People Share Their All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Horror Stories

People Share Their All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Horror Stories
Negative Space / Pexels

My ex husband had a super strict NO BUFFETS rule. I thought it was a bit odd, but I had no idea how right that man was to have that rule. I'd only ever been to higher-end sushi buffets where you could see everything, and a Ponderosa once or twice as a kid during a Disney vacation. Six year olds don't care about hygiene when they're all hopped up on the mouse.

Fast forward a few years to my very own Disney vacation. My children (the oldest was about 7 for this) really wanted to go to a buffet. Since Daddy wasn't with us to act as a buffet-blocker, we totally went.

And we totally regretted it.

Can I just ask why people feel compelled to lick the communal serving utensils?!? How hard is it to cover your mouth when you sneeze? Do you really need to dip your finger into every sauce and taste test it?

I left with so many questions; as well as a newly adopted NO BUFFETS rule ... and a stomach bug.

Reddit user no_walking_anytime asked:

What are your all-you-can-eat buffet horror stories?

Brace yourselves, dear readers. Things are about to get incredibly vomitastic. I know that's not a "real" word, but trust me - it's the only word that fits.

Ranch Legos


My mother insisted on going to Hometown Buffet because she found a coupon in the newspaper. The whole buffet smelled heavily of bleach. All the food tasted like it was trying to die but the preservatives were keeping it on life support far beyond normal reason. I stuck mainly to the salad bar and fruits. I'd been using the small portion plates to make salad with veggies and a little ranch dressing. I went back for a 3rd small plate of salad and veggies. I grabbed the ladle in the ranch dressing tub and poured it over my salad, at that moment a ranch dressing covered lego man fell out of the ladle and onto my food.

I kept him. He's chilling in one of my toolboxes somewhere.

- Influx_ink

Old Lady Vomit

One time I went with my parents and some relatives to Las Vegas. My dad was starving himself all day so he could fill up on crab legs at the Paris buffet.

So anyway, these relatives are just bitter, slow, awful people who make the whole day miserable. One of them is a very old woman in a wheelchair that my dad is pushing around all day. Basically he's hot and hungry and miserable; but excited for dinner. It's the only thing he's looking forward to all day.

We get to the buffet, get our table, dad doesn't even sit - he just goes straight for the food. While he is gone. the old lady throws up all over the table. Stinky, old lady vomit would bother anyone, but my dad specifically is a sympathy puker.

The relatives tried to complain and say the food made her sick, but we didn't even eat yet! We ended up leaving without eating anything. Some other tables nearby cleared out as well.

I was really young when this happened but I remember my dad walking back towards the table with a huge plate of crab legs and big smile and then his face just totally falling lol

- samanthastoat

Mystery Meat

Way back before you needed a Canadian passport to cross the border into the US, my family would make regular trips into Michigan and Ohio. Once we were at a Ponderosa buffet and my dad put something on his plate that he couldn't identify - he wasn't sure if it was chicken or fish even after tasting it but for some ungodly reason he ate the rest anyway.

Cut to twenty minutes later and we're all packed into the van listening to my dad LOUDLY vomit repeatedly into a bush in the parking lot. He sounded like someone was forcibly tearing out his insides and I still remember the sound to this day.

People walked right past him and kept going inside to eat.

- CrazyCatLushie

The No Sugar Kid

When I was an emo middle schooler, my best friend's mom forced me to join girl scouts with them. One day she took the whole girl scout troop out to a restaurant with a salad bar buffet. I got stuck sitting next to a girl I hated. She was VERY religious and this was the first time she had ever been away from her mom (she was around 14) and she wasn't allowed to have sugar.

She ordered a large strawberry milkshake, chugged it, ate a huge plate full of spinach with ranch on it, and then vomited bright pink vomit all over the table, the floor, herself, and me. The worst part was that we had to sit in the car with her for the 2 hour drive home, holding our breath.

- 99Stars

Boiling Hot Crab Water

Went to a buffet for my dad's birthday one Saturday night. The workers had just brought out the new tray of crab legs and there was a line forming. My family and I waited patiently in line, when the guys in front of us starting arguing because one of them was taking too long to pick which pieces he wanted. Arguing turned into shoving, and then finally one of the guys pushed ahead and stuck his hand into boiling hot water, grabbed a couple crab legs, threw them on his plate and left the line. Pretty sure he had to leave soon after because he had some serious burns on his hand.

