I’m in a food kinda mood this week, mostly because I’m BBQing pulled pork this weekend. So to kick things off, I’d like to start off with that which I have a never-ending love/hate relationship with: buffets.
I really am trying to eat healthier these days, as I know my choices will affect the choices my daughters make as well. Not to mention my wife, who is trying to work off her baby weight doesn’t appreciate a buffet. But then I get an advertisement from Old Country buffet for B1G1 and since my kid eats free, I can’t possibly pass that up, can I?
If you’re anything like me, buffets are a very serious matter – often, literally a matter of life and death. No lie: I once left a buffet with meat sweats, my breaths were shallow as taking deep breaths would’ve put too much pressure on my stomach, and I was in no condition to drive. So for such a serious matter, you’re probably wondering what my credentials to be discussing this topic are.
In college, I once ate a dozen Krispy Kreme followed by a 10 piece bucket of KFC, just to balance out the sweetness. I once ate for 2 hours at a churrascaria and then ate nearly half a white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. I can’t nearly put away food like I used to, but I have the clogged arteries as proof that I used to put fear in buffet owners.
Additionally, I’ve done quite a bit of study in the burgeoning field of buffetconomics. To date, I’ve developed three principles that apply to all buffets.
Buffetconomics Principle 1 – law of diminishing returns: each successive plate becomes increasingly vile. For the first plate, you typically think: “This is so good! I can’t believe this is only $xx.xx! I’m going to eat 5 plates!” By plate 5, you’re now thinking: “Oh. My. God. I hate myself. I’m never going to eat again. I hate food. I’m going to throw up. Someone put me out of my misery. I’m going to have a food baby.”
Buffetconomics Principle 2 – lack of sunk costs: in economics, sunk costs are costs that are incurred that cannot be recovered so they shouldn’t affect your decisions. In buffetconomics, however, the cost of the buffet plays a major role in decision-making, so much so that the diner may no longer act rationally. For you laypeople, this is the “I’m gonna get my money’s worth!!!” principle.
Buffetconomics Principle 3 – law of supply and demand: a) if the customers demand it, the buffet people will supply less of it, such as the vultures that circle the buffet until they bring out the crab legs. b) Conversely, if the customers don’t demand it, the buffet people will never replace it, so who knows how long that dish was sitting there.
Despite the truth behind these principles, I never quite learn never to go back to a buffet. Like an alcohol lover after a particularly bad hangover, I tell myself never again. Seriously. Never again.
Wait a minute…(sorts through mail)…Oh, what do we have here? A coupon from Old Country Buffet.
Update (8.18.10): Thus far, mostly ladies have responded to this post and the consensus is 1) they are all impressed by my superior eating abilities (and I am delusional), 2) I have a problem and 3) buffets are gross and should be avoided like the plague. Except for Indian lunch buffets – those are entirely different. A little help here, gentlemen? I’m not that crazy am I?