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Well it’s coming round to that time of year again and so the shops are full of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate – BUT NOT DAIRY FREE CHOCOLATE. I was shopping on Saturday and visited Marks & Spencer St. Albans, which is obviously stocked exactly the same as every other M & S in the country. I purposely scrutinised their section of Easter goodies to see if they had catered for those among us with a dairy/lactose intolerance and was totally unimpressed that they had not, unimpressed but not surprised. I have written to various M & S stores and have also written a personal letter to Mr. Stuart Rose. I have only ever had one reply – not from Mr. Rose I hasten to add – and that was from M & S Milton Keynes who sent me a list of their dairy free foods e.g. fresh fruit, tinned fruit, vegetables, do they think I am completely stupid. They had completely missed the point of my letter which was that none of their patisserie, sandwiches, cheeses, ice creams and, at that time, milk was dairy free. I note that they now stock goat’s milk and soya milk but hey, it’s not rocket science how about a sandwich that is completely dairy free or a packet of crisps. Anyway I must have been in a grump on Saturday because I once again donned my antidairyfairy hat and accosted Customer Services to put my point of view. The young lady was very sympathetic and tried to be helpful in telling me that they did have gluten and nut free products. This was like a red rag to a bull, as I told her, because if they can cater for two types of allergies why can’t they get their act together and stock dairy free too. Anyway to her credit she said she would tell her Manager of my concerns/queries/views, call it what you will and hopefully he would then pass them on….. I am not holding my breath. I did leave my name and address and details of this blog so one never knows.
There is so much ignorance/apathy in shops and restaurants with regard to allergies. The same weekend we had a family gathering at a local restaurant and as usual had to go through the usual pallaver of querying everything on the menu to see if it contained dairy. I asked the waitress if one of the dishes contained dairy and she said she didn’t think it would be suitable as it contained eggs – now we have been here before, since when have eggs been dairy – she seemed amazed when we told her that eggs were not from cows, give me strength.
Wouldn’t it be nice if shops like Thorntons or Hotel Chocolat stocked dairy free chocolate – maybe that’s my next stop.