Teal Pumpkins Are Not a Political Issue.


Never read the comments.

I wish I could follow that advice. Wading through the temperamental pool that is social media, one occasionally finds a bright spot in a news story. I thought I found that with an article posted by a local news channel notifying those that aren’t already in the know about the significance of teal pumpkins.  It subtly linked to this cool little video:

Simple enough, right?

It’s a brief article explaining the significance and the history of the Teal Pumpkin Project.  If you go through to the FARE website, you an even get free activities and advice for non-food treats.  We have participated since 2014, and I have written about it before.

View this post on Instagram

#HappyHalloween! #TealPumpkinProject #StaySafe!

A post shared by Eric Carroll (@aixelsyd13) on

Then, I read the comments.

Some people are garbage.  I mean, I know that is harsh, and I know what we are supposed to be kind to everyone, but that can be a struggle when people out themselves as disgusting human beings.  Did these people not ever watch Mister Rogers?

I think this is why they are teaching kids these days to “Be The I in Kind” or to Be the kind kid.  They’re not going to pick it up at home if these are the mentoring adults.

REALLY.

 

I had a few replies that still stand.

To some nut job making this political:

Just so I can understand, how do any of the following (totally optional) things ruin your holiday, and just exactly how are they associated with liberals?

1. Putting out a symbol to indicate that your house is safe for food allergies.

2. Providing nut and/or gluten free treats, and maybe even non-food treats in addition to whatever you normally provide.

3. Displaying compassion and empathy to others already afflicted with a life-altering medical condition.

4. Teaching others by example how to be kind to others.

I never did get a direct reply there.

To the uniformed, absolutely resisting this new information:

No one is forcing you to buy a teal pumpkin or to pass out allergen safe treats. The article is just to inform you of the meaning so you don’t buy one as a decoration just because it matches your cold frozen emotionless heart.

Just some more advice:

We have been doing this for years. Having food allergies myself, dining out, social gatherings, and many events can be a harrowing experience.

We have 3 separate bowls… traditional things like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, nut-free stuff like Smarties, and a bowl of totally non-food treats like pencils, stickers, little toys, etc.

We help spread awareness, the toys go as well as the candy, and hopefully we teach a bit of kindness and empathy.

I don’t even have the energy to get into the “it’s been a tradition for hundreds of years” comment.  I think candy and trick or treating weren’t a thing until about the 1920’s in the United States… so that’s ONE hundred years ago at best.  The push for chocolate was after WWII’s rationing… So, kick it back to 70 or so years.  Earlier Celtic/Samhain traditions probably didn’t involve candy, but what do I know?

So please, this year, show a little compassion, empathy, and kindness.  Pass the word along to your friends, family, and neighbors.  You don’t have to preach about it, but you can lead by example.  Also, learn to recognize the signs of an allergic reaction for yourself, your friends, and your community.  You may help save someone’s life!  That is, if it doesn’t inconvenience you in any way or support the grand liberal agenda.

 

 

 

A letter to Sprint, HTC, and Android…


This is my letter to anyone within the Sprint, HTC, and Android organizations who will listen to my plea for an actual quick and final solution to my phone problem…

Hello,

I’m writing to inform you of a problem that I’ve had with Sprint customer service, HTC‘s hardware, and Android‘s operating system.  I’m not sure what kind of answer or resolution I’m looking for.  I just feel the need to tell someone or everyone how unacceptable Sprint’s service (or lack thereof) has been lately as related to multiple HTC or Android errors.

It started about two weeks ago, shortly after I applied the latest update as prompted by the phone.  My original HTC EVO 4G LTE purchased only in September started going crazy.  The screen would freeze, become slow or completely unresponsive.  It would eventually load a screen that looked like TV static… only not moving.  Naturally, I took it to the Sprint store.  They also tried to blame the problem on various apps and settings. They did a soft rest, a hard reset, and even apparently looked up the problem on the internet.  I had to leave my phone overnight and pick it up the next day.  Well, the next day I was given a new or refurbished phone.  The store employee said he couldn’t tell if it was new or refurbished.  He said it might be new because the phone itself was rather new and they might not have refurbs yet.  I find it hard to believe he couldn’t tell a new phone from a refurbished one.

