Buffet Workers Reveal The Things You Should Know Before Chowing Down
Buffets are beautiful places with boundless food and reliable people watching. What goes on behind the scenes, however, might have you questioning whether a buffet is really the place you want to go for food.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Skip the filler, go for the (farmed and frozen) lobster.
The more expensive stuff is usually placed towards the end of the buffet line in hopes that you'll fill your plate with the cheaper fillers.
Fries and ice cream are the best part...
I saw a TV show in the UK about folk who try to 'beat the buffet' and apparently it will take you seven plates to break even (going by the figures they gave on the show). Seven plates.
A buffet owner said kid's parties are their breadwinner because the wee idiots just fill up on chips (fries) and ice cream, which costs them very little to make.
So much for those sneeze guards.
I worked in a deli through college and we had a salad bar that I would occasionally be in charge of. One day another employee came over and said that a handicapped guy put his hand down his pants and started touching all the food barehanded. Thankfully they saw so we were able to swap out everything (literally pounds of food got thrown out), but I don't eat at buffets anymore because the stupid and gross things I've seen people do while in charge of that salad bar.
So my advice, never eat ANYTHING that the general public had access to.
They should charge people for the food they ruin by doing this. Just don't.
I worked at a c-store that had at least 6 types of soup available all the time. One of my coworkers noticed on the kitchen camera that a lady had dipped her finger in a pot, licked it, and moved on to the next pot. She hurried out and stopped this lady, but learned from one of the floor people that this lady had done this with 3 other soups (why nobody stopped her, I'm not sure). They had to toss 4 out of 6 soups and remake them.
Someone needs a crash course in the dangers of cross-contamination and allergies.
Once I was at a Chinese restaurant, they had a buffet and a tiny Mongolian grill where you pick your meat and veggies to be cooked together. I went to get my beef and bell peppers at the little grill. There was a lady in front of me that was getting her food cooked, she asked for more shrimp to be added. The cook then proceeds to grab the tongs used for the peppers, sticks them in the raw shrimp, then back into the peppers. I haven't eaten there since.
A discount for having had stomach surgery? Maybe a buffet isn't for you...
I'm a casino buffet manager, Ask me anything
Pro-tip: walk the buffet line and look at the pans, if you see dry, crusty rings or food specs, it's been sitting for a while, request something fresher.
Crab legs aren't worth the hassle of trying to eat them for most people
Old people try to steal a s* ton of food, all the time. Show me an old person and I'll show you someone who has 7 cookies in a napkin in her purse "for the ride home."
Buffets run on a cost per cover model. Whereas a cover is the price of one adult meal. We calculate how much the average person eats from several categories. Proteins, center of the plate items, sides, soups/salads, desserts.
Please don't ask what items are gluten-free, if you need a gluten-free diet, you'll know even though we don't run a gluten-free kitchen.
Please don't ask for a discount because you had stomach surgery, it's a buffet, you eat as much as you want and if you can't eat that much, maybe a buffet isn't for you.
Nope. Totally going for the unlimited carbs.
Stay away from the fillers like rice, bread, polenta and anything else like that. It'll take up valuable room that could be better filled by the nicer things on offer.
The amount of waste at buffets is really depressing.
Worked at a restaurant where we did buffets at weddings etc. There is so much reserve we throw away. Sometimes full trash containers per day.
Our food was nice so I always took something that was over for at home.
Feeling very attacked. Again.
You're allowed to get food more than once. Stop piling the turkey on top of the pizza on top of the fried rice on top of your salad.
"All you can eat" doesn't mean forever.
They really will throw you out if you "stay too long."
Pro tip: the fresh food is on the bottom of the tray.
Our restaurant isn't strictly a buffet but we do a couple buffets a week. When we put out more food, we rotate it. The tray we're removing, we take the last couple- I dunno- biscuits out of it and put them on top of the fresh one. I've seen buffets that don't rotate the food but I think most do.
So, don't just grab a chicken leg like normal people. Shove all the rest of the chicken out of the way until you find the bottom chicken and eat that.
Or don't because they're not going to put food out there that can't handle sitting in a chafer anyway and digging around in the pan f*s it up for other people. I'm not the buffet cop.
