The Pain of Working at Pret A Manger

 

King’s Cross / St. Pancrass are some of the worst Prets to work in:

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

 

Two customers recently have commented on the intense stress or the lack of management on the shop floor during busy times.

  • Most customers only complain when they have to wait more than 2 minutes to be served, while being perfectly happy to wait 10 minutes at Starbucks. This is because customers now are “spoiled”, knowing they get served within minutes, even seconds at Pret. I explain in my interview at the bottom why Pret has the 1 minute rule.
  • Most don’t understand that staff are forced to serve within 1 minute or they may lose the bonus if the Mystery Shopper wasn’t happy with the timing and service.
  • Most people do not see the stress and pain staff go through.
  • Most don’t care to know about the fear management under harsh managers and the depression staff suffer. I mentioned this to customers on Twitter who were fast to complain about the service, I told them that I was complimented many times by colleagues, customers and Mystery Shopper reports on my service, friendliness, giving coffees on the house etc. Of course I had bad days as well, but I received a lot of good feedback and yet no-one knew how many times I left my shift after work headed for the bridge, especially during bereavement and the bullying on top of it Pret put me through.

 

My story at the bottom in an interview.

 

But only two customers that I found recently speaking out on behalf of overworked staff. Yes, customers also go on Twitter to commend staff for giving free coffees and being (seem!) happy and smiley. But no customer asks themself how anyone can smile, be happy, chatty for 8, 10, 12+ hours EVERY DAY in an intensely stressful, noisy, busy, often hot and dry environment, where they are not allowed by management to drink even water behind the counter to stay hydrated. People have NO idea how exhausting, stressful and depressing the job is. And they are expected to fake a happiness and smiles or lose bonus when the Mystery Shopper marks them down and managers threaten them with disciplinaries or job security in the office.

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

NEW Glassdoor review 05.05.2019 from a Team Leader

2019-05-05 DON'T APPLY Team Leader

Link

 

End of June 2019 Glassdoor recommendations for Pret and the CEO:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 


 

I write extensively about this in the Emotional Labour article.

 


 

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

The second Tweet is a response to the CEO’s reply to the above tweet, yet it’s not addressed to his Twitter account nor posted in the same feed as above. Not sure what that’s all about:

2019-03-19 Customer re managers

Link

 

And this customer’s observation made my day, because most people either don’t see the stress nor care how horrendous it is for staff. In this case here it’s King’s Cross, one of the most (and worst) busiest branches. I worked there for a week to help as they were always low on staff. After that week and the manager asking me if I can come again, I politely declined, there’s only so much mental and physical pain you can take.

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link There are more tears that flow behind the scenes in the kitchens, staff rooms, in the bus going home… Just 1 customer had enough eyes to see and care!

 

2013 Customer being treated nice by manager then snap at staff

Link (It makes the employee feel even weirder not to mention shamed and humiliated crying in the staff room later!)

 

2015-09-29 Staff cry

Link

Yes, as a Team Leader I had to console a lot of Team Members over the years after they were shouted at by managers and/or customers, received a warning because they didn’t smile when they served the Mystery Shopper etc. I cried many times, but as a Team Leader not in front of my team, I locked myself away in the toilet or on my way home in the bus I just led the tears flow.

And in all this Pret tasks the weekly Mystery Shoppers that visit every shop to probe on the following among also probing if they are served within 1 minute, receive their hot drink within 1 minute etc.:

Below MS excerpt:
Pret: We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Were you served in a reasonable time…
MS: I was served in less than a minute.

Pret: We aim to serve our customer their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time …
MS: I was served my hot drink almost instantly.

Pret: We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.
MS: I was not greeted at the till or given a smile…

THIS then often means the WHOLE team loses the bonus and even without losing the bonus, it will have the manager summon the TM in the office who served the MS and they will be fear managed. They are then explained that their job is to smile and do all the things Pret forces on them if they want to keep their job. I consoled many TMs over the years and was told off myself, even during bereavement.

MS Excerpt:

04 MS

An amazing picture by brummie_photography on Instagram shows the cramped counter area, where staff have to serve EACH customer with a smile, eye contact and some polite remarks, as set forth to the Mystery Shopper to test. I counted around 11 staff members in an approx. 10sqm area. If ONE Team Member had a bad moment, even if they smiled ALL day, but one bad moment serving the MS, the WHOLE team lose the bonus for that week! THIS is Pret reality behind the “happiness” and the smiles.

2019-04-28 Cramped counter sardines

 

 

Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness2

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

 

What staff go through behind the scenes that customers don’t see, nor care about:

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

2019-04-16 Depression

Link

man-320273__340

 

For the first time I verbally tell my story with Pret in one setting on a podcast.

