what IF god was one of us?

 

what IF god was one of us?
what if he was so far away
that we had to make him up
to be close
yet closed up

up
up high

we call him a he
and not an it or she

why?

because we are used to a patriarchal system?
that gets away with
murder
rape
greed
cover-ups
political correctness…
whatever an “up” system
gets away with?

so white
and right
the snow flakes
don’t know where to fall?

when my brother died
most of my christian friends
were at a loss
they went gone
far far away

when I was bullied in Pret
some of my christian friends
victim-blamed me

yeah
you say
don’t rely on
nor trust in people
only trust in Jesus
he’s your friend
or judge
he smites you
or comforts you
only trust in God
(with a capital letter of course)

this god is very bipolar to me
you go to heaven
or you go to hell
nothing inbetween

ok
I’m in!

I had baths
with candle light
for mindfulness
and I wrote on my walls
to avoid writing emails

I went from charity
to charity
to church
to ministry
to government mental
health support
to work
to home
to the streets

and secular organizations just want your money
and spiritual places want your membership
and your money
and where’s my family
and where are my friends?
my family is almost gone
and my friends left long time ago

and what IF god was one of us?
and I don’t really care
god certainly isn’t me
but I’m here

— poetrasblok.com

 

 


 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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.

Why I Declined To Be One of “Them”

 

After all the things I’ve been through in Pret, and this past year writing about it, with the distance and having written it off my chest, I see in hindsight the effort to “make” me one of “them” after all the classic bullying tactics didn’t work. Initially they were nervous because they bullied me while I was going through the horror when I lost my brother! The effort was made to get rid of me early on, but when I kept raising the issue the effort became more subtle.

Pret had NOTHING on me in regards to my work, even though they tried with the usual primitive bullying tactics, which is a book in itself. I brought success to shop after shop raising the numbers and profit, restructuring teams to work more efficient, but with more ease than the strife I often found.

Pret succeeded for a while with the gaslighting via the Development Manager, who supposedly had a brother who died alone in his apartment like my brother did. For any new reader, my full story with Pret is at the bottom of this page in an interview in the audio player. But people from HQ got involved in my “case” incl. the now retiring CEO Clive Schlee and higher level of HR people dealing with grievances, so much so that the Head of HR said I “exhausted the HR department”. Well, that happens when HR hearings a “fundamentally flawed” as a Tribunal Judge called it. In my trauma I stumbled from grievance hearing to grievance hearing not realizing much they had a laugh.

I was a Team Leader of the shop floor, or also called Floor Leader (FL) running the shop, as there is a Kitchen Leader (KL) who’s responsible for running the kitchen. Of course there are Assistant Managers on the shop floor (AMF) and an Assistant Managers in the kitchen (AMK), but they often do what the General Managers (GMs) do, they hide in the office looking busy while the Team Leaders are actually doing the hard work, running the business.

Team Leaders are stuck in between the roles. They are not like Team Members who come in, do some work and go home. No, they have a lot of responsibility doing the ordering, waste management, making sure the Mystery Shopper results are perfect for the bonuses, they look after the Team, health and safety etc. They work harder than the managers who often hide away from the hard work under the pretense of office work all day. Team Leaders are overworked, underpaid and mainly blamed when things go wrong, while having hardly any training or backup. Many only survive when making friends with managers to not get penalized too much and rise the ranks quicker.

Sure they are paid a little more then the Team including Baristas and Hot Chefs, but the work they do, if they are good that is and not imitating managers sitting in the office loading it onto the Team, the work is horrendous and the pay is an offense for what they have to put in! The brainwash in Pret is that Pret pays more, but Team Leaders and the Team in general work double for it!

People get so exhausted, they have no strength nor sense to realize what’s happening to them. Drive workers to exhaustion so they can’t figure out 1. what’s happening to them and 2. how to stand up against it.

GMs and AMs reap the rewards of huge quarterly bonuses when the shop succeeds, they get allowances for business clothes and all the perks they receive and parties they go to. Team Leaders receive nothing extra UNLESS they work with a good manager, who rewards them when the shop succeeds in the top scores. But that is very rare and in my 10 years I have never received even as much as a thank you for what I have put in!

I always wondered why Team Leaders are put through such a grind, stuck in the hard work without rewards. I only have my speculation about this. I believe that the psychology behind this is that Pret wants to have a certain type of person at their top, people who literally live for the company. Many GMs on Glassdoor and Indeed complain that there is no work-life balance and that they put in so many extra unpaid hours to cover for the immense work load. Those are the Managers who work hard. Other managers just put their heads in the sand and load it over to the Team Leaders and Teams under the pretense of having to go to meetings!

And if a Team Leader would be rewarded, they may get comfortable in this role as they have just some responsibility compared to AMs and GMs, so the buck doesn’t stop with them. They are still blamed and gaslighted that when things go wrong the Managers try to convince the Team Leader that it’s their fault, so Team Leader pay the price.

When Team Leaders grow through the ranks to become Managers, they show that they are happy with whatever happens beyond that level. They have to compromise, cut corners and now have the opportunity to load it over to the Team Leaders who are willing to do the dirty work to escape the Team Leader existence and become a Manager.

Managers keep their hands clean, putting the dirty work unto Team Leaders … sounds like an old scheme the Mafia had figured out long ago.

And yet even AMs and GMs, if they are not like the next level of management, the Operations Managers (OPs = Area Managers) they bite the dust as well. The OPs level is when the real money and benefits flow. Once you are on OPs level, you are more safe than on shop level.

I often heard in this politically correct world that we shouldn’t speak in terms of “us” and “them”. No, I disagree now. I speak on those terms. Because “us” are low-wage workers, who when we lose our job are in danger to lose our apartments, our families, the floor underneath us.

Sheriff

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

And “them”, when “they” lose their job, they will find another one quickly and retrieve to one of their million dollar mansions in any of their chosen countries wherever their mansions are.

I stumbled across a lady on social media recently whose comment I found and put on my blog. She left a comment on a blog in 2011 after her husband, a GM, was fired as he tried to stand up against a bullying OPs manager. The lady told me the full story which I won’t repeat here, but it put the point across that on a shop level, even as a Manager, if you don’t play the game well and make those friends, not joining “them” up there, you have no chance.

Her two comments on a blogspot site where her husdband just started in Pret having run into problems with his boss, and then 4 months later he was fired:

GM fired

Link (clicking “ok” to get rid of the grey cookie note)

Review sites are full of complaints of discrimination and favouritism, especially in U.S. Prets.

Her last sentence I used to shun back a little for its bluntness, but after what Pret has put me through, I do understand those words in the light of how calloused they act:
“The management of this company are pure evil.”

We always say when a politician messes up with extra marital affairs and drug taking etc. that we need to separate the professional with the private person. But how can we do that? I now think that when a CEO of a company can do and allow to be done to me what Pret did to me under his leadership, that they did that in a professional setting, work related etc. And yet, so many personal issues were involved.

And if a person is willing to hurt people on a professional level and being a bad professional, they are indeed a bad person, regardless if they are good fathers and friends. If as a professional you go out of YOUR way to hurt people, you ARE a bad person! Period!

Clive Schlee is going into early “retirement” now. Well, let’s guess what his leaving really is about after two customers died and him not acting on it until it became public. And all the staff complaints on websites that I have posted and confront Pret on Twitter. Pano Christou is replaced as the new CEO already on Glassdoor even while the announcement was that Schlee retires in September. This is probably to avoid more embarrassment for the Glassdoor scoring that Schlee leaves the company with.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

On 14. July Schlee was still on Glassdoor. On the 15th Chrsitou replaced him.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

After my blog entry on Schlee’s exit they are working hard now to get those percentages up again!

Why did I decline to be one of “them”, apart from being “of the many not the few”? People say a lot of things about me, some say I’m a lunatic, insane, traumatized, crazy, blunt … but no one will say that I am greedy, loading it over to lower positions, or evil.

I bit into the bait of the Development Manager from HQ supposedly having had a brother who died like mine and wasn’t discovered for days in his apartment. But I never did and never will bite into the bait of being one of the few at the top, because that bait is tasteless to me.

 

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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.

 

 

#MentalHealth #FirstWorldProblem & other issues

 

I’ve had one of my “flip-outs” again after a long time of improvement. I’ve hurt some people on Twitter and don’t expect my apology to be taken serious. It’s a circle of trauma, anxiety, anger, and when mixed with alcohol it’s explosive in words.

I really am sorry, but I understand for it to not be taken serious!

I fought on my own, it seems, for so long now since my brother died. And yes, I’ve had support in whatever capacity people can help. And I had plenty a back stabbing. My odyssey through the UK NHS mental health system will be a book in itself. I have been sent away two times from hospital while seeking help, and only people with mental health issues in the UK will understand the challenge to find help. I’m not “fighting” for my own sanity anymore, and maybe shouldn’t fight for others so much. I am waiting for someone to take the “baton” and not rely on my public writing so much. There are groups out there that could do something, but their priorities are in other places.

When you present information like on a silver platter, people seem to rely on you or they fight their own battles. I have to be honest without sounding too gloomy, I have no confidence that there will ever be any investigation into staff deaths in Pret A Manger. Low-wage workers are not worth the effort in this society. And they themselves are too conditioned in fear management to stand up for themselves. They have kids to feed and often left their home country to find a better life. But they find themselves being exploited by millionaires, who smile to the front and ruin lives behind the scenes. And those who do stand up, do so loudly, fight for a while, and then retrieve.

And then there are the silent readers in the background who will take the credit one day, collecting material for their own gain. It’s a selfish society. Prove me wrong if I’m too pessimistic.

People complain to Pret on Twitter about their coffee not having enough milk, or plastic forks stored behind the counter having to ask for it. Then they complain why the plastic cutlery and straws are within reach of customers in this environmental crisis. Others can’t handle that a popular cookie is off sale … and a lot of these complaints have one thing in common, they call this #FirstWorldProblems.

But most people don’t care to know that one #FirstWorldProblem among other issues is exploitation of low-wage employees. And at the same time, customers who spend over £1500+ a year on coffee and snacks, are lulled in to believe this company is an ethical and caring employer. Humans have always been easily bribed with cheap products, as long as it’s occasionally free. Free things make people feel special, not realizing how easily they fall for the cheap marketing and aim too low. And then the company raise prices as someone needs to pay for all the freebies.

Customers are equally exploited. They are treated nice, especially on social media, for their continued custom. Yet, when even customers die due to the neglect and plain complacency of the company, even they don’t get justice.

Years ago a clever feisty man invoiced Pret A Manger and EAT (which is now purchased by JAB via Pret) for time spent waiting in shops. He posted the invoices and email correspondence on his website. He successfully charged Pret, EAT and other companies almost triple of what a sandwich maker earns per hour. He received compensation in cash and vouchers for waiting in shops: “He charged them £25.50 an hour.” And it seems that Pret, EAT & Co. went along for the ride. These millionaires must have had a laugh, throwing around with pennies that low-wage workers slaved for.

2009 Man Invoices Pret

From Telegraph.co.uk article 2009

I’m sure this stint won’t succeed now, but it would be worth a try. If all the customers, that post #FirstWorldProblems of missing cookies and cold coffees, would actually send invoices to Pret & Co. combined as a group, it may be interesting to see how Pret would deal with it now in 2019.

And it’s futile to think that customers, staff, Unions and the press would combined demand answers on why customer deaths where not acted on until it became public, and why staff deaths, especially suicides, are not investigated.

What IS a first world problem? Anything that is supposed to be of less suffering than people dying in other crisis-ridden places?

People die here, too.

Customers from unlabelled products.

Staff by suicide.

Systemic workplace bullying under a toxic HR department and CEO in their profit-driven “leadership” style.

Excruciating work conditions for prolonged times in 40°C heat!

As long as we keep distinguishing between worlds we won’t care for our immediate neighbour!

We will only stand up if we ourselves or our loved ones are affected, and at times if we FEEL first hand what others go through. Other than that we keep separating worlds and peoples, and occasionally give some spare change into far away places, while closing our eyes to the issues right in front of us. Only hindsight will teach us again, often when it’s too late.

 


 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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 Manger Overheated Shops / Work Condition – July 2019

 

Before I get into the detail of the ongoing issues of broken and inadequate Air Conditioning in Pret A Manger shops for YEARS and Pret not caring about it, I want to paint a picture from the perspective of staff.

I briefly explain below that staff have cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. They can earn up to an extra £100 individually ON TOP of their wages AND team bonus, if the Mystery Shopper is extra impressed with the individual Team Member’s service. If any staff member loses the bonus for the whole team because their service isn’t with a smile or whatever else the Mystery Shopper (I call them Misery Shopper) isn’t happy with, that Team Member and the Team get fear managed, because the MS bonus scheme counts towards the biggest chunk of Manager’s and upper Management bonuses.

One of many Mystery Shopper report excerpts:
Staff have to serve customers within 1 min of a person joining the queue and serve the coffee/drink within 1 minute of the customer having made the payment. Staff have to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. THAT is why they are still on this robotic autopilot even in 40ºC+ heat. I know, I’ve work in these conditions, brain-washed, fear managed, even during bereavement!

Mystery Shopper excerpt: (Click Ctrl and + to enlarge)

04 MS

 

What customers experience as heat and 35-40ºC, for staff behind the counter it’s 45-50ºC!

Dear customer, imagine yourself BEHIND the counter for an 8-10 hour shift every day! Look at this picture from brummie_photography on Instagram from a Birmingham shop. This shop at least is very airy, looks like a station or airports are like this. But most Prets have low ceiling, cramped areas, no air-flow. If the air conditioning then is broken or inadequate, it’s literally HELL in there!

