Monday, November 27, 2006

Let's discuss what the allergic diner likes to refer to as "the panera problem." I have visited different panera locations half a dozen times in the last 3 months. When I visit, I often inquire as to whether the chicken salad has celery in it. Every location gives me a different answer. Don't chains have a standard ingredients list? They show me "the list." The list does not appear to vary. Do they leave it out on the days they tell me no? Very confusing.
More perplexing is when the cashier tells me, politely, that she doesn't know if celery or celery seed is in the food. When I ask him or her to get the list, it is usually accompanied by an eye roll or at least a sigh (neither on behalf of the allergic diner). Am i being rude in checking so that I can make sure my epi-pen stays put in my purse?
I have had one or two nice interactions with cashiers, and one or two sandwiches that were made to my specifications. All in all? Avoid panera if you are an allergic customer...even if they can get you the info you need, they make you feel bad about asking.

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