Sick from a steak and mashed potatoes….how could something that simple go so wrong?
Earlier this week I traveled to visit my mom who needed a lot of help with a big project. I arrived right around dinnertime on Sunday and we decided to go out to eat. There are very few places in Williamsport, PA that are on the findmeglutenfree.com site, and Ruby Tuesday was one of them. I’d eaten out there once before, in a different state, about 6 months ago with no ill effects.
Sunday proved to be different.
As usual I took my GlutenEase pills as a precaution, and I’m so very glad that I did. I ordered from the allergen-friendly menu; a petite sirloin, grilled zucchini, and white cheddar mashed potatoes. I informed my server that it would be best if they could please grill my steak on a piece of foil, and use clean utensils when dishing up my sides because I am highly sensitive to gluten and cross-contamination would make me very, very sick. She seemed to listen and understand. What went wrong after that, I’ll never know. Did she brush it off? Did the kitchen staff? The restaurant was not super busy. There were more empty tables than occupied ones. I made sure to be clear that I am highly-gluten-intolerant, basically allergic to it, that this isn’t just a diet. If my allergy manifested in a need for something like an Epi-pen, perhaps I’d be taken more seriously. Perhaps my complaints to the company would be taken more seriously. Thus far, I’ve been ignored.
I generally find that approaching a problem at a singular “store” gets handled the best if you start at the top down. If you just talk to the on-duty manager, no one else will know. I want this location to be aware that a customer with serious health issues asked for a few small precautions to be taken during prep and I was ignored. I want corporate to know this. I want other people to know this; therefore I gave them a bad rating on findmeglutenfree.com. I reached out publicly on social media (Facebook) and was kinda brushed off, too. I was told to email guest services. Guess what, I’ve been ignored, there, too!!
I’ve not eaten out a lot since going gluten-free. I’ve been afraid too, but until this week I’d been ok. I asked, I was accommodated and treated with respect. Until this week. And I spent 48 hours in hell. It would have been longer had I not taken the GlutenEase pills. My fear of eating out is now even worse than before. My mom and I want to travel, but now I fear that, too.
ETA: I’ve never felt such a lack of give-a-crap from a company apologizing for bad service/food/etc. The Facebook rep for RT simply told me to email guestservices. It took 5 days to get a response, and the response was nothing more than “It is our desire that every time you come to one of our restaurants your stay is enjoyable. We take food allergies very seriously at the company and we and we do regret to hear of an unsatisfactory incident. ” and claiming that they will pass it on to management at the location I visited. That’s it. I’m really sure what I expected, but somehow I just expected a little more. Their motto is apparently “Do What’s Right”, and I think they’re failing on that.