The Little Boy Who Cried Allergy

There are three kinds of allergies in this world. There are seasonal allergies, which I get–they’re horrible and evil and I’ve written a blog about them before (go check it out; I was going to tell you to BYO-link and find it yourself, but then I reconsidered and decided to be a professional self-advertising blogger about it). There are also food allergies, which I don’t have any of, but I imagine that they’re pretty horrible and evil and it’s always sad when food–the one absolute truth in life–tries to kill you. But then there are the third type of allergies: fake allergies.

Ah, fake allergies. I’m willing to bet you haven’t quite heard of this third category of allergies, but I assure you: despite its name, it’s a real thing. You’ve probably especially never heard of this if you haven’t worked in the food industry, but I’m here to expose it for y’all.

Fake allergies are pretty self-explanatory. They are food allergies that are fake. They don’t exist outside the restaurant in which a “fake allergic” individual orders food.

You may not be catching on, so I’ll walk you through it. I have approximately 900 words left to type anyway, so I might as well delve into this very detailed and very sarcastic explanation.

Kelley goes out to eat at a restaurant. Kelley is a grown woman who looks exactly how you’re picturing a “Kelley” to look. Blond, thin, lives in a residential neighborhood with two children. She wears workout leggings. Shelters her children from all the offensive evils of the world like “the gays” even though they “go over to their friends’ houses every weekend to study” but are secretly drinking beer with local high school graduates and posting scandalous and provocative selfies on SnapChat. It’s whatever.

Anyway, so Kelley goes out to eat. Maybe she’s with her workout buddy, or maybe she’s meeting up with her mom for lunch– I don’t know. Kelley really wants to order this one menu item, though–maybe it’s a club sandwich, or a grilled wrap or something–but it comes with tomato on it. Ugh. Ew. Barf. Kelley hates tomato. She wants everything else in the wrap, but she doesn’t want those pesky tomatoes in it.

Of course, Kelley could just ask, “Can I get that without tomato?” But that would be foolish! Maybe Kelley’s eaten here before and they’ve accidentally put the tomato on it, so she had to send it back and have them remake it, meanwhile she had to awkwardly wait to eat even though she was starving and her friend already had her food, and it would be too gross to merely pick them out of the wrap or something, so maybe Kelley’s wisened up to human error. Or maybe Kelley’s eaten here before and forgot to say “no tomato” but when it was brought out avec des tomates, she insisted she said “no tomato” and the server walked away and rolled their eyes and consulted their server notebook and saw that Kelley had, in fact, not said “no tomatoes,” but Kelley’s going to raise a stink about it so it’s best to just have the kitchen remake the wrap and maybe the server will be fortunate enough to scarf down the rejected wrap in the bathroom, maybe if a manager’s not around and Kelley looks like she’s clean enough to trust her scraps.

In any case, Kelley’s not playing around with this whole “no tomato” nonsense, and this time, she means business. So when she orders this damn wrap she’s craving, she makes sure to say, “Oh, and can you hold the tomatoes? I’m allergic.”

Something about working in the food industry is that any time someone has an allergy–even if they’re ordering pancakes and say, “I have a nut allergy by the way”–everything in the entire restaurant needs sterilized, pressure-washed, and doused in anti-bacterial sanitizer, and all the kitchen appliances replaced, just so that there is no damn chance in hell that any freaking nuts breathe the same air as this dude’s pancakes. When I worked at Shaker Cake and Tube, we had a giant red “ALLERGY” button in the register that was so “doomsday button” in its presentation that it was actually almost fun to use it, and messages got sent to all the kitchen screens with a “Breaking News!” segment about this person’s allergy, meanwhile red sirens wailed and flashing strobe lights came on. And naturally so, because some people have very serious allergies and that shouldn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to eat out, so we go an extra mile or five hundred to ensure that they don’t die accidentally. That’s very bad for business.

Anyway, so allergies are taken very seriously in the food industry, which makes it very annoying when people come in with mere displeasures disguised as allergies.

So Kelley’s server would ring in “grilled wrap” and make a big note of “TOMATO ALLERGY” on the ticket, and the kitchen would have to go through its tomato-cleansing rituals, and after that stopped up all other ticket production, Kelley would finally get her wrap sans tomato. And then, who knows, maybe she’d ask for ketchup for her fries because Kelley’s an idiot.

People are so picky about their stuff. If you have an allergy, that’s okay. I mean, it’s not okay for your poor deprived soul which can’t consume peanut butter (the horror! the injustice!), but it’s okay to dine out with an allergy. But if you just dislike an ingredient, you don’t get to cry “allergy.” People really do this shit, that I’m half-expecting the next sap who comes in and doesn’t want ice in their glass of water to tell me, “And no ice in it; I’m allergic.”

Oh, you’re allergic to ice? Here’s your water without ice. I hope you really are allergic to ice. Enjoy.

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