Plastic and Animals over People

 

Above picture is from the Business Insider article … trash dumped from ships could be a major culprit.

Regular readers who know my blog know that I mainly write about Pret A Manger staff issues, systemic workplace bullying, exploitation etc. My own story is at the bottom of this page in the audio player interview on a podcast.

I read a lot of comments from environmentalists and vegans who do their activism on plastic pollution and animal welfare. When I mention how Pret staff are treated behind the smiley facade, many respond along the lines of “yes, but … plastic … but vegan … but ….”

It amazes me how people separate people from waste and animal issues. Yes, of course we all have our area of activism, I campaign mainly on employment issues, but I’m also working on being more environmental friendly, eat less meat already etc. And no, any vegan out there, don’t judge me regarding eating meat. I understand the passion behind these campaigns. But from an employment perspective, people are going in circles when they go on Twitter complaining to Pret that a Barista was handed a reusable mug for a latte, but the Barista used a paper cup to measure the coffee in, poured it into the reusable mug, and then threw the paper cup away.

Pret then responds in a generic way, with their usual copy and paste sentences of ,”oh no” and “which shop this was from”… pretending to be surprised and care. Thus, the customer gets off Pret’s back, assuming it’s just a stupid Barista not having gotten the memo!

Reality is still too much for most customers to handle.

Pret A Manger, like many large corporations are a profit-driven, now multi-billion pound company under private equity. Low-wage staff are neither trained nor does Pret care to educate and tackle the waste problem. The public for most part just assume that it is a long way for Pret to get on top of this, while in reality waste is cheaper. And it is cheaper to not employ more staff to work on dishes. And it is cheaper to keep work spaces small and customer areas expanded for more profit, thus not creating room for dishwashers and stock room for crockery, metal cutlery etc. It’s always about money. Period.

People ignore that the plastic ocean has a lot to do with big corporations dumping plastic waste into the ocean, that was supposed to be shipped to other countries for recycling. Dumping plastic waste into the ocean is, again, cheaper than bringing it to recycling facilities in those countries.

Apart from above article, I can recommend to watch the documentary The Change by a group of students who started to scratch the surface on the ship waste dumping. These guys made an experiment of living for one week completely plastic free, and how challenging that is. I only found the trailer, but if anyone can find the whole film, I can only recommend it:

 

These students only started to scratch the surface on the plastic-dumping ships. And it makes sense of course that it is not you and I, sitting on the beach with a cocktail, sipping through a plastic straw, and after we finished the drink we threw the plastic straw into the ocean! Nah, that’s not how the countless tons of plastic ended up in the ocean. We only try in our frivolous way to aim for bio-degradable straws and bring our own reusable mugs.

Pret and other multi-billion pound companies just do these ridiculous little things like paper straws as a smoke screen and whatever else the government order firms to do. And the reality continues, keeping the rest of the business swamped with waste, and no-one’s waking up, yet. Yes, of course every little helps, and every little start is a start. But Pret A Manger and other large chains CAN implement change much faster than they do! Believe me, I know how fast Pret can change things IF it affects their profit! Believe me! I have seen it! And reading Pret’s Tweets, that over many months customers complain about plastic cutlery, and then they complain about the wooden fork, and then the flat soup spoons etc. And the wooden cutlery disappears again, and then it’s being re-introduced again … and the chaos continues! Inconsistent, inefficient, ineffective.

Plastic cutlery and napkins were removed, doors were closed with signs on them to save energy when Extinction Rebellion hit town, then when Extinction Rebellion left, the cutlery was moved back to the bin station customer area and the doors were opened again.

There’s is a chaotic mess with plastic vs. wooden cutlery, back and forth. And no-one is staying with it and digging deeper.

But back to the people issue. I write extensively and collect staff reviews on how Pret really treats their employees behind the happy facade. I give many examples with screenshots of what staff say in anonymity in: Caught in the Act Bullying in Pret.

And it is beyond me how we can separate people from issues like animal welfare and the waste problem. Pret staff get bullied to work fast for profit. If they don’t function, they get fear managed, all while faking a smile to not lose their job. If they don’t make friends with management they get fired fast. It’s the same elbow mentality like in big business.

This exhausts staff, makes them depressed, I was suicidal after being bullied during bereavement as Pret doesn’t want any “inconvenient” employees. Again, my story in the audio player at the bottom of this page.

Pret staff have thrown away brand new food products still in its boxed packaging to sabotage their bullying managers and ruin managers’ quarterly bonuses. Baristas using paper cups to measure liquids for reusable cups. I explain in my blog post Daily Food-waste in Plastic to Landfill why staff waste so much food. Shops are understaffed to maximize profit, staff are not paid for overtime.

 

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

Link

 

2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

Link

 

2019-07-22 Food waste

Link

etc. etc.

And only few of the reviews and comments on social media by staff:

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

If a company is only concerned about the profit margin and exploit their staff, save money on anything they can save on, the public remains fooled because change can come VERY quick if that is their priority.

If staff are exhausted, depressed and remain in low position and low pay even after years of employment, they stop caring. And this in turn reflects on the waste and even on animal welfare, as milk is wasted unnecessarily. Food, eggs, meat are wasted DAILY unnecessarily, because companies like Pret overproduce to raise the profit. And even with the humongous amount of waste every day, they make hundreds of millions of pounds annually.

Former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on BONUS alone! Add to that all the other top leaders and share holders wages and bonuses! Even with all the waste, this is very lucrative and all the customer complaints on Twitter are a joke. Pret just gives their generic replies, and people swallow it so easily and get excited for a cheap free cookie or coffee. And then Pret raise the prices because someone needs to pay for all the freebies, and it won’t be Pret! I explain further in Free Coffees in Pret.

£30m

From the Daily Mail

People don’t understand that things are connected!

If employees are treated with respect, reimbursed properly for their labour including paid overtime, have a saying in decisions etc. they will have the strength, motivation, resources and care to help tackle environmental issues.

I know Pret staff, I know how they talk behind customers’ backs and make fun of the vegan issue and waste problem. Low-wage workers who are upset at the cockiness of snobby customers. Employees who have no strength left to care. Staff suicides I continue to ask for independent investigation.

Two customers have died in Pret, a third incident was nearly fatal and numerous warnings ignored by Pret. And the public for the most part still live in LaLa Land. If Pret that didn’t act on customer deaths and ONLY slowly implementing change with the labelling BECAUSE the deaths became public, you are kidding yourself to believe that Pret cares about the environment!

Other companies can do it, like Black Sheep Coffee and many independent businesses. But people want to believe the fairy-tale that is Pret A Manger with their sweet-talk and little paper straws and wooden cutlery, while other waste issues remain.

black sheep coffee

Evening Standard

How Black Sheep Coffee and other environmentally conscious firms treat their staff I don’t know, but my point is that it is possible to change the waste problem if this is truly a company’s priority.

And my main point is that if staff are treated well, they will care for the waste issue, animal welfare etc. So, if people want to continue to believe that Pret is an “ethical” company, please scroll down to the screenshots of this blog entry again.

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Recruited Tweets on Pret’s Customer Service

 

To avoid repeating words in Tweets, I put this in a blog entry.

I mention in my other blog entry already that Pret seemed to have recruited Tweeters to post on the smiley customer service and freebies. This started around the first week in October 2019. Knowing Pret’s little tricks, I want to post for any new reader oblivious to why Pret staff always seem so “happy”, while in reality they smile, are “generous” etc. for Mystery Shopper £200 incentives and to avoid getting fear managed.

I put a few questions that weekly Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on in a YouTube slideshow. I concentrated mainly on the smiley service questions and the Barista 1 minute rule. I left out other questions like Mystery Shoppers counting the product lines – how many products at certain peek/off peek times are on display, or how clean the shop is etc.

If staff fail on ANY of those points, the whole team loses bonus. If ONE staff member doesn’t smile enough or isn’t chatty, the WHOLE Team is in danger of losing the bonus. If the Team get the bonus, or even if the Team does NOT get the bonus that week, but ONE Team Member does “outstanding service”, that Team Member can get extra £100 on top of their wages and bonus. If the overall scores of the shop is perfect and the 1 Team Member blows the Mystery Shopper away with their “outstanding” service, then the TM can get £200 on top of their wages.

That’s why throughout Pret shops worldwide customers wonder why staff are always so “cheery”, even while low paid, stressed, loud shops etc.

 

For visually impaired readers, I put some examples below on what Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on. I concentrate mainly on Emotional Labour.

