updates: the pro athlete fiancé, the allergic coworker, and more

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. My office is obsessed with my professional athlete fiancé

I spoke with my department manager in a relaxed manner (but also in front of other co-workers to drive the point home) that perhaps we could offer my fiancé a position with the company since it seemed he was a constant presence there. I also mentioned the creation of the swear-jar type thing, which you and the readers suggested. That was a great idea, by the way! Everyone in our department laughed when I brought it up, but I did notice the questions and comments subsided a little in the following days.

I ended up leaving that company. It was not because of this situation, but because my fiancé ended up getting traded to another team. It ended up being a blessing in disguise. I am now out of corporate life and working as a substitute teacher. I love it. And guess what…turns out that 8-9 year olds don’t care or ask what my finance does for a living! :)

2. My allergic colleague has food demands I can’t meet

We recently had a team event and everyone was asking for a certain cuisine that often includes ingredients Chandler can’t eat. I met with the restaurant to go over menu items that could be modified to meet Chandler’s needs but still be served to the group discreetly (I figured I’d make sure Chandler was served first to avoid cross-contamination as much as possible). I present these options to Chandler ahead of time and he said “That’s F**king stupid” and expressed further dissatisfaction with what was available so I excused myself from the duty of finding stuff for Chandler to eat. Chandler was told by management to figure something out and expense to the company.

At this particular event Chandler ate a full plate of food containing the food they’re “completely unable” to eat with no issue at all.

So, there’s that.

3. Do prospective employers expect me to take time off work for interviews?

I got sick the day I was supposed to come in for an in person interview, yet the office manager never confirmed the time with me. I emailed him hours before the interview apologizing for the late cancellation and letting him know I will follow up when I am better. I emailed both him and the scribe I would have replaced apologizing for the late cancellation, and reiterating I was still interested in the job but cannot come on short notice (neither was cc’ed in the other’s emails). I reminded them of my working hours and that I am happy to come during those hours assuming I am given two day’s notice in order to arrange for coverage. Since the scribe mentioned wanting to make a decision quickly, I told them that it’s okay if they hire someone before I interview, but I expect one business day’s notice to cancel if needed out of courtesy. I never got a response from them. Maybe I did lose a great opportunity when I could have been competing with others who had flexible schedules and were willing to come on short notice. After talking to others I know who were appalled that this prospective employer who knew I am employed full time expected me to come on short notice, I dodged a bullet.

As a result of my interactions with that practice and reading the comments from others, I have readjusted my expectations as described above. In fact, one of my two phone interviews this week was during work hours so I just took my lunch break then. Assuming I move forward with an in person interview, I’ll just make myself available for times that are two or more days out from receiving the offer if they offer specific days/times. If they don’t offer days/times, I’ll just give them days/times two or more days out. Should these employers give me hard time about not coming in quickly, I’ll just remind them I need to arrange for coverage. Since these two phone interviews were for larger companies with HR departments where the hiring process is likely longer, I don’t anticipate issues not coming in on short notice.

4. My coworker works super long hours (#3 at the link)

I didn’t end up talking to my manager, but I did ask my coworker if they’d been upfront with our manager about their hours. They ended up talking to our manager frankly about their workload and we are now hiring another person!

I also had my review, and it was really positive. My manager told me that they were impressed with how much I’ve produced in the last year so that wasn’t even an issue, which is a relief.

{ 327 comments… read them below }

  1. Amber Rose*

    #2: Ugh. People who equate food allergies with food dislikes drive me bonkers. Way to make life harder for people who really do have problems.

    1. Paloma Pigeon*

      So, so this. As a mother to a kid with multiple food allergies who has come a long way with oral immunotherapy and desensitization to his allergens, stories like that make me stabby. So many people’s lives depend on others taking their allergies to common foods seriously and this type of scenario undermines this so much. IMO, I would ask if the individual carries an epi pen or Auvi Q device with them at all times and how they would avoid cross contact in their home. Most folks that are really allergic prefer to bring their own safe food to events in many cases, especially if they are allergic to multiple ingredients.

      1. Mama Bear*

        Agreed. Real food allergies are no joke and I would be highly reluctant to accommodate Chandler for much of anything going forward, since he’s revealed himself to be a liar, and very rude about it.

        1. Door Guy*

          I don’t have food allergies per se, but have many other issues with food and have a severely limited menu. There would be no “I ate it anyways” because it just wouldn’t happen. I HATE being a burden or people trying to go out of their way because, unlike OP#2, they always seem to bring attention to me instead of discretely checking (Like people who will stand at the table and make sure everyone is doing good, and then go “DOOR GUY! IS THAT OKAY? LET ME KNOW IF IT’S NOT OKAY! WE WANT YOU TO BE ABLE TO EAT WITH US SO BE SURE TO TELL US AND WE’LL FIND SOMETHING ELSE IF YOU CAN’T EAT THE (X) WE MADE!”)

          I’d have been ecstatic if someone had done for me like OP#2 did. OP, if you’re reading this, please know he was just being a rude and nasty person and those of us who do have real issues appreciate the gesture. (My sister is gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, and a few others. She eats vegan foods simply because they cater to those needs. She can and does eat meat though, provided it’s not breaded or cooked in butter/certain oils)

      2. Hula-la*

        I teach Home Ec and I harp about this with my students. Food allergies and preferences are different things, and to equate the two puts the lives of people with allergies potentially at risk. if I had a Chandler in my class, I would possibly be driven to drink during class time.

      3. Kyrielle*

        All of this. I don’t have food allergies, but I do have food sensitivities. The consequences aren’t life-threatening, but they are substantially more inconvenient than just being something I don’t like. And even so, I am always clear that it’s not an allergy. Partly so that they won’t see me eat a little of whatever and not instantly react, and assume it’s fine, but also because avoiding potential cross-contamination is a big waste of time in my case. I’m not sensitive to the level where avoiding cross-contamination is relevant except for lactose, and there’s a pill for that (and then I don’t have to trust in their protocols and they don’t have to execute them).

        1. Artemesia*

          Me too. I always say ‘This is not a true allergy — I won’t die if there is cross contamination in the kitchen, but it makes me sick so I need to avoid eating it.’

          1. Fikly*

            I so say something is a food allergy when it isn’t. I say this because consuming it can kill me – I very nearly died once – and the level of care taken to avoid it is equivalent to what is needed for an allergen, and I use allergy because people understand that better. It’s just an allergic reaction that would kill me.

            I still feed bad about using the term allergy, for the reasons above, but I do it to keep myself safe.

            1. ThatGirl*

              That sounds like splitting hairs, then; if it’s serious enough that you need allergen-level precautions, then by all means call it an allergy. What others are talking about is when it doesn’t rise to the level of needing to completely avoid cross-contamination, for instance.

              1. MassMatt*

                Even more so is when a certain ingredient (gluten!) becomes a boogie man in the cultural imagination. Celiac disease is serious and people with it need to avoid gluten, but unfortunately it’s also been demonized by many authors of bad diet books and websites, so many people make a huge fuss about “I can’t eat gluten!” while asking for more bread rolls.

                1. Anon this time*

                  I went to school with a woman who said she was extremely allergic to gluten, and had to be very careful about cross contamination. She was constantly talking about how hard and expensive it was to find gluten free food and always complained when we went to a restaurant that there was nothing for her to eat, but then she would eat everything full of gluten! Like we go to a pizza restaurant and she made a huge deal over how expensive the gluten free crust was, but then she ate the regular breadsticks and the toppings off of someone else’s non gluten free slice of pizza (I admittedly don’t know for sure, but I would think that if cross contamination was such a big concern she wouldn’t be able to eat the toppings off of a gluten crust?) Another time she checked over and over again that there would be gluten free options at a partywe went to, and then once there she ignored every single gluten free option and ate all the food she said she couldn’t have. Someone asked her about t and she said it was fine, she could have just a tiny bit, but she ate like a full meal where every item had gluten in it, including doughnuts and non gluten free bread.

                  Another friend of ours had celiacs and he would get so mad when he would tell someone he couldn’t eat something and they would reply with something like, “no it’s okay, Jane said these doughnuts were fine if you can’t have gluten”

                2. Morning Flowers*

                  As a severe celiac who had to entirely give up eating anything from outside my own kitchen … some days I want to travel the world, find all of those people, and punch them all in the face for making my life so, so, so, so, so, so much harder.

                  But I’d settle for the FDA regulating the presence of gluten in drugs. :-(

                3. Lynn*

                  My husband has a coworker who does have Celiac. He says the gluten-free fad has been both a blessing and a curse. A curse for the reasons others have mentioned. Folks who are not really gluten sensitive make it harder for him to be taken seriously. On the other hand, he can much more easily find gluten free options in stores and restaurants because so many people are looking for those options. He hasn’t decided whether, in his mind anyway, the upsides outweigh the downsides. But he does love the gluten free donuts a bakery by his house just started to offer and says that probably sways his opinion pretty hard towards the better rather than worse end of the scale.

          2. DataGirl*

            I get what you are saying about sensitivity vs allergy, but it can still be a true allergy and you not die if there is cross contamination. I am allergic to peanuts (scored 3 on a scale of 4 on allergy test) and I can’t eat it without getting a bad IBS reaction and breaking out in hives, but it doesn’t affect my breathing or cause anaphylaxis so I’m not going to die if a little peanut dust ends up on food.

            1. Aquawoman*

              Thank you. It’s a common misconception that true food allergies are fatal, and that’s just not true. Food allergies run the gamut from itching to vomiting to anaphylaxis. I am allergic to a couple things, none of which will kill me.

              1. Works in IT*

                I think the problem with true food allergies is there’s always a chance that they will get worse over time. So while you might only get hives now, you might experience shortness of breath the next time you’re exposed.

                Whereas if I eat MSG by accident, the severe nausea and generally being immobile for the next few hours will not kill me. I might wish I was dead, and other people hearing me scream might think I’m dying, but I won’t actually die, and the next time will always be just as bad (not worse) than the previous time. Because my problem with MSG is a sensitivity, not an allergy.

              2. Third or Nothing!*

                I really wish we could redefine “allergy” to mean more than just deadly anaphylaxis. My poor daughter gets bad eczema when she consumes gluten and a painful diaper rash if she consumes dairy. I’ve managed to get daycare on board with her diet, but it depends entirely on staff remembering that she can’t eat certain things because I can’t get an allergy exemption. I dread the day she starts school.

                1. JB (not in Houston)*

                  The definition of food allergy does include more than anaphylaxis, fatal or otherwise! As I said elsewhere, it’s if you get an IgE-mediated reactions. Your daughter could well have food allergies even if they haven’t sent her to the hospital.

                2. Third or Nothing!*

                  @JB someone tell my pediatrician that! I mean, yeah, she won’t DIE, but the poor thing still suffers, and I think that should matter.

                3. Observer*

                  If that’s what your doctor is saying, consider seeing an allergy specialist / finding another doctor. The most basic level of care for stuff like this is avoidance. If your doctor won’t cooperate because it won’t literally kill her, he is NOT doing his job.

                4. MCMonkeyBean*

                  I’ve never heard of allergy being defined that way until this thread. I went to the allergist and got stabbed 40 times by needles and was diagnosed with allergies to cats and mold but neither is anywhere close to deadly.

                5. Librarian of SHIELD*

                  I’m joining Team Get a Second Opinion for your kid’s medical needs. You’re right that she shouldn’t have to suffer after eating the food her school provides for her, and if her current doctor won’t sign the necessary paperwork to keep that from happening, maybe another doctor would.

                6. phira*

                  Also recommending a second opinion! A good friend of mine has a son with a wide array of allergies, many of which are severe but some that aren’t, and it took a long time for him to get proper care because so many pediatricians (who are not allergists) didn’t take the issue seriously and insisted that a child so young couldn’t have allergies. (He’s getting good care now, but I can’t even imagine how my friend felt while she was sitting there with her son who was clearly reacting very badly to so many foods, and having doctors tell her that nothing was wrong.)

                7. Helena*

                  If your daughter is young enough to still be in diapers, she is certainly young enough to still have CMPA (cow’s milk protein allergy, usually causes abdominal pain and diarrhoea). Most children grow out of it gradually between the ages of one and three, but there is a ladder for reintroduction.

                  If your paediatrician hasn’t looked into that (and they may have, of course) I would seek a second opinion. CMPA is pretty common.

