Last weekend, we were on the hunt for a dog friendly café to keep this little guy entertained.
My sister suggested a place, before casually mentioning to me that they had a ‘type 2 shake’ on the menu.
What, is that like a health shake or something? I asked.
No, it’s actually a shake that’s got lots of sugar in it, she replied.
We eventually drove there to find the place closed.
After we had driven elsewhere and I was finally caffeinated, I began googling this place in search of a menu. Indeed, it was an indulgent shake that the user was encouraged to try ‘at your own risk.’ I then migrated over to Facebook, where I eventually found a recent post promoting the menu item in question.
I was so frustrated. Yeah, they had specified the type of diabetes, but that wasn’t the point.
Nobody intentionally asks to get diabetes.
We all know that sugary treats in excess aren’t good for us. We all know that in excess they may eventually lead to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
But that isn’t always necessarily the case.
We also know that some people are genetically predisposed to developing type 2 through things like family histories or previous gestational diabetes. Others are ethnically or geographically predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes. Then there are those who don’t have an equal chance because they may lack things like the basic education or quality healthcare that I take for granted.
The last thing that people living with diabetes need is reminders that make them feel guilty, blamed or shamed for their choices.
The last thing that people living with diabetes need are messages that further stigmatise a condition that is already surrounded by, you guessed it, a great deal of stigma!
Yet here was this shake that was making a mockery of people with diabetes. I’d be willing to bet that a Cancer shake would never appear on the menu, so I don’t know why the owners of this cafe felt that diabetes was okay to joke about.
So, back to that Facebook post. You bet I left a comment on it. There was no swearing or personal attacking in said comment. But it was a little strongly worded – something I regret in hindsight – indicating that blaming, shaming and stigmatising was not helpful to people with diabetes.
24 hours later, a notification popped up in my Facebook feed. I was expecting some kind of acknowledgement or explanation.
But nothing could have prepared me for the response I received in return.
To paraphrase, I’m a miserable troll who should pull my head in and stop being a keyboard warrior (they obviously had no idea who I was). This ‘type 2 shake’ was apparently a ‘statement’ that the sugar it contains is not good for you. But what do I know, apparently type 2 diabetes is a great catchline to sell a product!
With no time for such negativity in my life, I thanked the café for their kind words. After expressing that it was a shame that they were unable to the larger issue, I wished them a lovely day and bowed out of the conversation.
With every red notification icon that popped up on my Facebook, I was expecting to see others chime in with more ignorant replies to my comment.
Surprisingly, quite the opposite happened.
The diabetes community rallied behind me.
Within a mere three hours, I had at least ten comments on that post in support of what I had said. People were tagging their friends. I honestly don’t think it was the shake itself that was triggering commentary anymore. It was about the sheer ignorance that came from their comment.
Had the Facebook post survived few more hours, and it surely would have gone viral.
But it mysteriously vanished not long after.
While the cafe clearly didn’t like the negative attention that they were getting, I highly doubt that I got my point across given their highly ignorant response.
I can’t really say that it’s worth throwing any more of my energy towards.
I only know that I won’t be going back there again.