Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Strong Gentleness III

Manners Matter on the Buffet Line
Today we continue with our series on courtesy and etiquette. All You Can Eat buffet restaurants have set up opportunities for some people to "pig out". Actually a few diners have been removed from some restaurants and the courts have ended up settling the disputes. Buffet line protocol will be covered in the next few days.

During her college years our daughter worked in a buffet style restaurant. Her war stories of Sunday dinners and Wednesday night suppers with the church crowds saddened me. Seems these large groups generally had these characteristics:
  • Demanded much from the wait staff with need for tables to be joined together to accommodate their large groups
  • Usually their conversations were filled with gossip and criticism of church members not present. In fact, the conversations would become so intense that their young children were usually running about unattended.
  • These groups would get so loud that nearby diners were disturbed.
  • Rarely did they leave tips that would cover the time and work their tables demanded.
  • Insult to injury, would be the groups that would leave a salvation pamphlet.

Our daughter was questioning her spiritual values during her college years. The "witness" of the church bunch at the buffet restaurant didn't offer her genuine hope in Christ. The occassional Christian diners who were compassionate and generous kept her faith alive.

I can imagine this is truly lighting up your world and you're so delighted you surfed over here to Thrive Christians blog! Sorry folks, I've been holding this for years. Fellow Christians will lament to me that they want a minstry to witness the goodness of God. Oh, we're witnesses.....but the huge question is, a witness of what?

So............I've said all that to drive home the point that manners matter. As we seek to obey the commandments of God to witness Jesus Christ to all the earth, may we begin in our own little world. Why not let it begin with every eating out experience?

Seems I keep falling on Apostle Paul's writings for wisdom in etiquette as Christians. So today let us read these words in Colossians.

As God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. --Colossians 3:12

In her 1922 Etiquette, Emily Post states,

"Beneath its myriad rules, the fundamental purpose of etiquette is to make the world a pleasanter place to live in, and you a more pleasant person to live with."

May we look at buffet dining's best practices:

  1. Stand in line composed. No butting in or pushing anyone in front of you.

  2. Help Yourself: Use serving utensils provided with each food item. Do not use one utensil for several food items and never use your fingers. Place the serving utensil on the holder provided. If there is not a separate holder, put it back into the food; be sure the handle doesn’t touch the food.

  3. Patience is a Virtue: Don’t eat in the buffet line. Saliva can spray on the food and pass bacteria to others. If you are unsure about a food, take a sample on your plate to taste at your table.

  4. Don't let your eyes be bigger than your appetite: Do not heap your plate high and then you are not able to eat all of this food. You can return several times taking smaller portions.Use a clean plate for seconds (and thirds!).

  5. Buffet manners are similar to other table manners with one exception you don't have to wait for your entire table to be seated to begin eating. You will probably want some of your companions to return to your table before you begin eating.

  6. Cautions:
  • Don't touch food and replace back on the buffet.
  • Don't put your face near food to get a sniff.
  • Do not lick your fingers as you go through the line.
  • Don't fidget with your hair or clothing as you go through the line.
  • Don't try to carry everything at once, return, if necessary, to get your beverage.
  • If you have to sneeze or cough, leave the line. Return after you are done and have washed your hands for at least 20 seconds to prevent contamination of the serving utensils.
  • Roll up long sleeves that may dangle into the food. Coats, jackets and long sleeves can drag and contaminate the food.
  • Accompany children to the buffet line. Be sure children use serving utensils, not their hands and fingers, and don’t eat in line or cough on the food.

I'm loving the great comments this series is generating. Please share your opinions here.

How about you?

What ticks you off?

What works well for you?


Marilyn said...

Oh boy! Reading this has brought back horrendous memories of seeing people sneezing, licking their fingers, tasting, etc. etc. in the buffet line! Gross! Soooooo....since we all have to use the same serving spoons in line I have gotten into the habit of always having a small bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse and clean my hands with that as soon as I get my food and sit down at my table.
Hopefully many can learn from your good manner suggestions here!

Marilyn in MS

Kay Martin said...

Wow, Marilyn, you opened my eyes to some more issues. Thank you for your input. We all have much to learn to live peacefully together.

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Seriously I do not eat buffet if I can help it at all. I am just grossed out by the whole buffet thing. You never know if peoples hands are clean who touch those utensils beforehand. Nasty. Anyway, I avoid it at all costs but if it is necessary then I am very careful with everything.

Great points though! My pastor always advises us church members to tip our servers well. I so agree.
Great stuff.

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.