                8. Third or Nothing!*

                  We’ve been reintroducing foods over the past few months. Egg went great, gluten is back on the menu but I try not to go overboard, and goat milk products are still a big fat question mark because it’s only day 2. I will be ecstatic if she can do at least goat milk products, because I’d prefer to use the vegan dairy substitutes very sparingly.

                  She’s 2 so there won’t be another checkup for a long time. There may never be another checkup at that office, TBH. She’s rubbed me the wrong way for a while, I just haven’t gone to anyone else yet because there hasn’t been a need to go to any doctor at all. Badger Cub has a ridiculously awesome immune system just like her Mama…which is probably why she’s having these issues also just like her Mama.

              3. Observer*

                Add in the fact that anaphylaxis is not the only life threatening reaction.

                When people heat “contact dermatitis” they think irritated skin. What they don’t think of is “throat so swollen you can’t breath AT ALL.”

                The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter what words you use. Use whatever words make it clear to people what the level of seriousness is. And respect anyone who says “I can’t eat X” unless they they give you clear evidence other wise. Don’t worry about the language they use and don’t just decide that they are a Chandler.

            2. Nicole*

              Yeah, I have an allergy that won’t kill me but will give me a terrible stomach ache and make me sick. I call it an allergy, but clarify that it will just make me ill and things like sharing a cutting board are okay, as long as there aren’t actual pieces of cheese in food.

              Honestly, I think the best approach is just to take everyone’s allergies at their word. Maybe they scarf down gluten afterwards, but I’ve been made ill many times by people who assumed I wouldn’t notice if they put milk in something. And I have multiple food allergies, some of which are complicated. At work, I just say “I can’t eat x,y,z”, but actually, I can get away with small amounts of y in certain circumstances. So you might see me eating a food that contains something I say I am “allergic” too – but that’s because I know what was in it and made my own assessment. It’s not that it’s a made up allergy.

            3. Filosofickle*

              Yes. I have an officially diagnosed egg yolk allergy that presents more like what people think of as a sensitivity. I struggle to articulate it because I can eat some (like in a cake) just not a lot (no more than about a half yolk), and it causes stomach cramps not anaphylaxis. There’s no need for kitchen precautions but there is a lot I can’t eat. I know that every time I explain it, someone thinks “oh then it’s not a REAL allergy”.

              1. Alicia*

                That’s often a non-IgE allergy, in which immune components other than IgE react to the allergen.
                Unfortunately, it hasn’t been taught in med school and many MDs aren’t aware of it.
                The allergy establishment began addressing it a few years ago and one of the things they research is FPIES, food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome, which they usually identify in babies.
                So @Third or Nothing!, your pediatrician is not current in his knowledge. I second taking your daughter to an allergist, who will know much more.
                Also any doctor should have the common sense to realize a child should avoid foods that make her sick. *eyeroll*

                1. Third or Nothing!*

                  So here’s what went down: I convinced the pediatrician to order a blood test. Everything came back negative. So the pediatrician is far more concerned about getting her on a balanced diet and loading her 1st percentile self up with dairy to get her to grow more. She’s very concerned about how tiny my daughter is and wants her eating as many healthy fats as possible. There are A LOT of avocados at our house.

                  She’s 2.5 so there won’t be another checkup for a long time.

                2. Alicia*

                  It depends on what reactions were tested for in the blood test. For example, did it check for IgG or IgA reactions? Or was it a mediator release test? Or some other test?
                  Whatever it was, it didn’t test for the reaction your daughter is having.
                  I still think an allergist is indicated. A good allergist will be able to tell a lot just from the symptoms, will know what tests to order, and maybe suggest some alternatives to milk.
                  Good luck!

                3. Third or Nothing!*

                  I have no idea. It was quite a while ago. What I DO remember is how awful it was to get enough blood drawn for the test. It took forever and she was screaming bloody murder the whole time.

                4. DataGirl*

                  Third or Nothing!*- trying to reply to your comment about your daughter being in the 1st perecentile but I can’t reply directly.

                  My youngest was diagnosed as ‘failure to thrive’ when she was your daughter’s age because she dropped from the 50 percentile at birth to less than 5th percentile at about 2 1/2 years old. They tested her for everything under the sun (all negative) and at the same time noticed some allergy like symptoms such as post nasal drip, so put her on allergy meds and miraculously, she started eating better and gaining weight. They figured that she must have had inflammation irritating her bowels and preventing nutrient absorption. They wouldn’t actually do allergy testing before age 5 (I can’t remember why) but when she was 5 we did the scratch tests and found a lot of allergies. She’s 15 now, still skinny but healthy and doesn’t have many food restrictions anymore. Anyway, all that to say even if the blood test was negative your daughter may have sensitivities and getting a second opinion is a good idea. You have my best wishes, I know how hard this all is!

                5. Third or Nothing!*

                  @DataGirl: Thank you! She’s always been in the bottom percentiles for both weight and height. I’m only 5′ tall so it’s truly no surprise that she’s taking after me. I’m just over here trying my best to give her a balanced and nutritious diet.

          3. Snow globe*

            There are some true food allergies that are not life threatening. I get swollen lips/itchy tongue and throat from contact with certain foods (I’ve had reactions from kissing my husband after he’s eaten one of those foods.) . It’s the fact that the symptoms come from contact that makes it an allergy. Sensivities generally come from digesting certain foods, and may or may not be life threatening. I sometimes say i just don’t like those foods so people don’t freak out, but it is an allergy.

            1. Ace in the Hole*

              Very true. I had a roommate who was allergic to mango sap, and would break out in horrible hives wherever it touched her (including inside her mouth if she were unlucky enough to get a mouthful). Absolutely not lethal, but extremely unpleasant… and very difficult to explain why she was totally fine eating a thoroughly peeled mango, but still needed the peeler washed to avoid cross contamination.

              1. Gazebo Slayer*

                My sister is also allergic to mango skin only – I heard it has something to do with their being related to poison ivy.

                1. raktajino*

                  Know how it’s said that the skin of potatoes and fruits have “all the vitamins”? The same thing is true for the proteins that cause allergic reactions. That’s how fruit trees discourage insects eating the fruit if they’re not going to swallow the seeds whole and redistribute, I guess.

                  Maybe something’s different with mango but a skin-only allergy doesn’t surprise me. I’m allergic to honeycrisp apples–even washed, even organic–but if I peel them first it’s ok. Only honeycrisp too, and due to my lack of reading labels first and not always doing the grocery shopping, I basically have a double-blind study on myself.

                  Source: In a college biology seminar class we read a study about allergic reactions to peaches and preparation methods to avoid it.

                2. DataGirl*

                  I wonder if the mango skin thing is part of Oral Allergy Syndrome- which is where proteins in some foods mimic the proteins in certain pollen so if you are allergic to that pollen you can have a reaction to the food. Usually cooking the food breaks down those proteins so they are okay when cooked. Which is why a raw apple will make my throat swell up but I can eat apple pie no problem. Science is complex, yo.

              2. Petticoatsandpincushions*

                Same here! The skin has basically the same oils as in poison ivy so as someone who once missed Easter because her eyes were swollen shut from poison ivy rash, I don’t touch mango skins. But I do make my husband peel them so I can enjoy them anyway :)

            2. Dust Bunny*

              My SIL is allergic to raw tomatoes, but not cooked ones. Raw ones won’t kill her but, yeah, they make her break out in itchy hives. But cooking them apparently changes them enough that things like ketchup or marinara are fine.

              So people give her a hard time over it not being a real allergy even though it is, it’s just not totally obvious.

              1. Aeki*

                That’s most likely oral allergy syndrome (OAS). It’s related to hay fever and inhaled allergens. It is an allergy, but not a true food allergy interestingly enough.

                1. Ella Beebee*

                  My husband is allergic to raw apples and that’s exactly it. He has terrible allergies to like everything in nature, and the apple allergy is related and considered part of his general outdoor allergies rather than specific food allergy.

                2. DataGirl*

                  According to wikipeda (not the best source, I know) OAS is a true allergy. “OAS is a Type 1 or IgE-mediated hypersensitivity, which is sometimes called a “true allergy”. The body’s immune system produces IgE antibodies against pollen; in OAS, these antibodies also bind to (or cross-react with) other structurally similar proteins found in botanically related plants.”

              2. Dancing Otter*

                My father was the exact opposite. He could eat raw tomato but not cooked. I never tasted spaghetti sauce, pizza or lasagna until I went away to college.

                After he died, my mother put tomato sauce in everything. Maybe not ice cream….

              3. Mill Miker*

                I have the same thing! I used to have a ton of allergies when I was a kid, but the last allergy test I had (still as a kid) only showed tomatoes, and mild enough that doctor suggested experimenting to see if it was all tomatoes or just raw.

                So ketchup is fine, small small amounts are fine (like I can pick slices off a sandwich and be okay), but if I actually eat a slice, and my stomach reacts badly, and I get breathing problems (but only if I exert myself? Allergies are weird.)

              4. Cucumberzucchini*

                I have almost the same allergy, as do my Mom, my female cousin and my Aunt (cousin’s mother). We are allergic to raw tomatoes, but not cooked. It causes us to break out on our faces with very bad acne, like the kind that leave a scar.

              5. Door Guy*

                IIRC, the raw vs cooked tomatoes is that whatever it was specifically in the tomatoes her system doesn’t like breaks down in the cooking process and can no longer cause the reaction.

            3. Ophelia*

              This is me with kiwi it makes my lips and mouth swollen and itchy – it definitely won’t kill me, but if it’s in the fruit salad, I’m not eating the rest of the fruit, either.

            4. JB (not in Houston)*

              I’m not clear if you are saying that it’s only a true allergy if it’s a contact allergy–if so, that’s not accurate. You can rub cheese on my skin and I doubt I’d have any problem, but if I eat it then I’m in big trouble.

              It’s considered a true allergy if it’s an IgE-mediated reaction. Sometimes they are life-threatening, sometimes they aren’t (although it’s possible for them to become more serious for no apparent reason, so people should always be careful if they have food allergies, even if they’ve never been life-threatening before). If it’s not IgE-mediated, then it’s generally not considered an “allergy” (although I believe that eosinophilic esophagitis reactions to be allergic reactions, and patch testing is part of an EoE diagnosis). However, regardless of whether someone has a “true” IgE reaction or not, other categories of food reactions can be very dangerous, and of course you are correct that many people have true food allergies that have never caused them serious reactions.

            5. Koala dreams*

              I agree with you. Most people who have allergies have non-deadly allergies. (Luckily!) You can’t conclude that the allergy didn’t exist just because the person didn’t die or get visibly sick. There are many different symptoms for allergy, such as a runny nose, red skin or itchiness.

            6. EH*

              I wish we could stop using “true food allergy” as a phrase.

              Allergies run extremely strongly in my family, and range from anaphalaxis reactions to dark circles under the eyes (my allergist, who published a paper about some of my family members, called them milk circles, because they’re a common sign of dairy allergy).

              Allergies don’t have to be severe to be “true” allergies.

              1. Tinker*

                Wait what that’s a thing?

                I have a tendency toward dark circles that is named as a family trait (you have the such and such family eyes) but I always thought it was an inconsequential quirk of appearance.

              2. Amy Sly*

                I understand your point … but we need a way to distinguish reactions that require full anti-cross-contamination protocols to avoid vs. ones that can be avoided by simple omission. Referring to them as “true allergies” vs. “sensitivities” or “intolerances” may not be medically accurate, but it may end up being the best short-hand to express the problem.

                1. T R*

                  It’s true that we should standardize a way to easily communicate whether cross-contamination protocols are necessary. However, true allergy vs. “just” a sensitivity or intolerance isn’t the way to do it… because there are sensitivities and intolerances that require cross-contamination protocols.

            7. Pantsuit Eleanor Shellstrop*

              Definitely tell people it’s an allergy! Allergies typically do worsen when someone is repeatedly exposed to the allergen, which is something you CAN control. My doctor specifically told me that those “swollen lips/itchy tongue and throat” allergies can turn into anaphylaxis later on and made me carry an epipen. These things are unpredictable. Take care of you and don’t worry so much about rude people’s reactions.

          4. animaniactoo*

            To be clear: Food allergies are not always life-threatening. For all of my food allergies but one, they will trigger a minor asthma attack that I can handle easily (I mean, for having to have one in the first place). I’m not worried about cross-contamination for these as at the most they’ll create a bit of wheezing and then I’ll be fine.