So, after updating the new phone, reinstalling some apps, and setting everything up the way I had it on the old one…  I started to notice a minor annoyance.  If I opened a browser link through Facebook, email, or Twitter it would immediately close after it fully loaded.  I took it to the Sprint store that Saturday morning.  Again, they did the soft & hard resets, and tried to blame it on an App.  They changed some settings in the phone that were telling the phone to look for a 4G network.  When I went back in after leaving the store & running into the browser-closing problem again…  The next guy changed that setting back and told me that I shouldn’t have changed it… and wouldn’t listen when I told him the last guy had just changed it.  Oddly enough, I was told that the 4G network would be in the area by January when I purchased the 4G phone.  When I told the person helping me at the Sprint store that I was told that… he says they were never given a timeline.  Is lying part of your training as a Sprint customer service representative or sales person?  What about intimidation and making someone feel like they’re not using their phone properly?

I was persuaded out of getting a 2nd replacement phone.  I was told to delete all of my apps, add them back one by one to see which was causing the problem.  The browser-closing problem was happening even without any added apps.  Now it was shutting the phone off each time the browser crashed.  I can assure you that I’m not an idiot when it comes to technology.  I was told I was part of a percentage of HTC users that were having a similar problem, and that a replacement phone could potentially have the same issues… and to wait for HTC to make the next update.  So, the solution was to wait?

My phone has taken to shutting itself off all week at random intervals.  I can be talking on the phone, using Facebook, or not even be near the phone.  It just shuts itself off.  It comes back on, and I send HTC an error report.  Where do these error reports go?  Do they do any good?  Is anyone working on the problem?  Is this an HTC problem, or an Android problem?

Well, I waited a week.  This Saturday I went back to the Sprint store, looking for a replacement phone.  I work on the road & I have a pregnant wife.  I need my phone to be functioning properly all the time.  Again, we went through the hard reset option, and my apps were blamed. “Unfortunately Android is an open system” they said.  “It must be a bug.”  What about this mysterious problem that a certain percentage of HTC users had encountered?  (I wish I could remember the percentage, I was told 10% or 20%, I believe.) A week has gone by with an apparently large bug issue, and nothing has been done about it?

Lookout

All clean!

I was advised to install the Lookout app.  I guess that app’s OK.  I was told it would hunt out any apps that were messing up my phone.  So, another thing to add to my monthly bill…  Of course it’s not free or a one-time fee.  As I tried to download & install Lookout, my phone shut itself off.  I handed it to the woman assisting me, and it shut off for her again.  She took it back to the technician.  Again.  Their advice was to run this app, and hope for the best.

Upon walking out of the store, I ran the app & it found no problems with any of my installed apps.  I went back into the store, and this time they decided to put in a “ticket” for a replacement phone.  I really have to wait again?  A phone may be in by Tuesday.  Again, I will have to re-download my apps, re-import my contacts, put all of my settings back.  This will be the 5th time within the span of three weeks.

I left the store hoping to go on about my day, & my phone went into some “HD media link” video after hanging up on my wife in the middle of a conversation where I was expressing to her my exasperation with the entire situation.  I went back to the store asking for the next level of solution.  An entirely new phone?  I’m not eligible for anything other than the ridiculously outrageous full prices because I’m not eligible for a new phone, or wouldn’t be singing up for a new line.  I have been a Sprint customer for over 10 years.  You would think that would carry some sort of weight.  You would think I could “split the difference” in purchasing a new phone with some kind of discount.  You would think a quick affordable solution would be offered instead of feigned apologies & being told to wait.  I feel like I might as well have been talking to the brick wall in front of the store.  It would have offered the same resolutions & peace of mind.

The early termination fees are the moral equivalent of extortion.  I am tempted to move all five lines in our plan to another carrier.  For what we pay for 5 lines total per month, you’d think Sprint would like to keep us happy.  Once all the 2 year limits are up (and they’ll all be happening around the same time), we will be moving to another carrier.  I know that Verizon has better signal/coverage in our area anyway.

