Employees are the Core Target Audience

 

I found an excellent Twitter feed recently which I link here, that everyone can read from the top down. I’m not going to elaborate on it as it speaks for itself.

This one particularly got my attention:

Employees word of mouth

Link from the top of the feed

This is so simple and true, and it’s so stupid of companies to mistreat employees, forgetting that they are the best advertisers for that company’s reputation.

 

So, here are the word-of-mouth reports regarding Pret A Manger:

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

July 2019 overall Glassdoor figure

 

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

 

Link: >>> Two Pret Staff have DIED recently
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
I survived. If I would have gone over the edge, to my current knowledge, mine would be #3 and it would be in connection to Pret!

 


 

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 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.

 

You are either the Captain

 

of the ship

or you’re knee-deep in shit!

 

If the Captain of the ship jumps first,

blames downward,

names and shames the crew,

doesn’t act on fatalities…

he needs to be dragged to court

 

Clive Schlee,

I am glad that you are not

my captain anymore

and I’m ashamed to have ever been

on the ship you were entrusted with

 

You hide behind the Reimann family now

They will protect you

you are cocooned in their wealth

and you’ve let the wolves of

private equity in

 

You are part of history, sir

the war between the rich and the poor

 

But you know what real power is?

It’s like being a human

looking at an ant on the dirty ground

and not crushing it

 

That is real power, sir

 

You know why I never wanted to be

a manager in Pret

even though I applied for assistant manager role

to escape the abuse of managers

 

I was asked many times by my colleagues

and even customers

why I am not a manager

 

To my customers I responded that I had other plans

which I did

 

I had a life

art

family

people

projetcs

 

But to my teams I went a little deeper

and explained

that I cannot do what a typical

Pret manager is doing

ripping off their staff,

cutting hours,

stealing wages,

lying to and bullying them

to breaking point

 

And many a times

my teams would just smile

and nod in silence

 

No, sir!

No, sir.

 

The ocean is full of sharks

there’s no room for more

 

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

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Overall Glassdoor figures start of July 2019

 


 

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 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.

Vegetarians & Vegans Eat Meat at Pret (Update Dec. 2019)

 

What should they do? Keep smiling? Like a Pret A Manger employee? No matter what?

Okay! Just when you think nothing more ridiculous can happen in Pret, this happens:

2019-11-27 Chicken as Veggie sticker

Link to Tweet from 27.11.2019 – I responded to SCLFT that the real @Pret killed two people in Britain! And side note: a baguette for $8!!! No wonder former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on bonus alone! But he left a legacy behind, where low-wage staff speak out bluntly in anonymity on Glassdoor & Co.

And THIS happens: (I put the whole feed)

2019-12-01 Label1

Link

2019-12-01 Label2

Link

 

2019-12-01 Label8

Link

2019-12-01 Label3

Link

2019-12-01 Label4Link

2019-12-01 Label7

Link OOPS!!! Quickly get into DM to get out of the public eye! Too late, Pret!

 

And the gift that keeps on giving!

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,
welcome to the land of MILK & HONEY!

 

UPDATE: 10. Dec. 2019 – Pret USA again. And the usual response by the U.S. Twitter staff is very relaxed. People in the U.S. cannot DM Pret’s USA Twitter account. It’s like the U.S. side of Pret is cut off from the UK.

2019-12-10 Vegan label Milk ingredient

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

The issue of mislabelled products in Pret A Manger continues. It is 2019. Two customers have died, a third incidence was nearly fatal, and several in hospital from unlabelled allergen in Pret products, numerous customer warnings ignored before and even after deaths. Only after the deaths became public has Pret SLOWLY started to label products. But mislabelling products as well as placing products behind wrong labels continues.

Some customers who complain on Twitter assume that this is a one-off or rare problem…

NOTE:

A little reminder that Pret was cleared in New York where a customer sued Pret after he suffered an allergic reaction ALSO to an unlabelled sesame product, the same allergen that Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of, from a London shop. Even though Pret won the case it did not give them any sense of urgency or a wake-up call to start labelling products! ONLY when customer deaths became public did Pret slowly implement labelling!

Also, Pret has now set aside £10 Million on legal fees for >>> food allergy scandal costs.

>>> Pret on trial after Celia Marsh’s death, who died from dairy traces in a non-dairy product.

UPDATE: November 2019

Vegan eats chicken 10th Nov.:

2019-11-09 Vegan eats meat

 

2 customers in one day:

2019-11-08 Ham x2

@DizzyBrunette — & — @MissKLWalker

UPDATE: 24.10.2019

THREE wrong products in ONE day
customers have posted on Twitter even before the 2:30pm lunch end in Pret:

 

  1. Wrong Soup – Mislabelled: Mushroom Risotto label on Curry Soup:

2019-10-24 Wrong Soup

Link to a really great video!

 

2. Wrong Coffee – Milk instead black for dairy intolerant

2019-10-24 Wrong Coffee

Link

 

3. Wrong Toastie

2019-10-24 Wrong Toastie

Link

 

UPDATE: 12. October 2019 – Life-long Vegetarian eats mislabeled Tuna instead of Veggie Toastie

2019-10-12 TUna instead of Cheese toastie

Link to Tom Rache’s Tweet

 

2019-10-12 Tuna instead of Cheese toastie2

Link to his wife Julia Ramil’s Tweet

 

After I tweeted to Tom Rache & Julia Ramil with this blog entry I got a full shadow ban from Twitter, probably via Pret reporting me, which got my Tweets hidden for 24 hours and can only be viewed with direct link or via my Tweets and Replies page. This is to silence the systemic issue of mislabelling due to under-staffing:

LNG FUll Ban

 

UPDATE: 11. October 2019 – BACON instead of Beef

2019-10-11 Bacon instead of beef foccacia mislabel

Link

 

UPDATE: 11. October 2019 New York – Wrong soup label

2019-10-10 Wrong soup label

Link

 

UPDATE: 02. October 2019 – MEAT instead of Veg

2019-10-02 Meat Toastie NOT Veggie

Link

 

UPDATE 23. September 2019

2019-09-23 Soya sticker on dairy coffee

Link


 

This blog entry was “inspired” by yet another customer going to Twitter, and who for religious reasons does not eat Ham:

2019-06-28 Religious eat Ham

Link

For the sake of time and not wanting to clutter my page with endless examples, here are just a few visuals that show that the problem of wrongly labelled products in Pret is a VERY common problem and continues to this day!

The main reason for this, from my experience having worked at Pret, is chronic under-staffing of low-paid workers who are often not trained well. They are pressured, rushed and pushed so much, they work in often cramped areas, that these mistakes keep happening.