            But yeah, when I talk about avoiding soy – which is only a migraine trigger – I am clear that it will not kill me but it will make me really sick for a couple of days. My parents think I should just call it an allergy and I think that I don’t want to desensitize the issues of actual allergies that way. If it were more in the life-threatening category, I probably would say allergy just to make sure that I was being taken seriously.

            1. Rainy*

              I am allergic to all of the Fabaceae (beans/legumes) except peanuts and chickpeas, and all of the brassicas. They cause migraine for me. However, the type of migraine they cause for me is strongly correlated with fatal stroke, with the risk increasing the more migraines you have. My doctor told me that I needed to be extremely rigorous in avoiding these foods, because the aggregate effect of exposure for me is very likely to be death.

              I have several other food allergies so it just blends into the background hum of “stuff I can’t eat” but yeah, if it makes you really sick for multiple days, by all means, call it an allergy.

              Turmeric (probably) won’t kill me, since it’s a gut reaction rather than a respiratory one, but it’s still an allergy, and I still don’t want to be exposed. Shitting myself nearly to death over the course of 18-36 hours and then feeling awful for several days while the bulk of the allergen clears my system is not my idea of a fun time.

          5. AKchic*

            “I have a mild allergy. I won’t die, but I will re-enact a very disgusting scene from the Exorcist, if you catch my drift…”

            Onions. Every time. Yet my mother just calls it “being a picky eater”. In my family, your dietary needs aren’t accounted for unless you have diabetes (the “family curse”) or are a man on a specific diet. Otherwise, you shovel it in with a smile on your pretty little face.

            1. Rainy*

              I’m allergic to peas, and the number of times as a child I sat in front of a congealing dinner eating the same spoonful of peas multiple time (yes, really, I’d swallow and then barf it up onto my plate before it even made it to my stomach)…but yeah, I was “just picky” too. *eyeroll*

            2. Quill*

              I have a mild allergy to red food coloring, but mostly you need to feed me truly reprehensible quantities of it to make me do my own exorcist impression. Coincidentally, most “fruit punch” drinks are that red.

              … we didn’t go back to that grocery store for about two years.

          6. Elizabeth West*

            This is good language; I’m borrowing it. I only have one issue, and that’s with broccoli. After taking warfarin for a year, I can’t eat it without getting very unpleasant stomach cramps. Not sure if that’s an actual allergy or an intolerance or why it happened in the first place. It can be on the plate, but I can’t have it.

            At restaurants, servers can usually tell me if it’s in something, or it’s usually listed on the menu as an ingredient in a particular dish, so it’s easy to avoid. I can’t imagine what I’d do if it wasn’t. I feel for folks with severe allergies to very common and often hidden ingredients.

        2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          Same. In fact, I’ll correct people (my mother’s a big offender on this one) who try to say it’s an allergy. It won’t kill me, but too much can make me have a bad, bad day.

        3. Brownie*

          Always call it an allergy if you’ll have a reaction to it, no matter how small the reaction is, so that the server knows to check with the cooks. You can clarify it as a mild/moderate/severe allergy, but always use the word allergy when eating at a restaurant because that’s the phrasing that makes the food handler training kick in for the server/staff. Using “sensitivity” doesn’t do that and can therefore lead to the food being invisibly contaminated.

          In one case I said “I’m sensitive to milk, please make sure there’s none in my meal” so the server didn’t ask the cook if there was milk used in the preparation process for the dish, instead they only make sure that there weren’t visible milk products on the dish. I had a reaction later and missed a day of work because the meat was marinated in milk. If I use the word “allergy” then the training kicks in and they’ll check with the cooks. If it causes any kind of a reaction it’s an allergy and it’s preferable to use that word, with a modifier for severity, so people take it seriously and check the invisible ingredients too. It’s a medical reaction, it’s okay to use the word allergy.

            1. Milk is my Nemesis*

              Where do you live? I have trouble with people even knowing what dairy is (dairy includes butter, people! Including the butter you cooked that egg in!), let alone understand the difference between dairy allergy and lactose intolerance.

              1. NAHC*

                Oh my goodness, the number of people, including cooks (I work in a restaurant!!!) who don’t understand that there is dairy in margarine is staggering!

                1. Ego Chamber*

                  Margarine is oil and water. Some manufacturers add lactose and/or whey for flavor but it doesn’t always have diary in it, you have to look at the ingredients to be sure. (If you checked and the brand your restaurant uses has added lactose and/or whey, I take your point!)

            2. Third or Nothing!*

              I live in a major city in Texas. There is butter in a lot of stuff, but I usually know what items because I grew up in the family restaurant. Typically a steak will be cooked in butter, but not chicken. Chicken is olive oil. (Not always, and it’s important to ask, but that’s the norm around here.)

      4. Brett*

        Realize, though, that there are quite a few extremely uncomfortable food intolerances that do not require an epi pen or Auvi Q and would never kill a person, but still are awful enough (hives, eczema, and diarrhea for hours) that the person would definitely want to avoid the food.

        I’ve got one of those (to pork), and I never call it an allergy because it does not require the precautions of an allergy. But then it drives me nuts when people treat it as a preference and then order italian sandwiches and sausage pizza and I end up spending lunch picking cured meats out of the antipasto.

        1. lost academic*

          Same here with the pork! I’ve got a pretty low threshold before unfortunate symptoms and people Do Not Get It.

          1. Brett*

            Incidentally, I’ve recently learned (but not been tested yet) that this might be a form of Alpha-gal syndrome. If you are allergic to cats too (I’m not), then it’s pork-cat syndrome. Neither of them is very well understood, and there are still pork sensitivities/intolerances that are not explained by either.

            1. Sleve McDichael*

              I didn’t realise pork-cat syndrome was a thing and now I’m really sad for all those people who can’t have bacon or kittens. Cruel world!

          2. starsaphire*

            I’m so glad I’m not the only one. People often treat me like I’m making it up, because “no one’s allergic to just pork, that’s stupid.”

      5. Tinker*

        I agree that this particular person is unreasonable, but please do not undermine the seriousness of allergies to common foods in the case where people do not have to (or, independently of how wise it is, don’t) follow the full set of lifestyle changes needed for severe and multiple allergies.

        As someone who is in that boat, although I certainly recognize that your situation is more significant than mine, it’s really disconcerting to me that I might not be able to trust someone not to serve me my allergen (which is generally visible, but certain sorts of foods sometimes conceal it) if they don’t understand and approve of what things I do and don’t do to manage it.

        1. Diahann Carroll*

          This. I have celiac disease, which does not require an Epi Pen or anything of the sort, but I most certainly cannot eat things that contain wheat, barley, rye, etc. without becoming extremely ill and getting severe stomach pains that feel like someone’s stabbing away at my intestines.

          People don’t need to prove that certain foods make them sick – some of us would have no way of doing so.

          1. Marmaduke*

            I have Celiac Disease too, and while the results of gluten (seizures and GI distress) probably won’t kill me, they did pose serious danger to my unborn child while I was pregnant. Dietary needs aren’t necessarily optional just because they aren’t allergies.

      6. Ted Mosby*

        Absolutely not. First, you shouldn’t start asking employees about how they deal with medical issues and what medications they use or take in any circumstances. It’s not your business, it’s a shitty thing to do, and it won’t solve anything. Being pretty sure an employee has lied about a medical condition isn’t an excuse to grill them about their medical care, and it could have a real impact on how other people view the company or feel about disclosing g similar needs. If an employer needs documentation to make an accommodations they can ask; otherwise leave it alone.

        What would OP possibly do if chandler isn’t medicated to their liking? Accuse them of making up the allergies? Refuse to accommodate them? OP solved the problem by telling chandler to handle it himself and charge the company from now on.

        Second, many, many people with severe or potentially fatal allergies have them for well known ingredients, and food service workers are trained to deal with allergies. Plenty of people with allergies eat food at events. Encouraging skepticism towards people who’s allergies don’t fit your own idea of what a dangerous allergy looks like is part of the problem.

        1. Dot Warner*

          If someone carries an Epi Pen or an Auvi Q at all times and you spend a significant amount of time with that person each day, it is your business. You might need to use that device to save their life someday.

          1. biobotb*

            If someone carries a medical device they expect people around them to use in case of emergency, they need to bring it up, not wait for their colleagues to ask about it.

            1. DataGirl*

              I have carried an Epi-Pen for 10 years and not needed to use it yet, but I try to remember to let people I’m around a lot, like at work, know it’s in my purse if something were to happen. I don’t always remember to tell everyone though.

          2. Ted Mosby*

            Ok but the comment was clearly about asking to try to trap Chandler in a lie which is not at all ok. OP can learn how to use an Epipen is she wants to. She doesn’t need Chandlers permission.

            We don’t even know if OP and Chandler spend a lot of time together. Nothing in the letter indicates that they spend a significant amount of time together or that OP would be one or the logical people to alert to this kind of thing. And biobot is correct. Chandler is an adult and can handle his own medical care.

            Don’t question colleagues about their medical conditions or the medications they take. End stop.

      7. Observer*

        What the others said.

        Not every serious reaction is life threatening, but they still need to be accommodated.
        Not every reaction can be mediated with an Epi Pen or Auvi Q device. That doesn’t mean it’s not real.

        You don’t like how people handle your allergies. Don’t do the same thing to others who don’t fit YOUR box.

      8. Lorna D*

        I agree that people who do what Chandler’s doing really undermine people taking those with food allergies seriously as someone who has loads of them, but I wouldn’t ask if they carry an epi pen or auvi q device! I have a very severe gluten allergy and have been hospitalized several times from it, but epi pens would never be used for it because it’s not an anaphylactic response and I can see the look in people’s eyes that they’ve stopped believing me when I tell them I’m allergic to gluten but don’t have an epi pen!

      9. Um nope*

        I agree with most of this comment, but the epi pen comment is a bad approach and it feeds into some misconceptions. There are plenty of ways that an allergy/food intolerance can be seriously harmful without it causing anaphylaxis. For example, my mother had a severe gluten intolerance, and when she ate gluten, she had bloody diarrhea that caused her great pain and left her dehydrated. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she explained to me that because of her celiac disease, repeat exposure to gluten could cause more serious digestive health problems down the line. So: no, don’t ask people if they take a certain med as if it’s a badge of legitimacy. In addition to being super rude, it also oversimplifies the ways serious allergies can affect someone.

      10. Not Rebee*

        Lots of people have food allergies and do not carry an Epi-Pen. Despite testing very high for certain allergens (such as shellfish) on an allergy test, I was never prescribed one until I later complained to an allergist about this odd sensation I was intermittently experiencing where my chest felt very heavy (I could breathe fine but it felt like I had to pay attention to keep doing so) and that got me both an inhaler and Epi-Pen for my trouble, along with a shrug. I used the inhaler for a while, as needed, but the “condition” disappeared as randomly as it appeared despite no changes to anything. But, if not for that, I would have never gotten one despite it being perfectly reasonable to have prescribed one when you consider how little effort it took to get one later.

        I would not assume that all people with allergies will carry something for that (I do carry allergy pills since I am minorly allergic to some things I am not always able to avoid) and their solution to cross contamination in their own home might be like mine: I just don’t buy shrimp or peanut butter.It certainly can be quite a production to avoid allergens if you’re severely allergic, but for easy-to-avoid allergens or for less severe ones, there may not be as much effort as you seem to be expecting for people with “real allergies”.

    2. JKP*

      Chandler may have “paid” for eating that food later. Some people who have dietary restrictions aren’t deathly allergic, but will be sick for hours/days after.

      The only explanation I can guess for his odd behavior is that maybe he has foods he shouldn’t eat, or risk being in the bathroom all night after, but he has no willpower to not want that food if it’s around him, so he wants everyone else not to eat it also? His expectations of controlling everyone else’s food choices is definitely unreasonable.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        You’re very charitable. To me, he just sounds like a picky eater with a terrible attitude.

        1. Krabby*

          I actually think JKP is probably right. I have reeeeeally bad lactose intolerance, but I eat dairy all the time. I love cheese too much and I forget my pills all the time. That said, I know that about myself, so I actively don’t ask people to accommodate me, because I know that if they order me something special while there is pizza…. I’m eating pizza. That said, either way he’s a jerk.

