1795: All You Can Eat

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All You Can Eat
After my absent-mindedness resulted in a bad posterboard-related stomachache, I learned to do the sign-making place last.
Title text: After my absent-mindedness resulted in a bad posterboard-related stomachache, I learned to do the sign-making place last.


An all-you-can-eat buffet is when a restaurant will charge you once for entry and then continuously serve you more food at no additional cost until you have eaten all-you-can-eat. Part of the "My Hobby" series, this comic shows Randall wishes to prepend "all-you-can-eat" to random stores. With the exception of the pet store, these stores do not sell food, so the very idea of eating their product would be ridiculous[citation needed]. However, this is what Randall's stunt makes the stores he defaces seem to advertise. Most people would not seriously consider eating the products these stores sell even with the signs suggesting they should, as it is just a monumentally stupid idea[citation needed].

In the title text, Randall seems to have fallen for his own prank. After he puts the "all-you-can-eat" sign onto the signmakers' place, he proceeds to heed his own sign literally and eat the posterboards that he is supposed to make signs from. To remind himself not to make the same mistake again, he tells himself to "do the sign-making place last."

Note that some pets are considered food in some cultures; rabbits are commonly kept as pets as well as served as food, dogs are consumed in some areas in eastern Asia, guinea pigs in South America and Africa, and some fictional characters are known for eating cats. Even more normally, a cat owner that wants to buy an "all you can eat" bird feast for their cat would be happy with this last store. Aside from pets, pet stores also sell pet food, and while frowned upon by some, it is common practice to give human nutrition supplements to pets and vice versa. Some animal snacks are considered very tasty by many people, and there even exist several brands of snacks designed to be eaten both by people and their pets so that the owners could feel somehow closer to their beloved companion. Premium pet foods are made to standards that are no worse than standards for human food, so eating them poses no health risks in the short term - long term, most pet diets would fail to deliver right balance of nutrients needed by humans.

It should also be noted that sometimes "all-you-can-eat" is used to mean "unlimited usage". An all-you-can-eat data plan, for example, is another way to say unlimited data. If this definition of the word were used, all-you-can-eat would mean "unlimited copies of our product for a one time fee".

Also, in one episode of his television show, Soupy Sales is informed that his dog has stolen a tire and eaten part of it.

It is not really possible to read the obscured part of the first two signs, although it is pretty clear that the first and last letters in the first sign are A and k. And also since the A is taller than the white sign, this first letter must be larger than the others which do not show above the white sign. There could be room for anything from 8 to many more letters hidden as it can be seen in the second line below that the I's take up much less space than the other letters. But from the letters below it would be likely there were 9 (maybe including a space) if no I's were used resulting in a word or two like this "A _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ k".

The last sign is though clearly readable and it says "Kevin's Pet Store". There actually exists a web page with the name "Kevin's Pet Shop", supposedly located in Texas, but there is very limited information on the page. See more about the use of Kevin in xkcd in the trivia below.

An all-you-can-eat hair salon actually makes sense... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapsalon


[The comic shows the facades of four stores next to each other on a street, with the sidewalk shown in front of them. To the top of each store's name there has been appended white signs. Three of the white signs partially cover the name part of the sign above three of the stores, but the fourth sign is placed entirely above the text of the third store. Thus that white sign's top is higher up than the building's.]
[First store from the left has one small rectangular section next to the door and then a larger window. The first section may be a poster with information about the store. It could also be a small window. Through the large window (or on it) two rectangular signs can be seen with unreadable text. There are also three half circles at the bottom of the large window, possibly chairs or tires on display. On the normal sized door there hangs an open/closed sign, but no text is visible. On the stores sign the top line of text, likely with the name of the store, is obscured by the white sign so most of the letters are completely covered. Less than half of the first capital letter and ditto for the last letter is visible. It looks like the first letter is an "A", and the last a "k".]
White sign: All-you-can-eat
Store sign: Discount Tires
[Second store from the left has two posters over each other, the top one with unreadable text, the bottom a picture of a person with messy black hair, seen from the torso and up. Next to this is a double door with large windows from below the middle and up near the top. Next to the door there is a small window. On the stores sign the top line of text, likely with the name of the store, is completely obscured by the white sign. This line is shorter than the white sign, but the letters are taller, so top and bottom of the letters can be seen. But it is not easy to guess any letters.]
White sign: All-you-can-eat
Store sign: Hair Salon
[Third store from the left has two posters over each other, but the lower poster is smaller and more to the right. Both has unreadable text, and the top one also some kind of image with two tilted rectangles. Similarly there are three signs above each other with different size and text on the right side of the store. Between them is a large open door. Wider than the double doors of store two, but there is no sign of the doors. Inside the store there are two signs, one hanging down from two rods from the ceiling, both with unreadable text. The one from the ceiling is in the center the other is partly obscured by the door frame to the left. Left and right there are two rectangular structures, which both goes behind the frame. The left is taller. In the middle there is one broad but low rectangular structure with another higher rectangle on top, which does not go to either side of the one below. The white sign on this store is slightly tilted, and most of it is above the top of the store, and thus also almost completely above the store sign. Only the top of the first and last letter in the last word in the top line is touched by the sign.]
White sign: All-you-can-eat
Store sign: Lumber and
Store sign: Flooring Depot
[Fourth store from the left has a window to the left. Behind the window is a flat surface on which two rectangular structures are standing on their long sides. Over the lowest to the left there is sign with unreadable text. Below the window there is a thins sign with more text. The normal sized door has a window from below the middle and up. There are three several signs up the left sign, and possible another three small signs at the bottom of the window. The top right corner has a curved line around the corner. No text is visible on the door. Next to the door is another square. It could be a window of a place to post things. There are one large posters to the left with unreadable text and to the top right another smaller white rectangle. Below along the bottom of the square there are three small rectangles shown in full, and two more is only partly shown, which could indicate that it is a window and that they are inside the store. On the stores sign the top line of text, with the name of the store, is obscured by the white sign. The name is just a bit longer than the white sign, and as the letters are a bit higher than in store two it can be deduced that it says "Kevin's".]
White sign: All-you-can-eat
Store sign: Pet Store
[Caption below the frame:]
My hobby: Going out at night and adding "all-you-can-eat" to every store's sign



  • The name Kevin has been used twice before this comic and quite recently.
    • That makes this comic the third with a Kevin in only 77 comics:
    • In the previous 1718 comics there seems to have been no use of Kevin except when referring to real persons like:
    • So maybe Kevin is Randall's new go to name when he just needs one!
      • This has also been discussed in the Geese comic, see the last entry in the table.

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What?? I think something bugged it. It's showing my edit in the editor but the viewer is different entirely. ??? That's right, Jacky720 just signed this (talk | contribs) 16:10, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

If that happens, it means the cache hasn't updated itself yet. Refresh a few times until your edit appears. Alternatively someone may have undone your edit - look at the "View History" tab. Chloroplaster (talk) 17:09, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

does alt-text refere to the fact that they forcefully make him hit some posterboard at the pirntshop because of his prank? 16:48, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Not really, because that wouldn't be "absent-minded" of him. Chloroplaster (talk) 17:11, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Added the title text to the explanation. --JayRulesXKCD what's up? 17:16, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

I think snake owners buy mice for their snakes. Not sure if they ever use pet mice... I think they're supposed to use mice that are drugged, but I wouldn't be too surprised if people have bought pet mice to feed their snake. 19:10, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

You don't feed your snake drugged animals, any more than you would feed it poisoned ones, as they would make it sick. Not sure about the U.S, but in Australia, it's illegal to feed the snake live rats. We buy them pre-frozen and thaw them as needed. 22:11, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
Ah, I guess that's what I was thinking of. I'd heard they were special mice called "feeder mice" and assumed they were either sedated or bred to be more sluggish so they'd be better to feed snakes with, but I guess it's just a nicer way of saying "euthanized for consumption by predators". Perhaps the person who described feeder mice did it poorly, or perhaps I was lacking some sleep at the time and jumped to a strange conclusion. 16:54, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Trivia about people eating cats (and sometimes dogs): When times are hard people tend to eat anything they can catch. This includes cats. That's why - in this context - a cat in German can be a "Dachhase" (roof rabbit) or "falscher Hase" (false or fake rabbit) - interestingly the last one is also an expression for a meat loaf made from ground beef... Do other languages have similar terms? --Felis Catus (talk) 08:20, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
In Spanish there's an expression, "dar gato por liebre" (to give a cat for a hare) meaning "to deceive someone". 07:26, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