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area4

What is so beyond believe to me is, that in the UK even with two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, numerous customer warnings ignored before AND even after people died… Pret goes full steam ahead, doing business as usual and gets away with it. In the U.S. it would hail a storm of class action lawsuits and the leadership would face prison! In the UK they put small business owners (often Indian or other with non-British background) in prison after 1 death! And rightly so, but Pret is too big, too rich and in my opinion, too white! Sorry, but I left my PC days behind long time ago!

In the UK people remain lulled in and want to believe the fairy tale that is Pret A Manger.

 

Illusion

 

Vegetarians, or people, who for religious reasons don’t eat pork, keep settling for an apology and cheap freebies from Pret.

So, here’s a visual again on how common this problem is. Just few of the many examples. I had to fix this issue countless times as a Team Leader. In my 10 years in Pret from 2008 to the end of 2017, I had to fix this on a weekly basis, sometimes several times a day!

The other issue also is that, even though the standard is in place to not mix items on one tray, due to lack of staff, rushed for time to not lose Mystery Shopper bonus, staff bake Mozzarella Croissants on previously used Ham Croissant Trays. They even sometimes put both together on one tray to safe time and washing up. This also happens with the sweet croissants and the danger of traces of nuts touching other items. Staff are not supposed to do this, but because they often even work overtime without pay, they stop caring. I had to deal with this many times as well, retrain, redo etc. etc. etc…… And again, I don’t even blame the low-paid worker here, because when they don’t finish their production in time, they are fear managed and scared to lose their job. So, anyone assuming that at times the Veggie product did not touch the Meat product, or wasn’t baked in the “juice” of the Ham or Meat product, think again!

People are fooled with the facade of Pret. But I emphasize again that Pret A Manger is a FACTORY behind the scenes, there is NOTHING “Lovingly made” as their stickers boast! There’s no time nor room for Love in Pret A Manger!

These visuals are only a selection, there is much more, and not everyone goes on Twitter with pictures:

2019-05-03 Ham instead of Veg croissant

Link to Initial Tweet

2019-05-03 Ham no veg

 

2019-04-21 Ham instead of Veg croissant2

 

2019-06-02 Ham in Veg croissant

Link

2015 Ham instead of Veg croissant

After TWENTY-NINE YEARS… This is 2015. Link to Tweet

This one is particularly misleading, because the Ham Croissant does NOT have a slice of tomato on top like the Mozzarella & Tomato Croissant has, to distinguish each other additionally to the labelling. So, in a rush the Hot Chef, or whoever put the croissants in the oven, added the tomato by mistake. OR they didn’t realize this was the Ham croissant, as in a frozen state they can look similar, although the Ham has black pepper on top, and the Mozzarella Croissant white cheese sprinkles. But again, due to rushing, these mistakes happen fast. From 2017:

2017-04-29 Ham instead of Veg with TOMATO on top

Link

 

2019-04-23 Veggie sticker on ham buttie

Link

2018-12-06 Ham instead of Brie Veggie Baguette

After TWENTY-THREE YEARS… Prosciutto instead of Brie Baguette

2018-11-30 Tuna instead of Ham toastie

A reversed problem: Tuna instead of Ham Toastie

To safe space… the Ham & Cheese Collage (Links underneath)

Ham Cheese Collage

30. Dec. 2017
03. Mar. 2018
14. Feb. 2017
11. Mar. 2018
24. Feb. 2018
24. Jan. 2018
10. July 2017
18. Feb. 2016
11. Dec. 2014
14. Sep. 2014
11. July 2017 Lifelong Vegetarian…

Commercial break: A little humo(u)r

2012 Ham Veg

2012

 

2018-03-05 Ham no Veg USA

USA 2018

 

2019-06-09 Ham no Veg

Link

… and so on…

A more extensive list on this problem also with soups wrongly labelled >>> “Ongoing Issues, hospitalization, mislabelling…” but I stopped collecting in Dec. 2018 as this is ridiculous!

Again this is due to UNDERSTAFFED Shops, rushed staff, and at times staff don’t understand English well, placing products behind wrong labels.

HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE??!!!

Mark your calendar for the 6th December 2019 when trial starts after Celia Marsh, the second customer died of a Pret product. LINK >>> Pret A Manger facces trial after allergen death.

What staff say anonymously on Review sites, YouTube, Twitter, FB and other websites:

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The above slideshows are just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

Clive Schlee “retired” in September 2019 but remains in the background as a non-executive director. This is his legacy he left behind:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

June/July 2019 Glassdoor results

UPDATE: October 2019 – New CEO:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

May 2019:
TWO Pret Staff have died
>>> Link to Article

 


 

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 two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Pret A Manger Overtime Not Paid

 

Here I list only a few of the many Pret staff reviews and complaints about being pressured and pushed for time. How they are pushed to work so fast they HAVE TO cut corners like on hand-washing, hygiene, cross contamination etc.

I witnessed this time and time again, having to prompt staff to wash their hands in-between production of different items (from meat to veggie) and after the toilet etc. Pret does have standards in place and a book to tick boxes of duties, incl. hand washing done. But these boxes are mostly just ticked and the jobs are not done because time is money… as usual. Doing all the duties expected will slow the teams down and get them in trouble. It’s a lose-lose situation which some of the below reviews show so clearly. And I have witnessed this countless times. As staff are not paid overtime, they stop caring. Period. The public is fooled by the shiny PR[et] facade, not matter how many customers die, they want to believe the fairy tale that is Pret A Manger.

 

Illusion

 

I let the reviews speak for itself.

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018

 

Unpaid2017

Link 2017 NY

 

Unpaid2

Link 2015

 

Unpaid2014b

Link 2014

 

Unpaid2011

Link 2011 NY

“It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company itself. …Very, very sad reality of Pret. -Company culture….”

 

Unpaid2014

Link 2014 “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

NOTE: The “for some reason” is more systemic than this and many other TMs realize. I had to chase my money CONSTANTLY.

 

25 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link

 

Pret had to settle two class action lawsuits in NY within 4 years on wage issues. In the UK people never do a Class Action, but it would be high time for Pret staff to go to court on wage issues!

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

The 1 minute rule to serve customers which the weekly Mystery Shopper probes. If even ONE staff member takes too long, the whole team loses the bonus.

Mystery Shopper excerpt:

1 Minute Smile

The kitchen have targets of doing a certain amount of sandwiches/items per hour. The above reviews explain the system how they are pushed with little time given and then expected to stay longer, unpaid. UK Pret workers should file a class action like their colleagues did in the U.S.

More extensive writing about this in “The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and “How Emotional Labour Harms us all

More general complaints:

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

 

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Two recent Staff Deaths?

 


 

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 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.

