Yesterday found me standing on my Facebook gluten-free soapbox after I noticed that a restaurant I order from regularly via an online service called SeamlessWeb was randomly (and sometimes days later) charging extra for not putting their sandwiches on bread.  Below is the dialogue that transpired.  To view the complete string with other gluten-free and non-gluten-free friends weighing in just pop-on over to my Facebook page.

Excerpted from my Facebook wall:
I have actually seen it all now.   Just found out a regular place I order lunch from online has been adding random charges because I ask for no bread.  Now, I can see if I wanted a special type of bread or perhaps a hero (which they do charge extra for) but removing bread and paying a penalty…not on my watch.  Not only did they charge silly random amounts, I was made to pay tax on those amounts.  There was no rhyme or reason for the charges and there were times when no charge was levied.  I mean I am no stranger to having to pay more for gluten-free preparations or items but being taken for a ride is something I will simply not tolerate.

I heard back from SeamlessWeb that I use for my lunch ordering.  To their credit, they called the restaurant and got an explanation.  Something along the lines of all the staff was not versed in how to handle such a special request.  Fair enough.  They continued that my orders were specially made and actually contained more product that their regular item.  Again, good to know.  Yes, I am still a bit pissed that I was taken for a ride, but here is where it gets good…

SeamlessWeb has now put the “platter” option that I order as a standard option (at a standard price) for this restaurant (which has multiple locations throughout NYC).  I am so pleased that they took it seriously and now Celiacs have at least one more option here in the City.  Yes, it seems like a small thing but it really resonates with me.  The Web site was really not at fault because they simple act as an intermediary between consumer and restaurant.  They also previously had a Gluten Free category that contained gluten-filled options. When I pointed it out, they removed it.

Okay so that is my rather long-winded way of saying if you feel like you are getting less than average service because you are a Celiac…SAY SOMETHING.  The only way things are going to change is if we take control of our condition and help educate others about it — remember it is a two-way street.  We can’t expect every locale to have a firm understanding of our condition but we can expect to be treated fairly. It is on us to (politely) explain what we can and cannot have and why when need be.  A little education goes a long way.  Remember it is not about a DYKWIA attitude, it’s about us collectively joining together to educate others about our condition — and I don’t care if you are in NYC or Nome, Alaska.

So, it might be one small step in the broad scheme of Celiac disease but at least it is a step forwin the right direction.

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