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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
The other day I decided to see if one of the local health food stores called La Boite à Grains -- http://www.laboiteagrains.com/ -- would consider carrying the frozen cakes (free of dairy, egg, peanuts and nuts) from Les Aliments Ange-Gardien, a Quebec company. We are having problems finding any local stores that will carry them, unfortunately.

I went into the store and asked to talk to the manager. A very nice young woman came to talk to me, and seemed quite interested in the product. She took the information I provided and said she would let me know one way or the other if they would be able to carry these products. So far so good. Then I asked about how long it would come to make a decision. That's when she saw the owner of the store passing by and called him over. It went from good to bad pretty quickly.

I explained to the owner what I had told the manager. The owner basically asked me why I didn't ask another nearby store which bills itself as an allergy store, but which focuses on gluten-free foods. I told him that I already did ask there, and she won't carry the cakes because she sees them as competition (even though she only has 2 kinds of cake that are free of dairy and egg, and also gluten-free). "And you want me to contact them? Usually companies are sending me stuff." Uh, okay - but that is what the Ange-Gardien website suggests - to contact your local stores if you would like them to carry these products, which is why I am here. "Well, it doesn't look like they have any way to distribute their product." Uh - they are updating their website's list of stores weekly, so I guess they have found a means to distribute their product. I also showed him the relatively long list of stores that I had printed out. "Well, that's all around their area, not here." I KNOW - that is why I want to get the stuff here. "Have you tasted the cakes???" implying that he is sure they taste like crap. UH NO - because I cannot get anyone to bring them to this region!!!

It went on from there. I told him that I represent at least 100 families in the area, many of whom are avoiding dairy and egg and peanuts and nuts (and would thus be interested in buying the cakes) and that it is very challenging to find desserts for children with those allergies that taste good and are free of those allergens. I also told him that so many dessert products say they may contain peanuts and nuts - include the majority of things in his store since he chooses to package and sell bulk foods - that the choices for people with food allergies are very limited. He basically said, "Well, madam, companies are just covering themselves by printing that." Uh, I already know that, thank you, but I also know that there is a real risk and will not buy foods that say they may contain those allergens.

You really would think that a store owner would be interested in knowing what his/her customers, or potential customers, would like to see on the store's shelves. Not this store owner, apparently. He really was incredibly rude.

And the final kicker: I asked when he might make a decision (although now I wish I had said 'FORGET IT!!!" and left), and he said, "Oh, not until September." "Does it take that long to make a decision?", I asked. 'No, I'm going on vacation," he replied.

The poor manager was nice enough after all that to give me her name and phone number. I am going to call her to tell her to not bother investigating, because I will not be setting foot in that store again, ever. I really have never been treated so rudely. I can handle someone saying they do not want to carry the product. But to basically interrogate a customer in such a rude way was so unnecessary. I still cannot believe it.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


Last edited by KarenOASG on Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:25 pm
Posts: 238
Location: Thornhill
WOW. No words as my jaw is sitting on the floor at the moment.
Disgusting.

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renie
daughter: ana for egg, sesame, dairy, pistachio/cashew/hazelnut. on contact. allergic+ to soy protein isolate, environmental allergies (e.g. dogs, dust mites). asthma. eczema.
son: peanuts, tree-nuts, OAS, environmental allergies. asthma.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2007 8:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Yeah, I still cannot get over it. My DH has said that I just have to let it go. Which I will. Eventually. :lol:

K.

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Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:25 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Orleans, Ontario
Hi Karen,

Have you tried Sol in Aylmer. They are a smaller, friendlier place and have an altogether better attitude towards their clients and their employees.

You might have better luck. Let me know how it goes. My sister used to work there, she may have a contact person that she can speak to as well.

Denise

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Oldest son 9: allergic to fish and shellfish, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites
Youngest son, 5: allergic to peanuts, nuts, dairy, eggs, sesame, kiwi, asthma, pollens, pets, mould and dustmites


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
Karen some store owners / managers are just as dumb as a bag of hammers when it comes to allergic customers. I used to spend a fortune up at major deli / bakery on Bloor West in Toronto. But once we realized I was allergic to soy and peanut, I had to start asking questions.

The manager at said deli - who knew I was a good customer - said they "couldn't guarantee" there would be no contamination in the kitchen with peanuts. Out of dozens and dozens of salads, spreads etc. they serve, there are precisely one or two with peanuts. The cakes are not made with peanuts. I tried to talk to him about separate surfaces, a little care in cleaning utensils - he just wasn't interested in hearing about it. "Can't guarantee" was his way of saying "can't be bothered"; it was easier to ditch me as a customer than to find a way to accommodate me. I haven't set foot in the place since, not even for packaged things.

From a business standpoint, it seems silly. I mean, why turn away good customers (I've since learned that I'm not the only 'allergic' who's off the place) when you really could make a simple change or two to accommodate? Same thing with buddy at the store you're dealing with. Would it have killed him to have at least checked out the cakes online?

I hope you don't give up finding a store in your area that will take the cakes. I bet they'll taste as good as they look. And victory will be, well - sweet!

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:24 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Thanks Denise & Gwen...

I just don't have the time or energy right now to look anywhere else. Someone in my group is following up with one of the Hull Super C grocery stores, so we shall see. If that doesn't work, I might take you up on your offer, Denise.

We will be in Montreal this weekend so I am hoping to get to one of the stores and get some cakes for a family gathering. Wish me luck!

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
Wow, I am always blown away at how stupid or rude people can be.
It sounds like his wisest move was to hire people with customer service skills. I feel sorry for the manager. Maybe you should give her the number of the contact at Sol...

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Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
LOL - I feel sorry for her too. If that is what he is like with customers, what must he be like with staff???

Anyway, I did call her last week and left a voicemail telling her not to bother - that she had been very nice but her boss was just so rude. So it's done, and it will be the last time I make contact with that store!

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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