On the Lookout for a Humane HR Department

 

Andrea Wareham, Pret’s Director of HR, who was present when CEO Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl”, has a contradicting text on her Twitter profile. It’s the typical slogan problem with Pret, they always give themselves away. And at the same time trying to cover up the true face they try to hide.

What’s wrong with this text?

It’s not a multiple choice question!

Who will spot what is wrong with this text?

“We are always on the look out for those who enjoy working hard in a fun environment.”

 

AndreaWareham_Profile

Twitter

 

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

 

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Two recent Staff Deaths?

 


 

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 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.

How Emotional Labour Harms us all

 

I found an article on Emotional Labour that is a must-read! This and other articles are from researchers and journalists. I add my comments to their publications from the perspective of staff having experienced what they write about.

 

Emotional Labour Statesman article

»How emotional labour harms us all«
»Workers are put at high risk of anxiety and burnout, while consumers are emboldened to behave aggressively.«

From The NewStatesman by Sophie McBain.

To read the article, readers have to register, but it’s quick and worth it!

I just want to quote a few things that I underline, having survived forced Emotional Labour in Pret A Manger even during bereavement.

Quote from article:
»According to the Office for National Statistics, 80 per cent of the UK labour force is now employed in the service economy. In London, it’s 91 per cent. These days, high street coffee shops and fast food chains compete for customers by trying to offer the quirkiest, bubbliest service«

Yes, in Pret they call it having a “buzz” and it always got on our nerves how we had to pretend to be buzzy, and with a smiling cramp “happy” bouncing around all day! Pret also likes to have LOUD music in shops saying this creates a buzz, in reality it is also annoying customers who then leave the shop quicker and don’t get comfortable. And that exactly is the plan, the reason for the loud music across the Pret business everywhere.

This then brings in more customers and the money flow is faster than when customers linger in a quieter, cozy atmosphere. I got in trouble many times by managers for putting the volume down after customers and staff complained, and my head was exploding! Bottom line is, the music is loud on purpose, this creates an uneasy atmosphere and “chases” customers out faster, making room for new customers and so on. My observation often was that those who sit the longest in Pret are students on laptops with earplugs in their ears to study or play games or were chatting. Younger people often have a greater tolerance, even desire, for noise and distraction.

So, buzz? Fun? Think again! It’s always about money! And reality is, we had headaches and tinnitus from the noise and stress! We had to be like cheerleaders, pushing each other to smile yet again, after just coming out of the intense busy morning coffee rush. It felt like, no it was, suppressing your true emotions (exhaustion, fatigue, depression, grief…) like perverting your inner core.

 

Emotional Labour Labor

Quote from above article:

“… in The New Republic, Timothy Noah observes that the sandwich shop chain Pret A Manger aggressively monitors its employees’ displays of enthusiasm. If any worker at any particular store seems insufficiently pleased to see their customers, he and all of his coworkers could suffer the consequences. Pret CEO Clive Schlee even monitors whether his employees are making enough affectionate physical contact with each other.” Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

MS Cough

Mystery Shopper excerpt: “Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.” (Staff are not paid for sick leave for the first 2 days, even with a sick-note!)

One customer even observed this cheer-leading and enjoyed it, while not realizing that staff pushed each other to not lose Mystery Shopper bonus and with it get penalized and fear managed. I write extensively about this in “The Truth Behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and talk readers through a typical day in Pret.

2009 Cheerleaders Smile

Link

Quote from article:
»In a 2015 article for the journal Organizational Behaviour a group of psychologists presented the “modest proposal” that employers should abandon emotional labour requirements at work and instead focus on reforms that promote genuine well-being. The authors, led by Alicia Grandey, an expert in emotional labour based at Pennsylvania State University, wrote that “emotional labour violates basic human rights for decent work”.«

This quote gives me hope that more and more people, be it researchers, journalists, teachers … raise this issue that warps the inner core of a person:

»emotional labour violates basic human rights for decent work«

! ! !

Quote from article:
»Research has shown that workers in jobs that demand emotional labour are at high risk of anxiety and burnout…«

Yes, and Pret even puts one question in the “return to work” interview sheet when a staff member starts work again after sick leave. The question they ask is, if the employee suffered anxiety due to work. I have never seen a question like this in any previous employment, and I have worked in the catering industry and customer service all my life. At Pret I suffered anxiety, but I never ticked the box because I thought they ask this to “sieve” out staff and replace them with “fresh blood”! I thought if I tick this, even though I have anxiety issues due to work and the bullying environment, they would find a way to get rid of me. (And they did get rid of me later, my full story in the interview player at the bottom of this page.)

Some of the many staff reviews shows this as well (more in the slideshow, also at the bottom of this page):

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Link “Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

2019-04-16 Depression Toxic

Link “If you want to know what Depression is work at Pret A Manger is the best place for that…Toxic environment”

One of the most poignant Pret staff reviews, where a former staff member went out of their way after giving everything they had, now almost writing a book, describing the inhumane work environment, fake smiles, having to take pills and drink to cope. They mainly share about the kitchen, but also doing customer service. Nothing needs to be added to this review, every dot and comma I underline! This person certainly cares a lot, and those people are many in Pret, but Pret doesn’t care for them, they lost immense quality and caliber of people that Pret really doesn’t deserve, and these people don’t deserve Pret and what this reviewer describes. Pret can be summed up in this one review.

It is like a film or a book that’s starts:
»This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.«

And ends:
»You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 41

Link

Another recent review from a Hot Chef (the hardest job on the shop floor) mentions, quote, I started taking antidepressants and having to see a therapist because of this job. The stress and mental anguish is definitely not worth it. May 2019 review on Indeed

Or another review from April 2019, quote, Physically, emotionally and spiritually draining. I would never recommend any young person to work there. Like seriously mate, DONT DO IT! You will get sick like i did and lose valuable months of your young life. Team Member on Indeed

A Glassdoor review, quote, I’m mentally sick of Pret A Manger and then I have to change to many things on my life” Glassdoor Feb. 2019

 

The above reviews mirror another research paper on “Emotional Labor and Alcohol Use

EMotional Labor Alcohol

Paul Spector

 

UPDATE July 2019

Clive Schlee leaves Pret with this overall score mid July and Pano Christou starts before the September handover, probably to avoid more negative scoring. But Christou won’t be different towards low-paid and demanding work conditions, having been longer in Pret than Schlee:

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

Glassdoor July 2019 overall rating.

I can recommend to everyone to register with The Stateman and read the full article. Take a closer look into Pret or any company at that, where you see staff smile ALWAYS, EVERY TIME in high stress, noisy environment. Ask yourself if low-paid workers really are happy or WHY do they smile so much under intense stress?!

