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10 drive-thru tidbits: Would you like fries with that? Add to ...

Poutine was my passion, bacon my bailiwick. Drive-thru windows were my salvation.

These were the beliefs I held dear.

So it was little surprise that I ballooned up to more than 340 pounds, 341.8 to be precise.

However, I got up off my butt (literally) and have shed some 60 pounds in the past year. Oh, I'm still obese, just not morbidly so. It is still very much a work in progress.

And drive-thru windows, the siren songs of fast food convenience are a relic of the past for me. I am no longer tempted to pull up to those brightly lit signboards of sin offering edible excess. No more drive-thru burgers, no more double-doubles. Supersize? Get stuffed. And no, I don't want fries with that.

However, if one day I should break down in a moment of utter weakness and choose to overindulge, I will get out of my car and walk in to place my order. It ain't much, but it's the least I can do.

You see, drive-thrus are the devil's work. They are evil. They make it easy. Too easy. Less is more. We eat more because it takes less effort to get the goods.

Our slow descent into Automotive Lazy Hell started in 1928. Surprisingly, it wasn't a restaurant but a bank that blazed the trail. City Center Bank – based out of Kansas City – opened what is claimed to be the first “drive-up” window in 1928. The Grand National Bank in St. Louis quickly followed with a similar set up.

As far as food goes, the watershed moment happened in 1947. The villain: Sheldon “Red” Chaney, owner of Red's Giant Hamburg along Route 66 in Springfield, Mo., who replaced his carhop service with a drive-thru window. “Red” is now dead and so is his restaurant. Whatever. The rest is history. Fast food drive-thru windows are now part of the furniture.

10 Drive-thru tidbits

1. McDonald's opened its first drive-thru in Sierra Vista, Ariz., in 1975, because soldiers from nearby Fort Huachuca were not allowed to get out of their cars while wearing army fatigues.

2. Robert L. Adams Mortuary in Compton, Calif., features drive-thru viewing of the dearly departed. “You can come by after work, you don't need to deal with parking, you can sign the book outside and the family knows that you paid your respects,” the funeral home's Scott Adams told the Los Angeles Times recently. “It's a convenience thing.” He's serious. Dead serious.

3. A Little White Wedding Chapel in – where else – Las Vegas features the drive-thru Tunnel of Love marriage service. But it's not alone. You can also get hitched in The Fast Lane at Chapel 9. Some things that happen in Vegas really do need to stay in Vegas.

4. In 2009, Pennsylvania politician Kevin Murphy opened and operated a drive-thru window designed to speed constituent service at his district office.

5. In 2005, McDonald's started experimenting with drive-thru call centres. Workers took orders remotely from McDonald's outlets around the country, which were then sent back to the restaurants via the Internet, to be filled a few yards from where they were placed.

6. Wendy's opened its first Canadian store in 1975, complete with a pick-up window. The chain that Dave Thomas built opened its first U.S. drive-thru in 1971.

7. Country Style was the first doughnut chain in Canada to feature a drive-thru window, debuting in 1984 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

8. According to legend and Internet lore, Tim Hortons’ first drive-thru came about largely by accident in 1985 when the chain took over a Church's Fried Chicken outlet on Hamilton Mountain. The window was already there. For its part, a company official says its first drive-thru window opened in Moncton, N.B., in 1988.

9. Of Timmie's 3,169 Canadian locations, 1,942 feature a drive-thru window. And right now, there’s a long line of cars at every one of them.

10. In 1998, a store called Love Bug and Just Lingerie in Thunder Bay, Ont., opened what was believed to be the world's first sex shop drive-thru. Its late-night pick-up window – complete with a billboard menu listing – offered edible massage oils, erotic videos and marital aids in the same way fast food joints sell burgers. Can I get that supersized, and in a combo?

 

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