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Do You Feel Guilty About Carrying Out at Buffets? [moved from Boston board]

I love Indian food. Sometimes I go to an Indian buffet lunch and order carryout. They give you containers and you fill up to your heart's content.

The problem is I tend to full guilty about doing this - because the containers hold far more than I would eat at a buffet luncheon (can feed 2 - 3 for dinner!)

Kashmir on Newbury gives several really large containers to use for carryout.

The container at the Kebab Factory is fairly large.

The container at Bombay Club I thought was a bit small.

Obviously, I could put less food in my containers. But my question is do you think it is ok to fill your containers (that the restaurant gave you) to the brim?

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  1. I do no think restaurants should offer carryout when they are serving a buffet. That being said, if they do, and if they give you trough-sized take out containers, then it seems to be your choice to fill them. Otherwise they would give out smaller containers.

      1. CF

        When I first saw the title i said OMG, thinking you first ate at the resto and then did a doggie bag. Deep sigh.

        The resto gives you a container for to-go, use it. Ifthey wanted samller, use it or go to the first resto. As you mentioned one was bisg and one was small.

        10-15 years ago when there was a mongolian BBQ place in town with that big round skillet and Mrs jfood was out of town i would to-got from there. It was one plate for $XX. In typical Jfood fashion I figured out that if you put the lo mein noodles on last, on top of the frozen slivered beef, chicken and veggies, your amount was much more than if you put the noodle in the container first. Obviously the resto knew as well as they put the noodles first in the conga line.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          Guilt, especially when it comes to food, is for chumps.

          1. re: beevod

            Most of the take-out buffet places in my area charge by weight. They put your container on a little scale after you have filled it, and charge something like 5 bucks per lb., or increment thereof.

        2. Guilt about doing what they want you to do?

          Fill them to the brim (and more).

          1. i'm surprised they allow take-out off a buffet. however restaurants (especially indian) make plenty of money on buffets. what portions they allow is not your responsibility.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              The owner of the family-restaurant chain where my wife worked (admin, not operations) always said of their all-you-can-eat promotions... "It's all you can eat, not all you can carry!"

              Surprised at the policy described above.

              1. re: MikeLM

                I'd say go ahead and fill up. They often end up throwing left overs away anyways so think of that if you feel guilty. Maybe you don't have a large appetite because I've never been given take out containers for a buffet that would feed 2-3 of me! If they wanted you to take less, they'd give you smaller containers.

            2. I think this is a good way to save money and eat well without being piggy. The place we like to visit gives one good-sized take-out container. It's plenty for the two of us for lunch, but we're only paying for one. I'm sure the restaurant still makes a profit, too.

              1. Most of the buffet restaurants here either don't allow carry out, or they weigh it and charge by the pound. I've also seen signs saying there's to be no taking home of leftovers, either. I'm surprised they do this anywhere. I also must admit I don't eat at many buffets, mostly Indian food when they first open. Buffets sort of disgust me, to be truthful.

                1. of course you should put in as much as you can, if they don't want you to take too much food , tham they should give you a smaller box

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: monkfanatic

                    I'm a little surprised that this attitude seems to prevail. I would say to take as much as a normal a la carte serving at that restaurant would be. That is, if they usually serve huge portions, fill your boxes according to what they consider a portion. Lunch plus snack-sized leftovers seems reasonable to me, dinner for three seems wrong.

                    1. re: babette feasts

                      sorry you felt that way, but there is a different between a la carte and buffet, if they call BUFFET , tham I believe I have the right to take as much as I want ,don't get me wrong , I meant If I paid for a take out buffet, not eat in and take home after the meal. that will be wrong

                      1. re: monkfanatic

                        You paid for lunch for one person, not food for a week. I suppose happy customers return and all that.........I've never done takout at a buffet but I guess I would feel guilty if I were tempted to take way more than I needed. Everyone else, apparently not so much. Oh well.

                        1. re: babette feasts

                          I dunno...portions being what they are, I can order a standard meal and eat for two or sometimes three meals. Of course, I'm in Texas, and the portions are humongous here.

                  2. Fill 'em? Heck I need to sit on them like an overpacked suitcase to close them!

                    Have you ever seen that episode on the old Looney Toones show... where Daffy Duck hitchhikes, and Elmer Fudd picks him up, and he PACKS the truck so much it strains.. ane when he opens it it explodes?

                    Do that. :)

                    1. The very very few buffets that i've seen that do take out know exactly how much food you can crowbar into a takeout container and they have planned for it. So put in whatever they'll let you tak out.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ccbweb

                        I agree. Think about it this way...if it doesn't get eaten (or carried out) it is probably thrown away. You are actually doing a service :-)

                      2. It's not like you didn't pay for it... the restaurant knows EXACTLY how much food the carryout containers will hold and I'm sure they assume that you're going to fill them up. You only need to feel guilty if you're shoving rolls into your pockets or something :P

                        1. Like some other posters, when I first saw your subject line I thought you meant taking a doggie bag after eating in. I remember watching the couple ahead of us in a really nice little Chinese buffet in Albuquerque get into a huge argument with the cashier because the woman had at least a dozen big cocktail shrimp wrapped up in a napkin in her purse. They were trying to pull the-customer-is-always-right, and were being real jerks. We felt so bad for the cashier and the whole staff of the restaurant that we doubled our own tip in sympathy...

                          Most of the buffets I've seen that do permit carry-out weigh it and charge by the pound. I admit, however, that I've never seen (or at least noticed) carry-out at an Indian buffet before and I'm surprised at your report.

                          I personally would probably not fill a really huge container to the brim, but I might well take a little more than I would if I were eating in. I agree with those above who say yes to a generous helping, no to dinner for 2-3!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Allstonian

                            Actually, my own memory of this incident is that the argument was that the couple (imagine Larry the Cable Guy and Flo the waitress from Alice) were trying to chisel their way out of paying for their meal at all by complaining about the quality of the food, after leaving stacks of licked-clean plates at their table like you'd see at a dim sum place AND the woman having the dozen jumbo prawns in her purse. As appalling as they were, you have to be impressed with their unmitigated cheek.

                            Anyway, Kashmir offers takeaway on their lunch buffet? This is good to know, because when Allstonian worked at BMC, we used to meet there for lunch sometimes on a nice spring or summer day, but now that she works in the Longwood Medical Area, the commute doesn't work for her. But Indian takeaways somewhere on campus sounds like fun!

                            Naturally, I'll be good and get two sets of boxes rather than getting one giant one and sharing, but I agree with the general consensus here: they know what they're doing when they hand you the packaging, so there's no need to feel guilty. Personally, my concern wouldn't be guilt so much as wanting to be careful in not filling them too full so I can transport the things! I don't want to be wearing chicken tikka masala all over my khakis because I overstuffed a clamshell!

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              "Personally, my concern wouldn't be guilt so much as wanting to be careful in not filling them too full so I can transport the things! I don't want to be wearing chicken tikka masala all over my khakis because I overstuffed a clamshell!"

                              Karma can be a bitch!