By Julius Mucunguzi
When we arrived in New York, one of the first things we went looking for was a place to have a meal of familar food. A friend at the Ugandan Mission directed us to a restaurant on 2nd Avenue, straight up from the mission offices on 336E, 45th Street.
“You will find everything you need,” she told us. “It is called Cafe Olympia,” she added.
Together with my friend, we walked up and as soon as we go to Second Avenue, we saw a long line of people entering an eating joint. They were people of all colours–typical of how New York streets look like during the UN General Assembly days. The whole world is in town.
As we approached the line, the aroma coming out of the restaurant pleasantly hit our nostrils and upped our appetite.
When we entered, we saw long stretches of all types of dishes displayed. It was self-service. A buffet like style. You would pick a plate of your chosen size and walk to any of the foods and serve as much as you wanted.
My friend picked a huge transparent plastic plate and heaped rice, chicken, sausages, mashed potatoes, ovacadoes and other greens. I took the other side and also put some fried plantain, mushrooms, a piece of ribs and steamed vegetables.
When we got to the counter, the lady cashier placed my friend’s plate on the weighing scale, and the scale tipped on the extreme right– and the price automatically showed: $42[ Ugx. 155,400]. She weighed mine, and the prices was $18 [ Ugx. 666,00].
My friend pulled out a $50 bill and paid, but with so much difficulty. He looked like he had been cheated–but it had been his choice.
In his mind, he thought that the buffet at this Olympia Cafe was served the same way we do in Uganda, where you serve as much as you want and pay the same amount.
Here, the price depends on the weight of what you put on your plate. When we returned the following day, I saw my friend being cautious and selective of what he put on his plate. His bill this time: $15dollars.
When we left, I started thinking that perhaps our restaurants should start charging us depending on the weight of what we order: that could help avoid wastage–serving more than what one can eat and finish.