The salad bar has a couple options: a small plastic box you fill up for $3.00 or a larger plastic box (about the size of a dinner plate) for $5 or $6 (I forget exactly how much they cost). I always get the small box and I fill it with the usual: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, boiled eggs, cottage cheese, fruit, salad dressing, etc. I've learned to come to the salad bar early because sometimes a few of these items run out and the staff at the cafe are slow in replenishing them. I'm rather impatient at the salad bar so I'd rather do without than stand there and wait for someone to eventually replace the depleted item. When I walk in the cafe I check the salad bar to make sure there is plenty cottage cheese, lettuce and eggs. If any one of them are lacking, I move on and get something else from the cafe (usually soup - there's always plenty of soup). I also get to the cafe early so as to get in line before the Evil Salad Bar Lady (ESBL).
ESBL hit my radar early on my first encounter with her. She was in line in front of me and she was taking her sweet time. I don't expect people to be super fast in the salad bar line but they shouldn't dawdle either. There are hungry people in line, dammit! Hurry up! She would hover over one item and then decides she doesn't want it. But then she goes back to another item she already passed by to get some , causing the whole line to lurch because we were about to step into the spot she had just vacated. I suppose she needs the items to be placed in a certain order (black peas on top of the cottage cheese and not vice versa). Whatever the reason, what she is doing is taking too long.
ESBL is also a hoarder. If she likes a particular item on the salad bar, she takes a lot of it. I mean A LOT! Like most of what's in the bowl. There she was, in line in front of me, taking some cottage cheese. It was running low but I wasn't worried, there was at least six or seven spoonfuls of the stuff and most people only take 2 or 3 spoonfuls which is plenty. Not ESBL. After she dumped the third spoonful into her already full container, I thought she was done and I was ready to move forward and take my portion of cottage cheese. But wait! She wasn't done! She took a fourth spoonful! And a fifth! She kept going until there was no more cottage cheese left! My eyes widened in amazement. She took enough cottage cheese for two people! And she wasn't done! She did the same with the boiled eggs (which were chopped and mixed together in a bowl). At the end she had six dollars worth of salad heaped on top of a three dollar container. She had to press the lid on top to keep stuff from pouring out. You could say she was frugal with her purchase but I had some more choice words to use. "Hoarder" was the nicest from the list.
The second time I encountered her was a week later and I discovered another of her evil powers: jumping back in line. I came to the salad bar at an earlier time but not soon enough: the ESBL was once again right in front of me. Fortunately there was plenty of cottage cheese and eggs so I didn't suffer from CCD or HBED (cottage cheese deprivation and hard boiled egg deprivation). When I got to the eggs, ESBL was at the croutons but decided she still needed to add more shredded carrots to that enormous tower of food on her plate. So, instead of going to the end of the line, she steps in behind me cutting off the guy to my rear. How RUDE! (she did say "Excuse me" but still very rude). It's all about the order in which the salad items are placed, I guess. Never mind the other people in line.
I'm always on the lookout for the ESBL because those evil powers of hers can ruin my lunch. The only weapon I have is the EA (early arrival) beam. But that weapon is not too reliable and has failed me a couple times. The TSOTSB (try something other than Salad Bar) bomb is an option but I don't care for many of the other items in the cafe. The ESE (eat somewhere else) gun only works before I arrive at the cafe: once I decide to go to the cafe the ESE gun is useless. Withering glares and acerbic comments don't work on ESBL: she's immune to the stuff.
I've never encountered ESB lady or her kin at other Salad Bars. Maybe it's because salad bars at restaurants are much larger than the cafe salad bar and so they are relatively immune to the effect of ESBL (unless two or three ESBLs show up and then there would be total chaos! Run for your lives! Protect your children before it's too late! Alert!). Either that or there's only one ESBL and she's at my place of work. The horror! The horror!
In the meantime I can only be vigilant. I can't eradicate her from the face of the salad bar but I can cope and plan better strategies.