Quote of the Day: (Bold highlights by me) from YouTube, currently at the top of the comments:
“Horrible place to be , pret a manger looks brilliant to the outsider but poor workers are inslaved … they work hard and they always on edge and being told to be fake and be extra nice and sweet and if someone is just him/her self he will be taking into the office and will be warned and told off and been given a letter saying that u have not been performing and from that time u will be on risk to be fired or put in the kitchen to work even harder and be threatened! Poor staff are sooo scared that they do what they are being told out of worry to lose job , so if you get free item not because of the staff member is being generous but that’s because of her manager and area manager. Who says to give about 2 to 3 items free on that day and since you are at least showing her that she is still a human she will give it to you rather than a rude heartless customer
This is what I wrote in several Tweets and on my blog that staff are threatened, and depending how insecure they are even get a letter pressuring them to perform better or risk being dismissed. I remember vividly when a new Team Member received a “File Note”, now called “Note of Concern” because our shop lost the Mystery Shopper because he didn’t smile. This Note of Concern was a typical tool of fear management.
Depending on the staff member, some did “only” receive a telling of, others this kind of “letter” or even further a disciplinary which is a secure step towards dismissal. The more intimidated a staff member is, the more these tactics are used. And that is why Clive Schlee, CEO is “careful to integrate former homeless people into regular shops, saying that they would be “too exposed”.
I am exposing WHY this concern is, because Clive Schlee KNOWS his managers as they are trained to work in fear management. A former homeless person being subjected to this management style would not serve PR very well as they are in danger to be catapulted back to the streets as they couldn’t handle this manipulative and harsh approach.
Hence, Pret puts what they patronizingly call the “Rising Stars” into one shop, including former homeless manager, thus showing to the public how lovely Pret is, while Team Members in regular shops have their “stars fall” in fear management, dismissals, resignations etc.
The above highlighted quote also is what I meant when I wrote my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust:
Above quote: “…been given a letter saying that u have not been performing and from that time u will be on risk to be fired or put in the kitchen to work even harder and be threatened!”
Pret plays the game for the public by giving people with mental health issues a three months trial, but after the trial period are not taking them on even though, in this case Sergio from the Brixton Mosaic Clubhouse mental health place, gave 100% excellence and EVERY item picture perfect. He was just too slow and wasn’t even taken into the shop front were he wouldn’t need to be that fast.
If Sergio would have stayed on, he would have eventually needed to be pressured, but that would have gone sour as he would have clearly felt the discrimination. Thus, he was treated nice for 3 months, not taken on and he did exactly what Pret wanted: he spoke well of his experience, not realizing how he was used for PR.
My Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust explaining exactly the game Pret is playing.
Also, staff are drilled to be friendly, smiley, happy at all times no matter how they really feel as I have survived being bullied even during bereavement. The weekly Mystery Shopper probed if staff smile, give eye contact, make small talk, serve hot drinks within 1 minute etc. etc. etc. Staff switch into autopilot, and I still don’t know how I survived this. I was hard on myself, the added “sibling survival guilt” didn’t help to productively deal with this fear management.
Mystery Shopper excerpts on the forced friendliness and 1 minute service demand:
Please press Ctrl & + to enlarge picture for easier read, and Ctrl & – to decrease size again.
Also, the second Tweet of former Pret employee who was dismissed for having started a Union, scratching on the Mystery Shopper with the hashtag #EndTheMysteryShopper
If Mystery Shopper comments aren’t as favourable and points are lost, and worse even, bonus is lost, TMs find themselves individually in the office or in the kitchen as a group, away from customers, being told off and warned. And then they are being send out commanded to smile.
I will do an extra blog entry on the Mystery Shopper. But the main point with the MS is that the whole team can gain bonus on a list of things the MS is tasks to look out for like variety amount in products selection, cleanliness, atmosphere and especially the service. If one Team Member (TM) messes up the service, the whole team loses bonus incl. and especially the manager. This is done for peer pressure. But if everything is more or less good, the team gets the bonus which is £1 per hour they’ve worked the week f the MS visit. So, if a person worked 40 hours that week, they get an extra £40 on their wages.
This can be increased if an individual TM is extra nice or does something extraordinary and the MS happens to witness this. The TM doesn’t need to serve the MS to get what they call an “Outstanding Card” (OC) which is not a card, but a name for an additional bonus the TM gets. When I left Pret in December 2018 the extra reward was increased to £200. So if the MS is either served by or witnesses an outstanding service by a TM, the MS can decide to give this OC and that TM receives an additional £100. If the points are perfect, that extra bonus for that individual TM is doubled to £200. And that is why customers are so impressed with the non-stop friendliness, because they don’t realize like the person in the YouTube video getting a free cookie every time, that TMs often suspect a customer to be the Mystery Shopper and hope to get that extra cash when being extra nice.
There is a daily budget on how many free items staff are expected to give away. This is what the below person comments on below on their complaint under the YouTube video. And then customers wonder why the price for coffee has been increased twice within a short time. Part for this is that someone has to pay for all the freebies, and it isn’t Pret.
If bonus is lost, managers get extremely angry as the Mystery Shopper reports count the most towards quarterly management and area management bonuses. The money grows the higher the management, the more the bonus.
Needless to say what turmoil and depression some develop being “commanded” to smile, make small talk etc. And customers are so impressed, assuming staff are so happy working for Pret. Again, how I survived this even during traumatic bereavement, I don’t know. Maybe anger kept me going, pressing forward in a complete fogged up mental state.
Today’s quote, a YouTube comment from early January 2019 or late December 2018. This comment shows what Pret purposely did NOT do with Sergio for the sake of PResenting a nice facade and why the CEO said that they are “careful to integrate” former homeless people into regular shops as they would be “too exposed”:
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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