The infuriating freakshow follies of lunchtime in NYC.


What is the deal with some people and their lunchtime eating habits? Here in NYC we are surrounded by places to eat lunch from delis, to bodegas, restaurants, and fast food. One of the most common during the workdays that many of us frequent are the multi-station delis with the hot and cold pay by the pound buffets. Nothing wrong with this as I enjoy getting my lunch off of these throughout the week, and I can mix and match whatever strikes my fancy at the time. Except when I have to deal with the general public and the nasty things I see them do around these food stations. Just a few examples of what we encounter on a daily basis when out foraging for a lunch meal –

1) The inconsiderate jerk who sneezes into the food. Nothing grosses me out more than when I see someone sneeze right onto the open food stations and doesn’t even bother to cover their nose. It’s like a watching a high power water sprinkler blast everything with mucus spray and disease. I swear this is how everyone will become infected and start the zombie apocalypse. It won’t start at some CDC center or faraway land. It will begin in the tray of baked salmon and soba noodles at my local deli.


2) The slob that can’t seem to choose their food without touching everything. With their bare hands. Fingers that seem to find a way to poke into every tray they use tongs or spoons to get their food with. You just know these are the same people that pick their noses, and never wash their hands after using the bathroom. Yummers! Traces of human feces add quite the flavoring to the Ceasar salad and pesto pasta I was about to eat.

3) The sauntering idiot that won’t move. Move. Move. MOVE! What are you doing? Why do you have to get in my way by everything I am trying to choose from? I’m starving! It’s like some of these morons are trying to figure out a Rubix Cube of food options. They stand there in front of the roast turkey slices or baked ziti as if studying Egyptian Hieroglyphics. It’s not rocket science you brainfart. Just pick something and MOVE!


4) The gluttonous monster that eats everything in it’s path. Meaning everything that I wanted for lunch. This person seems to have the uncanny ability to scoop up the last remaining morsels of anything I was looking to eat. They seem to make a beeline right to the tray of food I was headed for and cut me off before I have a chance. Of course, they pile their plate or takeout container three feet high with all that was left in the tray. Ugh! Guess I’ll just have a sandwich instead. I hope you choke and vomit on yourself!

What’s even worse is when you encounter a few of these animals at the same time. I have had days when some douchenozzle sneezes on the food, and another one touches it, while some other gets in my way, and then another scarfs up whatever is left that I wanted. On these days I just give up and defeated head over to Subway. If Jared is in my way he will catch a beating!


If only we were allowed to smack strangers upside the head with no repercussion. That would be so glorious. Some do really deserve it. Don’t mess with my food!

46 thoughts on “The infuriating freakshow follies of lunchtime in NYC.”

  1. Not being allowed to smack strangers upside the head without repercussions is the bane of my entire existence…Except I couldn’t limit it to strangers… :/

  2. Ha, ha! I wish I could show your rant to the lovelies at the restaurant I went to last night. I’d landed in Seattle about an hour earlier and demanded Mexican food (which they so do NOT get in England). When we got to my favorite wonderful hole in the wall, the people ahead of me at the salad/salsa bar were using their hands, plus hacking and wheezing over the dishes like Mimi about to give it up in La Bohème. The final straw was when I saw the guy double dipping his cornchips in the salsa. Like the porcine oxygen-waster couldn’t survive the 5 seconds it would take to put salsa and chips onto his own plate.

    I’d already spent the 18 hours from Scotland listening to every germ in Europe being coughed into our flying germ vectors, but on the off chance that I hadn’t picked up the plague, I decided we had to leave.

    1. Hey Barb!

      So I assume the taste of mucus and saliva from total strangers added to the overall enjoyment of your palate? Ah, what’s a little hepatitis c among friends?

  3. Ewwww! The dark side of buffets. It really annoys me when someone takes the entire tray to their table (party of two). Someday I’ll just go to their table and start grabbing food from their 101 buffet:)

    1. Hewy Shelley!

      What? You don’t believe that you have been consuming other’s people bodily fluids and excretions all your life? So many people have been inside you!

      Hey, that didn’t sound right….. 🙁

  4. I’m with you on this one, Phil. In fact I now actively avoid buffet lunches for these very reasons. I no longer wish to jostle alongside the great unwashed for my grub. I now either cook it myself or find a formal restaurant, sit at a table with napkins and table cloths and wait for those nice people to bring my sustenance to me.

    1. Hey Gary!

      I hear ya, but it’s kind of hard to drag a full kitchen with me to my office each day! I guess I’ll just keep playing Russion Roulette at the lunch buffet!

  5. Buffets are scary. I commend you for your hunger for adventure. You are a brave man eating food from a buffet that is frequented by freaks.

    I think the deli needs to clarify what the “all” in “All You Can Eat” is.

  6. I used to get lunch at a buffet on Lexington a lot. I’d get there early and I think that’s the ticket! Arrive just after they put the food out, or when they are still filling the trays. Then the food is fresh and you miss all of the crazies. If I remember, I had a noon lunchtime because I am ALWAYS hungry. If I had to go later, the buffet would have been a bad idea and surely I would’ve run into crowds, sneezers and slowpokes! So that’s the key…go early!

    1. Hey Tracy!

      As a fellow NY’er you know how much we eat out here, especially during lunch at the buffets. I also use the same strategy as you if I can escape the office early enough. Yes, early is good but if you get there around 1:30-2:30 it’s like picking what is left of the dead carcass in each tray. At that point I get a sandwich! You know at that point those trays are human petri dishes!

