Area Man Confounded By Buffet Procedure

Top Headlines

Local

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.

Area Man Under Impression He Got Dressed Up

PROVIDENCE, RI—Explaining that the dinner he would soon be having at an upscale restaurant required him to wear something a bit special, local man Kyle Finnegan was under the impression that he had just gotten dressed up, sources said Thursday.

Man Honestly Thought Breakdown Would Be More Obvious To People

MAPLEWOOD, MN—Explaining that he had assumed the deterioration of his physical and psychological state would be readily apparent, 3M sales associate Mark Uhler told reporters Wednesday he honestly thought his ongoing breakdown would be more obvious to everyone around him.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Neighborhood Busybody Reports Sound Of Gunshots

INDIANAPOLIS—Once again sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, neighborhood busybody Sally Christensen, 54, reportedly took it upon herself to report the sound of gunshots to law enforcement early Tuesday morning, sources confirmed.

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Man Proud Of Food He Ordered

DEDHAM, MA—Noting how the man grinned with satisfaction after his Buffalo Chicken Ranch sandwich with a side of spiced panko onion rings arrived at his table, sources at Chili’s Grill & Bar confirmed Tuesday that local diner Matt Schoesse ...

Fast Food Drive-Thru Just Cow Carcass, Bucket For Money

VENTURA, CA—Calling it the ultimate combination of freshness, value, and convenience, local fast food chain Sunshine Burger announced that, beginning this week, its regular drive-thru windows would be replaced by a cow carcass and a bucket for money...

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 

Disgusting Couple Always Interacting In Public

MINNEAPOLIS—Saying the pair was making everyone nearby feel uncomfortable, onlookers stated Wednesday they were disgusted by local couple Tyler Meacham and Caitlyn Ashford’s habit of interacting in public.

Siblings Quietly Relieved Oldest Brother Setting Bar So Low

CHARLOTTE, NC—Explaining how the 25-year-old’s personal and academic shortcomings had made their relationship with their parents far easier, siblings Eric and Theresa Conrad confided to reporters Friday that they were quietly relieved their ol...

Grandson’s Jigsaw Puzzle Strategy Fucking Pathetic

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Calling the 7-year-old’s attempt at fitting together the pieces the most idiotic display he’s witnessed in almost eight decades on earth, local grandfather Harold Randolph told reporters Wednesday that his grandson’s...

Woman Has No Business Being An Extrovert

SAN ANTONIO, TX—Explaining that the character trait does not seem to suit her well, acquaintances of local woman Mary Randolph told reporters Wednesday that the 32-year-old accountant really has no business being an extrovert.

Man Completes Life $130,000 Over Budget

SAN FRANCISCO—Having drastically underestimated the expenses required for such an elaborate production, recently deceased local man Norman Dennison is said to have completed his 84-year life Tuesday approximately $130,000 over budget.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Sleep

Energy

Area Man Confounded By Buffet Procedure

ERIE, PA—Area resident Don Turnbee was "completely bewildered" by standard buffet protocol at the East Frontage Road Ponderosa Steakhouse, sources close to the 37-year-old eater reported Tuesday.

Erie, PA, eater Don Turnbee.

Turnbee, who ordinarily relies on Burger King, McDonald's and other fast-food establishments for his nutritional-intake needs, was confused by procedures regarding Ponderosa's "$6.99 Grand Dinner Buffet." Among his uncertainties: when to pay for the meal, which food items he had unlimited access to, whether soft-drink refills were free, and whether to move around the various serving stations in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

"There was a lot of different stuff you had to know," Turnbee said. "I wasn't sure if I was doing it right."

Ponderosa patrons reported seeing Turnbee wander aimlessly for 20 to 30 minutes through the restaurant's all-you-can-eat buffet area, which features more than 75 choices of hot and cold appetizers, salad items, fresh fruits and pasta, as well as a "No Stopping The Toppings" dessert/sundae bar.

