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Is it okay to graze off your plate while in the buffet line?

You're walking around the buffet filling your plate. You're in line waiting for a slice of prime rib and you're hungry so you grab a potato wedge off your plate and start eating. If the line is long maybe you grab another.

Is grazing okay or should you wait until you get back to the table?

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    1. re: ferret

      I'm putting my money on the former.

      1. re: ferret

        Either, but in this case Indian casino. ;-)

        1. re: Jpan99

          I managed a buffet at an Indian casino. I wouldn't eat there.

        2. re: ferret

          Very important point - because it's going to depend on where the buffet is, what food is being served, who's company your with, and what food item you're popping in your mouth.

          If for whatever reason a business meeting happens to be happening at any kind of buffet (Golden Corral to White House) - no. If you're at a hotel that has a breakfast buffet, graze away - particularly if it's in the assistance of deciding whether to get more of an item or not. If I'm at a Holiday Inn breakfast buffet and the choice is to get one piece of pineapple, go to my table - try it, and then go back and get more if it's good enough (or just get a full serving and not eat it if it's bad) - graze away.

          Know your audience, know your setting, use your judgment.

        3. No. Unless you are literally a starving refugee at a UN dining tent in the middle of nowhere, you should be able to wait to eat until you get back to your table. Worse would be grazing from *my* plate. :)

          1. How could anyone object to your discreetly popping a little potato wedge into your mouth? I wouldn't suggest taking a fork and starting your meal, but a little bite to while away the waiting time seems innocent enough. You'd want to make sure it's small because the laws of the universe will ensure that someone important starts a conversation with you in line just as you begin to chew.

            1. IMHO, grazing within reasonable limits is fine.

              1. I think you ought to be able to wait until you get back to the table. If the prime rib station is your last stop and you absolutely can't wait then I reluctantly guess so. But if you still have more stops to make at a self serve buffet, you'll be putting your greasy fingers(remember, napkins are back at the table ) on the serving spoons and if I'm behind you I won't be happy. Unless you try to discreetly wipe them off on your shirt or pants in which case I'll notice that too.

                6 Replies
                  1. re: miss_belle

                    BTW...I usually hold the plate in my left and take with my right....If my fingers have a little food on them, I normally place them between my thighs, squeeze and pull out my fingers nice and clean...ready to go!

                    1. re: PHREDDY

                      so you have food and grease stains on your thighs.......

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Yep! only if I am wearing short shorts! but with long pants I make sure they are dark!Nobody really sees it, because they are focused on me eating with my fingers in the buffet line!

                        1. re: PHREDDY

                          I like that you have special clothes for a buffet. Quite ingenious!

                    2. No. If you are using your hands to "pop something into your mouth," your fingers are going to be very close to your lips / nose, etc. And then you are going to be touching community serving utensils with those hands. I would not be happy seeing someone in front of me do that.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: BabyDollCook

                        You should be more concerned with the ones that sneezed into their hands just before joining the line. You dine at a buffet and you take your chances.

                        1. re: grampart

                          Yeah, you have no idea what those people were doing with their hands in their cars immediately before walking in the door.

                          1. re: grampart

                            and don't forget those who are soap-and-water-phobic emerging from the restroom!

                          2. re: BabyDollCook

                            So what is the difference between doing this in line and doing this at your table and returning to the buffet line for a refill?

                            1. re: PotatoHouse

                              Eating at a buffet is more fluid than a discrete sit down dinner.
                              It's communal, so yes, someone's fingers will touch, whether they've fed themselves at the buffet, or touched their face before you ever laid eyes on them.

                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                Well as someone else pointed out, manners are often so as to not offend others. Watching someone do this in front of me in the buffet line may dash my appetite a bit, whereas if they do it at their table I don't have to actually see it. And also at their table, they may more likely be using utensils.

                                1. re: BabyDollCook

                                  It is, quite simply, a matter of not doing it if the act would discommode another, One cannot read minds, of course, but a touch of common sense goes a long way. Don't give 'em a chance to complain.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    "It is, quite simply, a matter of not doing it if the act would discommode another ..."

                                    What if the other person is wrong or, to put it differently, out of touch with commonly accepted values? Do we have to cater to a minority with 19th century ideas about etiquette?

                                    In America there's a right to free speech. There's no right to Not Being Offended.

                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                      In these instances that minority is almost always right. It may be an impossible standard but that's part of the fun.

                            2. The real question is...why are you eating at a buffet?

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: jpc8015

                                Maybe at a wedding, reception, corporate event, fundraiser, or other function? Maybe as a guest?

                                1. re: NonnieMuss

                                  I see. For some reason I had the local Happy China Buffet in my mind.

