How Twitter Censorship Looks Like

 

Here is a VERY common occurrence of Twitter’s censorship, called “shadow banning”:

Links to Tweets underneath the screenshots

 

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets1

Tweets are hidden behind “Show more replies” to not be immediately visible to viewers who are too busy and rushed to spot Tweets. In my case, Pret does not want my writings visible.

 

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets2

Link to above screenshots: 1st Tweet will be visible.

 

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets3

2nd Tweet is HIDDEN from the public on that feed, but visible via @XpretXpert’s Tweets & Replies feed.

3rd Tweet is behind “1 more reply”:

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets4

3rd Tweet LINK is visible at first, but will not be seen when clicking on “Show more replies”. Twitter RIPS the feed apart which is explained on the Shadowban.eu site as, quote: “threads are completely ripped apart by hiding reply tweets of the affected user to others”. So, when you click on “show more” etc. you seem to hit a brick wall, you can a “1” reply, but you can’t get to it. The feed starts back from the top, but you can’t get to the hidden Tweet.

Here is the 2nd Tweet that has been hidden in the name of no “public interest”:

2019-12-27 HIDDEN Tweet

2nd Tweet LINK via @XpretXpert’s Tweets & Replies feed. These Tweets are from years of experience as a Team Leader during the Christmas Season where items are NOT ordered by shops, but Pret as usual blames the supplier in response to customers’ queries why certain items are not available.

Behind the “This Tweet is unavailable – Learn more”, Twitter gives this explanation, quote:

Placing a Tweet in violation behind an interstitial: We may allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability. When this happens, we limit engagement with the Tweet and add a notice to clarify that the Tweet violates our rules, but we believe it should be left up to serve this purpose. You can read more on how we review Tweets that may be in the legitimate public interest.”

So, Twitter defines what is of “public interest” and what not. But BECAUSE this would be of “public interest” to see the reality beyond the dishonesty, Pret tries to avoid this getting out. My experience of 10 years in Pret shops, with about 8 years as a Team Leader. I worked 8 Christmases doing the ordering for various Pret shops.

Ladies and Gents, THIS is modern-day censorship called “shadow banning”.

And in this case it looks like this, which will be partly in the red (shadow banned / some Tweets hidden) for about 24 – 48 hours from the time of the ban:

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets5

From: Shadowban.eu/XpretXpert

On Twitter is OPEN PORNOGRAPHY, where people can tweet their bits and boobs, and explicit language. But my Tweet has been censored by Twitter on Pret’s behalf.

And here’s a similar message I posted to his initial post:

2019-12-27 Hidden Tweets0

Link to my post on the opening Tweet

An undercover report on Twitter shadow banning and how HUMANS, not only bots shadow ban on purpose and choose Tweets they don’t want to be seen. Most banned Tweets are regarding Trump, political propaganda etc. I am not for Trump and right-wing politics, but it is censoring free speech and is completely up to the Twitter people what they want to see or not. And the nasty thing about this is that most people who are secretly censored / shadow banned don’t even know they are! The video explains and I also explain how this works in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page. The video starts with a Twitter staff member saying on hidden camera regarding hiding Tweets and accounts they don’t like or disagree with: “We’re trying to get the shitty people not to show up …”

 


 

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.

 

Day 24: The 3 Vice Men – Kneeling at Pret A Manger

 

Day 24 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Merry Christmas, if you can!

Let the Fools NOT be with you!

 

 

organic-coffin-natural-fools-1.jpg

 

What Managers and Corporate employees, including Head Office staff, say about Pret throughout the years and in various cities/countries (only few of many reviews and comments):

Go back Pret

Link

2012 Ex GM ExGM Ex-GM

Blogspot –  4 years after Bridgepoint took over.

Mafia

Link

HQ

HQ London 2017

HQ BulliesHQ London 2019

Managers cry

Leader Review on abusive Area Manager – Shop Managers crying in the office.

I could go and on with countless more reviews along those lines, but I want to put only one more that broke my heart. I was actually crying when I read this because it triggered so much pain I’ve been through and seen colleagues go through. For a longer, but not exhaustive list of staff reviews and complains: >>>

GM slavery

Manager review London, October 2019

Ruin

Manager Review 2014 – 6 years after Bridgepoint took over.

So, who are the 3 Vice Men?

  • Pano Christupido (Current Fool who deleted his Twitter account after my blog entry on Clive Schlee’s “retirement” in July 2019)
  • Clive Leech (Former Fool who, with full steam ahead ran the Titanic into an iceberg, but continues to present himself as CEO of Pret. Pscht! He’s in denial!)
  • David Cartel (The Fixer – he’s out and about on behalf of the CEO putting out fires and seeing to it that hardworking people get fired)

 

Pret_Dwarfs

Pano Christo (left), Clive Schlee

David Cartel

David Carter, HR Fixer

»Any damn fool can run Pret!«

Oh no, those are not my words! Those are the words of the wife of Pret A Manger’s now former CEO Clive Schlee, who “retired” in September 2019!

 

My wife always would say, ‘any damn fool can run Pret

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all that counts these days. Cheap freebies people settle for.

So, »any damn fool can run Pret!«. Sure. And certainly any damn fool can ruin it!

I want to say again that Pret A Manger is NOT what they portray to the public!

 

2016 Review.jpg

Link “the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth”

 

2019 Review GM

Link Manager Review

 

Legacy of a Fool: 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

One of my many articles about and to Clive Schlee, one of which I dedicate to his farewell gift:

Foot-In-Mouth Disease at Pret A Manger

New CEO, Pano Christou about whom I write about in: Under New Management. But Clive Schlee remains in the background as Non-executive Director pulling the strings under JAB Holdings.

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

Smile Pano! Smile!

 

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

I continue to ask for independent investigations into staff suicides!

 


 

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.

Day 23: Pret A Pedia

 

Day 23 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

The Most comprehensive website on Pret A Manger anywhere on the Net that the press is trying to ignore and remain quiet about. Writings from a former Pret employee, having survived systemic workplace bullying and gaslighting under Pret’s HR, CEO Clive Schlee and a Development Manager from HQ, who’s also an NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist under the National Hypnotherapy Society. On a side note, many Pret leaders from HQ and Operation Managers are NLP practitioners. It seems Pret encourages them to the NLP course, and if one researches on Neuro-linguistic Programming, it is or can be a tool to manipulate people.

As my website has become quite large with various writings from behind the scenes, I decided to create an Index to the most important issues regarding Pret A Manger, that portray themself as this ethical and caring company.

I am still in disbelief myself on what I went through, and writing about it helped me survive and come back to my senses, and expose Pret A Manger! I declined 4 settlement offers from Pret if I am silent about my ordeal and never go to court. I explain in full in my interview at the bottom of most pages here or as the first feature of the below index.

The very fact that Pret did NOTHING after TWO customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized, and numerous warnings ignored, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public remains lulled in, especially in the UK whereas in the U.S. it would hail a storm of lawsuits! The German Reimann family behind JAB, the new owners of Pret, work very hard to divert issues opening in various countries in a whirlwind, more charity work etc.

I write so boldly and loud because I almost lost my life, having been targeted and bullied during already traumatic bereavement. I had several close calls at the bridge and am very proud that I made it through to expose this company!