Full Interview:

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

The main subject being workplace bullying, we also spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general and what to look out for in an interview for a new job. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 

HOUNDED, bullied at Pret:

 


 

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.

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Why Pret A Manger doesn’t do Loyalty Cards

 

… in Central London… and the Free Coffee “myth” or legend as some assume.

First of all some Pret shops outside of big cities had Loyalty Cards, because the volume of coffee sales being much less than in London and other busy cities. Not sure if those shops still do Loyalty Cards. Tweets from 2012:

 

Pret Loyalty Card 2012-09-13

Link

 

Terms and conditions at the bottom of this below Loyalty Card:

“Redeemable at the Manager’s discretion. Excludes Pret shops within Central London Zones 1 and 2…”

It even has an expiry date on it, forcing the customer to buy coffees before that date to get a free one … and at the manager’s discretion mind you! Pret showing its true “generosity” here!

 

Pret Loyalty Card 2012-03-29

Link

 

2017 Pret Loyalty Card

Link to a 2017 Tweet

 

So, here I am making free advertisement for Pret, but there’s more than meets the eye… I am not a journalist nor an established writer (although I have one self-published book under my belt with a now bankrupt publisher… out of print), and writers like to peek and copy what they find here, but I am writing from behind the scenes of having worked at Pret for 10 years. I don’t copy & paste articles under lazy journalism.

Pret is next to nothing when it comes to marketing and winning new and retaining regular customers. I think to gain customers, the best thing is to give freebies, and Pret does this fantastically. No business does this as best as Pret A Manger. So far so good.

But …

There’s that hairy but(t) again!

 

THE PRICE

Of course this brilliant marketing strategy has not just one catch apart from the ultimate goal of profit. People don’t realize how cheap the coffee is. If customers knew how much 1 cup of coffee costs for Pret, incl. the milk, cup, lid, labour and then would see the profit margin… people’s stomach would turn on what they pay for a regular latte!

Even while I worked at Pret I always wondered how Pret’s claim to be certified Organic and Fair Trade can even be valid. Not making allegations, just raising questions! To get certified as being organic is super expensive for companies. Pret has been sued for their claim to be natural while the food contains glyphosate for which the mighty Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, currently has 11,000 lawsuits on their neck, with two major lawsuits lost in the hundred millions, due to denial that their main product Roundup causes cancer, which has not been labelled on the product… But that’s another story altogether.

So, if the public is paying attention, I have seen it more lately that Pret signs are changing due to the successful vs. “natural” claim lawsuit.

 

2018-12-10 Pret froced to remove Natural from sign

Link

 

From the above familiar signage where the “natural” is replaced with “good”.

Even on Pret’s website, the word “natural” seems to have completely disappeared.

 

good-food-new-sign.jpg

Link to Pret USA Twitter

UPDATE 23. May 2019

A customer on Twitter posted this picture confused on why the word “natural” was covered over at LAX airport. In the U.S. Pret has to act while in the UK everything is lenient again.

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over2

 

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over3

Link to David Blumenstein’s Tweet

I write extensively on the “Natural” issue in Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat.

But, back to the free coffee marketing. Even while working at Pret I always questioned how Pret can have Fair Trade AND certified Organic coffee while the coffee is so cheap. This may be another area some may be looking into after having looked at the “natural” food claim.

So, all the free coffees (and at times cookies, especially items at the end of the day or when products are expiring…) while being low in price for Pret, someone still has to pay for all these free items. And it is not Pret! Pret keeps raising prices regularly also to cover the cost. At the end of the day customers still pay for all the free coffees etc.

2019-04-17 Pret price increase

Link


 

THE PSYCHOLOGY

Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret and master of marketing with an approachable smile, his words on the freedom for staff to give free coffees and why:

Quote:
»We looked at loyalty cards but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis.
Instead the staff have to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food every week.
They will decide “I like the person on the bicycle” or “I like the guy in that tie” or “I fancy that girl or that boy”.
It means 28 per cent of people have had something free. It’s a nice, different way of doing it.«  *
From ThisIsMoney.co.uk

(*cough* while 72% go empty handed… see below)

Yes, the “having to give away” is even a pressure point for managers that push team leaders when the targeted percentage of freebies for the week has not been reached. It was part of my job as a shop team leader to keep an eye on the numbers and encourage teams to keep giving freebies OR stop giving, when we reached the percentage for the week, before the new week’s budget started again.