                                2. re: jpc8015

                                  What's wrong with buffets?
                                  I've eaten at buffets from Chinese all you can eat, to fancy $75 brunches and and had wonderful food.

                                  1. re: monavano

                                    while there have been notable exceptions, for the most part, my experience with buffets has been long arrays of lukewarm, mediocre fuel seasoned as to not offend anyone -- i.e., completely bland.

                                    I'm also not a particularly big eater, so buffets are usually a waste of money for me -- I'd far rather spend the same amount of money on something hot, fresh, and prepared sometime in the last few minutes....

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      I'm not so much into buffets any long, too, for the same reasons.
                                      Mostly, I see buffets at brunch, and I really don't like eating a big meal at that time of day.
                                      Our favorite buffet was a local Chinese place-haven't found any that are as good around us now, so we don't do it.
                                      I miss it, though!
                                      There's also a new-ish Indian place nearby, and I want to check out their buffet so I get get a smattering of food.
                                      The $75+ brunches OTOH, I'm loathe to do now, even if they do have jumbo shrimp.

                                      1. re: monavano

                                        I agree...I finally told the family some years ago that I really didn't need to be taken out on Easter or Mother's Day for a brunch -- it's crazy expensive, super crowded, and the food is rarely better than so-so. At $75 a head, I can buy a LOT of jumbo shrimp!

                                        We used to live near an awesome Chinese buffet, too -- the serving pans were fairly small, and they'd bring out refills every 15-20 minutes, so things *were* hot and fresh, and it was not cheap, but okay for every couple of weeks.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          Mother's Day- another amateur day that I avoid restaurants like the plague.
                                          Or, at least I try!

                                  2. re: jpc8015

                                    I live with the reality that I work at a hospital with no real alternatives other than bringing your lunch (which I do often) and get a half-hour lunch break, and for some reason they make the two-line-checkout into one, just as the influx of visitors and employees really mob the place at around 12:15. I understand that the food service staff needs to eat too, they're a hard working bunch and deserving of more than they probably get, but cripes- most of them come to work at 5:30 in the mornng, couldn't they eat at 11:00 or 1:00?
                                    Making a short story long. I often get the salad bar, which is $ .35/oz. If i have to wait more than a couple of minutes in line, I start eating (slowly) and consider that my reward for waiting. I don't do it unless the line is stupid long.

                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                        Let me point out that I've done that maybe three times. I know it doesn't erase my sins.

                                        1. I do it. I do feel a little guilty at the Chinese buffet if I am getting takeout which is charged by the weight. Not that guilty that I don't do it.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Motosport

                                            I take issue more with stealing from the restaurant than picking from your plate.
                                            It's probably pennies, but still...

                                            1. re: monavano

                                              .........."I do feel a little guilty"

                                            2. I'd do it. I do do it. And I don't care what other people think when I do it. I wouldn't care if you did it.

                                              1. For me it's simply a matter of proper table manners: unless you're by yourself, at home, if you're going to sit at a table to eat you wait until you're seated. Especially out in public. I really am not comfortable standing in line with someone who's eating … and if he's smacking or chewing with his mouth open I'll probably just leave!

                                                1. Is the line really THAT long that you can't wait to get back to your table to start noshing?

                                                  1. No!

                                                    I've seen people put food in their mouth, lick their finger and next touch serving utensils. Gross! Gross! Gross!

                                                    People just can't be that hungry where they can't wait a few minutes to get back to their tables.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: dave_c

                                                      Those same people probably eat their fries with their fingers back at the table and then later touch the serving utensils. Just say'in. And don't people typically just touch the fry anyway? I guess I'd probably not do it, but I wouldn't be overly concerned to see someone else do it.

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        It's not so much eating fries with your hands, at the buffet or at the table, it's finger licking that's yuck.

                                                    2. I believe some time living in a combat zone would make a lot of folks less sensitive to perceived indelicasies.

                                                      13 Replies
                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                        2.5 years in Iraq and 3.5 years in Afghanistan. I've had my share of DFAC meals.

                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                          I guess someone "grazing" off their tray in the chow hall line wouldn't bother you too much.

                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                            A little grazing from the tray is the least of my worries. I've seen tables full of third country nationals eating rice and stewed chicken with their hands.

                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                              Ever been to Medieval Times or the Dixie Stampede?

                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                What are third country nationals?

                                                                1. re: yumyum

                                                                  On military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan everyone was classified as one of three things: expatriates = Americans, local national = Iraqi or Afghan depending on location, third country nationals = everybody else.

                                                                  Typically the third country nationals working for the contractors were Indian, Filipino, Pakistani, Ghanan, or Nepalese.