Just a few reviews from staff on Glassdoor, Indeed & Co., there is much much more, but to not get the blog too long again, I just post a few. For an extensive, but not exhaustive list that has to be updated, please visit: Long List of Pret Staff Complaints

2019-10-02 Mystery Shopper happy

 

2019-09-16 Stressful not worth Mystery Shopper

 

2014-08-01 TM - Good first job Too much pressure Mystery Shopper - RVW4701443

 

Smile Please

 

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

 

A few customer Tweets:

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive marked

 

2009 Cheerleaders Smile

 

2013 Low Wage Exploitation Smile marked

 

There are many more Tweets from customers / the public on this, but I try to keep it short.

Here are some of the questions the Mystery Shopper tests staff on, in particular on the service. I used comments from different Myserty Shoppers: (Some of the words I underlined to highlight)

Pret: We aim to create an enjoyable atmosphere in all of our shops. Taking into account how busy the shop is, please rate the atmosphere in the shop at the point of entry.
Mystery Shopper: The atmosphere was enjoyable. The staff members that I came into contact with were helpful and polite.

Pret: We aim to keep the exterior of our shops looking inviting at all times – this includes: the outside seating area, the outside signage, outside windows and door frames and outside entrance area. Please rate how inviting the shop was from the outside, bearing in mind how busy the area was.
MS: The cleanliness of the exterior was exceptional. The windows, door frames and signage were very clean.

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

Pret: We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was?
MS: I received my hot drink very quickly, after 30 seconds, quick service.

Screenshot of comment:

MS Mystery 15 seconds to Mars

It took 30 seconds in above and 20 seconds in below screenshot to get the drink. And then customers go on Twitter complaining why they received a half empty cup, or their coffee is too cold etc. I wrote in the YouTube slide that customers are happy to wait 10 minutes at Starbucks, but are not willing to wait 2 minutes at Pret. Pret has spoiled customers and the speed of service is to have a fast customer flow = money flow.

20 seconds drink

 

Pret: We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.
MS: Team members should smile at customers and may be not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.

Screenshot of above comment:

2014-12-01 MS cough

 

Pret staff not only lose a day’s wages when sick per day, but also the whole week’s bonus.

A Tweet by a Pret staff on this sickness policy forcing her to work while having the flew:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

 

Another upset staff member on the sickness policy, losing income:

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

 

Pret: We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole shop team during your visit.
MS: The team member was friendly but to be engaged and positive, the team member could have made small talk or a friendly remark.

Pret: Was any one member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or absolutely outstanding?
MS: No.

If there was outstanding service, then the MS would briefly describe and this 1 Team Member or Manager would get the “outstanding card”, which is not literally a card, but the £100 or if perfect scores the £200 cash reward. That’s why staff compete for this and “bounce” around like seemingly happy bunnies on speed!

This is what an MS wrote about a TM’s outstanding service:

Pret: Was any one member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or absolutely outstanding?
MS: [Name of TM] was the team member who served me. I thought that she offered a charming service. [Name of TM] is female, about 5′ 6″ tall, with medium length, blonde hair worn in a ponytail, and was not wearing glasses. She went out of her way to be friendly and engaging, and even brought over my toastie for me. I was made to feel as though my custom was valued.

In this case the TM got the £200 because the overall scores of the shop was perfect. If some points were missing, the TM would have gotten £100 reward. Even if the whole shop Team lost the bonus, the TM could still get the cash reward of £100 as their individual reward if the Mystery Shopper is blown away by their service.

If Team bonus is lost, whoever responsible for losing the bonus because that person didn’t smile for example, this person will get fear managed and peer pressured.

I was told of by my boss because I coughed while the Mystery Shopper as I was sick. The Mystery Shopper commented on this that staff should stay home when sick as I wasn’t feeling cheerful enough to smile while sick. What the MS doesn’t know nor seems to care about is, that staff are not paid sick leave the first 2 – 3 days, depending on age.

So, we had to constantly decide if to stay home and lose income, ro go to work and risk losing Mystery Shopper bonus for the whole and then get in trouble.

I wrote it in other places several times that Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper scheme that forces emotional labour is emotional abuse. PAMSU who got fired for starting a Union called this scheme “humiliating” and challenged Pret to end the Mystery Shopper scheme.

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link to Pret A Manger Staff Union Tweet demanding to Pret and CEO at the time, quote: “@pret @Cliveschlee Dismantle the humiliating mystery shopper!”

To cut this short, I write and collect on the subject of forced Emotional Labour on low-wage staff in the service industry. It is amazing how people don’t want to accept that low- paid workers are forced to smile all day and most people seem to enjoy getting “stroked” in their own emotions by low-wage staff. What PAMSU called “humiliating” I go a step further and call this “emotional prostitution”. Staff who have to top up their low pay, compete for Mystery Shopper cash rewards and recognition.

I was bullied during bereavement when I couldn’t always smile. But when I did smile while being traumatized and on autopilot, my bosses never bothered to encourage me whatsoever. Only when a negative comment came, did they see it fit to warn me and my colleagues.

Mystery Shopper bonus count towards the largest chunk of Manager’s and Upper Managers’ quarterly bonuses. So, the pressure on this fake happiness is the biggest on staff.

If anyone who regularly goes to Pret really cares about this, I collected writings on Emotional Labour: The Dangers of Emotional Labour

One particular article by Sophie McBain in the New Statesman, I want to highlight, which describes perfectly how harmful Emotional Labour is:
How Emotional Labour Harms us all

https://poetrasblok.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/emotional-labour-statesman-article.jpg?w=755&h=421

I end with a quote from another excellent article on this by Timothy Noah:
“The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger”.

And I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

Timothy Noah quote, highligths by me:

»For a good long while, I let myself think that the slender platinum blonde behind the counter at Pret A Manger was in love with me. How else to explain her visible glow whenever I strolled into the shop for a sandwich or a latte? Then I realized she lit up for the next person in line, and the next. Radiance was her job. …

Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self.

Why do Pret workers accept the customer’s emotional state as their personal responsibility? … In England, the vast majority of Pret workers are foreign immigrants, but that seems less true here [USA]. “My only thought,” says Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown, “is that it is such a buyer’s market in the labor market—because of so many unemployed workers per job—that employers can get away with a lot of demands on their workers that ordinarily wouldn’t be possible.” In other words—shhhh!—Pret clerks love-bomb customers for the money…«

Timothy Noah in the New Rebublic

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger in a Nutshell: Leeches, Predators

 

Like I already said, Pret A Manger sucks!

There are quite a few new reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed, but I have no time to keep presenting it on a silver platter. Do your own homework, people!

But this one I want to give an extra blog entry, pheeeww, because it shows the arrogance and exploiting nature of upper management in Pret A Manger.

This is even from a Team Leader of 10 years experience. High five bro/sis!

This video describes Pret in a nutshell! Beautiful detail here. I love his choice of words, “how leeches wait and ambush”, and how this is visible in the “ambush area down there”. Leeches attack from the bottom, because they are not in a position to lead. But that’s another story.

 

25. Nov. 2019 Review: The Pret parties mentioned here are the two main big summer and winter parties, and I assume the Friday night drinks that Pret spends money on to appear like a fun company.

2019-11-26 leeches Indeed TL review

Link

This also reminds me of a review from NY and how HQ staff “fiddle” with employees and the arrogance of upper management:

Las Vegas

 

The touching bit was also something Timothy Noah expanded on in his brilliant article in The New Republic on emotional labour in Pret. He zoomed in on the touching that former CEO Clive Leech, uhm, Schlee is looking for, quote:

»Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self. And these cops require literal stroking. In other workplaces, touching a co-worker may get you fired, but at Pret you have to worry about not touching co-workers enough. “The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Here are some tangible Glassdoor scores:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

And here’s a video of how it looks like when the Unions get involved:

P.S. I am the ant with the red arrow! Thank you!

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Accused of Racism

 

In my experience in Pret with the bullying culture and favouritism, racism is a subject that is present but denied across the board. At Pret’s Head Office the majority of staff are Brisith Caucasian, some Germans, some French, a few Black and Asian people. The majority of people working on the front-lines in shops are foreigners.

Before I link to The Voice’s article from 2012 I remember an incidence that still saddens me today, and it frustrates me that I didn’t respond faster.