          1. Salymander*

            I’m like that with eggs. I can eat things that have eggs in them, as long as the amount of egg is not too high. So, cake is fine. Spoon bread, meringue and most custard, not so much. I might have to just eat a smaller slice of cake, but I will avoid meringue like the plague. The first time I tried some posh artisanal marshmallows, I was sick as a dog.

            I always thought I was a picky eater, because that is what adults always told me when I was a child and eggs made me throw up. When I got older and described my symptoms to a doctor (vomiting, itchy mouth), she said that I have a mild allergy, and that my family were just jerks.

          2. Alicia*

            I figured out my own non-IgE allergies and the last one was to sugars, and the only symptoms are digestive.
            Even though I knew it was upsetting my system, it took 3-4 years to completely get off candy. The small amounts of egg and dairy in the candy weren’t helping me either… if I was at a party with a cake I would take a little frosting off the edge of the plate. Yum!

            After about 3-4 years I got tired of dealing with the symptoms and completely stopped the candy and frosting.

          3. T R*

            I know a lot of people with allergies and intolerances, and this seems really likely. Like you and JKP said, trying to control the entire group’s food options is really where he crossed the line.

    3. pleaset AKA cheap rolls*

      THIS. He’s messing things up for people who have real needs.

      What a clown. Next time, makes sure he’s only served cheap ass rolls.

    4. Arya Snark*

      I used to work with someone who insisted she was allergic to our city’s water. She could drink the water in other places with no issue, but not ours. Mind you, we have excellent water here but OK – Princess got the company to provide her with her special water and her special ice made with her special water because she’s super special. I guess the daily Starbucks and the pasta she often ate at local restaurants must’ve have been an exception to her rule. Chandler and Princess would have made an interesting pair.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Your company just has people drink the tap water? *wrinkles nose* We have a water cooler because nobody here would be pleased otherwise. They were paranoid when I switched providers that it was going to be not as good as the last place [nope, saved 60% and it’s much better, everyone rejoiced after their taste test, lol]

        I know this person was being over the top AF but my previous place had fine water. Then new place [5 miles away] has such high chemical tastes that I cannot drink it without gagging. But I can indeed use it mixed into things or to cook, just not to drink as a beverage by itself!

        HOWEVER, I wouldn’t make a stink and ask for a special water. I’d just bring my own bottle because it’s pretty odd to make a stink out of something so insignificant.

        I have a person allergic to diet soda, sadly we cannot order non-diet because of the sugar tax that would drive our costs through the roof and eliminate our free soda abilities. I can get juice, he accepts it or he doesn’t drink it. There’s a limit here, folks!

        1. ThatGirl*

          I have never worked anywhere with delivered water; what seems more common is a filtration system that dispenses cold water (and sometimes ice).

          1. kittymommy*

            I’ve never worked anywhere with water delivery either. Personally, I just drink tap water. The city municipality which has the water where I work is pretty good (it has received awards for quality and taste) and then I have well water at home. Sometimes I’ll get the water from the fridge dispenser, which is what most of my co-workers do. I’m not a fan of cold water though.

          2. Needs More Cookies*

            It makes sense to deliver water in some cases – like if you’re in an old building with lead in the pipes.

        2. Leslie Knope*

          We just use the water dispenser and ice maker on the fridge, but it has a water filter in it that has to changed from time to time. That proved to be much more cost effective than having the big jugs delivered. If someone wrinkled their nose at that I would personally think they were being a bit of a snob…but, all things considered, the tap water here is actually pretty good.

          I grew up in a rural area that got its water from a reservoir, and the water definitely had a fishy taste…so maybe I just have a high tolerance…

        3. Librarian of SHIELD*

          I’ve only ever worked for government departments, and they are absolutely unwilling to pay for drinking water for employees. In some cities where I’ve worked, it was because they wanted to make a big deal of the tap water being safe to drink. But most of the time, it’s because tax payers might raise a stink if they find out their tax dollars were spent on drinking water for staff.

          1. Brett*

            The Emergency Management department is your friend. They often have large bottled water supplies, and those supplies have to be routinely rotated. Bottled water rotation = free drinking water.

        4. Ace in the Hole*

          Everyone I know drinks tap water at work and at home. Having separate water trucked in at great expense seems kind of silly when you can just turn a tap and have cool potable water right in your cup!

          1. Le Sigh*

            Right, but not everyone has that access. Cities have crumbling infrastructure and in some places, the water isn’t great.

        5. Dust Bunny*

          We have a water filter system because the local tap water is safe but gross-tasting. But I’ve lived in and/or visited places where the tap water tasted great and drinking it unfiltered wouldn’t have been an issue.

        6. Arya Snark*

          Ha no, we actually had water delivered too – from a local spring that won international awards for taste – but she couldn’t drink that either. She had to have a certain brand of widely available bottled water. And it wasn’t just about taste (or so she said) – she insisted she was allergic.

        7. Lexica*

          I work in risk management, and in case it’s useful to anyone: getting hurt while changing bottles on water coolers is the second-most common workplace injury in non-industrial workplaces (trip/slip/fall is the most common). My workplace stopped providing water coolers and installed filtering water dispensers instead partly because of this. (Also, I think it wound up being cheaper to install the dispensers and change their filters on schedule than it was to have water delivered.)

        8. Llellayena*

          As someone who is also allergic to diet soda, if it’s the aspartame (Nutrasweet) that’s a problem then some diet sodas are made with Splenda and could be ok. But it’s definitely a check with the specific person thing! And the government-sponsored sugar-is-bad thing is really annoying. Many of the sugar substitutes are just as bad as sugar in similar quantities. Just let everyone regulate their own sugar intake! Arg!

          1. Ella Beebee*

            Yes! I’m allergic to aspartame and I also really love Coke. I don’t drink it all that frequently, but I really enjoy it. Whenever people try to tell me that I should switch to diet soda because it’s healthier I explain that I can’t because of the aspartame. Then someone will pretty much always tell me not to worry, I can drink Diet Pepsi because it’s made with another artificial sweetener that isn’t aspartame. I could do that, but I love Coke and really hate the taste of Diet Pepsi (funny enough it’s because to me it’s too sweet despite being the sugar free option) and also I’m a grown adult woman and can manage my own diet and sugar intake, thanks.

          2. Quill*

            Can’t taste aspartame as sweet, definitely have read that it can put people with family histories of diabetes at risk of developing it (because it trains your body that it doesn’t need to release insulin in response to ‘sugar’). Diet soda is not necessarily better for you!

      2. JB (not in Houston)*

        This is actually a thing! Water is not treated uniformly by every municipality/water district, and people can react to water in some places but not others. I can relate–the way some restaurants clean their glasses means I react to even water if I’m there, but I”m fine at other restaurants. I don’t know if Starbucks filters their water, but some restaurants do, and that might have made it ok, or it is possible that she could tolerate it in small doses but not all day long.
        I’m not saying she definitely had a real problem–neither you nor I can know for sure–I’m just saying it is actually a real problem for some people.

        1. Librarianne*

          I had an extreme gastric reaction to the water in my former place of residence. At restaurants I would request drinks without ice and never drank the unfiltered tap water. I never had a problem cooking with the tap water, perhaps because it was usually boiled first, but I always put filtered water in my coffee maker and tea kettle. I also got contact dermatitis on my hands if I washed dishes without wearing gloves. I’ve never had such a severe reaction in any other place!

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            It’s weird, isn’t it? And troublesome, because of course it’s hard to to get by without easy access to water. How hard that must have been for you! I’ve had food allergies for a long time but only learned in the last 5 years or so about how bad people’s reactions can be to water in certain places.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            Ah, maybe that explains it! And also, that’s just generally good information to have. Thanks for sharing.

      3. Diahann Carroll*

        I wouldn’t drink the tap water either, honestly – shit is gross in a lot of places. And no, having my coffee brewed with it at Starbucks is less of a problem because I’m usually adding all kinds of syrups and things to it so I wouldn’t taste it anyway. And when cooking, you’re oftentimes boiling sad water, so whatever weird taste was originally in it dissipates.

      4. animaniactoo*

        You might want to think more charitably about your co-worker. Allergens can be neutralized if they’re heated beyond a certain point.

        This is why I could not have raw tomatoes as a child, but I had no problems with tomato sauce or ketchup. I have thankfully outgrown this allergy. But anyone who assumed then that I was lying about my allergy because they saw me put ketchup on my burger after ordering it without the tomato would be wrong and uneducated about allergens.

        1. Alicia*

          The man who taught me about non-IgE allergies had an allergy to one of the proteins or enzymes, I forget exactly – in tomatoes. He could eat raw tomatoes but cooking concentrated his allergen and cooked tomatoes made him sick.

      5. anon24*

        I’m actually really sensitive to a lot of water. My parents have well water and before they got their water softener to help filter out the minerals I used to vomit every time I drank their water. I lived off of bottled water before they got the water softener because I was so dehydrated from throwing up otherwise. Even now I don’t feel great after drinking their water. I drink bottled water at my home now because the water where I live now is also very hard and makes me very sick. Interestingly enough there have been a lot of studies done in nearby areas that are claiming that the water may not be as safe as it’s supposed to be, but I haven’t seen anything for my exact location yet. Either way, I just don’t drink the water.

        1. LilySparrow*

          It sounds like they need to get their well tested for bacteria and contaminants, not just put in a softener.

          1. Quill*

            Yeah, though I’m pretty sure anon could also be reacting to a mineral that’s in the groundwater. Hard water is generally stuff with limestone, chalk, or gypsum, and I can easily see how chalk or gypsum content could trigger vomiting.

            Limestone too if the concentration was high enough to disrupt the acid in your system. Distilled water should remove those, and they should all be large enough particles to be removed via filtration or softener (which clumps those minerals up at the bottom of wherever they are.)

            Interestingly, extra soft water bothers me and I always refused to drink the water at my grandfather’s house growing up because it was ‘slimy.’ (I don’t drink the tap water when I visit Oklahoma either, but that’s because of the sulfur smell.)

      6. ThursdaysGeek*

        I have a co-worker who says she is is allergic to water, and will explain further when questioned.. It took some sleuthing, but she’s actually allergic to coconut, and apparently a lot of water filters are made with coconut fibers.

    5. Antilles*

      The weird thing is though, even if he *was* just passing off his dislike of wheat as a gluten allergy or whatever, it still doesn’t make sense because he literally got the full accommodation he would have wanted!- you got your dish without gluten! Your problem is solved!

      1. somanyquestions*

        There’s some weird control thing in there, too. He wanted to change everyone else’s food and when he couldn’t the whole thing was meaningless.

      2. ellex42*

        That’s because the real issue wasn’t about food in the first place – it was some kind of control/power issue. There’s really no other reason for someone getting their requested accommodation and still making an issue of it – especially since Chandler was insisting that everyone else’s meal had to conform to his demands.

      3. AnonyMouse*

        Was it a confirmed wheat “allergy?” I suspected it based on the original letter, but was really curious what the “allergy” was.

        1. Antilles*

          Double-checking, I don’t think it was ever confirmed exactly what the allergy was, I just remember her mentioning rice, so that’s where my mind went. Feel free to mentally replace it with shellfish, nuts, etc as you prefer :)

      4. Op 2 (formerly OP 1)*

        I’ll respond to the whole thread,

        1. Not disclosing what the ingredient is.
        2. The ingredient was in a form Chandler “absolutely cannot eat”, and combined in almost all of the food they, and everyone else, ate.
        3. When Chandler first presented this issue to me, I only asked them about which ingredients and preparation, not how it affects them. They explained that it is a non-negotiable, Very Very Bad, absolutely cannot eat issue. If you say you can’t eat it, I leave it at that and do what I can (to a degree of course). Whether it’s an allergy or a sensitivity or just preference doesn’t matter to me. Our office has so many restaurant options nearby that everyone can be accommodated.
        4. I agree that it is a deeper issue than just food allergies/sensitivities/restrictions/preferences based on other interactions.

        Sorry i’m not giving up juicier details! I like my job and would like to keep it.

        1. Observer*

          You sound like you handled stuff as well as could be. And that this guy just happens to be a jerk. Not just because he ate the food.

          I think you know better than to let this affect how you deal with others, but if anyone up your chain comments, please just remind them that just because you have one jerk, doesn’t mean that everyone else is a jerk.

        2. Quill*

          Yeah, Chandler is a jerk and he’s not going to stop being a jerk, but he’s an alive jerk who everyone is mentally eyerolling over.

