I, j.Bowman aka "overly-sensitive jones" aka "the prince of petty" aka "the rantom menace" have a SERIOUS problem with how the buffet system in our society works.
I was at a wedding recently. For those keeping score at home I looked really handsome too. The wedding was pretty awesome. Table 12 really showed up and brought it in the booze department and for the most part everything went off without a hitch.
At an event such as this, you have many different options as far as serving food is concerned. You can have people served at their tables, you can have a buffet style or you could give each table a crossbow and a hunting knife and have them responsible for going outside and catching their own food. That can actually be a real bonding experience and a great ice breaker for people who don't know each other very well. This wedding however was at a golf course, so the Bride & Groom elected to go for the buffet option.
The problem I have with the buffet system is that space on your plate is at a premium and depending on how long the line is, you have no idea what is waiting for you at the end. EVERY buffet I have ever eaten from has the best stuff at the very end. Rarely do I see placards or something letting everyone know what is going to be in the buffet so they can plan how to use their plate space accordingly. Hungry people are just expected to lineup and make it through a gauntlet of lesser foods to get to the good stuff. I just realized how stupid a complaint this is, so here is a picture of a sad kitten to manipulate you onto my side:
You are probably asking yourself why it is I don't just go down there and look at the food at the end, right? Well that is simple, if there exists a line, anywhere, and you bypass people that have been standing in that line there is a chain reaction of panic and hate geared towards you. Everyone has some story when someone cut in line in front of them and they told themselves they would never let it happen again. I don't want anyone, even momentarily to think that I'm trying to be sneaky and cut in line. There could be someone really attractive at the function and you'd hate to blow it in such a stupid way.
Buffet food can be divided into 3 different zones
Stage 1 - High Surface Area Distractions
Consists of: Salad, rolls, crackers, cheese, sometimes napkins.
Why it's bullshit: Because buffet functions aren't big on snacks, this is your first serious look at food at the event. You are within arms reach at last and make no mistake, you will overcompensate and fill up too much of your plate. Can't stress this enough "PLATE SPACE IS AT A PREMIUM!" and your average buffet starts you off with things that will take up half that space right out of the gate.
Stage 2 - Big Tubs of Tiny Things
Consists of: Rice, macaroni salad, potato salad, spring rolls, any other kind of potato related dish, chicken wings.
Why it's Bullshit: At this stage you start to see a world beyond your salad, bread and crackers. You start to reorganize the layout on your plate in order to maximize space and capitalize on these newfound food treasures. You start to kick yourself for blowing your load early. If it was socially acceptable to go and put some of that salad back into it's huge bowl, you would, but guess what? You're in too deep now. Once that food is on your plate it's your responsibility.
Much like with stage one, you overcompensate and are unable to see beyond your current stage. You will use whatever space you have left and then probably start making some combinations (I prefer not to eat a spring roll salad, but I also want spring rolls). The worst part about stage 2 is that is always has 1 or 2 items that should be considered stage 3. Stuff like chicken wings. At this point they are the most legit main event food you have seen so you fucking pounce on that shit! Tunnel vision impairs you from making good judgement calls and now, before the final stage you have used 98% of you plate space (which is at a - say it with me now....premium!)
Stage 3 - They Have What?!
Consists of: Roast beef, Turkey, Pancakes, Salmon, Ju Jubes, Steak, Lasagna, Jelly Beans, Mini Ritz Bitz Sandwiches, Poutine, Cereal that is at the perfect stage of soggyness, pizza, cotton candy, ribs, chili, porn, gold, dvds.
Why it's bullshit: BECAUSE THE LINE SHOULD FUCKING START HERE!!
Seriously, this is what we are all here for. Once you get a glimpse of the amazing food you no longer have space for, contained rage takes the wheel and you freeze in place, unable to form coherant sentences. All for want of a salad and some rolls. And you can't just take your plate as is and drop it off at your table before getting another plate and going for the prime food. If you do that, not only are you potentially "took 2 plates through the buffet guy" (don't be that guy) you also have to go through the entire line up again. You can't just cut in line at the end and fill your plate with Steak and porn because as I said earlier, the system as it is now dictates that you can NEVER cut in line or someone might stab you. And they would be right to do so.
See, even if you know what is at the end, you have to go through the entire lineup to get to it. And trust me: you are gonna use up your plate space. If someone managed to get from A to B with an empty plate and filled up on the last item, I'd be impressed. Instead the rest of us that lack monk-like discipline have only 1 card left to play at this stage in the game: You gotta go vertical.
Now you have a food mountain capped with the best food in the whole buffet line. You eat your way down to the base, and at that point if you are anything like me (god help you) a deep feeling of resentment towards the salad that put you in the predicament causes you to skip over eating it entirely. I like salad, but after the ordeal I was put through because salad occupies lots of plate space and bats lead off, I don't want it anymore. At this stage you get up and toss the salad.
With all that said, you might think I hate buffets. Quite the opposite. I love them. If I want a MASSIVE pile of mashed potatoes, I should be able to get one. I don't even mind the judgemental looks for going apeshit on one food item in particular. It's a worthy trade-off for food freedom.
The salad and cracker industry must have something on whoever dictates buffet flow. If things worked properly, the phrase: "Oh, I guess I have no room for salad or rolls. Oh well" would be on the buffet coat of arms in latin or something. People are not as willing to accept that they don't have space for steaks or other Stage 3 items. Imagine going to a concert and the opening act played for 90% of the time. Or watching a movie and having the previews go on for 90 minutes.
Something is seriously wrong with the flow of our buffets in this world. You can take all your complaints about politics and whatever and stick 'em in a sack. This is something we can actually change fore the better. And future generations, with wide eyes full of wonder and buffet plates full of steak and porn will thank us. Remember folks:
Change starts with you....and it should end with salad.
Fight the power.
Thanks for Reading
My opponents post can be find right over......HERE!
j.Bowman is on Twitter. So is The Rock. That is pretty much where the similarities end. Follow one of us or neither of us.