Link – A Journalist turned Jobcenter case worker, recruiting for Pret.
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.
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.
“… 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.
Slideshow can be paused
Longer list on above slideshow Staff Complaints.
Teaser to the 1 hour 42 minute interview:
I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO. 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California. Thank you for reading/listening.
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