          It is also entirely possible that he has zero actual information about the ingredient in question and *believes* based on a cousin’s friend’s naturopath roommate’s reading on the Evils of MSG that he absolutely cannot eat it and is blissfully unaware that what he ate contained it. In which case his ignorance is, in a way, its own punishment – he has to go around being a jerk and a gullible one at that.

      5. Gazebo Slayer*

        Maybe it IS gluten and he’s one of those people who believes gluten is Unhealthy and Bad and Evil for anyone and everyone (regardless of allergies, intolerances, or lack thereof), and is an evangelist about it.

        (In which case he can kick rocks.)

        1. Alicia*

          To me it sounds like one of the ingredients that’s in everything: soy (most restaurants and food processors use soybean oil), or wheat, corn (cornstarch and corn syrup), or sugar.
          Reading ingredient labels is a real eye-opener. Especially sugar is in many places you would never expect.

    6. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Shoot. He didn’t dislike it, since, “At this particular event Chandler ate a full plate of food containing the food they’re “completely unable” to eat with no issue at all”. This must have been some kind of, powertrip? Mindf–k?I dunno. I am completely at a loss.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I’m not even playing the contrarian viewpoint because of his “f*g stupid” comment. Otherwise I might have wondered if he had just given up and accepted that he’d be in dire stomach distress the next day…

        1. Quill*

          Yeah, based on his attitude about making everyone else not eat it… he’s not engaging in good faith.

          (If it was peanut anaphylaxis he could very well have to eat in a separate room that had never seen a peanut, for example, but people who have that generally have years and years of practice gracefully saying “hey, I absolutely cannot attend this event if peanut butter cups are being served, because I can have a reaction from someone at the next table over biting into one. Let me know if it’s possible to change the menu.”)

    7. Sockit2me*

      You’re assuming a lot. Maybe the allergy is that the food gives him severe stomach problems. And maybe he’s also really sensitive about calling attention to that, so he’d rather not have his food separated. Okay, probably not this guy, who is a giant a-hat who seems to enjoy jerking people around. But that situation certainly is a real thing.

      1. On Anon*

        While it might not be immediately trackable to him, making everyone else eat a restricted diet is likely to be a whole lot more noticeable, and memorable, than him getting his food separated. And if multiple people with different restrictions all want this, there may not be much left that can be served.

        1. Librarian of SHIELD*

          This. I’m more likely to remember “the whole menu for the event had to be changed because of Chandler’s allergy” than “Chandler’s sandwich was wrapped in yellow paper instead of white to make sure he got the right one.”

          1. Nancy Pelosi*

            Also, chandler clearly has no issue drawing OP’s attention to his allergy/sensitivity. Why does his/her opinion not matter to him?

    8. Dagny*

      Actual Thanksgiving issue: complaints from the “gluten free” (not celiac’s) person about the idea of putting flour in gravy… who then ate an entire doughnut in the morning.

      I’ll firmly believe that people who can only eat things in limited quantities get to pick that which gives them the most enjoyment (e.g., a diabetic who can have a bit of sugar might prefer a small slice of chocolate cake to a really sugary sweet potato casserole), but….

      1. Works in IT*

        If I eat too much soy, or too much tomato, I will experience the same symptoms as my MSG sensitivity. They suck. My threshold for them is higher than my threshold for MSG, but it exists. I will occasionally go to asian restaurants and eat small portions of steak marinated in soy/teriyaki, and fried rice, because I love soy so much, and small amounts don’t usually make me sick…. but I do not like tomatos that much. They’re okay, but not worth potential suffering like my precious peanut chicken or fried rice.

      2. Not in US*

        So I’m allergic to eggs, tree nuts & peanuts – it sucks. I’m also wheat intolerant. When I go to a restaurant, I make it very clear what is an allergy, what is an intolerance and exactly what that means in my case. I go so far sometimes to make it clear I do not have celiac and things like flour in gravy are FINE.

        I’m thrilled when people try to accommodate me and I try to make it as easy as possible for people. I rarely cheat and eat wheat in a way where I know I’m eating wheat (think donuts) but I would never make a big deal out of a small amount of “hidden” wheat. I often travel with my own frying pan because of the eggs (if a Teflon pan has a scratch and has ever had an egg cooked in it – ever – I will get sick).

    9. Stormfeather*

      Yeah, was just thinking that it sounds like Chandler’s the type of person that makes life more difficult for people with actual allergies, or makes people assume that “food allergy” is just code for “I’m picky.” (Although I think/hope maybe that latter is drifting out of public opinion as awareness grows that food allergies are in fact an existing and dangerous thing.)

      1. Stormfeather*

        (Also apologies if this is repeating anything or generally late to the party. My internet went out for a bit so this only posted like two hours later).

    10. MCL*

      Yeah, he’s being difficult and pretty impossible to work with on ordering food he can eat. I’m glad OP excused herself from making it her problem ever again and got management to back her. Now it’s totally Chandler’s problem to arrange things for himself.

    11. Coder von Frankenstein*


      I have a friend who has a severe allergy to eggs–to the extent that she has a bright red tattoo on her wrist indicating this fact, in case she’s unable to communicate with EMTs when they arrive. All it would take would be one restaurant worker rolling their eyes and thinking “It’s no big deal, it’ll be fine,” and allowing some cross-contamination, and she could die.

    12. Hey Nonnie*

      Uuuggghhh… I mean, what even was the point of all his drama? He apparently doesn’t even have a serious psychological aversion to the food, seeing as he ate it willingly without any issue. So WTF with demanding that not just he, but everyone eat his special food? Why does he care what everyone else eats?

      I’m so confused.

    13. Another worker bee*

      I’ll play devil’s advocate here because I have food issues that are not allergies, but from kidney issues, not all food things are “one speck of this food item and you’ll die”. For me it is more “at one meal you can eat whatever in a reasonable quantity, but if you eat the standard american diet 3 meals a day you will be in pain within 1.5 days and hospitalized with a kidney infection by the end of the week.”
      Can I eat fried food, meat, dairy for one meal in small quantities? Sure, but you can’t feed me that for every meal or I WILL get sick, so I just ask for vegan food all around to make it easier. But if you forget one meal, I’m probably going to eat the chicken or whatever rather than go hungry.

      1. Observer*

        All of which is totally not related to what the OP described. This guy was insisting that he CANNOT EAT ANY OF that particular food. And he wanted everyone else to have to conform to his menu to accommodate him. And when that didn’t work and he was explicitly told to just get what he wants and charge it to the company he ate whole meal filled with this food that he CANNOT HAVE ANY of.

    14. Sleve McDichael*

      When I was a kid I used to call my salicylate intolerance an allergy. My parents banned me from salicylate rich foods because I couldn’t moderate my intake. Now I’m an adult, I can eat many foods that would shock my school friends, by regulating my intake over time. Maybe Chandler has just discovered the same thing? Coincidentally on exactly the same day as the team event………….?

      Ahh, who am I kidding, it sounds like he was after a power trip.

    1. irene adler*

      I would pluck from his hands any and all foodstuffs he indicated he could not consume, exclaiming, “No! No! You’ll die if you eat this! Everyone, help me keep Chandler alive! Don’t let him eat anything he can’t!!” Just to annoy the hell out of him.

      1. Leslie Knope*

        Hahahaha! “Quick! Is there a doctor in the house?!” And then start doing the Heimlich maneuver like that would somehow help.

          1. Hey Nonnie*

            Plus grab an EpiPen from the first aid kit and start chasing him around the office with it. “Chandler! Come back! I will save yooooooouuu!”

      2. MistOrMister*

        Another option is to smack the plate out of their hands. This has the added benefit of allowing you to “accidentally” step on their food, rendering it instantlt inedible. Whereas if you snatch the plate from them you might find yourself playing keep away and they could possibly get their plate back

  2. sssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    Dear Chandler: This is why we can’t have nice things and why people who have allergies and are happy when asked and accommodated can’t have nice things. People stop trying.

    And then he ate a whole plate of the forbidden food?! And lived to tell the tale? This person would no longer have any respect from me nor would I ever consider accommodating any request from him going forward.

    (Example of not trying: My poor son got offered bland salad at a catered school event because they saw dairy allergy and stopped right there and didn’t for a moment think, hey, how can we made a sandwich dairy-free (it’s very easy).)

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Honest question – how is he with milk _in bread_? In other words, if they don’t have bread without milk as an ingredient, can he eat the bread?
      I went through an elimination diet where I gave up trying to find milk-free bread and just stuck with rice for the duration.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Really? I don’t think milk is that common of an ingredient in bread, all you really need is flour, yeast and salt… I know commercial loaves often have other ingredients, but I just looked up, for example, Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat and it does not have any dairy ingredients.

        1. Elizabeth Proctor*

          If you ever need to find it again and are having a hard time, check the nearest Kosher section. They should have pareve bread which will be dairy free.

          1. Observer*

            Yeah, the default for Kosher bread is non-dairy. Bread that is either dairy or made with meat ingredients needs to me clearly marker (and needs to actually look different from standard bread even when it’s not in the wrapper.)

        2. Fikly*

          A friend’s kid got sick at Disney World because it turns out they put milk in their bagels (her kid is allergic to milk) and she never even asked because who puts milk in bagels?

          1. ThatGirl*

            Weird. I do know that Disney takes allergens pretty seriously, so if you tell the cast member what yours/your kid’s are, they will ensure you know what’s safe to eat.

          2. Leslie Knope*

            Bagel dough is boiled in water before being baked, which is what gives it a harder outer shell. Some techniques call for adding milk to the water, but that’s not very common. You would think a place like Disney would avoid that technique…

            1. Mongrel*

              Also worth remembering that Whey powder is added to a lot of things as it’s a cheap, natural binder that doesn’t muck up the taste

          3. Anony Mouse*

            Yeah, my husband with celiac got glutened at his friend’s wedding at Disney World. He wrote his allergy down on a menu card months before and mailed it in, and they served him meat with a white gluten-containing sauce, realized their mistake, then instead of swapping out, they smeared it off and gave it to him.

            He got the gassiest stomach pains ever :(((((((((((((((((

            Also, all of his friend’s wedding favors were white chocolate-covered oreo cookies with rice paper designs of Disney characters. All of which he’s allergic to. We had to give them away :///

      2. sssssssssssssssssssssssss*

        When we lived in the US, we were restricted to a very delicious but more expensive kosher multi-grain bread brand. (Can’t remember the name…)

        When we moved back to Canada, well glory be! Virtually no bread has milk. We’ve stopped worrying about bread now.

        And we had a food challenge: a dessert made with milk triggered the allergy. We were all sad.

    2. Cedarthea*

      My nephew (in kindergarten) is sensitive to lactose, not allergic to dairy, so my sister asked that he not be given the carton of milk in “snack club” so that he could keep his dairy load low during the day.

      Somehow that became a dairy allergy (it’s not and will never be a dairy allergy) and was denied the cupcakes that the ECE baked for the teacher’s birthday because of his “Dairy Allergy”. He survived without the cupcake, but the lack of comprehension makes me worried for other kids with other needs if, don’t give him a carton of milk, he will shit his brains out, is allergic to dairy.

      It also pisses me off because I run a summer camp and I do my damndest to make sure any alternate we serve a kid with a dietary resembles the original meal closely, because who wants a salad when everyone else gets a sandwich.

      1. Kate*

        I remember having a gluten-free kid and non-gluten-free kid at the same time, and constantly making sure I only bought cookies that I could buy similar for both.

    3. No One You Know*

      As an adult with a dairy allergy I’ve just accepted at this point that I’ll generally be stuck with one very bland, “allergen friendly” dish at every catered event and bringing my own separate meal to every family dinner. My coworkers all think I’m a gluten-free vegan, too, but I’m not. It’s just the vegan dish is often gluten free and it’s almost always the only meal I can be certain doesn’t have hidden dairy.

      It’s actually pretty easy to make something dairy free but people are BAFFLED at what dairy means. The number of times I have to explain that cooking any part of a dish in butter makes the dish dangerous for me or that eggs aren’t dairy (??!!) is astounding.

            1. Glitsy Gus*

              You would be shocked how many people have no idea what mayonnaise is made of. I have told AT LEAST fifteen friends how mayo is made and they were all shocked. It varies as to what they thought was in it before I told them (a lot of people do think cream is one of the ingredients, though), but none of them had it even close to right. I think it’s just one of those foods that a lot of people really just don’t think all that hard about.