- toomuch-freetime

The Loophole

I'll never forget when I was a teenager and working the buffet line at a Ponderosa steakhouse, this morbidly obese child had a plate with a MOUNTAIN of food. Like some of literally almost everything from the buffet. Mashed potatoes, pizza, chicken wings, jello, pudding, like EVERYTHING piled on top of each other.

So I go up to him because it was bizarre and I'm like "Hey you know you can use a second plate?"

He said "I'm only allowed to have one plate"

His parents were trying to restrict his diet and he just found a loophole. But if you have a kid with this sort of issue, maybe don't go to a buffet?

- givebusterahand

Roast Beef Lady

I remember going to one a few months ago and there was a lady seated next to my table. I was eating when she leaned in and asked, "Hey, what's that you're eating?" I told her it was roast beef. She said, "Looks good. Mind if I try some?" and proceeded to cut a piece off ofmy plate with a fork she had used! She decided she really liked it and left to go get some more from the carving station.

I pushed the plate aside and finished everything else. I left to go cut some more roast beef when I see that there's no more left. Then I see the lady - I kid you not- with about 3/4 (all that was left) of it on her plate. I just got something else from the food bar.

After about 30 minutes, the lady only ate a quarter of the roast beef before loudly exclaiming, "I'm full! Excuse me, may I get my check?"

The waitress came over and said that she had wasted too much food and explained that they charged 20% more for wasted food. The lady got really mad and yelled "Heck no!"

She tried to leave paying only the regular price before the waitress told her she hadn't paid everything. The lady yelled "This is one scam business you guys have!" but she finally agreed to pay. On her way out the door, she yelled "I'm telling all my friends about you guys!" and stormed off.

People just kind of looked at her and continued on.

- notfromconcentrate47

Mini Octopus. Never Again


I had an internship a few years ago with an engineering group of an industrial plant. Every now and again they would go out somewhere for lunch and invite me along. One day they decided to go to a Chinese buffet nearby. I love Chinese food and cheap Chinese food so I was totally game. It was your typical Chinese buffet, and was actually pretty good.

But then one of my colleagues brought back on a plate the source of my soon to be woes. A singular mini octopus. I have no idea what the proper name was, but it was just a tiny octopus pickled in something, and was about the size of a thumb tip. He brought it back as a joke kind of passing it around trying to get people to try it.

Then I said "I'll give it a shot."

Everyone just kind of laughed and looked at me, but I insisted and he put it on my plate. Now I'm a pretty adventurous eater and love trying new and especially weird foods. I'll try just about anything and enjoy doing so. I had also had octopus many times before served several different ways so I thought "how bad can it be?"

Very. Bad.

I don't remember the exact flavor but it was vinegary and salty for sure. That and it tasted like it was sitting on the buffet for a week. The texture was worse. The best way to describe it is like trying to eat a rubber bouncy ball. I tried to chew it a bit but made little progress. So at this point everyone at the table is asking how it was, and somehow through all my grimacing I manage to say "not great."

They kind of awkwardly change the subject while I find myself in a weird position. I want to spit it out, however I was sure doing so would have made me vomit all over the table. But the thing was so damn hard to chew that if I actually chewed it properly I would have vomited anyway. So I decided to just swallow it mostly whole and get it over with. It was extremely unpleasant and an all around bad time.

However, my pain didn't stop there. Oh no. The real pain came when we got back.

Almost immediately after getting back to the maintenance office I could feel it. My bowels were in some of the most intense pain I ever felt. I very quickly got up and headed out of the office towards the bathroom, grabbing a clipboard on the way out to make it look like I was actually going to work instead of my own personal hell. I get to the bathroom and sit on the toilet.

The most vile poo you've ever seen. It felt like it was relentless. It burned so bad and I hadn't even eaten any spicy food. The fact that I didn't cry or scream still amazes me. As I'm writing this right now my bowels are crying in pain over the memory of what happened.

Wiping was the revenge of my expelled demon. It was like trying clean up an oil spill with one paper towel. The single ply toilet paper never stood a chance. Wad after wad, wipe after wipe came back brown, as if I had never even attempted.

