Buffet killers  SEP 10 2002

We're in Las Vegas and it's buffet time. It's always buffet time here somewhere. Crab legs, prime rib, hotcakes & bacon, champagne brunch, all for more than you'd hoped, but after your fifth trip to the mashed potatoes & gravy trays, you stop caring about things like money.

I'm very aware of the other people at the buffet, moreso than at a normal restaurant. After a couple of minutes, I'm unconciously picking out the buffet killers. I'm a relative rookie at spotting the buffet killers, but I imagine that the owners can see them coming from across the casino floor, the restaurant's profit margins disappearing as fast as the food on their plates will. These are the people that have elevated buffet dining from the simple ingestion of foodstuffs to the level of sport. Buffet killers attack, show no mercy, give 110%, leave it all out there on the court, stick to the game plan, and go the extra mile.

Contrary to what you might think at first, the goal of the buffet killer is not to eat the most food, clear the most plates, or break the record for the most trips to the waffle bar. Like most other activities in Las Vegas, buffet dining is a game to be won or lost against an opponent. While most are content to eat for nourishment or to get their money's worth -- my attempt at the latter came up pitifully short -- the buffet killers are out to beat the house. They say no one beats the house in Vegas, but I saw several buffet players doing quite well for themselves.

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