The eight most egregious sins you can commit at an all-you-can-eat buffet

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This has been a helluva week for buffets, what with a guy in Wisconsin picketing a restaurant that cut him off from an all-you-can-eat fish fry, and a Chinese buffet in the U.K. where management has instituted a new policy of "clean your effin plates or get charged $20." Do people eat like hogs at buffets and waste too much food?

My answer to those questions would be yes and yes --- but not all people are wasteful hogs, just the ones who will never accept that there is actual social etiquette to eating at buffets. For well-meaning but ignorant diners who can still be trained, here's my list of the eight most egregious sins you can commit at an all-you-can-eat buffet:

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8. Thou shalt not steal your meal.

I've seen my fair share of "plate-splitters" and "My kids will eat free because I'll feed them off my plate" people, and here's the deal: Eating things you don't pay for when you are supposed to pay is stealing. While plenty of folks don't see it that way, the food, drinks, staffing, power, maintenance and roof overhead all cost money, and buffet restaurants ain't soup kitchens. Customers who "split" plates at a buffet usually eat and drink more than they think they do, and even one plate and beverage is a meal. Buffets charge nominal prices for children, and so being sneaky and stuffing your kid(s) for free means that you are setting a rotten example for them, while declining to pay the few bucks to help pay the people who have to clean up after your little angel's fishstick and macaroni-hurling sprees.

7. Thou shalt not sully the community food.

Most buffets are set up like giant troughs with cold and hot bins, but that's no excuse for behaving like filthy swine. Use clean plates and bowls, keep your digits out of the shared grub -- I've seen folks "taste-testing" dishes by plunging fingers and/or silverware into things and licking them -- and if you want to try something, put a sample-sized portion on a plate and wait until you get to the table to try it. Don't eat while you are in line getting food -- crumbs from your mouth and fingers may drop into the food, and I'm sure YOU don't want to eat other people's fingernail guck and beard-leavins'. And for the love of our Lord Satan, please keep your spawn from roaming the place, fingering the ice cream toppings and dripping soft-serve onto the carpet for people to step in.

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6. Thou shalt not commit single-item hoarding.

When one person dumps an entire bin of crab legs onto multiple plates and hauls the entire load back to the table, everyone else in the restaurant has to then wait for the staff to prepare and bring more. When a single person takes every single grilled steak, every single peel-and-eat shrimp or all of the rice pudding, that diner is negating the concept of the buffet itself: You can go back as many times as you please, so depriving every other diner of a particular dish is not only rude, it's illogical.



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29 comments
Laurasaffioti
Laurasaffioti

I took a relative(now estranged) to an Indian buffet years ago and he piled three plates mountain high. He summoned a waiter and said"Hey, look, I'm gonna take really good care of you", in an intimidating tone, "We are going to need some boxes. Now" Thou shalt not take extra food for later. Thou shalt not take the buffet as a doggie bag.

Bradman
Bradman

Just so you know it's spelled AYCE. And if that doesnt preceed Fish-Fry then God help you.

Guest
Guest

Apparently Absolute1 is still drunk from last weekend.

Absolute1
Absolute1

J-Woh

LMFAO@ "beard-leavings."

You slay me.Again.

YayMe
YayMe

These are all the reasons I avoid buffets. People do gross things. Plus I always feel like I have to eat my $ worth. Leaving stuffed & miserable.

GFTW
GFTW

Hey JennInChains, whatever happened to Furr's?? Are they still around????

steveville
steveville

I quit going to all-you-can-eat joints years ago mainly because I don't eat enough to get my money's worth.  But now I have just read eight more reasons to stay the hell away from them. Thanks for the heads up, Jenn.

Big Eyes, tiny tummy
Big Eyes, tiny tummy

Never understood the "starving children" argument. I'm sorry, are they on their way here? If I didn't take the extra food, would they have eaten it? Will the leftovers be served to the homeless when the restaurant closes, or dumped in the trash?  How exactly did my leftovers affect those starving children?

