The Sound of Fast Food


Sometime in the aughts I discovered that you could listen to the wireless order transmissions from a nearby In and Out Burger near where I worked. I recently discovered some recordings I made and I’ve posted them to Archive.org for all of you to enjoy.

For those of you outside of the Western U.S., In and Out is a culty burger chain with an elaborate secret language customers in the know use to unlock variations on the simple menu. You’ll hear some of this on the recording, though not the more rare and elaborate special orders such as a “Flying Dutchman” (two meat patties and two slices of cheese with nothing else). In and Out is in on the game since they list some of the most popular menu permutations, such as “animal style” and “4×4” on their website and have trademarked a few.

Alas, the golden era of the radio scanner listening is quickly coming to a close. There was a day when cellphones, cordless phones, baby monitors and all kinds of other radio transmissions were accessible to anyone with a cheap scanner. Even police and fire departments are starting to encrypt transmissions. This particular In and Out got so popular that they switched to having an employee in the parking lot with a tablet to take orders which brought an end to our office fun.

I invite any musicians in the Root Simple audience to make a Eurotrash dance remix with these recordings. In addition to the one above there’s three more at Archive.org.

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