2017 Free coffee budget punishLink

 

2018-12-31 re free coffee marketing2

Link

 

On a side note, when the two customer deaths became public and the outcry was loud for a while, there was also an increasing Twitter “storm” on freebies where customers went online to post with enthusiasm about their free coffee or cookie…

And here is how that “fancying” is out of proportion with Clive Schlee’s admitted 28% as well as my experience as a team leader:

 

~ MULTIPLE FREEBIES at times within 1 WEEK & DAILY ~

 

2019-03-28 4th Free coffee

Link

 

2017-04-17 free coffee AGAIN

Link

 

2016 TWO free items in ONE week

Link

 

2018-06-21 2 free items

Link

 

2015 TWO Free coffees.jpg

Link

 

2019-04-13 Regular free coffee

Link

 

2019-04-09 Free coffee 1 to 2

Link

 

2019-04-13 Patience Smiles for Free Coffee

Link

 

2019-04-16 Free coffees often

Link

 

2017 Getting freebies free coffee for ages

Link

 

~ vs NOTHING for YEARS ~

 

2019-01-11 1st Free since years

Link

 

2019-04-18 Free Coffee after YEARS

Link

 

2019-03-21 Free coffee since years

Link

&

2019-03-21 Free coffee since years2

 

2019-03-28 free coffee today was the day

Link

 

2017-02-25 After lifelong devotion free coffee

Link (I love typos on Twitter… from devotion to devolution!)

 

2015 Free nonsense loyalty card

Link

 

2017 In 5 years no free coffee

Link (Another lovely typo: Pret as in looking for “Prey” >:-] )

 

2018-12-13 NOT attractive for free coffee

Link

 

2015 Never etting free coffee

Link (And Pret having a laugh!)

 

Political jokes Free Coffees 2015 Discrimination

Link

 

2019-04-16 five 5 years no free coffee

Link

 

2019-04-16 Free Coffee Legend replie

Link

… and so on….

Needless to say that those customers who get free coffees regularly, even daily, will not spill the beans on Twitter. 😉

As a team leader I had to “re-adjust” my teams’ choices to give solely at their own “discretion”, especially flirting baristas giving free coffee EVERY TIME to specific (to them) attractive customers. Or one team member would give free coffees every day to a customer who was an editor of a weekly celebrity tabloid magazine bringing that TM a free magazine every week. Company policy would be dismissal to “exchange” services for private purposes. But that’s how it works and Pret would never admit how discriminating the give-aways are in the name of “random acts of kindness”. That’s why staff are not allowed to have friends and family members eating on the 50% rebate WHILE staff are on the shift working.

Staff also are not allowed to ring up the 50% rebate on their staff discount themselves on the till while serving customers, as some customers make friends with staff for freebies and rebates. So, this was always a struggle to shake up the “policy”. I loved to give freebies, it was my favourite thing giving whole lunches on the house. But I often gave it to the moody and even rude customer to “kill them with kindness” or “heap burning coals on their heads” or just be kind to someone who looked pretty down…
I looked for the “underdog” to give freebies as we never know what hell they may be going through!

 

And another reason why Pret aims to have Taxi parking spaces in front of shops… Cabbies move around London being the BEST advertisers, especially to tourists looking for a coffee place!

2014 free coffee taxi cabbies

Link

 


 

CONTROL (of the carrot)

Carrot

 

2017 Behavioural science free coffee loyalty card

Link

And this is how the psychology works that Pret is so cleverly using. A Loyalty Card system, apart from costing additional money for Pret as Clive Schlee rightly said, would give the customer control over the timing of free items. And as Pret whips out coffees like no other coffee chain (the 1 minute Mystery Shopper pressure <- YouTube slide – on workers for fast service is another reason for high profit in Pret via Emotional Labour) a Loyalty Card system would guarantee customers free coffees at their chosen time, especially all the regular customers who go to Pret EVERY DAY.

For staff to give freebies at their discretion (or discrimination!) gives Pret the control on when customers get freebies AND serves like a carrot in front of the donkey that keeps going to Pret like a gambler, spending money and hoping to get that free coffee or cookie or whole lunch …

 

2019-01-15 waiting for next freebie

Link

 

Carrot

 

2019 No free coffee for a while

Link

 


 

FREE ADVERTISEMENT

To shorten the already long blog entry with more customer tweets on freebies, I mainly put journalist tweets here. Only a few tweets by a host of journalists who are supposed to be neutral, reporting on events rather than making free advertisement for Pret, while not looking deeper as one would expect from “investigative” journalism. Mainstream media for you:

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2013

Link

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2015 Guardian Journo

Link

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019

Link A boost in self esteem with a free cuppa!

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019 to other half

Link

 

One journalist even goes a step further and plays Job-center for Pret, recruiting low-wage workers:

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019 Jobcenter

Link

etc.

Makes you wonder if they are paid under the table or are so infatuated with the cheap free coffees, and then being blinded to do real neutral journalism. Kind of sinks your heart how the majority goes with this freebie scheme so easily.

