You Say Tomato, I Say Death

, , , , , | Working | June 8, 2017

(I’m in London for the weekend with a friend and we’re visiting a restaurant I always go to when I travel there. They usually have great food and good service, and are strict about allergies if you explain them when you order. I’m deathly allergic to tomatoes and go into anaphylactic shock if I eat any.)

Server: *after taking my friend’s order* “And you, miss?”

Me: “I’d like the English Breakfast platter, but can you make sure there aren’t any tomatoes or any ketchup in it? I’m extremely allergic.”

Server: *surprised* “Seriously? But ketchup is awesome!”

Me: “Sadly, yes. Could you also ask that if anything on the platter is prepared or cooked with tomatoes the chef skips that in my order? I’m fine with losing out on some stuff.”

Server: *sighs* “Fine. But we don’t comp prices if you remove things from the standard order.”

(I’m surprised by this, since they’ve done just that several times for me in the past, but I still go ahead and order and wait for the food to come.)

Server: *with food* “Enjoy your breakfasts.”

(After thanking him, we dig in. Call it paranoia and bad customer behaviour, but I always poke around in my food with a fork before eating out of fear of a tomato slipping in unnoticed.)

Me: “What the h***?!”

Friend: *alarmed* “What?”

Me: *shocked and angry* “There’s ketchup smeared on the underside of practically everything on this plate!”

(My friend, a tiny 5’ 4” woman, storms off to look for a manager while I quietly panic. One couple next to us has taken notice and asks me what’s going on. My friend comes back with a manager and the server soon after.)

Manager: *to me* “I’m very sorry for the mix up in your order, miss. We take allergies very seriously and—” *looks at my plate* “What the bloody h***, [Server]! None of our dishes looks like that, and the lady’s friend has told me she explained her allergy!” *to me* “Do I need to call for an ambulance, miss?”

Me: “No, thankfully I didn’t have any. But this is so not okay. If I’d eaten this I could have died.”

Server: *angry* “No one is allergic to ketchup! Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you’re allergic!”

Manager: “Go to my office. Now.”

(Our food got comped and the chef came out to apologise. The server had written that I wanted ketchup on the underside of everything except the eggs, and being as accommodating as they are, complied with the request.)

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