I count about 11-12 Team Members (TMs) behind the counter (and worked like this myself). Now, imagine a low ceiling on the team like it is in most shops, and box them in:

Pret Sardines

brummie_photography on Instagram

 

Behind that counter of about 10 Sq Meters space there are:

  • In the shop the fridges (called Langars in Pret) blow out hot air from the back
  • Behind the counter and behind Team Members 2 – 3 coffee machines with heat and hot water/coffee
  • To the left or right or behind TMs 1 – 2 hot toastie machines
  • In most shops 1 – 2 hot ovens that are at the counter area (not like here in an extra room)
  • In front of TMs are the black hot croissant plates under the glass counter (I often switched it off in the summer!)
  • From above beaming bright lights on the low ceiling burning on their heads. Years ago staff members even had to wear caps no matter how hot. In Pret USA shops they still wear caps!
  • Large windows without any marquee for sun protection
  • Open doors so that shops don’t look closed from the outside when people walk by. This has been changed recently after environmentalists increasingly raised the issues regarding waste of energy. Unfortunately the same environmentalists don’t seem to bother about the staff burning in the heat! So, now for the most part Pret keeps the doors closed.
  • And from ALL AROUND hot body heat from colleagues who stand next to each other like sardines in a can! I felt my colleagues’ body heat left and right! Bad breath, sweaty smelly air, not allowed to drink water behind the counter or shop floor during work or use mints/peppermint gum!
  • And in many shops TMs are NOT allowed to drink water behind the counter for *irony on* “health and safety reasons” *irony off*. And are not allowed to go to the staff room to drink during the coffee and lunch time rush! I always broke that rule and went against manager’s instructions and let my team drink WATER!!

What for customers is excruciating in a few minutes, these low-paid workers endure ALL DAY every day. One TM in 2011 when I worked in one terrible shop like this, got pneumonia as she was going in and out of the walk-in fridge switching temperature between under 5 degree Celsius in the fridge and 35 – 40 degrees in the shop and kitchen.

Not to mention that the shop fridges (called Langars) are often dripping with water in the heat and are warm with food and drinks stored in them. I had to throw out many times £100s worth of food and drink after having taken temperatures of food and juices, much to the dismay of my bosses! But I didn’t care about the money. As a Team Leader, Health & Safety was not only part of my job description, it was my top priority! I didn’t even eat my free meal allowances in Pret during my breaks when the food was warm! Why would I subject paying customers to that, getting them food poisoning!!

My complaining and raising the issue never got me far in a Pret career, and neither did I care!

With most shops having low ceiling, loud music, rude customers, the 1 minute Mystery Shopper rule, a stressed and often bullying manager or team leader… Welcome to the REALITY of Pret A Manger!

Annihilate Humanity 41

>>> Anonymous Staff review on Indeed

 

Apart from the hellish work conditions for staff, this also affects the food. A customer complained regarding food poisoning from a New York Pret and noticed that the shop was warm:

 

2019-06-25 AC warm wrap

June 2019 NY

 


 

Customer Complaints on Twitter

(those who bother complaining, the problem is much bigger)

 

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St1

Link 25. July 2018

 

I link to a blog entry at the bottom on WHY staff smile ALL THE TIME come rain come shine!

I worked twice in shops with 40 degrees heat for weeks and months raising the issue. I was told if I speak to HQ my career is over. The manager who told me this and didn’t know how to make this issue urgent left Pret soon after. But we begged customers to speak to Pret on our behalf.

Below is a list of only a few customer Tweets, not everyone comments publicly. But this problem with inadequate little air cons in every Pret shop persists. Staff are surrounded by hot machines, body heat, beaming lights from above, ovens, toastie machines, hot plates where the croissants are on, large windows where the sun beams in … And the staff are still expected to do Emotional Labour, smile and pretend to be cheery so they don’t lose the Mystery Shopper bonus when they visit once a week.

I was often very disheartened that the weekly Mystery Shopper didn’t even mention the heat.

I worked at Pret for 10 years and this is an endless problem Pret knows about, but doesn’t fix unless customers go online, or staff persist. Staff became sick, one even with pneumonia because of the morning delivery check going inside the walk-in fridge back and forth between 30 degrees heat and then 3-5 degrees cold. That’s when I drew the line and asked for a transferal, not realizing many shops have this issue.

My traumatic story with Pret in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

I will say it loud and clear again to any new reader who does not know my and other staff story and blog: Pret A Manger does NOT care for their low-paid workers! They do NOT care!!!

Please take the time and really listen and look! Pret has been very successful with presenting an image of an “ethical” company! But having ignored customer warnings on allergen labels EVEN after two customers died, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public is lulled in again and want to believe the Pret fairy tale.

And Pret responds often with “oh dear” … “oh gosh” … “oh no” … “we are concerned to hear this” … bullshit, fooling the public as if this was a one-off. I really appreciate the anger and concern customers show for staff who suffer in this hell, while the millionaire senior leaders and Twitter staff sit in air-conditioned Head Office! Thank you for speaking up on behalf of low-paid workers!

3 of the most recent customer Tweets from days ago on the air conditioning problems in Pret. I didn’t go further beyond 2016, and even found one from 2013 … But this is forever going on!

2019-06-30 AC

1st Tweet — & — 2nd Tweet where Clive Schlee took a day to even respond, while on the day of the complaint he responded to another Tweet of someone wishing him farewell for his retirement (before the press got wind of it when I tweeted the press)! But the CEO was not concerned about the AC issue, even after 2 customer tweets!

Second customer Tweet 03. July, and Pret has NOT responded yet (06. July)!

2019-07-03 AC

Link

Third customer 05. July, and again NO response from Pret at the time of me writing this blog entry:

2019-07-05 AC

05. July 2019

 

UPDATE 25. July 2019

2019-07-25 No AC Bicester

Bicester still having issues as expected and Pret keeps sweet-talking
1st Tweet — and  — 2nd Tweet

 

Dan Brown raised this issue 3 weeks ago. 05th July Tweet (also screenshot above).

 

Also 25. July 2015, Great Eastern Street:

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

Link to Tweet and Pret sweet-talking again

 

23. July 2019 London Bridge again

2019-07-23 No AC

1st Tweet2nd Tweet3rd Tweet

 

 

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

 

 

2019-06-19 AC Bath Southgate

19. June 2019 Bath

 

2019-07-17 AC air con USA

UPDATE: 17. July 2018 NY, USA

 

2018-06-19 AC 240 Hi Holb

19. June 2018

 

2018-07-07 AC Hammersmith2

07. July 2018 Hammersmith

 

2018-07-23 AC Luton

23. July 2018 Luton – No answer from Pret

 

2018-07-23 AC Queen St

Also 23. July 2018 Queen St.

 

2018-07-24 AC Strand

24. July 2018 Strand

 

This Tweet is from the first Tweet above from the 25. July 2018. Two more from the 25th underneath:

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St2

 

2018-07-25 AC Queen St

25. July 2018 Queen St again

 

2018-07-25 AC Whitehall

25. July 2018 Whitehall. Pret here lets Teams have extra break instead of putting on the BRAKES to stop the work in these hellish conditions!

 

2018-07-26 AC Euston

26. July 2018 Euston. Pret slimey and patronizing response they always do when someone with an official Twitter account tweets: “Oh they’re all stars aren’t they?”

 

2018-07-26 AC More London

26. July 2018 again More London

 

2018-07-27 AC Milton Keynes

27. July 2018 Milton Keynes

 

This customer’s concern is brilliant.
I want to post the whole feed as she does not let go!
Well done and thank you @kerriewils!

 

2018-08-07 AC01 Victoria St 95

07. Aug. 2018 Pret’s “oh no” BS …

 

2018-08-07 AC02 Victoria St 95

 

DON’T be disappointed, this is NORMAL in Pret!!!

 

2018-08-07 AC03 to 07 Victoria St 95

 

2018-08-07 AC08 Victoria St 95

Thank You!!!

 

2019-08-10 AC South Ken

10. Aug. 2018 South Ken. This is August, and the Pret Twitter staff is taking the mick!

 

2017-12-10 AC Kings Cross

10. Dec. 2017 Someone registered a Twitter account especially to raise this issue. Cold in winter, hot in summer.

 

2017-08-06 AC Tower Hill

06. Aug. 2017 Tower Hill

 

2017-06-01 AC Westfield

01. June 2017 Westfield – Since AGES

I love this follow-up Tweet, and yet it’s very sad that Pret only listens to customers and let staff boil in hell! I can say again to any reader, please believe me when I say that Pret does NOT care for staff except when it is for PR or when they get caught!

2017-06-01 AC Westfield2

 

2016-09-13 AC Adwych Strand

13. Sep. 2016 Adwych / 182 Strand. This is one of the two shops I worked in where the AC was broken for MONTHS. That was in 2011!!!

 

2013 AC slower work

2013 And the staff still working FAST as Pret demand the 1 minute time of service via the Mystery Shopper!

… and so on …

These days Pret keeps the doors closed, but ONLY because of the Extinction Rebellion revolution. Pret only goes with pressure from the masses and what is “trend”. If staff suffer in the heat, doesn’t matter to them. The reason why Pret usually like the doors open, winter and summer is so that the shops don’t look closed from the outside, meaning customers walk by oblivious that it’s open. And it’s true, I walked by shops that seemed to be closed, because the door was closed and it looked darker inside. So, to avoid losing money, Pret likes to keep the door open, except lately since the waste of energy and environmental activists being on Pret’s case. But concerned for staff? Don’t believe a bit of it!

So, thank you to all customers and maybe next time, start a mass petition for Pret to act FAST!! Because this is an ongoing issue and Pret has the public fooled and staff feel stuck, because they are not paid sick days the first two days!

Employees remain professional because they have to in case the Mystery Shopper comes and all the Team loses the bonus. I write about this in “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” and “The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and why staff really keep smiling even during the most excruciating heat and work conditions.

Staff speak out, even if only anonymous on review websites (below).

Target1

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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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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.

A Gag Order on Grief

 

I listened to a podcast on grief and how in this society death, dying and grief are taboo and people suffer in silence. In my own term I find that grief is silenced to death! It’s a blunt yet gentle podcast called Grief Out Loud.

In this particular episode “Inviting Grief Out Of The Whisper Corner – Megan Devine” the interviewee mentions that there’s such a “gag order on grief” in this culture, which I found a perfect description on how this society deals with grief and grieving people.

Full eposiode:

 

Another “loud” group, The Good Grief Project, was started by grieving couple Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds, who lost their 22 year old son Josh in a road accident on his trip in Vietnam. They interviewed other grieving parents and in making documentaries toured UK cinemas last year. In a London cinema they had a Q&A they do at the end of the screening, and Jimmy Edmonds said something striking after an audience member mentioned their struggle with loneliness in their grieving process. Jimmy said that in Victorian times it was common and completely normal to talk about death, dying and grief, but it was taboo to talk about sex, and how today it is the complete opposite.

I personally am tired of being swamped with sex images, sex talk, sex this, sex that… and THE inevitable that WILL come to ALL of us, Death, dying and grief is avoided like the pest! And when a loss finally hits us, we hang on a string fighting for life itself as we can’t cope with the onslaught of grief and shock! We were never taught about death and grief being PART of LIFE! We avoided it, we silence it to death, we treat it as if it is an evil to be shunned!

My own grief was very loud from the get go because of how my brother’s death was communicated, was unclear and was handled! Within weeks and after his funeral, flying back and forth, running errands, taking care of family, but still forced to work, I very quickly went to my doctor. I ask for help early on with referral to counseling, as I knew immediately this was too much to handle on my own or just with friends. It was too big for friends as well of course who soon withdrew. I had to hold it up for my family, remained strong until I broke. And we all went lost, each in our journey. And as I acquainted myself to loss and shock after shock, I buried my dad 3 years after my brother.

What I went through at work in Pret A Manger, I write about extensively on this blog and don’t want to go into, except to say for any new reader that I was bullied during bereavement, which I speak about in detail in the audio player at the bottom of this page and all over my website. But I don’t want to get into this too much in this blog entry here, and want to concentrate on the “gag order on grief” that Megan Devine so poignantly describes.

With everything that unfolded with my brother’s death and the added nightmare at work, my grief was 95% pure anger! I went into a mix of autopilot, functioning like a machine I was conditioned in for so long, the anger turned inward as I felt a huge burden of guilt to have let my brother down. And yet I was crying out for help in all the places from mental health institutions, friends, work, online bereavement groups … everywhere I went I mostly met a brick wall of silence or helplessness, and being passed on to another organization. The online bereavement groups frustrated me because all of them were widows who, many of them lost their partners 10, 20 years ago. But here I was having learned about my brother’s death weeks before and had to listen to widow’s experiences. With all the added stress at work, I went on an emailing-spree like a mad-man goes on a shooting-spree. No-one’s fault.

All the complications that grief and loss brings I went into head first, full force! I was like a headless chicken running around trying to make sense of what happened and all the added turmoil at work. A Twilight Zone opened up, like I was dropped in a land full of aliens and stumbled through a mental war zone, trying to figure out who my ally was. “Enemies” popped up at work. And in a fog I tried to navigate through a mine field where my presence became an inconvenience for my superiors. There was no friendly fire, no accidental shot, there was real ambush and the fight for survival in a toxic work environment.

Workplace bullying is already a hostile attack on ones dignity, but going through this during grief, I can only say that in the beginning ignorance was bliss! As I was in shock and turmoil, and even though I felt early on I was targeted, I kept going while mixing it up, blaming my turmoil on my grief.

