Sunday, January 03, 2010

Recipe For Disaster

We took the kids out to the Old Country Buffet last night... because, if nothing else, our family has class.

Seriously - I'm shocked that there are not knock down drag out fights at OCB on a daily basis. The place is a festering melting pot that breeds anger, frustration, chaos, and injury. Let's examine...

Generally, the clientele at OCB is kinda trashy. I don't want to judge EVERYONE who goes to OCB as being trashy, but it's a general observation of mine. I mean - hey - I go to OCB and I don't consider myself trashy (although others may beg to differ). Further, I have several non-trashy friends who occasionally frequent the establishment. It's cheap, kids love it, and there are unlimited amounts of ice cream so I can totally see why people would take their kids there. All I'm saying is that, in general, the crowd isn't the same as you'd find at... say... Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

Okay - so you take a bunch of trashy people who are starving and you put them in a room with crazy amounts of food. Obstacle #1 is that, although there are obscene amounts of food, it always seems that the good food is empty. Everyone is perpetually waiting for the employees to refill the courses that they desire. This happens EVERY TIME we go to OCB without fail. Mac & Cheese - never there. Waldorf Salad - always full. This may have the result of, I don't know, pissing some people off...

Obstacle #2 - OCB is uber-kid friendly. Listen - that's the reason that we go to the place to begin with. The problem is that you have a bunch of hungry, trashy people with lots of food in front of them - that could disappear at any minute. Now you throw kids into the mix. People generally have little patience with their children, so imagine everybody in the restaurant stressing at the fact that they have to get the kids food (that may disappear) as well as their own food. Kids create several other issues with the potential of pissing people off, too. Like - last night there was this unattended kid who kept scooping and scooping and scooping the Mac & Cheese onto his plate. He weighed all of 40 pounds (and I could have thrown him across the buffet but that's not why I mention his weight.) It was clear that he wasn't going to eat all that he was shoveling, but he was in front of me and my 5 kids so we just had to wait. Then, of course, there isn't enough Mac & Cheese for us - so we have to wait until its refilled. A few minutes later, as I'm leading my brood back to the table with plates that are piled full of Mac & Cheese, there is a 3 year old - also unattended - who darts out from under a table next to us and almost makes me spill my meatloaf and potatoes all over the restaurant floor. Luckily I'm known for my grace and coordination so I deftly avoid his attempt at a chop block.

This brings us to obstacle #3 - Old People (look in the background of the picture above). We've successfully piled our plates full of super healthy food and the kids have sat down at the table and have started to eat. Now I have to head up to the drink station to get all of our drinks. I end up in line behind an old couple who can't figure out how to work the intricacies of the fountain soda machine.

Old Man: How do I get ice?
Old Lady: You push the button.
Old Man: Whaaa?
Old Man: Oh... ok. Here?
(slowly reaching for the ice button)
Robby: Want me to do it?
Me: Shhh.
Old Man: You can do it for me if you want.
Robby: Ok.
Me: No - that's ok, sir. We will wait. Robby go back to your seat, please.
Robby: Ok. I want all of the drinks mixed together.
Me: You'll be lucky if you get ice. Now SIT.
You'll be happy to know that we finally got our drinks and sat down to eat dinner. After dinner we ate our ice cream and left the restaurant without incident. Here is a picture of Anna eating her chocolate cake and ice cream. Mmmmm....