We’re living in an age where whatever it is we need now, we needed probably by yesterday. Convenience rules and wins the day, the very reason a concept such as ‘the drive-through’ continues to draw long, snaking queues. I’m not talking just about our motivation to join a line of cars moving at snail’s pace as we eagerly wait in line behind the cars before us. Whether it’s just for that cardboard bucket of irresistible finger-lickin’ crispy fried chicken on Cheap Tuesdays or its alternative—to upsize and get fries with that from the ubiquitous, big yellow ‘M’.

In case you didn’t notice, drive-throughs today sell a lot more than just burgers! What began as a faster way to our fast food has evolved. We now have everything from drive-through theatres, liquor drive-throughs, laundry drive-throughs in some states and the fast-growing ‘espresso drive-throughs’ where you can order your morning cuppa without even leaving your driver’s cockpit. Along with your caffeine shot, these same enterprising coffee drive-throughs now allow you to grab yourself a bite with their extended offering of donuts, a sandwich meal, pies, sausage rolls, hot chips to even a doggie snack of bones for your pooch(not a joke at all I assure you) to stop the little fella whining hungrily as you bite into your pie.

Out of cash on the road? No fear. There’re now drive-through 24 hour non-bank ATMs in Western Australia that make withdrawing cash from the comfort of your car a breeze. No more parking hassles, getting drenched in a downpour or dangerous encounters. Apparently the security flood lights will help fend off would-be snatch thieves, in case you’re wondering if it was safe in quiet and dark hours.

Neon sign that says Drive Thru

Drive Thru Convenience

Sounds amazing, I know. There’s more, and it just gets better. What’s the fastest way to order groceries and collect them without leaving your car? In 2012, Woolworths launched Australia’s first supermarket drive-through in Warringah Mall in Sydney. Since then, there are about more than 80 of these supermarket drive-throughs located in NSW and still growing. As a testimony to its popularity, Woolies had expanded its drive-through services to South Australia in 2013 starting with 19 locations over just the first 12 months. The ‘click and collect’ drive-through grocery buying service is a winner with the time-poor working class, and especially with parents who are deeply grateful not to have to wake their sleeping babies or unload more than a few of them from the car just to grab the milk, bread and eggs.

However, these days, the ‘drive-through grocery’ shopping service has since evolved to become an even more convenient way for shoppers to ‘click and buy’, as seen in Coles and Woolworths fighting tooth and nail to offer shoppers a ‘click and deliver’ service. It means our cars don’t even need to see the light of day in our garages if we just haven’t got the luxury of time to do a shopping trip! I always thought it was perfect for the disabled, the elderly, or their carers, (or me when I’m down with the flu) and the odd geek or two holed up in their caves with their eyes glued to multiple monitor screens.

By the way, Woolies, being Woolies of course and just because they can—have also launched a ‘click and fly’ grocery pick-up service at the Melbourne airport for travellers. On arriving and stepping off the plane, it’s nice to be able to drive straight home without worrying about an empty fridge, pantry or having to trot to the supermarket after a tiring flight. Talk about convenience!

From drive-throughs to ‘fly-throughs’? Wow. Sheer sweetness. From experience, it takes only about ten years before Brisbane gets anything Melbourne enjoys. Sometimes longer. But I reckon all we’ll need to do is wait patiently in line in our cars and planes for another decade before Brisbane has the same service, seeing that I waited only about a decade before getting to watch The Lion King Musical in Brissie after its first Melbourne premiere, yes, some ten years ago.

I guess all good things are worth waiting for. Like many other dream drive-throughs I am just rooting for. Like…the day petrol stations start the ‘petrol drive-through’. The one where petrol stations will be crawling with friendly blokes in caps and matching petrol conglomerate T-shirts looking like traffic wardens ushering lines of vehicles into multiple lanes. One of them will be waving for me to back up right next to the pump while he does all the work for me. I’ll just sit on my bum and check my teeth for traces of lunch in the front view mirror or yell at my kids to stop amusing themselves stuffing tissue or used sandwich bags into their cupholders.

Once he’s done at the pump, I’ll only need to do two waves: one for my credit card to pay, and one to say “thanks mate”. Oh, I forgot—maybe a follow-up after the petrol top-up would be a discounted car wash. “Half price car wash today, ma’am?” With one nod he ushers me into the other drive-through lane for my next drive-through service—the automated car wash. The kids clap and squeal as they love nothing more than being spectators in their car seats. There isn’t a kid in my family who doesn’t love watching with eyes big as saucers, the theatrics of giant roller brushes and mops swallowing our SUV alive like the mouth of a robotic dinosaur squirting sprays of foam and water down the windscreens and windows. But that’s my other article to watch for (coming to this space near you) about automated car washers, I promise.

The point I was making is, wouldn’t we all love such efficiency, which is the whole point of ‘drive-through’ goods and services? Australia could take a leaf out of our American counterparts with the impending elections in Queensland, for example. The Americans have made voting more simple than it is with absentee votes using innovative ‘drive-through voting’ kiosks. Engineered to meet disability requirements, voters can cast ballots without leaving the seat of their vehicles. More in politics—a state representative in Pennsylvania operates a ‘drive-through’ office for his constituents to drop in frequently to meet with him on two days a week. I can’t imagine our politicians manning a booth like that from nine to five on Thursdays and Fridays. What terrific commitment to bond with voters at the grass-roots level.

So far I’ve covered the commendable, efficient and practical and then there’s the WEIRD. Like drive-through funeral parlours. What! You heard me. In Los Angeles, the Robert L.Adams Mortuary displays the deceased in a glass window where loved ones only need to ‘drive-through’ to pay last respects from their cars. Hmmn. I don’t think my kids are going to find that one a fun ride like the car wash or riding in the Wiggles Big Red Car in Dreamworld, Gold Coast. You’ll be surprised, though, that the drive-through funeral parlour has reportedly worked very well for public figures who undoubtedly need to conceal themselves from the paparazzi.

Speaking of funerals reminds me of hospital mortuaries, bet you’ve never heard of a hospital drive-through? In 2004, the SARS epidemic led to a ‘drive-through hospital service’ run by Stanford Hospital (affiliated with the university) to allow physicians to see as many patients as possible without risking the spread of infectious diseases to the masses. An average hospital visit plus waiting was estimated at 90 minutes, about half an hour longer than the ‘drive-through clinic’ which took only 26 minutes! Patients can skip the traumatic Emergency room wait and visit, and remain comfortably seated in their vehicles at the parking lot while waiting for their turn.

Forget the critics who bash the drive-through concept and label it ‘only for the lazy’. Sometimes they were borne out of sheer necessity to meet the demands of our busy twenty-first century lifestyles. We’re working harder than ever and clocking in longer hours and sleeping less. Who can’t do with more innovative ideas for technological breakthroughs and creative drive-throughs to help us more easily and speedily juggle life’s demands?

At 360 Finance, we’re here to help you do just that. Save time with the fastest finance approval coupled with the most competitive car finance rates you’re going to find for your vehicle or equipment financing. The best part is, we’re faster than drive-throughs. Just call us today and be approved for finance without ever having to leave where you are.