“We’d been sitting for perhaps three minutes when an employee walked up, saying Gunnar and I would have to leave.”

Buffet style eateries have always been one of my favorites. There’s nothing like being able to choose the foods of your choice in a cafeteria style environment. It takes me back to my school days.

At one time there was a Golden Corral buffet in Lake Havasu City. For whatever reason, it eventually closed doors after several years of operation. For seniors, that was a tragedy because they offered a great senior discount plus excellent cuisine.

We had a similar buffet in Anchorage, Alaska called Royal Fork Buffet. It was very popular and did a booming business. During the holidays, you’d best get there early, or you wouldn’t find a table, especially a larger one because they were limited.

On New Year’s, we decided to go as a family. There’d be a total of eight of us. We waited outside in the cold for almost an hour before the place even opened. Finally getting through unlocked doors, my mother elected to safeguard a corner table until everyone got through the line. I nullified that decision saying I’d do the task. My son Gunnar joined me. Him and I grabbed the women’s cumbersome coats and purses beforehand.

We’d been sitting for perhaps three minutes when an employee walked up, asking Gunnar and I to leave. He said it was company policy that you had to have a tray of food before being seated. When I explained that our elderly parents were in line, and wouldn’t be able to stand with a tray in hand while seeking a place to sit, he insisted that we still needed to vacate.

“If everyone did as you two no one will be able to eat!”

There were still smaller empty tables all around us, so his explanation was lame. Gunnar stood up to follow the guy’s instructions, but I wasn’t ready to toss in the towel.

“So where are the signs mentioning this policy?”

There were other signs on the wall saying that no food was to be taken from the restaurant. The guy replied that it was unspoken policy. I told him that I couldn’t read minds, and that they should consider posting signs regarding that rule. He left without saying another word.

By now, a family sitting behind me had taken notice of the situation. They were evidently all ears. I glanced towards the serving area hoping that the others were coming. My mom and Joleen’s mother were slowly walking our direction. All was good I assumed, until I heard this fellow tell his wife and kids.

“What a fine example that father’s setting for his son.”

For a split second, I decided that I didn’t hear this crass remark, but then elected to give the fellow some unwanted advice of my own. Turning around to face them, I whispered loud enough for all to hear,

“Early bird gets the worm!”

My parents had taught me that, along with, if you snooze you lose. I’d passed along both proverbial sayings to my children.

Two weeks later, we went back to Royal Fork, and they had new signs on the wall, advising diners to go through the buffet line first before being seated.

Gunnar chuckled, mentioning to his mother, that I was responsible for such. It was all for naught, because less than a year later, Royal Fork Buffet closed for good. Perhaps this new declared rule had something to do with it. I’ll never know for sure.

There’s a lesson I learned from buffet dining that I religiously follow to this day:

Don’t stuff yourself first with those yummy, honey butter rolls, because there won’t be enough room left for all the good stuff, especially dessert!

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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