Some customers’ Tweets on this can speak for itself. But it is disheartening how most are fascinated by the “mandatory” smiles by “contract”, which is enforced via weekly Mystery Shoppers in cash incentives and fear management. I explain in detail in the “The Truth behind the Pret Smile” and “Emotional Labour” articles.
Just few people look deeper:

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

2013 Low Wage Exploitation Smile

Link

 

2013 Continous weird smile

Link

 

2013 Authentically happy smile low paid

Link (It’s £8.65 now obviously 6 years after this Tweet)

 

2012 Doesnt matter which Pret always smile

Link

 

2014 Smile by Contract

Link

 

2013 Mandatory Smile

Link

 

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link

 

Mystery Shopper report excerpt:

04 MS

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.”

Mystery Shopper: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile …”

Line Manager to the person having served the MS: “I need to see you in the office!”

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

Pret Uniform2

The Pret A Smile Uniform Cupboard.

Take your pick Team Member, any of those will do.

 

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Two Pret Staff have DIED recently
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
I survived. If I would have gone over the edge, mine would be #3 and it would be in connection to Pret!

 


 

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 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.

The Difference between Profit and True Wealth

 

A must-see for anyone who cares about people over profits.

The anti-CEO playbook | Hamdi Ulukaya

TED / YouTube intro:

»Profit, money, shareholders: these are the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past — and shares his vision for a new, “anti-CEO playbook” that prioritizes people over profits. “This is the difference between profit and true wealth,” he says.«

YouTube

One quote I want to highlight, literally having survived a profit-driven company:

“I kept wondering what is this all about? Corporate America says it’s about profits. Business says it’s about money. The CEO Playbook says it’s about shareholders. And so much is sacrificed for it, factories, communities, jobs. But not by CEOs. CEOs have their employees suffer for them. But yet, the CEOs pay goes up and up and up… and so many people are left behind. I’m here to tell you: No more! It’s not right! It’s never been right! It’s time to admit, that the playbook that guided businesses and CEOs for the last forty years is broken.”

There’s hope with CEOs like Hamdi Ulukaya and Guy Singh-Watson from employee-owned Riverford… Times they are a-changin’… again!

“To sell my business, this thing that I created, that I poured my life, 30 years of work in; to sell it to one of those bastards (venture capitalists), it would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution. And I was never gonna do it”Guy Singh-Watson

 

TWO Pret staff died recently, one is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

LINK >>> When will Pret A Manger be independently investigated on staff deaths?!

Pret Staff Reviews and Complaints:

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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 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.

 

Where is Clive Schlee?

 

Oh, found him!

Not!

Glassdoor’s Top CEOs for 2019 Announced.

The average score of CEOs on Glassdoor is 69%.

Pret A Manger was never average! They always aimed to be special and extreme!

Glassdoor’s Top 50 CEOs in 2019 with over 90% ratings – Revealed.

@CliveSchlee, if you are reading this, as you read my blog at times, do you still name, shame and blame your managers when they fail?

Do you let HQ still send out mass emails to every shop with the lowest scores in Health and Safety for example, where a shop failed? Giving detailed report and the name of the shop?

I know you also “brag” on staff when they succeed to make others jealous to compete I guess, a typical strategy to “motivate” the workforce. I don’t like the term “workforce” as it sounds like an assembly line of robots.

But are you still naming, shaming and blaming your managers and staff openly?

What are you going to do about staff welfare and stopping this work environment for more profit?

What are you doing about Customer deaths before they become public?

And what about Staff deaths? Suicides?

When will you take responsibility and resign?

Have you seen your Glassdoor score, Mr. Schlee?

And what are you going to do about it without employing a PR company to clean it all up?

When are you going to stop to just paint and clean the outside facade while the inside is rotten?

 

2019-06-29 45 staff 51 CEO

Glassdor stats June/July 2019

 

HQ IT Analyst

Pret Head Office Review on Glassdoor

 

and …

 

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2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

Facebook group @preth8ers

 

TWO Pret staff have died recently.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

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 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.

The BEST Description of Systemic Workplace Bullying

… under HR and Senior Leadership.

I have spent over a year writing my hands into a carpal tunnel (not really, just using a metaphor!) on what I’ve been through in Pret A Manger. I described how systemic and toxic Pret’s bullying is behind the smiley facade!

I can wrap up my whole experience and website in this one text I came across on Twitter:

 

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now

 

Nothing more to add, except …

 

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

 

LINK > Two Staff have died recently within a month
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret!

 

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile and a Typical Day in Pret

 


 

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 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.

 

 

 

The Truth Behind the Pret A Manger Smile

 

And the emotional, mental, physical and financial cost to staff.

 

Timothy Noah Quote Emotional Labor

 

LINK to Emotional Labour article

Upfront, Pret staff will NEVER spill the beans on why they are so cheery! They remain professional because they fall for the Pret trap like everyone. They only out themselves anonymous on review websites, YouTube etc., further below. Just very few speak out publicly. Even during the darkest period in grief and being bullied, I NEVER EVER even hinted to a customer what was going on! I was complemented on my professional service, smile, giving free coffees, and no-one knew that after my shift I went to the bridge at times.

Here is the short version in a nutshell why ALL (most) staff members EVERYWHERE in Pret are ALWAYS so smiley, cheery, friendly and helpful. No matter how busy and stressful it is.

The magic word: Mystery Shoppers

Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked to probe into a list of things every week in every shop, like if there is an adequate amount of selection during certain times, or if the shop incl. toilets are clean and so on. The most important thing the MS have to probe is customer service. I call them the “Misery” Shopper because many times they were so micromanaging pointing out the smallest stain on a table or a smudge on the window!

For Team Members there are two “motivating” factors for the smiley customer service:

  1. Cash incentives. Overall bonus for the whole shop team which is £1 per hour worked. So if a Team Member (TM) worked 40 hours that week, they will get an additional £40 on top of their contracted wage for that week, provided the MS report was all in the green area and then gave the bonus to the whole team. Managers’ bonuses are given quarterly. But a TM can individually also earn extra cash on top of the bonus (or even if the bonus for the whole team was lost).
    This is called an “Outstanding Card” (OC) which is £50 extra if the MS is super happy with a particular TM or even General Manager (GM), Assistant Manager (AM) etc. Meaning, if the TM “kissed butt” especially hard, gave a freebie etc. they can earn that extra cash on top of their wages and team bonus. If the report is 100% perfect scores and the MS awards an OC to a staff member, that TM earns double = £100. So, that one staff member gets their weekly wages, the weekly bonus PLUS the extra £50 or £100 cash. £50 OC (Outstanding Card) or £100 SOC (Super Outstanding Card).
    Side note: An Outstanding Card is not literally a card, it’s just a name for the extra cash award. There are no cards given, “just” the money. So, when a TM is EXTRA SPECIAL nice, it is often (not always!) that they assumed they’re serving the Mystery Shopper!
  2. Fear Management. If any TM or several of the Team messes up in any way resulting in bonus being lost for the whole team incl. GM (bonus not awarded by the MS), the angry manager will have a word with them. Depending what the bonus was lost on, this often is done in subtle or direct fear management where staff are made to fear for their job or position.

