I think most of us have seen, or at least heard of, signs like the two above. They seem to be all the rage these days. “Gluten-free haircuts.” “Gluten-free oil change.” “The Ford Fiesta: 45mpg and Gluten-Free.”
The celiac community seems to fall into two camps: 1) Those that think the signs make it more difficult for us to be taken seriously; and 2) those that think we should lighten up.
I assume you know by now which side I fall on.
But what about when a restaurant makes fun of gluten-free, yet still claims they take celiac seriously? Would anyone still think that’s funny?
Listen to this email I received yesterday:
Yesterday was a bad day… did not feel good because I somehow ingested gluten (won’t go into detail, you’ve been there..) and when I drove by that stupid sign I realized I needed to say something. The following is my letter to the restaurant and their reply. What to do? What to say? Any advice appreciated. Thank you for doing this on a daily basis. I tried to advocate just once and I’m already ready to throw in the towel!
Hi, I drive by your establishment often. I want to thank you for sponsoring local schools and sports teams! Great message you’re sending. I do have a question about the sign you have had up the past few months: “This Sign Is Gluten Free”. Just for clarification, do you have gluten free items on your menu? Do you know what celiac disease is versus just eating gluten free “for the heck of it”? I am just curious. I’m kind of sick of the gluten free jokes out there and when I have to drive by that stupid sign everyday, it makes me sad that my disease is being made fun of. I don’t really feel like laughing when I have had more bad days than good this month. I dislike having to eat gluten free, but I have no choice. Making fun of people with a REAL DISEASE is no more funnier than making fun of people with diabetes, cancer, etc… Just thought you should know how your “Funny” sign makes people feel.
Thanks for the note. I do know the difference between celiacs and dietary choice. In my experience in this industry, 98.9% of people who eat gluten free are fad dieters or self diagnosed ‘gluten intolerant’. Of the 100 or so people I’ve met with celiacs, exactly 0 of them gave me grief about menu selections, preparation methods, etc. They simply pulled me aside and let me know and our staff takes care of everything. On the contrary, the gluten free dieters in general are the worst customers to try to please. I’m sorry if my sign offends you, but I will let you know that it is 100% directed at gluten free fad dieters. I had a couple the other day who drank miller lite but didn’t tip the server because although we offered gluten free pizza crust, we don’t offer gluten free pepperoni. How much sense does that make? That happens almost daily. Celiac folks are easy because they are knowledgable and know generally what they can and can’t have. Again, I’m sorry you’re offended.
I’m too tired to go on a rant today. Suffice it to say, I would never support any restaurant, or any business for that matter, that makes fun of its customers. They are in business because of us. They chose to serve the public. Nobody forced them to do this.
And by the way, “I’m sorry you’re offended” doesn’t mean jack sh*t.
What’s your take folks?