          1. Sally*

            I can’t eat wheat, and unfortunately, my experience is that many people think that vegan food is automatically gluten-free. I don’t understand how bread is an animal product. Wheat grows on farms, and there are sometimes cows on farms??? I shouldn’t be too incredulous though because I automatically associated mayonaise with dairy before I gave it a few seconds of thought, and I’m sure that’s what others do when confronted with a food restriction they’re not familiar with.

              1. Perpal*

                Yes it’s literally gluten. I think it’s delicious and am not sure why gluten has become such a boogey man ingredient – I know sometimes celiacs and allergies can be subtle, but there are so many things that some people are allergic to; why is gluten the one that gets tried out so often when folks aren’t sure what’s wrong?

                1. Alicia*

                  I think it’s because guten allergy and celiac are fairly common and very under-diagnosed in the US.
                  When I was learning about this in the early 2000’s, I was told that in Italy they routinely test babies for gluten allergy and one in 250 are positive.

                2. Quill*

                  Because it sounds like a ‘chemical’ and wheat flour is such a common additive in literally every processed food that people had to campaign to make food manufacturers aware that gluten allergies were fairly common.

                  The symptoms on the mild end can be pretty vague, so a lot of people who have unhealthy relationships with food in regards to thinking of it as “good” and “bad” or no relationship with science “I don’t want chemicals!” siezed on it as the probable cause of their occasional stomach upset. (Especially when the american diet can be pretty heavy in grain products and low in vegetable products.)

                  On the one hand, the people who siezed on it as a fad are what made a market for gluten free products, on the other hand… Chandler and his ilk.

          2. Jennifer Thneed*

            Well, if you’ve never made mayonnaise, it’s really hard to realize that the main ingredient is OIL. I mean, it does look sorta like sour cream, right?

            (And so many people never cook, have no interest in cooking, don’t own cookbooks, etc.)

      1. A few things are nice*

        My kiddo is allergic to milk AND eggs. The pastor at our church was once tasked with picking up the (usually one particular brand) allergy-friendly cookies for an after-church gathering. The ones he bought had eggs. His process was “it says dairy free!” Yeah, no. Read the ingredient list, and YOU get to explain to my kid why he can’t have cookies today.

      2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        Probably because in English there is this separate word “dairy” that doesn’t sound anything like milk so it’s not easy to guess what it means. In some other languages the only word for dairy is literally something like “milk products” so nobody would connect that to eggs. But unfortunately that doesn’t help with the butter issue which is very common, people just don’t remember that butter is made of milk… Another thing is that while some cheeses are naturally lactose free, they aren’t dairy free.

        1. Aggretsuko*

          A friend of mine with a dairy allergy has said he specifically has to say “milk allergy.”

      3. Third or Nothing!*

        You get a dairy free dish at catered events? Dang, I don’t even get that!

        And yes, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to tell my mother-in-law that I can’t eat her special Paula Deen-esque dish because it will make me sick. Butter is dairy, MIL. I’ve taken to bringing my own food when we go to her house or eating beforehand.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          When I make breakfast for our class at church, I know that one person is gluten and dairy free (but a little bit is ok), one is dairy free (none at all!), and another has to limit egg consumption (cake is ok, scrambled is not). And at one time we had someone vegan (but gluten was ok). Somehow, I have been able to make a meal that works for everyone, because apparently I care more about them than your MIL cares. :(

          One option is something I call Quichadillas (a cross between quiche and quesadilla). I use muffin tins oiled with olive oil and line them with small tortillas turned into a little cup (corn or flour, depending). Then put in meat or not. Add veggies (like broccoli). I’ll add cheese, except for the non-dairy ones. Add a raw egg (slightly whipped), except for the non-egg person. The vegan option might include garbanzo beans and mushrooms, and doesn’t hold together as well with no cheese or egg, although I bet I could make a flour sauce that thickens as it bakes. Bake them all, and make sure you can remember which is which, and it works for whatever food need your group has.

          1. UK gal*

            For the non-egg one use seasonsed chickpea flour and water , my sister has made me little mini quiches using it and it works well.

            1. Third or Nothing!*

              I’ve tried that before and it’s pretty tasty! I need to make it again; it’s been a while.

          2. Third or Nothing!*

            MIL does care, she just is very forgetful. Which is why I won’t let my husband’s parents keep our daughter overnight – Badger Cub also can’t eat dairy and I have on several occasions had to snatch cheese out of her hand that MIL absentmindedly gave her. Thank goodness it’s not a deadly allergy!

    1. Imaginary Number*

      What? #4 was the greatest update ever!

      Just kidding. There appears to be a missing update #4.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Text at the top says four. And the numbers are 1,2,3,4. Might be another case of the propgation delay Alison has mentioned, where her last-minute changes don’t carry through to her post until after it’s been posted a while.

      1. Chocolate Trinity*

        Ah, it did say five at the top and 1,2,3,5 earlier, but I didn’t realize those delays had been happening. Thanks!

      1. The Other Alice*

        I came here to make this joke and I’m both pleased and upset that you got there first.

        1. AngryAngryAlice*

          Oh hey fellow Alice. I came here to make the exact same joke. (Great minds with great names think alike..?)

  3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Okay so now we can all just see that Chandler is a total asshole and I’m glad that hands have been washed of trying to work with him on trying to accommodate his needs.

    “That’s f*cking stupid” would get someone on the train out of here and we’re a foul mouthed crowd, it’s not the word, it’s the tone and the direction it’s being thrown towards.

    1. Cookie Captain*

      I hope the LW’s “excused myself from the duty of finding stuff for Chandler to eat” really means “I told Chandler where to shove his fake allergy and control fetish.”

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Ah I like this direction…since I know my response to seeing him gobbling up a plate of food he’s claimed he’s allergic to is “Woah! It’s a miracle that you’re not longer allergic to that!”

        1. Cedarthea*

          I run a summer camp and had a kid with an egg allergy and had worked my pants off to make sure he didn’t have egg, but we served perogies and my kitchen staff didn’t check the box and he was halfway through the plate when I went bolting into the dining hall to stop him and make sure he was okay.

          He was fine. Turns out, not allergic to egg anymore (thank goodness). He had spent the week pounding ranch dressing which also, it seems, has egg in it, without incident.

          I had another child who was gluten free and dairy free for behavioural reasons, apparently, and we again worked our butts off to feed him appropriate, comparable food. He kept eating the dairy products on the table (without issue), so he was about 14 so he and I had a chat, and I agreed I would not stop him from eating dairy (or call his dad and tell him), but if his dad called me about it, I would not take the hit, that I made him the dairy free food and he was eating dairy of his own free will. He ate the dairy and I never heard a peep from his family. It was a controversial decision for sure, but in the end ripping food out of the hands of a 14 year old boy in front of his peers is not my idea of fun.

          1. Gazebo Slayer*

            The mother of a boy I went to high school with falsely claimed her son was allergic to a long list of foods: all meats, all dairy, eggs, soy, wheat, all nuts and peanuts, sugar, citrus fruit… but then he ate all those things whenever he was out of her sight with zero problems. It turned out she just believed all those things were “unhealthy” and “poison” and so she lied in an attempt to keep him away from them.

            She also refused to use soap to clean surfaces because it was “bad for the environment,” kept her son home from school because she believed her neighbor had hexed him (!), and would often just “forget” to pick up her kids because she was hanging out with her boyfriend elsewhere.

            1. Cedarthea*

              I think it was something similar, but that it managed his autism.

              Either way, it made my life easier to just make gluten free mac and cheese rather than gluten free dairy free mac and cheese at a camp where we can’t have nuts or pork.

              I feel for that kid, controlling parents are no joke! I have worked with a whole pile of nutty parents, but that one would have me likely doing my job as a mandated reporter.

          2. Jedi Squirrel*

            He had spent the week pounding ranch dressing which also, it seems, has egg in it, without incident.

            This must be somewhere in the Midwest, where we calmly sip ranch dressing as the tornado whisks all our buildings away.

            1. Cedarthea*

              Ontario actually, but our camp cook is a Ranch devotee, so much that we call him Ranch-ules, rather than his camp name of Hercules. If they spill ranch, we have to do silly rituals to make sure we haven’t offended Ranchules.

              Its a funny story, when he was CIT he ate ranch on everything, but was/is? lactose intolerant and he didn’t realize that ranch contained dairy … he just happened to be the last person who used the toilet before the septic pump died, but he always told the story that he loved ranch so much it broke a septic system.

              At this stage we put it on the table at all meals and I’ve just stopped asking questions about how much of it we buy a summer.

              1. Jedi Squirrel*

                If they spill ranch, we have to do silly rituals to make sure we haven’t offended Ranchules.

                I love this! It’s now going to be a part of our dinner rituals!

            2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

              PNW loves them their ranch dressing. I sigh heavily into the wind as I say “No, please God no.” when they ask if I want any ranch with my pizza [of any assorted topping but don’t you want some ranch?! I DO NOT WANT ANY RANCH!!!!!!!!!!!!]

              1. Jedi Squirrel*

                IKR? I mean, I love pizza and I love ranch, but they do not share a space on my Venn diagram of food combos.

              2. Burned Out Supervisor*

                I love to dip my pizza crusts in a little ranch dressing, but I will not pour it on. That’s gross.

      2. Op 2 (formerly OP 1)*

        It was closer to “Oh. Okay! You got that then!” And then explaining to my higher ups “Chandler thinks my solution to their dietary restirction is f*ing stupid so I told them they’ve got it from here.”
        And that was that.

    1. Ama*

      I have to say I thought it was funny that she closed with “8 and 9 year olds don’t care” but only because when I was 8 my teacher proudly told us her cousin had just been called up to the majors (he was never a big star but he did pitch for a team that won the World Series while he played for them) and as a budding baseball fan I was instantly fascinated — in fact the cousin’s team became my second favorite team (after the fandom I was born into) for quite a while.

      But I do think she’s right that they won’t care if she never tells them, I just still fondly remember that teacher and her cousin.

      1. hbc*

        Yeah, if they know, I’m sure some of them will be all over her. But most elementary school kids just don’t make small talk like, “So, tell me about your partner. What does he do?”

      2. Pennalynn Lott*

        The father of one of the girls I was in elementary school with all through 1st to 6th grade was a special teams coach of “America’s” NFL team. Things were fine until we hit 6th grade and had our first-ever male teacher (this was in the late 70’s). He bent over backwards trying to get in that little girl’s favor so that he could (1) get in good with her dad, (2) get [free] tickets to games, and (3) hang out with the players.

        If I remember correctly, he was only ever given 2 free tickets to a low-value game. But that daughter’s ego was boosted into the stratosphere that school year.

        Which I guess is to say to the OP: Please don’t tell your co-workers at the school about your fiance.

      3. HS Teacher*

        I casually mentioned to my senior English class that my cousin played in the NFL for several seasons as a running back, and they wouldn’t stop asking me about him. I realized that was a mistake and no longer mention it.

      4. raktajino*

        When I was in second grade (~1990), a kid in my class wouldn’t shut up about her cousin and his BAND. He was in a BAND and it was GREAT and he was going to be SO FAMOUS.

        Nobody cared.

        That band? Pearl Jam.

        1. BC Lower Mainlander*

          When I was in high school, a girl in my grade, would not stop name dropping her uncle who was a drummer for a band. Thankfully she grew out of it, but for a while she acted as if his popularity was hers. The band: “The Northern Pikes”

  4. nora*

    Chandler reminds me of one of my bridesmaids. I got married about 400 miles away from home. Instead of a reception we had a five-course plated meal at a restaurant. Some people in attendance couldn’t eat various foods due to diagnosed allergies/self-diagnosed allergies/religious restrictions and I made sure that at least one option from every course would work for everyone. We even had the restaurant completely alter one dish to remove an allergen so my bridesmaid could enjoy it because she has a life-threatening reaction to that ingredient. Having worked in restaurants previously I knew exactly how to arrange everything and the management could not have been more accommodating. I didn’t talk with her much during the dinner but apparently she complained about everything, said everything that was altered to meet her needs still had allergens in it and/or tasted awful, and DIDN’T BRING HER EPIPEN WITH HER. I realized that she really just wanted all eyes on her, all the time, positively or otherwise, and cut her out of my life after the wedding. Who needs that kind of nonsense. I hope Chandler either comes to their senses or moves on from that office.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This story had me clinching until your sweet ending about cutting her out, thank God for that.

