People You Meet At The Buffet – Part 3
We continue our people watch of the people at the buffet.
The salmon are immediately recognizable, whether you spot them from your table or while you are in line. Salmon are the people who go against the flow of the buffet. Like their namesake fish, they fight the flow of the line to gather their food. You especially see them at buffets where there is a distinct flow pattern to the food. Everyone else is moving along from the salads to the pastas to the entrees to the meats, with the intention of swinging back for the desserts later. Not the salmon. They insist on starting at the desserts and moving backwards along the line, slowly pressing on against the throng of people who are patiently moving forward.
You would think that there would be certain situations in which you would not see the salmon. Buffets that are set up in island style (with a few “food stations” scattered about – Hometown Buffet is structured this way) would be immune to the salmon effect. You could not be more wrong. The key to the salmon’s behavior is to move against the flow of people around the food. If the people are progressing in a clock-wise pattern around the food station, the salmon will move counter-clockwise.
The salmon’s behavior is variable, too. If everyone gave into the influence of the salmon and starts moving with the salmon, the salmon will reverse course. The sole mantra of the salmon is to be a line nonconformist. If the line starts to conform to them, it is time to change course.
The Chaotic Salmon
The chaotic salmon acts a lot like the above mentioned salmon. The only (and major) difference is that while the salmon will stay on their course against the line, the chaotic salmon will switch direction at a moment’s notice. Usually, the chaotic salmon’s directional change is influenced by the type of food they desire, usually popping into their heads when they think of what they want.
For example, if the line is moving left to right, the chaotic salmon will progress right until it realizes it wants some mashed potatoes, where it will travel left to move back to the mashed potatoes, then realize they want butter with those mashed potatoes and resume their original course. That is until they realize they wanted something else.
Children can be notorious examples of both salmon and chaotic salmon, but salmon of both types can be found amongst any age group at a buffet.