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Eating at a buffet

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How often do you eat in a buffet?

And when you do, how much do you put on your plate?

Are you the kind of person who wants to maximize the cost? The kind that takes everything which fancies your eyes and fills your plate until it overflows?

Are you the kind of person who thinks there’d be nothing more for later, so you get as much as you can now?

When I was a kid, I remember my grandfather telling me at the dining table to only get a small portion which I was confident of finishing. And if I want more, I can always get more after I finish the portion I took earlier.

And that’s how I learned to eat only small parts at a time, thinking I could get more later.

However, growing up, we learned that getting more is better. And we brought that habit to the dining table, even to the generous style of a buffet. And because we believe that getting more is better, we end up wasting so many resources and justify it by our willingness to pay. It’s okay to have this much waste because I paid for it anyway.

But is it the only way to consume?

I’ve been in a couple of buffets in my lifetime, and as I get older, I realize that eating in one isn’t just about the cost. But yeah. If you’re an Asian, you probably eat a lot because you paid so much you want to maximize what you’ve paid for.

It seems to me that you can categorize the people you find in a buffet into one or more of these types:

  1. Literally hungry — They eat a lot to satiate their hunger
  2. Maximizer — They eat a lot to match it with or exceed how much they paid
  3. Picky eaters — They don’t like much of what is served
  4. I can only finish this — They are simply being honest with themselves, regardless of the cost

And it seems that the fourth type takes a lot of skill (or a certain kind of social status) because it feels like going against the norm of being a maximizer in a buffet.