Politicians, Popes, Professional Athletes, and Pop Singers are all people who need some guarding. Politicians from assassins. Popes from bad ancient ideas of thinking. Professional athletes from not stretching their hamstrings properly. Pop singers from selling out with a country album. It’s amazing that people with so much power need help in life. These star-studded A-Listers might have the world by the balls, but they also have a lot in common with buffet food. What guards the buffet food? The sneeze guard!

(I can hear your excitement already)

For those of you unfamiliar with exactly what a sneeze guard is, it’s the glass covering the food. Yep, it’s that simple. I’m not sure if that’s an official scientific term or some slang I learned from The Simpsons and thought was common knowledge. Like when I started to write a report in 5th grade about how the Sunsphere in Knoxville was filled with wigs now.

(Milhouse is very convincing)

The thing about sneeze guards are that they couldn’t possibly have always existed. Look at old pictures of the first Thanksgiving. Did I really just say “old pictures of the first Thanksgiving?” As opposed to the new ones that take centuries to develop. What I mean to say is that the first Thanksgiving was also the first buffet style meal. I know, you’re probably saying the Last Supper was also buffet style. No. You’re wrong. That was family style. The Last Supper was more like a PF Chang’s where you order a dish and everyone kind of shares. Then you get pissed off when Judas eats half the orange chicken. Why didn’t he order orange chicken if he wanted it so much? Ugh Judas is such an asshole. What could he possibly do to top this orange chicken stealing incident?

I’m thinking buffets started to become more popular in the 1950s or 1960s. That was when the United States was wealthy and not spending their money on Apple Products or sending poor minorities to college. What comes with wealth? Boogers! You never see a Third World child with a runny nose. It’s the ultimate scavenger hunt item. And with boogers come the removal of those delicious crunchy critters. What’s the safest way to get rid of a booger? Sneezing! See how things are started to connect? This is post is starting to turn into Crash.

(I know I’ve used that reference before. But what am I going say instead? “This post is starting to turn into 11:14?” Nobody saw that movie so here’s a picture of Matt Dillon saving the original Zoey Saldana)

We can safely assume Old Country Buffet was the first prominent one. If not for the word “Old” in the name simply try the food and tell me it’s not ancient. Fried chicken should not have mold. Pizza crust should not have “We Like Ike!” campaign buttons on them. I believe the first few years of buffets were spent getting a lot of people sick. Not stomach aches or food poisoning sick either. More of the you caught whatever that fat truck driver with the handle bar mustache is struggling through kind of sick. Similar to anything new, it takes a lot of testing to get it right. You don’t just invent a product and have it work right away. It takes a total recall to get it right. There are casualties. Collateral damage. Something about a kindergarten cop to squeeze in another Arnold Schwarzenegger movie title into this paragraph.

(Awww a hard cop is relating to children. Wanna bet they didn’t learn a thing and now talk in disgusting accents because of this strange undercover job?)

Buffets back then probably had waffles and fruit salads covered in snot. Why else would a sneeze guard be needed other than the fact that people were ALWAYS sneezing on food. You do not invent something on chance. You do it out of necessity. Enough people were sneezing onto food that sneeze guards became essential. Thing is, back then communication took longer. It had to be a slow process of adding them in. Right? Almost every buffet had to have at some point had someone sneeze on food. Not only that, they would have had to have someone sneeze on the food and have another person take notice and report it. I think I speak for the rest of us when I saw if I sneeze on someone else’s food and nobody notices, I don’t make a sound to the manager.

This is all purely my own theory on how sneeze guards came to be. As per usual I did no research. Instead I used conductive reasoning and assumed everybody is stupid. Possibly the true history of sneeze guards is that the pilgrims sat down with the Indians at the first Thanksgiving. A pilgrim sneezed onto a squash which then killed a bunch of the Indians after they ate it. I forget where I was going with this other than the idea that we’re so incredibly disgusting that we don’t know how to turn away from food before sneezing amuses me.

I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote this.

  1. Ah, yes the sneeze guard. One of the first things gov’t mandated to protect people from stupidity.

  2. I love the bit about the Last Supper being family style dinner like PF Chang’s. Brills!

  3. You must be busy… only 800 + words. Slacker.
    I like it when they forget to tell someone to clean the sneeze guard, and you can’t see the food through it anymore.
    I like buffets… you can experiment with combinations of food you would never have at home…
    Sneeze guards give people a false sense of security… like those paper covers for public toilet seats… who is that fooling… or swim diapers, which are basically just tea bags.
    Have you ever bent over to reach some tasty piece of food way back in the tray, and accidentally put your facer right on the sneeze guard?

    • Mooselicker says:

      Can’t say I have but I think I hit the back of my head on it once. That was me violating the rules. I have poor eyesight. I needed to know which waffle would go best with my sushi.

      Me, slacking? No. I had really one thing I wanted to say about sneeze guards and it’s that they amuse me. The whole concept of boogers is great.

  4. Addie says:

    Last Supper=Family Style. Top notch comparison. Personally, I call kleenex (or tissues, if your family works for someone other than Kimberly-Clark and they make pretend kleenex) a ‘sneeze guard’. I guess either my version or the plastic one is better than the snot+shirtsleeve=sneeze guard.

    • Mooselicker says:

      Do people who sneeze into their sleeve call it a sleeve guard? I wear long sleeves a lot. Mostly due to eczema. I bet people think I sneeze on my sleeves. I should start.

      I call them tissues. That’s like the whole Q-Tip versus Cotton Swabs argument. Or Band-Aids versus adhessive bandages. I don’t know where I was going with this.

  5. The Hobbler says:

    I can’t believe that this is the first time I’ve seriously thought of how/why sneeze guards came into being. Thanks for enlightening me.

  6. mindwarpfx says:

    With the sneez guard there should be a hight limit, at about normal peoples knees. Kids keep getting under them. With their hands, and their whole heads. Who realy knows just where they have been. It is right up there with washing hands in the bathroom and then having to open the door. You know that someone who hadn’t washed opend the door first. Now where does that leave your nice clean hands now?
    Great post. all the best.

    • Mooselicker says:

      Thanks. Bathrooms are so incredibly filthy, you’re right on that. But I poop anyway. Maybe a part of me likes the abuse. It helps build up an immunity. I may never get sick.

  7. This sort of implies that snot is not dangerous for our health since there’s a low incidence of people dying from eating in buffets sans sneeze guards. Or maybe I just don’t watch the news.

    • Mooselicker says:

      What I think happens is people eat snot then get into a car accident because of it. Not really. But I do believe a lot of car accidents occur due to sneezing. But everyone dies after this and cannot warn the rest of us. Take your allergy medicine daily. Save lives.

  8. Lily says:

    The bit about Judas is super funny. What a little bitch he was. jk jk. But seriously. I like to abbreviate things a lot. One day I abbreviated Old Country Buffet to Old Count Buff. Spelled out it looks okay. But when you pronounce it….it doesn’t really work. I prefer Golden Corral when I really want to feel like a fatty. Strap on the old feeding bag.

    • Mooselicker says:

      Golden Corral does sound more fattening. Old Country Buffet sounds like the place cattle ranglers go to eat. Golden Corral sounds like the place the cattle eat at. I’ve never been. I did see a commercial where a black couple dove out of a van to go to Golden Corral. Crab legs night?

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