      I’m easily the most accommodating person when it comes to not just allergies but preferences. I’m a seafood obsessed person but know tons of people aren’t into it. So yeah, I can enjoy my face full of sea life while I work to get everyone else something that’s acceptable to their tastes.

      My brother’s bestie for decades now is only a fan of chicken strips, mac n cheese and pizza [you know, the low level stuff kids love, do not even think about a pizza with anything put pepperoni or a crust on that mac n cheese…] and needs to pour ranch dressing on just about anything that’s consumed. Guess who was accommodated at many of events? Guess who was appreciative of that effort? This is why they’re still friends and he’s still invited out. If we are doing something that we cannot get the place to pour ranch all over it, then we don’t go there for something we want him at because you know what, we love the guy regardless of that quirk. It’s loveable AF when it’s not coming from someone who’s entitled and rude about it.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        So I was at a specialty pizza place over the summer that lets me give you a devious idea: Have you seen mac&cheese *ON* pizza? It’s decadently good. They also had Caesar salad pizza, but that’s probably not your brother’s bestie’s thing.

        1. Librarianne*

          There was a pizza place near my college that served mac & cheese + broccoli pizza. It was AMAZING.

          1. it's-a-me*

            As a teen, I once served bacon and broccolli omelette to my parents, because I had in my mind ‘this is a well known combo and must be good’.

            Turns out I had gotten the idea from NEOPETS, the giant omelette with gross/questionable ingredients. I’d just seen it so often it worked it’s way into my subconscious.

            1. Ramshackle Vagabond*

              As I was reading this, I thought, “Why does ‘bacon and broccoli omelette’ sound so familiar? I never eat omelettes anyway.” My Neopets totes got omelettes and jelly every day, so I remember them fondly. And now, because I’m curious, was it any good? I feel like an appropriate balance of broccoli could actually make that an odd-but-tasty combo. (Maybe I’m a Skeith?)

        2. Autumnheart*

          Yeah, a lot of pizza joints around here do mac & cheese pizzas. The Midwest is a master at making carbs out of other carbs.

        3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          This sounds like the dreadful Taco Pizza turned up to the Mac N Cheese level. Which I would eat because I’m a carb monster.

          LOL no, this would probably be too “adventurous”.

          This grown ass man also does not do freshly battered chicken strips. It has to be the frozen breaded kind.

      2. MistOrMister*

        This is the opposite of what happened with a friend of mine. When I had a brunch at my place, I ran the menu by everyone I invited beforehand. Only one friend had issues, “oh well I don’t like this dish because of X, that dish because of Y, ” etc, and these were just dislikes, not allergies. To be fair she did just say she would figure something out. But I altered the menu so she could eat at least 3 or 4 of the dishes I was serving. Because why would you invite someone for a meal and then serve a bunch of things you know they don’t like???

        Fast forward however long to when she is having a party at her place. She knew I would be coming by to help set up and likely would hang around and help her clean as I’d done previously. And she knew I don’t eat meat. She specifically told me she was going to have something vegetarian for me. When I got to her house and we’re setting up the food she had tray after tray (those large, deep aluminum trays you get that are 13×9 or bigger) full of food she’d ordered. There must have been a good 8 to 10 of them. And every single dish contained meat. Even ones that she got two of, where one of them could have been ordered vegetarian (i.e. two huge platters of some dish that looked like chicken lo mein….I really don’t think anyone would have complained if only one of them had chicken!). When we got to the vegetarian dish…..it was the smallest possible raw vegetable tray with dip that you can get from the grocery store. I was flabbergasted. I spent the night starving as I had not bothered to eat dinner in advance or bring anything to eat with me since she had specifically said she would have something for me. And after the amount of work I put into making sure she could eat at my house, I expected she would have at least one thing I could have. Needless to say, that friendship didn’t survive. Not because of just that one incident, but it was indicative of how lopsided things were between us.

        1. BC Lower Mainlander*

          Your former friend is selfish and thoughtless AF. Good riddance. We need to keep people around that help make us better and treat others with respect.

          Respect seems to be a lost art to many these days. ~sigh~

    2. Fikly*

      Is this the right time to talk about my roommate who didn’t disclose his life-threatening allergy to the odor of peanuts until I said to him, AFTER moving in, by the way, this is where I keep my epi, in case of emergency? His response was to say, oh, here’s where I keep mine, but did not say what he was allergic to. When I asked, and he finally told me, I was horrified, because I had an open jar of peanut butter in the fridge.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Thank you for reminding me of this question I will need to ask if I get a job in a high-COL area and end up with a roommate.

    1. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

      This 100%. My best friend’s nephew is married to a woman who claims to have cat allergy induced asthma. Everyone in the family has cats, so she can’t go to any of their houses. And if her husband and son go to anybody’s house where there is a cat, they have to disrobe before they come in the house. I asked what happens when she goes out in public (since she claims this allergy is so severe it’s life threatening), because unless she stays inside 24/7 she’s going to come in contact with someone who owns a cat. They all think it’s to control how much time her husband and son spend with his family.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        It’s entirely possible they are right, of course. But on the other hand, what are people with that kind of health issue supposed to do, never leave the house? It’s not unreasonable to want to keep it out of her own house and to decline to go to someone’s house if they have a cat. She can’t choose if she gets exposed to it when she’s out and about, but to the extent she can choose not to be exposed (not letting it in her house, not knowingly going somewhere she’ll be exposed), why wouldn’t she make that choice? Seems like common sense.

      2. Paloma Pigeon*

        My husband has cat asthma, and while he can be around folks who have a cat at work, etc, there are absolutely places he can’t go. We were on a film set at someone’s apartment and he literally stopped at the doorway and said ‘If I go in there I’ll go to the ER’. The dander was everywhere….you hit a pillow and it wafted in the air. He has gone to the ER before after being at a party where he didn’t know there was a cat in the house.

      3. Mel_05*

        Well, my mom is severely allergic to cats, but not if they’ve just wandering around outside. It’s only in enclosed spaces and some are worse than others

        My bff lived in a large house with all wooden floors and they had tons of cats, but my mom could be fine there for hours without medication.

        My aunt on the other hand had a small condo with lots of carpet and upholstery and even when her cats were at a sitter and she’d had the house professionally cleaned it was hard for my mom to be there.

      4. animaniactoo*

        As somebody with a severe cat allergy, I think it’s because she has a severe cat allergy.

        I work hard to be able to go to my sister’s house 1x a year and spend a total of 7-8 hours in it over the course of 2 days. Working hard means that I start a specific allergy med 3 weeks in advance of the visit, I take another short-term one on top of that the entire weekend, I change clothes and shower every time I go back to the hotel for a break, my jacket never comes out of the car/into her house, we put towels on the seats to prevent contamination, while I’m in her house I only sit on hard surfaces, and when we’re leaving to go home we change immediately before leaving and all contaminated clothing is bagged until my husband can wash it for me.

        That’s after she farms out the cats and has the house deep-cleaned in preparation for my visit.

        I took most of those precautions on my side for the visits before she started being better about the deep-cleaning for the visits and would still come home and have a week of problems breathing which led to a multi-year break in this yearly visit.

        The last place I need to have cat hair or dander hanging around at all is in my house. My husband and son have gotten more careful about it after witnessing the secondary effects and realizing that yeah – it’s that serious for me.

        And yet, I manage to go out in the rest of the world, because most of the time I am not brushing up against people who have contaminated clothing. Standing next to them for 10 minutes is not nearly the same level of exposure as the possibility of having some hair/dander lingering on my sofa.

        For the record: Ongoing exposure increases the severity of the reaction. Level of allergen accumulation increases the severity of the reaction. And if I get scratched, I’m headed for the E.R., do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

        The likelihood is that the only think the nephew’s wife is trying to control is how many times she damages her lungs by having an asthma attack she doesn’t need to have (if your attacks are severe enough, you are at risk of permanent lung damage, in a cumulative way, every time you have one – even if you are able to survive it).

        1. Honoria Glossop*

          This is a real thing. I had a mild cat allergy that turned into a severe cat allergy (throat swelling, unable to breathe) because I didn’t want to inconvenience others who had cats. My in laws were the worst. It actually took my husband refusing to go to Thanksgiving at his mother’s house (to avoid my allergic reaction + being a zombie on the allergy meds I needed just to be able to be physically present for an hour, following the same precautions listed above) before my in laws took it seriously. Even then, they were sure I was making it up to control them. I wanted to scream “I’ve been putting up with this for years even though I TOLD YOU I had allergies when we met.”

          1. animaniactoo*

            Since you mentioned the zombie on meds thing, I’ll just toss it out there – my current routine allows me to be more alert, but I previously did the zombie thing. And then my sister felt that *I* was not taking my allergy seriously enough and that allowed her to be more lax about it. Me: “I am so out of it when I am on the allergy meds that I cannot necessarily think straight and may not make good decisions in the moment.”

        2. mourning mammoths*

          My husband is like this too. I love cats and dogs, but I have come to terms with the fact that we can never have them. I mean, he’ll start having a hard time even just being on the same bus with someone who hasn’t recently washed their cat hair covered jacket.

          During the summer I had an acquaintance tell us that our kids love her dog so much that we should get one. I told her we can’t because of allergies, but she continued harping that he can just take allergy meds, get a hypoallergenic dog, etc. I told her to drop it and but she didn’t, and I’m still pissed at her for getting the kids’ hopes up that their dad can somehow magically overcome this. Like lady, jesus, that doesn’t even begin to cover it, and I won’t have him suffering every day of his life.

            1. mourning mammoths*

              He is super into fish and would get a wall sized aquarium if I let him. I’d rather something I can snuggle with, but I guess I’ll have to settle for just him haha.

    2. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Chandler needs to be fired for a) lying about his food allergies and b) being an a-hole. I hope we get that update next Dec or, preferably, next week.

  5. so very tired*

    #2 – Thank you for being so conscientious about this issue – the majority of people with food issues would be grateful to work with someone like you! And good decision to stop trying – you are never going to make this person happy and it’s not worth your time, energy, or sanity

  6. MuseumChick*

    OMG, I remember when the Chandler letter was posted how odd it was someone with a food allergy would react the way he was reacting. Because literally everyone I have ever meet with food allergies is always extremely grateful for the accommodations the OP was describing. What an ASSHAT. I would be so hard for me to bit my tongue and not *loudly* say “CHANDLER!!! DON’T EAT THAT! IT HAS X! YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO X!

    1. AnonyMouse*

      If I were the letter writer, I would have pointed it out in front of everyone. Chandler sounds awful

    2. JB (not in Houston)*

      Right? It does get tiring having to be different because then people around you want to talk about your food and why it’s different and have you tried this thing or that thing and wow your life must be so hard. But I would take that any day if it meant someone had put forth the effort to include me. Seriously, I’d be so touched! The one time someone at work did that for me, I almost cried.

      1. Third or Nothing!*

        AGREED. I get so many comments like “I could never give up cheese!” Most of the time I reply with “you could if it meant you didn’t live in daily pain.”

        I too feel like The Other most of the time here at the office. Apparently it’s too hard to order a sandwich without cheese, so I rarely get to eat the free catered food. And I got so tired of the eye rolls and sighs that I just stopped asking.

    3. Scarlet*

      Yeahhhhh but then you’re divulging potentially sensitive medical information.

      But I agree, Chandler is a grade-A jerk.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Not an allergy, but I once had a Mormon friend over for a tea party and completely forgot that her religion forbids her to ingest caffeine. I had made a big pot of Earl Grey for us to share — oops! When she told me, I apologized profusely and made her some hibiscus tea instead, which, fortunately, I had in my tea stash.

      She actually apologized to ME and said she should have thought to remind me, knowing I wasn’t Mormon and might not even have known that. We ended up having a lovely time.

  7. Blueberry*

    I’m not trying to defend Chandler, who is clearly a jerk (his response to OP trying to help him was ungrateful and foul), but I wonder if he knew the item he says he can’t have was in the plateful of food he ate. I have more than one friend who is sensitive to something, ate food they didn’t realize contained it, and had a reaction some time later. For example, in college I accidentally set off a friend’s milk protein sensitivity by using dairy margarine instead of non-dairy to cook eggs for her; she didn’t get sick immediately, but a couple hours later. (Needless to say I apologized profusely and never made that mistake again.)

