To be clear, buffet etiquette exists. There may even be Buffet Etiquette, but I’m not sure. I do know that when you eat at a buffet, there are certain things you must do to avoid the baleful glare of the rest of us who are not animals.
The wise person goes into holiday buffeting with honesty. If you are at a club buffet on a holiday, you share common goals with everyone else in attendance. You are there to eat without cooking; admire without cleaning; and keep children happy without having to provide the entertainment. These goals are established and true. Do not kid yourself! This is not Downton Abbey or East Egg.
The wise person also goes into holiday buffeting with patience. Wise people will encounter those who like to hover over chafing dishes and debate whether it is potato or squash casserole (“It definitely has cheese…”) and then take all the shrimp.
The wise person also goes into holiday buffeting with charity. Some people really like tomatoes in their salad! Allow them to take all the tomatoes out of the bowl of mixed salad and leave behind crushed lettuce. They need the tomatoes more than the wise person.
I am not a wise person.
Nor am I a patient person.
Or a particularly charitable person.
Come to think of it, maybe I am not a person. Maybe I am a giant gavel that occasionally strikes the bench and makes sweeping pronouncements like, “Out of order! You suck, as does the fact you did not replace the lids on the 14 chafing dishes from which you scavenged. May God have mercy on your soul.”