                                                          2. re: grampart

                                                            @grampart How is that relevant? We are not living in a combat situation. We're talking about an adult in a social situation in a peaceful state.

                                                            What our soldiers go through and the type of survival personalities that it exposes is not comparable to going to a Cracker Barrel with 500 feet of food, with no other threat than the health conditions that come with chronic overeating.

                                                            1. re: thegforceny

                                                              While I understand that there are definitely settings where it wouldn't be appropriate - a number of buffets, particularly at weddings, can end up in an environment that's more similar to a cocktail party. You go to the buffet, get a plate, run into someone seated at another table, start talking - maybe graze a bit…..

                                                              I've also been to a buffet meal hosted at an Ambassador's home and would never imagine grazing between the buffet line and my seat. I just don't see all buffets as equal. As pedalfaster mentions below, a cocktail party where there may not be tables/chairs for everyone is basically a party centered around grazing at a buffet.

                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                but if you run into someone on the way back to your table, you're not really in the buffet line any more....

                                                              2. re: thegforceny

                                                                The relevance is that there are way too many people that are too easily "upset" over piddling little things like this.

                                                                Btw, what the hell does this mean?
                                                                " ...going to a Cracker Barrel with 500 feet of food, with no other threat than the health conditions that come with chronic overeating."

                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                  It is called socially acceptable behavior, not what one does with C-Rats, ham & limas, we gave them to the Viet kids.

                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                    There are lots of folks here who feel very strongly about their particular ideology about food.

                                                              3. Although waiting would be the best course of action, I really don't see the difference between nibbling off of one's own plate in the buffet-line or at a cocktail party.

                                                                Both can be awkward and obviously one should avoid finger/mouth contact.

                                                                1. Sure. If you graze fast enough you can get seconds without ever sitting down.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                                    Reminds me of Belushi in Animal House.

                                                                    1. So I think it depends on where you are - at an Indian wedding buffet this is totally acceptable, as are at most hotel buffets I've been to. It really depends on two things, to my mind:
                                                                      1. Whether cutlery is picked up along with the plate: In some situations you pick up a fork along with the plate, and then you can prod at your own food with your own fork, that's okay.
                                                                      2. Whether it is a gravy item or a dry thing like a chip or wedge like you said. A chip or wedge is perfectly okay in my book. If someone starts carving their slice of chicken while waiting for the potatoes that is, ugh.

                                                                      1. "Is grazing okay or should you wait until you get back to the table?"

                                                                        If the item being put in your mouth is finger food served on a toothpick, fine, otherwise wait till you are at your table and have utensils.

                                                                        Buffets are bad enough in terms of cleanliness that no one needs you to handle food with your fingers and then pick up the community utensil to serve yourself the next item. Then the person next in line picks up a utensil with your food residue, etc. Disgusting.

                                                                        Yesterday at lunch time I took a neighbor's kids to a buffet for a treat. I had a cold salad and a drink, the 9 and 10 year old were interested in all the variety. The boy wanted to eat something as he went through the line telling me he was starving. I told him that he could eat the bacon wrapped scallop as it was on a toothpick, but everything else had to wait until he was seated and had fork, knife and spoon available.

                                                                        In your case, you talk about taking a greasy/oily fried potato wedge in your fingers inserting in your mouth while in line. So where do you wipe your hands before handling anything else?

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                          "So where do you wipe your hands before handling anything else?"

                                                                          Hopefully the OP picked up a napkin with his/her food.

                                                                          1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                            In our area most buffet serving establishments don't have napkins and utensils where a customer gets a plate. Napkin and utensils are preset on the table or put down by the hostess when one is seated.

                                                                            I have seen the Hometown Buffet system (when selling them equipment, never eaten there) where there are napkins and utensils by the plates, but this is not common here.

                                                                          1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                            For all the reasons stated above and one or two more reasons, ie 'personal hygiene habits' I never eat buffet style under any circumstance ever.
                                                                            I'd have a better chance not getting some stranger's body fluids on me eating in a public bathroom in Mumbai.

                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                              Whenever the question is one of whether one should degrade a Standard, the answer is "No."

                                                                              I'm sure you meant "Bombay." I have no truck with such nonsense. And it's "Burma," even if no one else cares.

                                                                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                "Istanbul was Constantinople
                                                                                Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople
                                                                                Been a long time gone, Constantinople
                                                                                Now it's Turkish delight on a moonlit night

                                                                                Every gal in Constantinople
                                                                                Lives in Istanbul, not Constantinople
                                                                                So if you've a date in Constantinople
                                                                                She'll be waiting in Istanbul

                                                                                Even old New York was once New Amsterdam
                                                                                Why they changed it I can't say
                                                                                People just liked it better that way

                                                                                So take me back to Constantinople
                                                                                No, you can't go back to Constantinople
                                                                                Been a long time gone, Constantinople
                                                                                Why did Constantinople get the works?
                                                                                That's nobody's business but the Turks"

                                                                                1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                  But it is still "Constantinople." I don't care what "they" think and they don't care what I think. And it's" Christiana" too.