I think that HTC and Android may find it interesting that Sprint employees routinely verbally (pardon the expression) shit all over the hardware, firmware, software & apps before any diagnosis is even made.  Perhaps you ought to review your arrangements with how Sprint “supports” your products.

HTC ought to be a little more transparent as to where the error reports go…  and maybe perhaps respond to them?  Let someone know that you’re working on the issue.  Maybe let Sprint or other carriers know if you’re having a major issue or if you get 10+ error reports from the same phone in one day.

If anyone can offer a solution or explanation that doesn’t throw another entity under the proverbial bus, I’d love to hear it.  I just wanted to let everyone involved see how poorly their products & services are being represented.  Writing this & eventually blogging it will hopefully be therapeutic.  It’s an added bonus if it helps bring to light a seemingly never-ending careless customer service loop, and even better if it gets something resolved.

Thank you for your time in reading of my misadventures, I hope to hear your thoughts.

Disgruntled & disgusted,
-Eric

Some more phone info if you need it:

Sprint Fail

Sprint Fail (Photo credit: evo_terra)

Commonwealth Press & a bunch of other South Side businesses need your support.


Support local small business owners, get some Christmas shopping done this weekend at Commonwealth Press, and help fight a senseless boycott.  Get $5 off in exchange for a stupid mailer, or a receipt from one of the listed local businesses…

common wealth press is literally a mom and pop shop.

common wealth press is literally a mom and pop shop.

Dan is good people. Commonwealth makes a great product.  (Like both rounds of Ernie and the Berts T-shirts!)  Check out the political side of things at the bottom of this page.  Don’t uselessly rail against any of these businesses, especially if you don’t understand the policies in question.

Furniture Follow-Up and Fallout


So,did you read the couch-buying blog and see the couches?  I did get some follow up from both sides.  You can see some in the comments section of the original blog, and I’d like to share some here…

I sent this to DFW via their contact form

Comment: Hello,

I wanted to write to let you know that my wife & I had an excellent experience with store manager Matt Walker at DFW in Pittsburgh earlier this evening.  We left a Value City nearby wholly disgusted with their salesperson, and our experience at DFW was such a great relief.

I blogged about my experience here:  http://wp.me/pwqzc-y2

Please pass my praise on to Matt and his boss.  I hope that such excellent service is rewarded!

Thank you for your time,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

(Contents of my blog below for your convenience…)

…and got this back:

From: Andrew Robinson <arobinson2255@gmail.com>
To: eric_aixelsyd@yahoo.com
Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011 8:11:15 AM
Subject: Re: Contact Form

Eric. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. We hope you don’t mind, but we have posted a link to your blog on our Facebook page.

PS. We are giving away a FREE sectional on our facebook fan page.   http://www.facebook.com/DFWFurniture#!/DFWFurniture?sk=app_121121694568521   just “like” DFW to enter….

On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 1:41 AM, CustomerSupport <sales@dfwfurniture.com> wrote:

It made their Facebook page too!  They have a pretty cool blog if you’re in the market for some new furniture.

Here’s the post in question… if you follow, them please “Like” it or leave a comment:  http://www.facebook.com/DFWFurniture/posts/110773852342054

Even better, Bethany’s on their email list, and this was in her inbox today:  http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=66b31c192a78cb1962439b620&id=58954895aa&e=fed37b6f6a

Just part of the email…

…but we want to encourage  feedback and interaction from the community on Facebook.

Example : The recent story from Eric in Pittsburgh about his shopping experience at Value City Furniture vs. DFW Furniture in Pittsburgh.

We realize that advertising is always SUSPECT…But customer testimonials are PRICELESS… and credible.

How awesome is that?!  I’m famous!  Ha ha.

In all fairness, Value City did indeed reach out in the comments of the original blog, and as requested… I did follow-up:

From: Eric Carroll
To: jeremy.sipes@vcf.com
Sent: Mon, April 25, 2011
Subject: Blog about couch buyin experience…

Hello Mr. Snipes,

I’m responding to your comment on my blog.  I’m not sure what else you would need detail-wise, or any way of resolving anything.  Did you first read about my blog through your submission form?   I don’t really have any other details then what I expressed in my blog.  What else would you be looking for, exactly?