Hell who needs a professional's buffet advice anyway?
Maybe a Purell station ahead of the food would be helpful...
People touch all manner of things then hit the buffets without washing their hands first. So yeah, if you have ever eaten at a buffet your food probably was sprinkled with weiner dust.
I try not think about this any time I'm at a restaurant. It's too much.
Just remember the spoon/utensil that you used to load whatever onto your plate has been touched by hundreds of people that day.
Going to a restaurant right before they close is seriously not cool.
I worked at a restaurant that had a Sunday buffet for 5.5 years. We really hate it when you come in 15 minutes before close. The salad bar is homemade other than the canned fruit and pudding. Sometimes leftovers are put on the buffet (they are stored properly though). We hate it when you go on both sides of the buffet. Our dinner rolls are store bought and covered in liquid butter after being pulled from the oven. There is butter in the corn for flavor.
These buffets are starting to sound like petri dishes.
The stale rolls become bread pudding. The fresh stuff is usually on the bottom as containers are flipped when filled. The towels used to wash tables aren't changed In an evening.
There's a lot here, but the plastic bag idea is genius.
I work in catering which is very similar (literally a buffet that we bring to the events)
- There's a good chance that the cake or pie you got was just a thawed out frozen cake, as in the same kind you can find in the freezer section at your local grocery store.
- If you want to get lots of free food, befriend someone who works in catering and give him/her some freezer bags before they start their shift
- You know those delicious as f_ck appetizer meatballs? It's only 3 ingredients: 1 part Chilli sauce, 1 part Grape jelly, and a bag of frozen pre-cooked meatballs
- Unless you're the kind of person that is okay with gas station stuff, don't eat the hotdogs or hamburgers.
- EVERYONE in this industry cuts corners, with the possible exception of the guys at the very highest and most expensive tiers (who not even the 1% can afford, they are 0.1% territory). If we didn't then we'd never get anything done on time and the service would be even more expensive (and it's already pretty expensive as is). That said, I'm happy to say that the one I work for is one of the better ones in the area fwiw
- The best populations to serve for in my experience are blue collar workers (company Xmas parties). They are all very polite folks that are usually pretty patient and low maintenance.
- The worst populations to serve for in my experience, consistently across the board, are middle-aged uptight businessmen/businesswomen. Always gets way more food than they can actually eat so their plate has this massive mound of food waste on it that is impossible to stack other plates onto, never drinks water throughout the day so they ask for refills on their lemonade/Arnold Palmers constantly, looks at me (the server) with a stack of 13 plates and thinks "yeah, it's okay for me to ask this guy to take my plate for me right this second", always at least one guy who brings their kid with them to the benefactor party or wine meet-and-greet who is bored out of their mind because everyone else was sensible enough to leave their kids at home (and if you've been invited to one of these events then you can absolutely afford to hire a sitter), you often times have no choice but to butt into their conversations to ask if anyone wants their plate taken/a refill/any special assistance because you can stand over their table for 5 solid minutes and these non-inclusive douchenozzles will never even notice that you exist, the list goes on.
Well I'm certainly not doing "all you can eat" for health reason, so...
All the premade "salads" potato, noodles and ham, all that stuff is terribly unhealthy. I mean literal cups of mayo and ranch go into their making. Also the light ranch is just regular ranch in a different container.
Their ability to bounce is a big clue.
My mom worked at a buffet and she says to stay away from anything with eggs because they are synthetic (fake).
Noticing a trend of health code violations...
If you see them restocking the pans and put fresh food on top of the old food, run away. Pans with older food should be removed from the line before putting in the new.
And the post-buffet mood, because obviously.
The meal's not over when I'm full. The meal is over when I hate myself.
How many people do you know battling addictions?
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is "a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual's life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences."
Hearing from those who have battled addictions––and come out the other side––can be remarkably eye-opening, as we were reminded once Redditor YoshBotArmy asked the online community,
"People who have beaten an addiction... what's your secret?"
"I'd then check off..."
"Alcohol. The "one day at a time" approach was too much. I made a chart with a 24 hour day broken up into 15 minutes. For example: 8:00-8:15. [ ]
8:15-8:30. [ ]
8:30-8:45. [ ]
I'd then check off a box for every fifteen minutes I didn't drink. This really boosted my confidence because although I may have only gone two hours without drinking, my brain focused on the 8 boxes I checked off.
Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days, etc.
It's now been 8 years."
"You need to want to quit..."
"You need to want to quit, otherwise, it will be a fight against yourself. I quit smoking about 15 years ago after being a smoker for like 18 years. I decided to quit several times but never stuck, always found a reason to fall back into the habit. One day my 4yo daughter told me that she was going to find a way to save me from cancer because smokers are bound to get it. After that, I couldn't stand cigarettes anymore and quit within the week. Never again. I wanted to be there for my girl more than anything else."
"The lesson to take away from this..."
"I realised my binge eating was due to a general lack of self-control. I developed bulimia (exercise is my poison) trying to counteract it, and I still struggle with that.
I struggled with it for years and tried everything under the sun to stop it. It wasn't until I started practicing Stoicism that I started seeing life differently. Then a couple of years into that, I overheard a colleague say "it's all about finding balance" in a conversation about the challenges life throws at you. That quote stuck with me for about a year until I realised I have no sense of balance because I used to be an extremely black and white/all or nothing character.
It's now been 2 years since I completely stopped binge eating, and it was all due to having that epiphany. Took practice to get into good eating habits and a routine with meals but I'm all good now.
The lesson to take away from this - teach your children self-control and the ability to say no to themselves. My parents gave me everything I wanted so I had to teach myself this throughout my early 20s."
"That does not mean..."
"You have to learn to give yourself grace.
Relapses happen. I self-mutilate. I will do incredible for months. Then one negative thought can send me into a spiral and I harm myself.
That does not mean that I undid any of the hard work I had done up to this point. I acknowledge that I made a mistake, identify my triggers, and make an effort to start clear of them. Take a deep breath and try again."
A valuable observation.
"I kicked the habit..."
"I wasn't physically addicted to marijuana, but I had such a mental dependency on it that it was pretty much like being addicted. I couldn't function without it.
I kicked the habit by pursuing a girl. I really wanted to date her, and I didn't want her to know that I was actively smoking weed. I stopped smoking weed because I'd fallen in love with a girl. I'm now married to her, and I haven't smoked weed in over 4 years."
"The most important thing..."
"The most important thing I ever learned was not to fight cravings. I don't mean to give in and use when a craving strikes but for a long time simply feeling the craving was awful. I tried so much to avoid the feeling because I was scared of it.
I saw the suggestion to actually indulge the feeling and just let it wash over you. When I tried it, it was still uncomfortable to want to use but by letting myself feel the craving fully I was able to let it go and move on with my day more easily. Fighting the craving just made me suffer."
"I wore a rubber band..."
"I wore a rubber band around my arm and anytime I thought about my addiction, I would snap it and hurt myself. That way, I associated my addiction with pain and eventually broke my body's natural desire for it."
It turns out this has merit.
"I have no idea..."
"Coffee. I was a serious caffeine addict (like 12 cups a day), and one day for no reason I just woke up and ... didn't feel like having coffee. I've had maybe 5 cups of coffee in the 10 years since then.
I have no idea why it happened, but I haven't felt a craving for it in years. I wish that would happen for my other bad habits."
"I don't think..."
"I don't think it's a secret. Understanding the addiction. Knowing that it takes time for the chemicals in your brain to reset. Knowing it's gonna suck. Being prepared as best you can. Knowing it's going to be a battle."
"I'm not very far..."
"It was really taking a toll on my overall health and one day I woke up and said never again. I'm not very far into recovery and I've never been to a meeting or anything. I know I can't have it around me or I'll relapse."
We are proud of anyone who manages to beat an addiction and who can speak about their experience so candidly. And if any of you out there are struggling, we're rooting for you.
Have some of your own stories? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below.
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I'm just spitballing here, but it seems to me that pretty much that weapons of war are among humanity's worst creations. Sure: We live in an anarchic world. States can never be certain of another state's intentions. Conflicts are bound to break out. But in a perfect world––and a man can dream––none of this would be necessary.
It seems I'm not alone in this, either. People had opinions of their own after Redditor Questwarrior asked the online community,
"What was the worst human invention ever made?"
