When your food intolerances aren’t tolerated

I had a recent experience ordering a coffee from a café that set a new record in rudeness from wait staff in relation to my food intolerances and allergies.

Rude Guy Waiter:   Morning, can I get you a coffee while you look over the menu?

My friend:               Can I have a flat white please?

My boyfriend:          Make that 2

Me:                          Can I please have a decaf soy flat white?

Rude Guy Waiter:    Um, I asked you if you wanted to a coffee? Wanna try again?

Ok, just because I don’t have a Double-Espresso-Macchiato-Latte-Frothy-Chocolaty-Cino-thingy to match my equally hip South Yarra cropped hair (which looks much like bed-hair but actually took 45 minutes to perfect), doesn’t mean I share your humor in my choice in beverage. What if I had some sort of terminal illness and caffeine was like a shot of poison to my system sending me to a premature death (more so than the one I was expecting with the terminal illness)?  Do you want me to take that risk just because I’m not conforming to your social standards of what I should drink with my poached eggs on sourdough?

Me to the Rude Guy Waiter:

“What do you care if I order a decaf? You charge me an extra 50 cents for it, and then slug me with another 50 cents for the soy. It seems to me that it would make good business sense for you to actually encourage my supposed inadequate choice in beverage rather than ridicule it. You make a whole extra buck due to my apparent lack of respect for how coffee should be ordered!”

I will admit that on this occasion I completely lost my cool and this was probably a bit over the top (I may have been dealing with a hangover at the time). However, as anyone with any sort of food intolerance will tell you, it’s not easy being the one at a sit down with friends, having to be painfully strict with what passes your mouth. It’s not a pleasant feeling to take your life in your hands with every bite you take, forced to having complete faith that the chef did get the message that a nano-particle of peanut could kill you. I have experienced anaphylaxis and I don’t want to be in that position of my throat closing over, followed by my eyes, as my friends carry me into Emergency ever again. I don’t want my last view of this world to be a triage nurse 12 hours into her shift with only one tea break (no offense to triage nurses, I have found them to be completely lovely on all medical occasions. I would just prefer to have my dying view be of someone familiar). No, I’d rather stick to doing whatever it takes not to bring on those feelings or outcomes, thanks all the same, even if it does require my poor waiter to have to ‘concentrate’ a bit harder as he writes my order down.

Anyway, back to the café.

Just when I think this guy has offered up his share of insults for the day, he comes back and asks the table if anyone needs another coffee and proceeds to look at me and say:

“How ‘bout you Decaf? Want another?” 

I’m sorry, did I hear correctly?  Did he just call me “Decaf”?

Needless to say, although the food was spectacular, my coffee and pride was just too hard to swallow so I coerced my friends to band together and avoid leaving a tip in protest.

Have you received an unfriendly and unwelcome response from wait staff due to a perceived ‘high maintenance’ order? Are you pregnant and have had to make the switch to Decaf recently and HATE having to ask for it in cafes?

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