If this is the only thing I do, having survived this toxic company that hides behind the shiny PR[et] facade and fake smiles, I will do it as thoroughly and detailed as I did when I worked for Pret! I wasted 10 years of my life in this company and explain in my interview how I went through this. This is not about a dis-grunted former employee, this is more. This is about a company that portrays itself to the public as this ethical company and lures in customers as well as employees, exploiting staff for profit. This is just a usual business out for profit as any company is, but the public has been lulled in for years about Pret A Manger and it is human nature to want to believe a fairy-tale…

I confront Pret on a suicide of an assistant manager in 2017 of whom I learned prior to her death. I almost went over the edge, Pret hid TWO customer deaths until it became public, how many suicides of current or former staff happened no-one knows about.  I was recently leaked an email that Director of HR Andrea Wareham sent to all Pret shops informing them that two Pret staff have died in two different UK shops. One of them I was told was a suicide, the other person’s death is unclear to the persons who leaked the email. The press is informed and in my 10 years in Pret having had access to Pret emails as I was a team leader, I have never seen an email regarding staff deaths.

Pret must have learned from the customer deaths they never even told us  about and also my situation that the truth will always come out.

It is my biggest regret having wasted my time, skill, effort and care for Pret A Manger.

If people don’t believe my story, I have evidence and confront Pret openly on Twitter, Facebook etc. Again, I explain in my interview why Pret is not responding. All I can say to everyone regarding the nice facade of Pret or any company is:

If something looks too good to be true, take a closer look!

The below Index takes openness to read, as many people want to believe the fairy-tale that is Pret A Manger. Only the Unions, Activists and some from the Press know better and look closer.

 

Illusion

 

I start the index with my own story in an interview and continue with general issues, categorizing as best as I can. Any reader and writer, please be aware of the work I’ve put into this website before you just cope & paste and mind the copyright. I have other websites as back-ups. I am open for any interview and article feature, as well as questions.

Any new writings in the future that I may add, I will indicate as UPDATE or NEW.

 

Index:

Links open in a new window / tab

 

INTERVIEW

For the first time I share my story with Pret verbally in an interview on a podcast based in California. Interview with The Adam Paradox: (The interview can be played while scrolling through this page and is featured on my website at the bottom of most pages)

 


 

ARTICLES

Two articles I wrote that is featured in the monthly Scottish Left Review editions –

May/June 2019: “On the Frontline: Crushed by Corporate Capitalist Culture

Nov/Dec 2019: “Pushing Back Against Pret

 


 

PRESS

Journalist Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover into Pret after reading my blog, and having suggested to her to go undercover. I added my thoughts to her report in “Undercover Under Pressure

 


 

May 2019

LINK >>> TWO recent Pret staff deaths

I was leaked an email that HR Director Andrea Wareham sent to all Pret shops mid/end of May that TWO Pret staff have died within a month. One staff I was told was a suicide, the other TM the “leakers” don’t have the info. It’s not the first suicide in Pret!

 


 

£1000 FOR ALL STAFF
(£800 after tax)

Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 announcement (after he became aware of my Blog)

 


 

PRET STAFF REVIEWS & COMPLAINTS

On the below slideshow I added just a selection of staff reviews and comments to save long blog entries. These are from review websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, but also from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other websites where people commented on the work environment in Pret.

Just some examples, before the Slideshow, from former Pret employees in NYC, London etc.:

Pure Misery Go back to England - RVW15228294

 

Go back to UK

Link

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Four years after Bridgepoint took over Pret and tasked to open on every corner in London specifically. Scrolling to the 23 July 2012 at 12:53 comment.

 

2019-03-07 Modern Slavery

Link

Las Vegas

Link

 

IT Analyst HQ

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

June/July 2019 overall figures on Glassdoor

 

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

YouTube

 


 

CEO CLIVE SCHLEE RETIREMENT
NEW CEO PANO CHRISTOU

01. July 2019: Announcement of early “retirement” of Clive Schlee supposedly in September, but new CEO Pano Christou is already featured on Glassdoor, probably to avoid further negative voting for Schlee.

A list of articles I wrote on Clive Schlee: “Clive Schlee – Late Night Girl Articles

Article on Pano Christou, new CEO officially from September 2019.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

July 2019 New CEO, new start on Glassdoor

 

October 2019

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 


 

CUSTOMER OBSERVATIONS
on Stressful Work conditions

The Pain of Working at Pret A Manger

Pret Staff work in overheated shops. Customer complaints on behalf of employees regarding excruciating work conditions in 35-40ºC+ heat for prolonged time, weeks and months.

Caught in the Act at Pret – Customers witnessed bullying.

 


 

FORCED SMILES & HAPPINESS
for Mystery Shopper Team bonus, extra £200 individual cash rewards and fear management

How Companies Force Emotional Labor on Low-Wage Workers

The Truth Behind the Pret A Manger Smile via cash incentives and fear management

How Emotional Labour Harms us all – my comments on an article in the NewStatesman

 

Pret Uniform2

 


 

PRET’S MARKETING with Charity
and Former Homeless People

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

 


 

ALLERGEN DEATHS
and Pret’s procrastination

Ongoing Issues – Hospitalization, mislabelling, cross-contamination, understaffed …

Vegetarians eat Ham and Meat products – more ongoing issues

Pret’s Labelling Commitment?

Allergen Label Warnings Pret ignored before and even after customer deaths

Pret on Trial after Allergen Death – 6th December 2019


 

VARIOUS LAWSUITS
(that I’m aware of, there are more, but depending how public they are)

A recent staff review from New York mentions that Pret is constantly being sued. In the UK the legal system isn’t as helpful:

Worst

Link

USA: Two Wage Lawsuits settled that Pret employees filed, re-paying 4000 workers (middle section of page).

USA: Deceptive Packaging Class Action settled. But the misleading packaging still continues.

Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat Lawsuits vs. Pret on the “Natural” Food claim while Glyphosate was found in food. Change of signage, packaging and Website.

USA: 2016 “sesame reaction” Lawsuit and Pret doing ZERO
At the bottom of the page: A New York customer suffered an anaphylactic shock from unlabelled sesame in a Pret Wrap. He lost the case, yet Pret still did nothing to label food even after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from the same unlabelled allergen in the same year of 2016.

USA March 2019 Court PDF Document of new lawsuit regarding Pret’s “Natural” claim. List of chemicals from page 10 onward.

No Lawsuit, but ongoing complaints regarding the watery Chicken Broccoli and Brown Rice soup

NEW Slideshow: Pret A Manger Bang Bang Rip-Off Wrap

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FREE COFFEES MARKETING

And why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card System

 


 

EXTERNAL PRESS ARTICLES

Pret A Manger and “broken windows” syndrome

My Comments on Sathnam Sanghera’s article in The Times: “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it”

Man invoices Pret A Manger and EAT. for time spent waiting in shops

The Guradian article: “The brilliant Pret a Manger marketing con we want to fall for

 

… more to come

 

10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

A customer’s comment in Chicago regarding a deceased Pret employee and Pret in general.

 


 

Lastly, THE Best description of SYSTEMIC Workplace Bullying and what I have gone through under Pret’s senior leadership and HR, is summed up in this text I found on Twitter.

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

I can wrap up my whole experience and website in this one text:

 

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now

 

Further Staff Reviews, one which states that they felt always being “hounded”. I based more reviews in a YouTube slide on this statement:

 

“Worked into the ground without empathy”

 

Smile for the Mystery Shopper – Forced to do emotional labour for cash incentives and fear management (I re-named as the “Misery” Shopper)

 


 

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.