My friends became overwhelmed and I don’t blame them. I worked in Pret surrounded by food with daily free food allowance, but lost 25kg in the first 6 months of bereavement. I was overweight but lost 35 – 40kg within a year, as I couldn’t eat and only forced myself half a baguette or one banana a day. I stood on my feet for 6 – 10 hours a day and went for walks hours after work. I couldn’t stop walking, like I was looking for my brother or trying to escape the mine field. I don’t know how I survived, but I felt “intoxicated” with adrenaline to get to the bottom of what happened and punished myself with questions of why I let my brother down!

Friends were at a loss, and all I always tried to say to people: You can’t and shan’t fix things! But please also don’t be scarce! You don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, so let’s do the unknown together… But neither of us could.

It’s just in other words how Megan Devine in above episode says:

»I feel like I’m more able to have no answers for things than I used to be. I like to believe that I’ve always been pretty good at holding space for whatever is going on for somebody, both as a friend and [professionally]. What’s different in my own grief [and others’] is, I’m okay to have no response at all other than my presence.«

In their own helplessness some blamed me, and I had to come up with my own empathy for my friends and understanding for a multi-million pound company! One thought always came to mind early on, when I tried to function as if nothing happened, I always thought in my utter loss and shock, “If in grief, comfort your friends”. But I still don’t know how to do that.

Death will come to all of us. Grief already has. And everyone grieves differently and in different times, length and depth, but whatever everyone’s coping mechanism or culture may be, grief cannot be silenced and my survival is to be loud.

 

»Unquiet Grief«

The wind does blow
today my bro

A few small drops
of rain

I’ll never have
such a brother again

In a cold grave
his ashes remain

I’d do as much
for my true blood
as any sibling may

I’ll sit and mourn
all at his thought
Forever and a day

The months and all these days
‘been rough
the dead began
to speak

Oh, who sits weeping
at the thought of me
and will not
let me sleep

It’s me my brother
who weeps at your fate
and will not let you sleep

I crave one hint
of what occurred to you
and that is all I seek

You crave one hint
of what occurred to me
the truth may be
hefty strong

If you’ve one hint from my
cold grave, sis
your time may not
be long

I ponder and wander to the
past so green
and go where we used to play

The finest mem’ry
that has ever been
is broken down to clay

My live has turned to dust
my kin
so will our hearts decay

So make yourself
content, little sis
till God calls you away

— poetrasblok.com

 

In memory of my big brother Thomas

Text: “Unquiet Grave” originated in the 1400s
Adapted “Unquiet Grief”: poetrasblok.com
Music: Kris Drever / LAU

 


 

Interview:

©2019 poetrasblok.com

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.

Once Upon A Long Time Ago

 

Further in the Past

(from: Noch früher mal – Felix Meyer)

The gate opens, it shines, it sparkles and
A man dressed in white appears – they say he’s innocent
A corpulent blonde angel stretches out its hand in peace
And some noise abounds, but in their own sphere

Yes, it betrays itself into its deepest dreams
And can’t accept its own outward love
It despairs again in its own grief
And can’t believe to ever succeed

In the land where sunflowers shine
And old weeping willows weep
Stories are told of forget-me-nots
If they really existed long time ago

And if his fate was known by someone
But all this may never come to light
Never come to light

She says her life is like a box of chocolates:
Not unwrapped yet, but already devoured
They claim that the box is still filled
But once it’s your turn, it’s already empty

Whenever it fits, she likes to compare eyeballs to light-bulbs
Olympia is a friend she always wanted to have
To tell her what her father and TV always say,
That all that counts is love

When sunflowers shine
And weeping willows quietly weep
Then it’s summer and we forget easily
That someone’s standing next to us
Who realizes that nothing’s working anymore
And nothing comes to light at the end of the day

If someone really lived here long time ago
And if his fate found empathy
We can only speculate, but no-one knows for sure
No-one knows

– Translation of “Noch früher mal” from Felix Meyer by poetrasblok.com

 

Noch früher mal

Das Tor geht auf, es glänzt, es blinkt und es erscheinen
Ein Herr in Weiß – es heißt, dass er unschuldig sei
Ein dicker blonder Engel, der freundlich die Hand reicht
Und ein paar Fanfaren, doch die sind fast schon einerlei

Ja sie belügt sich gern bis tief in ihre Träume
Und kann dann selber nicht mal glauben, wenn sie liebt
Verzweifelt regelmäßig an ihrer Verzweiflung
Und kann’s nicht fassen, wenn’s was zu gewinnen gibt

In dem Land, wo Sonnenblumen scheinen
Und alte Trauerweiden weinen
Erzählt man die Geschichte vom Vergissmeinnicht
Ob es wirklich früher mal gelebt hat
Und ob sein Leid jemandem Leid tat
Das alles kommt wohl heut bestimmt nicht mehr ans Licht
Nicht mehr ans Licht

Sie sagt, ihr Leben sei genau wie die Pralinen:
Kaum offen, machen sich die Alten drüber her
Behaupten schmatzend, dass das immer noch halb voll sei
Doch wenn man endlich dran kommt, ist die Schachtel leer

Wenn’s passt, vergleicht sie gern Augäpfel mit Glühbirnen
Dann ist Olympia die Freundin, die ihr fehlt
Um ihr zu sagen, dass es Quatsch ist, wenn ihr Vater
Und auch das Fernsehen sagt, dass nur die Liebe zählt

Wenn bei uns Sonnenblumen scheinen
Und Trauerweiden leise weinen
Dann ist es Sommer und dabei vergisst man schlicht
Dass neben einem oft mal jemand steht
Der merkt, dass so nichts weitergeht
Und trotzdem kommt am Ende nichts ans Licht

Ob hier wirklich noch früher mal wer gelebt hat
Und ob sein Leid jemandem Leid tat
Kann man sich denken, aber wissen tut man’s nicht
Wissen tut man es nicht

– Felix Meyer

 

Pret A Manger’s NEW “Bang Bang Rip-Off Wrap”

 

A very light airy wrap with lots of room for imagination…

Get the popcorn out, put the kettle on… this will take a while!

Arrow

(Recent updates not included here, but are added underneath the slideshow)

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For a full visual list: Pret A Manger Misleading Packaging and the Class Action vs Pret for Deceptive Packaging settled in New York February 2019, and a Tweet to a customer that Pret deleted after seeing my blog entry on the misleading packaging issue.

UPDATE: September 2019

New complaints keep coming that are not featured in above slideshow. And keep in mind, not everyone complains on Twitter about it or makes photos:

 

TWO on 18.09.2019

2019-09-18 Air Wrap Victoria

Victoria

 

2019-09-18 Air Wrap

#Shrinkflation

 

2019-09-11 Air Wrap USA

 

2019-08-27 Air Wrap

27. Aug. 2019 USA

 

2019-08-21 Air Wrap

21. Aug. 2019

 

2019-09-09 Air Wrap

09. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-07 Air Wrap

07. Aug. 2019

 

Since having settled the lawsuit, Pret’s having a laugh with a customer who helps them; the wrap looks like having been a little stretched out here:

2019-08-07 Air Wrap taking mick

Also 07. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-06 Air Wrap

06. August 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-29 Air Wrap USA

29. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-26 Air Wrap

26. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-24 Air Wrap

24. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-10 Air Flat Wrap

10. July 2019

 

Some from 2014 that I missed 😉

2014-04-16 Air Wrap

16. Apr. 2014

 

2014-03-10 Air Wrap

10. Mar. 2014

 

to be continued unfortunately …

 


 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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, LateNightGirl.Page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pano Christou now CEO of Pret A Manger

 

My message to Clive Schlee and Pano Christou upfront:

»Be careful how you treat people when you’re on your way up, you might need them on the way back down.«

 – found on Twitter profile

 

The announcement that Clive Schlee would retire in September 2019 came on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press, having read Schlee’s response to a well-wisher on Twitter. The press then contacted HQ, got the confirmation and started “breaking” the news on Twitter.

Tweet to the Press early morning 01. July 2019:

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger to the press

01. July 2019

 

Quiet Tweet the day before on 30. June 2019, but no official announcement:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring a Tweet a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions (below Tweets).

I responded to the above well-wisher, and later tweeted to the press, as I told someone already months ago that Schlee would sneak out the back door quietly. I wrote about it hinting that this may happen in:

Clive Schlee and Pano Christou” 02. Apr. 2019
@Cliveschlee – Your Soldiers are Tired” 18. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?” 20. June 2019
The Difference between Profit and True Wealth” 22. June 2019
You are either the Captain” 30. June blog entry, but before I saw his above Tweet to the well-wisher. This blog entry lead me to check his Twitter when I then saw the well-wisher post on Schlee’s retirement.

Clive Schlee all being about himself, responded to the well-wisher’s Tweet on 30. June 2019, yet did NOT respond to a very serious health and safety issue of a customer Tweet on the 29. June 2019. The customer even tweeted twice. Schlee responded on the 01. July 2019 AFTER I wrote new blog entries about his retirement and after the press “broke” the news from my Tweet.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is Pret A Manger leadership:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke.
Customer: “It’s shocking they are not supported by decision makers.”
Don’t be shocked, that’s typical Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger!

I did an extra blog entry on the ongoing Air Conditioning issues with over-heated shops that I worked in as well. Many customers tweeted to Pret about this: “Pret A Manger Staff work in Over-heated Conditions

 

The press then being the press, pretending to break the news with some “inside” knowledge “broke” it after I tweeted to them. That’s why I tweet publicly and not “secretly” in emails.

 

So, September has come early.

BUT knowing Pret and the poor scoring Clive Schlee leaves on his exit (44% recommend working at Pret and 50% recommend Schlee) he stays as the active CEO until September, but they placed Pano Christou onto Review sites to avoid more negative scoring for the CEO.

2019-07-15 Pano Christou CEO

2 Glassdoor ratings already 15. July 2019 as on 14. July Clive Schlee was still as CEO on the Glassdoor profile. Makes you wonder what two people in the first day rated the new CEO already.

 

Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 when I linked to it in “Clive Schlee’s Legacy” as I had a lot of traffic on my blog after having tweeted to the press:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

Now leads to a deleted page.

 

So Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press and the press “breaking” the news and having visited my blog where he saw that I linked to his Twitter account.

But as Mr. Christou doesn’t have a new official Twitter account yet as CEO and Mr. Schlee still has his official Twitter account, this means Christou is NOT yet CEO, but just placed his picture on Glassdoor to avoid further negative voting for the CEO and Pret.

BUT Mr. Christou is the same and learned under Schlee. It’s just a different face to the same exploitative and bullying company. And the press is silent, because they cater to business.

Pano Christou came from McDonald’s management and started in Pret as an Assistant Manager (AM). Even though he likes to portray that he started at the bottom, sorry, I worked with many AM’s who came from other companies. They work at Pret with a Team Member (TM) uniform for a few weeks or even just days, and then go straight into AM and in a few months if they aim for it, become General Managers (GM). So, yes he started in shops, but he never was under the intense pushing, stress and low pay TMs are subjected to.

He will do things differently of course, as his personality is different where he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve or has “foot-in-mouth disease” like Clive Schlee. But he will do things the same in a profit-driven, exploitative company under the new owners who aim to topple Nestle off the throne and expand their wealth.

In my worst time in Pret in 2016 when my emailing started to increase in my trauma and at times drunk (I share my story at the bottom audio player in an interview), one email exchange with Pano Christou I remember very well, where he invited staff to contact him with any concerns, ideas etc. He responded and started his message about my email: »I must admit, beautifully written« and then went on in his email.

I remember this as odd, because only an “opponent” or someone who disagrees with you has to “admit” something. If I stand opposite an opponent that I respect, in or after a boxing match let’s say, we fought, I got caught out with not being on my best form, I may say to the opponent: ‘I must admit, good punch!’.

So, Mr. Christou, you will continue where Mr. Schlee left off, all the sweet-talk you learned under him, how to polish the facade, how to exploit low-wage workers behind that smile, but I don’t buy for a minute that Pret’s work conditions will improve nor that you will implement the Living Wage. So, we continue to work on unionizing Pret A Manger, no matter how long it takes.

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

… apart from two customer deaths (third nearly fatal) he didn’t act on until it became public and all the ignored warnings before AND after deaths!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

 

Clive Schlee’s Legacy” — & — “Late Night Girl Article on Clive Schlee

 

Las Vegas

 

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

 

UPDATE 22. July 2019 Pano Christou’s “clean” start on Glassdoor. He’s been with Pret longer than Clive Schlee, and apart from doing a few things differently, when it comes to staff exploitation and low pay etc. he is not different than Schlee, just a different face on the profit driven company now under JAB that competes with Nestle for the top spot:

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

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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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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.

#FirstWorldProblem

 

#CliveSchlee #ChristouPano #PretAManger #Pret #VeggiePret #1983 #1986 #JulianMetcalfe #SinclairBeecham #Bridgepoint #JAB #JABHoldings #Reimann #PeterHarf #RaiseTheWage #LivingWage #Exploitation #WorkplaceBullying

One person to be mentioned in the Pret A Manger saga: Jeffrey Hyman

Why is his name not blue underlined anywhere on any site?

Why is his name and history not mentioned @Pret?

 

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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 to SPOT workplace bullying — #SpotStop

 

and how to STOP it!

How to spot it, is a question many ask. I have read a lot of workplace bullying sites and organizations. And most of the time I read the same:

  • How to spot it – Good!
  • How to raise the issue with HR – Good!
  • How to find support in organizations – Good!

What I don’t read, is these organizations addressing the issue deeper as a systemic problem in global corporations, where the bullying (masqueraded as coaching for targets) is coming from the top down!

