#BecauseGluten: Passive aggressive much, Sun Basket?

The meal-delivery service isn't intended for celiacs or people who have severe gluten intolerance.

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click to enlarge Sun Basket's "Gluten-Free Plan" isn’t, well, really at all. - Screen Shot
Screen Shot
Sun Basket's "Gluten-Free Plan" isn’t, well, really at all.

I love to cook, though some days get a little hectic. The subscription meal-delivery kits? They look delicious, to be honest. And yes, there's a lot of packaging. And yes, it's sort of lazy, but I make my own laundry soap and hair gel and can I please just have this one shortcut?

Except I can't, because, well, gluten. It's everywhere. 

Then I see Sun Basket, a San Fransisco-based meal-delivery service promising gluten-free dinners. I swoon and can't order fast enough to try them out.

Naturally, I delight in visiting the website and clicking "start gluten-free plan." After typing in my address and credit card, I'm directed to a page of meals. They all look delicious, so I choose three.

My order arrives. It's refrigerated. The veggies are fresh. I make meal one. It's delicious. I consider the other two meals and notice the ricotta pancakes have wheat flour. I've been sent — I think — the wrong meal.

I email Sun Basket, a step you have to take to cancel, which I was doing anyway since I wanted to try before committing. I'm told it's "outside the window" to send a replacement meal or refund a portion of my charge. The company offers me a credit on my account, but I'd rather have my money back, because "outside the window?" Really? It's been less than 24 hours since I found your box on my doorstep.

I mention this. I also mention that I can't eat the meal they sent because I have celiac. 

"I'm sorry that you selected the wrong meal," comes the email response from Kyle.

Is... is Sun Basket being passive aggressive with me? I reply with something along the lines of:

I did not pick the wrong meal. I clicked on "start gluten-free plan" and was directed to a page where this was one of the choices.

No response.

I cancel the plan. In the back-and-forth over this, however, it's too late to stop the next shipment, which includes a scrumptious-looking recipe for meatloaf with — you guessed it — bread crumbs.

I email Sun Basket again, mentioning the passive-aggressive email and that I'm following the proper prompts to exclusively order GF options. That's when I realize there are, in small print under each picture and recipe, tags indicating if a recipe is gluten-, dairy- or soy-free, or vegan. And no matter which meal plan I click — gluten-free, Mediterranean, vegan — I land on the same page.

I point this out to Teresa, a much-nicer customer service rep, and ask what else in the meatloaf has gluten in it — does the barbecue sauce? — so I can replace the gluten-containing products with my own GF ingredients. The rep says the company will process a $20 refund, but adds in this gem: these meals are not suitable for people with a severe gluten intolerance.

To be clear, I've finally found a gluten-free meal-delivery kit, but it isn't actually intended for people who have a real issue with gluten. Awesome. Now it's back to the drawing board. Any ideas?

About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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