Mar 24, 2012
01:47 PMCafé Connecticut
Finally got around to visiting Sonic in Wallingford, the first outpost in Connecticut for the West Coast chain.
I just wanted to go inside, take a look around, order a cherry limeade, get back into my car and leave. But there is no "inside" at Sonic, at least not for customers. Either you park your car in one of dozens of stalls and wait for service from a server who is also handling a number of other vehicles, or you walk up to a small outdoor patio where you can give an electronic order to one of two ordering boards, and again wait for a busy server to eventually bring it to you. A large sign on the ordering boards reminds you that the servers are dependent upon your tips.
I, who only wanted a drink, found all this to be highly complicated and irritating, but based on the throngs patiently waiting to be served, I am perhaps one of a very small group of people who feel this way. (Admittedly, I am also someone who likes to dash into a Dunkin' Donuts and get my coffee and hop back into the car and drive away while the lazybones folks creep along toward the drive-up window.) Not getting out of your car has never appealed to me. It's like not getting off the plane or out of the elevator. You've reached your destination, now go check it out - mix it up with people, take in the surroundings.
Sonic is no doubt correct in its approach. God knows the place was tmpressively busy on this Saturday afternoon - there were even lines at the electronic ordering boards. But I left empty-handed and unhappy. Maybe I'll return some time when I want a whole meal and won't mind waiting. But for a guy who just wants a drink, it's the wrong place to go.Sonic Disturbance