"Cheap and easy to make..."
"Landmines. Cheap and easy to make, but they remain active and people forget where they put them."
"Styrofoam. It's toxic, can't be recycled, and there are better alternatives."
It also sounds horrible when rubbed against another piece of Styrofoam. Torturous.
"Now idiots can connect to each other..."
"Social Media - It gave people the ability to find others and create echo chambers. Before, idiots were isolated to dealing with just a few in their immediate radius of existence. Now idiots can connect to each other across the world and validate their thoughts/feelings."
This is very true. We're seeing the consequences, aren't we?
Ain't built like they used to - because they can't sell you a newer model if the old one is still performing like new.
If companies didn't have this in mind we wouldn't be running out of resources and messing up the planet in search of more. This would create less conflict and way less pollution. Imagine companies actually making insanely good, long-lasting products instead of cheap ones that needs replacing more often than it should."
"Heroin destroys people's lives every day."
"As a medical student..."
"As a medical student, I basically see people every day whose lives have been wrecked by smoking. Kids and unborn babies get messed over by tobacco smoke. Stupid and plain evil."
A great film about the tobacco industry: The Insider (1999). Really makes you think about the cost we all pay for Big Tobacco.
"I can't believe..."
"The concept of Flat Earth. I can't believe people are still stuck in the seventeenth century and still believe in that crap and try to defend it with their misunderstandings of science and physics, as well as pure ignorance."
People believe the most ridiculous things.
"They exist solely..."
"Torture devices. They exist solely to cause harm."
"How am I going to pay you..."
"Overdraft fees. How am I going to pay you EXTRA money when I don't have money?!"
Human beings are capable of so much innovation, beauty, and joy, but threads like these remind us of all the horrors in the world. There's a lot of darkness in humans, too.
Have some of your own contributions to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Homelessness is an unfortunate and all-too-common occurrence in the world, particularly in the United States. Homelessness has grown to a huge degree, and while most countries have the resources to help their homeless, many choose not to.
It is also difficult to break the cycle of homelessness once you have entered it. It creates a never-ending loop of failed job searching, lost or stolen goods/items/things of value, and stigmatization by society. More often than not, homelessness is begotten by another condition wherein the state or country fails to provide resources--such as mental health.
"Ex homeless people, what are some things people don't know about the streets?"
Here were some of those answers.
A Sad Reality
"My stint on the streets was about six months and due to some bad decisions I made. But what sticks with me the most was the crushing boredom."
"No intellectual stimulus at all because it's safer to keep your distance from other homeless, and you're not going to have a chat with civilian out of the blue."
"So you're completely alone all the time. And to avoid putting yourself in risky situations you stay on the move as much as possible."
"Most cities you can get some day labor work for quick cash but then you have to be careful about people knowing you have cash. You're always on the lookout."
"The only sound nights sleep I ever got was when I could manage to scrounge up enough cash to get a room in a transient hotel for a night and basically pass out from exhaustion."
"Other than that you're sleep deprived most of the time. And of course all this is made worse if on the streets in winter."-HardALee99
The Worst Side Of A Woman's Life (TW: Rape)
"I'm a psychiatric RN who works with mostly homeless people."
"I have heard SO MANY TIMES where women who tested positive for meth have said they use it to stay awake 24/7 to avoid being assaulted by other homeless."
Lucky To Be Alive
"People can and often do develop PTSD from being homeless, especially in rough areas. BF was kicked out at 14 in what was, at the time, the heroin capital of the Northeast, and he very quickly realized that selling drugs was the easiest way to make sure he had food/water/shelter as someone under legal age to work."
"But bouncing from crackhouse to crackhouse— especially as a kid— creates this state of constant hyper-vigilance, possessiveness over your belongings, a lot of hoarding behaviors, etc."
"Basically you wind up living in survival mode the entire time so you don't get assaulted/arrested/kidnapped/shanked."
"To this day if you touch him while he's sleeping he freaks the f**k out. Loud noises at night freak him out, car engines outside, lights in the window, etc."
"He still sleeps better on a couch in the corner of the room than a bed, because 'at least then you have something at your back, makes it harder for people to surprise you.'"