Racism, I felt, does happen, but not only from white towards black, but from one country to another. And for any new reader to my story, I am a German Caucasian having worked on the “front-lines” in shops for years. In my first year in Pret, I just started my leadership role and was still new-ish to the whole concept of Pret. I realized early on that Pret is quite complex and micromanaging, but I put my sleeves up and went to work. In that first shop where I started early as a leader, one staff member who was also new, worked in the kitchen, and was from India.

His name I will never forget because it matched his personality. His name was Lovelu, and although his English wasn’t as fluent and he seemed to have been slow in the kitchen, he was lovely! He brought me to laugh, had a funny personality. He was new and worked in the kitchen for a few weeks.

One late morning I came to work for my late shift and was stopped immediately by the Assistant Manager when she saw me entering the shop. She urged me to go straight to the staff-room to Lovelu. I was often sent to Team Members by management when they needed someone to calm down a person. I usually had a coffee first thing when I came to work, as I was always 15-30 minutes early to have a slow start in the shop before work, but the AM sent me to the staff room immediately. I asked why, but she didn’t say, she just said, “please go to the staff-room.”. When I entered the staff-room, Lovelu was sitting there unusually quiet and serious looking. I asked him as usual “how’s it going”, and he looked at me with a perplexed look saying that he just got fired.

What??? Why?? Supposedly he was too slow in the kitchen! Aha? Okay? Hm!

I was still speechless, and still new to Pret and my leadership role, I couldn’t react fast enough, so in my own perplexed state I just waffled something to Lovelu, like I’m sorry and that I thought he was great etc. What pissed me off as well was that the AM didn’t even have the guts to fire Lovelu herself, but got a Manager from a neighbouring shop to do the dirty work, as our Manager was on holiday. But later I said to the AM that before they fire someone, please place them in the shop, I can take them under my wing and if they don’t improve within let’s say 2 weeks, in whatever area the management is unhappy with, then fair enough. But give them a chance, as some people were better in the kitchen, others in the shop. And Lovelu should have been put in the shop, where his personality would have bloomed and the much coveted Mystery Shopper rewards would have increased, I’m sure. Pret demands staff to smile, be friendly and chatty at all times, and for Lovelu this came naturally. He truly had a lovely personality, it was effortless for him to smile and crack jokes. He had a mischievous, cheeky personality that was refreshing!

He was from India, the Assistant Manager and most of the kitchen staff were from a certain country I will not name here, as I don’t want to come across racist towards this country or people. But I couldn’t help to think that Lovelu’s “fault” was not that he was slow in the kitchen, he probably was slow, but he was a male in a predominantly female group of workers, and he was the only Indian guy in the shop.

Another guy who worked with me in the shop was also slow, never smiled and because of his lack of smiling he lost us all the bonus one time when he served the Mystery Shopper. But he was from the same country the Assistant Manager was from and was even recruited by this AM, so his lack of smiling and slow service got him off the hook many times.

One recent review from the new LAX Pret shop beautifully puts into words what Lovelu experienced:

2019-10-10 NY Strokes Folks

Link

It didn’t make sense at all why he was fired with such a beaming personality! But this gave me a lesson to not be quiet and from then on when I got wind that a Team Member was about to be fired or put in a possition they didn’t like, I spoke with the Manager and asked if they can be put under my wing so-to-speak. Sometimes Managers listened and gave that TM another shot, other times they didn’t.

I’ve seen these ganging up situations many times in Pret when the majority of the Team are from a certain country, because the management is from that country. Good luck if you’re not from that country!

A Leader review, London 2013:

2013 Racism Review

Link

Another Team Leader review from London, 2019:

2019-03-08 TL - Rasism Racism - RVW25061701

Link

An Italian review on racism:

Italian review racism

Link

 

A USA review on racism:

USA 2013 Review racist

 

There’s a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co, and why Cliver Schlee, former CEO, left with this legacy:

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

There are countless more reviews and complaints on various platforms along the lines of racism, slavery, favouritism etc., not just on Glassdoor and Indeed. But I just stumbled across a 2012 article by The Voice of two black employees who are very specific in describing their experience. And their experience sounds very familiar of the systemic bullying environment in Pret A Manger.

The claim that Pret treated them as “slaves” is a very common complaint on Review sites and YouTube etc. I can post many more reviews on this, but just post one more from recently which is even from a Manager. And I can underline that claim, But the “modern slavery” claim is not just due to colour or country, this is due to an abuse of power and the rampant exploitation in Pret. I am Caucasian from Germany and have been exploited and bullied, even or especially during bereavement! And I was bullied and exploited also by black management and various nationalities across the board. My story is in the audio player at the bottom of this page. But I agree that there is racism in Pret.

GM slavery

Link

Link to The Voice article.

Full text below, quote:

»TWO BLACK employees have accused fresh food retail chain Pret A Manger of racism, claiming they were treated as “slaves” at one of the company’s outlets.

Deborah Ainon and Leyo Mbolo, who are now participating in a grievance process within the company told The Voice they wrote to company CEO, Clive Schlee, to raise concerns over ‘the real examples of modern day slavery’ they have faced over the last few months at a Pret outlet in east London.

Humiliation

Ainon and Mbolo, both originally from France, told how they had written several letters to Schlee after being subjected to humiliation, ‘discrimination and racism’ and ‘bullying and harassment’ at the King William, east London branch of the food retailer.

Ainon said her experience of prejudice included being singled out and put in situations where she felt ‘humiliated’. She said for example, on one occasion, she was forcibly stopped and searched in front of customers at the store’s entrance, the only employee to be stopped on that day without any warning or reason.

She said a fellow employee was told that he was to stop her and search for ‘company property’, to see whether she had taken food from the store, which was against company policy. She said this incident happened in front of customers.

In a second incident, Mbolo was given file notes and had a discussion about improving her performance in front of customers. She said one customer, who allegedly witnessed the discussion, said to Mbolo later that he “suspected it to be either a warning or some form of blame”. Mbolo said she felt ‘humiliated and embarrassed’ after this statement.

Both Ainon and Mbolo alleged they were given a huge work load and told to meet unrealistic targets and often worked ‘42 hours a week’ when in fact they were only contracted to work ‘30 hours’, without getting paid for overtime.

They claimed they were denied sick leave and had to be signed off by doctors because of stress.

Both also claimed that black co-workers at Pret, who had been working at the establishment around 12 years, were only ‘earning £7 per hour’. They also claimed one manager would ‘block the promotion of people whose colour does not please you.’

In a statement on June 26, a Pret A Manger spokesperson told The Voice: “Leyo Mbolo and Deborah Ainon are both currently employed by Pret. We can confirm that a personnel process is underway with every effort being made to investigate and resolve their issues. As such, it is not possible for us to comment any further.”«

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

Some more “slavery” reviews from different years and different cities/countries like London, NY, Chicago etc.

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

 

TITLE 2018-10-18 Slave Company

 

2019-06-01 TM - Just Ugh Slave - RVW26426142 marked

 

TITLE 2017-06-15 TM NY - Workers are Slave - RVW15492936 crop

 

2014-11-11 Kitchen Prep NY - Horrible Overworked Slave Fired Fast - RVW5359199

 

etc. etc. etc. etc………

For a detailed behind the scenes view of the systemic bullying environment at Pret, including at Head Office and Management complaints, please scroll down to the screenshots in this article:

>>> Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret A Manger.

 

And I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides:

>>> Why is Pret not investigated on Staff deaths?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

People are to Blame

 

A beautiful Tweet just made my day (or night, being the “late night girl” that I am).

I have been writing about my Pret ordeal now openly since May 2018.

1.5 years.

In those 1.5 years the majority of people are silent.

Some comment, some follow, some block, some get angry. But most are silent. And when some speak out with “empathy”, the most common thing I read is, “Well, this is in most corporations, isn’t it…”

Yeah, that’s a good cop-out! That’s what people say in all systemic situations. That’s what they said before the #metoo movement started to kick butt! It’s just men, that’s what they do. Let’s put our heads into the sand. Let’s look away. Let’s accept and let’s obey, because it’s just the way it is.

 

be-careful-when-blindly-following-the-masses-sometimes-the-m-26295700

 

In a nutshell this acceptance and attitude is plain complacency and cowardliness. It is easier to stroke and fill our tummies with cheap free bribes and tuck ourselves away, getting slow cooked like frogs. Beautiful. Dead before we realize!

I appreciate the ones who comment and support, and I value and love when people engage, even in anger, because it means they care!