Thanks,
-Eric

.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

And, this was the response:

From: “Jeremy.Sipes@americansignature.com”
To: Eric Carroll
Sent: Tue, April 26, 2011
Subject: Re: Blog about couch buying experience…

I just wanted to make sure to reach out to you regarding your experience in the store. I apologize for your experience with one of our sales people. I will be in contact with store management in order to address your concerns. I am glad that you found furniture that you are happy with, it is just unfortunate that you were not able to so with our store.

If you need anything going forward, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thanks for your time

Jeremy Sipes
American Signature Inc.
Customer Service Coordinator
1-800-743-4577
1-614-449-4351

Again, there’s not too much to do at this point, is there?  Although, they did have some cool pop-bottle looking bar-stools there…

Heh.  Twitter is also a powerful tool:

http://twitter.com/#!/dfwfurniture/status/62486421889486848

http://twitter.com/#!/ValueCityFurn/status/62885704874721281

http://twitter.com/#!/ValueCityFurn/status/62885852690399234

Couches


Well, if you read about our couch buying experience and were at all curious, here are some crappy photos from my cell phone:

New Couch

Klaussner Couch

New Love Seat

Klaussner Love Seat

I like they stripey pillows on the love seat, they came with the set. I don’t think Bethany likes ’em though. We bought the pillows that are on the couch from Kohl’s, but they’re a pretty good match.

Adventures in Couch-Buying


So, the wife & I been saving to buy a new couch & loveseat for quite a while. We’ve been very casually looking at furniture stores since last October.  Retail sales people in general really bother me.  I tense up when they approach.  It’s impossible to walk into any furniture store & browse without a sales person being on you like white on rice.  I have an issue with the titles too.  They never call themselves sales people.  It’s always “associate” or “specialist” or “floor manager” or “Archduke of Ass-cushions”.  You’re there to sell furniture and make commission, not to help me with the interior design in my house or really even to sell me what fits my needs.  You want to up-sell as much as possible.  I know that, you know that… why can’t you admit that you know I know it?  Pardon me, I’m getting ahead of myself.

At Levin’s they weren’t interested in showing us anything other than the most expensive couches.  Once they got an idea of our budget, they weren’t interested.  Roomful Express was a veritable pressure cooker with a “buy it now because we’re going out of business” style sales pitch.  So, no warranty then?  Ikea is great, and we love the place for other reasons, but none of the couches that we saw on our last few trips fit our style and budget.  Big Lots had some affordable furniture, but the couch we had considered there only came in one awful orange-tinted brown… and it just brought poop to mind.

That brings us to the events of tonight.  We had passed by the DFW on Rte. 51 a week or so ago, but we decided to check it out.  We had looked at a few of their pieces online and were happy with the price & selection.  We decided to stop at Value City first since it was on the way & we were out looking.  The plan was to look around at Value City, check DFW in person, and if we needed to hit Value City on the way home, we could do that.  We could not have had two more divergent experiences.  I will mention sales persons’ names below, as it’s my intent to contact both Value City & DFW with the details of our experiences.  They both need to know what’s going on in their stores, good & bad.

