When is all-you-can-eat not really all you can eat?

By John Toth

It's all-you-can-eat, but I am filling up fast, and there is still a lot of food on my plate, plus dessert.

I feel obligated to finish, or at least make it look like I sort of finished.

I'm looking around to see what everyone else is doing. I am stuffed. I can't eat anymore.

The restaurant is making money on me, but not on the guy two tables down. He is putting it away like I've never seen. If I knew he was going to be here, I would have brought him a shovel.

He reminds me of a story I read recently about Bill Wisth, the Wisconsin man who got thrown out of his favorite all-you-can-eat restaurant for eating too much.

The 6-foot-6-inches tall, 350-lb Wisth wolfed down a dozen pieces of fried fish and asked for more. Workers at the restaurant said they ran out, so that's all he could eat.

It's hard to believe that a seafood restaurant would run out of seafood, but that's what they said. Wisth was getting no more fish.

So, Wisth returned the next day with a protest sign and started screaming about false advertising.

The restaurant stood its ground. Wisth called police. Like they were going to get him some more fish.

I would have let him have all the fish he wanted instead of alienating him. I would have used him in advertising, and built the whole special around him. Instead, the restaurant made him a foe.

Another story caught my eye also, about a man who went to eat all-you-can-eat sushi in a California restaurant, but didn't want to eat the rice, only the raw fish.

The owner told him that he would have to eat the rice also, but he refused.

Instead of being rude about it, I would have taken a fork loaded up with rice and play choo choo train with him.

Come on, you can do it, here comes the choo choo train, and shove the rice in his mouth. Or, would that be counterproductive?

He wound up suing the restaurant and wants to collect $4,000 in damages.

Yeah, it's all-you-can-eat, the owner said, but sushi includes the rice, which you also must eat. That's what was advertised.

Restaurants with all-you-can-eat specials risk attracting people who can eat a lot, which also eats away at profits. They are betting that most people can eat much less than what the food and other costs are.

That is, until one of our friends comes along, or the guy sitting two tables away from me.

The waiter better be on his toes, or this guy will start eating the table.

This concept is so popular that even Major League ballparks have gotten into the act. They now have all-you-can-eat sections, where the price of admission includes all the junk food you can stuff down your throat.

The menu includes hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, chips, soda and water. I'm still looking for the all-you-can-drink section.

Ballpark managers think they are getting the upper hand. After all, how much of this junk can you eat during a ballgame?

I would bring Joey Chestnut with me to teach them a lesson.

Chestnut is the 2012 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion. He won by consuming 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. They'd have to run out and get more hot dogs for this guy, or risk getting picketed or sued.

I'm sitting in the restaurant because I cannot move. No more all-you-can-eat for me. The restaurant wins.

The guy two tables down continues to devour the mountain of food on his plate. I am getting sick just watching it.

Now, here is a good idea the All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival. It happened June 30. I missed it. Maybe next year. Definitely not right now.

Time to get up and try to make it to the car. Before I do, though, I have to tell you the story about a family member (not me) who went to an all-you-can-eat shrimp special and kept on eating. He could shovel that fried shrimp in his mouth faster than they could take them out of the grease.

Next week when we went back, the place was closed.

I'm in the car, and heading home. I'm not eating for a week.