GFTW
GFTW

"Eating things you don't pay for when you are supposed to pay is stealing."

How very un-socialist of you Jennstir! Shame! Food at Occupy's Thunderdome was free!! Plus the Occupiers were sticking their fingers in the peanut butter, violating your number 7 rule. Jeez, WTF, Wolowitz, I thought you supported the Fleabaggers!

Number Three
Number Three

Thou shalt not go to a buffet. Thou will get the runs.

Keep the buffet where is belongs. Old people homes and cruise ships.... and in Margaretaville .

XO,3

Jenn can haz buffet?
Jenn can haz buffet?

 @750de20a2d4bfce27d862bd3738f1c53:disqus I agree--that's effin tacky--at least pay for a buffet-to-go--most places offer that, and if they don't, they prob won't turn down money.

Jenn Loves Bagels
Jenn Loves Bagels

 I know--I was easing down on the abbreviations this week. And I've been to a few AYCE fish-frys m'self, and I don't recall anyone ever eating a dozen filets--or even close. I usually saved my appetite for the Rocky Mountain oysters.

Jenn Loves Bagels
Jenn Loves Bagels

 I know, right? I want pictures of the extraction process if they change their minds.

Guest
Guest

Hee!  Hee!   That's a good one!

Jenn Loves Buffets
Jenn Loves Buffets

 True Story--I watched a big, beardy guy at the Chinese buffet slay eggrolls all D & D style, and he kept munching them WHILE HE WAS IN LINE TO GET MORE! The cabbage/pork/wonton crumbles were dropping from his mouth to his beard to the buffet line like an inelegant fountain.

Jenn Loves Brazil
Jenn Loves Brazil

 I always seem to roll out of Brazilian grills feeling like that. Come to think of it, I always seem to leave anything with "Brazilian" in it feeling that way.

maybe
maybe

 I think the Furr's up at I-70 and Kipling might still be open.  For me, here in Denver, I loved Wyatt's.  Used to go all the time with the old people in my family.  Chicken fried steak w/ white cream gravy, bacon green beans and chocolate cream pie. yum!

Jenn Loves Ham
Jenn Loves Ham

 OMFLS! I used to go there with my Grammy and Pa when I was shorter, and I friggin' loved their awesome old people food! All the sliced ham I could eat? This is yet another small thing that shaped my destiny.

Jenn Loves Crab Rangoon
Jenn Loves Crab Rangoon

 Okay, you gotta 'splain that one, because HOW do you not get enough? The last Chinese buffet I went to I had two plates of crab rangoon and an orange soda, and I was sated.

Jenn Loves Buffets
Jenn Loves Buffets

 It's supposta guilt you into not wasting food. It doesn't usually work, but not being an asshole is a much better argument, anyway.

Jenn Loves Lord Satan
Jenn Loves Lord Satan

 That wasn't a pay buffet, though--they wuz offering, and I exempt the Thunderdome from rules, because they are in the highways and the bi-ways, doing the good work of our Lord Satan.

monopod
monopod

Except thou shalt make an exception for Indian restaurants.

Guest
Guest

Hee! Hee!  So am I!

GFTW
GFTW

THERE'S A FURR'S AT KIPLING & I-70!!!! GO REVIEW IT ASAFP!!!!

Guest
Guest

The last Chinese buffet I went to was in San Diego in the mid 1980s and they didn't even have crab rangoon.  Most of the food was garbage.

Jenn Loves Buffets
Jenn Loves Buffets

 I, too, cannot resist the temptation of all the Saag Paneer I can suck into my greedy trap. But I will not deprive others of the pleasure of loading their naan-holes as well.

sshow
sshow

 didnt see this before I posted, so it must still be open.

Also, this type of cafeteria is different.  All the hordes dont have open access to the food.  it is behind a barrier and served to you.  So contamination is limited to the workers. : )

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