But the majority is silent. The silent onlooker and bystander who turn their heads are the worst. Give me anger, cuss me out, call me names! I’ll put a .com behind it! There have been even recruited Tweets lately on the smiley customer service to counter my writings, you will understand once you know my “campaign”. Pret again imitating what I’ve been doing with all the staff reviews (below slideshow).

I’ve had people who in their honesty, taken off-guard said something like, “Why are you doing this to me?”, when I  pointed out the bullying reality behind the smiley Pret facade. The person was shocked and disappointed at Pret, but angry with me for destroying their illusions.

 

Illusion

 

Another Tweeter literally said after I posted the staff complaints and reviews, “I wish I wouldn’t have mentioned Pret”.

And I emphasize with them, because Pret does put on a great show, a beautiful mask, a brilliant picture! The slogans are in place, the smiles are engraved in people’s minds, and the freebies are the cheapest bribe people settle with. I was fooled myself as a staff member by a friendly CEO who liked to be approachable. But I didn’t realize that his approach was the same as the approach of the Ronald McDonald clown that lured little kids and their mums into the business. Catchink!

My story with Pret is in the audio player at the bottom of this post.

Yes, companies have a responsibility and they will have to answer for the stuff they put on others. It may take a while, but the buck will stop at the right person eventually. And the ones who got away, leave a legacy behind.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

But without the people who support these profit-driven companies, customers who close their eyes, because their belly is more important than the suffering they are confronted with, without these customers these companies wouldn’t be able to flourish on the suffering of humans and animals. Let’s close our eyes and blame the foreigners and the big companies and plastic and them over there. I ain’t my fault! Why are you doing this to me?! I wish I wouldn’t have mentioned Pret!

No. People are to blame. Everyone of us who puts a penny into this.

 

2019-11-26 People are to blame

Link

For a good view behind the Pret smiles, please scroll down to the screenshots on this post >>> Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger.

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Help less the Helpless

 

The Elephant in the room!

When I learned of my brother’s death, not only that he was dead, but already cremated and we didn’t know for 5 weeks that he was dead and gone, I went into a state of shock I am just now after almost 5 years coming out of slowly.

Those who know my story, also know that Pret A Manger, the company I worked for 7 years at the time, bullied me and under the watchful eye of HR very quickly tried to get me out of Pret.

Because I fought and kept standing up, Pret searched and found a way to gaslight me and finally get rid of me, as bereaved employees are an inconvenience for Pret, as they are for many profit-driven companies.

My full story is in the audio player interview at the bottom of this post.

But in all my shock, trauma and the complex turmoil I went into, I made the mistake most people make who’ve never encountered this kind of work situation: I kept giving Pret the benefit of the doubt. I’ve never experienced the type of toxic workplace, until I came to Pret. I blamed myself as I was also in deep shock over my brother’s death. A multi-million (by now billion) pound company that did not know, nor care what to do with me; a company that has the money and could get the resources to support an employee, especially a longstanding staff member with a good rapport at work. I even researched myself with ACAS and passed those resources on to Pret. Here I was, low-paid, bereaved, traumatized, in shock … and giving this rich company resources! Hello? But it took a deep, dark and long valley to finally wake up that Pret has no interest in truly helping people, but rather suck the life-blood out of them.

One of the many Tribunal cases Pret lost was after having fired a staff member, and the Judges ruled that Pret’s HR hearings are “fundamentally flawed” (I can verify that from experience) and further said, quote:

»We conclude that the respondent did not carry out as much investigation as was reasonable in all circumstances of the case … The respondent is a large sophisticated employer and there was no reason put forward why it failed to comply with the Code.« Tribunal ruling at the bottom of page 11 (at 15 and check mark)

And there are many, many other things Pret does which cannot be excused as they are this “large sophisticated” employer. And staff will always speak bluntly in anonymity and there is a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co, and the legacy Clive Schlee, now former CEO leaves behind, with the new CEO Pano Christou not being better under private equity greed.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

38 26 Header

 

I collected a lot of staff reviews on the bullying culture in Pret and added screenshots with links, so that people don’t just need to take my word for it. I also continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides, having survived myself. Link to staff reviews on the bullying environment including in head office.

But on helping the helpless, which often is the opposite of help, hence the “help less the helpless” wordplay, I want to briefly give some tips to people who care but don’t know what to do.

This is about help for people who suffer trauma, become bereaved, receive terrible health news, victims of crime and any other traumatic event that pulls the rug from under their feet.

I have had all the types of reactions we all experience in our lives when we go through painful times. And these painful times can also be divorce, separation, job loss, loss of status or reputation, or even that you are a teenager with lots of friends and your parents move you across the country to another state where you don’t know anybody! That will be grief as well! And the heavy events like trauma, accidents, victims of crime, grief etc.

Apart from the bullying from Pret that I write extensively about, I want to concentrate on two types of people. The one type are the people that are friends, colleagues, strangers, even healthcare professionals who turn their backs on you when you go through immense trauma. The people who feel helpless or even don’t care and you see a big dust cloud behind them.

The other type of people are those who care and who want to help, but they don’t know how. To these latter people I am writing.

One of the common things a bereaved or traumatized person hears from well-meaning people is: “If you need anything, let me know” or “Call me anytime if I can do something” or “I’m here for you”.

Those are truly well-meaning words, especially when they are authentic and people really want to help. The difficulty with this is, that the person who just got their rug pulled from under them does not know what help they need nor want. And if they know, they are too concerned to be a burden to ask for help.

I went through it all. I didn’t know and then didn’t ask for help, especially at the beginning. Other times I was so in pain and grief that I screamed out, and still do today at times. Other times I was angry and pushed people away because of the bullying in Pret on one side and being abandoned by friends on the other side. I couldn’t see straight ahead anymore nor distinguish real helpers from those who tricked me (again, my story in below audio player).

And those I pushed away or lashed out in anger, when they withdrew it’s completely understandable. I don’t blame those who tried to help and want to protect themselves from my anger.

I have also painfully found that some people just “offer” vague help like, “If you need anything, let me know…” and when I couldn’t verbalize what I needed because I was too broken, those people then would say things like, “Well, I offered help, but you didn’t take it” – (typical Pret response after I reached out for a year and Pret then started with support to just cover themselves).

If you want to help a friend or colleague who is suddenly thrust into loss, devastating health issues etc., the number one ingredient is: Do NOT be afraid!

I don’t consider myself a Believer anymore, not because I lost my brother or was bullied at work during the worst time of my life, I know bad stuff happens and will happen to all of us. But I lost my belief because those who claim to know God showed me that there cannot be a God. And no, if you are a Believer, don’t make it too easy on yourself by giving the usual one-size-fits all answer “trust only in God and not in people” bla bla! And the usual “we pray for you” bla bla. Yes, go away, pray and bla, and leave me the hell alone!

But I have studied the Bible for years, and I do say, that a lot of the verses in the Bible make much more sense now after having gone through my own darkest and scariest valley. One such verse is: »There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.« – 1 John 4:18 (NIV)

Of course I cannot compare a “love” for ones own child to the love towards a friend or colleague. And yes, I know the difference between eros, phileo and agape and all the other types of “love”. But to zoom in on what I mean, any good parent knows that they would go through fire if they have to save their child from pain or harm. When you love someone and you see them in pain or danger, you forget fear, fear doesn’t exist, you are only focused on getting some kind of relieve for that person. In a bereaved person, not getting a solution or answer to their loss, but some tiny bit of relieve of the chaos and utter darkness. In Biblical terms, the famous cold cup of fresh water to a burning soul (Mt. 10:42).

This reminds me of a nurse in A&E (ER), when I dragged myself early one morning during a panic attack, thinking I’m having a heart attack. My heart was racing and my chest felt like a balloon that was filling up with water, about to burst. After registering with a nurse, she pointed me to a seat to wait. She was kind, but as a nurse I was gobsmacked when she offered me coffee!!!! In disbelief I mumbled to her, “My heart is racing and you want to give me caffeine???” She quietly went and brought me some water. I felt ashamed to have had an expectation that a nurse should be aware of these things.

That is why I am weary of “friends” who claim to care or love, because the next moment they blame me for being distraught, helpless and angry. And if anyone who claims to be a friend is afraid of me, then they never knew me. I don’t fear people anymore after what I’ve been through, but if I do fear someone from time to time, then only because I don’t know them.

Since my brother died and then my father and the chain reaction of losses that death sparks, I love Elephants!

I have always loved these gentle giants, but now even more learning how they grieve, how they come together to help a fellow Elephant, very actively, very passionately. They also help a weak Elephant that got in trouble. In the first video though, I wish they would have either put a different song and raised the volume of the moderator, or not put any music at all and maybe try and get the Elephant sounds if there were any.

