Confessions of a Germaphobe: Ten Things I Like Least About All-You-Can-Eat Buffets and Salad Bars!

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE all-you-eat places! I'm a big fan of Souplantation and visit the Camarillo location at least 5 times a month (also in  in Simi Valley).  They have a huge salad bar, a wide variety of soups, breads and pastas and a dessert selection that includes frozen yogurt machine (mmmm!).

Recently Souplantation introduced an automated hand sanitizer at the salad bar line.  I applaud them for that. Most people don't seem to use it (I did and it squirted so much foam into my hand that I had to wipe the excess off on my pants), but is a nice gesture for those concerned with the spread of germs. 

I'm a bit on the germaphobic side myself and the sanitizer brought to mind...Ten Things I Like Least About All-You-Can-Eat Buffets and Salad Bars...based on my wealth of observations and experience at the local Souplantation.

  1. Tong Tosser:  The servers all wear gloves yet the 974 people visiting the salad bar all handle the tongs with their bare hands. So when pimply Joe Teenager flings the tongs completely into the rice pilaf, I generally move on to the next item.
  2. The Snacker: The snacker can't wait to eat. He's tossing olives, sprouts and garbanzo beans into his mouth, crunching, smacking his lips, talking and spewing little bits of food as your appetite shrivels. There goes my appetite.
  3. Kiddy Loiter: It's great bringing kids to the salad bar!  But yechh, please keep their icky (and I say that lovingly...I've got kids myself) hands outta the croutons!
  4. Boogie Man: Picking your news is OFF LIMITS at the salad bar. Yeah right, that was more than a scratch!
  5. Sneeze, Wipe and Blow:  This is not Urgent Care! OK, you have to eat, but if you're sick, there's really no excuse infecting the rest of us. Hungry? Try a drive-through!
  6. The Double Dipper: It took months for me to get over this elderly woman eating out of her soup bowl while in line, than re-using the bowl.  Tacky, yucky.
  7. Finger Licking Good: There is no need to stick your fingers in your mouth or any other bodily crevices at the salad bar.  That's why God created napkins, right?
  8. Touchy Feely: The Golden Buffet Rule: You Touchy, You Takey!  I've experienced the displeasure of watching some souls break this rule...which is why I only take the bread in the back of the stack!
  9. Salad Drenching: Salad dressings are two deep at the bar. I, the anal retentive type, make sure the ladle is not dripping when I bring it to my plate.  I've seen less careful types allow the dressing to drip into the dressing in front. Not good.
  10. Bathroom Bravado: Men wash 66% of the time after using public restrooms. While at Denny's that may not bother me so much. But when I see that dude scooping tapioca and jello cubes onto his plate at the salad bar, my appetite goes buh bye.

Whew, I worked up an appetite writing this! Time for a frozen burrito.