Friday, April 08, 2011

Unthinking, Stupid, or Just Rude?

We have the Rules of the Buffet on this site. All of the rules stem from common sense and just plain courtesy when dining out at a buffet. But - there are somethings that I have witnessed at buffet restaurants that just go beyond the rules - and to make a new rule would just make you wonder where did that come from.

Lately, I saw some really over the top things at buffets - all having to do with customers. The buffets are in no way at fault. These are the things that you say that make you wonder - is that person unthinking about what they are doing, is he/she just plain stupid, or is he/she just rude?

I was almost going to tell you about this first one in the article that I wrote about the buffet but I thought to myself that this has nothing to do with the buffet and no one should get the idea that the buffet was not good because of this. I am not going to identify the restaurant - but it could have been anywhere in any restaurant - even one that is not a buffet, though people seem to act differently in menu restaurants. I will start from when we were first brought to our table to be seated. The hostess is goes to the table that she is going to seat us at and I think that this table must be occupied. On the table there are personal belongings - a cigarette lighter and some other personal things. Across one of the seats (this was a booth) was a coat. The hostess looked down at these things knowing that the table was "supposed" to be available. She looked at the table across from this one that was filled with people. She asked at that table if these things belonged to anyone there. "Oh", said one woman, "those are mine." She made no move to retrieve them. The hostess had to ask - would you please take them so that we may use the table. The woman seemed put out and picked up her things off the table and the coat from the seat. Really? I had not seen anything quite like this before. It was not as if this buffet was empty and there were plenty of open tables. This restaurant was crowded.

Is this all that is bothering me? Need I tell you that this story continues? We went through the entire meal. It was just before we were about to leave. In fact, my wife had gone off to the restroom and I was at our table alone. That same table across from us still had the same people at it. This same woman had a toddler - about two years old. I see her pick up this child and lay him down on the bench seat of the booth behind us. Hmm. This booth had been occupied before and the people there had just left. The restaurant was still crowded so the table would certainly be needed again. Was she putting this child down to sleep on this seat? Much as she had left her coat on the seat of our booth? No worse. She proceeded to take down this child's pants and change the child's diaper! What a pleasant dining experience and odor! Not only did she change the diaper, but in doing so she took the dirty diaper and PUT IT ON TOP OF THE TABLE! After she finished with the child, pulled the pants back up and picked him up she picked up the dirty diaper off the table, balled it up in her hand and started talking to someone at her table while she stood in the aisle between our two tables waving this dirty diaper around in her hand. Eventually she took it and put it down on her chair.

When my wife got back she could see that I was perturbed by something and I told her that I would explain outside when we left. I told her and she told me that the ladies room had a very nice baby changing area. So there certainly was no reason why this woman could not have taken the child there to do this. This really was incredible. On our way out, people were brought to that table. The table had been wiped down before so there was no reason that the restaurant would wipe it down again. There was no one to tell in time and those people sat down to have their meal on a table that was just holding a poop filled diaper. This is really a disgusting thought - to me at least. In this case I think that all three of the words in the title of this article apply to this woman. I have seen a lot of nasty things in my times over the years at buffets - hamsters put on the table, dogs at a table, etc. This was the worst so far.

I wish that this was the only recent tale like this to tell. At another buffet, when it was time to leave a couple with another toddler, picked the child up and stood him on the table - in his dirty boots - so that they could put his coat on him. I am sure that all buffets are supposed to use a disinfectant in that spray bottle that they use to give the table a cursory wipe down between guests. Often I think and in some places I am sure that all that is used is plain water. It is intended to clear the remains of the meal away - not to wash off the remains of dirty boots. So the next person to sit down to eat and some food comes off the edge of the plate and unthinkingly that person lifts it back to the plate and eats it - yuck when there had been a child's boots on the table.

Another tale is not so extreme but goes directly into the rude category. I was at still another buffet, and went up to the salad bar to get some Caesar salad. In front of the bowl of salad is a large man, his wife and two daughters. They are standing there having a conversation. Ok - ordinary and no big deal. But he has one filled plate down on the counter of the salad bar and another plate in his hand. While he is talking with his family he is eating from that plate in his hand. The daughters are eating like this too. They have a table but evidently they thought that this was a good place to have their meal. I came up next to him and he did not budge. I tried to say excuse me and he paid no attention. I had to reach over the plate that he had on the counter to get to the tongs for the salad and started taking salad. His reaction was one of indignation and the look he gave me was as if to say how dare you lean over my plate and interrupt my meal. I returned the look and proceeded to take my salad. He finally got the idea to move - a little further down. What is going on with people?!? All too often I see people at the buffet servers eating. It is like a cocktail party as they carry their plates from one serving tray to the other and eat what is on the plate at the same time. Are they so hungry that they cannot wait?

