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Party City Craziness

Did Party City lose their mind? Apparently they didn't get the memo that bullying isn't cool. Here's what we've learned, from a member of the "gross" gluten free community.

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Party City Fail

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Party City Fail

Recently Party City aired an ad that showed a big spread of pre-game (Superbowl!) food and two women in a kitchen. One looks over to a tiny round table that has some small plate with cracker like food and asks what it is. The first lady replies it’s “gluten free food” and the conversation continues… Essentially one says “do we even know people like that?”, then the other responds, “Tina” and it ends with “Oh yeah, Tina, gross”.

First of all Party City – I feel like no one is complimenting you on the fact that at least you understood the idea of cross contamination – I mean, the table is VERY far away from the “good” foods in the kitchen. One point for you.

But don’t celebrate too early, calling gluten free people “gross” is like negative a gabillon… so….

I have had a lot of very interesting conversations about this ad, as a Celiac and as someone that feels strongly about raising awareness. Some people have argued it’s just meant to be funny and is completely harmless. Others are basically calling for all Party City’s to burn to the ground.

Here’s what I think you should consider as a consumer and a little advice for Party City (should they decide to run another ad after this debacle!).

- Awareness, awareness, awareness. This joke wouldn’t have been made about kids with peanut allergies or someone fighting cancer. Why? Because we understand that those diseases are not a choice and that without treatment (or avoidance of a certain food) people can die. What people don’t know is that with Celiac, it’s the same thing! So… time to take it seriously.

- Education – awareness doesn’t happen without education, period. Did I know about Celiac, or any number of auto-immune diseases, before I was diagnosed? NOPE! It wasn’t that I didn’t care, but I certainly didn’t know! I’d never been exposed to it. And I’m guessing Party City was in the same boat (although they became familiar with Celiac REAL FAST after their ad aired).

- Don’t get mad. I know some people are up in arms about this ad and trust me, I get it! But we don’t learn from each other when we fight. We learn when we share our stories, our experiences. If you want to boycott Party City I understand. But how much more powerful would it be if every single one of us wrote them a letter about our experiences as someone observing a gluten free lifestyle? Share why calling gluten free people “gross” hurts. How we feel when we go to a restaurant and that’s the attitude we get from the waiter. Make it personal and maybe next time they’ll get it.

(If not, total boycott guys, maybe even some picket lines and I’ll bring the pitchfork lol!).

- And for you Party City? Just one tip. You’re not Saturday Night Live. Don’t try to make jokes at other people’s expense. Bullying isn’t cool and to be honest you’re not that good at it. Just pitch your products and maybe spend a little more time educating yourself. Heck, I’ll even send you a Celiac Cutie shirt or two if you’re interested.

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