"It's pretty confusing. They need to put up some signs explaining how everything works," Turnbee said. "At Taco Bell, at least they have railings so you know where to walk."

According to Ponderosa cashier Liz Rutt, Turnbee was disoriented from the moment he walked in the door. "He was looking up at the big menu for like 10 minutes and then went over by the window for a while, just looking really lost," Rutt said. "Finally, I was like, 'Can I help you? You need to order before you can be seated.'"

Once seated in a booth, Turnbee waited for a server to bring him a plate for the buffet. Finally, after 10 minutes, he approached a server from another section, who informed him that plates were located next to the buffet and that he could "go ahead whenever you're ready."

Turnbee works on his fifth Ponderosa buffet plate.

More confusion awaited Turnbee at the buffet itself. "There was a big table with vegetables and mashed potatoes and all that, but then there were these other little sections off to the side with soup and Mexican food and desserts," Turnbee said. "I know at Wendy's you have to pay extra for the soup and potato bar, so I didn't know for sure which things I could have."

"I tried to watch what other people were taking," he added, "but I wasn't sure if they'd gotten the same buffet deal as me or if they'd gotten some other deal that gave them special access to that stuff."

Turnbee eventually found an elderly woman near the macaroni salad and asked her which items he could eat.

"She told me I could have as much as I wanted of anything in the whole buffet area," Turnbee said. "I was really happy about that, because there were a lot of things I wanted that I'd thought I couldn't get, like the tacos."

Even after determining what he could eat, however, Turnbee continued to struggle. Uncertain "what food went with what," Turnbee's first trip to the buffet resulted in a plateful of spaghetti covered in nacho-cheese sauce, a taco dressed with cottage cheese and fish wedges dipped in lentil soup. Though not confirmed as of press time, it is also believed that Turnbee topped a Sloppy Joe sandwich with several large dollops of sour cream.

Still more trouble came when Turnbee made his first return trip to the buffet. While serving himself buffalo wings, he drew disapproving glares from other buffet patrons before noticing a sign reading, "Please Take A Clean Plate Before Each Trip To The Buffet."

"They put that sign in a really bad place," said Turnbee, defending his use of the dirty plate. "It's right by the clean plates, so the only way you'd see is if you were already getting a clean plate, anyway."

Among Turnbee's other violations of Ponderosa buffet protocol: grabbing rolls without using the provided plastic tongs, using a soup bowl for his ice cream, spilling shredded carrots into the garbanzo beans, and letting the rice pilaf's cover fall into the alfredo sauce.

"The whole time, I really tried to be careful," Turnbee said. "Like, I didn't know if I could cut in by the hot bar, so I just waited in line through all the salad items just to get at the macaroni and cheese way down at the end. But even still, I wound up making all these mistakes. It's a really confusing set-up."

Architect Randall Kouris, who in 1986 drafted the dining-area plan now standard to all Ponderosa franchises, stood behind his design, insisting that the series of smaller buffet islands is not intended to confuse guests but rather to create a homier, less "cafeteria-ish" atmosphere.

"After extensive tests, it was clear that restaurant patrons found this layout much easier to navigate than the traditional cafeteria-style, single-island buffet," Kouris said. "I am truly sorry that Mr. Turnbee had problems with our set-up, but, as I said, most customers seem to greatly prefer it."

Despite Turnbee's difficulties, Ponderosa officials expressed confidence that, in time, he could master the intricacies of the restaurant's buffet.

"The problems Mr. Turnbee encountered are simply the result of unfamiliarity, and I believe it is well within his power to acclimate himself to our system," said Larry Chynoweth, manager of the East Frontage Road Ponderosa. "I would urge Mr. Turnbee to give us another chance and find out just how great the Ponderosa dining experience can be."

Turnbee said it is doubtful he will become a regular customer of the chain.

"The food was really good, and I got a lot for my money, but it's just too complicated," he said. "I think I'm going to stick with Burger King and McDonald's—except maybe on special occasions."

Next Story