 

2018-01-23 Outstanding Card

Link The reason why she got the Outstanding Card and with it the extra £50, or £100 if the shop had perfect scores, is the white writing on the red background. The Mystery Shopper rewarded this TM for this reason, quote:
“I noticed that the avocado in the remaining veggie box salads were brown and I asked if there were any fresher ones. The team member said she would ask the kitchen to make me a fresh one. She telephoned them and said if it was okay she would take the veggie box to the kitchen and they would replace the avocado for me.”

Other times a TM gives a free coffee to the Mystery Shopper but does NOT get an Outstanding Card. It is completely up to the MS what blows them away and what not.

 

And here comes the long version.

I cover mainly the “smiley” culture of Pret in: “How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers“, but I want to take the reader through a typical day in Pret A Manger, and why this MS scheme is dangerous for mental health, not to mention patronizing and humiliating. This Tweet is by PAMSU (Pret A Manger Staff Union) who got fired in 2012 for starting a Union under the pretense of having made homophobic remarks ten months (!) before:

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

First of all I want to start off by saying that I don’t think a Mystery Shopper scheme is a bad idea, I think it can be helpful to improve customer service where needed. The problem with Pret is, they take this to intense levels which I find abusive. The extreme “perfection” staff have to reach is done to create a picture to the public, that staff are so happy to work in Pret. In reality they are tasked to “perform” emotional labour (or “labor” for American readers!). It opens the door to abusive leadership, bullying environment forcing staff into “unnatural” behaviour they would normally not do, unless they “feel” it. And with many other abusive situations, like even domestic violence, bullying etc. people get conditioned to it, accept it as norm, but suffer internally and in silence also because it is systemic and seems acceptable. Everyone is subjected to this, so they feel they go out of line if they complain. At least that’s how I often felt, because everyone “is doing it”, it must be okay or normal to keep smiling even while bereaved. I share in my interview at the bottom of this page the horrific time I went through while already traumatized after I lost my brother.

Even journalists “get used” to abuse and accept it as the norm:

Journalists getting used to harrassment

Link

I want to share a rough timeline of activities on a day-to-day running of a Pret shop, as well as a little bit of the kitchen to paint a true picture of the immense stress staff are under on a daily basis. I was a Team Leader of the shop or also called Floor Leader (FL) and know working in the shop inside out. I can’t speak much about running a kitchen, but will briefly touch on the kitchen. The shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses that need two separate leaders. Both have their own separate challenges as well as positives.

For example in the shop staff HAVE TO smile and perform a cheery presence, while in the kitchen they can just be themselves. In the kitchen they have no windows, have to work super fast assembling products WITHOUT time to breathe until their break. In the shop there are windows to take a breath, while still having to clean, stock up etc. I often “mediated” between the teams when they were at “war” pointing fingers where the kitchen felt the shop team is lazy or the shop felt the kitchen team have it easier. I always pointed out to both teams that each team have their challenges as well as good parts, but that EVERYONE works hard and has a lot of stress, just differently.

 

Shop hierarchy:
General Manager (GM) and Assistant Manager Floor (AMF) are in plain business attire
Floor Leader (FL)

Baristas/Coffee Makers
Hot Food Chef (HFC)
Team Members (TM)

And whatever other position Pret comes up with, as they sometimes add job roles. But these are the main roles distinguished in their colours (belt, name badge) so outside teams can quickly identify who’s who.  The most important role on the shop floor, the person who does most of the hard work is the Team Leader. They really are the ones that run the shop, if they are good and don’t imitate most GMs who like to sit in the office, don’t help and just shout like slave masters.

Kitchen hierarchy:
Again the same General Manager (GM) but a different Assistant Manager Kitchen (AMK), plain business attire
Kitchen Leader (KL)
Team Member Trainer (TMT)
Team Members (TMs)

Kitchen TMs, the sandwich makers who are called “chefs” by Pret to make them feel better and portray to the public as if there was some real cooking going on in the kitchen! Lots of patronizing and fooling slogans like “Lovingly made in this kitchen today” bla bla…

In reality all the food comes already cooked, except the frozen bread, croissants etc. But all ingredients are ready cooked and delivered daily from factories. Hence also “Ready to Eat”. The soups come in large plastic bags and are heated in water baths. All other ingredients are like we have at home after getting the shopping from the supermarket. There’s no cooking involved, just heating up and assembling a sandwich. Even the “poached” eggs that do come raw, are just heated in sealed plastic pouches in a water bath. There are no pots and pans and stoves in Pret kitchens!

One recent staff review:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

Link Under Show more: “The food isn’t fresh, it’s shipped already cooked in plastic bags and reheated. A joke.”

 

As the shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses in each shop, the AMF and/or FL run the shops and do the ordering for the shop, look after the Team, customers etc. The AMK and/or KL do the ingredient ordering for the kitchen, look after the Team etc.

As all Prets I’ve worked in are under-staffed to maximize profit and managers’ bonuses (incl. area managers and upwards) many TMs are pushed to multi-task. If a shop is lucky, they have 3 TMs on the tills in the mornings if there are 6-7 tills. They have 1 Barista with the GM doing coffee as well, as this is easier than customer service at the tills! GMs don’t like to work on the tills! As there aren’t enough staff, they ring the bell for one or two of the kitchen staff to then come out and help serve the queues during the morning rush. This puts an immense strain on the kitchen staff, who then get behind on their production, where they are expected to do a certain amount of products per hour. If they fail to finish in time, including cleaning etc., again they will be motivated through fear management and are bullied (subtly or openly) to work overtime, unpaid.

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018

 

Unpaid2017

Link 2017 NY

 

Unpaid2

Link 2015

 

Unpaid2014b

Link 2014

 

Unpaid2011

Link 2011 NY

“It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company itself. …Very, very sad reality of Pret. -Company culture….”

 

Unpaid2014

Link 2014 “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

NOTE: The “for some reason” is more systemic than this and many other TMs realize. I had to chase my money CONSTANTLY.

 

25 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link

 

Pret had to settle two class action lawsuits in NY within 4 years on wage issues. In the UK people never do a Class Action, but it would be high time for Pret staff to go to court on wage issues!

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

MS Cough

MS: “Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.”

I coughed while serving the Mystery Shopper as I had a cold. But I chose not to stay home as we were not paid the first 2 days even when we have a sick note.