Staff hope the Mystery Shopper is nearby or even serving the MS when the staff member is extra generous.

 

A customer’s observation most people are blind to:

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

Customer Tweets:

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

And the psychology of “group incentive” is actually peer pressure and what a recent reviewer called “blame culture” which I totally underline. I spent a lot of time building my team member UP when they messed up the Mystery Shopper after our manager put them DOWN, because putting down is counter productive and leads to mental health problems. If I had buckets of the tears that were flowing after the harsh telling off when the Mystery Shopper wasn’t happy …

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link

 

A Pret employee’s review on the Mystery Shopper pressure:

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

Link

Or the “happy family” trap and the pressure on ONE person who loses the bonus for the whole team turning the team against that one person. Again, I had to many times step in-between the 1 person to protect them from the group and the bullying mentality Pret encourages.

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

So, the marketing of Pret is simple:

  • Give LOTS of free coffees (& cookies, lunches, but mainly coffees) that costs very little for Pret.
  • Lure customers in with the free items and 99p coffees (& now free water tap refills) carrot so they’ll spend on other products they never intended to buy (reason for the oven in the shop vs kitchen is the smell of freshly baked croissants entices to purchase…)
  • Don’t do freebies on a Loyalty Card system to have the control over customers, luring them in with the freebie carrot while they keep spending and hoping for that free coffee like a gambler waits for the next win.
  • Raise the coffee and product prices as someone needs to pay for all the freebies. And it won’t be Pret.
  • Give staff the feeling of power over their decision whom to give freebies, but deny that it is done discriminatory (take my word as a former team leader, it IS discriminatory).
  • In return just watch how customers from street-smart cabbies to text-book polished journalists flock to Twitter giving FREE advertisement on behalf of Pret.
  • The free advertisement of free coffees, as well as now free water taps for non-paying “customers” also, brings people in who then spend money they didn’t intend to spend …
  • Lean back and watch the profits rise, doing the math in how much money people spend before getting that free coffee… if at all!
  • Good luck to all the customers paying it forward for the other customers to get the freebies while faithfully waiting to crack that jackpot one day! 😀

 

UPDATE:

Why staff in every Pret shop smile so much and ALWAYS seem so happy and “generous”. In a nutshell: Weekly Mystery Shopper visits that test staff on several points like how much selection is in stock, how clean is the shop, how is the overall atmosphere etc. But the MAIN thing staff are tested on is service. Do individual AND all staff smile, give eye contact, make small conversation with EVERY customer!
Details in below YouTube slide with Mystery Shopper excerpts that I’ve put together, but I left out a lot of other issues and concentrated on the smiley, “happy” facade.
I also write extensively and collect articles on “Emotional Labour” in the service industry that hurts and harms low-wage employees: —> The Dangers of Emotional Labour

And there’s a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co as staff always speak out in anonymity while at work pretend towards customers to be happy to keep their job having kids to feed and Uni tuition to pay. People fall for the friendly facade, but staff know how it really is.

And customers who go on Twitter complaining about non-smiling staff, even when it’s quiet, just do not realize how EXHAUSTED staff are, having come out of coffee/lunch rush, or working 7-10 days straight without a day off!

And those customers who do commend staff on Twitter, often their recommendation and praise is NOT passed on to staff. I was told by customers several times over the years if I received feedback from my boss as they commended me to Pret HQ or social media. But I never received the feedback from managers. So, dear customer, please praise the worker INSIDE the shop IN FRONT of the manager and team, because many managers bully staff, and THIS would help the worker to get some much needed feedback and “vindication”, so to speak.

I found only 1 Tweet where a customer not only bothered to ask the staff if they received feedback, but then confronted Pret on it:

2019-08-06 Customer recommendation praise not passed on

Link

Mystery Shopper Slide:

 

Clive Schlee’s “retirement” exit on Glassdoor:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Pano Christou, New CEO:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 


 

A long list of reviews and complaints from current and former Pret Staff underneath the Interview section in this LINK.

UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

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.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Patronizer

 

The reason why Pret and Clive Schlee don’t block me, is partly for any potential court case. They collect Tweets like they collected emails. They’ve let me write emails and then pretended it was wrong, while in the meantime having a laugh.

The newly appointed COO (a position that didn’t exist until JAB took over) Pano Christou, who likes to keep a low profile typical for Pret management, he blocked me.

The head of training or whatever her position is these days, blocked me…

Nikki Fisher from the Pret Foundation Trust blocked me …

…. and others from Pret.

But Pret itself and Clive Schlee don’t block me, because they collect my Tweets for court as well as sabotaging any future employment.

Pret has been sued successfully many times and ordered to pay whatever amount. And then they just went back to business as usual, not giving a sugar-pie on treating their employees with respect.

