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When the total output drops continuously increments, why is it that the output queue never fills up? It always stays on 0.

Last clearing of "show interface" counters never
Input queue: 0/375/0/0 (size/max/drops/flushes); Total output drops: 3339540580
Queueing strategy: fifo
Output queue: 0/40 (size/max)

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Output drops is a cumulative total. Output queue is a snapshot in time - it may be that at the exact moment you run the command, traffic was not queued, therefore it shows as zero.

Depending on the interface type and queueing configuration, it may be just a single large-sized packet, or burst of packets causing the drop (so you'd have to be very quick to catch it).

Duplex issues can also cause output drops (if this is an Ethernet interface) - and these will not be reflected in the output queue.

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