                                                                                  I won "St Petersburg."

                                                                                  Somewhere in my decaying collection I have a 78 RMP 1928 version of "Istantbul." Lots of fun.

                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                    and I'll not be ordering Beijing Duck or Lobster Guanzho instead of Peking Duck and Lobster Cantonese

                                                                                    and I'll have a cup of Ceylon tea with it

                                                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                      I'm delighted to hear this. Solidarity forever!

                                                                                      The recent cricket match was reported to me as Ceylon v. England. :lamentable result but. at the least. we held the point/

                                                                                  2. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                    I'll bet you refer to Putin as Tsar of All the Russia's.

                                                                                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                      I don't think he has been coronated and I am not at all certain that he carries the blood of the Caesars which is a requirement to lord over the Third Rome. Otherwise, you're on the right track.

                                                                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                        An intimate friend of the Czar was I
                                                                                        An intimate friend of the great Nickolai
                                                                                        We practically slept in the same double bed
                                                                                        With me at the foot and he at the head

                                                                                        Now all that seems distance and all that seems far
                                                                                        From those wonderful nights at the palace of the Czar
                                                                                        When we went shooting with Rasputin
                                                                                        Ate farina with Czarina
                                                                                        Blintzes with the princess and the Czar, hey, hey, hey
                                                                                        We were sharing tea and herring
                                                                                        Dipped banana in smetana
                                                                                        Borscht and vorscht around the samovar, ole

                                                                                        An intimate friend of the Czar all my life
                                                                                        More intimate still with his pretty young wife
                                                                                        We practically slept in the same double bed
                                                                                        Till the Czar kicked me out and he slept there instead

                                                                                        Then one bloody day revolution broke out
                                                                                        I went to see what all the fuss was about
                                                                                        Now here is the story, as it seemed to be
                                                                                        It was clearly a case of Lenin --- or me.

                                                                                        Allowable because of the food references...............

                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                          The odious, despicable, horrible and just-not nice Vladimir Lenin not withstanding, that is a fun piece. thanks.

                                                                                          1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                            in the final verse, the singer(lamenter) is looking forward to getting his just dessert:

                                                                                            Yes the Bolsheviks came, kicked me out in the cold
                                                                                            And all I had left were some diamonds and gold.
                                                                                            But I'll get my revenge here, and I'll have no pity
                                                                                            By giving my testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee...

                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                              reminds me of the great Stan Freberg "History of the United States" when Jefferson is trying to pressure Franklin into signing the Declaration. Ben thinks it is a radical document but, says Tom, "all the guys" have signed it..."Oh, the Lunatic Fringe, eh?"
                                                                                              (In song)
                                                                                              TJ: You're so skittish, who possibly could care if you do?
                                                                                              BF; The Un-British Activities Committee, that's who!

                                                                                  3. re: Puffin3

                                                                                    so if a friend or relative invites you to a wedding/christening/bar mitzvah/whatevs, where the meal will be buffet-style, you go the entire event without eating a morsel? or you routinely decline these invitations?

                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                      your question leads to variables such as the scale of the affair.

                                                                                      I was in the kosher catering business years ago, and still attend many affairs catered by that firm. The buffet is manned by catering staff, Guests do not handle the utensils and serve themselves. The guest moves thru the line and the staff offers the items in the chafing dishes or platters and if the guest wants some, the staff dishes it onto the plate.

                                                                                      This is quite different from self catered VFW hall buffets served in disposable aluminum sheet pans with sterno underneath (questionable temperature for food safety).

                                                                                  4. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                    What differentiates us from most other species is that we generally do eat with utensils. In a buffet line, with a utensil ok, fingers no, but really can't we wait just a minute or so....I guess it is that instant gratification thing!
                                                                                    And if I am at a sugar low, I have taken one item , back to my seat, eat it, and then start my graze. (After all it is an all you can eat buffet!)

                                                                                  5. The purpose of etiquette is to keep one's behavior from being offensive. Are others in line likely to find this offensive? I'd say so.