When Rosa Parks Stood Up

 

she did so by sitting down

at the right spot

 

Her sitting down was a silent and dangerous protest in the face of insecurity

manifested as hate

 

But she birthed love

 

Today,

we struggle against a different mask

We are told that our concerns a taken “very seriously”

and that it will be dealt with immediately

We face faces of smiles

and leave with a dozen knives sticking out our backs

Rosa Parks had a face that I envy.

 

 


 

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.

 

 

 

 

Day 22: Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl – Articles

 

Day 22 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl’s” Writings.

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

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

Since Clive Schlee, now former CEO of Pret labelled me his “late night girl”, I return the favour and call him Clive Leech. This label was inspired by a recent staff review, plus all the many other reviews and my experience of Pret being exploitative and sucking the life-blood out of employees. Review: >>> Leeches <<<

I said in early 2019 to a Union person that Clive Schlee will probably sneak out of Pret. And days ago I wrote to another person that he is very quiet lately and either on a Sabbatical or leaving.

 


 

My blog entry on the 01. July 2019:

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

~10am Tweet before the press started waking up:

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

 


 

To Clive Schlee,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you good luck?

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

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

Regards,

Your “Late Night Girl” – 01. July 2019


Clive Schlee’s Legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

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

 

LINK: TWO Pret Staff have died
1 is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

 


 

 

21. Sep. 2019
Pret A Manger has a New Fool

23. Sep. 2019
Smile, Fool!

01. Sep. 2019
Foot-in-Mouth Disease at Pret

08. July 2019
Any Damn Fool can run Pret

 


 

While the Press was fast asleep:

01. July 2019 approx. 3am post
Clive Schlee’s Legacy

 

30. June 2019
The Captain of the Ship

 

20. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?

 

18. June 2019
Clive Schlee’s Soldiers – My suspicion that he would be leaving!

 

03. April 2019
The Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

16. Nov. 2018
Clive Schlee’s Crocodile Tears – His negligence on customer warnings regarding allergen labelling

 

08. Dec. 2018
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: to Clive Schlee

 

17. Feb, 2019
Pret’s Unprofessional Twitter Staff incl. Clive Schlee

 

02. Apr. 2019
Clive Schlee, Pano Christou

 

08. Aug. 2018
An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret A Manger

 

UPDATE:
01. July 2019
Clive Schlee’s “Retirement” vs. Resignation

and so on…


 

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

 


 

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.

3 French Executives Convicted in Suicides of 35 Workers

 

It’s been a long time coming. I followed this story over 10 years ago when it first emerged that multiple suicides happened in a French Telekom company. And then it disappeared …

 

Execs convicted

Link to New York Times article

And from the BBC report:

»It is the first time that a French court has recognised “institutional harassment”.«

Link

“Extremely violent management style”

 

 

10 year old Report:

 


 

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.

 

 

Day 21: Pret A Manger’s Rip-Off Wrap

 

Day 21 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

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

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

Arrow

(Recent updates not included here, but some are added underneath the slideshow, there is more which is not included on this page)

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

UPDATE:

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

To save space and scrolling time, a little collage (links underneath):

Air Wrap Collage

05. Dec. 2019

29. Nov. 2019

27. Nov. 2019 Boston, USA

27. Nov. 2019 Also USA, but Pret didn’t respond this time

15. Nov. 2019

21. Oct. 2019

19. Oct. 2019

10. Oct. 2019

… and still more underneath Lawsuit article:

Settled

Link

2019-12-20 Air Wrap

20. December 2019

2019-12-18 Air Wrap

18. Dec. 2019

 

2019-10-01 Air Wrap


TWO on 18.09.2019

2019-09-18 Air Wrap Victoria

Victoria

2019-09-18 Air Wrap

#Shrinkflation

 

2019-09-11 Air Wrap USA

 

2019-08-27 Air Wrap

27. Aug. 2019 USA

 

2019-08-21 Air Wrap

21. Aug. 2019

 

2019-09-09 Air Wrap

09. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-07 Air Wrap

07. Aug. 2019

 

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

2019-08-07 Air Wrap taking mick

Also 07. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-06 Air Wrap

06. August 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-29 Air Wrap USA

29. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-26 Air Wrap

26. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-24 Air Wrap

24. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-10 Air Flat Wrap

10. July 2019

 

Some from 2014 that I missed 😉

2014-04-16 Air Wrap

16. Apr. 2014

 

2014-03-10 Air Wrap

10. Mar. 2014

 

to be continued unfortunately …

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger 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.

Day 20: Plastic vs People

 

Day 20 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

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:

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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.

This is why Pret wants you to DM them

 

Note: If you see this page on white background, but prefer to read on a green background, please delete amp/ in above url and reload. On green background comments at the very bottom will be visible compared to the white background page.

Or click here: https://expret.org/2019/12/19/this-is-why-pret-wants-you-to-dm-them

 

I have tweeted this before several times for people to not get lured into DM, mainly to keep the conversation public, but also because Pret want customers’ data.

Pret sends little freebies in return for addresses.

Don’t believe me if you don’t want to.

If you want to unsubscribe from a website/newsletter but can’t find the feature, press F3 and enter into search “unsubscribe”.

Here is an eagle eye after my own heart:

2019-12-19 Pret hides unsubscribe1

Link

You need to read the WHOLE text to spot it!

2019-12-19 Pret hides unsubscribe2

 

 

Pret has started collecting customer data since about 2019. They never used to do that before. If you scan through Pret’s Tweets and replies, you will see a LOT of “Could you please DM us…”. And then in the DM, away from the public feed, Pret is luring customer data out of them for marketing! 😀

Try it!

In an interview former CEO Clive Schlee laughs embarrassed being asked about this, when a friend of his, being surprised about this, mentions that this is the first time that Pret asks for customer data.

I’ve even seen the Pret social media Team asking to DM them when there was no apparent reason to DM Pret!

Wakey-wakey!

 

UPDATE

2020-07-18 Data collection

 


 

I write about the reality behind Pret’s “happy” facade and collect staff reviews. This slideshow is just a small selection of a long list. There is a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co. If a multi-billion pound/dollar company under private equity looks too good to be true, just take a closer look.

Clive Schlee, since September 2019 former CEO even briefly mentioned the data base their building when asked in an interview on “Teddy Talks” (no, not TED Talks!). Mario Bauer noticed that for the first time people are asked to enter their email addresses. I took that interview apart on another blog post: Clive Schlee: A Case Study on the Fun Factory. And it’s notable to say that Clive Schlee at the end of the interview mentions that he’s getting his priorities changed from profit driven to more important things in what we leave behind. Well, now he’s thinking about his own legacy after having driven the company full steam ahead, ignoring warnings on allergen, two customers died and he still didn’t act UNTIL the deaths became public. Now he’s thinking about his legacy.

Schlee still remains in the background pulling the strings as a non-executive Director. He “retired” with this legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

… handing over to the new CEO, his prodigee Pano Christou. Part of the reason for their scores is in the below slideshow.

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

NOTE: If the slide show does not run automatically, please delete amp/ from above URL and reload in order to view, or click HERE.

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, even witnessed by a customer:
—>>> Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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 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.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment:
Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
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.
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.

Day 19: Secrets To Outstanding Customer Service

 

Day 19 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

How to guarantee a return to the business with vibrant, consistent service and a generous approach.

