Greed is good. Gordon Gekko’s famous line from Wall Street still rings true in restaurants across the US.
When I first lived in the UK, I was struck by the concept of greed as it relates to food. I was at a Christmas party and the host had set out a delicious spread of food so guests could help themselves, buffet-style. A British woman in front of me commented on how greedy she was for trying a little of everything. Her plate was modest. She was slim. But still, this concept of greed overwhelmed her – or at least commonplace decency welled up, enough for her to make that comment.
Over the years, I’ve heard these kinds of comments over and over by Brits. Most Americans simply aren’t programmed to think this way. We think of greed in terms of money and possessions, but not in terms of eating too much or supersizing our meals. Gluttony may have been one of the seven deadly sins, but the message seems to have evaded our collective conscience.
I challenge you to visit any all-you-can-eat American restaurant like Golden Corral or Hometown Buffet in search of this distinctly British mentality. I can already guarantee there will be no such modesty and no apologies, aside from “I’m sorry that I couldn’t have made room for that second piece of cobbler” or “I’m sorry I didn’t wear my fat pants tonight” variety.