Eventually though, I was finished. There was no more material, and no more wiping. There was already enough damage done. I wash my hands and look in the mirror at the broken man before me.

Then I check my phone and realize that I had been in the bathroom for over an hour and a half. Realizing this, I grab my clipboard, walk out of the bathroom, and head back to the engineering office trying my best to look like I accomplished something. I walk back into the office and sit back down at my laptop. No one says a word to me. They knew. They had to have. But they didn't say a thing.

So, yeah. That's my worst buffet experience. Mini octopus. Never again.

- CoreyCC97

The Moment It Dawned On Me

Years ago, I would take my father to lunch every weekend. He loved buffets, preferring all-you-can-eat restaurants over finer dining establishments. On one such lunch occasion, we were quietly enjoying our first plates, and I see a teenager hurriedly making his way to the restroom. The kid has one hand over his mouth, and puke is running through his fingers and around his cupped hand. I immediately lose my appetite, and just hang out as my dad goes back a couple more times.

Cut to 20 min later, and I see puke kid at the buffet, loading up his plate, handling the same serving utensils as everyone else. I'm sure he did his best to clean up, but this still grossed me out. That's the moment it dawned on me that every customer, hygienic or otherwise, handles these same utensils. The guy that licks his fingers, the kid that picks his nose, the lady with an itchy armpit...

- Dutchapplepoptart

Pizza And A Fire Engine

I was a volunteer firefighter back in my home town. After a Saturday training class we went to Cici's, an all you can eat pizza joint. It wasn't my normal shift so I kinda pigged out, I think I earned it given the training we had just gone through. Most calls we get are medical emergencies and given that I wasn't on the responding shift I figured I was in the clear. I was wrong.

Towards the end of my pizza binge a call goes out a few districts over. It's a brush fire threatening a mobile home park. Weekends are usually when most volunteer departments have man power, and given that it was an actual fire we all figured departments would be fighting over it. Nope.

First department gets toned out, no answer. Second gets toned out, still no one answering. Third gets toned out, with an update of a confirmed mobile home fire. Well at that point we have made it to the fire engines and the chief offers our department to respond since nobody else is. One fire engine, one tanker (water tender, depending on where you are from), and utility vehicle with the chief and another fire fighter on board. We are bringing everything you could need to this fire. We are still the only department (district) that has answered.

So there I am in the back of the engine trying to get my bunker gear and scba on. It isn't easy to do that in a moving vehicle much less in an out dated fire engine with less room than a dressing room in a department store. I'm feeling the pizza at this point but once I sit back down all seems to be ok.

We get on scene and I jump out and start pulling an attack line off the truck. Get all 200 feet situated and ready. The chief puts two guys on that hose and yells for me to pull the other line. I feel the weight of every slice I put into my trap with each movement I make. But adrenaline has command so I pull another 200 ft of hose. By then other departments have started arriving.

Chief puts me and another fire fighter on that hose and we start concentrating on the fire on the outside and threatening other homes. I had to open my air flow valve all the way just to keep from puking in my mask. It's hot and sweaty and my pizza burps are not helping at all. I went through a 20 minute pack of air in 10 minutes. Once I was out of air the subs were put in.

The medical team there to support rehab zeroed in on me at this point. Apparently I was very pale and looked like I was going to pass out. I walked pass them, all the while they are trying to get me to sit down, and barfed up everything from that days meal. I swear it didn't stop for a good 2 minutes.

Once I was done with that I felt great. I continued to assist with outside operations, the med team wouldn't let me go anywhere near a spot where full gear was needed. We were able to save the surrounding homes. Once back at the station I let my mask soak in disinfectant to get the smell out.

- Acidain

"Yeah, We Know..." 


Went to Golden Corral while I was pregnant, and after we'd finished eating I reached to get a napkin out of the dispenser on the table and a roach came out with the napkin. I immediately wanted to vomit. I called the manager over and told her what happened. She said "Yeah, we know. We're working on it but we just can't seem to get rid of the infestation. We even had somebody come spray last night but I guess it didn't help."

I freaking lost it. I ended up reporting them to the health department after the manager told me she wasn't sure anything had been cleaned after the pest control company sprayed the night before.

- RogueXZombie85

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