But Elephants are “hands-on” in their grief and investigating!

 

This second video is precious!

 

This third video is heart-breaking but incredible where Elephants desperately try to help a dying calf, trying to lift it up again and again. This will break your heart, but please watch this!
At around 1:05 minutes when one Elephant gently puts its left leg on the little one, as if to feel if it’s still alive or to give it a warm touch to not give up! So heartbreaking!
The commentator sounds Swiss and I can pick up her saying “the elephant is still alive, but it doesn’t get up…”

 

I can’t help but always emphasize how we human beings SUCK at grief, how we suck at helping others, and how we suck at letting others grieve! We humans have all the technology, knowledge, even money, but we often turn our back and in Pret’s case, even step on bereaved and sick people! I was STEPPED on in Pret when I was already on the ground! We can learn from animals like these grey, dry, thick-skinned, sensible and sensitive giants!

But to lift everyone’s spirits again, even the birth of an Elephant is a community effort and event!

 

So, I want to give some bullet points of how meaningful and effective help and support can look like. Keep in mind this may vary from person to person, but I found that a few similar things seem to help most people. MISTAKES allowed! But no blaming of the person who is paralyzed in grief and trauma! Don’t even dare to blame the person! You better run away with a big dust cloud behind you, then to blame the traumatized person!

  • ASK questions, DON’T make assumptions! Don’t give bullshit solutions as to why someone’s loved-one died if you don’t know. Rather ask what may have happened. For example, when we learned of my brother’s death we had no cause of death, not even an autopsy, no answers.
    Bad scenario: In the early days when I flew back and forth from London to Germany to run errands and support my family, my mum one time was extra distraught and silent. I asked her what’s going on and she said that an acquaintance of hers said to my mum that my brother probably ended his life, suicide. I became so angry and told my mum to not listen to people who make assumptions that the police didn’t confirm.
    Good scenario: One person who supported me early on (the ONLY line manager to support me) took me out for a drink on the second day of having met me to just speak, and she inquired about my brother. She ASKED a question after listening to what happened: “Do you think he got murdered?” For some this very direct question seems shocking, but for me it was okay, because it was a QUESTION, not an assumption! And it was a direct question that didn’t talk around the bush. Other good and safe questions, if you don’t want to be as direct can also be “What do you think happened?” … “Did anyone else say/see/hear anything…?” Neutral questions… you can never be wrong with honest QUESTIONS, but you can almost always be wrong with assumptions!

 

  • Don’t offer vague help like I mentioned above, “If you need anything, call me” etc. Tell the person what kind of help you can give. Be specific!
    If you know legal help, tell them, “If you need legal help, I know an organization, a website, a person etc. that can give good advise.”
    If you love cooking, offer the person food, and plainly cook for them, bring it over EVEN if they lost appetite. I worked in Pret, surrounded by free food every day, but I lost 35kg (25kg in the first 6 months of bereavement). My friends were just amazed at my rapid weight loss, but no-one was alarmed. My fridge was empty, not because I had no money for food, and I certainly had an abundant amount of FREE food at work, but I was exhausted, traumatized to go shopping. My fridge was empty. On my free days I couldn’t go shopping or cook! I was paralyzed in grief and shock. Cooking a meal for a bereaved person, or inviting them to a meal with friends has more to do with not leaving that person alone and having fellowship rather than just eat. A bereaved person WILL say no to invitations, but keep inviting them, keep bringing food unless they make it VERY clear that they do not wish for you to bring any more food etc.
    The more vague and chaotic the traumatized person is, the more specific and consistent you need to be. The traumatized, bereaved etc. person is on a free-fall without the bottom in sight.  Those who are in a good place mentally can bring stability within a hurricane.
    Offer to clean their house if you see that their surroundings become unusually chaotic, anything out of the ordinary, again offer stability and NORMALCY as best as possible. In 2015 I only cleaned my apartment 3 times, whereas before I cleaned my floors every 2 weeks at least (I don’t wear shoes at home to avoid the dirt from outside, keeping the apartment longer clean). I am known for being very clean and tidy, but that year especially you could SMELL the dust in my apartment! You could literally smell dust and see the footprints like in the snow! But those who came by, either didn’t notice or didn’t know what to do. If you are a good friend and know the person well, just grab a broom or the vacuum cleaner, offer them to walk their dog or babysit their children, especially when they need to run errands and have to work.
    Offer other bureaucratic help where they are overwhelmed with the paper work that accumulates when you lose someone.
    Anything you can help with, even the smallest of support, a listening ear, BE SPECIFIC in which area you can help, but be realistic in what you know you can do. Don’t promise something you can’t live up to, don’t say to call you anytime and then get upset when your phone rings at 10pm on Sunday evening. Switch the “If you need any help, call me” to “I can help you with such-and-such, do you want me to look into this? It’s very easy for me as I know this area very well…” etc. If the traumatized or bereaved person senses that this is NO problem for you to do, they will feel much more comfortable to accept help and ask for it.

 

  • Longevity: Do NOT give up. If the bereaved or traumatized person says “no” to an invitation to a Christmas dinner or other support you are specific about, don’t assume they say “no” to next year’s Christmas dinner or birthday party etc. And if they say “no” to the second Christmas dinner, ask them for the third year again, especially if before their loss you celebrated Christmas or Birthdays together every year.

 

  • DON’T TAKE THINGS PERSONAL!!! You are dealing with a person who lost someone, or experienced a traumatic event like rape, a criminal offense, break-in, robbery, injury, grief etc. Trauma is messy and there will be incidences where the person may lash out. This is no excuse and it is okay to tell the person that this hurts you, and to withdraw. But if you know the person usually to not lash out, it’s an indication that they are in a terrible place they don’t know how to get out of.

 

  • Avoid saying things like “You need a therapist”… I was told this many times by friends and strangers, but they told me this in their own anger. And many again did NOT ask questions. If they would have asked if I sought help, they’d know that I went through a dozen counselors since my brother died, but even 5 years later I still haven’t received a diagnosis and because I cannot afford a trauma specialist, I am being passed on from counselor to counselor, many of whom were in training. In England it is not that simple to get help for mental health. Anyone who’s been through this will know.

 

  • RESEARCH for professional help. If your friend has been raped or robbed or bereaved… research those events for help. But keep an open mind as every person is different and grieves differently. Don’t give solutions or answers to their grief, but support and practical help surrounding all the things that loss brings.

 

  • The main important thing, DON’T give up, don’t abandon your friend. Yes, withdraw for a while to refuel or protect yourself, pass on the baton to other friends who may have more strength. But if this is your friend, don’t give up.

 

There are countless other things that can be added, especially from an individual, subjective point of view, but the above I find are a core list of support. I am looking into research of different cultures, how they deal with trauma, grief, death, illness etc. I am aware that I live in the “wrong” society, where individualism is a big one, and most don’t know what to do with the subject of death and grief and tragedy in general.

Grieving parents Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds who lost their 22 year old son Joshua in an accident on a trip in Vietnam, started The Good Grief Project to openly work through their loss and also help other parents through their grief. They make documentaries with and for other grieving parents to start the conversation about death and grief. They work to raise the subject out of the taboo realm.

In 2018 they toured the UK with their film A Love that Never Dies” and did Q&A at the end of each screening. At the London screening, Jimmy Edmonds said in the Q&A, that in Victorian times people openly spoke about death and grieving. But it was taboo to speak about sex. And today it’s the complete opposite. And I agree, I am really tired of being thrown images and comments about sex in its most detailed form, in its most intimate acts people so flippingly share today with the whole world! Yet, the very subject we all face at any moment: death, dying, grief, loss, we avoid like the pest! We silence death to death!

Let’s talk about sex death, baby!

In memory of my big brother Thomas.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

There is a Place for You

 

After my brother died, after we learned he was gone, dead and cremated already, just gone… and Pret being Pret, going to town trying to get rid of inconvenient, bereaved, traumatized employees…. I was holding on to Pret, to friends, to anything in sheer shock to make sense.

I lost my faith, I lost every purpose, I lost friends of course, I lost meaning, I lost my mind.

When people die a lot of things come to mind that you never thought of before. I never realized that my brother was always gone. I must have assumed because he’s my big brother with special allowances, he could stay out longer, got more pocket money, got away with bad grades etc.