I don’t read how HR departments are toxic and puppets on the string for corporate leaders to put the workforce in line or get rid of them! I don’t like the term “workforce”, nor am I keen on Human “Resources” as working people are NOT treated as humans, but as machines.

I followed some Facebook Anti-bullying groups for a while until I saw that they made advertisement for Amazon Smile, where when a person orders something from that Amazon branch and mentions the Anti-bullying site, this site received a certain percentage. Amazon to me the largest systemic workplace bully today. What the workplace was in the industrial revolution in England more than 100 years ago, to me is Amazon today. I should write an extensive blog post about it, but it would be easier to just check YouTube, especially on undercover reports in Amazon warehouses as well as the other branches.

I also believe there are some fake Anti-bullying sites out there. Those sites have no substance, often give vague examples of real-life bullying, there’s no anger, no resolution, no urgency. And to top it, they support and receive support from Amazon.

I spare the reader of more detail and YouTube links and articles… as most don’t seem ready nor bothered about systemic workplace bullying until they themselves are affected.

I keep saying that survivors of workplace bullying need their own #MeToo movement… laws need to change and be implemented, senior executives need to be held responsible, especially when suicides and injuries are involved…

With Pret A Manger, the public for most still wants to believe the facade of Pret. Every generation has their group of onlookers and indifferent people who, when not affected turn a blind eye.

I keep it short today as I am tired of writing my fingers into a carpal tunnel on this issue …

#SpotStop

 

AntiBullying Spot Stop

LINK

 


 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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.

 

David Breakspear – A Reformed Man (Former Prisoner)

 

My first interviewee, who is very courageous to be interviewed by a newcomer in doing interviews (!), is David Breakspear.

I met David on Twitter not long ago while I was doing one of my “drive-by” Tweets about Pret that I tend to do. I do these Tweets where I post to someone who responds to a Pret related post, in this case it was about Pret employing former prisoners, not knowing David at the time. But he wasn’t one of the employees recruited by Pret, he just commented on it.

I comment on Pret related Tweets and then move on, as I always try to reach as many people as I can, not being a newspaper that could reach the masses. I am basically going from “door to door” like a politician who’s running for office. But what I am “running” for is sharing my and others’ story with Pret.

From the get go he was supportive and gives me a lot of insight as he draws from immense life experience. I am also very encouraged by his attitude and how he learns to tackle issues! I appreciate and am inspired by his spirit!

Enough said, here’s the interview.

 

“Late Night Girl”: Please introduce yourself and what you do, be it in occupation or private, even if you are out of a job it is not about a status, but your passion for whatever your hobby, campaign or story is about:

Hi, my name is David Breakspear, I’ll be celebrating my fiftieth in September. Since the age of 10 I had been a part of the criminal justice system. The typical route of care to prison. I finally broke the chain in 2017 when I was released from what I fully intend to be my final visit to HMP as a prisoner. In April this year my license from prison ended, as did my involvement, for the first time in nearly 40 years, with the criminal justice system. I am now a freelance writer, blogger and an active campaigner for prison, criminal justice and social reform.

 

LNG: How would you describe yourself in one word?

DB: Tenacious

 

LNG: What quote, that inspires you, has either changed your life or even helped you transform it into action?

DB: “You only have control over your own mind not outside events, realise this and you will find strength.” I can’t remember who said it.

 

LNG: Biggest regret?

DB: It’s not that I don’t have any regrets, it’s that I can’t have any regrets. I am the best person right now that I have ever been, that is down to my life that I led, not despite it. Any change to my past would’ve affected my future.

 

LNG: Biggest success or something you’re proud of, next to your children of course, can be anything from occupational or private, something you still would smile about on your last day?

DB: This is an easy one if it is one to make me smile. On Wednesday 22nd May 2007, an episode of ‘The Weakest Link’ was shown on BBC2. It was one that I was not only in, but one I also ended up winning. I walked away with £2,090. 

 

LNG: Apart from the usual things like ethics, honesty, hard work etc. what piece of advise would you give to anyone who is thinking of going into the activity you are/were involved in? What headaches or pitfalls would you tell them they can avoid?

DB: Plenty of patience and a thick skin. The criminal justice system moves at the rate of a glacier, you need the patience of a Saint sometimes or it can frustrate the life out of you. There are plenty of people willing to shoot you down whenever you campaign in an area that is unpopular so being thick skinned really helps. 

 

LNG: What was the most challenging experience you’ve ever had, be it personal or professional, that you overcame and went through in one piece so-to-speak or if you got broken, recovered again?

DB: One that continues, my mental health disorders. Although, I no longer allow them to define me. I’ve learnt how to control them without the necessity of medication. Mind over matter if you like.

 

LNG: What, if at all, would you do differently in this challenge now in hindsight?

DB: I would’ve taken control earlier, you must know what you are working with. My diagnoses didn’t happen until 2010.

 

LNG: If you were invited to do a TED Talk, what would be the subject you would talk about?

DB: I’ve applied to be at a TEDx talk in November and am awaiting a decision very soon. If I’m successful, the talk will be about a part of my journey. 

 

LNG: What is your definition of success?

DB: That it is subjective, and we view it in our own perspective. To some, just waking up in the morning is success, whereas, someone else may think getting out of bed for £1,000 an hour is their benchmark of success.

 

LNG: What was a time or situation where you felt like giving up, but found a way to keep going?

DB: I made a serious attempt on my own life while serving in prison in January 2009. I hadn’t changed my mind, in fact, I was angry when I came through. A fellow prisoner had raised the alarm. Once I had calmed down, and with a bit of therapy, concluded it isn’t my time to go.

 

LNG: When is the time to indeed give up or let go?

DB: Another saying I love is “I didn’t fail because I didn’t achieve what I wanted, I failed because I gave up trying”. So, in answer to your question, never. 

 

LNG: In one word, how do you define leadership:

DB: Overseeing you! 

 

LNG: Favourite or most meaningful book to you and why? If it is hard to choose one, then the last or most recent book that really meant something to you or something that clicked:

DB: This is an extremely difficult question to answer, I recently blogged about the books that had a profound effect on my life, however, if I put my finger on one it would be ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. So simple really.

 

LNG: If you could change a pet peeve of yours, what would it be?

DB: Far too many to list, I’m always trying to improve my weak areas. I do wish I could narrate as well as I write. 

 

LNG: What is the positive thing people keep saying about you?

DB: That I’ve remained true to my words with actions. 

 

LNG: Outside your occupation or campaign, and again next to your family, what is your great passion when off work?

DB: It’s a bit of a busman’s holiday really. My hobby is writing about organised crime. I write for the largest Mafia history website National Crime Syndicate (www.nationalcrimesyndicate.com). I do like the weekends to be quiet though. At home with my missus Kelly, our two dogs; Frankie, he’s a Staffie and Bonnie, she’s a West Highland Terrier (Westie) plus our cat Millie. 

 

LNG: What is the core “mission” of your occupation or campaign?

DB: Change and reform. 

 

LNG: Favourite meal and drink apart from mama’s cooking!!

DB: Roast dinner, any meat. I hardly drink alcohol these days, so I normally have diet coke with my meal (all other brands of diet cola are available hahahaha!) 

 

LNG: Favourite film or theater play:

DB: Scum (Link to IMDB)

 

LNG: Favourite artist (famous or not, any artist you love):

DB: Not many people will know who, plus it is literally recent, but someone called Phil Forder. He can be found on Twitter. I’m hoping he will exhibit soon. I love his work.

 

LNG: Favourite song or piece of music:

DB: Mozart: rondo in E minor for flute and piano. 

 

LNG: Favourite quote:

DB: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Buddha 

 

LNG: Which person, alive or already passed, that you have never met would you love to have a conversation with, or even collaborate on a cause, art, work situation? NO selfies allowed! A one-off meeting between you and them!

DB: Oscar Wilde so that I can ask him about the ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’, along with ‘The Listener’ by Walter de La Mare, they are my favourite poems. 

 

LNG: An open segment: Anything you like to mention about anything that’s important to you, no matter if you covered it already or anything that you have not mentioned, can be pointing out another website or a cause people need to know about from you or others, anything. It can even be a list of things and sites, there’s no limit, anything you want to share:

DB: I currently use a #, it’s #TogetherWeCan, because that is the only way that we can ever truly reform the system. Together. Prison is a part of our society; therefore, our society should care about their prisoners. We all make mistakes, however, should then therefore, that mean we can no longer contribute to society. The ban on prisoners voting, I believe, answers that! 

 

Thank you, David!

One of my own favourite quotes by David from his writings – About prison reform:

»Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t want to spend all your money on a washing machine only to keep having to send it back to the warehouse every now and then, because it didn’t work properly to begin with and the warehouse keep sending it back without doing anything different to it. But! That is exactly what is happening with our fellow citizens who find themselves in prison. Man, woman and/or child.« – David Breakspear

 

David’s Twitter: @Areformedman

Blog: journeyofareformedman.net

Please also visit the Shannon Trust that David is involved in, an organisation supporting prisoners who support prisoners. www.shannontrust.org.uk

David shares on the experience of his talk in the House of Commons on his blog entry: “A Day to Remember” and can be heard in his House of Commons speech in this audio: “Evidence Week – Shannon Trust

 

David also has regular chats with a retired cop, Gary Jenkins from Kansas City, MO on YouTube. These chats are very insightful where they share on similarities in police work and how criminals operate, as well as similarities and differences in the legal system in the UK compared to the U.S.

David Breakspear and Gary Jenkins on “Gangland Wire

 

David’s and other interviews are listed on Interviews and Life Stories.

 


 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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.

Change

 

I’ve seen these lists of a 1000 films to see and dishes to eat before you die.

I’ve done a lot of them, but there is always that one more thing to do.

I’d love to see Tracy Chapman, Bobby McFerrin, P!NK, Julie Miller, some friends and family, and stuff …

There’s always things to see and do 🙂

And change

 

 

 

‘Any Damn Fool can run Pret’

 

Oh no, those are not my words!

These are the words of the wife of Pret A Manger’s current CEO Clive Schlee!

On the question of Pret’s success and how much of it was luck or hard work, the CEO responds:

»We had some very good following winds. My wife always would say ‘any damn fool can run Pret‘.«

I comment on this interview in “Clive Schlee: A Case Study (of the Fun Factory)”

Why would the wife of a CEO keep saying this, what’s the conversation before such a statement?

Let the sweet-talk stop and let the women speak for a change! For real change!

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

And only fools can ruin it!

On a side note, Clive Schlee here continues to say that Pret had “natural” food, even though Pret has been successfully sued for having Glyphosate in the food and having to take the word “natural” off signage and labelling. I write about this in “Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat“.

But this interview is full of @&%!… I can’t believe he keeps getting away with it, and I ask myself what does it take to face the truth away from the delusion?!

The problem with companies that have fools running it is, they may endanger their clients and employees lives. God forbid customers number 1. die, number 2. the company doesn’t do anything until these fatalities become public, and 3. get away with it!

And God forbid that this company gets away with not one, but two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal and numerous hospitalized …

And God forbid even further that staff struggle and suffer, some dying, even by suicide.

And of course who would think that a CEO would sneak out quietly into early retirement, remaining a non-executive Director in the background, working on fixing his reputation with some more charity work and finally reaching out to low-paid workers?

What company would have a fool running its business and ruining a lot of people’s lives?

Good thing the facade of Pret is still in tact! Let the free coffees flow to put the public back to sleep!

That’s all that counts these days.

 

Legacy of a fool CEO  

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

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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
1 is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide 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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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 Manger Staff work in Over-Heated conditions (UPDATE 25. July 2019)

 

Before I get into the detail of the ongoing issues of broken and inadequate Air Conditioning in Pret A Manger shops for YEARS and Pret not caring about it, I want to paint a picture from the perspective of staff.

I briefly explain below that staff have cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. They can earn up to an extra £100 individually ON TOP of their wages AND team bonus, if the Mystery Shopper is extra impressed with the individual Team Member’s service. If any staff member loses the bonus for the whole team because their service isn’t with a smile or whatever else the Mystery Shopper (I call them Misery Shopper) isn’t happy with, that Team Member and the Team get fear managed, because the MS bonus scheme counts towards the biggest chunk of Manager’s and upper Management bonuses.

One of many Mystery Shopper report excerpt:
Staff have to serve customers within 1 min of a person joining the queue and serve the coffee/drink within 1 minute of the customer having made the payment. Staff have to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. THAT is why they are still on this robotic autopilot even in 40ºC+ heat. I know, I’ve work in these conditions, brain-washed, fear managed, even during bereavement!

Mystery Shopper excerpt: (Click Ctrl and + to enlarge)

04 MS

 

What customers experience as heat and 35-40ºC, for staff behind the counter it’s 45-50ºC.

Dear customer, imagine yourself BEHIND the counter for an 8-10 hour shift! Look at this picture from brummie_photography on Instagram from a Birmingham shop. This shop at least is very airy, looks like a station or airports are like this. But most Prets have low ceiling, cramped areas, no air-flow. If the air conditioning then is broken or inadequate, it’s literally HELL in there!

