DEAR HARRIETTE: Occasionally, when I go to my local coffee shop, my order isn't made correctly, and I can't drink it. I have a very strong dairy allergy, and upon ordering, I always make sure that I ask for a dairy-free alternative twice when ordering, but sometimes I see the barista using regular milk for my drink. It's frustrating to me because I've said something before and have gotten dirty looks from the baristas. It is not my fault that they're messing up my order! I hate having to act like a hawk whenever my drink is being made, but I become timid when it comes to returning it. I have had to pay to get another drink made because the coffee shop does not own up to its mistake. I feel as though I have the right to get my order made properly, and I have not taken a sip of the coffee that was given to me anyway. How can I assert myself? Should I be reminding the barista that I am dairy-free as they are making my drink? -- Very Allergic, Chicago
DEAR VERY ALLERGIC: Don't trust the baristas with pouring your milk anymore. Order the coffee black, and request milk substitute that you put in yourself. Or, since you are highly allergic, carry dry creamer with you so that you are 100 percent sure of what you are putting in your beverage.