Article posted Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:40am

Dear Mary Pat,

Can you provide some insight into how much is too much when facing a “buffet?” I recently witnessed an individual pile about ten cookies onto their plate from a complimentary offering at an event. Now, yes the cookies were delicious, but most people at the event didn’t even get to sample them because this person took so many. What is appropriate etiquette when approaching offerings such as this?

Can’t believe the Cookie Monster

Ephraim, WI

Dear Can’t Believe the Cookie Monster,

I would think the appropriate etiquette would be obvious, that you should have one cookie. If after awhile there appear to be more cookies than people, then a person could have another. But 10? Come on! What was the Cookie Monster thinking?

There is nothing you could have done in this instance apart from roll your eyes (a passive aggressive favorite of mine). However, if someone was there in a serving capacity or filling up food platters, they would have had every right to politely point out that “Cookie Monster” should leave some for others. A reception is not the all you can eat buffet at a restaurant.

And as far as those all you can eat buffets, I really don’t know how restaurants can offer that kind of a special. I witnessed a father and son team at an all you can eat crab leg night not too long ago and couldn’t believe how much they were pounding away. The poor waitress was there every 15 minutes with a new plate of crab legs. I guess it all balances out with the customers who eat a normal amount, but this was insane. The profit margins must have taken a nosedive on that particular night. If I had a restaurant where there was an all you can eat night, I would probably have to start naming exceptions in the fine print. “All you can eat except Bubba and his son.”

As we know, common sense doesn’t always prevail. Let me leave you with the word of the day: Glut·ton·y [gluht-n-ee] – noun, Meaning: Excessive eating and drinking.

Good luck,

Mary Pat