I count about 11-12 Team Members (TMs) behind the counter (and worked like this myself):

Pret Sardines

brummie_photography on Instagram

 

Behind that counter of about 10 Sq Meters space there are:

  • In the shop the fridges (called Langars in Pret) blow out hot air from the back
  • Behind the counter and behind Team Members 2 – 3 coffee machines with heat and hot water/coffee
  • To the left or right or behind TMs 1 – 2 hot toastie machines
  • In most shops 1 – 2 hot ovens that are at the counter area (not like here in an extra room)
  • In front of TMs are the black hot croissant plates under the glass counter (I often switched it off in the summer!)
  • From above beaming bright lights on the low ceiling burning on their heads. Years ago staff members even had to wear caps no matter how hot. In Pret USA shops they still wear caps!
  • Large windows without any marquee for sun protection
  • Open doors so that shops don’t look closed from the outside when people walk by. This has been changed recently after environmentalists increasingly raised the issues regarding waste of energy. Unfortunately the same environmentalists don’t seem to bother about the staff burning in the heat!
  • And from ALL AROUND hot body heat from colleagues who stand next to each other like sardines in a can! I felt my colleagues’ body heat left and right! Bad breath, sweaty smelly air, not allowed to drink water behind the counter or shop floor during work or use mints/peppermint gum!
  • And in many shops TMs are NOT allowed to drink water behind the counter for *irony on* “health and safety reasons” *irony off*. And are not allowed to go to the staff room to drink during the coffee and lunch time rush! I always broke that rule and went against manager’s instructions and let my team drink WATER!!

And in many shops TMs are NOT allowed to drink water behind the counter for *irony on* “health and safety reasons” *irony off*. And are not allowed to go to the staff room to drink during the coffee and lunch time rush! I always broke that rule and went against manager’s instructions and let my team drink WATER!!

What for customers is excruciating in a few minutes, these low-paid workers endure ALL DAY every day. One TM in 2011 when I worked in one terrible shop like this, got pneumonia as she was going in and out of the walk-in fridge switching temperature between under 5 degree Celsius in the fridge and 35 – 40 degrees in the shop and kitchen.

Not to mention that the fridges are warm with food and drink stored in them. I had to throw out many times £100s worth of food and drink after having taken temperatures of food and juices, much to the dismay of my bosses! But I didn’t care about the money. As a Team Leader, Health & Safety was not only part of my job description, it was my top priority! I didn’t even eat my free meal allowances in Pret during my breaks when the food was warm! Why would I subject paying customers to that, getting them food poisoning!!

My complaining and raising the issue never got me far in a Pret career, and neither did I care!

With most shops having low ceiling, loud music, rude customers, the 1 minute Mystery Shopper rule, a stressed and often bullying manager or team leader… Welcome to the REALITY of Pret A Manger!

Annihilate Humanity 41

>>> Anonymous Staff review on Indeed

 

Apart from the hellish work conditions for staff, this also affects the food. A customer complained regarding food poisoning from a New York Pret and noticed that the shop was warm:

 

2019-06-25 AC warm wrap

June 2019 NY

 


 

Customer Complaints on Twitter

(those who bother complaining, the problem is much bigger)

 

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St1

Link 25. July 2018

 

I link to a blog entry at the bottom on WHY staff smile ALL THE TIME come rain come shine!

I worked twice in shops with 40 degrees heat for weeks and months raising the issue. I was told if I speak to HQ my career is over. The manager who told me this and didn’t know how to make this issue urgent left Pret soon after. But we begged customers to speak to Pret on our behalf.

Below is a list of only a few customer Tweets, not everyone comments publicly. But this problem with inadequate little air cons in every Pret shop persists. Staff are surrounded by hot machines, body heat, beaming lights from above, ovens, toastie machines, hot plates where the croissants are on, large windows where the sun beams in … And the staff are still expected to do Emotional Labour, smile and pretend to be cheery so they don’t lose the Mystery Shopper bonus when they visit once a week.

I was often very disheartened that the weekly Mystery Shopper didn’t even mention the heat.

I worked at Pret for 10 years and this is an endless problem Pret knows about, but doesn’t fix unless customers go online, or staff persist. Staff became sick, one even with pneumonia because of the morning delivery check going inside the walk-in fridge back and forth between 30 degrees heat and then 3-5 degrees cold. That’s when I drew the line and asked for a transferal, not realizing many shops have this issue.

My traumatic story with Pret in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

I will say it loud and clear again to any new reader who does not know my and other staff story and blog: Pret A Manger does NOT care for their low-paid workers! They do NOT care!!!

Please take the time and really listen and look! Pret has been very successful with presenting an image of an “ethical” company! But having ignored customer warnings on allergen labels EVEN after two customers died, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public is lulled in again and want to believe the Pret fairy tale.

And Pret responds often with “oh dear” … “oh gosh” … “oh no” … “we are concerned to hear this” … bullshit, fooling the public as if this was a one-off. I really appreciate the anger and concern customers show for staff who suffer in this hell, while the millionaire senior leaders and Twitter staff sit in air-conditioned Head Office! Thank you for speaking up on behalf of low-paid workers!

3 of the most recent customer Tweets from days ago on the air conditioning problems in Pret. I didn’t go further beyond 2016, and even found one from 2013 … But this is forever going on!

2019-06-30 AC

1st Tweet — & — 2nd Tweet where Clive Schlee took a day to even respond, while on the day of the complaint he responded to another Tweet of someone wishing him farewell for his retirement (before the press got wind of it when I tweeted the press)! But the CEO was not concerned about the AC issue, even after 2 customer tweets!

Second customer Tweet 03. July, and Pret has NOT responded yet (06. July)!

2019-07-03 AC

Link

Third customer 05. July, and again NO response from Pret at the time of me writing this blog entry:

2019-07-05 AC

05. July 2019

 

UPDATE 25. July 2019

2019-07-25 No AC Bicester

Bicester still having issues as expected and Pret keeps sweet-talking
1st Tweet — and  — 2nd Tweet

 

Dan Brown raised this issue 3 weeks ago. 05th July Tweet (also screenshot above).

 

Also 25. July 2015, Great Eastern Street:

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

Link to Tweet and Pret sweet-talking again

 

23. July 2019 London Bridge again

2019-07-23 No AC

1st Tweet2nd Tweet3rd Tweet

 

 

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

 

 

2019-06-19 AC Bath Southgate

19. June 2019 Bath

 

2019-07-17 AC air con USA

UPDATE: 17. July 2018 NY, USA

 

2018-06-19 AC 240 Hi Holb

19. June 2018

 

2018-07-07 AC Hammersmith2

07. July 2018 Hammersmith

 

2018-07-23 AC Luton

23. July 2018 Luton – No answer from Pret

 

2018-07-23 AC Queen St

Also 23. July 2018 Queen St.

 

2018-07-24 AC Strand

24. July 2018 Strand

 

This Tweet is from the first Tweet above from the 25. July 2018. Two more from the 25th underneath:

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St2

 

2018-07-25 AC Queen St

25. July 2018 Queen St again

 

2018-07-25 AC Whitehall

25. July 2018 Whitehall. Pret here lets Teams have extra break instead of putting on the BRAKES to stop the work in these hellish conditions!

 

2018-07-26 AC Euston

26. July 2018 Euston. Pret slimey and patronizing response they always do when someone with an official Twitter account tweets: “Oh they’re all stars aren’t they?”

 

2018-07-26 AC More London

26. July 2018 again More London

 

2018-07-27 AC Milton Keynes

27. July 2018 Milton Keynes

 

This customer’s concern is brilliant.
I want to post the whole feed as she does not let go!
Well done and thank you @kerriewils!

 

2018-08-07 AC01 Victoria St 95

07. Aug. 2018 Pret’s “oh no” BS …

 

2018-08-07 AC02 Victoria St 95

 

DON’T be disappointed, this is NORMAL in Pret!!!

 

2018-08-07 AC03 to 07 Victoria St 95

 

2018-08-07 AC08 Victoria St 95

Thank You!!!

 

2019-08-10 AC South Ken

10. Aug. 2018 South Ken. This is August, and the Pret Twitter staff is taking the mick!

 

2017-12-10 AC Kings Cross

10. Dec. 2017 Someone registered a Twitter account especially to raise this issue. Cold in winter, hot in summer.

 

2017-08-06 AC Tower Hill

06. Aug. 2017 Tower Hill

 

2017-06-01 AC Westfield

01. June 2017 Westfield – Since AGES

I love this follow-up Tweet, and yet it’s very sad that Pret only listens to customers and let staff boil in hell! I can say again to any reader, please believe me when I say that Pret does NOT care for staff except when it is for PR or when they get caught!

2017-06-01 AC Westfield2

 

2016-09-13 AC Adwych Strand

13. Sep. 2016 Adwych / 182 Strand. This is one of the two shops I worked in where the AC was broken for MONTHS. That was in 2011!!!

 

2013 AC slower work

2013 And the staff still working FAST as Pret demand the 1 minute time of service via the Mystery Shopper!

… and so on …

These days Pret keeps the doors closed, but ONLY because of the Extinction Rebellion revolution. Pret only goes with pressure from the masses and what is “trend”. If staff suffer in the heat, doesn’t matter to them. The reason why Pret usually like the doors open, winter and summer is so that the shops don’t look closed from the outside, meaning customers walk by oblivious that it’s open. And it’s true, I walked by shops that seemed to be closed, because the door was closed and it looked darker inside. So, to avoid losing money, Pret likes to keep the door open, except lately since the waste of energy and environmental activists being on Pret’s case. But concerned for staff? Don’t believe a bit of it!

So, thank you to all customers and maybe next time, start a mass petition for Pret to act FAST!! Because this is an ongoing issue and Pret has the public fooled and staff feel stuck, because they are not paid sick days the first two days!

Employees remain professional because they have to in case the Mystery Shopper comes and all the Team loses the bonus. I write about this in “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” and “The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and why staff really keep smiling even during the most excruciating heat and work conditions.

Staff speak out, even if only anonymous on review websites (below).

Target1

 

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Slideshow can be paused

 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, 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.

 

A Classic Pret A Manger Bullying Experience

… by the book!

I’ve seen this review and “logged” it into the general “Pret Staff Complaints” page a while ago, that I update periodically. When I saw this first, I flew over this review initially, but never really looked at it closer as I am used to this type of account, especially from own experiences, but also countless of the other reviews. But today I stumbled on it again and took the time to really read through it thoroughly. I can only say that this review is a very typical Pret staff experience of systemic targeting and bullying. Many reviewers complain about favouritism. This person is a typical hard worker who cares a lot, and also raises issues. But once they raise issues, they become a target which I share in an interview at the bottom of this page in the audio player.

I decided to pick this one apart, like I do sometimes with long reviews and recently did with (current) CEO Clive Schlee’s interview which I simply called “Clive Schlee – A Case Study (on the fun factory)”

In Pret the Kitchen Leader (KL), or other senior kitchen staff member, has to do a daily “line check”, but for lack of time they just fill in the book with numbers and don’t actually do the line check. But a line check is where the KL chooses any product off the shop fridge, like a sandwich for example and takes it apart in the kitchen. They weigh out each ingredient if it is up to Pret standard and best quality. If ingredients are too many or too little, they are supposed to check on this batch and re-train the person who usually does this product daily. Sounds good on paper, but again for the lack of time and not being paid overtime, staff just fill in numbers in the book.

So, I take this as a metaphor and did a “line check” on Clive Schlee’s interview I linked above for the accurate “weight” of his words compared to my and many other people’s experience.

The same with the below review, I do a line check on its weight and can say already, a lot is pretty accurate in its “quality” of experience! But this review walks the reader through a typical day in Pret. And in this case, it looks to me that the reviewer worked the late shift as there is lots of cleaning and multi-tasking involved which can not be done during the morning and lunch-time rushes.

 

THE REVIEW (April 2019)

Upfront, the 23 “yes” to 0 “no” votes (as of July 2019) also speak for itself on how systemic this is in Pret!

Yes, this is a long review, but it is important as this gives a very good picture of how it is in most Prets. And anyone who writes that extensively really cares in general! I will write in-between the text underneath the screenshot. As usual I leave any mistakes in to keep it in their own words.

2019-04-18 Understaffed Review

Link

Reviewer in bold black and my comments in grey. At times I use blue to highlight something:

 

Constantly understaffed

“Worked in this company for a year.Typical day at work would be clearing tables,working on tills,coffee machine,making hot and cold food.”

Typical late shift tasks. Late shift times differ from shop to shop, but on average shifts start either at 11am until 8 or 9pm depending on opening times. Other shifts start at 2pm after the lunch rush and go till 11pm etc. All depending on closing time and how many people work on a shift. But the main crunch times in the afternoons are from 1pm till 7pm (ish).

 

This company promises you pay above minimum wage,but they will slave your for every extra penny,that they pay you.Manager constantly cutting hours,to get their bonus(managers only).So we are always understaffed.”

Nothing more to add really! But this is in every shop I’ve worked in. What “saved” me and my teams often, was that I was very organized and able to structure the teams, also helping them to finish in time. That way we had a strong team spirit, supporting each other without having to work overtime too much. But it was always a struggle for time, especially with new staff who were not given time to learn.

Another review states this clear as well: “Either stop cutting hours or stop giving teams a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete.”

Either stop cutting hours2

Link

 

“They have high standards to ask you to smile constantly and have everything perfect at all times,but by cutting hours some staff are forced to work for 3 people or so fast,that you are literally catching your breath and running a marathon from the minute you start to shift to the end of it.”

Bingo!
I wish I could put these words into a visual, a video of sorts, because it really is like a marathon. And Pret even expects and demand to “never stand still”. This is written in their “values and behaviours” booklet. They drive people to never stand still, so they look like always active! Activity looks like a lively atmosphere for customers, while in reality it is draining the staff!

 

“Constantly being dehydrated at work,because you are not allowed to keep your water bottle while working(often felt thirsty and having headaches).Sometimes didn’t even have time to go to bathroom properly.”