  7. Oh I hate public sneezes. I know people can’t help sneezing but they certainly have control over trying to shield it. I’ve been freaked out about sneezes ever since the movie Outbreak where they showed someone sneezing and it went all over the movie theater into people’s popcorn. Two nasty things I seen people do – one at a salad bar poked her finger in the dressing to sample it. And the other was an employee at Golden Corral who had a tissue stuffed in one side of her nose. Yuck!

    1. Hey Kenya!

      OMG! I just ate at Golden Corral with my parents when down in Florida. I wanted to get a tetanus shot and take a hot shower after eating there! Scary stuff.

  8. This is Farking Awesome! I despise the despots at the buffet table….when you stand next to them, you have so sigh loudly and sneeze on the pile of food that’s on THEIR plate!

  9. Lunch follies? More like lunch crazies Phil. Thankfully, we in Germany are far more civilised and if not, the domineering Frau Müller will make sure that you take the food in an orderly, disciplined manner LOL!
    Besides, we’re not that big on buffets as the lunch-time specials at $7.00, or civil-servant sunsidised canteens at $5.00 are more the norm. Or if you’re really starving; a couple of greasy sausages with a bun smeared in spicy mustard, with a pitcher of beer, goes down rather well!!

    1. Hey Victoria!

      I am sure Frau Muller will crack the whip and insert the ball gags on anyone making a mess of the buffet!

      Yum. That sausage lunch sounds good to me!

  10. And this is why I usually dislike anything buffet-esque. This is not to say I don’t stuff myself on brunch (OMG I LOVE BRUNCH) buffets or anything…I just dislike buffet etiquette.

    1. Hey Chrissy!

      Along with brunch buffets usually comes plenty of brunch cocktails! I actually think multiple vodka filled bloody marys will kill off any germs!

  11. I hate buffets in general 🙂 There is always someone that goes back for 12 plates, again, and again, and again. It’s painful to watch….The sneezing thing drives me crazy in general also, I hate when people sneeze without doing it into the elbow, yuck. Plus I always seem to get sick, probably from all the people sneezing…..

    1. Hey Foodie!

      Yes, and it’s usually the person in front of me who eats everything left that I wanted in those 12 plates! The sneezing thing drive me nuts too.

  12. Hi! Susie brought me here!
    I SO agree with ALL OF THIS.
    I wish I could say I like buffets.
    I don’t.
    So much blah.
    I like your writing!

    1. Hey Jamie!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting! Susie throws a great party!

      True story – I ate at the buffet again at the deli around the corner from my office. I saw a person sampling some of the food with their fingers. Tray after tray. Needless to say I avoided those trays. What is wrong with people????

      So glad you like my writing! Hope you stalk, um, follow me.

      You like this one check out my blog post from Sept 1 –

  13. There was a king (don’t recall his name) who said he’d prefer to eat with murderers with good table manners than royalty with bad. It can be disgusting!
    Thanks for bringing this to the party. Keep your pants on this time! Sheesh… 🙂

    1. Hey Susie!

      I can totally understand that. Some people seem as if they grew up eating in a barn, on the floor, in the mud. Then eat like that in public. Nasty!

      Thanks for letting me party with you all! 🙂

    1. Hey Jan!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

      Well, now that you know the truth at least you know what is going in your mouth. I usually picture the scene from Alien when it rips out of that dude’s stomach.

  14. Phil, first of all thanks for visiting my from Susie’s party. Hope you subscribed. I really like your site’s personality. Fun stuff everywhere.
    There was an All You Can Eat buffet that I used to work at in Glendale, CA as a teenager. You want gross? It’s washing the dishes in a place like that.
    Anyway, there was this mega-huge customer who sued the place because the owners asked him to stop eating all their food. I mean he could eat for a whole family. He protested “It says all you can eat.” And the owner shot back, “Yeah, that’s all you can eat, buddy, as far as I’m concerned.” The guy won the lawsuit. I was actually on his side on that one as truth in advetsising goes, but I’m certainly not on his side for taking advantage of a good thing. The place eventually went out of business. Maybe he invited his friends.

    1. Hey Chaz!’

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

      I try to keep my posts fun, real, and even informative in my warped kind of way. Glad you enjoyed my site.

      As for the buffet, there are times when I want to plant myself in one of those rolling chairs and just keep moving from station to station eating everything. Yeah, I would get thrown out too!

  15. My visits to New York City are usually planned around the food. At least once per visit there is an unscheduled meal time and I end up at one of these multi-station delis. Sadly I have to confess that I am one of those people you would catch standing, staring at the food like it’s a Rubix Cube. The problem is that I don’t know what half the stuff is. I like to try new things but it helps if you recognize what you are looking at.
    After reading this I would have to agree with your Zombie Apocalypse theory and may give it a pass next time.
    I’m glad Susie sent me over here.

    1. Hey Michelle!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

      I live here and my days are planned around food, and booze, then more food. I’m headed to the lunch buffet now. I never learn do I? Living in NYC is a blessing and a curse!

  16. Hey, Phil–sorry I’m late popping over from Susie’s party, but I had to say hi! Fun to see this post again. I’m in Missoula, Montana visiting my kids for a few days of 80+ weather, then back to Seattle to get my house ready to sell. (Worst job ever!) So you’re posts are always the most welcome breaks.

    1. Hey Barb!

      Thanks so much. Check out my new post I just put up. I think you’ll like it. I also posted it on Susie’s party just now.

      Enjoy that great weather and getaway!

  17. Here in the deep south if you went to a buffet you’d think only people weighing over 500 lbs are allowed in.
    BTW…everything,and I mean everything is DEEP FRIED. That’s what I’m talkin’ about Bro…

    1. Hey Jimm!

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

      Oh, I know what you are saying. I’ve had my belly full of fried chicken and chicken fried steak down there! Southern cooking is so good!

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!