                                                                                    It's like the debate as to whether a woman can apply lipstick at the table in a restaurant. Some say they can on the basis that they personally don't see anything wrong with it. But the fact that others do mandates that it shouldn't be done.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: ebchower

                                                                                      A classic version of your point is the ancient question: "Can a lady(not female..a Lady) scrub her front steps and still be a lady? The answer is, of course, "yes." A lady is always a lady ("in spite of hell"). However, she would likely do the scrubbing at 3:00 AM so as not to inconvenience her neighbors with the need to ask the question. Avoid discomfiture at all costs.

                                                                                      1. re: ebchower

                                                                                        Some people expect etiquette to be logical in a linear, syllogistic fashion. They misunderstand etiquette. It's a social convention, and conventions do shift from culture to culture. But they have the social power of a convention; one can flout the convention, but one cannot reasonably expect to be free from other people's observation and judgment for that. Social conventions can both reinforce power hierarchies AND also protect the socially vulnerable and awkward. Flouting them can be an assertion of power or ignorance.

                                                                                        All this said, human beings quite naturally imbue the communal eating of food with much social weight. In our day, when so many people eat so many meals alone, we can lose touch with the inherently social nature of homo sapiens. When they are confronted with it, they complain it's arbitrary and unfair. Well, it's arbitrary, but it's not unfair. It just is.

                                                                                      2. I was in the grocery store this evening and someone who was wending their way through the aisles at the same time as I was was having dinner out of their cart. Some sort of take-out rice salad with a fork in it perched in the baby seat. They'd eat as they pushed then chew with their mouth open (really open) while leaning across the produce grabbing apples or hefting and inspecting packages of meat. Really grossed me out so I went to the far end of the store and worked my way back.

                                                                                        36 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: hal2010

                                                                                          I was going to say its the same as people who eat in grocery stores.They always find a way to justify it but I honestly find even eating a bit of your baguette frankly disgusting while you shop.

                                                                                            1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                              So why does the deli offer you a slice, why do vendors set up tasting tables, cheese counters offer plates of samples etc if one is not supposed to eat in the grocery store?

                                                                                              When my son was young enough to ride in the cart the gal at the deli would always offer him a thick slice of cheese which he would happily munch as I we shopped. Disgusting?

                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                I think there is a difference between samples and opening the food you are shopping for and munching on it. Cant wait till you get back to your table at the buffet is similar to cant wait till you checkout at the grocery store. By far the worst things I have seen in buffets are people picking up food with their hands like crabs and then putting them back and the people who practically stick their nose in soup trying to smell it.

                                                                                                1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                  Why is it different? Eating is eating, right? Why is eating a slice of cheese from the deli or eating a sample OK but opening a package of, say, animal crackers or chips and nibbling those "disgusting"? Can you explain?

                                                                                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                    I agree- people are busy and maybe they're shopping while hungry, or maybe it just makes the shopping more pleasant.
                                                                                                    What newer stored don't have a Starbucks in them?
                                                                                                    Everyone's walking a round sipping coffee, so what's eating a little, too?

                                                                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                      The one thing that's true is that "eating" is not "eating." It's subject to social conventions.

                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                        Are you saying that eating a slice of cheeses handed to you by the deli guy as you walk around the store is more socially acceptable than eating a cracker from the box? If so, why?

                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                          Samples are intended to be eaten in store

                                                                                                          1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                            Most samples I've seen are on toothpicks. There's no hand to mouth contact that might irk some.

                                                                                                            1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                              Yes but how is eating a sample any different then eating a cracker from the box? What makes eating a sample OK but the cracker "disgusting"? Nobody else (except maybe the customers family) is going to eat from said box of crackers.

                                                                                                              Also how would you know it was a sample? For all anyone knows that slice of cheese from the deli counter wasn't given to the person by the deli guy but actually came from the package one ordered?

                                                                                                              I am still waiting for someone to explain what makes one food "ok" and the other "disgusting".

                                                                                                            2. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                              Because, that's why.

                                                                                                              Because people who open a container of food they haven't paid (unlike a sample) for are viewed as more likely than others to not pay for it, and discouraging potential theft through social oppobrium is not *entirely* irrational. Social conventions are arbitrary, but not unfair. Just because one *can* open a container of food before paying for it doesn't mean one is entitled to have other people not notice.

                                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                "Just because one *can* open a container of food before paying for it doesn't mean one is entitled to have other people not notice."

                                                                                                                As is that really matters.

                                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                  What's worse than someone eating their Oreos in the store as they shop?
                                                                                                                  The neb who's staring at them with the big stink eye.

                                                                                                                  myob and go away.

                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                      This is a new one to me- very funny.

                                                                                                                2. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                  Wow. Totally convincing ex cathedra statements.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                    Your argument has nothing to do with why eating a non-sample is "disgusting" and eating samples are ok. You have thrown in another reason by stating that people eating food from a package/carton correlates to increased theft/shrink.