After I learned he was gone for good now, I was always out, looking for him, walking and working and fighting and defending my mere existence in a company that got away with two customer deaths, staff suicides I seek investigation, having survived… No, don’t minimize me to “just” a bereaved person. Pret A Manger staff have died by suicide. And I will keep asking for independent investigation into these deaths.

I held on to a company, and to people I thought were friends.

And an old song popped up once in a while that has nothing to do with my life, but a person beyond the masses. I held on to the song as well… And I hold on to justice. And despite the song, I need to hold on.

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant moon
Or on a silver screen
With the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
You just pass me by

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant screen
Or on a silver moon
Stolen late one night
With arms held high
Screaming take me away

I could watch you 1000 timeS
Row B Seat 13
Half a ticket
In the silver light
An entire universe between

There is a place for me
Far far away
Someone else’s dream
Or in a magazine
Postered over your bed
Put your hands to your head
Screaming take me away

I could watch you 1000 times
Row B Seat 13
Half a ticket in the silver light
An entire universe between

I’m the only one around
Not a sound
Just a breath of the settling
In the flickering light.

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant moon
Or on a silver screen
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
You just pass me by

—  “B-13” Jump, Little Children

Orchestra Version:

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger

 

I’d like to post an article by Timothy Noah from 2013 on the “Labor of Love – The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger”. This is a great article from an outside and a customer point of view, lucky enough who’s a journalist with a discerning eye. I want to highlight a few things, but the whole article can be found on the New Republic site. I will highlight in bold what I feel is important. But really worth reading the whole article!

Quote:

»For a good long while, I let myself think that the slender platinum blonde behind the counter at Pret A Manger was in love with me. How else to explain her visible glow whenever I strolled into the shop for a sandwich or a latte? Then I realized she lit up for the next person in line, and the next. Radiance was her job.«

»Pret A Manger—a London-based chain that has spread over the past decade to the East Coast and Chicago—is at the cutting edge of what the Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls “emotional labor.” Emotional because the worker doesn’t create or even necessarily sell a product or service so much as make the customer experience a positive feeling. Labor because, as Hochschild wrote in The Managed Heart (1983), the worker must “induce or suppress [his or her own] feeling” to achieve the desired effect in others. Creepy as it sounds, emotional labor is a growing presence in this economy, coming soon to a fast-food outlet near you.« …

»Pret doesn’t merely want its employees to lend their minds and bodies; it wants their souls, too. It will not employ anyone who is “here just for the money.” Noting that one Pret worker in London got fired soon after he tried to start a union—the company maintained it was for making homophobic comments—Myerscough suggested the worker’s true offense was being unhappy enough to want to start a union, since “Pret workers aren’t supposed to be unhappy.”«

»Emotional labor is not itself new. Prostitutes have faked orgasms for millennia. With greater sincerity (one hopes), undertakers calm the grieving, nurses comfort the sick, and migrant nannies lavish on other people’s children the love they aren’t present to furnish back home. Flight attendants, in the pre-feminist era, calmed jittery flyers by being pretty, friendly, even a little bit flirtatious; this ended with deregulation in the early ’80s as airlines stopped competing on service and started competing on price.«

»In all these instances, emotional labor served (legitimately or not) identifiable emotional needs. That’s not true at Pret. Fast-food service is not one of the caring professions. The only imperatives typically addressed in a Pret shop are hunger and thirst. Why must the person who sells me a cheddar and tomato sandwich have “presence” and “create a sense of fun”? Why can’t he or she be doing it “just for the money”? I don’t expect the swiping of my credit card to be anybody’s vocation. This is, after all, the economy’s bottommost rung.«

»Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self.«

Bingo! I want to add something here, one of many customer Tweets regarding the “smiles” and “cheer leading” that has even those business people and marketing gurus fooled:

Smile

 

2014 Smile by Contract

 

2013 Mandatory Smile

etc.

This “cheer leading” or what other people called “mandatory smile” and “smile by contract”, apart from the Team bonus for everyone, can also bring ONE Team Member what Pret calls an “outstanding card” (OC). An OC is not literally a card, it is a cash reward of now £100 or even £200 if the overall shop scores are perfect. So, even if the shop/team lose the bonus, because the shop was dirty or there wasn’t enough selection in the fridge (the Mystery Shopper COUNTS the product lines!), even with a lost bonus for the team, ONE individual Team Member can still get £100 reward if the Mystery Shopper is blown away by their extra kindness, smiles, generosity, chatting etc. It’s basically kissing butt all day in extreme stress for extra cash.

If the bonus is lost, the person or persons responsible for the loss get fear managed, at times even threatened with their job security. Even bereaved staff will find little mercy as I share my story at the very bottom audio player in an interview.

Welcome to Pret A Manger.

Further in the article:

»And these cops require literal stroking. In other workplaces, touching a co-worker may get you fired, but at Pret you have to worry about not touching co-workers enough. “The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Yep, Clive Schlee’s manipulating approach for profit!

Further in the article:

»In the three decades since Hochschild published The Managed Heart, the emotional economy has spread like a noxious weed to dry cleaners, nail salons, even computer-repair shops. (Think of Apple’s Genius Bars—parodied by The Onion as “Friend Bars”—where employees are taught to be empathetic and use words like “feel” as much as possible.)«

»Pret shops are typically located in neighborhoods that bustle with busy professionals whom Pret fusses over like the maître d’ at Alain Ducasse. The more the rich get used to fawning service, the more the rest of us—or rather, the rest of us who can afford to buy a sandwich rather than brown-bag it from home—find we rather like it, too. Eventually everybody will have to act like a goddamned concierge. I don’t want to believe this, but I fear it may be true.«

»Why do Pret workers accept the customer’s emotional state as their personal responsibility? For some, we may presume an extremely sunny personality that has merely found a serendipitous outlet. (They are selected for this quality, after all.) But what about the rest? In England, the vast majority of Pret workers are foreign immigrants, but that seems less true here. “My only thought,” says Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown, “is that it is such a buyer’s market in the labor market—because of so many unemployed workers per job—that employers can get away with a lot of demands on their workers that ordinarily wouldn’t be possible.” In other words—shhhh!—Pret clerks love-bomb customers for the money (which isn’t bad by fast-food standards).«

Bingo!

»Now that I know Pret’s slender blonde doesn’t love me, I prefer the human contact at a D.C. lunch counter called C.F. Folks. The food is infinitely better. But I also like that the service is slower, the staff is older and grumpier, and the prevailing emotion is “Get over yourself.” Try touching someone at C.F. Folks, and you just might get slugged.«

Beautiful! 😀

»The last thing Schlee looks at, to judge from my own experience, is whether the company returns calls from the press. I phoned Pret HQ twice, twice pushing “0” for “operator,” and twice got a recording. I twice left messages saying I was on deadline with a story about Pret, and in the second message I specified that the story was critical. My call was not returned, and I’m not convinced anybody ever even heard my messages. So much for the personal touch.«

Yep! Well observed!

Timothy Noah can be found on Twitter: @TimothyNoah1

I created a list of links to articles that deal with “emotional labour” (or “labor” for American readers): >>> The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I made a YouTube slide with only a few of the many questions weekly Mystery Shoppers are tasked by Pret to test low-wage staff on. Mystery Shoppers tests staff on things like the amount of selection during certain times, cleanliness of the shop, the overall atmosphere etc. But I concentrated mainly on the smiley and service questions.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Onlookers – Bystanders – Jump, Little Children

 

All of us who are looking for a home and our place, and being ourselves …

Two songs I listen to.

Maybe one day ANYONE of you could STOP being voyeurs, saying “wow”, and “interesting” and “OMG”, and start helping people!

 

2019-10-14 4ABWE - Wow Interesting stuff

 

2019-10-23 Wow - from Turkey

 

00 Oh my word

 

00 Shocking

etc. etc. etc.

 

Maybe one day ANYONE of you could STOP being voyeurs, who say “wow”, and “interesting” and “OMG”, and start helping people!

Helping people who otherwise die by suicide!

Would you do that?

Unions! Would you help workers?

Politicians, would you stop bullshitting?

Customers, would you stop expecting low-wage staff to change your diapers and be your psychologists!?

Tweeters, hey it’s easy to laugh in anonymity! Granted. You win!

 

 

 

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Cage the Elephant

 

because there’s no more room to spill the beans…

The elephant in the room is too much for people who want free coffees at Pret A Manger.

We don’t give a shit about 2 people who died.

We don’t give a shit about staff who suffer and kill themselves.

