Not a shootout at the Golden Corral, thankfully. The deadliest weapon used here was furniture.

Even so, this is a vivid illustration of the fact that after two years of pandemic frustration this country has lost its g-ddamned mind. Less than a month ago the Times published this prescient look at Americans increasingly hulking out in consumer settings:

“People are just — I hate to say it because there are a lot of really nice people — but when they’re mean, they’re a heck of a lot meaner,” said Sue Miller, who works in a nonprofit trade association in Madison, Wis. “It’s like, instead of saying, ‘This really inconvenienced me,’ they say, ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ It’s a different scale of mean.”

The meanness of the public has forced many public-facing industries to rethink what used to be an article of faith: that the customer is always right. If employees are now having to take on many unexpected roles — therapist, cop, conflict-resolution negotiator — then workplace managers are acting as security guards and bouncers to protect their employees…

“There’s a lack of outlets for people’s anger,” Ms. Swift said. “That waiter, that flight attendant — they become a stand-in for everything coming between what we experience and what we think we are entitled to.”

One worker at a supermarket in Minnesota told the Times about a man in his 60s throwing a full-on temper tantrum because the store didn’t have the imported cheese he liked. The Great Golden Corral Melee of 2022 reportedly began similarly, with a dispute over … steak.

“From what I heard, it was over steak. Apparently somebody cut in line,” Dylan Becker, a former Golden Corral employee, told CBS Philly. He said a current worker told him this.

His friend Gaven Lauletta also told the local news station that he heard from Golden Corral workers that “there was a shortage of steak, and two parties were involved.”

Golden Corral insists that it didn’t run out of steak, so rest assured that if you drop by you’ll be able to fill your belly with beef before someone hits you across the back of the skull with a high chair. The “cut the line” explanation seems to have more truth to it, with one patron claiming that he got his steak before a second customer did who’d been waiting longer because he’d ordered his rare. Evidently the second guy found that unfair. And thus did 40 or so people proceed to hulk out in unison.

Watch the clip below and you’ll see that we may have no choice but to drop all COVID restrictions soon. If we don’t, someone’s going to end up blowing up a Red Robin because they welshed on the bottomless sides.

Roy Wood of “The Daily Show” says he knows from personal experience that the steaks at Golden Corral really are good. Just not that good.

Thankfully, and amazingly, no one was hurt. I confess, I tried to watch the clip with the appropriate amount of solemnity and disapproval but I busted out laughing when one guy picks up a table to defend himself. Exit quotation: “I heard about the big fight and it’s just sad. It’s just really, everybody is on a short fuse these days.”

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