As we were walking up to the door at Value City, we could see a young sales guy looking out the front window directly at us as if we couldn’t also see him.  He ran out of our view to his left, not unlike a puppy running to get some treats.  I said to Bethany “Wow, this guy’s going to be all over us before we’re even in the door.”  I was wrong.  Another sales guy was on us as soon as we were in the door.  He appeared like Batman disappears in the movies & cartoons.  I really have no idea where this guy came from.  He was just there.  I say “sales guy”, but he called himself a “floor designer”, commented on Bethany’s Penguins hoodie, and introduced himself as Bill.  Bill asked what we were looking for, we said couches, and he gave is a well-rehearsed (read: tired) spiel about how we were “here for two things; eye appeal and butt appeal”.  Things like “it’s got to be comfortable”, “sit on it, jump on it, relax”, “microfiber is just a fancy way of saying 100% polyester” were said.  Also, there were mentions of how their parent company owns Big Lots and DHL and a few other companies… which have absolutely no bearing on me buying furniture.  I’m not impressed with image.  Cheesy, but at that, he let us off to browse on our own.  We made our way up the first aisle, down the second, and were on the way up the third when Bill caught us again.  Along the way, we saw two couch/loveseat sets that we really considered purchasing.  We had our mind set on one because it was comfortable and within our budget and we were frankly just in the mood to finally purchase a couch this evening.  When Bill caught up to us the second time, we may have confused him, as we talked in passing to another family who had just walked in the front door.  Bill proceeded to introduce himself to us and give the same “eye appeal and rear appeal” into the “microfiber=polyester” speech that we had just heard less than ten minutes earlier.  As we were just into the third aisle, we were beginning to realize that most of this furniture was above our budget… so the plan was to walk through quickly.  Bill caught us by a rather ugly yet comfy reclining sofa that was ridiculously priced and begged us to sit in it.  We obliged.  Then Bill proceeded to tell is that we may recognize him from TV as he’s the “furniture doctor” (or something to that effect) on KDKA.  He also said that he sold this same couch to Tyler Kennedy & Max Talbot, then named some Steelers for good measure.  This is where my mind was made up that we wouldn’t be buying anything from Value City.  I don’t care who else has the same couch as me, and these local sports heroes will never be sitting on my couch… so it really is irrelevant.  Also… I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but just looking at us, he should have known that the couch in question was way out of our price range.  I would like to make it clear that the only reason that we didn’t buy a couch from Value City this evening is Bill Crewson.  I found him to be pretentious, pompous, and obnoxious.  We escaped Bill’s sales pitch of doom, and had a discussion around the first corner.  My wife agreed with my assessment and decided that worst-case scenario, we would come back & deal with a different sales associate because Bill was not getting a dime of commission from us.  We promptly headed to the door.  Bill again appeared out of nowhere and handed us a business card as we were on the way out the door, title being “Home Furnishing Consultant”.  Get your title/position straight, Bill.  Consistency is a good thing.  As soon as we got home, I fired up Firefox and Googled the bejesus out of Bill’s name on KDKA’s website.  I can find no mention of Bill by name or by “furniture doctor” or “couch doctor” or whatever he called himself (or anywhere else on the web).  If someone knows Tyler Kennedy or Max Talbot, tell them to call me to talk about their couches.

Next, we went to DFW.  The experience there was as refreshing as Value City was exasperating.  We weren’t immediately pounced upon when we walked in the door.  After we had made our was across the front of the store, we were casually approached by a Mr. Matt Walker.  He asked us what we wanted, and what our needs were.  He explained what they had, how the discounts worked if you bought outright vs. a payment plan, and set us free to roam around the store.  Still reeling from Value City, I thanked Matt for being the first sales person in a furniture store that wasn’t so far up my rear-end that they were looking out my mouth.  He laughed like he hears that a lot.  Bethany & I were able to take our time, look at the prices, sit on the couches… and we again found two sets that we liked and that fit our budget.  The one didn’t come in any different colors, so we happily picked the other, and we had to seek out Matt to let him know that we were ready to make a purchase.  To not be hovered over, or approached a second time with some sort of practiced sales pitch, or to not be only shown the most expensive pieces on the floor was a huge deal.  Happily, the set we wanted was well under budget at the advertised price.  Not only that, but we got a discount for paying for it all at once.  There was also another deeper discount because the floor model was the only one left.  We looked it over, were satisfied with the condition and quality and went with it.  We did purchase a reasonably priced protection plan for the cushions and there was a standard delivery fee… and we were still under the advertised price for the set.  I urge anyone in the Pittsburgh area looking for cheap quality furniture to seek out Matt Walker (Store Manager) at DFW on Rte. 51.  DFW should send all of their managers and sales persons to Matt to be trained.  They would be wise to pick up his tactics and demeanor.  The delivery is set for tomorrow, I’ll have to pop up a photo and let you know how that goes!

