Friday, May 05, 2006

Tough Times at the All You Can Eat Buffet

This news report of a family getting banned from an all you can eat (or, as a sign I saw in Florida acronymed it: AUCE) buffet brought back fond memories of my own encounters with AUCE rules.

Back when I lived in South Jersey we were informed about an AUCE Chinese Buffet in a nearby strip mall. Being somewhat poor and possessed of great appetites, a group of us started going there about once a week. Unlike the family in the related story, we never wasted any food but we sure could put it away.

This gastronomic ability did not go unnoticed by the AUCE management and we arrived one week to see a new sign plastered to the front door. In effect, it informed diners that the AUCE would not be a daily special, but had been relegated to less popular eat out nights like Monday and Wednesday.

We didn't care since, as I mentioned, we were poor and frequently hungry. And so, we began arranging our visits on those nights. Then the nights changed. In an obvious attempt to trip us up they suddenly became Tuesday and Thursday instead of Monday and Wednesday.

The final gauntlet was thrown down the night we arrived to find the following sign posted on the door: "All You Can Eat Buffet Time Limit, One Hour."

After we sat down and ordered we began strategizing our approach. The waiter arrived with our bowls of Wonton Soup and the Gonster asked, "Does the hour start with the soup?" To which he replied in the affirmative. And in one masterful, graceful motion, the Gonster took his soup bowl, lifted it to his mouth and downed the piping hot, noodle-packed soup like it was a shot of whiskey.

A couple weeks later we arrived to find that the Chinese restaurant was no more. They'd shut their doors in a sad admission of defeat to the power of the All You Can Eat Buffet.

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