                                                                                                                    The original statement was:
                                                                                                                    <<I was going to say its the same as people who eat in grocery stores.They always find a way to justify it but I honestly find even eating a bit of your baguette frankly disgusting while you shop.>>

                                                                                                                    I still don't understand that way of thinking.

                                                                                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                      samples are generally handled by people wearing gloves, and served on toothpicks. i don't eat them anyway, nor do i eat slices from the deli guy. why? because grocery carts are filthy. first thing i do when i return home from shopping is wash my hands.

                                                                                                                      watching people munch on chips or cookies while they shop grosses me out too-- because hygiene. hand-to-mouth-to-cart handle-to mouth. grossssss.


                                                                                                                      "Researchers say they actually found more fecal bacteria on grocery cart handles than you would typically find in a bathroom, mainly because bathrooms are disinfected more often than shopping carts."

                                                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                        Wegmans provides hand sanitizer. Pretty sure I've seen it elsewhere too.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                          yes, as does my store, however, the dispenser is by the exit, NOT near the grocery carts. i also have never seen anybody use it.

                                                                                                                          i keep wipes in my car and do use them frequently throughout the day, however, i am not of a mind to wipe down my grocery cart. nor would it occur to me to be eating while i shop.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                            At Publix markets, the wipe dispenser is at the entrances right by the carts. Most folks just clean the handle; they don't wipe down the whole cart.

                                                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                              Me, too. I wipe off the handles more to remove the unidentified spooge than for any paranoia about infectious diseases, though.

                                                                                                                              I'm really just don't have the room in my life or in my head to obsess about every possible surface in my world.

                                                                                                                              I was given an immune system for just that reason, and the science is pointing to the fact that antibacterial everything is actually not good for us at all.

                                                                                                                            2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                              Here the dispenser with the Purell wipes is by the shopping cart corrals as one enters the store. Shop-Rite has the best system: a sani-tape dispenser by the carts. You pull off a length and cover the cart handle before touching.

                                                                                                                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                            My gosh, why not look the other way? I don't want to infer that you're looking to gross yourself out, but...

                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                              sometimes you're just minding your own biz, coming 'round the corner and DOH! there is somebody doin' something you'd rather not have seen, but it's too late. :( cannot be unseen. gobsmacked.

                                                                                                            3. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                              I think of people like you whenever I drink an iced tea while I grocery shop, as I did today. I paid for it before I started shopping, but someone like you would probably stand in judgment of me, were you to see me drinking my tea.

                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                Heck no, not me!
                                                                                                                Grocery carts come with a cup holder these days. It's smart because I'm enjoying a coffee, or my water, and don't feel to need to leave due to my needs.

                                                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                  Oh, I wasn't addressing you, Mona. But I promise I will think of you next time I place my drink in the cup holder. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                    I know, I just had to put my $.02 in there!

                                                                                                                    I just think that if you can manage to eat or drink discretely, and you pay for it, then who cares?

                                                                                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                  You should have lived in New Orleans in the Glory Days of Schweggman's Super Market. Some of them had Shoppers' Bars. You could buy a gin and tonic and "make your groceries." It was highly civilized.

                                                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                    Oh goodness, that's dangerous!
                                                                                                                    DH laughs at me when I shop while hungry- I can't imagine the damage I'd do if I was tipsy.
                                                                                                                    We're getting a Weggies next year, and I'm sure DH and I will at and shop.
                                                                                                                    Looking forward to it.

                                                                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                      hazel - that spirit (those spirits?) still exists, just upstream in STL at the Soulard Market where there are more than a few stands who sell beer and cocktails to enjoy while browsing.

                                                                                                                  2. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                    If I decide to drink something in my cart, I make sure it can be scanned and recorded. Same thing when my son was a little shaver, I'd pick him up from day care and sometimes go to the Safeway next door, get some string cheese or something for him to eat, and give him some. I always claimed the food and, it would be unethical and wrong to feed him a snack and not give the cashier a bar code to scan for the checkout.

                                                                                                                    Why the hell does anybody care what i eat or drink at the grocery as long as I claim it at checkout?

                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                      I remember quite a few nights when I did the same..I'd have the cashier weigh my keys along with the rest of the grapes or bananas that had been consumed -- I figure I probably ended up overpaying, and that's okay.

                                                                                                                  3. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                    I'm ok with people eating food while shopping. Wouldn't be fazed, at all, if it's the "hand food" sort of thing... granola bar, hand pie, cookie, etc. Salad out of a box... is a bit more involved.
                                                                                                                    Open-mouth chewing? yuck.
                                                                                                                    But overall, would you rather encounter someone who is Hangry, or someone who is eating? My vote is for eating.

