Thursday 29 July 2010

Of Human Behaviour and... Buffets

I had an interesting lunch, which allowed me to observe many things in the wonderful realm of human behaviour....

Buffet Etiquette.

The other day, I was at an all you can eat buffet lunch special. It was at a restaurant attached to a casino and was a Christmas in July sort of occasion. It also seemed to have half dozen busloads of retirees going there at the same time.

The line was huge! Maybe not quite up to the hour and a half wait at Tokyo Disneyland huge, but a 30 min wait in my neck of the woods is quite something. Eventually my guest and I got in and were seated. The restaurant was full. There were queues for food, drink, desserts, you name it, and there was a line. That’s ok, because it was a great price and most people were well behaved, which is the subject I want to write about now.

As I watched my fellow diners, I was shocked to see some strange, possibly rude and quite often greedy behaviour. It sort of struck home the things people do when they think they aren't being watched, or believe they can just hide in the masses.

It also showed me the power of desserts.

Everyone was polite enough when it was their turn for the 'mains' (i.e. roast, veges etc etc) I apologised for accidentally bumping a lady, she smiled politely and did the same as neither of us were paying attention, but once I had moved onto the desserts section, and therefore was concerned with those around it, I noticed more selfish behaviour coming out.

In particular, while I was filling my plate on something else, whilst waiting for the pannacotta to be refreshed by a chirpy staff member, a patron came up nearby... Once the panacotta had been securely placed down, in went a spoon and some went on her plate. Fair enough, but she didn't stop there... The panacotta had four chocolate swirl decorations on top, at the start and then it had none. One patron had nabbed them all. She then disappeared somewhat quickly. I was a little shocked, and I was waiting for the panacotta.

Right after I had recovered from my shock, my better half rocks up, points out the previous patron and informs me that she had just finished a raid on the defenseless panacotta swirls on the other side of the buffet as well! She didn't even justify it with another spoon of panacotta! That would have equaled about eight pretty chocolate swirls. Needless to say that I was aghast at what had just transpired! Why didn't I say anything? Probably because it didn't quite register what was going on at the time...

Amazing what people do when they can blend into the crowd. Had it just been me and that patron there having lunch, I suspect the panacotta swirls would have fared a little better. The protection anonymity gives; I guess that's the power and risk of the internet as well.

That was the worst of the behaviour that I noticed, but one patron's actions (this is not the same one as before) after most of the people had left. The place was emptying quickly as the buses were arriving to take everyone away and only a few stragglers such as me and half were left enjoying dessert while we mulled over our coffee.

Second shocker Patron, (hereby called Phyllus for no reason) had just returned to her table with a bowl of dessert. I noticed it was quite full with a variety of goodies and fairly full. Phyllus then got up, and later returned with another bowl of sweety goodness. Having then decided that the first bowl wasn't quite up to scratch, she then chose to abandon then first bowl.... On another table that had just been left by previous patrons!

What’s wrong with her own table? Too ashamed to waste a perfectly good bowl of dessert? So she should be!

Again, I was in a bit of disbelief at this situation. It kind of shocked me the way people reacted when they thought no one could see them or judge them. Especially since these were all supposedly, nice, well mannered old people.

Funny old world isn't it?

The food was pretty good.  It was nice to have some roast beef with gravy without all the effort, my only complaint would be that the chicken and corn soup tasted a bit watery.  Nonetheless, for the price, it was pretty good! 

The starting meal... Yum!

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