As recommendations of Pret A Manger customer service has increased lately, with praise for the great staff who with smiles, helpfulness and generosity are impressing customers, after I spilled the beans on why staff are so “happy”, I want to put into one blog entry the secrets for this. Why are staff who earn £8.25 an hour, always seemingly so “happy”, chatty and smiley in a highly intense, noisy, hot and stressful work environment for 8 – 10 hours daily?

In short: Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management.

I put a YouTube slide together with some of the questions weekly Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked by Pret to test staff on in every shop. In the slide I concentrate on the smiley service.

UPDATE: 28. October 2019

A customer witnessed a bullying incident that usually happens behind closed doors! In this post, scroll down to the screenshots of reviews and Tweets on what many staff experience behind the scenes:

Link: → “Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret A Manger

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2

 


 

When the MS visit has been successful, all the staff in the shop receive their weekly bonus, which is £1 extra per hour worked that week. BUT, those who are sick that week, even just for one day, and those who come to work late, will not receive the bonus. Many Managers use this for fear management. If a Manager doesn’t like a particular Team Member, and that TM is late even just 5 minutes while usually being on time mostly, the boss cuts their bonus. No mercy. I worked with colleagues who even got their bonus cut when they came to work unshaven. Or I myself was threatened with a bonus cut when I forgot something banal. So, if a staff member received bonus and worked 40 hours that week, they get an extra £40 on top of their wages.

Additionally, if an individual staff member, including the manager do “outstanding” service and impress the MS, for example by giving free coffees or other items, this individual employee can get an extra £100 or even £200 if all the scores are perfect.

I write extensively about the free coffee “myth” in Pret and why many customers never get a free coffee in years, while others receive free items weekly, some even daily:

—>>> Free Coffees in Pret A Manger

Managers receive their bonuses each quarter on a variety of issues like profit, how much/little waste they have, how much they managed to save on labour, cutting hours (Pret under-staffs throughout the board to maximize profit and Manager’s bonus), routine health and safety checks etc.

A Tweet from a customer just today:

2019-10-16 Understaffed

Link

And a few days ago:

2019-10-12 Understaffed

Link

There’s more, but I want to keep it as short as possible.

A recent of the many staff reviews on chronically understaffed shops:

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

But the biggest chunk of Managers, upper Managers and regional Leaders bonuses is the Mystery Shopper results. That’s why staff are stressed intensely about this.

I had one Manager take me aside as I was the Team Leader and say to me: “I close my eyes to everything, but not the Mystery Shopper”. Meaning, if I made mistakes or even did dodgy things with health and safety, the cashing up, the Team etc. he would close his eyes and not get me in trouble. But if the Mystery Shopper results were poor, I would get in trouble, as part of Team Leader’s responsibility is to “engage” the Team to always smile etc. Like a cheer-leader. The above YouTube slide shows this clearly.

Not floating my own boat, but I had most of the time excellent MS results and still even kept the MS reports for my protection as one Area Manager targeted me alleging I didn’t engage the Team, while Mystery Shopper after Mystery Shopper and even regular customers said otherwise and constantly commended my Teams. Quite sad that I had to keep those reports for my protection. But for me, even if Pret would have scrapped the Mystery Shopper scheme, I would have still worked the way I worked as I love people and customers pay a lot of money for products.

I did not “push” my colleagues to smile, be friendly etc. I encouraged my Teams, I asked them how they were, I gave them extra breaks if they were exhausted, sick or depressed, I supported them and cared about them. And that reflected on their service and in interacting with each others and the customers. But the general tone in Pret is to “force” staff to smile, at times threatening them with disciplinary and even job loss. I’ve seen, heard and witnessed it all and had to console many many times Team Members crying in the staff room or on their way home.

Only two of the many Mystery Shopper comments below. The MS commented on both individual Staff Members and all the Teams as a whole in our service.

Excerpts from two different Mystery Shopper and shops/team: (Ctrl & + to zoom in)

MS Best Team

 

MS Best

So, shops are tested on if they have a certain amount of selection set for a certain time of the business times, are tested on cleanliness, how the overall atmosphere of the shop is, if the service doesn’t take longer than 1 (one) minute etc.etc. etc.

But the most important thing that shops are tested on is customer service. Are individual and all staff smiling, seem happy, chatty etc. The above YouTube slide goes into detail on this. Pret does not care how staff feel, if they are bereaved, depressed etc. I was traumatically bereaved and was bullied and targeted when the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile. I did smile most of the time and have that in black and white (sad to say!), but there is no mercy, no empathy as profits are more important.

An excellent article about this I found and commented on: “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” is about the increasing competition in the service industry and how low-wage workers are forced to perform emotional labour and a big hype to create the impression they are so happy in the company.

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

 

So, people seem to have been “recruited”, even on the Pret USA Twitter feed, to tweet about the smiley and great staff calling them by name and the shop. All these Tweets sound similar and seem to have been organized. It’s also easy to see that they are recruited because hardly anyone responds to my Tweets, so they know about my writings 😀 . But my response is important as new readers find these Tweets who don’t know about Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme.

UPDATE November 2019 / February 2020

And here’s the proof that Pret recruited people to tweet! 😉

November 2019 and February 2020

With the collections I do of staff reviews, of course Pret stole the idea to collect their own customer reviews. YET, Pret keeps missing to have genuine staff reviews on Twitter as they don’t want me to confront recruited staff Tweets.

These “recruited” Tweets have massively increased since the beginning of October 2019 like I’ve never seen before since I read Pret Tweets from 2018. These customer Tweets started at about the second week of October 2019, after I increasingly blog and tweet about the Mystery Shopper in Pret. It’s also clear they have been recruited as hardly anyone responds to my Tweets about the Emotional Labour and Mystery Shopper incentives, meaning these people who tweet know about me and my writings.

Also, knowing Pret and how they “respond” indirectly to my writings, they will NOW (compared to before) pass on these Tweets to the shops, so that staff think Pret cares. Pret has lost lots of staff, of course many apply for jobs, but my blog and others is a sore in Pret’s sight. So, the idea is now to encourage staff, which is good, but work conditions remain the same while staff continue to get brain-washed.

And here’s the first Tweet on 20. November 2019, in this case by Pret’s USA Twitter account of the “recruited” customer Tweets. Pret again steals what I’ve been doing, keep on keeping Pret! 😀

2019-11-20 Pret Recruited Tweets

Link

Of course it is better that customers go on Twitter & Co to commend staff (many wordings are similar 😀 … come on people, at least make an effort and get more creative!), than to complain about low-wage workers publicly, who in turn cannot defend themselves as they are unaware that they were just negatively called out, even by name on Twitter.

Yet, I respond as a former Team Leader having survived this abuse and fear management, that the reason why staff, some of whom are depressed, even suicidal, seem so happy, is the reality of Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management. People need their jobs, have kids to raise and Uni tuition to pay. And the staff reviews on Glassdoor and Co including YouTube, Twitter etc. give a grim reality how depressing it is to work like this.

One such review is THE most poignant report on behind the scenes in Pret. It’s from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in to do customer service with fake smiles, as shops are always understaffed.

The review is the one that starts with the large red letters in below slide show:
“This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.”
and ends:
“You will lose everything that makes you human.”

Direct Link to the Indeed review.

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

So, dear Pret Customer, if you have been recruited to leave recommendations of Pret staff or not, only you know, but I am writing to make people aware of WHY low-paid employees in a high intense, stressful work environment, with often bullying managers (NEW incident caught by customer), smile so much against their true emotions. I was recommended many many times by customers and Mystery Shoppers on my professional, friendly, generous and smiley service. But no-one knew that at times I left my shift headed for the bridge. My story is in the below audio player in an interview on a podcast based in California. 