The media is in Pret’s pocket.

The Unions are distracted with politics.

Who are they?

They are them who are paralyzed.

Who am I?

I am one who lost a lot and didn’t go on a shooting spree.

I just wrote emails and I am proud of that!

So, maybe one day you will stop to be so fucking afraid and start to stand up! Would you do that?

And if you do, I’ll be there with and for you. But I have a feeling you are too ashamed and full of yourself to remember where your courage came from.

Until then, don’t wake me up. I need to sleep to gather strength for those who give a sh!t

>>> Pret A Manger Posh Trash vs Respectable Workers

 

>>> Brothers fighting for their Sisters

 

There’s a place for you

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Cheer Leader vs. Fear Leader

 

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

Guy Singh-Watson
Founder and CEO of employee-owned Riverford

 

THIS is how Leadership looks like that motivates its employees with respect and mutual inspiration (Employee owned company):

 

And THIS is how Fear Management looks like (Pret A Manger under Private Equity):

»Try your best not to work there … Bad management, always being ‘hounded’.«

Former Pret A Manger Staff

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Pret A Manger Hot Chocolate Saga

 

So, here’s the scoop:

Customers have been flocking to Twitter to express their outrage that there hasn’t been any Hot Chocolate available in all Pret’s (except for the odd chocolate sprinkles on the cappuccino!)

As usual Pret gives the “supplier” version as a reason why a product has not been available. I worked at Pret and when we had “issues” we were always instructed to say that it is due to a delivery issue.

Trouble is, the truth has a way to always sieve through, and an honest Team Member accidentally spilled the beans on the real reason why the choc powder isn’t available:

2019-11-04 Hot chocolate lie truth dairy allergen

Link

Thus forcing Pret to speak the (half) truth before going back to the “supplier” version:

2019 Hot Chocolate Lie vs Truth

Link

Why blame the supplier when Pret can just admit that they’re changing the recipe to non-dairy? A quick update or reminder that Pret is facing trial on 6th December 2019 in Bath after the second customer Celia Marsh, mother of five, died after eating traces of dairy in what she thought was a non-dairy wrap.

Photo: SomersetLive.co.uk

Link: >>> Pret A Manger and Planet Coconut face trial after allergen death, which also may be the reason why Pret has set aside £10 Million in legal costs.

Link: >>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal.

Mainstream media keeps quiet about the Hot Chocolate issue and only “report” on issues like new vegan options, or the Jambon Beurre that has been discontinued, and then re-introduced after a public “outcry”. Isn’t it interesting that the media has not mentioned the Hot Chocolate powder issue, even though the public is much louder about this? If you want to know the reality of Pret, you need to DIG and not swallow everything mainstream media (that is in Pret’s pocket) is dishing out.

So, here are only a few of the many of same responses that Pret keeps telling the public, copy and paste replies to try and keep the dairy issue silent:

2019-11-20 Hot Choc issue

Link

2019-11-20 Hot Choc issue2

Link

2019-11-20 Hot Choc issue3

Link

And so on and so forth…

The above Tweets are only from today, but this issue has been going on for weeks.

Quick reminder on the REAL reason:

2019 Hot Chocolate Lie vs Truth

Link

I write mainly on Pret staff issues and the bullying environment the public is unaware of.

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be pause

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

And the reason why staff smile so much under intensely stressful, loud, hot working conditions:

 

And the exploitative work environment in Pret:

 

And detailed examples of what staff say about the bullying environment in Pret, including Head Office. A customer recently witnessed first hand how staff are bullied:

Link: >>> Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger

Dear Public,

for the most part you are oblivious and unaware of how Pret A Manger treat their staff. There’s a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co where staff dare to speak out in anonymity. And the legacy Clive Schlee, now former CEO, leaves behind I can only underline with my own experience I share in the audio player at the bottom of this page.

Pret has been very successful in fooling the public and luring employees in with incentives and a smiley facade. But all I can say if you don’t want to believe the reality of Pret, is that if something looks too good to be true in a multi-billion pound company, especially now under private equity, TAKE A CLOSER LOOK!

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Tut Tut Tut – New MANAGER Review

Again, I’ve got little time to expand, but a new Manager review on Glassdoor just got dropped on my lap.

Quote:

“Not the kind and caring business it presents itself as to the outside world”

“I worked at Pret A Manger full-time for more than 3 years

Pros

Some amazing team members and staff who give their all and are wonderful to work with

Cons

Kind and hard working people don’t get recognised
Those willing to step on others make it to the top
Talk the talk but actually don’t live by the values they preach” Link

Nothing more to add!

 

Except, a similar review from a Team Member recently, quote:

“Not as they present it”

“Too much stress for poor pay. They expect you to work like machines so if you’re not fast enough you are not worth it for them. Managers are abusive and take advantage of team members. No balance between life/work, you spend all the time in there. Overtime is not payed.

Advice to Management

Don’t give all the job to one person when the store has a ton of employees.” Link

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the

Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:
©2019 expret.org
Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Tut Tut – New Review!

As I am busy in other areas of my life I will keep it short (hurray, you’ll say!) BUT… there are new rewiews and one I’d like to highlight…and it’s looong!

But again, I can underline this review.

On Indeed, Link: Disappointed

Full text (I don’t make any corrections and leave it in their own words):

Start quote:

Barista (Former Employee) – Birmingham, West Midlands13 November 2019

With previous barista/ management experience I was excited to start work at Pret. I had interview and trial shift and then was offered barista job.While on the job I understood that certain management have their
favourites giving them favours and allowing them to work less then
others.

If you had any problem with work or coworker, managers encouraged you not to speak out, but if you complained they do nothing.
They like to sweep thing under the carpet. If you complain to head
office, they will promise you support, but really do nothing about it.
Pay, they pay above minimum wage but not allowing you to accept tips. They promise you bonus which is good in quieter shops, but If you work in busy place like station, you always loose the bonus as it’s too busy to
keep shop clean and immaculate at all times. So you better of working In
quieter Pret, because you work less and get paid more.

The job itself very busy and energy consuming. You make coffee non stop, and their coffee calling system is more stressful than effective. They ask
you to remember 10 drinks at the time. After few months of bashing out
the drinks non stop I have developed triggered finger. It took five months for my finger to heal after leaving this job, but in some cases it requires a surgery to get triggered finger back to normal according to NHS. They ask baristas to be very outgoing and entertaining, to create the buzz. So if you have a quieter more introverted personality you might struggle, as you are required to put on a show all day every day, they call it Pret behaviour.

Strange thing was that Pret ask you to read and sign a lot of training programmes with their standards, but in reality staff and managers don’t follow the standards (especially the hygiene standards such as washing hands), they only follow standards when area manager is around.

Managers always messed
up with the pay, mostly underpaying you. So if you work for Pret, keep
track of the hours. You end up chasing your pay afterwards. Also keep track of the pension contribution they pay you, I had to chase them to pay all the amount they deducted from my pay. They did pay in the end months later.

Some manager crossed the line by using phrase like ’work my slaves’ and on several occasions manager was casually pinching staffs bottoms as if it was ok, but it is not ok.

Another annoying thing was that they promote use of foreign languages, so if you only speak English you might struggle, as most people speak foreign languages and they don’t care that some people feel isolated and left out, since most employees are foreign. If you mentioned that to manager, you get reply ‘Are you paranoid that they talking about you?’

Now the good things: you get paid break and free lunch. You also get paid, not always correct amount but at least get paid every week. And you getholiday pay, but then law requires them to pay you. Also you can take
all sandwiches home after finished work. Another good thing is that you
can have unlimited coffees, so if you like coffee like I do that’s a bonus.

It is almost like Pret once was a great company but then became too big to keep control and order, as they have everything on the paper, but very little in reality.

Personally I would not recommend to work for Pret to a friend. But that’s just my observation based on working in two different Pret shops.”

End Quote


I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the

Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:
©2019 expret.org
Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pushing Back Against Pret – Scottish Left Review

My second article in the Scottish Left Review. A link to my first article can be found at the bottom of this page. An update on developments in Pret A Manger and a connection between some reactions to my blog.

Link to second article: Pushing back against Pret – making headway against malevolent management

2019-11-15 2nd Scottish Left Review article

Full article:

‘Late Night Girl’ reports on her continuing campaign for fairness and justice at Pret-A-Manger

As I continue to recuperate and come to terms with everything that happened in my personal life and from work since my last article (‘On the frontline: crushed by corporate capitalist culture’, Scottish Left Review, May/June 2019), a lot has happened in Pret. I continue to write blog posts about my Pret experience, other staff continue to contact me telling me of their experiences, and on Twitter customers still complain about ongoing mislabelling of food, even after two customers have died. The first customer, 15-year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, died from unlabelled allergen in a baguette, and the second person, mother of five Celia Marsh, died from dairy traces in a non-dairy product.

