Strategic food attack at functions

by on October 1, 2010 at 6:17 am in Economics, Food and Drink | Permalink

Here is more on the optimal use of buffets, especially for Indian food:

At Sharadha’s wedding too I had managed to spot and exploit arbitrage opportunities. For example, I realized that people never stood in queues to get second helpings, and that I could peacefully get around the line by taking the plate from the hardly-crowded salad counter and then going to the main line looking like I was going for second helpings.

…And if you find yourself at a buffet which has lots of financial traders, I really pity you.

The previous link on the topic was here.  For the pointer I thank Karthik Shashidar.

1 T. Shaw October 1, 2010 at 9:28 am

I attempt to obtain optimal use of my Costco (or Price Club or Sams Club) membership by shamelessly taking delectable free samples they distribute at various locations from about 12PM to 4PM.

I figure I recoup the $53 membership fees in four trips. Sometimes I leave without (was in the vicinity on other business) buying.

Bonus, the wife pays that bill. OTOH, when the wife comes the huge shopping cart is nearly filled before she gets one item on her list . . .

You cannot win.

2 Dano October 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I was taught to wait until everyone went through the line the first time before one went back for seconds.

3 a October 2, 2010 at 3:14 am

What Doug said.

4 Matthew Ernest October 3, 2010 at 1:51 am

Cheating? Wha…?

It’s only seems like queue jumping if you insist that everything is in a single queue, which is not a real constraint of the problem. If you recognize the buffet as a number of stations with individual queues, then the diners can apply their indifference curves to match their demands with instantaneous supply of food. This increases the efficiency of the “food getting” part of the nigh and allows you to get on with other things.

It is also better cooperation since you are no longer competing for space in a single queue for things you yourself do not want.

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