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  • Jefferson Adams

    Sour TripAdvisor Review Slams Lack of Gluten-Free Bread at Funeral

    Jefferson Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      An angry gluten-free eater takes to TripAdvisor to express outrage over the lack of gluten-free bread at a family funeral, and slammed the hotel that hosted the reception for failing to offer a gluten-free option, and asking her to bring her own bread. 

    Image: CC--Jos @ FPS-Groningen
    Caption: Image: CC--Jos @ FPS-Groningen

    Celiac.com 11/01/2018 - A terse one-star TripAdvisor review expressed outrage over the lack of gluten-free bread at a family funeral, and slammed the hotel that hosted the reception for the perceived offense.

    Complaining that, among other things, she had to "munch on some lifeless salad" after the wake reception failed to meet her dietary requirements, a user, known as "Jan" poured her frustration upon the Elmbank Hotel in York. According to Jan, the staff at the Elmbank informed her that why had no gluten-free option, and asked her to bring her own bread. 

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    She wrote that she called the hotel a few days before the event, and was “told they don't have gluten-free bread, but if I wanted to take my own they'd make a sandwich for me.”

    Apparently, Jan chose not to bring her own bread, as she was reportedly “shocked” to discover that they had no gluten free bread on offer. Her outrage on full display, Jan added that "In this day and age you'd think they 'd get their act together, it's quite a common dietary requirement, adding that she had to "sit there, at lunch time, munching on a chicken drumstick and some lifeless salad. Next stop Tesco's on the way past!"

    In all, Jan gave the funeral reception just one TripAdvisor star, and said that she would never go back again.

    It didn’t take long for the internet to reply with characteristic mockery. Jan’s review was tweeted by a woman who lives near the hotel who seemed to enjoy the reaction from other users. The tone-deaf nature of Jan’s "munch on some lifeless salad" comment was mentioned in one of the replies. 

    One person wrote: "The genuine coeliacs I know would never complain about this sort of thing."

    Another said: "I'm glad she was so sensitive and didn't miss the real point of why she was there!"

    Commenters also took aim at Jan’s admission that she was gluten-free ‘by preference,’ with one user writing: "Glad you saw fit to add the *by preference. I don't know a coeliac who could be this insensitive, they know suffering and would never be so insensitive. Those who 'choose' are princesses."

    Okay, perhaps the funereal nature of the proceedings makes Jan’s complaint a bit tacky, but does she have a point in general about accommodations for gluten-free eaters? How about you? Been to any tough non-gluten-free funerals or other events lately? 

    Read more in TheSun.co.uk


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    Ugh! We fight to be respected and taken seriously by servers and food service providers. I can't imagine anyone I have met from any celiac community, IRL or online, who would not have been dressed down by the rest of the group for behaving this way.

    This sort of thing puts us back decades in our quest to enjoy a safe environment. The last thing celiac patients need is a princess who represents gluten-free diners in this awful light. I should thank her for admitting she is gluten-free "by choice." That's a phrase that can be infuriating to celiac patients and worse for those who suffer from non-celiac gluten sensitivity. 

    NCGS patients may by more numerous than celiacs by four or five hundred percent and don't have the advantage of an official diagnosis. People who behave like this make it much rougher for them.

    In general, it's time we stopped accepting sociopathic behavior from each other; narcissism seems to run rampant these days. Since those without empathy can be insensitive to the pain of others, and are completely deaf to their own short-comings, it's up to the rest of us to stand up to these people and show them without equivocation, that their example is not one to be followed.

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    Her posting does set us back as Kit points out.? Many of us have additional intolerances so even if the gluten-free bread was available we couldn't eat it. She sounds as if she was told by an earlier phone call by bread was not available. I'm not sure how more upfront they could be. 

    While all of us do understand her frustration her behavior does reflect badly on all of us. This behavior turns business/people off and they feel it is damned if we do, damned  if we don't serve gluten-free to anyone regardless of label/diagnosis. 