This is a massive problem where my Manager saw a Team Member drink water behind the counter, I was then instructed as the Team Leader by the Manager to tell the Team to not drink behind the counter or anywhere visible, except on their breaks. But with different Managers and shops I found a compromise. Teams are not allowed to leave the tills, especially during busy times. And because water is a necessity to stay hydrated I did not follow this instruction and let my Teams drink water. Sure, if they wanted to drink a Mocha or Frappe with Cream, those are luxury drinks and can be consumed later. But water needs to be available at all times, especially since shops are overheated from all the machinery and body heat.

If Team Members were not allowed to leave the till area I said that they can drink water discretely in a corner behind the counter, especially when the staff room was too far away to quickly go in to drink. If the Manager got mad, I took responsibility and demanded for the Team to be able to drink water when they needed to! It was for me either, they were allowed to go into the staff room to drink, communicating and taking turns, or they were allowed to drink behind the counter. But either way, depending on the shop size etc. I always went against this stupid rule and let them drink water, especially since Managers like to sit in the office drinking, eating, playing on their mobile phones …

Most, no ALL air conditioning in shops are not adequate and cannot cool the overheated shops in the summer. It’s hell in there!! I worked twice for months in overheated shops and was always the one ending up to raise the issue further. When my shops were out of AC we literally begged the customers who mentioned the heat, to please talk to HQ on our behalf, as Pret does not listen to staff. They simply don’t care, except for show! Three customers recently went to Twitter complaining about this as well, in the UK and the U.S.

2019-06-30 AC

1st Tweet — & — 2nd Tweet where Clive Schlee took a day to even respond, while on the day of the complaint he responded to another Tweet of someone wishing him farewell for his retirement (before the press got wind of it when I tweeted the press)! But the CEO was not concerned about the AC issue, even after 2 customer tweets!

Second customer Tweet 03. July, and Pret has NOT responded yet (06. July)!

2019-07-03 AC

Link

Third customer 05. July, and again NO response from Pret at the time of me writing this blog entry:

2019-07-05 AC

Link

 

And these 3 customers are only those who care to raise this publicly! But the problem exists in most shops with inadequate air conditioning. We took a temperature at one point and stopped looking at it when it was close to 40 degrees Celsius.

 

“And I have been used to hard work in busy places my whole life as I worked in fast paced food industry for more than 10 years.They have mystery shopper bonus,but lately it was also a fail as they will ask you allergen related question and you have to direct them to Team leader or manager so technically they will take over and you loose your chance for outstanding service bonus,which you can get if your service is excellent(100£ or 200£).”

Since the customer deaths became public – and I want to emphasize again, as many people keep saying “since the customer deaths Pret started labelling …” – NO! Since the customer deaths became public, did Pret slowly start the labelling! Up until the press published this, Pret did NOTHING whatsoever!
I’m doing a thorough “line check” here!

But since the deaths became public Pret also tasks the Mystery Shopper to ask allergen specific questions. Staff are told to pass the customer on to the Manager or if the GM isn’t available, then to the next Leader who is in charge. This reviewer then is not able to get a chance for the extra cash they can earn personally if this customer happens to be the Mystery Shopper. So, the reviewer having passed on the customer to the Manager, the reviewer then cannot serve the MS anymore, giving a free coffee and being extra special nice for a chance to get the “Outstanding Card” = extra money.

 

“The best part of this place was my colleagues,that I worked with.When I started,some of them were so experienced and working many years-I learned a lot from them.But through this one year at least 8 long term staff has left,few of them working 5 years at least because of manager,that doesn’t care about their staff,doesn’t appreciate their hard work and and if she have personal dislike,she will sack you and find reasons how to get rid of you.”

Yep, sounds familiar! Pret keeps shooting themselves in the foot by being profit-driven, making lots of money fast, but losing a lot of high caliber people while keeping those who bully and do the short cuts for quick gain! Pret, like many profit-driven companies forget who the REAL advertisers for the companies are.

 

Target1

 

“I literally can’t tell if my review is based on company overall or just this manager, …”

Oh no, you can base it on the company!! 😀

And here is where the marathon and stress is explained well:

“…but she surely has ruined my view at company,because I felt like I have been working so hard and literally multitasking to another level,where you are left on tills alone,quickly running to clear tables,wash china and trays,clean toilets,run to kitchen to make soups,come back make coffee,do the delivery,make sure you food display has proper amount of food available for sale,bake hoot food and above all the serve customers at the same time and manage to prepare to close shop,where you have to wash every table and chairs-sofas,floor,bin stations,toilets etc.(the area is huge).”

And here again I quote from the beginning of this review:

 

“They have high standards to ask you to smile constantly and have everything perfect at all times”

 

Yes, and then most Team Leaders sit in the office abusing their position and let the Team or Team Member struggle out in the shop on their own. Then when the Team Member can’t finish the ridiculous amount of tasks or loses the Mystery Shopper bonus for the WHOLE TEAM because they were swamped with work and did not SMILE while breaking their backs, they get pressured and bullied and gaslit to think they didn’t do a good enough job!

 

This is Pret A Manger in a nutshell!

 

“I have learned,how to travel in time here.Like I said I don’t mind working hard apart from that You always end up late to finish your shift,which nobody pays for and if you leave unfinished ,you will get sacked or given note of concern.”

Yep! The “Note of Concern” formerly called “File Note” is a very typical Pret manipulating tool! Staff members received this piece of paper, which is not a formal written warning or disciplinary, but a step before that to fear manage staff. And those who mostly get this Note of Concern are those who work already like donkeys and seem intimidated easily.

In my early months in Pret I worked with a Spanish guy who didn’t understand English well yet as he just arrived from Spain a few weeks prior to joining Pret. He served the Mystery Shopper, didn’t smile and lost our whole team the bonus. The bonus for the managers are paid quarterly and can be huge or little. And the Mystery Shopper reports count towards the biggest chunk of their quarterly bonus.

So, the Spanish colleague got a Note of Concern to intimidate him to smile. He left Pret a few weeks later, just never turned up for work again.

A Mystery Shopper excerpt of Pret wanting staff to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. And dare you not smile when you happen to serve the Mystery Shopper!

1 Minute Smile

 

“This lovely manager will give you note of concern for smallest things,that you do wrong,so prepare to be perfect or robot.She has also taken my bonus,when I arrived at tills 2 minutes late and never taken it from people,that she favours more for the same time of lateness.”

In my first weeks of becoming a Leader, I was threatened by a Manager that my bonus would be cut if I forget again to slide the opening sign from “closed” to “open”. It was something I forgot 3 times that week. But I was a new Leader and not trained how to check for things. These belittling and abusive behaviours by Managers is so common that you just switch into autopilot and move like a robot. And it’s true as well that even ONE minute lateness gets you a lot of drama and cut bonus!

 

“Never paid my minutes after I had to stay after my working hours,or she would go telling,that am bad staff.”

Very, very, very, very typical Pret management of manipulation, fear management and bullying! Extremely immature and poor management skills that doesn’t care about people.

 

“She lied about Christmas period holidays,when she told me no one is allowed to go on holidays,but 5 people was.Ended up few people working including me during the busiest season of the year,some of the got sick from overworking.”

Yes. Those that the Managers favour get the best holiday slots, and those who work like animals get dumped all the heavy shifts and seasons.

I’m getting triggered as I sieve through this review!! Phew!

 

“Also finally let me to get trained on coffee for coffee start specialist during Christmas season(because she had no one else to work) and literally did not provide any training,because she was to busy for that.After Christmas period ended.when I asked If I can be promoted to barista,declined-said I not good enough for that-don’t want to pay you more.”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! Also, very typical! People are put on coffee and Hot Chef jobs for weeks and even months. They are not trained properly and then their “graduation” to the role is delayed so the Managers can delay the appropriate pay-rise for the role. Or they are promised the role of a Barista for example, get put on the coffee machines during Christmas and other holiday periods when the main Barista is gone. When the main Barista returns, the coffee maker who was promised the role is told they were not doing a good enough job!

Bottom line, they were just used to fill in for Baristas who are on holiday, because if they are not promised things, they often don’t want to step in doing extra work not paid accordingly.

Happens in nearly every shop! When I went through my Team Leader training, my Manager kept postponing my graduation day. She also promised me a certain amount of pay, but then broke to me that she cannot pay what she initially said. After a few weeks of this and her breaking her promise, I finally said that I will step down from this role as I should be a Team Leader already and receive the promised pay. And I meant it. I was in the middle of taking the green Team Leader badge off when she then said that I would graduate that day and get the promised pay.

But since then I never trusted her words again and kept my cards close to my chest.

 

“So did not train me at all and expects master coffee specialist straight away. Just felt like I have been used to patch up her Christmas period time.”

Nothing more to add to that!

 

“Finally gone to all staff,that ever had some dislike with me and promoted them to write abusive and false letters about me,because I reported Christmas understaffed period to head office.”

And this one is what I really want to highlight here, something Managers do systemically when they want to get rid of people. This is what I went through when the bullying really started, when an Area Manager (open letter to her), who was upset with me, because I couldn’t join her New Shop Opening (NSO) as a Team Leader at that time, because I was in the middle, in the first 6 months of my traumatic grief about my brother’s death! With the help of HR she pursued me for 6 months were I was moved around back and forth between shops and the bullying was the worst!

When I applied for my file the following year to understand what happened to me, I read all those lies in emails from colleagues whom I loved to work with! One particular email was from the Area Manager who was the catalyst of me getting targeted, and in that email she asked another Manager, who was also bullying, to write their thoughts about me as soon as possible! I’m not gonna go into the emails and lies here too much, but this is a very strategic foul thing people in management level do. In my case, only few people either wrote positive about me or neutral. But these emails to the bullying Area Manager were not in my file as she must have deleted them. But those people who wrote positive or neutral told me that they wrote. And I never found any email or notes from them in my file.

But this Manager I’ve worked with just a few weeks and she was very harsh, threatening us Leaders with our job security constantly. I approached her twice about her harsh tone, and only in the second time I briefly mentioned my brother and that I don’t need any extra unnecessary stress where I still come to work on time, work with high standards etc. She just listened and then later in the email the Area Manager wanted her to write about me, she was stupid enough to label me a “drama queen”.

Here I was, still working everyday with high standard, on time, hard working WHILE traumatically bereaved. And she called me a “drama queen” and that even in writing! No-one expected that I’d apply for my file, and her email was one of several emails I raised grievances based on those written statements. She did get disciplined but only because she’s a small fish in management. The higher ups I raised grievances against got off the hook!

This screenshot is the email the Area Manager wrote to the Manager. I blacked out any names and location. But when I read those emails of the Area Manager wanting colleagues and Managers to write about me, the blood in my face dropped and these terrible emails were one reason I spiraled into emailing for a prolonged time in trauma, for which the CEO Clive Schlee later labelled me his “late night girl”. And under this patronizing label I write and decided to be a sore in his and Pret’s sight!
I share this in my interview at the bottom audio player.

Area Manager email to Manager wanting a written statement about me to get rid of me. Hundreds of emails and papers I read in front of me like a fly on the wall, going from shock to shock to shock…:

Drama Queen NamesDeleted

 

“The last straw,that I have had enough,is allowing for 11 months of the service I am there taking free coffee before I start to work and suddenly I have to pay for that.Why are you allowing it and then decide to not allow it anymore? and just for me,because the favorite staff she still allows it and even to give food outside their food allowance for girlfriends,family etc”

I’m so sorry you were bullied, dear Reviewer! You went through a typical bullying scenario by the book!

 

“Because of this she has yet again got me in trouble for creating situation,where she allows something,writes a complain,that I am doing something against her will and denies ,that she have ever said,that she allowed in first place.She doesn’t care about nothing unless it’s dollar signs in her eyes.Everyone,who she feels threatened by or have different opinion about something-she will eliminate.She is a boss,not a leader.”

Yes, sounds like a typical Pret A Manger Manager.

And the last sentence cannot be said better:

“She is a boss,not a leader”

 

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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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

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Clive Schlee: A Case Study of the Fun Factory

 

Even though putting this interview between Clive Schlee and Mario Bauer on here, I am indirectly making advertisement for Pret, and Clive Schlee and Pret like to peek here once in a while, but I want to do a reality check on this conversation from 02.07.2019.

He and Pret have announced on Monday 01.07.2019 (after I tweeted to the press and the press “broke” the news) his “retirement”, but remaining as a non-executive Director.

I find this interesting in many ways. First, when JAB took over Pret they reshuffled the top team pretty quick, including axing co-founder (or “re-founder”) of Pret Sinclair Beecham and HR Director Andrea Wareham.

Quote: “Filings show that CFO Mr Jones, former chairman Larry Billett, HR director Andrea Wareham, co-founder Sinclair Beecham and US president Joanne Brett had all been terminated as directors from parent company PAM Group Limited.” – Daily Mail

Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham re-founded Pret again in 1986 after a short run of the original Pret which was founded in 1983 by Jeffery Hyman. Funny enough, up until the two customer deaths became public, the Wikipedia entry on Pret never showed this info regarding the 1983 start. Julian  Metcalfe is also founder of Asian style fast-food chain itsu and “Metcalfe’s Food Company, in partnership with Clive Schlee.” – Wikipedia

So, JAB axing Sinclair Beecham, yet keeping Clive Schlee on board is interesting. For one, I’m sure it is to “safe face” and not let Schlee look defeated, after the poor re-action on the terrible and unnecessary deaths that happened. But also, knowing how Schlee works, he is the perfect “mascot” for Pret. I always experienced him more like the Ronald McDonald of Pret A Manger, who’s job it is with an endless smile and friendly approachable front, to keep the workforce happy slaving on low wages and the public happy with colourful, fancy food and freebies.