 

Pret Staff Tweets:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

Link

The £45 Mystery Shopper bonus she’s talking about is that she would have worked 45 hours that week. Each hour is £1 bonus, as Pret cuts the weekly bonus even when staff are sick for 1 day that week. And the rest £55 she means is the hours she lost for that 1 day. And Pret only responds to her Tweet because it’s public. In reality Pret does nothing and doesn’t care if staff are sick.

 

A recent Tweet to the CEO by a frustrated Team Member:

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

Link

 

A typical day in Pret –
underneath the slideshow

 

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A typical day in Pret

Main “Crunch” Times based on an average shop:
5AM
6AM
Between 8-10AM
Between 12 Noon-2PM
Afternoons until closing time.

I share these times from all the shops I worked at, with an average of 6 – 8 tills and a team of about 25 – 35 staff.

 

5AM start of shift. The first TMs come in and hopefully no-one called sick, as even ONE person missing puts incredible stress on the rest of the team because every team is tightly staffed.

Between 5-6AM there are around 6-8 TMs and later from 6 or 7AM onwards more people start coming in.

Kitchen TM starts preparation of slicing vegetables.

Shop TM, often the HFC but can also be the Barista, starts baking frozen croissants and baguettes. Every shop decides their own way who starts the shifts.

A Team Leader, can be KL or FL, should be starting first with Health & Safety checks, like taking the temperature of all cooling systems in case any fridge/freezer broke down over night warming the food which has to then be thrown away to avoid food poisoning. They also start checking the huge delivery of ingredients and products to make sure that nothing is missing, which then has to be re-claimed from the suppliers.

But reality in Pret is, because they like to staff very tightly, the first 3 – 6+ people from 5AM have 1 hour to get everything ready for 6AM opening time. It is extremely stressful to get everything done in time for opening, especially when the evening shift before left the shop in a bad state.

Many who are new make the mistake and start before 5AM UNPAID!! Because when they can’t finish in the unrealistically short time they’re given, the GM pushes them in pretense that they were not working well or fast enough. It’s psychology that happens in most Prets! But most of the Teams I’ve worked with are extremely hard working and work very fast, but are fooled and manipulated by managers who come in at 8 or 9 o’clock pressuring the Teams via the Team Leader or AM. And because the Team Leader wants to move up fast to escape this culture, they become bullies and only spare those that make friends with them.

Most shops have the HFC who starts all the baking and also preps the coffee machines, brings the milk out etc. Depending on how the evening Team left the shop, this often is a nightmare when the previous shift didn’t close properly, didn’t stock up etc.

At times this is due to lack of staff etc. But often it is simply due to laziness, where the evening Team Leader sits in the office all night, while the 2 people outside slave away without support! As a FL it was important to me to not do that, but to support my Team and we mostly finished in time leaving an immaculate shop for the morning Team. The next shift then had a clean and easier start. But many shops don’t care for the next shift, which in turn comes back to them when they take over from the morning team who retaliate to the evening Team… vicious circle and it adds to the stress that’s already there.

But I always changed that behaviour in every shop I worked in. This created a relaxed atmosphere where the teams started to work together instead of against each other, because they realized that this actually became much easier to work in support of each other instead of a cliquish environment.

 

6AM opening the doors

Again, if the Team had a good start and nothing went wrong, no delays etc. the shop can be open smoothly and customers can be served in a relaxed way.

 

Between 7:30-ish and 9-ish depending on the shop and which area they are in, the shop then becomes humongously busy with the coffee rush. But still there are only 2-3 TMs on the till if they are lucky and 1, maximum 2 Baristas. This forces the HFC to interrupt their hard, hot and sweaty work, to constantly having to jump in to “bust” the queues as the Teams have 1 minute to serve each customer which the MS probes them to the second!

A Mystery Shopper report excerpt (I added the blue writing and yellow marking):

07 15 seconds

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Where you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?”
MS: “I was served very quicly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.”

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time?”
MS: “I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.”

And yet, the MS gave 4 out 5 points on each question as if 15 seconds wasn’t good enough. The point system is important mainly for managers. The more points the more bonus. So, even when the Team gets the bonus, but the points are not as high, GMs still stress and pressure the Teams because the manager’s quarterly bonus depends also on the point score. Managers are rewarded their bonus based on all the different results: profit, waste, labour, cleanliness etc.

But the Mystery Shopper reports and bonus system counts towards the largest chunk of managers’ bonuses! One GM was happy with his Team to cheat on everything, but the Mystery Shopper results. As a Team Leader new in his shop, he took me aside and said to me, “I close my eyes to everything, but not to the Mystery Shopper.” In other words, if I as a Team Leader failed to engage my Team and this resulted in poor MS results I’d get in big trouble. But on other things, even Health & Safety issues, he would have closed his eyes. … I’m not going to elaborate what my response was, but I communicated that he shouldn’t close his eyes to anything. I said that also because I was penalized for the smallest things in a previous shop. So, I made sure I covered all my basis and not let a greedy GM sabotage my job.

The MS being the biggest contributor of Managers’ bonuses creates even more stress because the Team get the message, “It is NEVER good enough what you achieve”. And I have countless example of how managers stressed us even when we got the bonus and even when someone got the OC. It’s never good enough unless it’s 100% perfect EVERY time. And even then, one slip, one mistake and all hell breaks loose!

This is the reason why so many customers complain on Twitter with half empty cups of cappuccinos, or a milky Americano where they asked for a black one. Because staff are so robotic, fast and on autopilot.

Only one of countless Tweets with photos like this:

2019-02-11 Stingy coffee

This is St. Pancras, one of the most busiest shops in Pret!

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover into Pret (after having read my blog I’m proud to say!!) and writes about a conversation she had with a Barista during coffee rush. Quote (I added the bold):

“Undercover reporter Amy Sharpe worked inside the scandal-hit chain and discovered a potentially fatal blunder with labelling and staff who are hugely over-stretched. …

I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags.

I shout orders to a barista while dashing to a beeping toastie machine to retrieve a baguette.

I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.

All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.

One barista tells me the cramped service area is a “nightmare”.

He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad. You’ve got to focus, stay calm.”

When the bonus is lost, the boss will give the Team or the individual a good telling off. At times directly and loud, other times subtle manipulation threatening with the job security.

 

I survived this during bereavement! There was no mercy!

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link by @terry_mcparlane Twitter of a typical cramped Barista working area.

 

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

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

 

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

 

So, between 7 and 9AM or even later, the GM starts to come in. Depending on the GM, some come at 7AM, others at 9AM etc. Some sit in the office during intense stressful morning rush. Others help. But if they help, almost all GMs prefer to be at the coffee machines with their backs to the customers, as customer service is extremely stressful with the demand to SMILE CONSTANTLY … for the Mystery Shopper. This is the frustrating thing for the Teams, because the GM pressures staff to be perfect for bonus, while themselves “hiding” at the coffee machines!

