30 November 2005

the kid with the runny nose

A little pile of txyankee-death-bites

A couple of weeks ago while in Calgary, I was out to dinner with a colleague who also works for my company. I ordered something that normally comes with sauteed mushrooms on top, but asked for them to be left off, because as many of you know I am allergic to them. Normally, this is not a big deal.

This time it was.

I'll have to call the manager to confer with you and then approve the order.
Huh? Just leave them off.
What kind of allergy is, a contact allergy, a...
Ingestive anaphylactic shock.
OK, great! We'll be right back! [all cheery]
Wait, never mind, just give me a burger.
No, No! We strive to meet our customers' custom dietary needs! [trots off]

E and I sit there somewhat stunned for a moment, and the manager comes back.

Sir, I just want to let you know that we'll clean the grill up for you and make sure everything is ok.
Thanks, but at this point, can I just have a burger?
No, really, it's no trouble.
Why do you have to clean the grill? Do you grill portobellos on there? The mushrooms are sauteed. Don't you clean the grill anyway?
No, we don't have grilled Portobellos.

At this point, I yielded.

Then three things dawned on me:
1. I felt like that kid you went to second grade with, who always had a runny nose could not eat chocolate or hot dogs or onions (the feeling itself was articulated for me later by SHG, but I felt really uncomfortable and embarrassed).

2. I was really glad I was not with a customer, although I avoid mushroom-ie things around them anyway - it would kill a sale if I died at dinner...all pun intended.

3. They were just trying to do their jobs. With minimal tact and overdone because they probably had been burned in the past, but really they were just trying to do their jobs.