"Nightmares, too. Just... a whole bunch of sh*t, some of which I won't get into because he's embarrassed by it. Here are a few of the choice events he went through, though, just in the first two years or so:"
"He's almost had his throat slit with a half a DVD, woke up with a fork in his chest from some crazy chick, had all his food stolen, even had somebody inject him with heroin against his will while he was sleeping. Sad to think about."
"He's off the streets now, kicked a drug addiction, found a good-paying job, and is about to go to college. But the damage being homeless for his adolesence/early adulthood did..."
"It's going to be a while before he really feels safe. Not to mention he feels like a failure going to college at 30, but... I mean, how many people could have gone through all the horrific sh*t he went through, lived to tell the tale, AND somehow managed to keep going and eventually recover?"-vishuual
Homelessness is even expensive for the country because it leads to more and more problems that resources have to be expended upon in order to deal with the mental health and physical trauma it causes.
Over And Over
"One thing that f**ked me up was my concept of time. Often I'd be up late as f**k trying to sleep and before I knew it, the sun's back up."
"You gotta plan your day differently to use the restroom and it's hard to even find anything 'normal' to do because there are so little resources."
"People don't realize that being homeless is a situation in which no one is really looking to help you to find a sustainable life. It's truly being otherized and ostracized until you die or miraculously get back on the work grind."-SuperDuperChuck
Not An Addict
"I guess the worst part for me was the lasting trauma."
"Sure walking around in sandals because it's all you have when it's raining sucks. Sure sleeping in public is terrifying. Yeah homeless shelters are packed out. Borderline impossible to get a job."
"But the worst part was realising I'd lost some fundamental part of myself and I wasn't getting it back. Innocence maybe?"
"But it's more than that, it's like that Lily Allen music video where she's walking around with rose coloured glasses but the audience sees what's real. Yeah well, you lose the glasses and you never get them back."
"There's nothing that fixes the trauma of knowing people who you thought were your friends or family were fully aware you had nowhere to go and didn't do anything about it."
"You can't fix that feeling of your best friend not returning your texts until you're back on your feet. Or the stares you get in the street when thousands of people walk past and don't stop."
"I'm physically ok now but I'll never see people the same way again. I don't know how to. I used to be a really sociable person and now I steer clear of most people. I don't trust anyone."
"Also as an aside, the people who were kindest to me were always working class. A construction worker who bought me lunch. A taxi driver who got me a blanket. Rich people treat you like utter filth and disappear ASAP."
"I was homeless due to domestic violence as well, but people just assume it must be drugs. I literally barely drink let alone use drugs, but in people's minds homeless = addict."-SunnydaleHigh1999
Stop Stigmatizing Homelessness
"The amount of 'ordinary' people there are that are homeless. I was homeless for about 6 months but you would have never known."
"I had job where I could make just enough to stay fed and get a gym membership. I kept all my clothes in the gym/ back room of the restaurant I worked at."
"I'd hide and sleep in the back office of the restaurant. A lot of homeless people have cars and can sleep in them."
"Gym memberships are the easiest ways to stay clean/ not look homeless. Once my boss found out I was homeless, he let me move into a room at a hotel he managed for free. That man saved my life."-SeamanTheSailor
Food Or Money?
"People seem to have this perception that food is the only thing a homeless person would need to use money on and so they will give food in place of money."
"While giving food is nice, it isn't some one-to-one replacement for money. Food can't help you get cleaned up for job interviews, for example."-CattyPlatty
And homelessness is caused by a number of things--most of which are failures of the government. There are enough vacant homes in the United States for every homeless person to have 6.
Policing Your Own Cleanliness
"What's really important is staying clean. But not so clean people won't give you money if you have to panhandle."
"Don't let people know where you sleep if you can help it."
"Don't take work offers alone, you never know what kind of sicko's there are out there, especially once they have you alone in their environment."-Tired_of_yer_ish
Read That Part Again About How Close You Are To Homelessness
"Former homeless person here (as a child and an adult) and someone who used to work helping folks who were unhoused due to violence get housing:"
"-You are more likely to become homeless than win the lottery. Most Americans (around 60%, that number has probably changed in the pandemic) are one missed paycheck away from homelessness."