One Tribunal Judge called Pret’s HR grievance hearing AND appeal’s hearing “fundamentally flawed” (check-marks top right).

Pano Christou, now COO who came from McDonald’s and a manager in Pret at the time of the Tribunal decision was (and still is) part of this flawed system.

For Pano Christou and others from Pret to block me means, they are not bothered. But for Pret and Clive Schlee to NOT block means, they collect for any potential court case as their name is out there.

Pano Christou doesn’t even put Pret’s Twitter properly, he writes on his Twitter: “Chief Operating Officer @ Pret”

He writes @ Pret not @Pret avoiding linking straight to Pret’s Twitter.

Low key, hey?

Pano, you don’t want to be visibly affiliated to Pret? Ok.

Hey “leaders” some bottom line management training?

The captain of the ship jumps last, not first.

Like many reviews from current and former Pret staff said, Pret A Manger is a good company, a good concept, a great idea… but Clive Schlee sold out and turned his “sheep” over to wolves. And Clive, that’s on your house.

Key issues:

I worked at Pret, was bereaved and then became an inconvenience for Pret.

Pret is an unprofessional company that got away with bullshit for decades (including two customer deaths and one staff suicide that I know of, with myself almost quitting as well).

Life is short but worth living.

 

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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.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

 

Shawdow Banned / Censored on Twitter

 

If you found this page it’s because you were tweeted to but Twitter on behalf of Pret A Manger “shadow banned” the account. I explain extensively what shadow banning is in an interview at the bottom of this page.

Hidden Tweets

The posts that Pret A Manger does NOT want you to see were hidden from you.
NOTE: some have been notified of the below tweets before the ban happened. But once the ban happens, tweets are hidden from the public. Also, Twitter denies that they shadow ban and while they deny they hide THOUSANDS of Tweets (indication that 1.6K tweets were posted, but only a handful are visible!)
Banning happens to a lot of people who speak out, without them even knowing they’ve been banned. Again, I explain further in the interview at the bottom.

The posts that were tweeted to different people and that Pret does not want the public to see, are:

>>> How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers

>>> Why Pret gives Free Coffees and does not do a Loyalty Card system

>>> Ongoing issues of cross contamination and allergen (mis)labelling

 

Regarding Shadow Banning (secret censorship) and how it works.

It shows that Pret has a lot to hide from the public, and only when the two customer deaths became public did Pret slowly start implementing allergen labels.

The following account was shadow banned on 12.04.2019 before 11am and recipients won’t be notified and tweets are hidden EXCEPT when going to it with a direct link or via the account’s Tweets & Replies.

Example:

Shadowban.eu is an external independent website programed and developed by Free Speech activists, who fight against the shadow bans by making the public aware of Twitter banning secretly. This website shows if an account is banned or not. In this case @4ABWE was banned, and the ban will be lifted approximately in a day or two (13. or 14.04.2019). But bans have lasted for a week at times.

Accounts often get secretly banned for the volume of tweets, but in my case I get banned very quickly even after 1, 2 or 3 tweets when I tweet to the press, politicians, famous people etc. Anyone with influence basically. I can tweet 20 tweets to individual people who have 20 followers and not much impact. No problem.

But the moment I tweet to “influential” people, especially the press, the ban happens very quickly. Please note that these shadow bans are done in secret and Twitter denies doing this because they don’t want to admit that they censor free speech. But I don’t want to get too deep into this here. If you search on YouTube “Twitter undercover shadowban” you find videos on undercover investigations into Twitter, particularly by investigative journalists from Project Veritas. My blog here gets bookmarked by a bot in a certain country within a minute I release a new blog entry, as Pret has an eye on my blog. I know because my stats show this.

Shadowban.eu/4ABWE which looks like this while banned:

2019-04-12 4abwe Total ban

 

If anyone goes to this below Tweet you will NOT see @4ABWE’s tweet below anywhere WHILE the ban is on. Once the ban is LIFTED the Tweets becomes visible again but mainly via clicking on “Show more Replies”. You will see that there are 2 (TWO) replies, but you’ll only see Pret’s reply:

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE free coffees

Link

 

But via @4ABWE’s Tweets & Replies, you will see a second reply otherwise hidden from the public:

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE free coffees2

Link (click on Charlotte Ashworth’s initial tweet again within this feed, and 4ABWE’s tweet becomes invisible again)

After the ban is lifted, the tweet becomes visible again when you click on “Show more replies”.

 

This is Pret A Manger not wanting bad press or the truth to be known in the public. I explain in my interview at the bottom why Pret let’s Twitter shadow ban (secret censoring/hiding tweets). This also happens to many other accounts regarding political tweets or when rich companies want to avoid getting exposed.