A little background on my shellfish allergy before I write my next rant of a blog…


Note: I started writing this the other day, and got to a point tonight where it’s so wordy that I’d like it to simply serve as a background to the next blog to show you where I’m coming from, or as the first part to a sort of “To be continued…”


So, Sunday night we had just come home from our 3rd day of Christmas celebration in a row.  Needless to say, we were in a great mood, but pretty tired.  I got online to check my email and see what was up in the world of Facebook, and Yahoo! pointed me to an interesting article from Reader’s Digest that made me wretch in horror and disgust.  This also pointed to several other articles and blogs around the web that divulge the disgusting inexcusable practices of the people who handle your food daily.

Granted, the actions & situations described are certainly not representative of the majority of your wait staff, servers, managers, cooks, chefs, etc. out there… but I find any number of this kind of attitude and described behaviors to be unacceptable.  I was so flustered, I decided to pop some things up on an old message board just so I could sort them out later.  I’m not even sure I’m at a point where they’re all sorted out, but I wanted to get writing while this was still somewhat of a fresh topic to me.  This was initially just an allergy issue to me, but several other side issues have popped up upon further review.  Please, bear with me if I jump form subject to subject before I try to reel it all in.

Generally, I’d like to think that my blogs are mostly amusing… any complaining is usually done within the context of humor, and only marginally serious.  I have used this & other platforms to comment on the state of customer service in the food industry before… generally at the “bottom rung” of fast food places as this is where I usually end up due to dietary needs (no shellfish) and budget issues.

This one, however, is serious to me… and I hope I don’t come off as just ranting, and that the seriousness of these issues is conveyed.

If you know me in person, have dined out with me, or have ready any of my lunacy online… you most likely know what I have a severe shellfish allergy.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, it means that I can’t eat any shellfish, or I go into anaphylactic shock.  Not only can I not eat the shellfish (that’s crustaceans & molluscs including but not limited to ,shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab, crayfish, oysters, mussels, clams, scallops, octopi, squid, snails, and probably even scorpions and pill bugs), but I can’t eat any food that comes into contact with it.  That means, if you cook shrimp on the grill, take it off, and put my steak on  without washing the surface, it’s the same as me eating the shrimp.

I certainly can’t expect the restaurant to clean the grill in between every meal, as that’s certainly not productive on their end… I just usually try to see where the shellfish is prepared, and eat from another cooking surface.  That seems easy enough, right?

I get that it’s my responsibility.  Yes, I’ve had an epi pen.  But I’d really love to not ever have the need to use one.  I’ve even considered getting Allergy Cards, but they seem a little pretentious or something… like my verbal reminder isn’t enough.

Well, getting me in to a place with shellfish is an issue in itself.  Why?  Well in with the aforementioned cooking surface issue… there’s just all kinds of stuff that can run through one’s head.  Like not washing a knife when it cuts one thing then another, shares spaces in refrigerators where things may drip on to other things, places where you might grab pizza toppings like crab meat or shrimp without washing your hands before dipping into the next topping, a friend of mine has even told me he had a piece of shrimp show up in his scrambled eggs at an IHOP once… and I believe the same friend even told me that they had a long and heated argument with the servers at a Chinese place where the ‘vegetarian’ eggs rolls contained crab because “crab is not meat”.  Oops… Death!  (Usually I sadly avoid any Chinese places anyway because of the shared cooking surfaces & probably delicious sauces that can be made with oysters or ground brine shrimp.) This basically makes me never able to completely relax in a restaurant where I’m supposed to be out enjoying myself… it’s an odd paradox.

Generally I can find a safe dish if pressed, and especially if I call ahead… but I need to be in an adventurous mood.

Dining out is an important social activity… a very common social activity that brings with it high levels of anxiety for someone like myself.  Not only from the aforementioned game of Russian Roulette Kitchen Edition, but from explaining my allergy to people.  Yes, anxiety from explaining to friends, family, business associates, your server, and anyone else who may inquire as to why you don’t want to try a great new seafood place or even Red Lobster or Long John Silver’s.  Not only can it be embarrassing where it really shouldn’t be… but it inevitable goes down something like this…

Not me:  “Let’s go to T.G.I. Friday’s”

Me:  “Well, I can’t really eat much there besides a salad or a baked potato.”

Not me:  “Huh?” [Looking at me like I’m an alien.]

