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Demosthenes's avatar

Are bulk foods and other "self-serve" things like salsa/salad bars coming back?

Asked by Demosthenes (12880points) May 23rd, 2021

My local grocery store is pretty much back to normal. No more unidirectional aisles, no more counting customers as they walk in, bags from home are accepted again; the only restriction in place is mask-wearing. That said, early in the pandemic, they removed their bulk foods section (where you can scoop grains, nuts, and other items into a bag and pay by weight) and it has still not returned (originally it was just blocked off and the food was removed, but I noticed all the containers are gone now so I don’t think it’s coming back). Other stores in the area that had bulk foods sections have also not brought them back.

Additionally, every Mexican restaurant in the area that had a salsa bar closed it down last year and has also not yet brought them back. Salad bars and buffets are also still absent.

Do you think these “self-serve” options will be coming back or are they are a thing of the past? What has been happening with them where you live? Kind of ridiculous since I’d like to see one example of someone who caught COVID from a dang salsa bar.

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8 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

They never left here.

cookieman's avatar

Sadly yes. I really can’t believe certain things are coming back. Massachusetts has allowed children’s ball pits to reopen.

Ball pits!! They were already germ factories before COVID.

JLeslie's avatar

We still had some buffets happening here, while others closed down or had employees serving the food. For instance Sweet Tomatoes closed forever early in the pandemic where I live while Golden Corral stayed open. Some of the Chinese buffet changed how they did things from what I understand.

I know I saw the olive bar open last time I was in the supermarket and I can take my own bagels. There was a salad bar in one supermarket close to me, I have no idea if it closed or if it’s back open.

Seems like it just depends.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I hope not. They were disease-ridden cesspools before and they would be again.

I don’t ever go to buffets or salad bars for that reason.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes, I’ve already been and forgot the plastic gloves. It was a bit scary but delicious.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: Once, about a year and a half ago (pre-pandemic), I was in the supermarket and I saw an old guy open the lid on one of the olive bar containers and stick his fingers in it, pluck out an olive and eat it right then and there. Just think, who knows how clean he was last time he went to the bathroom, and then his hands touching the car, shopping cart, etc. and now those fingers were in the olives. I never ate from things like that and I never will.

I told the cashier but they probably didn’t do anything about it. I feel it’s highly unlikely they were going to throw out all the olives.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 I guess people have to hope the sodium kills everything. I’ve never bought olives from an olive bar. I have eaten at buffets though. I try to ignore the germs. I’m not sure when I’ll try food from a buffet again. Usually, I clean my hands when I get back to the table before eating. The Golden Coral near me always had Purell in spots even before covid. The problem is a lot of people don’t bother to sanitize their hands before touching all of the serving spoons. Most people think in terms of protecting themselves not others.

Maybe COVID will cause more weddings and similar events to go back to a sit down dinner. That would be nice. I like being served if I’m dressed up.

The thing is, I’m aware of the possibility of germs from kitchen staff, waiters, no matter what there are germs.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I noticed that serve-yourself soup to go returned to my local Kroger-owned stores. The salad bars are still closed.

I hope they come back. I like to load up a container with various fresh vegetables. The price per pound is much higher than the regular produce, but it doesn’t require buying six or 8 vegetables to get the variety.

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