Pano Christou, who came from McDonald’s as a Manager having started in Pret straight away as an Assistant Manager, has a more serious approach to things. He at least blocked me and now deleted his Twitter account. He will be dealing with issues more directly and swifter, but he will do the same business of a profit-driven company.

And that’s where Schlee now will continue his “clown” role, to not only represent Pret as this oh so happy and friendly brand, but to redeem himself with more and more charitable work. This can be seen in the below interview that I’ll be taking apart like a Pret A Manger “line check”, picking ingredients apart, weighing out each item for its “correctness” and if it’s up to standard (truth).

 

THE INTERVIEW (my comments below)

From Teddy Talks interview by Mario Bauer

Upfront, I doubt Clive Schlee will have a TED Talk anytime soon, but for a Teddy Talks it’s insightful enough.

Key points and my comments on just the things important to mention, not the whole interview. As Mario Bauer’s first language is not English, I will leave grammatical issues, or mistakes in general, in the transcript. I prefer to leave people’s sentences the way they are when I quote them, out of respect and to keep it in their own words like I do with all the staff reviews I collected.

 

PEOPLE CULTURE

Mario Bauer: at 2:44
“For me the most fascinating thing about Pret is the People Culture. Because what you built over the years, when I talk to Head Hunters, they say you don’t even need to call somebody on Senior level or OPs Manager level, to kind of steal them from Pret. You cannot steal people from Pret, there’s a very high loyalty to you, to your management, to the brand. How do you build that loyalty, how Pret became the people company. Because at the end of the day it’s a sandwich store, how do you make it a people company?”

Clive Schlee: at 3:16
“I think at the very early days, Julian and Sinclair recognized that to get people to get up so early in the morning, and work and make sandwiches in difficult conditions, something had to be special. And they inherently sensed that giving people a future, and giving them friendship and making a sense of family, was going to be very attractive and much more important than money. Money had to be good, but those three F’s: future, friendships and family, that was the beginning of Pret’s culture, which I hope stayed throughout, I always tried to encourage those three.
As a result of that, people get very loyal to Pret, and as you say, it’s difficult to head hunt them away, which we like that very much.”

My comments as Clive Schlee’s patronizing and disrespectful labelling as: “Late Night Girl”
First of all, Mario Bauer asked this question regarding senior people and OPs managers who are difficult to head hunt away from Pret. The reason why they are so difficult to steal away is the immense amount of money senior leaders earn! On top of all the nick-knacks, they fly out to Dubai or if in the U.S. to Las Vegas, throw parties, even sit in pubs during lunch time, while the shop staff slave away and are pressured to work harder for profit and managers’ bonuses! But Mr. Schlee here talks about the shop people as he remains desperate for workers!

On a shop staff level, many people leave easily. I know several colleagues, especially leaders, who left Pret and went to EAT, the competition that is now purchased by JAB via Pret. EAT was set up very similarly and is always seen as the closest imitation of Pret. Andrew Walker, EAT’s CEO used to be Pret’s UK Managing Director before he left Pret, a role which was then taken by Pano Christou. Pano became COO of Pret when JAB took over. There was no COO role in Pret before JAB. Much of EAT’s production did come from large factories, and when they ran out of products in the afternoon, there wasn’t a high pressure to keep making sandwiches. Staff were paid less, but the work was easier, according to those that went there and told me later.

Secondly, I appreciate that Mr. Schlee acknowledges that making sandwiches in Pret is done in “difficult conditions”. Thank you for that acknowledgement!

Thirdly, the three FF’s. Uh-oh, where do I start!? This one I keep brief as the friendship and “family” culture will entangle itself as you read on! I can only say that Pret has either a big fat lying facade when it comes to the “family” environment, or Pret is a very dysfunctional family! But to me I experienced the first to be the case. Only one of many staff reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

INTERNAL PROMOTION

MB: at 3:58
“You have an internal promotional system, university…”

PAUSE: If I understood that he said “university”, I think he means the Pret Academy where staff are trained. Pret doesn’t have a university! Let’s not fly too high here! In the UK, and especially In Pret, there is a lot of psychology used and slogans to sound sophisticated. The Pret Academy is just a place near HQ where leaders are trained. But the results of this “training” can be seen in the appalling way many Managers behave on the day-to-day running of the shops. Not to mention that one of the Trainers is a Development Manager who was used to gaslight me. I share this extensively in my interview at the bottom of this page in the audio-player.

MB:
“You have an internal promotional system, university … there’s a lot of people I met over the years … and you always hear the stories ‘I started as a cashier, I worked myself up to a district manager’ (OPs). What’s the structure / system behind it?”

CS: at 4:18
“There’s a very disciplined system behind our academy. And every step, there’s an increased pay-rate and a series of quiz. And you climb up and up and up. There are many chances to climb and that’s very important to Pret. And then we give the lessons and the practical experience so that people can move from being a Team Member Trainer to be a Team Leader to be Assistant Manager …”

LNG:
Sounds wonderful on paper, but reality is far, far from this! Maybe this was like this before the mid 2000s. But I have not been trained properly and most of my colleagues neither. Only if you were willing to make friends with management were you moved up quickly and somewhat trained. The countless staff reviews in the below slideshow indicate this problem as well.

Yes, there is a strict hierarchy and a complex system where people are micromanaged with small details that burn them out! The really important things they are not trained in: people skills, leadership skills, SKILLS in general!! Pret loves to recruit according to people’s “personality” rather than skill to portray this “happy family” business to the outside. So, you have a lot of happy bunnies bouncing around, burdening down workers who are the ones getting the job done, under intense pressure and low wages while the bunnies claim the credit for it!

Also, the internal promotion system Pret boasts about has always puzzled me! When I started in Pret I was “head hunted” by a former Caffe Nero Manager who got me into his shop. I have worked in several companies where staff were ALWAYS promoted from within! Schlee here says that it must be a world record that in Pret 40% are promoted from within! Sorry?

But what is the saddest thing about the promotion system in Pret is that with some Managers it is an open secret that they got into their position because they became a little “too close” to their boss or even a senior leader from HQ! Their career was paved in the bedroom. This is really sad, because you expect this in a law firm, in Hollywood and certainly in politics, but a sandwich chain? It’s ridiculous and staff often had no respect for management like this behind their backs.

Again, one of many reviews also on this. A recent one from NY:

Promotion

Link

And a very poignant review by a former General Manager, London.
Quote: “”As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”

GM internal promotion

Link

Head Office Review:

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

So, Pret makes such a big deal again out of something, selling ice cubes to Eskimos! The same is true with the free food allowance for staff. EVERY restaurant or cafe business gives free lunch and coffee allowance! Yet, Pret makes it sound like they are the only ones doing this! Sure, the 50% rebate for staff when purchasing items outside of work is very generous, hands down. Many companies either give 10% or like Caffe Nero, we had to pay full price when buying in our private time, which is really unacceptable, to be honest. Same with Iceland. I stood in line behind an Iceland staff member who bought a can of coke for his break, and he paid full price! I asked him about it and they confirmed that they are paying full price. So, Pret is very generous on this front.

 

MB: at 4:52
“So, basically I know when I do a good job and when I follow the plan, you already set out in two years I’ll be in that position, I’ll make that-and-that money, so people can plan with that.”

CS: at 5:00
“They can see a chart showing them how to climb up.”

LNG:
That’s true, there is a chart, in fact it’s a silly chart with colourful little cartoons on it, like in Kindergarten, showing how to climb the “ladder”. And that’s about it! How people REALLY climb the ladder often is not like Mario Bauer says, by “doing a good job” and follow some “plan”. No, it’s again by making friends with management, including doing all the dodgy things and short cuts many managers stop doing once they move into management. Because the higher you climb, the more you have to lose. So, they pass all the dirty work down to the Team Leaders. And if the Leaders get caught, they are easier and cheaper to replace. Simple.

It’s like wanting to join a gang, you have to prove yourself, not by doing the right and honourable thing, but by doing some scary dare to prove they are the same as the gang and mean business going all the way, whatever it takes! Many managers in Pret are very insecure, immature, often not trained properly, fluster about when the heat is on. And the worst thing that I find even “incurable” is, many are lazy! I have learned in my many years of work in different companies, that a lot of attitude can be changed and re-trained, but laziness isn’t one of them!

So, when someone comes along who has skill, they will be burdened down with all the hard work that management takes credit AND big bonus for. And if the hard worker has integrity, they will never ever be able to join the “gang”, as they are like a mirror to managers who don’t like secure people with skill reflecting their shortcomings. I’ve seen too many good people leave Pret or even worse, go backwards from a Team Leader back to a Barista or even an Assistant Manager went all the way back to being Team Member. I’ve never seen employees in ANY company I’ve worked before go backwards! They either climb up, stay at the position, or leave the company.

I had this thought many times in my Pret struggle, but going backwards was never an option for me. It was either: go up, stay put, or go out. But you never go backwards within the company. It might be one of my crazy ticks. But that’s how I always felt.

In 5:04 the question of how many people work for Pret, the CEO answers with over 13.000 in all the different countries. When the £1000 announcement was made a year ago, which I write about the timing of it in connection to my blog. Also, after tax the £1000 really was about £800.

Clive Schlee gives some appreciation to all the foreign workers in 5:18 which I think does need to be mentioned to be fair. He says that Pret would not be where they are without all the foreign workers. This raises the question again on why there are so few British workers. And Pret is reaching out now into all sorts of avenues to recruit especially young Birtish workers (cheaper workers under 21, indoctrinating them early, the investment is for longer and young folk are oblivious of their rights). But I appreciate that he acknowledges that without all the foreign workers Pret would not be where it is today! But words are cheap! Paying them the Living Wage and treating them with respect would make his appreciation more believable.

 

RISING STARS

Mario Bauer’s questions about the “Rising Stars” program at 5:37

CS: at 5:56
Pret has been involved with helping the homeles since the very early days, when we first made sandwiches in the mornings, I think Julian and Sinclair recognized they could never ever keep the sandwiches over night. So, we gave the sandwiches to the homeless. … From the day we made the sandwiches in the morning, within a couple of years of Pret starting.

So we always were generous to homeless people with food. But there’s another thing that matters to homeless people a lot, which is, what they most need is a job. Simply giving them food is not enough. So, we started to work out how we could give them a job and eventually we have developed a program which is one of the successful in the world …”

PAUSE: Did he claim to have one of the most successful project in the world of giving former homeless people a job??

CS: “… giving people who’ve been homeless, we get them recommended to us by hostels and organizations, and ex-offenders. And they come and work in Pret for 12 weeks. We give them a Zone 1 Underground pass. And we make sure they get up and we give them a buddy, and we really train them with care. And they can get careers in Pret…”

LNG:
Sounds all very good and commendable. But this one really bugs me because of the marketing and labelling people in a patronizing way “Rising Stars”. If I was a former homeless person, this would really not sit well with me. First of all, it is really great when he takes former homeless people to his Austrian property or to other places, giving them jobs, and now accommodation etc. And maybe he gives them access to his world to give them an appetite of how to drive for more profit in the hopes to become rich. But nevertheless, it is commendable. Beautiful! Yet, in comparison to how regular staff are treated, it is disheartening to say the least on how he uses them for PR!

In the PRet CEO blog about the “Rising Stars” former homeless employment program, 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

 

“Careful to integrate”?

Might be leaving them “too exposed”?

Too exposed for what?

Clive Schlee giving himself away again. 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.

2019-02-11 Critical Tweet re Homeless house

 

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

 

2019-02-09 Response to Homeless House Tweet2

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This part really bugs me now:

MB at 7:20 asking where the “Rising Stars” live when they start working in Pret, if they still live on the streets.

CS: at 7:23
No, no, no, we normally get recommended. We have to choose the ‘Rising Stars’ very carefully, because they look like all the other Team Members. It’s important they blend in with the other team Members. They get selected by homeless organizations who say ‘that person has the capacity to work in Pret’ and they put them forward to us.”

LNG: This is a tricky one because on one hand I can understand that Pret wants people to “blend in” and “be like” all the others. But this uniformity shows how discriminating Pret really is. If this company truly is free of discrimination, free of judgment towards a diversity of people, why have a “chosen few” system? A “regular” homeless person has NO chance to be “selected” to be of the “special few”.

And Pret treats former homeless people with special care. Again, this is good, but it is also damaging for the regular staff who are pushed, pressured and bullied to perform in high pace for profit. This makes regular staff mentally ill, depressed, not to mention even suicidal. THIS is why I write so blunt and loud, because my own story (interview at the bottom audio player) had me almost killed in what Pret under Clive Schlee’s leadership has put me through! I could be dead now or on the streets myself.

Former Assistant Manager was unfairly dismissed and had to sleep in his car, having lost everything:

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

This happened to him, my story with Pret and many many others who were treated like sh*t and God knows how many landed on the streets, became depressed and even died by suicide!

I call them and us the “Fallen Stars” of Pret A Manger that Clive Schlee burdened like donkeys for profit!

That is why I don’t buy his “Rising Stars” scheme! I even believe that he really thinks he is doing good! I often see Mr. Schlee as living in La La Land, somewhere in a bubble where he actually really believes he’s doing so much good! Now 480 “Rising Stars” in 10 years vs. 13.000 current staff that struggle! Hello?