    Since people often tend to refer to sensitivities as allergies for ease of understanding, I can’t help but wonder if that kind of thing happened.

    Either way Chandler is a jerk.

    1. The Other Alice*

      Well… that’s one possibility. I also have a friend who was recently told by his doctor to stop eating certain foods. I’d seen him eat those foods before and he didn’t have any reaction, but he was told in no uncertain terms that he was developing an unseen condition and he had to drastically alter his diet or he risked shortening his lifespan. The fact that Chandler didn’t immediately have a visible allergic reaction doesn’t really prove anything. I think the fact he was extremely rude to OP is more telling — in my experience people with severe allergies are happy to be provided with food they can safely eat, and they don’t berate the people trying to arrange for said food.

    2. Gazebo Slayer*

      Another reason why MuseumChick’s impulse from upthread would actually be a pretty good idea!

  8. Parenthetically*

    Ugh, I think I’m still gritting my teeth at Chandler from when that letter was first posted. What a freaking clown.

  9. RB*

    #2 Wow, Chandler is super disrespectful and unprofessional. I hope when you said that you “excused yourself” from finding suitable menu items for him, that you meant for all time, not just for this event.

  10. Tiara Wearing Princess*

    Chandler is a giant douche and I am amazed at the LW’s restraint in not calling him out on his offending plate of food. I don’t think I could have stopped myself.

  11. Colorado*

    An observation I’ve made… I find that people with severe life-threatening allergies (seafood, peanuts, bananas/avocado – my hubby), you never really know unless you’re specifically talking about certain foods and it comes up because these people have been dealing with it their entire lives and don’t want to make a fuss. They order their food accordingly or politely decline and no one is none the wiser. Whereas, people with self diagnosed allergies love to talk about everything they can’t eat. Just a big generalization but find some truth in it.
    Example: my boss. He’s allergic to many foods and we get free lunch everyday. A nice perk. He brings his own lunch instead. One day someone said “hey Wakeen, don’t you like the free lunches?” Wakeen says, “no, it’s just easier this way for me with my various allergies”. End of conversation.

    1. Librarianne*

      Yeah… at work functions, I usually plan on bringing my own food and am pleasantly surprised if there’s something I can eat.

    2. kittymommy*

      Good observation. I’m highly allergic to shellfish and avocado – I actually go into anaphylactic shock pretty quickly and I am always asked if I carry and Epi-pen (no) and why not? I have found it’s pretty easy to avoid those particular items* and don’t want to make an issue of it.

      *except when you are a dumbass and forget to tell the nice waitress at the Mexican restaurant no guac and you find it hidden in your chalupa and then all your co-workers get to see you spit it out into a bowl at the table.

    3. Aquawoman*

      While I would probably do what Wakeen does since I have overlapping sensitivities, but I really dislike this line of thinking. It’s awfully convenient for people without health issues to claim the only real health issues are the ones the sufferer never ever talks about or asks for an accommodation for.

    4. Koala dreams*

      I think it’s because the people with deadly allergies have given up already. The risk isn’t worth it. If you have a less severe allergy, it might still be worth trying to get an accomodation. And if you are trying to find out what you are allergic to, or recently been diagnosed with an allergy, it’s great to talk to others and get ideas for what to eat and not to eat.

      1. Alicia*

        Yes, I was coming to say if a person has been recently diagnosed or figured out their allergy, it is life-changing. The illness or disruptive symptom they’ve had all their life is gone! Yaaaaaayyyyyy!

        Also it takes at least a few years to figure out all the details of avoiding the food so the more recently diagnosed are still going through this process and figuring out all the logistics.

    5. Quill*

      Pretty much this. You can also tell the self-diagnosers when they claim that a specific food is “Toxic” or that you should use essential oils.

  12. The Other Alice*

    I’m glad that Chandler revealed the extent of his asshattery, so OP can stop wasting time with him and focus on people with actual allergies. OP, you did good. You gave him the benefit of doubt. You tried to help. Some people are just asshats with strange control fetishes.

  13. Mellow*

    #3: “I told them that it’s okay if they hire someone before I interview, but I expect one business day’s notice to cancel if needed out of courtesy. I never got a response from them.”

    You gave them permission to hire someone before you interviewed, and then sternly instructed them to be aware of your schedule.

    No wonder they didn’t contact you. They’re probably still laughing.

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      I don’t read that as the OP was giving them permission, just saying she understood that they might hire someone before her interview date?

      1. Antilles*

        But in an incredibly snarky way though – the “expect” and “out of courtesy” phrasings are both quite strong and implies that OP thinks they’re too rude to realize standard business practice and courtesy.
        Especially given that OP had *already* been snarky and rude previously with an email saying “I called you a couple days ago and haven’t heard back, were there issues with your phones yesterday?” (described in the original thread).
        If I’d been the hiring manager, I absolutely wouldn’t have provided a response either…and it would have nothing whatsoever to do with OP needing a couple days to schedule an interview.

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          Oh yeah if the OP actually phrased it to them the way she did in the letter, I’d be taken aback. But i read Mellow as criticizing the OP’s intention/feelings, in which case I didn’t necessarily agree that what was what OP was thinking.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      I don’t know that they’re laughing, but it seems like OP #3 is still really trying to manage the interviewer’s end of things rather than just saying, “Hey, I’m happy to come in and can take off work with a couple day’s notice for coverage. Let me know when would be best for you.” I think telling them what they need to do to manage their schedule could come off as a bit high-maintenance and presumptive.

      I also don’t think that they’re in a position to dictate that the interviewer must give them a day’s notice to cancel when they themselves cancelled same-day due to illness. Things come up, and interviews have to be rescheduled or substitutions have to be made. I hate having to do that because it slows the process and runs the risk of losing a candidate, but I also can’t control when Important Interviewer A gets food poisoning.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yeah I was thinking a little bit about the earlier update regarding the guy who kept telling their manager what they expected her to do. This person seems to be doing a little too much of telling the employer what they expect to happen in this interview process.

    3. AnotherKate*

      I had the same reaction. A person this touchy and difficult to schedule a single interview with is not someone I’d be interested in hiring.

    4. Half-Caf Latte*

      Yeah, I get the sense the entitlement was still there. I commented on the original post, but this is the type of thing that would have flow in medical schools some years ago but will get you flagged right quick nowadays.

    5. MistOrMister*

      To be fair, it looks like overall OP has adjusted their attitude. And I think they were upset at that one potential employer already and it likely colored the tone of their interactions there. But they have said they are being more flexible and, unlike the original letter, are going to be open to going on interviews during the workday as long as they have a couple of days between the scheduling call and the actual interview – which is more than reasonable. They seem to have taken to heart everyone’s previous comments that they do need to try to be open to scheduling during regular business hours since that is how most interviews are conducted so I think one lapse is not worth castigating them over.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        I think that is fair, but I also think OP needs to continue to dial back on telling employers what their side of the process should look like. I think she’s got the scheduling down now and understands that during-business-day interviews are expected (but last minutes are okay to say no to and offer other times), but the things like asking them if their phone systems were down (original letter), telling them to proceed with other candidates if they can’t meet her timelines, and telling them to give her a business day on cancellations is… a bit much. It’s not a great first impression, even if it comes from a good place.

        I agree with TM,BL’s comment below that it’s not a fit on either side here, but I’d also caution OP against doing more than talking about what they CAN do availability-wise.

        1. MistOrMister*

          It sounded to me from the 2nd half of the letter like they were planning to be more flexible. And, to be fair, reading the first half, I did think OP was doubling down from the original letter. But then it took a nice twist. So hopefully they will apply that to the entire process and, yes, not ask about phones being down or anything of that sort. I think most of us have been impatient and made some sort of gaffe during an interview process at some time or other. And then, ideally we read ask a manager, get fabulous advice and proceed to stop making these sorts of errors :)

    6. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I think the previous correspondence was actually what made them ghost the OP completely. But yeah, there was probably some laughter involved. I think both parties assume they dodged a bullet here, not a good fit on either side!

      I’m very glad that the letter-writer is adjusting some of their expectations and took the feedback they received to heart though. I think that their way of speaking/writing is giving us all that pause more than anything, which I hope they think about a little bit as well given their ability to adjust!

      1. CM*

        I agree, I had the same reaction. I think the OP is going in the right direction by just trying to arrange interviews in a way that works with their schedule, rather than presenting all their constraints and requirements to the interviewer. But it does seem like the OP still thinks it was a good idea to send the email saying they have X working hours, and need Y hours notice, etc. If this situation comes again, better to just say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t make any of those times. Would any of [list of alternate times – as broad as possible] work?”

  14. What’s with Today, today?*

    Well, Chandler sounds lovely.
    The interview update has me face palming.
    The last update is great! I bet your co-worker is really thankful you asked about the long hours and relief is in sight! The first update is good too. Glad for you OP.

  15. Food Allergy Sufferer*

    As someone with multiple food allergies (soy, dairy and tomatoes), I appreciate it and am grateful when people make accommodations for my food allergies, but I really don’t expect it. Often my department will have potlucks and there will be absolutely nothing I can eat there, so I continue to bring my own lunch. It isn’t a big deal as far as I’m concerned and I don’t want to be “Debbie Downer”. (Recently there have been lunches where there was pizza, tacos and chili where I couldn’t eat the food.) There have been a couple of times when I’ve been invited to certain ethnic restaurants and I’ve ended up eating something like a plain salad with no dressing, but there’s usually something I can find and I’ll go along with it.

    Also, there have been times when I’ve cheated and eaten things that I know I’m allergic to, and usually I’ll be O.K. For example, I will often find that certain foods will have labels that say they contain less than 2% of the food that I’m allergic to, so I’ll eat a small helping and not have any reaction. Sometimes I’ll have a single bite (not even a small slice) of an offending food (such as cheesecake) and not have a reaction. This sounds like what Chandler might be doing.

    And there are times when I feel lucky and will play food roulette as when I find a food that says its ingredient is either something benign or something that I’m allergic to. The last time I did this was when someone brought donuts to work that might have been fried in canola oil (benign) or soybean oil (bad). I broke out in hives, so I guess I know what they were fried in. Fortunately, the symptoms fairly quickly subsided after taking some Benadryl. But that was on me. I took a risk and it didn’t work out well. It was probably dumb to do on my part, but I don’t blame the person who brought the food.

    1. JB (not in Houston)*

      Ah, yes, food roulette. I can’t think of any time I’ve won that game, but it took me years to finally stop trying.

      1. Rainy*

        Me too. I used to roll the dice on some of my less serious food allergies, which is probably why a couple of them are now more serious than they used to be.

        My workplace has a series of events every year where lunch is provided, and it’s often even odds whether I’ll be able to eat anything but the rolls (I thank the gods every day that I’m not celiac, because my life would be impossible, since I can’t eat most bagged salad mixes), but the absolute low point came this past fall when the catering company we have to use at one venue rolled out a new buffet option: Chinese. Literally everything on the table except the white rice was a no-go for me. Usually I can at least eat the desserts, but in keeping with the buffet theme, the dessert was mango rice pudding…coloured with turmeric. I only took one bite, because I could tell something was wrong with it although I wasn’t sure what, and so I was only in the toilets for 45 minutes or so and didn’t get too dehydrated, but literally everything on the buffet except the steamed rice was chock full of allergens.

  16. MCMonkeyBean*

    #3 I think has put in some thought and reflection, but is still being pretty unreasonable in their expectations.

    Of course things happen and you sometimes you have to cancel last minute, but it seems so extremely absurd to me to send someone an email that starts with “I am afraid I have to cancel on you with a few hours notice” and ends with “if you cancel on me please make sure to give me a full day’s notice.”

    If I were the people receiving that email I would definitely not have responded either.

  17. ejodee*

    #2 Nice TBC update – awaiting the allergen-averse coworker’s next move now that he has slopped from the company trough. Please update again

  18. It's a No From Me*

    #1 seems unbelievable to me! I’m really curious about the city where this happened and the nature of the workplace that seemed obsessed with a minor league athlete. In my city, there are multiple minor league teams for different sports and none of the athletes are considered celebrities. A few years ago, I became a film producer and now work with celebrities people who are household names, yet I have never experienced anything like the LW described in her original letter at any kind of social event or even with family.

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