Horror at Buffet Line

Let me narrate you a story…

You are at a special function. You have been sitting there for hours, listening to some boring speech and over-killed cultural show at the front. You realised that you are hungry and looked at your watch. You realised that there is only couple of minutes to go before lunch.

You tell yourself that you can hold on for couple of minutes more. You scan around and realised that you are nearer to the buffet table and therefore stands better chance to be one of the first in the line for the food.

“Ladies and gentlemen, lunch is now served, please enjoy yourselves” a loud announcement was made

You rush to the buffet table but not at the speed of someone is too desperate for food.

Just to be on the safe side, you even managed to chat with someone “on the way” to the buffet table. By the time you reached the buffet table and take your plate, there is already couple of people standing in front of you, digging into the delicious buffet spread. Looking at all the food on the buffet table makes you even hungrier but you able to maintain your composure.

You are inching to grab the food quickly and then go to a quiet corner when you realised the buffet line is not moving. You asked yourself “what is going on here?”

Sound familiar?

(Some people don’t realise it but when it comes to buffet and queuing, there are some unwritten rules. Image source: http://www.clairescatering.com/)

Have you been in a similar situation before?

I encountered one on several occasions and the reason why the whole queue was not moving was because of one person stopping at one of the dish – mix vegetable, picking and choosing the specific item (it was minced mushrooms) into his plate. He picked most of the mushrooms in the dish before moving on the next dish – chicken curry.

Good thing was he did not pick and choose the chicken bits but rather adding on gravy on a small, calculated measurement over the large gravy spoon. He paused for a moment before deciding that the “volume” of gravy on the plate is not enough and proceeded to add smaller, calculated amount of gravy. The right volume of gravy seemed to be very important for this person. This person was doing this in complete ignorance of the impatience, hungry people who were queuing up behind him.

This person next moved to another dish – mutton dish, stopping not to take a spoonful of it but rather start asking the caterer who was standing nearby on the dish itself – what kind of meat that was cooked (from local goat or Australian goat), what are the spices used, etc and somewhere in between, I overheard this person complaining about a bad experience with a similar mutton dish in another function (obviously with different caterer).

Whilst this person is asking the questions, he starts to probe the warm tender meat with the large spoon as if it was some weird experiment gone wrong. He presses the meat with the spoon, tries to cut it at several places and as if looking for some hidden treasure, starts to probe underneath the meat. Meanwhile, the queue at the buffet table just gets longer and more people were getting impatient to the point, some queue jumping started to happen.

Hungry and impatient, the thought of pulling this people from the buffet line and tell him to just grab anything to eat and move away did crossed my mind (several times) but before insanity get better of me, the person got his food on the plate and move away. All the sudden the queue started to move rather quickly.

(P.s. the “person” in the above story is a combination of several characters which I encountered as I waited patiently for these characters to move along so that I can get my food)

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A Hungry Malaysian…

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7 thoughts on “Horror at Buffet Line

  1. The Ministry of Education should introduce to all primary and secondary national schools in the country immediately, a weekly period called ‘ethics’ teaching pupils and students good manners, etiquette, customs, culture. All government departments as well as private corporations must also include a lesson on good manners and etiquette as well as how to be properly dressed for certain occassions besides teaching them the proper ways to eat, stand, sit and how to converse with guests and how to mix with the many different types of people we have in this country as well as foreigners. This way, in future, we will not see any more bad manners shown by adults at buffet queue lines, khenduris, weddings, lunches and dinners like you have aptly described and we, as Malaysians, can potray to people all over the world, how well we conduct ourselves. Minister of Education and Minister of Culture Sirs, what are you waiting for?

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  2. So, let’s ‘teach’ the parents too. I am out of job now and I can be one of the teachers. Not that I need the money, but I need to fill my time with something good and this is one thing that I consider good, teaching them manners and etiquette. Whoa!

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