Wasteful Society

This morning besides road rage guy being behind me again, in a brand new Monte Carlo none-the-less, I was amazed by a story on the news. A family was kicked out of an all you can eat restaurant in Iowa.

Now, the first thought that came to mind is that the family, like some others I have heard about, spent 2 or 3 hours there eating more than their share. Nothing wrong with that, its an all you can eat place and well if you pay, why not. To my surprise, as the story was being told, they were actually kicked out for taking food, then a little bite and throwing the whole plate away.

What amazed me was not that this happens, but that the DJs on the radio were actually defending the family behavior. Their position was that they paid for the all you can eat buffet, so they should be able to get as much food and do with it as they pleased. What was even more amazing to me was the wacky DJs then switched to having people call in with stories of stealing food from an all you can eat buffet.

I am not sure if anyone of you has ever done this, I honestly cannot remember ever stuffing my pockets with egg rolls. I do however respect someone that does that a little more than someone that throws food away.

The family’s defense was the following…

”They told us we are not welcome there anymore,” said Dershem, a repeat customer at the Dragon House buffet. ”We waste too much food. But the buffet is all you can eat. And you know kids. They won’t always eat everything, and they want something else.”

The all you can eat restaurant replied with this…

“Shes done that too many times,” Cao said. “We would welcome her back if she has respect and knows what she wants.”

The people from the restaurant had observed the family on previous trips and this seemed to be a common occurrence. I do know kids, and yes they can be very wasteful in an all you can eat buffet, but after the first time in a new place I believe they know what they like and don’t. It is also the parent’s responsibility to either limit the kids on what they take or actually go serve their kids plate. I don’t agree with the free for all kids are kids, lets take four egg rolls eat half of one and waste the rest.

I worked at the fast food restaurant with the golden arches for a number of years. It was when I first moved to the US and was still learning the culture here. It was hearth breaking to me to see how much food was being wasted there every day when I came from a place where food was only thrown away if it was spoiled. There was always a neighbor or a less fortunate person that would get the food if my family could not eat it. One of my managers told me once to not make such a big deal, was I going to take the food to the starving kids in Africa?

Wasting food has always been something that bothers me. As I moved up at the restaurant I made sure that towards the end of the night or a food change, less and less food was prepared so the food wasting was kept to a minimum. It was good for profits and the owners liked it. Actually the restaurant is set up to do that very efficiently, but lazy people would prepare extra food so if we had a rush there would always be enough. I obviously don’t work there anymore, but I am still very mindful of food wasting.

One of the things that I always heard my family said when they came back to Colombia to visit and I was still living there was that the US was a disposable society. Everything was to be used and disposed of. I did not fully understand their statement until I moved here. We compromise so many things for the sake of convenience. I am not implying that the restaurant owner here was doing it because he does not believe in wasting food or is an advocate for ending world hunger. For all I know his main concern is the bottom line. The statement that makes me almost believe other wise is the one that has the word respect. I just wish that as a society it would not be ok to take a full plate of food and waste it.

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12 comments on “Wasteful Society

  1. Agreed…we are a wasteful society. As for the buffet incident…I’ve been in a few where they had signs posted that if you waste food and leave an almost full plate they will charge you extra for it. I can’t blame them. After all it’s a waste of good food and that means they have to make more and in turn spend more money. As for the kids…yep, the parents should’ve been fixing their plates. If they come across something new they want to try them get them one piece of it…not a whole serving. I swear, people just don’t think.

  2. I heard this story and was disguisted by the waste. As you say, you can’t send the food to people in Africa, but there are groups that collect the leftover food from restaurants each day to feed those less fortuante in that area. And this waste of food means those people might not get a chance to be fed…and that’s a shame.

  3. Of course, there is a lot of food waste simply by design. Look at McDonalds. If they make a burger during rush times and it stays in the slot for more than a specific amount of time, it gets tossed. Our necessity for freshness outweighs the need for conservation. Of course, all of the waste is figured into the cost as well, so techically it doesn’t affect any bottom line. I have seen homeless people going thru the dumpsters behind McDonalds. Kind of sad, but hell… if I could get a perfectly fine Big Mac that might only be an hour old, so be it.

    But you are right. I have kids and I know how they eat. Or rather, the lack thereof. When I go to a buffet, I’m actually losing money I think. I don’t grab a bunch of food and force my kids to eat it. For the most part they get a salad, some Jell-o, and maybe some fruit and pudding. I don’t know how they survive. I guess I was the same way as a kid. But now I swear I can eat my own weight in food sometimes. You know that… I think Jamie and myself finished off one whole tray of mashed potatoes by ourselves. And the time I ate two dinners at Denny’s after not eating for a few days. My bad.

    I try to give my children small portions that I know they will eat. Wasting food may not affect McDonalds, but it really kicks my but at the grocery store.

  4. My uncle has been kicked out an all you can eat restaurant for eating too much. He’s a little overweight, but by no means obese. He’s just a big guy with a huge appetite. He wasn’t in the place for hours or anything, they were just amazed (and irritated I guess) at how he could pack it away. He was furious because he wasn’t wasting. Their response was “Well, we know it says ‘all you can eat’ but that has a limit.'”


  5. What can I say? Our country exports more food than any other country, and yet, we can’t even manage to feed the poor effectively. As far as the particular incident, yeah, I don’t like it when people waste food. More importantly though, it’s sad that in our country, when we do have the attitude of not wasting food, we end up cleaning the plate “so to say”, and end up obese instead of holding back on what we eat.

  6. I have to lean to agreeing with the business on this one as well. The parents should be wise enough to understand their children’s eating habits and only get one or so of a given item and then just make several trips for their children… more work for the parents but no one said parenting is easy. Also there is something to be said for teaching your children to eat what is placed before them.


  7. wasting food is reprehensible. so much starvation in the world. karma will bite them in good time.

  8. Starvation is not based on the lack of food, it is based on the lack of money. We have enough food right now to feed the entire world for 30 years. 3rd world countries starve because of their own greedy governments and lack the ability to care for themselves. I feel no sorrow for them. Stop breeding and expecting me to send my 32 cents a day.

  9. I agree with you on this. I like to try various things at a buffet restaurant, so I only take one of everything, instead of five and throwing away four.

  10. Interesting post. I tend to agree the restaurant was right…it’s all you can eat but as little should be wasted as possible. If you aren’t sure you’ll like it, take a little bit. Believe it or not, here in Utah a couple was recently kicked out of an all you can eat buffet for eating too much!

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