There’s a reason why CEO Clive Schlee “retired” with such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co and the general Pret staff scores, as staff dare to speak out anonymous more than on the often rigged annual Pret questionnaires.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

A collection of writings on Emotional Labour with links to articles:
The Dangers of Emotional Labour

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

 


 

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.

Day 18: An Imaginary Interview with Pret

 

Day 18 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Pixabay_interview-2071228__340

 

LNG: Thank you for your time and agreeing to do an imaginary but honest and transparent interview, this has been a long time in the making and I am grateful you finally agree to give us an unprecedented look into your business, especially staff treatment, and what makes you stand out on the high street.

PAM: Oh, no problem at all. Sorry it took so long to agree to an imaginary yet open and honest interview, but we’ve been really busy with our success as you know.

LNG: Yes, well done! May I call you Pret?

PAM: Sure, we love to be on first name basis here. We are family.

LNG: Thank you, you can call me what your CEO calls me.

PAM: Great! Okay Late Night Girl, what do you want to know about our company?

LNG: My first question….

PAM: (interrupts) Oh, would you like a coffee? On the house? The first hit is always free! 😉

LNG: No, thank you, I got my own! 🙂

 

Coffee paper cups

 

 

LNG: So, my first question is, what is the secret ingredient to your success?

PAM: Well, if we stay on the first name we have a secret spelling system here, we love to work with acronyms to really emphasize that we mean business when it comes to motivating our staff. Pret is French for “ready”. So, Pret A Manger means “ready to eat”. Fast food, from already cooked and processed products that arrive daily and are then assembled in the kitchens on the premises. But it is not just food ready to eat, we want our staff to always be “ready to work” come rain come shine, in good days and in bad days, till FS do us part.

L: What’s FS?

P: That’s another meaning, “FS” is the Firing Squad, but officially they are called “HR”, meaning Human Resources, of course. Our HR department have a really great slogan to sell their mission as, “Doing the right thing naturally”, and people buy into this slogan without questioning it, as PC is too common. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? HR don’t do the dismissing themselves, no, they like others to execute this nitty-gritty muddy business. They…

L: (interrupts) What’s PC now?

P: Oh, common’?!

L: Ah, yeah, right. Sorry.

P: Tztz, you didn’t do your homework when preparing for this interview?! You don’t know our 6 P’s?!

L: No, no, yes, uhm, I know them all! (nods, while getting a first glimpse into the intimidation tactics) It’s just a lot to remember what you give your staff to memorize.

P: Yes, that is how brainwashing works, repeated bombardment of silly word games.

L: Sure.

P: So, where were we?

L: With HR not doing the dirty work.

 

ronald-mcdonald-you-re-fired-meme

 

P: Ah yeah, so they fire indirectly using their operational side of the business, managers who are tasked to hold hearings that are “fundamentally flawed” as one Tribunal Judge called it, they are unfair and only impartial if we need to cover ourselves.

L: Ah! So, it’s a lot to do with fear management?

P: You got it.

 

L: And how does the fear management work exactly? Talk me through a typical day in a Pret shop.

P: No problem. First of all, we don’t like to be known as a sandwich “factory”, even though we are hundreds of little sandwich factories. So, we put intensive incentives in place, pay a little bit more here, give a little more holidays there, put on elaborate parties, let the kitchens play loud and fast music to speed up their work pace and avoid them talking too much with each other wasting our precious time, no matter if they get a head ache or a tinnitus etc. etc.

In reality we have no choice but give a little here and there as the job is way too harsh, stressful and non-rewarding. So we apply psychology where we call our sandwich makers “chefs”, let them go through patronizing “graduation” so they assume they achieved something and won’t leave as easily.

 

L: Ah, clever!

P: Yes, it’s all psychology. We have slogans on our packaging saying “Lovingly made in this kitchen today”, we’re having a laugh with our staff because in this high-paced and stressful environment making something “lovingly” would only be to resign!

But our real main ingredient and the real spelling behind our acronym as already hinted early on is, Pret really is a four letter F-word spelled F E A R. It means Fire Early At Request or with the nickname of “Fret” to make it more appealing. Fear management is the main motivator for our lovely and hard working people, but we facade this in the perfect packaging of “Good Jobs for Good People”. We have a lot of good people, but after a while they get so burned out, feel devalued and dehumanized that they are not “good” anymore, and there are plenty of young people lining up for the job. We give out disciplinaries like napkins, we make sure that our staff always worry about their job security, and we don’t tolerate people being vulnerable (takes a sip from the organic coffee).

L: What do you mean by “vulnerable”?

P: Well, simply inconvenient occasions like bereavement or even mental illness of our staff. We feel that especially bereavement is “imposed” on us. That’s not nice.

L: (looking confused) So, it would be best to not be vulnerable, as staff wouldn’t be safe in their jobs?

P: That’s right.

 

L: So, if staff are bereaved, or suffer from a mental illness or disability that might affect their day-to-day work, and even if they work still really good while in bereavement, there is no policy in place to protect them from potentially being bullied by superiors?

P: Yes, something like that. We have a large HR department, larger than the IT or even food team. But it isn’t large enough yet, as one of our former employees has exhausted our HR department after being bullied during bereavement and being held low in shops. So we want to expand our HR staff to not let this happen again.

L: Wow! Must have been hard work. But at least you learned from this and won’t let the bullying happen again. That’s great.

P: No, we won’t let it happen again that anyone approaches HR with their concern about bereavement and bullying like this anymore, even though we advised that person (whom the CEO called his “late night girl”) to raise grievances, as we didn’t want to interfere with how the managers were mistreating her. As we don’t have an anti-bullying policy in place to protect the bereaved, we aim to divert to the grievance procedure as we don’t want to admit that we have a huge problem. A grievance procedure often deters the employee to raise the issue formally, as this is quite stressful to have to come up with all the evidence, not to mention becoming a target after speaking up.

For other issues like sexual orientation, pregnant women, physical disabilities, religious beliefs, equal opportunities etc. we have a strong and clear zero tolerance policy on discrimination, because there are laws in place and we would get into trouble if we’d let those groups be bullied. Sometimes we even use any of the above groups in discrimination to get rid of other inconvenient employees, the laws for the protection of the above groups really come in handy here, even if we have to tweak our reason for dismissal a little.

And our luck is that there are no laws to protect the bereaved, we can openly and even in writing express that this is “imposed” on us without any problems. We just don’t really want to bother with grief and mental issues, even while we know that we all will die, and 1 in 4 of us will at one point or another suffer from a mental health condition. Death and illness can happen to any person at any time for any reason. But we don’t want to think about it and want to just concentrate on the material world with all the money that can be made. If you work for us, your mind needs to be of steel and you better have “Metal” Health.

L: Just like a machine or a robot?

P: Exactly!

L: I see. Hm…

P: You’re catching on fast, I like that.

L: Oh, thank you, I feel honoured! *blushing*

 

flick2

 

P: So, to finish the thought, we pride ourselves in our HR department. They are super busy with all the grievances raised and disciplinaries issued, and of course the firing squad, ready to fire anytime for any and no reason (checking the phone as a text message comes in).

L: Sounds quite efficient. I’m impressed.

P: Thank you. Yes, could we speed this up a little? I have to attend to some business.

L: Sure, just finally I’d like to throw some questions out that you cannot skip, but have to answer honestly.

P: Uuuh, I’m intrigued, fire away!