    My children were minimized today by a new chair side assistant at the dentist because we are gluten, corn, and milk intolerant in the medical records not celiac. She only believes celiacs are intolerant. I can get pretty raging DH that didn't arrive during my incomplete challenge. the official diagnosis is coming after a celiac test without a challenge, I have given  it the college try and was too ill to finish. So even a diagnosis bringing your own toothpaste etc is not "serious" enough. While seething furiously after the appointment and a child in tears, I very much wanted to give them the businees, but left reminding my children some people are jerks period. Instead sadly we will just take our business elsewhere, the usual 2 assistants we get who are wonderful were not there. This is the second chair side assistant who questioned our medical health diagnoses. We informed them about 2 years ago. I asked for it to be put in records. So this is not new.

    They took her seriously just couldn't provide gluten-free  bread. It was a place she was going to once and likely wouldn't return to. It could be handled numerous ways, we could bring own, my spouse or I would run to store to grab the safe food, we could pay our respects, have a drink and politely leave as food was served, or not attend the reception at all just the funeral. 

    We have multiple intolerances here in this house the last few years have been enlightening to say the least, and thickening this former empaths skin. We can't just be separate house I didn't even begin to recover until all gluten was removed period.

    This is one occasion you talk it out or write it out and don't hit send. or rant to this forum. However some like to lash out, do not think of the rest of the celiac community, and enjoy the drama of lambasting posts on social media looking for a fight. for they have some vitriol other than gluten-free bread not being available. Sounds like her issues are larger than being gluten-free by preference and she's lost perspective.

    Edited by Awol cast iron stomach
    Autocorrect incorrect

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    Guest gluten-free options


    She is correct to complain, Howe’s alternative food was provided. So problem solved. I remember the day you would get a sandwich or pastry that’s it! So no option available. In airplanes the same. Flying first class not on all routes they provide special meals and what they serve is always wheat gluten. I whish they serve a salad or chicken like what this person got

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    I agree they did their best to suggest she bring her own bread. To a Celiac that would have been a red flag that they might not understand enough to supply “safe” food and have a contaminated kitchen so I would have packed my whole meal in order to be stress free. 

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    51 minutes ago, ronaboat said:

    I agree they did their best to suggest she bring her own bread. To a Celiac that would have been a red flag that they might not understand enough to supply “safe” food and have a contaminated kitchen so I would have packed my whole meal in order to be stress free

    What an excellent point.  I wouldn't have trusted that either - in fact, I probably wouldn't have chewed on the 'lifeless' salad.  :)

    I'm actually glad to see that so many places are no longer complaining about people bringing their own food.  I was diagnosed just this past spring and I'm just beginning to comprehend what the disease means to me.  Travel hit me like a brick.  How do I do it?  In my area, there's no such thing as a gluten free restaurant - of any kind.  Knowing what I do now about preparing gluten-free meals I don't trust eating out anyway if they aren't doing that as a matter of course.  For this woman to complain so ignorantly is a bit depressing on a lot of fronts.  Would more choices be great?  Yes!  I grew up in a time where you handled your own issues, though, and for me any concession is just that.  A wonderful concession I greatly appreciate.  I don't expect people to handle all the allergies out there.  They'd go bankrupt in a week.  It's just not reasonable in most cases.

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    Boy, have I been there! I take my own "bread" everywhere! At my Mother's 90th birthday party, my younger brother goaded me into bringing the desert, because of my gluten issues. I did. I made a gluten-free chocolate torte, with sugared raspberries and a raspberry sauce. Needless to say the "restaurant" was NOT happy and we were asked NOT to bring desserts in the future. What I was told later, was that my torte was better than the one they offered and the pastry chef was mad! Holy cow!!! 

    Even restaurants that offer gluten-free menu items, sometimes fall short. I have spent days in bed after supposedly eating gluten-free food. NO ONE, or restaurant, IS SAFE! The sooner everyone realizes this the better of a time they will have.

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    So nice when the crackpots and nut jobs call themselves out. I learned a long time ago to carry my own "dog food", and there's always something stashed in my car or my bag in case I wind up at mealtime without another safe meal.

    Worst case, you miss one meal. You won't starve from that. You may be cranky, but you won't starve.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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