 

Other banned Tweets

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE GF1

Link to Tweet where no response tweet is visible, the speech bubble is visible with 1 response, but no tweet can be seen.

 

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE GF2

Link to now visible tweet via @4ABWE’s Tweets & Replies … peek-a-boo

 

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE Staff1

Link to initial Tweet and a hidden tweet not visible.

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE Staff2

Link … Pret A Boo…

 

Other direct Links to hidden Tweets:

To Ben Baughan‏ @benfishbag and Jackie Holt@jaxxholt Link to Tweet

To @paddy_delaney, @SarahCahill123, @SaimaFerdows, @rocknrolga, @gangofgin2004 Link to Tweet

To @wmpccn @whosalama and others … Link to Tweet

… etc.

 


 

Pret A Manger Staff issues Pret does not want the public to know, and my interview underneath the slide show

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 


 

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.

Interview

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Questions to Journalists

 

2019-03-28 Swiss journo advertises for Pret crop

LinkA Journalist turned Jobcenter case worker, recruiting for Pret.

 

Dear Journalists,

I just want to throw out a few questions to any journo, be it that you are independent, mainstream, at the beginning of your career testing the waters, or as a hobby writer, blogger, radio host etc. Twitter is full of “writers” of course, but my question is to the serious writers and show hosts who dig deeper than just the copy & paste journalism that we’re swamped with! And yes, I’d love a response and a dialogue, but I understand that most remain just observers from a save distance.

Of course I must be naïve to assume that journalists are neutral, just reporting news to the public. I often lose hope if there are more journos who particularly would expose the truth, lifting the carpet on issues which in turn makes it hard for them to get published to the masses. I can relate, even though I’m not a journalist or an established writer. Most jump on the bandwagon once a story breaks and everyone then copy & pastes. This happened with the recent JAB/Reimann Nazi story that supposedly broke from the German BILD at the end of March 2019. And yet, the Daily Mail published this already in September 2018.

Sathnam Sanghera wrote a good article in The Times after the customer deaths became public when he started to take a closer look. And yet, everything he wrote about, except the part on how investment and private equity works, I already publicly wrote about since May 2018.

I don’t have a clue on how private equity and business works, but I know how Pret works. And I have dangerously felt the impact of, what CEO and farmer Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford calls, those “bastards”. His clear and passionate words, as a multi-million pound employee-owned business is music to my ears: “To sell my business … to one of those bastards (venture capitalists) would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution!”

Having worked at Pret for 10 years and further researching extensively after my ordeal with the “firm”, trying to understand why Pret is the way it is, a lot makes sense now. I narrowly escaped the spiral of suicidal thoughts after my ordeal with Pret while already under a cloud of trauma. So, please understand why I am so loud against this company and their PR[et] machine.

@Sathnam‘s article with my thoughts and experience on it, I renamed: When a Star became Sliced Pret.

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went 100 steps further, going undercover into Pret for a few days after having read my blog and I suggested to go undercover. My huge respect to her! I wish she would have gone for at least a month, covering all of the business, morning shifts, kitchen etc. But it was a good start, and I won’t complain as I can write books on Pret from my 10 years “inside” and Amy covered a lot from the little time spent in a shop.

 

Amy Undercover

“… and staff who are hugely overstretched.”

 

She worked only in the late shift on the shop floor. But to really get the Pret blow, anyone should work longer, as staff are often treated better in the beginning and the evening shifts, until Pret starts pushing them hard after the little training they received, if at all trained. I wrote my thoughts on it as well in Undercover Under Pressure, and I still remember vividly how I felt when I found her article on Twitter after she was very silent about going under, and rightly so. Not to be sentimental here, but I literally teared up when I saw her article!

And then there are some other articles on Pret which many journalists and some bloggers keep referring to and copying from. But I lived through it.

MSNBC article on the Emotional Labour in Pret, Starbucks & Co.

Class Action suits, one on deceptive packaging which was settled out of court recently. I cover this extensively from Twitter posts on Class Action vs Pret where Pret even deleted a Tweet after I posted this.

Class action suits of workers in the U.S. regarding unpaid wages and illegal practices Pret used.

The Guardian on “The brilliant Pret A Manger marketing con we want to fall for”

… and many other early articles I leave to the reader to do their home-work searching for.

I recently wrote a post on the free coffee give-away and marketing Pret is excellent in and why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card system. The psychology behind not doing a Loyalty Card is my interpretation and not something we have been told, but anyone who understands marketing just a little bit might get the idea behind all the freebies.

But in the free coffees post I concentrate on Journalists who tweet making advertisement for Pret.

So, my questions to Journalists are: what is your motivation for a story? What makes for neutral journalism, if that even exists? Is money, reputation and statistics as a journalist and writer really the driving force behind articles and tweets?