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”

 

Annihilate Humanity 41

Link

»This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.«

»You will loose everything that makes you human.«

 

And these above reviews, among all the many other reviews, answer the question on why Pret is “careful to integrate” former homeless people into regular shops, not wanting to leave them “too exposed”. It would hurt Pret’s marketing and image to bully them the same way like they bully regular staff who then break and fall into the same problems some of the “Rising Stars” came out of! This is beyond hypocrisy, this is what the above former HQ IT Analyst wrote about Pret using people for PR.

I was bullied after 7 years in Pret when I became bereaved and continued for another 3 years in hell in a complete fog, emotional war-zone and confusion!

The conversation goes on about food waste, which is also not always done and I cover this in “Pret Food Waste” or about products and food development, Veggie Pret etc. Further in the interview Mario Bauer asks at 15:37 that the London landscape has changed with a Pret on almost every corner, and how the company will stay relevant with a shop on every corner. Schlee hesitates a little bit here, but answers by saying that the staff are Pret’s number one job as they are the ones that have the biggest impact and how Pret works to make things easy for them (uhm!) etc. He goes on about the food, communication on the packaging to customers (well, he doesn’t mean allergen labelling by the way!). Lastly, he talks about how the corner is “king” and when he gives advise to businesses he tells them to open on corners and that he would call Pret a “corner company”. Sounds all very lovely.

What he doesn’t tell us is, what this Times article does in: “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it“, quote:

»Veteran private equity investor: “We buy a business, work out how many restaurants you can get away with in an area until it’s become saturated, then try to convince a new buyer that there is plenty more runway”.«

And JAB took over from Bridgepoint and now concentrates on the USA and other European cities, especially airports and train stations to “spread” the brand faster throughout the world! London’s landscape has indeed changed, but not for the better. It is cluttered with Prets that even long-time fans get tired of it, including above journalist Sathnam Sanghera. So, JAB expands out! And Mario Bauer touches on this when he says that “you own the high street and then you grow…”

I fast forward in this interview to what is important to me as a former long-time employee having suffered in Pret almost to the point of suicide. All the business bla-bla isn’t my concern here but staff issues. They briefly touch on the customers who died and again, Clive Schlee is talking too much about how it was for HIM instead of how he has failed to re-act on warnings, not to mention putting in “meaningful change” IMMEDIATELY when the deaths occurred rather than waiting until it became public years later.

I especially want to skip the private equity part when Bridgepoint came in and when the “squeeze” really started on workers. I don’t want to waste my time on this part of the greed of those business ventures, except to say that their definition of success is that Bridgepoint, and now JAB, bring in great riches. But it is for the top leadership on the backs of low-wage workers. Schlee says in the interview how staff turn-over has decreased. But how can this be, that while Pret is growing, the numbers of staff since 2016 has decreased and the chronic under-staffing, that employees as well as customers complain about on Twitter and other sites, not to mention my experience.

Speaking about “chronically” under-staffing, I speak a lot about this and may have started this term of “chronic” under-staffing. And it gives me hope to know that staff read my blog and Tweets. I know this from the feedback I get in emails and also just found today a brand new review on Glassdoor which sounds like I have written it, LOL!! But someone must have read my words and on reviews sites you cannot leave more than 1 review or vote more than once. I am happy to inspire staff to find words to their Pret experience!

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

Back to the private equity issue, the few pennies Pret pays more or the few perks they give does not cover the pain and double work people go through. One poignant review by a former GM on a blog comment in 2012 about how Bridgepoint’s 2008 entrance has hurt Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM2

2012 on Blogspot

Another from a GM along those lines:

Worst Mafia

2014

Assistant Manager from NY 2017:

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Link

… and so on …

Pret Factory

From an old US Pret site

That’s true, there’s no big sandwich-making machine and no big sandwich factory. There are many small, little sandwich-making human machines, working in small and cramped kitchens. The human machines are pushed and pressured to assemble items fast in factory-style conditions of fear management, loud and fast music to beat the drum of the work-pace under the facade of “fun”!

 

The interviewer now asks the CEO about his management style at 31:37, and Schlee answers that one has to be a happy and positive person. He goes on to give an example about the boss of Barclay’s and how he walks his dog every morning. His dog wags his tale and when a dog wags his tale, the other dogs wag their tales. Schlee teaches this to the managers he says, but again, how can a manager, or any staff at that be truly happy under such excrutiating stress on a daily basis! My only thought is that he is doing emotional labour and wants his staff to do the same, while in reality there is a lot of depression, alcoholism and anxiety. And I mean it when I say that I hope Clive Schlee himself is not suffering depression while performing a fake happiness, as this will catch up on even the most positive person in time.

I do understand that what happened with the deaths, as well as staff deaths and my situation including my blog, must be very hard on him. But the times of feeling empathy for a multi-millionaire who has access to any help, resource and support he can get, is over. He is a leader who has been entrusted with thousands of PEOPLE! It is his decision what he does with that responsibility. It is actually heartbreaking to watch him explain how if managers can wag their tale and be happy during the stressful times, because he knows my blog and by now has read all the reviews of people who are broken! So, I do hope Clive is okay, but at the same time I hope as well that he wakes up to his responsibility of the thousands of people he is over.

And I say again here what I said on Twitter, and the reason I say this so blunt is because of the tone in Pret shops. The way hard workers are spoken to, shouted at, discriminated etc. My own story that I survived and still don’t know how I did. One manager after I came out of a shop where I was openly bullied during the worst time in traumatic grief, and my new manager said to me alone in the office away from witnesses when I was completely out of my mind in trauma and grief; he said to me in a quiet tone when I was distraught and questioned his motive (he didn’t pay me for Christmas Eve!), he said: “I don’t want the area to feel sorry for me anymore”, meaning the other managers in the area felt sorry for him because I was thrust into his shop by HR! I write about this in “Discrimination: Mental vs. Physical“. I cannot describe the shock and humiliation I went through again and again and again and again…

And I say this again here like I said on Twitter, that I do respect Clive Schlee as a human being, but not as a leader. I have no respect for his leadership whatsoever and even feel extremely ashamed to have been fooled for so long about him when I worked in Pret!

The end of the interview is to me the most important part I want to cover on the reality versus the facade or delusion. At 38:10 I want to quote again. But before I quote, it’s funny how he says that having been in Pret a long time, and that “you have to be careful not to stay too long at these places” … at “these places”? 😉 Being so infaturated with Pret, I am sure it wasn’t quiet his choice to step down after all that happened!

CS: “As I now turned 60, I’m beginning to”

PAUSE: Beginning to? … and then he quickly changes direction!

CS:I think there are two kinds of virtues:
your resume virtues when you’re accumulating and opening shops and increasing gross profit.
And then there is your eulogy virtues, which is how people really look at you as a person. And unfortunately they won’t remember the fact that … [a company has made profit]…
They will remember how you handled things”

PAUSE: HOW you handle things!

 

9 Warnings Ignored

From Yahoo Finance / YouTube / ITV

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse mum on her shock that Pret did NOTHING even after Natasha died! >>> YouTube

Quote:

“A young person died from eating one of their products, and the fact that they did nothing and just let things carry on exactly as they had before, is beyond believe actually!”
– Tanya Ednan-Laperouse

 

Also, Pret was sued in New York in 2016 already after a customer went into anaphylactic shock from Sesame in an unlabelled wrap! >>> Article. So, this wasn’t a first incidence of sesame.

 

CS: “How you treated people”

PAUSE: HOW you treated people!

Go back

Link

CS: “So I’m kind of moving in that direction now.”

NOW, hey!

So, he steps down, but remains as a non-executive Director. Pano Christou will take over and continue to drive the Pret machine hard for profit! Clive Schlee will concentrate on repairing his reputation as this lovely, happy CEO, ignoring all the pain and suffering that is still going on under his leadership! I still believe he needs to be taken to court on all these issues.

Clive Schlee says all the right things, but reality is very, very different, and I still cannot come to the conclusion if he is just very diluted or an ice cold business man. Or both! But one thing I am certain is, that his friendly, approachable demeanor does not fool me anymore after what I have suffered and witnessed for years.

 

The legacy of a private equity owned company:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019 figures

 

LINK: >>> Long list of staff complaints.

 

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

 


 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Clive Schlee’s “Retirement” vs. Resignation

 

»Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.«
Proverbs 24:17

 

But, it’s not good enough, Pret / JAB! It’s not good enough!

I found a Tweet last night on Mr. Schlee’s Twitter where he silently responded to a farewell Tweet, which to me looks like what I call a “bait” Tweet, as the CEO has not blocked me…

I wrote a blog entry after reading and tweeting, and this morning tweeted to the press which in turn very quickly announced that Pret HQ announced Clive Schlee’s “retirement”. They must have contacted HQ to verify my Tweet leading to the CEO’s Tweet. Only after my Tweet and then the press’ “breaking” news did Clive Schlee and Pret make the announcement. Maybe it’s their feeble attempt to pretend to be slow in announcements like they were with customer deaths… I don’t know, but with Pret I don’t expect any professionalism.

Last night:

 

2019-07-01 quiet retirement

Link

 

This morning around 10am my Tweet to the press:

 

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

And promptly I get partially shadow banned for the next 48 hours after having tweeted to the Press. My Tweets are still visible within a feed if one clicks “Show more replies” as they left the “Thread ban ” open, but cannot be found in search.

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger NO Thread ban

Shadowban.eu/ExPretAManger
The ban will be lifted and all in the green on 03. July approx. 10:30am UK time.

Retiring while remaining as a non-executive Director (like he is in itsu as well) is not retiring. I do understand that my website may be a sore in JAB / Reimann’s sight and finding a compromise, a typical Pret sweet-talk again to sort of, kind of, a little bit, somehow… have Clive Schlee “step down” but remain in a leading role behind the scenes!

And I write again what I wrote this morning, that Clive Schlee needs to be taken to court and face the music for once! Customer deaths, staff deaths incl. suicides, I survived… how many more are under the carpet? When will Pret A Manger take responsibility, away from the blaming game and sweet-talk?

Not good enough, Pret / JAB! Under Clive Schlee staff is expected to “strive for perfection” and are squeezed the life-blood out of them for low wage!

Not good enough!

One person on Twitter this morning, whom I didn’t read before posted this in response to Clive Schlee’s Tweet (which came after the press reports after my Tweet), a very rare observation of someone from the public looking deeper:

 

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link

 

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons.
Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.« – by @
minmilyjung

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

 

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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!

 

A brief list of writings regarding Clive Schlee: Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl” Articles.

 


 

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 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl” Articles

 

Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl” Writings.

For any new reader, my full story in an interview at the bottom of this page on the audio player.

For a comprehensive list of writings about Pret A Manger, please visit:
>>> The Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

 

I said 6 months ago to a Union person that Clive Schlee will probably sneak out of Pret. And days ago I wrote to another person that he is very quiet lately and either on a Sabbatical or leaving.

I tweeted to the press this morning, and of course now they have “breaking” news 😉 He since has now tweeted his announcement himself AFTER I contacted the press and they “broke” (uhm!) the news.

~10am Tweet before the press started waking up:

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

 


 

To Clive Schlee,

unfortunately your early retirement you chose not to announce and I had to tweet again for the press to pick this up. Sure, Pano Christou will take over, having come from McDonald’s management (nobody’s perfect!) he will continue where you left off. Pano became UK Managing Director after Andrew Walker “left”. Andrew Walker then became EAT’s CEO which is now swallowed by JAB via Pret. What a cold cold business! It may be good for the press to properly investigate on the Andrew Walker issue!

Pano will do some changes of course, but from his emails years ago, he wasn’t straight forward with me either, and I’m afraid Pret will continue business as usual with a lot of the chaos behind the scenes.

I’m sure you’ve done a lot of good things and many will sing your praises. But for me and many others this PR[et] facade and the reality behind the scenes has been a terrible “ride” and the worst, traumatic experience I have ever had in any workplace! Only my brother’s untimely death supersedes this trauma in an even greater nightmare!

I always shuddered when as a shop Team Leader, working in the office doing the ordering or whatever I had to do, when an email from HQ came in. And that email was sent out naming, blaming and shaming shops that had poor scoring in Health & Safety or other issues. This fear management, also to your low-paid workers via Mystery Shoppers, was always a terrible experience to read and witness.

And you think you can just sneak out of Pret, not taking any responsibility?

I worked in the catering industry all my life, in 3 countries. I never shied away from hard work and was self-sufficient since my teenage years. I lived and worked with integrity, principle and care. And what I received in return was humiliation, trauma, and discrimination. You need to understand that Pret A Manger under your leadership has almost destroyed my life, literally almost killed me!

I survived Pret, which I experienced as toxic, corrupt and exploitative.

You can count yourself very lucky, Mr. Schlee, that my mental health is too low to see through to court without a lawyer and my father having died in the middle of preparation for the Tribunal claim I had to withdraw!

And this is YOUR legacy, sir. And I can never write any other story-line, as much as I miss my old life of writing with encouragement and positivity, having given the benefit of the doubt to you one too many times. Those days are gone when it comes to Pret A Manger!

I’m sure by now with all my writings that you have read (you still haven’t blocked me on Twitter as you collect for a potential court case or to ruin my future further! Pano Christou blocked me and today he closed his @christoupano account!), but I’m sure by now you have learned of amazing CEOs like Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford, or Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani who revolutionize the business world. I hope you learn from them, not just for the typical Pret facade and fake smile you are so known for. But a full turn around to make a true difference in the LIVES of HUMAN BEINGS that labour and give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions!

I am proud to have declined four settlement offers in turn for silence! I have many regrets, but not this one!

Wishing you good luck?

I wish that you would for once take responsibility, sir!

I wish that you would be taken to court for what people have suffered under you!

Regards,

Your “Late Night Girl”


Clive Schlee’s Legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

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