 

L: Who was the first one you ever kissed?

P: Oh, I’ll never forget my first kiss! It was McDonald’s. We even got married so I can get a green card to the U.S. But we are divorced now, as I gotten my green card and dual citizenship now and won’t need McD anymore. But we are still friends.

L: Any kids?

P: Naa, we were always married more to our jobs, and our different tastes in food finally split us up! Career is more important, and as soon as I had my foot in the door to the U.S. our divorce was imminent.

L: It was a “marriage of convenience” then?

P: You got it!

L: I see. Okay, while on the subject of super mergers, what super powers would you like to have?

P: To fire all the shop staff in one go and exchange them with perfect smiley robots that are so real looking to customers unlike the current prototypes, fooling them, and so increase our profits even more. That way we won’t have to deal with staff not being as productive when they go through personal issues like bereavement or illness. We also won’t have to deal with any human being thinking for themselves. But mostly that way we can truly “man” all the tills at all times and have enough staff, almost more than customers. We could even place a human looking robot with each and every customer, raising sales going through the roof. We would also scrap the Misery Shopper, as we won’t need them anymore since we have perfect robots. Can you imagine the amount this would slice off our labour costs and bring out the maximum? (sigh, what a dream!) But it also means that we would need to rethink the HR department, maybe turning them into mechanics fixing the robots when they break. (ponder ponder)

 

L: Sorry, what did you say, the what? The “Misery” Shopper?? What’s that?

P: Did I say that??

L: Uhm, that’s what I heard.

P: Sorry, I meant the Mystery Shopper *smile*

L: Maybe I just misheard as I had a miserable coffee this morning! The competition hey. Should have gone to Pret instead!

P: Yes, that’s it, it’s all your fault! You misheard, it was your mistake, not mine! It’s one of our important Pret attributes, always blame downwards, never take responsibility. As long as we can smile, we’re fine!

robot-916284__340

 

L: Okay back to my questions. What time period would you like to visit, past, present or future?

P: The future, always the future as the present is a blur and the past is done with and not worth keeping fond memories of. We move on quickly, whoever can’t keep up with the pace will be left behind.

L: No regrets then, huh?

P: Hello? We are Pret we don’t regret!

L: I see. Who would you like to collaborate with in business?

P: Anyone and No one. Anyone who could pour more money into us, so that we can squeeze even more out of our workers to repay the investors. We don’t like to share the spoils except only with our HQ people and high up leaders. But if we do have a moment of generosity with our shops, it is mainly to try and keep them before they leave or our aim to win new ones (whispers: Brexit’s advancing fast now).

 

L: What is your greatest accomplishment?

P: Okay, that’s another tough one, as we have so many. But I would say… (looking up at the ceiling, tapping with the fingers on the coffee cup) I’d say it really is our HR department with that ever impressive slogan of “Doing the right thing naturally”.

L: What do you value so much that you would put your money where your mouth is, so-to-speak?

P: Again, investing in our HR department, making them bigger, even though they are already bigger than any of the other departments. We’d like them to give more disciplinaries, neglecting the bereaved and mentally ill, and fire faster. Any support that is in place, most are just Pret-ense for our own fear of the Tribunal, as we like to live up to our name.

L: Which was what again?

P: F E A R.

L: Ah yeah, that’s right.

 

L: What was the moment when you felt you’ve made it?

P: When our staff bought into fear management and unnecessary pressure.

 

robot-3486900__340

 

L: What was the scariest encounter you’ve ever had?

P: Tribunal Judges at first, but when we lose our case in court, we just pay the peanuts the Judges order us to pay in compensation and then go back to business as usual. Our most scariest encounter will always be the customers and public pressure, not to mention the Unions!

L: And the greatest?

P: All our hard working people in the shops, especially those with integrity and longevity during hard times. We really feel intimidated by them, as they show real passion which we only Pret-end to have for them. But don’t tell them, they need to think that they are not valued and their work is never good enough, so they work harder until they burn out and are exchanged with “fresh blood”. It’s like one of our main acronyms: FIFO, First In First Out or our internal acronym BPOFBI: Black Pudding Out Fresh Blood In. If they find out our tactics, it would also be the most embarrassing encounter, but that’s between us.

L: Of course! You do love your acronyms and slogans, don’t you?

P: (Smiling) It’s what makes Pret PRet!

L: Yes, Pret is next to nothing when it comes to PR.

P: That’s right, we are especially successful in this by employing former homeless people to confirm this when the pressure on us gets high to explain why we treat our staff so poorly. The CEO invites a group once a year to his private Austrian property, and that way we win them for our reputation to speak up for us should we reap criticism from the public regarding staff treatment. We also aim to not integrate them too much into regular Pret shops, but are working on having shops run entirely by former homeless people, as they won’t cope in the long-run in a regular mainstream Pret shop, with all the bullying and high stress environment. It wouldn’t look good on our PR.

 

L: Makes sense. To continue with the questions, which food item are you currently working on to be the best selling of all time, not only in Pret but in the world.

P: Well, now you want to know some secrets here, what food item our food team is working on. I can’t let you in on that one, even though I agreed to do an open and honest interview. But I will say this much: it has to do with the Hearts of our staff.

L: Interesting! Similar to dishes like Liver Mousse or Kidney Pâté, but only with Hearts? Like Hearts on a Platter? Are some Minds part of the new stew as well? Oooh, I can’t wait for the new product launch!!

P: (motions with a gesture of sealed lips)

L: What, if any, is your hidden talent?

P: Doing the wrong thing naturally.

 

People-who-are-dishonest-are-perceived-as-incompetent-

 

L: On a personal level, which instrument would you like to play?

P: Hearts and Minds.

L: You can only choose one!

P: That’s not fair! I can’t choose! *biting on the coffee lid*

L: Well, strive for perfection here, a little extra mile will go a long way.

P: Okay Minds, as Hearts are often broken already and useless therefor. The Mind still needs tuning and somewhat breaking like a wild horse that is thinking on its feet too much. We are not in the horse whispering business, we break them!

 

L: Starbucks or Caffee Nero?

P: Pret!

L: Prosciutto or Posh Cheddar?

P: Well, since we go towards more Vegan, it would be Hearts. Organic Hearts of course!

L: Of course!

L: Mystery Shopper visits or Senior Management visits.

P: (regaining posture after the Heart vs Mind decision) Senior Management visits of course, we love to see the nervousness and fear on the faces of our managers and teams when we walk into shops.

L: Makes sense, that F E A R thing again, I really get to know you now and how consistent you are, very reliable.

P: (lifting the head with pride) Thank you. Now I am almost blushing.

L: Comedy or Drama?

P: Since we have too much Drama already, I’d choose Comedy, although they both go very close together in our company.

 

stressed-woman-3309731__340

 

L: Which micromanaging rule are you most proud of and why?

P: Letting our staff sign countless training rules without having the time to really train. We just like to cover our backs.

L: Which other countries would you like to conquer for Pret?

P: The whole world of course, even jungles where the monkeys live.

 

L: While on the subject of monkeys, if you were an animal, what would you be?

P: A Pret-Bull.

L: Why?

P: We like to look intimidating to our staff, but they don’t know that barking dogs don’t bite. We only bite together in groups and when we smell fear, which brings us back to fear management.

L: All well thought out then.

P: Yes. Are you sure you don’t want that coffee? It’s free!

L: No, thank you.

 

L: Final question, what was the best advise you’ve ever received?

P: Hire fast and fire even faster. Made today, gone today.