Or are they unthinking, stupid or just rude?


RemixedCat said...

did you alert a manager about the diaper disaster? I would have done so asap before a customer would sit at the table. If the manager did nothing i would never eat there again and I would leave a scathing review for others to see how gross the place is and how the manager doesn't care. Then others would be more careful.

Writer said...

Did you miss the line where I stated "There was no one to tell in time..."

I have not named the restaurant and I will not but let me tell you that I have been to many restaurants - buffets and otherwise - where nothing is done when something is reported - and the managers do not care nor do their employees.

There are some managers who are very good and attend to problems immediately.

All of the incidents in this article are not in any way the fault of the restaurants, the managers, or the employees - the faults lie in the customers who are either "unthinking, stupid, or just rude"...

mario said...

I have also witnessed such rudeness, and trying to not sound prejudice but putting it politely were they speaking english well?
Thats all I going to say.

Writer said...

Mario - to put it directly - everyone of them spoke English perfectly just like you.

Rudeness has no tie to culture, language, or race. It is universal.

RemixedCat said...

one tip then for all you who are afraid of this kinda thing... bring wet wipes or some purell with you!!! pack it in your pocket or purse. I always have wet wipes with me in my purse

Ann B. said...

I have unfortunatley seen a couple incidents of youn children phlegming at a large national buffet in suburban NY (Long Is.). I won't be more specific. Suffice to say that the phlegming at the meat buffet servers has caused us to eat at other restaurants that are more meticulous and sanitary. It is not worth the risk of getting ill.

Anonymous said...

I have seen things that upset me, especially on Sundays. I don't know why, but it seems that Sundays are not good days for us to go to any buffet. I once told a coworker that I suspect the "real" reason Shady-Maple and other fine places are closed on Sundays is because they want to avoid the type of people that go out to eat at buffets on Sundays.

As for messes with kids, we were at a Waffle House one time and the poor waitress had her hands full with a couple and their little kids. I overheard her say something like, now I am pissed - they left her with a foot high mess to clean up but did not leave a tip. I can understand not leaving a tip if the waitress does a terrible job or is rude etc but this young lady waited on them hand and foot.


Chantalle said...

Besides poor waitresses, polite and considerate diners also seem to suffer at the hands of rude people at the buffets. That's the problem with AYCE and or buffets, you are more exposed to the inconsideration of other diners than if it were an order off the menu establishment. A rude and or dirty crowd at a buffet can be a real problem.

As to problems on Sundays, I have seen unsanitary things on others days also. I have not seen any phlegming incidents in a long time tho, maybe they crack down on that more.
Leaving messes and not tipping has always happened. People can be rude.
Bottom line, now we cook more or do take out. It's not worth getting ill or having a bad experience.

Anonymous said...

Phlegming at the buffet servers has always gone on. It is something that you have to accept or not do AYCE. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

We learned to avoid buffets and restaurants on holidays.

Pastore said...

What is phlegming?

dave1973 said...

If this had happened at Ponderosa Steakhouse in Crown Point, IN, that lady would have been kicked out, because the owners of that franchise are there from open to close, & take great pride in their restaurant. Despite corporate not promoting the company overall, these franchise owners have received a number of local awards for their business, & many people favored this Ponderosa over the corporate locations that were in my area in years past (only 1 corporate location remains, & that's in Gary, IN). I believe Old Country Buffet wouldn't have done anything, because the only remaining OCB in my area is getting as bad as the one that just closed in my area. Golden Corral may or may not condone it (I know the corporate location in Lafayette, IN won't as they take pride in their own restaurants). And lastly, I know many menu restaurants won't condone that at all, as most of them in my area are locally run family restaurants, & negative reviews will hurt local restaurants more than national chains. Since those restaurants can't afford to be shut down for unsanitary conditions, they'll remove people like that lady immediately.