Ask Mr. Buffet


Ticked off because your favorite smorgasbord ran out of potato salad?  Wondering what the gunk is on the sneeze shield at your local salad bar?  Mr. Buffet’s got your back–he’s in line right behind you!


Hey there, Mr. Buffet–

Got a quick question for you.  I am a regular at the Hopalong Cassidy $20 All-You-Can-Eat Buffet every Thursday night on South 65.  Last week they had those St. Louis-style spare ribs that I love, so I was piling my plate high.  When I went back for my ninth–or maybe it was tenth–time through the line Ray Lee Dixon–he is the owner–jumps in front of me and says you’ve had enough go home.

Naturally, I responded by pointing to the sign that said “All you can eat,” but Ray Lee didn’t budge an inch.  “That’s right,” he said, and none too cheerfully, either.  “You been through plenty already, and that’s all you can eat for twenty bucks.  Now leave or I’m calling the Highway Patrol.”  We were out on the Interstate, so they had jurisdiction.

Mr. Buffet I don’t want to split hairs but I don’t think that’s the right way to interpret the phrase “All you can eat.”  Is there some sort of expert like they used to have on quiz shows who can hand down a binding decision on this point?

Darrell Sher, Tula, Mississippi


Dear Darrell–

Happily, you are both right.  “All you can eat” in one sense means “all that a particular person can eat,” but viewed from the perspective of the hard-working restaurateurs of America, there has to be a limit.  The National Association of Buffet-Style Common Victuallers defines “all you can eat” as “all that can be eaten by a patron without contributing to the already high failure rate of buffet-style restaurants in America.”  Why don’t you try to “make amends” with Mr. Dixon by visiting his restaurant on a non-buffet night and order your meal a la carte, which is French for “Don’t be such a cheap bastard.”

“I was nowhere near eating all I could eat.”


Dear Mr. Buffet–

I am getting married in June and am trying to lose some weight so I can fit into my bridal gown.  My “game plan” is to eat lunch every day at the ‘Gelded Unicorn’ natural food buffet restaurant near where I work because the food is terrible and good for you, too.

Yesterday I scooped some brown stuff into my Styrofoam carton, it looked like hummus but I couldn’t be sure.  Well, I took one bite and nearly threw up so I walked it back to the buffet and slid it onto the steam table again and replaced it with carrot-and-raisin salad.

Then this crunchy granola type girl came over, she was wearing a peasant dress and had granny glasses and I swear to God had actual chin hair even though she couldn’t have been more than 25.  She was all hot and bothered and said you can’t put food back, now we have to re-weigh you and check you out again.

I told her I was deathly allergic to whatever the stuff was and she said “Okay–what was it?”  I said how the hell was I supposed to know, it looked like garbanzo beans which make me break out in hives.  I was lying a little so I reached up and scratched my neck to make it red.

Mr. Buffet, I have now been placed on a “Do Not Serve” list and can be “banned for life” in the sole and absolute discretion of the management, according to a written warning I was given.

I was just wondering–isn’t this whole thing going to be thrown out of court because they didn’t read me the warning you always hear on the TV cop shows?

Colleen Floyd, Chillicothe, Ohio


Dear Colleen:

I am afraid that the “Miranda” warning only applies to criminal activities, and replacing food in an aluminum steam table tray is only a civil offense thanks to “de-criminalization,” which has released hundreds of potentially dangerous recidivists back onto our streets to wreak havoc.  All I can say is, thank your lucky stars you didn’t try to take back a stuffed grape leaf after you’d bit into it!


Dear Mr. Buffet–

I go to the lunch buffet over at the Happy Panda Luck Joy restaurant, don’t know if you’ve ever been there, it’s over by the old railroad shops.  Anyway, I ate a bunch of the shrimp lo mein there the other day and right away I wasn’t feeling so good.  I went to the men’s room and threw the whole thing up, then had to go straight home and missed out on four hours work which would have put me into time-and-a-half overtime.  That’s a lot of money.

Two days later when I was feeling a little better I went back to Happy Panda Luck Joy and asked for my $8.99 back, but the owner said no, it wasn’t his fault.  Why not? I asked and he said “I no serve you, you serve self, that whole point of buffet.”  That’s how he talks, I’m not making it up or being racist or anything.

Mr. Buffet, I don’t want to start an international incident what with how aggressive China is getting and how our military is depleted after eight years of self-imposed disarmament under Obama, but I would like some of my money back.  I have a room air conditioner on layaway and it will be summer soon.

Thanks a lot,

R.G. “Bud” Withers, Knob Noster MO


Dear “Bud”–

Why don’t you call our official Ambassador the United Nations, I don’t know who it is, they keep resigning.  You may want to start putting away some of your salary to get that air conditioner out of layaway, however, because any resolution to reimburse a U.S. citizen for buffet-related losses has to pass the Security Council, and China has a veto.

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “Take My Advice–I Wasn’t Using it Anyway.”

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