Friday, January 27, 2006

The Lobster Grabbers

This is another one of those posts where I am going to bitch about an annoyance at a buffet. I would like to introduce to you The Lobster Grabbers. This is an older couple - perhaps in their sixties - who take all of the lobster at a Chinese buffet. They sit and wait - like a predator stalking its prey. One of them watches - the one facing the buffet tables. He or she is looking for a fresh tray of lobster to be carried out of the kitchen door. When it is spotted, instantly, one is up and hovering close to the spot that the tray will be set down into the steam table - dish in hand. Not seconds after the server places the tray in its spot, he (or she) scoops up the serving spoon and empties the entire tray into the dish. With nothing left to take, and no lobster for anyone who is waiting, the dish is whisked back to their table where it sits and is consumed, until the next tray is brought out.

The Lobster Grabbers come to the same Chinese buffet every week on Friday night. Every week they consume all of the lobster. Tonight they were there in mid-meal when we first sat down and they were there still eating when we were ready to leave. They are large people but not overly fat people. Over time they have done this same maneuver with sushi and tonight, the wife repeated the selfish act with a tray of fresh strawberries that were brought to the dessert table.

One of the difficulties with lobster served at a Chinese buffet is that it is brought out very sparingly - sometimes one tray every half hour regardless of the fact that the tray is emptied as soon as it is brought out. When lobster is served at a Chinese buffet it is usually a prepared dish such as lobster in ginger sauce (as is the case in this restaurant). The tray contains pieces of lobster in the shell that consists of two to three lobsters. These buffets charge a higher price on the nights that they serve lobster - usually Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With the Lobster Grabbers, they are getting more than their money's worth and everyone else is paying a premium for nothing. The management of the restaurant does not seem to care and complaining will result in an unpleasant meal, despite the annoyance of sharing a dining room with the Lobster Grabbers. We could just not go there anymore - but we like to go to the Chinese buffet for dinner on Friday nights and this is the one that we choose to go to.

It is quite rude at a buffet to fill a plate of one item and take it back to serve the table. It usually results in wasted food as it is rarely all consumed It puts a burden on the restaurant and it is terribly unfair to the other diners. A short while back at the Old Country Buffet a couple had a plate of fried chicken, a plate of mashed potatoes, and a plate of salad from which they both seemed to fill their plates. At the conclusion of their meal - after several refills there was a great deal that went uneaten. These were items that are normally refilled regularly and rarely run out. There is no reason not to take what you care to eat on your own plate and then come back for more. The next trip will reward you with hot food, rather than food that has been sitting and getting cold on your table.

So, don't be like the Lobster Grabbers.


NuttinButGlutton said...

There should be an uprising by the rest of the buffet patrons. Since you already know their tactics, you already know how to block them with sheer numbers. Place someone on both sides of the buffet table. There's only two of them, you have numbers on your side. Employ that enough, and the Lobster Grabbers will no longer frequet the buffet and you can carry on your merry way.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud "lobster grabber". However, I always leave plenty of lobster or crab for other people to enjoy...but I always take the best pieces for myself...bahaahaaaa!

Now, since these rude people are taking all of the food, what might be in order, would be to actually go up to them, introduce yourself as fellow regulars, and establish some sort of sharing plan. Or...go to the restaurant earlier or later, to avoid them!