                                                                                                                  4. It's kind of funny, someone not being able to wait to get back to a table to start eating when plenty of people who visit Chicago are quite eager to wait in a line for over an hour to eat at Purple Pig, Big Star, Frontera, Girl and the Goat,etc. :-)

                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: delk

                                                                                                                      When I worked at McDonalds, I learned never to put a customer's fries on their tray before everything else was ready.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                        Egad! Don't tell me they might actually take one and eat it. Right there at the register?

                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                          It's just not possible to not pick up a hot fry.

                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                            They didn't just take one, they'd eat more than half of them and you would have to give them a refill as a courtesy.

                                                                                                                            1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                              Oh, I didn't realize you had to refill.
                                                                                                                              I'd never expect a refill if I started to eat them at the counter.
                                                                                                                              I'm guessing some people ate the fried knowing this.

                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                Basically, if they put the fries in your tray and there's a long delay before the rest of your order comes out, you'll get your fries refilled.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                                    I worked at McDonald's. We were told to put the fries on the tray last because they would cool down the quickest and would end up being cold by the time you finished placing the rest of the order on the tray.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                                                    ooh! I didn't know about the refill policy. Maybe up to individual stores? It's hard to resist hot fries... I've eaten a few...

                                                                                                                              2. Actually, why not just bend over the food line and scoop out of the hotel pans with your hands and stuff it in your mouth, a hearty sneeze, for good measure is appropriate too.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                  Who hasn't?
                                                                                                                                  I've done that WHILE letting a huge fart rip.

                                                                                                                                  I don't think anyone noticed.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                    I noticed, and I hate you for it.

                                                                                                                                2. back in the day, the lunch lady would break your knuckles with her spatula if she caught you doing that. things have changed raoul.

                                                                                                                                  1. Wait until you get to the table,grazing is for cows.You couldn't be that hungry you can't wait all of 10 minutes to sit down and eat at the table like a civilized human.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                        At COSTCO one's life is at risk, when the retired crowd descends on the sample ladies, I think I have a bruised rib from some old lady elbowing her way through the cluster of folks waiting for a greasy piece of unidentifiable protein.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                          Give them a cart and they're deadly!

                                                                                                                                    1. I try and be polite and use the manners taught to me when in a buffet line but things can go south sometimes.
                                                                                                                                      First you have the gazers, who have never seen so much food in their life, at one time. Stop and just look for as ever long it takes for their brain to engage again.
                                                                                                                                      then you have the types who will hold up the line while trying to dig every piece of shrimp out of a rice and shrimp offering. God forbid they take any rice!
                                                                                                                                      Then you have the guy cutting the prime rib, First the person needs to ask for a slice, then they need to explain how they want the slice and only then will the guy start carving. "will this be OK?" more? Geeze, its a buffet, come back if you feel the need...others have been waiting 10 minutes for you to get a slice of bad prime rib.
                                                                                                                                      I wasn't even hungry when I got in line, now I am starving.

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: genoO

                                                                                                                                        Shrimp. What is it with shrimp?
                                                                                                                                        It causes people to lose their ever-loving minds.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                          Yup, I know some people who sell their Granny for a pile of nice Chinese farmed, human sewage raised cockroaches of the sea!! YUM. Give me a nice plate of "Trippa alla Romana" anyday and see if the cat will even touch the Asian imported shrimp!!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                            I think you got a little off track. I was talking about shrimp, you are talking....well I really don't know but it seems like a personal problem.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                            Ha! You're so right, even if it's waterlogged tasteless overcooked farmed freshwater shrimp, people will fight over it

                                                                                                                                        2. A donkey, a cow and a horse line up at the trough. . .

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                                                                                            And the cow says to the horse, "why the long face?"
                                                                                                                                            "At least I'm not an ass", responds the horse.
                                                                                                                                            "Really?" said the cow.
                                                                                                                                            "That's udderly ridiculous"

                                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano


                                                                                                                                              Please remember your waitresses this evening, Mona will be here all week.


                                                                                                                                          2. All you can eat for one price - I'm ok with it.
                                                                                                                                            Pay by weight at the end of the buffet line - Not so much.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                                                              juju - for me (and I know I'm not alone) I don't snarf down much in one sitting, I like leftovers, so 'by weight' is far more in my favor than AYCE flat rate with no take-aways

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                by weight with leftovers would be a better deal for me as well. I can't remember the last time, however, that I actually went to a buffet. :)

                                                                                                                                                I take that back - sometimes when I visit my family in Binghamton NY we visit an AYCE Chinese buffet. I make one trip for little tastes, then go back for anything I want more of.

