A follow up today was made to the article named Amritsar Express – vegan delicacies or health hazard? Contact was made with the Amritsar Express Owner / Manager who made some extraordinary comments. She also became quite indignant. Here’s what happened.
The lady in the shop today was asked if she is the Owner / Manager of Amritsar Express. She confirmed that she is indeed (eureka, at long last). She was then asked if she had seen the emails sent to her re the “Punjabi Vegan Delicacies” signage. She stated she had no idea of such emails and asked what email id they had been sent to. It was explained to her that the target email id used was the one on the business card they have sitting on the counter. She took a look at the business card and said she never checks that email id (she then changed her phrasing to say “hardly ever check it”). So for a very amateur start to the proceedings the Manager made it crystal clear that she publishes worthless contact information.
The conversation progressed today with an explanation made to the Manager of the concerns of “Punjabi Vegan Delicacies” stated in the tagline of the signage. The point was made to her about the risk to people’s health from the Amritsar Express shop signs. Specifically:-
- “Punjabi Vegan Delicacies” as a tagline implies that all they sell is vegan
- Anyone with dairy allergy or intolerance is walking into a minefield in buying from Amritsar Express if food or beverages contain milk products
The Manager asserted that as discussed between us over a year ago, vegan has a different meaning in Punjabi. By that she stated that milk products are not excluded from Punjabi vegan food. Presented with such an extraordinary statement I checked a year ago with a Punjabi friend. The friend responded to make it very clear:-
- There’s no exception in Punjabi that gives vegan a different definition
- Vegan food shouldn’t contain dairy milk nor any other animal products
The above anecdote was told to the Manager in Amritsar Express today. There was another customer in the shop. This was a distinguished looking gentleman. From his very lengthy beard and perfectly arranged turban the obvious conclusion to draw was that this gentleman is the embodiment of Punjabiness. The gent without prompting joined constructively in the discussion. He stated with wonderful clarity, “The sign should say vegetarian instead of vegan.”
(These get used in vegan cooking)
The Manager became pretty indignant going on slightly angry. She went over to her stockpile of chapatis. Fortunately this wasn’t to start throwing them around the shop in anger (what a waste of good chapati that would be). She instead used the chapatis to support her point that in Amritsar Express dairy products are widely used. The default status there is to butter chapatis and use butter in much of the other cooking. She also said that they still also use paneer. Re beverages they unquestioningly add cow milk to tea.
(There’s nothing vegan about dairy milk. Nor other milk products. Nor other animal products).
The Manager then went off on a rant. She insisted that people who walk into Amritsar Express are routinely notified that not all of the food sold is free from dairy products. That comment seems odd. Having been in Amritsar Express numerous times to check this place out, no recollection comes to mind of any member of staff offering unprompted warning of food containing milk products.
By this stage the Manager wasn’t in the mood for listening. She had plenty to say. On any occasion when an attempt to quietly explain the risks was made, she interrupted and talked over the comments. There is none as deaf as those who will not listen. She was allowed to burn out some of her indignance. It was then calmly stated to her:-
- the misleading signage combined with the food containing dairy products is a risk to people with milk intolerance or milk allergy
- if nothing is done about that risk then unfavourable action would be taken against Amritsar Express
- Her standpoint would be published on the HK veg website
- The website for the HK consumer council would be looked at to see if there is anything can be done to raise this issue formally
The Manager remarked at one point that she could be closing the business in four months. She insisted adamantly that no way would she be changing anything related to the issue caused by the incorrect use of “vegan” in the shop sign. So that seemed to be the end of that for today’s verbal dialogue.
I walked back in again 60 seconds later. This was to ask for her name so I could make it clear who was representing Amritsar Express in this conversation. She said her name was Arpinder. It was interesting in walking back in that Arpinder was clearly discussing this subject with the gent mentioned above. She retained her uncompromising and indignant tone. The gentleman seemed calm and composed. For a second time it appeared to be the end of the day’s dialogue. Then later a couple of emails dropped in. They are short so here they are copied word for word:-
From: Arpinder Kaur
Today 2:45 PM
Also, Thank you for your advice. We have already taken initiatives and starting making changes but it will take time so please be patient.
Her change of stance may well be from her conversation with that sensible Punjabi gentleman giving her counsel there today (Sir, If you happy to read this, thank you very much. Your composed and dignified manner today would be a credit to anyone). In our opinion as stated in the previous article the optimal response would be Amritsar Express to withdraw using dairy products. If though Arpinder’s response is to have the signage corrected then so be it. It’s her decision after all. The longer though this hazard is unaddressed means that the longer the risk to someone consuming milk products who doesn’t want to. That is whether that is someone avoiding milk for medical or philosophical reasons.
Arpinder’s previous track record on taking this issue seriously is uninspiring. This comments in Arpinder’s email doesn’t have any indication of a projected completion date to fix the sign. Nor does it indicate that the issue is being addressed with urgency.
“it will take time so please be patient”
One other point. A different lady was working at Amritsar Express on the previous visit made there. That lady stated that the Manager was aware of the concerns re the signage and planned to review this on return from USA. If the Manager was unaware of the emails sent by HK veg then does this mean someone else is raising the same concern?
A link to this article will be emailed to Arpinder. Whether she reads it, who can guess. We will follow up on this and publish an update.