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4) Ethnographic Study

You don’t have to be Jane Goodall to become absolutely enthralled by the bizarre assemblage of people you’ll come across while you’re dining at the typical buffet. From the elderly, to the morbidly obese; from the seemingly well-off, to the family that looks like they finally dipped into the swear jar for a fancy night out, it’s a hodgepodge of humanity you rarely see anywhere else. And, if you bring a notebook, a tape recorder, and have the patience to spend a few hours sitting in a corner booth facing the buffet, you’ll be able to write a master’s thesis on the oddities of human behavior.

3) Soft Serve Ice Cream

Some meals are prematurely ended when the waiter drops off the check immediately following your main course and you’re just too lazy to say you had been really excited about dessert. Fortunately, at the buffet you control your own fate. If it’s even a moderately decent buffet, your fate will include at least two flavors of soft serve ice cream and a bar of accoutrements including sprinkles, crushed up candy bars, and if you’re especially lucky, maybe even gummy bears. It’s kind of like being at Cold Stone, only you get to do it yourself and you don’t have to deal with that annoying singing every time someone leaves a tip.

2) Fixed-Cost Gluttony

The food may not be that good, the restaurant may not be clean, and some of the people there might make you downright uncomfortable, but at the buffet it’s all about the value. For a fixed price, you can literally eat until you throw up. And at most buffets you could probably still sneak back and grab one or two more plates after that.

1) A Chance to Act Like a Child

The best thing about buffets is they allow you to act impulsively and with total disregard for your health and well-being. Basically, they let you act like a child again. You can make your own lavish ice cream sundae (and even go back for a second dessert), you can skip the salad bar without being chided for not eating vegetables, and you can shamelessly lap up mac and cheese, pizza, and maybe even a few chicken nuggets without feeling like your behavior is evenly remotely atypical. The buffet gives you a chance to escape from responsibility and focus on just one thing, making sure you’re filled with regret as soon as you get home. What could possibly be better than that?

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