starbucks, you’re in need of caffeine. The whole point is that these items can be served quickly and cheaply for people on the go, so the chances of customers getting out and ordering at the counter are about as high as deciding to just cancel their order and go make lunch or a latte themselves.