By Larry Fertel
When I drive to work I pass by several popular coffee and doughnut shops that are endemic to our area. You all know the establishment I am talking about. You can see them at almost every exit of Route 219 and the Thruway. You can’t go more than a mile or two on any major street in this area without running into them. There cannot seem to be enough of them. I always see cars lined up in the drive thru lane waiting patiently for their morning fix of caffeine. Sometimes the line is so long it extends out into the street, blocking traffic. This usually happens in the morning commuter hours.
One morning I was in the mood for an extra cup of java, so I decided to steer into their fine establishment. I parked and, before getting out of my car I visually marked one of the cars in line. I went in, waited in line (there were a few people ahead of me), got my cup of caffeinated goodness, paid and left. As I was walking out, sipping my delicious brew, I could see the car I marked prior to entering the store. It was still in line. It had made some progress, but still had a ways to go.
A few positive things happen when you walk to get your coffee: 1) Health: you get a bit of exercise. I realize it’s not much from the few steps you take, but still. 2) Waking up: You get to breathe fresh air walking through the parking lot which can invigorate you in preparation for the workday. Now some will claim that they get fresh air in their car when they roll down the window for the 17.5 seconds it takes to place an order. Sorry, but there is no comparison. 3) Time savings: See above paragraph re: me vs. car in line.
I will give special dispensation to those that actually don’t look forward to going to work and want to dilly-dally in the drive-thru line, or those that are injured or handicapped and have a challenge getting in or out of a car without difficulty. Or if you are driving a car full of kids and don’t want to let the little monsters out running in the parking lot (I’ve been there, I feel your pain).
Now let's think about all of this. We wait in the drive-thru line because we don’t want to get out of our car and walk the 42.5 feet to get a doughnut along with our double double (or triple triple). I think this says something about us as Americans. Rates of obesity and diabetes are skyrocketing, especially among kids. Diabetes is a progressive disease, with no real cure, whose effects consumes large amounts of our heath care budget.
Message to people that wait in line at the drive-thru: get off of your lazy butts and walk into the store. In fact, walk around the store parking lot 10 times and then go in. Do that every day before you get your coffee and see what happens to your health (hint: good things). While you are at it, skip the doughnut and halve the sugar you put into your coffee.
OK, I’m off my high horse. Just walk into the store. You’ll be setting an example for your fellow commuters and your family. Finally, this caveat: If I’m driving and need my caffeine fix and there is no one in the drive-thru line I’m pulling right up to the window. I mean, come on!
Larry Fertel of Orchard Park thinks coffee is worth a short walk.