When I was bereaved and wanted to get away from customer service as I could not afford to stay at home unpaid, having lost all my savings. I begged the GM at times when I couldn’t hold back the tears, to please let me work in the kitchen for a day because I was tearing up at times on the shop floor. But because I wasn’t used to the pace in the kitchen, the GM denied this. I stopped asking then. But at times I asked the GM or AM if I can please be at the coffee, as I was really fast at the coffee and wanted to get away from facing customers in tears. Again, it was denied because most GMs are selfish and always choose the easiest job, no matter how a TM or even I as a leader, was doing!

A rare observation and even rarer comment by a customer who noticed that the manager is always sitting in the office during busy times. Pret tasks the Mystery Shopper also to record if they see a manager on the shop floor and what the manager was doing. Pret leaves all this to the Mystery Shopper instead of having regular visits from the Operations Managers (OPs – area managers). OPs often themselves sit in the pub during busy lunch times, pretend to be busy and mostly communicate via email. I know this for a fact, I’ve seen it.

Customer observation:

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

 

Here I want to paint the picture and would ask the reader who is a regular customer in Pret to take a morning out of their work routine if they can, go to Pret, sit closest to the till area where they can observe BEHIND the counter all the TMs. Sit down and JUST WATCH for 30-60 minutes during the most busiest coffee rush. Just sit there, quiet and concentrate without any distraction or phone, reading… Just observe for a solid hour and then ask yourself HOW staff can smile, have eye contact and make polite conversation with EACH customer!

They can, but only because of the above mentioned cash incentive and fear management via the Mystery Shopper.

MS excerpts:

04 MS

Pret probing on the INDIVIDUAL Team Member:

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. The conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engage[d] and positive.”
(No concern if the TM was extremely busy and may have gone through person tragedy, depression etc.)

 

Pret probing on the WHOLE Team:

05 Attenditve to EACH customer

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole team in this shop during your visit.”
MS: “The team members were focused on their jobs but were not welcoming customers. This could be improved by the team members smiling at customers when they entered the shop, and making friendly remark or small talk, where possible.”

 

ANY and ALL the Team are under CONSTANT observation and fear of being watched and rated! All the time. Every moment.

 

Yes, Pret states “reasonable time” and depending how busy it was etc. And the above MS contradicts themself by saying “where possible”. But the Teams are so conditioned and robotic, they always rush and the GMs stress them even during the quiet periods. If they can’t finish a task, they have to often stay longer unpaid. If they DO finish the task, they are criticized for not kissing the Mystery Shopper’s butt sweet enough when they enter the shop! It is always a lose-lose situation and NEVER good enough!!

And here is the perversion of Pret’s Emotional Labour abuse, and I call this perversion and abuse!!

Because this is what it is, PERVERSE, ABUSIVE, BULLYING and EXPLOITING!

Put yourself in their shoes.

A low-paid TM (£8.65 per hour in London) serves between 100 – 200+ customers before lunchtime going through the hellishly hectic coffee rush!

While they slave away like this, they have to smile, make eye contact, some conversation and go the “extra mile” give freebies etc. AND remember all the coffee order, hear the Barista call out the coffees that get constantly mixed up. They have to answer questions, especially on allergens, be polite to rude customers ETC! ………. and be like acrobatic clowns so that Clive Schlee CEO alone can pocket £30 million after JAB purchased Pret.

And customers remain fooled to think staff are so happy in this hellish environment forced to be like clowns because they have kids to feed!

AM ure Misery

Assistant Manager 2017 NY

Highlighting from above review:

“The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. … Everything is over priced and you are forced to act like a happy jack-ass or your pay is cut. You don’t get paid your full hourly rate if you don’t impress the “mystery shopper”. This place is what hell must be like.
Advice to Management: Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

It’s not the first time that an American reviewer angrily wants Pret to go back to the UK.

 

01 Go back to UK

Corporate NYC Review

 

I could add countless reviews like this also from YouTube, Twitter, FB and other sites, but to shorten this, the smile behind Pret is forced via Mystery Shopper’s bonus / cash incentives and fear management.

Anyone who falls for this facade that staff are so happy to work in Pret can remain lulled in if they want to.

I have to also say that staff truly love to give freebies and help customers, they really do. I did, my teams did etc. BUT becoming conditioned to this and then being bullied when personal tragedy hits you like it did me and many others, will add to mental health problems, even depression.

I was leaked an email recently which the Director of HR wrote to all the shops that two  staff members died within a month. I was told by the people who leaked the email to me that one was a suicide. They don’t know the circumstances of the other TM.

But I know of an AMK who died by suicide in 2017 and I may have learned about her turmoil before she died.

I almost went over the edge with what I’ve been through in Pret. If I would have gone through, my death would be the third suicide in Pret. And my suicide would certainly be related to Pret A Manger’s bullying environment. I explain in full in below interview.

So, dear reader, if you have an hour to spare in the weekday morning, go to your local, or even better, another Pret where they don’t know you, sit close to the counter where you have a good view of all TMs. And just observe WITHOUT being distracted. But observe in a subtle way as TMs will assume you are the Mystery Shopper if you “stare” at them. But then again, you may get a free coffee or even breakfast if the Team thinks you are the MS! 😀

If you read though all this, thank you for reading and caring! Please know, I never take people’s time lightly. I know I write a lot, it’s my passion. But I always appreciate people’s time with difficult subjects and when their perception is crushed. I always say, if something looks too good to be true, especially in profit-driven multi-billion pound business, please take a closer look.

 

Smiling for Mystery Shopper cash incentives and to avoid getting fear managed:

 

The Clever Marketing of the Free Coffee give a way, and why Pret may not be doing a Loyalty Card Scheme: FREE Coffees in Pret A Manger.

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Two Staff Deaths?

 


 

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 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.

@Cliveschlee – Your Soldiers are tired

 

Soldiers

Link

 

Soldiers Military Cult

Link

 

Please don’t just go away to some new company, sneaking out of there.

Please don’t.

Own up to the mess you left behind, having demanded so much of your staff! Not to mention customer deaths and the lack of action until it became public. THIS is YOUR legacy, Clive Schlee!

man-320273__340

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

Glassdoor June 2019

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

@preth8ers group on Facebook

 

LINK > Two Staff have died recently within a month
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

 

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile and a Typical Day in Pret

Long List of Pret Staff Complaints

 


 

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 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.

Prestige is a Common Good

 

but PRet PR**ked it up!

