#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 now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.



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