                                                                                                                                            2. yes grazing is ok. but with certain caveats.

                                                                                                                                              we were in Honoloulu @ Dukes wanting to enjoy (again) the breakfast buffet. been there more than a dozen times.
                                                                                                                                              it had another hour and a half to go, in other words we weren't there last minute hoping for all familiar details.
                                                                                                                                              so much was missing it was laughable. as many of us stood there looking around in wonderment with disbelief as to where staff was to answer questions and where food was, I looked until I found someone to talk to who said "it's on it's way." we all stood there waiting it/they (food items) never did come. the omelet bar/waffle bar was way backed up, so did I munch on coins of Portuguese sausage, oh yah.

                                                                                                                                              in Golden Corral as the person is going in the back to get more cotton candy baubles as I'm there waiting for a couple am I supposed to ignore the newly chocolate dipped items on my plate? who's around, who's even viewing me?

                                                                                                                                              yes it's ok to graze.

                                                                                                                                              1. If it's a finger food item, go for it. I do, no reason you shouldn't. If it's fork or spoon food, wait until you sit down.

                                                                                                                                                1. technically not terribly wrong (assuming matters of social hygiene have been observed), just extremely bad form. like getting back in line for seconds at the wedding reception before the last few tables have been called for their first servings even if there is more than enough.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                    If it is a wedding with a buffet only, I usually just send a nice gift and eat at another establishment that day after the ceremony...the key is to send the gift a week or so before the wedding!
                                                                                                                                                    It once happened where they ran out of food at a buffet at a wedding; we were hungry. We told the hosts the food was great!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                      yeah I kinda do that too, the food s generally forgettable at best.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                        On a side note there is a local (cheap) catering place that our school system uses for "events". The reviews of the place range from "absolutely terrible" (from people who were guests at weddings) to "this place is the best" (invariably from brides)!

                                                                                                                                                    2. That seems awfully boorish to me. You really can't wait until you're at the table?

                                                                                                                                                      1. I was at Golden Corral a few weeks ago; my fiancé & I were seated somewhat near one side of the buffet set up. As we were starting eating, I was browsing the people from where I sat. I glanced over at that side of the buffet within our view to see a grown woman with a piled up plate in one hand and a fried chicken wing hanging out of her mouth as she walked away from the buffet.

                                                                                                                                                        Now, in my view, fried chicken wings are finger food BUT a whole wing requires two hands IMO and that sight was uncouth. I think that there is nothing wrong with tasting a grape, a cracker or a piece of cheese or even a tiny piece of meat, for example, to determine if you like it and to prevent from putting something you don't like on your plate (and taking up valuable space) but standing there eating more than a bite of something just looks like you have no self control.

                                                                                                                                                        Now, eating samples are a whole different thing in my eyes; I've been known to make lunch out of samples at a farmer's market in Atlanta...and before anyone criticizes, the farmer's market is similar to a grocery store, there are no tables or silverware. A buffet has these things. Sit at a table and eat.

                                                                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                          Now, in my view, fried chicken wings are finger food BUT a whole wing requires two hands IMO and that sight was uncouth

                                                                                                                                                          The only thing worse is watching people eat those Flintstonian turkey lets at Disney World.
                                                                                                                                                          And yes, grazing the samples at the farmers market is totally cool.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                            Grazing samples is one thing. Making a meal out of them is boorish.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                              Being a greedy pig in any setting is boorish.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                Lunchtime samples at Costco and Sam's? Senior buffet. We partake frequently.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                  Do you ever take more than one sample of any single product?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                    If it's really yummy, yes I do. That is infrequent, and if it's that good, I'm likely to buy some. Most of the stuff is just ok.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                      I've had a couple of things that looked great and smelled awesome, but at first bite was "wow, I sure don't need 5 pounds of that hanging out in my freezer!"

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                        Going back for seconds on samples just seems a bit heavy handed to me.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                          Well, if it matters, although I suppose it might not, I do make a point to always ask politely if I may have another, and would never take seconds when there's a line or a wait for them.

                                                                                                                                                                          "Senior Buffet" is just a joke, yeah? It's not my lunch.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                            If taking a second Dixie cup half full of trail mix from the sample table at Costco is the worst thing you ever do...I think you will be just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                              "forgive me Father, for I have double sampled"

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                I wish that were the worst thing I've ever done. Or ever will do.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                  "I was at Golden Corral "

                                                                                                                                                                  Well.Yes. Ahem.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                    Golden Corral- the anthropological 8th wonder of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                                                                                                    The "piled up plate" explains all. She had nowhere else to put the chicken wing. Ergo, mouth. See, this is where new world monkeys have it all over us. Prehensile tails double as chicken wing holders.