 

PRet’s

PRactices in

PRocrastinating

PRoper labelling when

PResented with concerns to

PRotect people and

PReventing

PRemature deaths from

PRepared

PRoducts, taking

PRecedence by being

PReoccupied in

PRioritizing and

PReferring

PRosperity, while being

PRetentious, but not

PRoactive,

PRactical,

PRagmatic,

PRimarily

PRofessional,

PRincipled and with

PRide

PRoviding all ingredients by

PRinting labels to

PReserve and

PRolong life … is so out of

PRoportion!

 

The PRefabricated

PRemeditated and

PRedictable

PRopaganda,

PRoclaiming

PRomising and

PRofessing that “nothing is more important right now” after an Inquest

PRobing into a death, public

PRostests and

PRessure from the

PRess is typical for the

PR[et] machine with

PRofits over

PRivate lives

PRoving their negligence

 

PRoblem remains: no

PRocecution, no

PRison sentence, and no

PRoposed new leadership

 

Pret A Manger

PRovokes anger,

PRevails and regains

PRominence by hiring and

PRomoting yet another

PR firm

Headland, Tovera Consulting and former FSA Chief Tim Smith to fix the mess and repaint the facade, like colouring a rotten egg after having ignored multiple warnings.

 

PRecious lives paid the

PRice, financially

PReyed and

PRowled upon by greedy

PRicks!

 
If PR as much as HR is not for the sake of both, the company AND the employee and the  public; if a company cannot relate to families having lost loved ones, due to the company’s negligence, going full steam ahead with business as usual, then whatever.

 

PRaying for the families and everyone suffering under this greed.

©2018 exPRet.org

P.S. Mind intellectual PRoperty.

 


 

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 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.

Uh-oh! Busted! Pret A Manger Sabotage!

 

A Pret shop is taking the Freebie Carrot to new heigths!! 😀

An impressed customer went on Twitter today, gobsmacked that a shop gives free lunches to EVERY customer for OVER AN HOUR!!!

The Pret Twitter staff asks if the customer can point out which shop it was, as they surely would love the kind feedback! 😉

Little did the customer know that Pret doesn’t want to pass on the lovely feedback, but rather STOP the give-aways before they lose more money!

How lovely! 😀

 

2019-06-16 Sabotage Freebies for EVERY customer1

 

2019-06-16 Sabotage Freebies for EVERY customer2

 

2019-06-16 Sabotage Freebies for EVERY customer3

Link

The “Thanks for letting us know” is a clear sign Pret is glad to know to be able to stop this “generosity” FAST!!

This shop team seemed to have missed the memo of HOW MUCH they can give a way and what the weekly budget for freebies is! The shop manager will not be a happy camper tomorrow morning looking at the waste!! Their quarterly bonus just took a nose-dive! 😀

 

And here’s how to get FREE Coffees in Pret A Manger every time…sort of.

 

 


 

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 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.

Pret A Marketing 2 – “On the House”

 

What are the news on the homeless house?

One guy advertised for it with Nicki Fisher.

What’s with the house of the “Rising Stars”?!

I put it in brackets as I find this patronizing to label former homeless people like this, especially since the majority of Pret staff are like “Fallen Stars“.

I wrote on the Social Bite homeless village project in July 2018. It took Social Bite 2 years to build a village. It took Pret, a multi-million (by now billion) pound company 5 years to plan, buy and advertise a house for homeless people in London? Mind you, those former homeless people Pret takes, interestingly seemed to have been short-term homeless and mainly young people…all with little “baggage”, compared to those who were on the streets for years with addictions and loads of “life” behind them … not easy to bulls**t anymore.

And now Nicki Fisher who headed up the Pret Foundation Trust (PFT) goes to rural places in the hopes to help some burnt out people? Really?

I thought the Pret house is helping former homeless people back into work and accommodation? Ah, I see, it’s all in the wording.

From the below Tweet:
“Nicki will be embarking on a new adventure with her wife as they open their home in the East Sussex countryside as a rural retreat for those in need.”

Open to interpretation as to who’s in need and what the need is.

2019-05-30 Nikki Fischer rural

Now there’s a proper Pret smile!

Link & Link

The Pret homeless house in London just doesn’t seem to be doing it for Nicki. And it makes sense, because people who were homeless, traumatized, vulnerable etc. need rural and quiet places to recover. Daah!

Pret’s homeless house of the “Rising Stars” is just another smile on Pret’s face … facade!

And why is none of the “Rising Stars” on Twitter etc. telling how great it all is? Instead, they are only sharing, if at all, with Pret’s camera on them. But outside of Pret? What’s their take?

It takes rural places to recuperate from tragedy of homelessness, trauma, loss etc. And here are the brutal places of Pret A Manger and their “Fallen Stars”:

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies

 

Sheriff

Sheriff Bajo, former Pret Assistant Manager and father of a young child was unfairly dismissed and ended up sleeping in his car, losing everything.

 

In the PRet CEO blog about the “Rising Stars” former homeless employment program, Clive Schlee shares how the idea came up for these “Rising Stars” to solely work together in a Pret shop. From the manager to the kitchen sandwich makers, having all former homeless people work in one shop.

Why?

CEO Quote (I added the colour to highlight something where he’s indirectly giving himself away):

“Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

 

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

And on the 450 “Rising Stars” since the 10 years of the Pret Foundation Trust, working with former homeless people, some people finally probe deeper also on Facebook and are just not buying it:

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff

 

Here’s why Georgia:

“Careful to integrate”?

Might be leaving them “too exposed”?

Too exposed for what?

The same CEO who takes former homeless people to his Austrian PRoperty for a hike in the beautiful countryside, is the same CEO who has a highly stressful workplace with bullying managers who are drilled for targets and profit repaying the investors since private equity took over.

Also, is it coincidence that the PFT was founded in 2008 just when Bridgepoint Capital purchased Pret and started squeezing the lifeblood out of employees? With Pret A Manger I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. My own story where Pret used a development manager who supposedly also had a brother who died alone in his flat and wasn’t found until days later. Yet, after Pret bullied me and I became ill, she was introduced to me, but not for mutual support as we (if she!) had the same loss, but she was used to gaslight me. Full story in my interview at the bottom of this page.

 

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2018-07-06 Head Office PR

19. Dec. 2017

 

2019-02-11 Critical Tweet re Homeless house

 

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

 

Who will investigate staff deaths, in particular suicides?

 


 

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 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.

Pret A Marley Shot the Sheriff & Plenty of Deputies

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies

 

Sheriff

Sheriff Bajo, former Pret Assistant Manager and father of a young child was unfairly dismissed and ended up sleeping in his car.

 

The light, humorous tone of this blog entry is to continue a serious issue in Pret A Manger including recent staff deaths.

 

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

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

@preth8ers on Facebook

 


 

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 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.