Friday, September 04, 2009

Stomach Staples and Buffets

What an odd association - stomach staples and buffets. It has got to be a stretch for this medical weight loss procedure and buffet restaurants to have something in common. But, believe it or not, they very much do.

It seems that many people who have undergone the stomach staple operation, a procedure in which the stomach is made smaller (with surgical staples) in order to restrict the amount of food that may be passed through the stomach at a time and that one is made to feel full with (actually uncomfortable), want to continue to eat at buffets after their surgery. Well, why not?, you may ask. The problem comes about that they not only want to still eat at buffets - they want to eat at them at a discount. Yes, a discount. Why? Because they cannot eat all that they would like to eat, so they should be entitled to a discount or better yet come in and eat free.

I am sure that anyone who is reading this who has undergone vertical banded gastroplasty, the medical name for the stomach staple surgery, is going to be angered by this opinion, but going to the buffet is a choice - and the price is the price for all. If a very thin and small person goes to the buffet, should they be entitled to a discount? If I like to go to amusement parks - just for the entertainment of the shows and the atmosphere but do not like to go on the roller coaster, should I be able to ask for a discount at the admission gate and expect to get it? I guarantee that I would not get it.

So how does this work? How is the buffet supposed to know if someone really has the surgery? The people who get the surgery get notes from their willing surgeons a testing to that the person had the surgery and can only eat a small amount.

Does this work? At many buffets, no it does not work. Most are going to tell you that the price is the price and you are welcome to eat as much or as little as you can. Remember that the actual definition in the word "CAN" as in All you Can Eat is "ABLE" so it is All you are ABLE to Eat. We were at a pizza buffet where a woman (a thin woman) came in with a young girl, presumably her daughter. She went up to the cashier and flashed her note from her doctor expecting to be let in for free. The buffet manager came over and an argument from the woman ensued. She was not going to eat more than some salad, her daughter was going to be eating the pizza, not her. She was indignant when they told her that if she was coming in she had to pay the full price just like everyone else. She tried to say they were punishing her daughter because she could not eat. They told her she was welcome to come in, just pay the cost of the meal. Now, this was a buffet where you paid first before you eat. I would hate to see the scene that would ensue if this was tried after the meal was consumed and then you pay.

Now, there is a buffet that I know of that willingly gives a discount when a valid note from an M.D. is presented attesting that the person has had the stomach staple operation. Yes, we were recently at none other than Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, Pennsylvania and saw a sign on the cashier's counter that said that a ten percent discount would be given off the meal price to the person with medical proof. Our very own, three year in a row, Best Buffet anywhere winner has come through again. If anything is going to be given, I guess ten percent seems fair.

I have heard from buffet managers who say that many try this who don't have proper proof and want them to take their word for it or better yet, present notes that clearly are not from doctors. One manager called this a recent and frequent scam.

The bottom line is that the price of the meal is set and applies to everyone equally. It is not based upon how much you eat, it is an offer for you to eat what you care to eat - or are able to eat, in the extreme. Everyone can or cares to eat a different amount from anyone else. In the buffet "game", that is just how it is.


Anonymous said...

I am not a large woman [skinny, in fact but I don't diet, it is just the way I am built] and I believe in portion control - everything in moderation, but I LOVE buffets.

Unfortunately I don't eat a lot at any one meal so they aren't really a bargain for me - but I know my husband and the kids [one full price/the other kid's price] do like them and can eat more.

So can I have a discount too because I can't eat a lot and will feel uncomfortable?

I actually find this a silly theory. Why should people that chose this surgery also receive free or discounted food? The only person punishing the daughter is the Mom. Mom could have a water or a soda while her child ate and then eat at home or pay for a small salad. It isn't hard.

So although we don't really eat at buffets I LOVE reading your blog and can live vicariously through your forays and desciptions.

dave1973 said...

Supposedly, the same guy I mentioned who stays at Old Country Buffet in Highland Indiana all day went thru the surgery. Despite that, he still eats a lot of food, and hasn't lost an ounce of weight.

I say that for those who aren't able to eat a lot of food shouldn't even go to a buffet of any type. For me, I can only eat all I want from a buffet if I starve myself several hours before I go to one. If I don't, then I refuse to go to one, as I would feel that the amount of food I eat wouldn't be worth my money. So people should not complain that they can't get a discount just because they don't eat a lot. Either find a way to eat a lot (like I do, by starving myself for several hours before going to one), or don't go to one at all. Remember, there are some buffets that will charge for waste, such as Czerwone Jabłuszko in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that many, like myself, are attracted to buffet restaurants because of the variety of foods that I can sample, rather than the quantity. I love being able to have small servings of various vegetables and entrees. I agree, the price is the price; you are paying for variety as well as quantity.

Robert A said...

I have to make a point of agreeing with the above comment. Remember that the second part of the name of this site is "All you can eat is not a challenge". Going to a buffet is not entering a marathon eating contest. Prices of most buffets - especially the chains - are below those of menu restaurants for a full meal. A buffet can be well enjoyed by selecting a "sampling" of what is offered in small quantities. In the end you will be full, but in the process you will have tried a nice variety of foods.

Anonymous said...

They need to go to a buffet that has a soup n salad option or don't eat at a buffet style restaurant. I mean a buffet should not have to adjust the price according to someone's hunger level or the size of that person. Most all you can eat sushi restaurants charge you for anything you ordered but did not finish.