L: Thank you.

P: Well, that was fun!

L: Yeah, wasn’t that bad, was it? It must feel good to be honest.

P: Absolutely, never thought it would feel so relieving. I’ve learned a lot about myself today. Well, unfortunately, since it is lunch time I have to get back to the pub with my OPs managers for a few pints while our good and hard working people make it happen for us.

L: Of course, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. And thank you for this imaginary but honest and open interview.

P: Any time! And let me know whenever you want that free coffee 😉

L: Thank you. But no thank you. I am on my way to interview Sainsbury’s, one of the big ones to have signed up for the Disability Confident employer scheme, I want to avoid too many toilet breaks during this important interview.

P: Disability what?

 

L: Never mind, you wouldn’t be interested in that.

P: I guess you’re right. We need to keep that fear thing going.

L: That’s what I meant. Thanks again. See you again soon. *not*

P: Yes, oh while you are with them, could you ask them if they would be keen to have a Pret shop inside their supermarkets, like Costa does with Tesco with those rather unhygienic automates? That way at least we could Pret-end again to be part of this Disability thing you talk about without really being part of it of course. 😉

L: I see what I can do… *not*

 

Late Night Girl2

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 


 

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.

Day 17: The Pret A Manger Brainwash

 

Day 17 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Pret’s Values and Behaviours are not a set of rules staff have to follow, but a little booklet of brainwash the staff are subjected to. Pret has changed the wording in 2015. Where it now says:
“Needs Work” — “Good” — “Great”

Pret loosened up from the previous wording:
“Don’t want to see” — “Want to see” — “Pret Perfect”

I was reminded to post these Pret “values and behaviours” from an article by Timothy Noah on the emotional labour, the enforced happiness in Pret. Noah contacted Pret, but did not get any response and mentioned Pret’s values and behaviours that Pret had posted on their website, but after Noah’s article deleted from the site.

I was given this little booklet by David Carter, then Head of HR, when I contacted Clive Schlee, then CEO of Pret after my almost year long ordeal with management. I share my full story on this at the bottom audio player interview. David Carter, whose HR department ignored my plea for help and even were involved in my turmoil, was tasked to meet with me a few times as grievances were raised. In hindsight I understand that Carter met with me to brainwash me away from going to court. He later made 3 settlement offers for me to resign and be silent about what I went through. The fourth offer came via the court process when I raised a Tribunal claim, but withdrew as my dad died at the time and I had no lawyer.

I was extremely traumatized at the time with the loss of my brother and the bullying from Pret management under the watchful eye of HR. So, Carter’s aim was to gaslight me, and he succeeded of course, because I was so out of my mind and in trauma, I could not see left from right. But one thing he said puzzled me at first. After our first meeting he asked me at the end to tell him on a scale of 1 – 10 how meeting with him is for me. Later I realized he seemed to needed his ego strokes, as I wasn’t impressed to be meeting a “big cheese” from head office. My concern was my immediate line managers, Mr. Carter in case you’re reading this! My concern was not to stroke his ego or whatever else he wanted scratching!

He “promised” me to bring this little booklet for our next catch-up meeting. And at the second meeting he reminded me of his promise to bring this little booklet to show me something. Again, by then I knew what bullshit this is he’s doing. A “promise” woohoooo, to show me something, oooohhhh, aaaaahhh! What a big deal.

I did realize fast as well after he showed me a sentence in the booklet that they updated because of my situation. And I was supposed to go wooooohhhhoooo, aaaahhhh… that after he showed this to me. Pret tried to bullshit me that they are putting “policy” in place for bereaved staff. In reality this booklet is just a set of suggestions and brainwash that puts the ball back into the court of the shop management.

Shop management were ALL, except for one, overwhelmed with my situation. Not only did managers not have the tools and guidance from Pret to deal with bereaved employees, upper management under the watchful eye of HR bullied me, using a host of other people, managers, colleagues, even supposed customer complaints in emails about my service.

I found a description on Twitter of what EXACTLY was happening to me at the time, I just didn’t realize while in grief and trauma. But this is word for word what I went through in Pret;

Bullying Summed Up Nutshell

 

My situation went all the way to the top and infiltrated Head Office. Pret tried everything to get rid of me, as bereaved employees are an inconvenience for Pret, even long-term staff. I highlight later which sentence David Carter showed me, that was updated because of my situation. Yet, in reality this change was just another sentence of suggestion, and one that was supposed to show how caring Pret is. But again, no change in company policy on how to manage bereavement in the workplace.

I sent Pret management and HR several times a link to the ACAS guide of Bereavement at Work. Everytime they ignored the guide. In fact one HR People Business Partner even admitted that Pret could improve in supporting bereaved employees. I have his email because I applied for my file after the bullying.

The HR note taker wrote to a People Business Partner about my complaints when I was bullied by managers. 1. Pret never wanted to admit that I was bullied, and they worked all together to prevent this from being admitted. 2. the People Business Partner admitted that Pret can improve on this etc. A few months later this PBP was the note taker of yet another grievance appeal hearing that I raised against his colleague, another PBP who was in the background supporting the bully managers against me. I showed him this email of what he wrote, and he then said, “Well, in hindsight he might have been wrong.”

The email of the note taker in yellow and the response of the PBP in red:

 

No support from Pret

 

Yet, nothing changed. Again, for new readers, my story on how Pret not only NOT improved, but continued to bully me, including now former CEO Clive Schlee patronizing me, is in the interview at the bottom audio player.

A review I stumbled across from a Pret worker in New York who got penalized for going to a funeral:

Personal Issues1

Link

And a recent review of no support when having personal issues:

Personal Issues2

Link

Here are the Pret Values and Brainwash … uhm Behaviours in their typical psychology and wordplay:

img291

The brainwash in wordplay here is simple: Pret claims to give shops a “hand”, while in reality these suggestions are just something people can follow if they want to kiss butt to be promoted. Pret values, in fact are spread all over my blog, on Glassdoor and Indeed etc. (Slideshow at the bottom).

 

img292

 

The above is more for regular Team Members and all staff. The “Strives for perfection” part was always a stomach turner! But it is a very typical Pret thing. Pret expects staff to be perfect while themselves having a laugh.

 

Las Vegas

Link

And only a few recent Manager and Head Office reviews that are not only heart-breaking, but show Pret Senior Managers’ true faces:

2019-10-31 GM - Slavery - RVW30135565

Link

2019-11-10 GM Horrible

Link

Head Office Reviews

HQ Bullies

Link

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

Those reviews are only a hint of the many on the sites and the ones I collected. Staff spill the beans in anonymity on how reality is behind the “happy” facade. There’s a reason why Pret and its “leadership” have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co.

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO Pano Christou:

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

 

img293

This part is now moving into leadership roles.

 

img296

 

This section is now for Leaders and Managers. And this is the part that David Carter “promised” to show me. On the “Great” column, the 6th point. The part he showed me: “Tackles people issues early and sensitively, showing great compassion.”

 

Mittelfinger

This is an x-ray of my left middle-finger after an injury. This is for the blank page.

The tackling early and sensitively, showing great compassion Pret shows AGAIN in the end when they tasked a Development Manager, who supposedly had a brother as well who died alone in his apartment and wasn’t discovered for days. I share this in my interview at the bottom audio player and wrote about it here:

Lila Warren, David Carter, Clive Schlee

and

Lila Tighilt Warren and “her brother” Zain

 

Some reviews on the brainwash in Pret:

 

2013-07-30 Brainwashed Sandwich Making - RVW2875416

Link

2015 People Cry

Link

2015-12-04 TM - Brain Wash Brainwash - RVW8825267 marked

Link

Brainwash

Link

 

Brainwashed scared

Link

etc. etc. etc. … more on this Slideshow:

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 and extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, even witnessed by a customer: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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.

