In Daniel's family, we have started going out to dinner to celebrate the happy event of a birthday. Sometimes the birthday boy or girl gets to choose where we go with all the aunts, uncles, and cousins that can make it. More often than not, we end up at Golden Corral. Last night we celebrated Nigel's birthday along with Dan's sister Sonja's. It wasn't a happy experience.
First, we were supposed to have a room booked because there were 15 of us attending dinner. When we got there, they tried to put us in with someone else's family, and looked at us like we had grown two heads when we tried to explain that we were the first to arrive and the group in the banquet room was NOT our family. Luckily they had a couple of free tables in a corner, so after pushing tables together and jumbling seats around, we had seating for all 15 of us.
Now for some observations. In the past, I've determined that there is a certain, personality, shall I say, that patronized the GC. Let's start with some of those I caught a glimpse of last night.
What comes to mind when a women, somewhere is her mid to late 40's walks in with her family, dressed in a black lace, long sleeved undershirt, over the top of a teal blue, sequined encrusted top, over very faded and ripped denim capri pants. If it is anything like what came to my mind, I'm sure you were looking up the phone number for "What Not to Wear" and wanted to whip out your video camera for some secret footage. To top off this elegant ensemble, she was sporting some pretty sweet 80's hair, complete with the skunk motif of black roots and bleach blonde ends. The sad thing here is that I'm not exaggerating how ridiculous she looked. I'm sure she was thinking when she left her house that she was 'all that and a bag of chips', but sadly to say, she was a few chips shy of all that, let alone the bag.
Another table proved valuable, if somewhat disturbing entertainment. A small group of what I can only assume were drunk individuals, whooped and hollered along with the waiters and waitresses while they sang Happy Birthday to some poor unsuspecting sop a few table over. (Dan and I have a rule---No singing at dinner. This does not happen when were are out.) To make matters worse, they then proceeded to smear whipped cream over each other and drop food into each other's half filled cups of soda. You would think it ended there, but it didn't. Camera flashes went off every 30 seconds as they had to provide proof of their inane activities for posterity.
The children at the table behind us were even more boisterous than the ones we brought. At least our children at without screaming and throwing food at one another. The restaraunt became so busy and loud, not to mention filthy, I couldn't handle it any longer. It was an hour and a half of sheer torture.
Can't we just have a quiet dinner without all the chaos of an all you can eat experience? I just don't understand what it is about an all you can eat buffet that brings out all the crazies and drops peoples' IQ points by at least 100. (Yes, I know that means that someone will be in the negative, and I'm okay with that being the standard here.) Why is it okay to eat until your stomach expands until you have to undo your pants to get up? Or why do people go into this with that expectation and wear elastic waist paints to dinner in order to ease their pain?
I once saw a family there where the parents were both in electric wheelchairs because they were so big, they couldn't walk . They had a child with them that was well on her way to being just as incapacitated. I saw stacks of plates, with the remnants of dishes that had gone to digestive heaven. When I say stacks, I'm talking five or six plates each. What were they teaching this child? Am I any better at showing my children that we must have some restraint?
So, back to my title. I'm not a snob. I think that there are some fine qualities that a restaraunt like Golden Corral has. I love the rolls. Yummy. But, I also think that we as a human race have decided that one of the seven deadly sins, gluttony, isn't as sinful as the rest. We can eat all we want without anyone to stop us. The choices are wide and varied. Hey, they will even cook up a poor piece of steak to your level of doneness. Does that make it all right?
Just count me out next time we get together for a family birthday dinner. Unless we are going someplace that serves fixed portions, plenty of veggies and fresh fruit, and doesn't condone singing happy birthday in some sad sadistic way, then I may consider it.