Me:  “Well, I have a severe shellfish allergy.  I can’t eat anything like shrimp or lobster, or any cooking surfaces that it touches”

Not me:  “Oh, well just don’t order any.”

Me:  “Well, that’s not enough.  I’ve had a trip to the hospital just from eating onion rings fried in the same fryer as shrimp.  If they have grilled shrimp, I can’t get anythign off of the grill… if they have fried shrimp, I can’t get anything out of the fryer.”

Not me:  “Well, can you get steak?”

Me:  “No, they probably make that on a grill.”

Not me:  “Well, can’t you get chicken?”

[Mind you, I have ad this conversation with seemingly intelligent reasonable people.]

Me:  “Well, no… if it’s grilled, well… we covered that, and if it’s fried… that’s a no go either.”

Not me:  “Well, that sucks.  What about … [Names 400 other restaurants, all with prominent shellfish dishes on the menu]… I don’t think they have any shellfish.”

Me: “No.  No.  No.  Nope.  Unh-uh.  No.  No. Nope.  No… ” ad nauseum.  I suggest somewhere else, usually less “classy” because let’s face it… those are the places with no shellfish.

Not me:   “Sigh, OK.”

[I look/feel like an idiot.]

Then sometimes, one of these gems gets tossed in…

Not me:  “Well, that’s just stupid.  I’ve never heard of that.” or “There’s no such thing as food allergies.”

Yes, because you have never heard of it, I must be wrong.  Off to Joe’s Crab Shack!

Not me:  “My uncle Jim’s wife’s neighbor’s cousin’s roomate’s gerbil’s vet’s dry cleaner’s podiatrist was allergic to jelly beans, and he ate a quarter of a jelly bean and swelled up and went to the hospital and stuff and just kept eating bigger pieces until he built up a tolerance”.

Not me:  “Have you tried it lately?  My mechanic’s wife’s niece’s ex-husband had a neighbor who outgrew his allergy to strawberries.”

First off, this type of behavior is stupid… even if the story is real.  It is possible to build up tolerances (allergy shots), and to outgrow allergies… I am well aware of my limitations and have been told by more than one allergy doctor that my allergy is to great to attempt allergy shots and that I’ll never outgrow it.

My favorite comes from family & old friends…

Not me:  “You used to eat at Long John Silver’s!  You can’t be that allergic.”

I know. It’s WEIRD. I get it. Believe me, I get it.  I ate shrimp like a madman when I was young, and each exposure to shellfish since I discovered the allergy kind of seems like the bee sting thing to me, each “attack” gets worse.  After the last one… I don’t want another one.  But science seems to lean toward this being more random and not a straight road to a deadly end.  I really don’t want to be the guy to solve/prove that one.

And, please… if I do go to a restaurant to eat out with you… don’t orders shrimp or lobster and ask me if it’s OK.  Every fiber of my being is screaming “No, it’s not OK.  What are you, a psychopathic masochist that’s into mental torture?” while I tell you it won’t bother me.  Again, clearly my own demon to wrestle with… but really, do you want to be that person?

Still, I feel pressure all the time to just go with the flow, deal with it, and order a salad.  Believe me, a salad more often may be a good idea in my case.  It’s still just not an enjoyable or relaxing thing for me at that point.  We may be conversing, but I’m obsessing over every unidentifiable piece of everything in the dressing and really not processing much of what you’re saying.  Imagine that I told you there’s a box of rat poison in the kitchen right on the shelf between the flour and the sugar, they’re all in identical unmarked jars and there’s only one scoop used in all of ’em.  Do you wanna eat there?

This is really just to show you where I’m coming from.  I realize that it’s not your problem.  I realize that I have some real issues to deal with surrounding my problem.  I realize that this is not a terminal illness or anything that serious.  I’m not trying to get a pity party going for myself.  This is simply to let you know what’s bouncing around in my mind.

It hopefully won’t be long until my next not-unrelated blog… basically pulling quotes form the aforementioned articles and responding one by one.

I’d really like to hear everyone’s opinions of my rant here… am I out of line?  Over-dramatic?  Illustrative?  Insane?  Do you think like me?  Do you have an allergy?