Of course asking so bluntly won’t get me anywhere. But I’m a writer, too, even if I never get established. I just have “established experience” and write about it now. And I certainly am not neutral when it comes to Pret A Manger.

 

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Longer list on above slideshow Staff Complaints.

 

Teaser to the 1 hour 42 minute interview:

 

Full interview:

 

 


 

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.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

I wrote about this already on various blog entries but want to put a visual of the timing of the announcement here and why this is important.

Pret A Manger’s CEO Clive Schlee made an announcement on 29. May 2018 on Twitter welcoming the new owners of Pret, JAB Holdings under German billionaire family Reimann, that also owns Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread and a list of other companies. The press is full recently of Reimann’s Nazi past, but that’s another story.

For my full story with Pret please scroll down to the interview and the “Mind Map” that gives an overview of my ordeal with Pret.

My blog and website here I started in May 2017 under poetrasblok.com where I posted poetry and videos I made for my brother who died in December 2014. I had another website before, but it was loaded with advertisement and I wanted a clean looking homepage, that didn’t distract the reader with blinking, and I mean literally blinking imagery.

After my ordeal in Pret I added the URL LateNightGirl.org to my website and recently added expret.org as Late Night Girl doesn’t make much sense for people who don’t know my story. All three URLs will lead to this same site. Again, the full story and overview at the bottom of this page.

Late on 28th May 2018 I sent a link of this blog to an area manager I worked under whom I know cannot keep a secret. I was angry still and wrote to the area manager that she can do with it what she wants. I know she can’t keep a secret because she sent my emails on after promising she wouldn’t and is in general VERY talkative, I just sent my link to her.

On 29th May I woke up before 7am and found my website statistics skyrocketed!! Where before I had just a handful of visitors every day, like 5 visitors one day, then 3 visitors the next, zero visitors, 10 visitors etc. Suddenly on the 29th in the morning it went into the hundreds, and to this day (3. April 2019) is still the most visited day my blog has ever received!

I have lots of visitors now, but nothing has reached the 29th May 2018 stats yet!

On 28. May 2018 late in the evening I sent my blog LateNightGirl.org to the area manager.

29. May 2018 in the morning I could literally watch the visitors and clicks increase LIVE as they visited and clicked! From that day on my stats had increased visitors, but never as much as the 29th May to this day.

 

BEST views ever 29May2018

 

And on the 29. May 2018 Clive Schlee CEO of Pret, who labeled me his “late night girl” posted this tweet in the early hours:

 

2018-05-29 Clive Announcement

Link

 

And what do the public write? How wonderful Pret is and that the CEO is the BEST!

PR[et] at its best for sure! 😀

Now, I don’t believe that he just came up with the idea then and there to give £1000 to all staff, but I strongly believe the timing was due to him getting informed of my website late on 28th May 2018 into the 29th May, because in October staff were still waiting and going on Twitter frustrated why the bonus hasn’t been paid yet! And I know how Clive Schlee reacts when confronted with difficulties, he quickly counters with “charity” to win people over, sowing doubts that Pret ever would be harmful to people, staff as well customers.

So, I’m proud to have been part of getting all staff some extra cash, although I feel for them being fooled, as the timing of the announcement was premature and a typical panic reaction Clive Schlee does when he’s about to face difficulties or Pret in danger of getting exposed.

A quick gesture and PR stunt was supposed to “eliminate” any doubts towards Pret, once more people become aware of my website and exposing Pret for what they really are behind the facade. Frankly, Pret is not the ethical and caring company they portray to the public.

Weeks and months later though staff got frustrated and confused when the £1000 would finally be paid. And Clive Schlee of course puts responsibility downwards unto his managers wanting staff to get away from the public tweeting. I tweeted in his announcement feed, but got shadow banned at that time without realizing as I didn’t know what shadow banning was then. But I did notice that my tweets weren’t visible when I was logged out. They are still there, but visible when one has the direct link.

Only one of my tweets is visible to the public, my response to Clive Schlee trying to divert responsibility downwards. My other tweets in the feed are hidden from the public but visible in my Tweets & Replies feed.

So, here he is, making this announcement and when the going gets tough and staff complain when the promise will “moneyfest” (sorry, couldn’t help it!) Schlee diverts to managers and the people team (HR).

In August, 3 months after the announcement, the first staff members started raising questions, some even started a Twitter account then just to confront the CEO on his promise as staff didn’t get any info from the shops. My response at the bottom is the only one that didn’t get shadow banned:

 

2018-08-29 My response to £1000 delay

Link

 

Into September and October:

 

2018-09-01 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-12 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

 

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

 

2018-09-19 Meme USA

 

 

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000

 

Kevin makes an important point about the timing of the announcement. What Kevin and all the others don’t know (he knows now) is WHY Clive Schlee announced it prematurely! I even posted the reason in September, but was shadow banned unbeknown to me at the time. So, not sure if people got the message then and there. I retweeted the info a few times after that on different occasions in some of my “late night girl” shifts!

