Monday, July 7, 2008

All You Can Eat

There is a certain amount of human nature at play at any buffet.  It could make a great study of nature vs. nurture or even of cultural norms. 

Yesterday we took Mom to Old Country Buffet to celebrate her birthday with breakfast.  I paid the cashier, and the three of us hunted down Chi's preferred table (yes, it takes the whole party's approval).  We set down our "claim ticket" and with purses and valuables in hand, setoff to get our plates and silverware.

Other families did the same ritual, scoping a table, laying claim, and then sauntering off with purses tightly clutched under arms.  One man brought back boiling water and dunked his silverware in it to soak off any germs that may still exist after the industrial wash.  What about the plates?  Aren't they germy too? 

At the buffet line, people seem to fall into two categories: etticut and ettiquette.  The etticuts, who realize that buffet lines have two directions feeding into the center, are not afraid to go around slow servers for a particular item.  It's not actually cutting, it's using time efficiently.  The ettiquette folk are sticklers for lines.  Instead of efficiency, they favor courtesy - - or should we say going beyond courtesy.  Following slow and fast folk alike, they clutch their plates and walk past every item on the display without touching anything until they finally reach the one item (at the end) they were in search of.

There are also two types of buffet plates: overload and always time for seconds.  Some people fill their plate(s) with so much food, it appears to be a last meal for a starving man.  This is so they never have to get up again once seated.  Others put so little on their sampler platter that it seems hardly worth the admission fee.

more later...

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