The odd thing (possibly just British quirkiness) is I have seen "All You Can Eat" (AYCE) offers for non-food products or services. An AYCE beauty salon would mean as many of their services (aka the full works) as you want in one visit. AYCE car tyres would mean four tyres, valves, balancing, fitting and tracking. Never actually seen this as even economy tyres vary too much by size! So not as silly as it appears, except Randal is too literal. YMMV RIIW - Ponder it (talk) 21:27, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Works with virtual things, too: my British SIM card has an All-You-Can-Eat data option... --Felis Catus (talk) 08:20, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
"All-you-can-eat xkcd" also works. 18:16, 8 June 2017 (UTC)

Sam the Firefly book should probably be mentioned. 04:09, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

What is the purpose of the extremely detailed graphic description in the transcript? Whether the transcript is for search engines or visually impaired readers, I find these details unnecessary and rather annoying. Unless others disagree, I suggest transcripts should only contain visual information that is strictly necessary to understanding the comic. Zetfr 09:48, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

It is done for people who are partially-sighted, who use "Explain XKCD" as their way to view the comics. (This was previously mentioned in the discussion of the tagline for this website.) 11:27, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
I *am* partially-sighted, I use "Explain XKCD" as my way to view the comics, and I'm extremely grateful to you guys who keep it going. But I don't want to know that in this comic one sign is slightly higher than the others, that there is a small rectangle next to a large window, half circles and unreadable text. I just want to "get" the joke, not reconstruct the comic from a textual description. Most transcripts include, in addition to the text, a few visual elements that are relevant to the point of the comic: that's great. But some transcripts, like this one, give a ton of useless details that make the joke harder, not easier, to understand. Unless there is a specific reason for this that I am missing, the "relevant information only" style should be preferred. Zetfr 09:09, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
Hi, again, Zetfr. I have finally heard you ;-) For other see discussion here. I have just tried a new feature, with a detailed description section below the more short and terse transcript. Would be interested to hear both yours, and others comments on this! I also do it in order to make it possible to search for like comics including specific elements. I will not promise to do this with all my long (sorry) transcripts, but I will try to think about it and not do it like that anymore. I guess I'm the one who has edited most transcripts on xkcd (at least in the last three years)... --Kynde (talk) 16:37, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Not sure the first sign really would be A...k- Randal rarely uses lower case and his "K's" are rarely that shape. Also, the difference in height could equate to just his normal lack of uniformity in the size of his writing. It does fit with how he writes an X though. --Takigama (talk) 15:08, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Well that is a valid point. However Randall would usually never make such a skew X where the bottom line is much longer than the top, and this is signs they are supposed to be nice and straight. His capital K in Kevin, has a similar longer bottom line. But you may be right that the first Capital letter, is just like his all caps style on the homepage where the first capital letter in a line is larger than the others. In that case it would be a capital K not a capital X or a small k. So I vote for capital K --Kynde (talk) 16:37, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

An all-you-can-eat hair salon actually makes sense... In the Netherlands (You know, from "drain the oceans") you can eat "kapsalon", translated "Hair salon". I' m pretty sure a " all you can eat " kapsalon place could actually exist here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapsalon (A hairdresser invented it by ordering his favorite food from a nearby place, they labeled it "kapsalon" ("hair salon") because it was intended for the next-door hair salon, then others ordered the same dish and the name stuck.) Quite funny, "kap" has many translations, including ones more related to lumberjacks than barbers...-- 14:08, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

I'd like to point out that some cultures are known for eating Cat meat. 16:02, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

I accidentally misinterpreted pet stores selling food, please forgive me. 01:35, 10 August 2020 (UTC)