Apart from getting some normal and much expected criticism, I also receive a lot of public positive feedback from customers/readers on Twitter as well as encouraging messages in private. Every single day at least one person is new to my writings which still astonishes me after writing for over a year! I can also see the statistics on my website and how it has increased since last year. People are astonished and surprised to learn about Pret, as Pret has been successful in putting on a happy and ethical front for years.

I have uploaded to my website reviews of staff working at Pret that are to be found on Glassdoor, Indeed, and other social media. I have also kept an eye on Pret worldwide developments including lawsuits, in particular two over wages which Pret settled in New York, repaying 4,000 workers. This has shown that it is much harder for workers in Britain to obtain justice through the courts compared to in the US, where Pret is constantly sued by staff, customers and other organisations on various issues.

I’m also of the opinion that I’m continually disappointed by the ongoing unprofessional conduct of Pret and its leadership. On 30 June 2019, I checked casually on Pret CEO, Clive Schlee’s Twitter feed and found a tweet by a person to Schlee wishing him well on his retirement. But no official announcement had been made on this issue. Schlee responded to the well-wisher on the same day yet did not respond to two tweets by a customer on 29 June 2019 regarding hellish work conditions in a shop, where the air conditioning was broken for a prolonged time.On 1 July 2019 after I wrote a blog entry on Schlee’s ‘legacy’ given that on Glassdoor only 44% of staff recommended working at Pret and only 50% of staff endorsed him, I tweeted to the press about Schlee’s retirement. After my tweet, the first tweets started to flood in about his retirement after Pret’s HQ was contacted and confirmed the news. Also, Pret and then Schlee circulated the official announcements of his retirement set for September 2019. Within an hour a person tweeted a response to Pret that the new CEO, Pano Christou, has his work cut out for him, as Pret and Schlee have poor Glassdoor reviews.

In mid-July, Christou was placed on Glassdoor, even though Schlee’s official retirement was set for September. On 20 September 2019, Pret then tweeted a last Tweet bidding farewell to Schlee , who is still present (at the time of writing in mid-October) on Twitter as the CEO of Pret. Also on 1 July 2019, Christou deleted his Twitter account after I made a link to it on my blog entry on Schlee’s legacy. I was blocked by Christou though I am not being blocked by Pret and Schlee as I believe they both keep my Tweets for a potential court case after I withdrew my Tribunal claim  when my dad died and I went deeper into trauma and was not able to finance a lawyer.  It was notable that there were very few tweet responses, ‘likes’ and retweets for this announcement compared to the previous year.

Why, you might ask, is all of this necessary and important? It is to show how arrogant, insensitive and unprofessional the leadership of Pret appears to be when it does not even officially announce Schlee’s retirement (at 60) and while he remains as a non-executive director in the background. There is also the clumsiness of Schlee’s responding to a well-wisher before giving an official retirement announcement and the seeming indifference, portrayed in the lack of action, after two customers died and before that news became ‘public’. Overall, I believe, this story shows how when private equity takes over and with Pret expanding into having a huge high street presence, the company shows no ethical understanding of its responsibility to customers and employees alike.

I can only speculate on why Schlee finally stepped down. But it is hard not to think that the poor handling of customer deaths, my blog confronting Pret and Schlee, the negative staff reviews that I collated and posted, and the various lawsuits have not somehow tipped the scales against him.

After what Pret put me through in bullying and gaslighting me, I still struggle with anger and post-traumatic behaviour so that I have difficulties trusting people when I am contacted by former and current Pret staff and others. I have written the most comprehensive website on Pret-A-Manger from a behind the scenes look on various subjects on which the company  falls short. The disappointment and anger I feel is heightened by that fact that Pret is neither responding to me nor confronting me legally after all the fear management, threats, bullying, tricks and traps they put me through.

This shows what impact one very active and dedicated person on social media can have. If this was to be replicated many times over, I believe that ‘impact’ could turn into ‘influence’. Pret certainly will not change from the inside and from the top for the better by its own volition. The hope is that this outside pressure and Pret being the perfect example of striving for ever increasing profits backfiring in the long run will create a ‘perfect storm’. Sure, Schlee, Christou and the other top leaders will have rich retirements and enjoy the fruits of the low-wage workers’ labour they employed. But the legacy they leave behind is not something I would want to swap for – and not for any amount of money.

‘Late Night Girl’ also tweets at https://twitter.com/LateNightGirlMe and has a website at https://expret.org.
One of her most recent blog posts look at the quote of Clive Schlee’s wife where she said that ‘any god damn fool can run Pret’ (https://expret.org/2019/09/21/pret-a-manger-has-a-new-fool/)


I posted the Tweets (screenshots and links) that I mentioned in above article in a blogpost, so that people don’t just take my word for it:

Foot in Mouth Disease at Pret A Manger

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:
©2019 expret.org
Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Face Trial after Allergen Death

 

Trial set for 6th December 2019

Via SomersetLive.co.uk

LINK: >>>Pret A Manger and Planet Coconut will go on trial after allergy death <<<

 

0 Trial

Photos: SomersetLive.co.uk

And now I understand the recent news that Pret set aside £10m for food allergy scandal. Via TheGrocer.co.uk

>>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal <<<

£10m

 

Sometimes a voice is a whisper

 

I screamed, sometimes in silence, often online, while serving Custards. Yes, custards!

Smiling, pretending happiness, hurting, keeping the 1 minute rule, diving into the bridge.

There are people who give voices to people who can’t speak.

 

Yet.

 

@AquiRosemarie @1AdamParadox @IanBFAWU @CarynWalker …

… gave me a voice, a click, a like, an RT, an ear, they never gave up on me.

That’s good enough for me.

I shook hands with @CATPOWER (remember Patti Smith’ words), ate with an artist I grew up with, and kicked the fucking butt of a company.

But I never answered my brother’s email.

I’m learning to do better next time.

Dear Opportunist,

you can make money, but money won’t make you.

 


 

I like to rewrite lyrics. There are too many heartbreak and love songs. I want to rewrite Rihanna’s “Stay” to a life song. Cat Power does a brilliant cover again:

…Round and around, and around, and around we go

Not really sure how to feel about life
Something in the way it moves
Makes me feel like I can’t leave it behind
It takes me all the way
I want to stay

Oh, the reason I hold on
Oh, ’cause I need this hole gone

Funny we’re the broken ones
But I’m not the only one who needs saving
‘Cause when you never see the light
It’s hard to know which one of us is caving

Not really sure how to feel about life
Something in the way it moves
Makes me feel like I can’t leave it behind
It takes me all the way
I want to stay, stay
I want to stay

 

(Rihanna cover Chan Marshall)

Clive Schlee, please read

 

You are still presenting yourself on Twitter as the CEO of Pret, even though Pano Christou (who deleted his Twitter account after I tweeted to the press) is the new CEO now.

CEO

You continue to make the public believe that you are the CEO, and they keep tweeting to you with requests. Pret continues to maintain that it was founded in 1986 by two college friends!

You’ve let the wolves of private equity in, and handed over your employees like sheep for the slaughter!

I read a review which a GM left on Glassdoor on 31. October.

This review broke my heart!

This GM is about to lose his or her family!

2019-10-31 GM - Slavery - RVW30135565

 

An Assistant Manager lost his family already, and who knows how many more did.

Sheriff

 

In my 10 years in Pret, in over a dozen shops, I have only worked with 2 amazing Managers, who worked their freaking butts off and supported their Teams and Leaders.

Since Bridgepoint, and now even worse JAB, Managers are stretched to breaking point, losing their families, crying in the office. Really?

I appreciate that more Managers care, after all the bullying Managers bullshitting their way up. But I do NOT appreciate that they lose their families or get so unwell, they might lose their life!

You sneak out quietly, while remaining steady on Twitter?

Your staff are retiring from you, Mr. Schlee! You just haven’t accepted it yet!

While you sit in Austria enjoying your life and checking my blog from time to time?

Staff suicides not independently investigated yet?

Customer deaths already forgotten?

No, sir!

Not on my shift!

 

—>>> Customer witnessed bullying 4 days ago

 

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer3

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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