"-As shared above, lack of quality jobs, affordable inventory (meaning not enough affordable housing), and integrative and trauma-informed heath care services are the leading causes that keep people unhoused."
"All this to say, you have far more in common with people on the street than you think you do. Please see them as people. I will never forget what it felt like to have someone's eyes slide right past me like I was invisible. "
"No one is expecting you alone to end homelessness, but you can give someone $10 for a laundromat or shower, or say hello."-AbolitionistCapybara
Why Is It Illegal To Have The System Fail You?
"I was homeless with my single mom at the age of 9. In the US it is basically illegal to be homeless but it is definitely illegal to be homeless and have a homeless kid."
"My mom was a great mom. We just hit a really rough patch in the 2008 financial crisis in the US causing my mom to lose her job."
"She could not get another one and we ended up living in her mini van. However she was always able to get me food and get me to school. I am not sure how she was able to keep our situation a secret but I was so ashamed of living in a car that I wasn't about to tell anyone about it."
"I think it is twisted that the government would rather place kids with strangers and give those strangers money to take care of the kid than to help that kids family find stability."
"Furthermore my boyfriend was in the foster system for a number of years and has a few horror stories from it. I feel lucky that I was homeless with my mother and that we were able to get out of that situation in comparison to what my boyfriend went through in his childhood living with abusive foster parents."-psychologicalfuntime
The bottom line is that homelessness is not the fault of the homeless. It is the fault of a system that criminalizes a lack of resources and support, especially in the USA, the wealthiest country in the world.
What would we gain by continuing to criticize and stigmatize homeless people across the country?
It's amazing what the legalities are from place to place. I live in New England, and in Connecticut, passengers are allowed to drink alcohol in the car, as long as they aren't driving. Weed isn't legal there, but open containers in the car? Totally fine. At least we have something to look forward to as we cross the border.
There are some truly strange laws depending on where you go. Here is a list of the weirdest ones.
Did you know that murder is allowed in certain instances, depending on where you go? Talk about scary.
I’m sure no one will test these laws.
Not sure how much of it is true. But apparently if the Swedes cross the border by walking over the ice given its frozen over, (which it hasn't in like more than 100 years) we are allowed to kill them.
The exact gates they have to be within are defined but I don't remember what they are.
Dying is illegal in France.Kate Mckinnon Snl GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
Oh boy. France has some history and a love of regulation. Perfect mix for absurd laws. Quick examples:
It's still technically mandatory to have hay at home in case the king's horse is nearby and needs some... Horses have been a pretty rare sight, let alone kings.
A mayor made it illegal to die in his town. The initial problem was an overcrowded cemetery, but he kinda reached the wrong solution.
This probably isn’t enforced anymore.
There is a medieval law here that has never been repealed: all males over the age of 14 are required by law to practice longbow for at least two hours per week.
Some of these laws are so silly, they make you wonder what event happened that put them in place.
I think everyone has done this.
"Forbidden to pee in the ocean". I live in Portugal.
'Like a piss in the ocean' is literally a euphemism for something not mattering. What's the problem?
Tigers are fine, though.film history GIF by DiggGiphy
It's illegal to bring a lion to the movies.
Somebody better have a conversation with MGM.
You can't carry a salmon suspiciously.
"No officer, I was going to eat it later"
"Seems suspicious you were carrying it around in public. I'm gonna have to take you in for questioning."
What is the backstory here?
It's illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors here.
I know this is Pennsylvania, but I forget the exact reasoning, but I think it has something to do with homeless people.
These next few laws will definitely make you question these towns’ legitimacy when it comes to lawmaking.
Poor raccoons.raccoon stealing GIFGiphy
In Virginia, it's illegal to "hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species" on Sundays. However, it is permissible to kill raccoons.
How the heck is this enforced?
I don't know if this is still a thing anymore, but in Texas it used to be illegal to own more than six dildos.
It's illegal to own any at all in Alabama unless the owner has a letter from a doctor claiming a legitimate medical need.
Granted, most of these laws were written a very long time ago. But it makes you wonder, what the heck were these original lawmakers doing? And what event happened that needed these laws to be enforced at all?
If some of these laws don't make you want to be a criminal, then I don't know what will