So, needless to say, “Stockholm Syndrome” is not my problem anymore, THIS is NOT my fault that he made this announcement prematurely giving an untimely hope to all his staff! This is solely Clive Schlee’s TYPICAL panic reaction to a problem he faces! That one also is on the house and he needs to fit the bill!

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

 

My response to Meme but it is hidden as I must have been shadow banned at the time without knowing it. Meme in the USA doesn’t even know what the Pret People Team is because in the U.S. many complaints from staff that they are discriminated against, British staff are preferred, they aren’t trained, HR is non-existent etc.
My hidden/shadow banned tweet visible via my Tweets & Replies:

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team my response

 

 

And the appalling slogan of Pret’s HR department:

Right Thing Naturally

 

One Team Member got it right, money isn’t everything, but family is!

Typo: Hay here means “employee” not employer.

2018-09-29-hay.jpg

 

Last complaint in that feed:

 

2018-10-01 Staff Twitter £1000

 

I am contacted by Pret staff who were warned that if they tweet or post openly on Facebook of any complaints, they get a disciplinary or dismissed.

But, basically the deal wasn’t finalized until September 2018, all the managers and probably HR were in the air about it. Team Members thought managers were secretive. But knowing Pret and managers, they were not secretive, they were CLUELESS because Clive Schlee made the announcement too early. On 29th May 2018 after being informed about my blog and he jumped quick to do a PR announcement, so that when the public becomes aware of my blog, they won’t believe me, but assume that Pret is so wonderful to its staff. Good one CEO, but not good enough, because throwing money at a problem is just temporary while not working on the root issue.

It used to take 10 years service to receive £1000 and now suddenly all staff members would receive it even new employees after one year of service. If the CEO originally planned to give all staff £1000 only he knows, but staff on Facebook have complaint that the 10 year £1000 reward has been cancelled.

When I worked in Pret still in 2017 Pret already cancelled the 5 year award of £500. So, it looks to me that the plan was to slowly faze out all these awards as Pret has entered the nasty business of fast-food workers exploitation even more now with the JAB take-over.

The £1000 announcement to all staff looks to me like a farewell gesture where no other awards will be given anymore as they did before.

 

So, the wording of the CEO “Today is a big day for Pret” … why TODAY when the sale wasn’t finalized?! Staff still waited in October for the promised cash, which by the way is around £800 after tax is deducted!

My thought: “TODAY” was the big day when Clive Schlee and Pret got confronted with my blog as I have declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal with Pret.

 

And sadly only ONE customer immediately sees through this PR stunt among all the euphoria:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR

Link

 

Pret also suddenly became very selective in staff, even after the 3 months trial period being excellent in his work, this kitchen team member in the below link, who has a mental health issue did NOT get the job as Pret would have had to pay him £1000 after a year of service. Ben, the manager* of the Brixton shop even wrote the following to Hind from the Pret Foundation trust: (I added the bold but the manager wrote in capitals EVERY).
*The OPs manager of the Brixton shop area is called Ben:

“Please let him know that we were very impressed by his professionalism at work and always giving 100% in whatever he was doing. The quality of products he made were picture perfect EVERY time. Myself and the team would like to say a big thank you and we wish him luck in his new job and we hope he will pop by for a coffee on us whenever he is in Brixton as he will always be one of us.”

In a nutshell, Sergio was only used for PR and he is oblivious to it and does what we all do when we believe nice sounding words. Sergio was treated exceptionally well, worked only Monday to Friday in the moring which is very unusual as Pret excepts staff to be fleixble. Sergio was NOT pushed, and yet, even though they were impressed with him, he was excellent and his products pictrure perfect EVERY time, he wasn’t even taken on in the shop! They had no work for him… hello, anyone smell a rat??

He shares on this website of the Mental Health Club. I know him, because I am a member of the same Mental Health Club that Pret tries to infiltrate to fish for workers and mainly use people for PR. I cover this and the trap Sergio fell into extensively in my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust.

 

UPDATE: Even with this “generosity”, the recommendation on Glassdoor for Pret and the CEO in June 2019 (1 year after the £1000 announcement) speaks volumes:

2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

 

 


Long List of Pret Staff Complaints
with my interview at the top.


 

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UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

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.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Clive Schlee, Pano Christou

Please take Responsibility.

Clive you are the big gun

Pano, you’re right behind, but you’re hiding.

Please stop hurting people