Cheesy Thoughts at a Family Restaurant

The scene: a pizza parlor’s weekly all-you-can-eat pizza-and-salad buffet.

1. Should I tell the cashier my 4-year-old is 3-years-old in order to get her meal free?

2. When my daughter asks for a quarter for me to play the car racing arcade game with her, should I ask her, “Did you bring a quarter from your horsey bank?”  And then… “Ahh, shucks. Remember to bring one next time.”

3. Should I walk around to all of the tables cutting the helium balloons free so that I can hand my daughter a huge bouquet?

4. When we’re finished eating, should I ask the cashier for a to-go box and head over to the buffet to fill ‘er up?

One of those ideas my wife thought up. One comes to my mind on every visit. One I observed a father actually doing. One I did myself.


8 Responses to “Cheesy Thoughts at a Family Restaurant”

  1. jen says:

    let’s see… you made the quarter comment. you saw a guy harvesting balloons. and I’d vote no on both of the others though I have the same thoughts quite frequently. (age – your wife, to-go box – your pondering). how’d I do? :)

    December 31st, 2008 at 4:06 am

  2. Jeanne says:

    My mom always did number 1, for every instance she could. When I was six, I was four for movies, buffets, etc. When I was 12 I was ten at Disney. She did this for all four kids. And I know we could not afford a lot of the things we were doing, but as a kid obsessed with the truth it bugged me. And it still bugs me. It probably bugs me a lot more than it should, but I plan on never lying in front of my kid. Especially not for the few bucks my mom always saved. If we can’t afford to be honest, then we can’t afford to go. I think it fosters a feeling of “outsmarting” the system, which I don’t believe is healthy.

    My siblings continue to game the system whenever they can. They lie about ages and affiliations, they punch in the wrong code when ringing up their organic fruit at the self checkout, and they lie to loved ones to avoid punishment.

    Sorry for the long rant. It’s funny, but the other three don’t get under my skin nearly as much. Number 4 is usually not allowed, but the whole point of a buffet is to overeat, and I saw too many people who should have walked away from the buffets in Las Vegas, maybe filling up a box would have helped them to feel they were getting their money’s worth. And extra balloons, eh. You’re not telling anyone you only had one balloon.

    As for the arcade game, it may seem a bit harsh, but it is a way to teach your child the value of money.

    So…I’m guessing you didn’t see a father do number 1, because it’s hard to guess how old a kid really is. I’m thinking you may have seen number 2.

    I doubt you would have done number 1 and gloated about it.

    I pick number 3, and that your wife suggested number 4.

    December 31st, 2008 at 4:25 am

  3. Christy says:

    1. The one you think of each time
    2. You did this one
    3. Wife Suggestion
    4. You observed this one.

    Buffets create quite the moral dilemma, eh?

    December 31st, 2008 at 8:49 am

  4. Kimberly says:

    If my parents could still do #1 they’d that. I remember being in college and my dad trying to pull the 12 and under scam.

    I think you did #2, saw a guy do #3, you really want to do #4, and your wife suggested #1

    December 31st, 2008 at 4:46 pm

  5. Ella says:

    1. Your wife suggested
    2. you actually did
    3. you think of every time
    4. you saw a guy do.

    December 31st, 2008 at 4:46 pm

  6. anjii says:

    I was going to say Christy’s

    January 1st, 2009 at 8:28 am

  7. CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) says:

    My dad got me in to some b-list theme park at the child rate when I was like 15! I was so mad at him. He was like , “What? Just bend down like you are younger!”

    I always wish I had the gal to load up a to go box from the buffet, but it just seems wrong. Those almond cookies at the Chinese restaurant are super tasty though….

    January 1st, 2009 at 9:40 am

  8. AJ says:

    The answers:

    1. I wondered about fibbing on the 3- or 4-year-old price issue.

    2. I stalled my daughter on the quarter-for-an-arcade-game issue. We played that game one time a year ago and she still remembers.

    3. I observed another father hoarding balloons.

    4. My wife thought it would be an amusing ploy for someone to get a to-go box and load it with buffet food at their table. I’m saddened to learn from you guys that people really do it.

    5. Not mentioned above: Among the fake wrapped gifts under the restaurant’s Christmas tree we spotted a gift someone had partially unwrapped. Maybe a kid opened it, but I half wonder whether an adult was hoping to steal something valuable.

    January 1st, 2009 at 12:34 pm

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