Special Diet Needs: Yikes!
The following story concerns (not) accommodating all people with special diet needs, and as importantly, is about customer service. The following thread, with the added compelling New Yorker Magazine cartoon above, will tell the whole story of my recent (and only: Love the Met) misadventure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The great majority of my readers have expressed an interest in how the story ends (at least I sure hope this is how the story ends!), so here comes.
My letter sent to Amy Romero at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Following my talk with Ms Romero, I received the following message from Ms Rebecca Schear, Associate Coordinator for Public Affairs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Letter from Mr Holzer: Dear Ms. Kirschenbaum:
Thank you for the comment you shared with us following your recent visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Such observations give us the very valuable opportunity to better serve our audiences.
Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience you experienced while attempting to bring food into the museum. For many years, food and drink have not been permitted to be brought into the Museum and may not be checked at the coat checks for several important reasons, with the safety of the art and avoidance of pest issues chief among them. However, exceptions are made for dietary concerns and for visitors who keep Kosher. Visitors with questions should be directed to a supervisor, and I do apologize that the security guard you encountered did not adhere to this policy.
The utmost priority is placed on training our staff to be knowledgeable, courteous, and helpful to the Metropolitan’s visitors, and we emphasize the importance of setting and maintaining the highest professional standards at all times in the Museum. We regret that your encounter with our staff did not rise to our high standards of excellence and apologize for any unpleasantness this may have caused you. I can report that the appropriate supervisors have been informed of the incident so that it may be avoided in the future.
We greatly value your loyalty to and support of the museum, and want to thank you again for taking the time to send your comments to us. We look forward to seeing you in the galleries again soon.
My answer to Ms Schear:
Thank you so much for your response, it makes me feel much better to get closure on this matter, with your added assurance that I – and the sizeable community of people with special dietary needs – will be taken into account. While anyone would understand that institutions your size could not possibly accommodate the mind-boggling range of special dietary needs which exist nowadays for an infinity of reasons, it is comforting to know that the public will be accommodated going forward, in a very specifically designated space: the cafeteria, which is all we ask for.
So y’all: See you at the Met! Have sandwich, will travel! In case for some reason it is not obvious to you that we are not picnicking in the Impressionists Gallery, let me remind you: We only eat at the Cafeteria!