All You Can Stomach
I love eating out. Going to a good restaurant is one of the most pleasurable things imaginable. My favorite restaurants serve anything from fast food to continental cuisine, and everything in between. About the only thing better than restaurants is women, and I know better than to get into that here.
It may surprise ya’ll based on what I just said that there’s one particular type of restaurant that I don’t patronize anymore. They’re the “all you can eat, buffet type” ones.
I began wising up about a year ago. Ray, Hugh, and I decided to go to a well known spot one morning to sample their breakfast buffet. At that time, for around five bucks, you could choose from lots of different breakfast items.
We all walked in and sat down. A pretty waitress came up and asked if we wanted to order the buffet? She had a dazzling smile, and I thought for a second that Hugh was gonna try and put in an order for her. He didn’t, and we all proceeded to order the buffet. She smiled, invited us to help ourselves, so we did exactly that.
Hugo and The Pip walked over to one side of the buffet table, and I to the other. The side I went over to had a big pot of grits, and they were calling out my name.
There were three people standing there as I walked up – a husband and wife, and a daughter who must’ve been about ten years old. I watched as the husband and wife loaded up their plates, and then the daughter walked up to load hers. She dipped one spoon of grits, sneezed, and then walked over to the pancakes. When she got to them, she dipped her hands into the stack and grabbed several. She then placed them on her plate, smiled over at her parents, and they all returned back to their table.
My first impulse was to ask these three if they‘d studied at the Saddam Hussein School of Etiquette? Geez – if I’d done that when I was a kid, my parents would’ve turned my heiny redder than an Atomic Fireball!
I returned to my seat with very little food. When I started eating, I began thinking about all those germs swan diving off people’s hands into the buffet table. When Ray and Hugh returned, I regaled them with what’d just happened. We all left there convinced that the “all you can eat” concept was going to be a historical one for us.
A few months passed, and one day my kids started pestering me about taking them to this all you can eat pizza joint. They kept going on about how good it was, and then they hit me with, “Dad, you can eat all you want there for less than four bucks!” I knew that spelled trouble, but, because they’re my kids, I dropped my guard and consented to go.
We went a couple of nights later, and the place was more crowded than the Macon driver‘s license bureau. You didn’t have to worry about the pizza getting cold as it was being devoured only moments after it was put out. I figured I’d sit there for a few minutes, let the crowd thin, and then go get a slice or two.
Thirty minutes later I was still sitting, and it occurred to me that this crowd was not gonna slim down. I bravely got up, wedged my way in between a couple of experienced eaters, and grabbed a couple of slices of pizza.
I was pretty proud of myself until I took the first bite – god, it was awful! It tasted like a cardboard triangle painted to look like pizza. On top of that, I had a unique opportunity to watch this size challenged (fat) kid stand up there at the bar and eat pizza. He never even sat down – he just stood up there and wolfed down pizza slices like a mound of fire ants on a june bug. It was a pretty wicked scene to watch.
So folks, no more “all you can eat” joints for me. From now on, I’m only patronizing places where I can order the food and watch ‘em bring it out. Ray and Hugh totally concur – unless, of course, that waitress I mentioned earlier happens to be patronizing one of these all you can eat places. If we all know she’s eating at one, we’ll go there and pay to eat after her…