 

 

How Pret took over the British High Street – Response

 

Every journo wants a shot at Pret, but I still want to take this article apart. Why, because it is a piece that came by invitation into HQ. Today a new article was published, and as usual, I want to comment on it with a behind the scenes perspective. I’m sure the author has had a look at my blog, as I am spread on Twitter and other social media, hard to miss. But also especially because they cover issues like the Mystery Shopper which I write extensively on. But political correctness and a journalist career keeps most reporters just writing sweet pieces about Pret. There is nothing critical here, except copy and paste sentences on critical voices.

I have asked undercover journos like James Bloodworth and others to send someone into Pret undercover, not only into shops, but HQ. Amy Sharpe went already into a shop, but only for a week in the evening. The media for most part is in Pret’s pocket and just reports about Pret’s success, not what’s going on behind the facade. We just love success, no matter who’s paying the price.

HQ Bullies

Link

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

But the main issue I have with articles like this is that journalists stubbornly refuse to listen to front-line staff themselves! Even when staff suicides are dropped on their lap, they don’t want to know about it.

The photo at the header is from a Facebook group: “I hate Pret” facebook.com/preth8ers

And another former Pret staff member who got fired for starting a Union: twitter.com/__PAMSU__

 


 

The article: How Pret Took Over the British High Street by Phoebe Hurst for VICE.

Quotes from the article are in bold:

»Much of Pret’s success is down to its promise of “freshly prepared food” – an alternative to rival chains that ship their sandwiches in from faceless catering suppliers.«

Yes, Pret’s workers have a face, a smiley face, and behind that smile is a typical bullying company that increased with private equity, but existed already before. I explain more below, but I know that the media knows my blog already and that I write extensively on the “emotional labour” forced on staff, so this is for new readers who are not from the media.

»Exactly how wholesome Pret’s menu items are is up for debate. In 2018, the Advertising Standards Agency ruled that the chain could not advertise its sandwiches as “natural”, due to the presence of E-numbers, while critics point out that many of its products also contain artificial additives and preservatives to improve shelf life.«

Unfortunately again most journalists fail to mention the current class-action suit in New York on the “natural” claim that Pret is trying to get thrown out. I write about this extensively in: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

»Still, the freshly made tagline remains an incredibly effective marketing tool. “I think they have a very specific customer value proposition, which is ‘fresh on the day’,” says John Colley, a professor of practice at Warwick Business School. “There’s not so many others who actually have that, whereby sandwiches are made on the day, pastries are produced on the day.”«

Again, homework hasn’t been done well here. I quote directly from the “Regulation 28: Report to prevent furutre deaths” of the Natasha Ednan-Laperouse Inquest. Quote from Page 2, Point 1 (I added the bold):

»Regulation 5 allows for food outlets to avoid full food labelling requirements whether they prepare a small number of items in local shops or in the case of Pret, over 200 million items for sale by preparing these items in “local kitchens”. These items prepared in “local kitchens” are in fact “assembled” in large parts from items made in factory style outlets to Pret specifications. I was left with the impression that the “local kitchens” were in fact a device to evade the spirit of the regulation«

Yes. I worked in Pret kitchens and was a Team Leader in shops. I checked the delivery from factories many times of items that came in to be “assembled”. Everything is ready cooked apart from the raw eggs that come sealed in plastic pouches and are heated in water baths for the “poached” egg and bean pots.

Pret’s products are as fresh as when you go to the supermarket, buy some ham, cheese and a loaf of bread. Then you go home, put the items in your fridge, and make a sandwich the next day or the day after next. It’s as “fresh” as that. The ham and cheese are already God knows how many days or weeks old and are stored in fridges for days after they are taken in from factories. 

And the croissants/pastry come in from factories FROZEN and are days/weeks old with a year expiry date. From the frozen state they are then “freshley” baked. But they are NOT frehsly “produced” pastries.

That’s why the title of the Guardian article that journalist Felicity Lawrence uses and linked here is so fitting: The brilliant Pret a Manger marketing con we want to fall for

One of many Pret staff reviews on this:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Food not fresh stop being evil RVW27190460

Link

People still want to fall for it. No matter how many point out, including staff, that the food is not fresh and no matter how many customers die.

»I’m pre-warned about exactly how small the space is before I visit, but its size still surprises me: a slim room with an island table and fridges along one wall, then a squat back kitchen with containers of ingredients packed tightly on every shelf. “It’s set up like a shop kitchen,” Dolan explains. “Every shop has its benches, ovens, microwaves and toasting machines, and then we have a walk-in fridge and freezer that everything is kept in. It all happens in here.”«

Yes, it’s great that Pret let’s the test kitchen be small, so they find ways to know how to work. Yet, instead of doing this, Pret should ENLARGE the kitchens for several reasons. Enlarged customer area is to increase profit, while staff are squeezed like sardines having to work in high stress, without daylight and in cramped spaces. This not only leads to staff’s mental and physical health issues, but it continues dangerous mislabelling, mixing up ingredients, cross-contamination etc. endangering customers’ lives.

I write about this in: Vegans Eat Meat at Pret and put some photos of cramped work spaces.

»Dolan, along with five “innovation managers”, develops menu items for Pret shops in the UK, as well as its overseas outposts. Every one of these products – from sandwiches to vegetable crisps to chia puddings – is divided into five categories.
“One is ‘classic’, so things like the tuna baguette or Posh Cheddar or Chef’s Italian,” Dolan explains. “Then we have ‘health’, so not necessarily super-healthy, but perceived health – things like juices and breakfast pots. Then ‘warmth’ – so all-around comfort, like soups – and then ‘quirky’ is one of our other things.”«

Yep, those “perceived” health! That’s why people should check the sugar levels on all the juices and smoothies, including the green juices.

»Sandwiches, salads and wraps are made fresh each day in Pret shops, so the recipes Dolan and her team come up with must be achievable within a small kitchen space, with a method and ingredients list short enough to fit on a recipe card. “You need to get the guys in shops to be making it consistently every time,” Dolan explains.«

No, it’s not so much about consistency as it is about the pace. Kitchen staff have a certain amount of minutes to assemble a certain amount of products, shop staff have 1 minute to serve a customer and serve a coffee. If they “consistently” fail to be fast, they are threatened with their job security. Also, if the products are not brought out fast and the shelves filled at certain times, the WHOLE shop team risk losing Mystery Shopper bonus if items are missing. This Pret does to show customers that their shelves are always filled and the tills ringing!

»There are Prets everywhere in London. This ubiquity must have something to do with the company’s success over the last decade. Accessibility is obviously one thing, but equally: if customers are exposed to your branding multiple times, they are more likely to buy from you – it’s a classic business strategy. Either that, or they feel mentally bludgeoned by the endless maroon stars and stop in for a latte out of sheer exhaustion.«

Again, would have wished for some more homework here. Obviously, being confronted with Pret on every corner lures people in, making the choice easy and comfortable. What most journalists miss again is the private equity reality that The Times journo Sathnam Sanghera quoted a veteran private equity investor on in “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it” quote:

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

I started at Pret in 2008 when private equity firm Bridgepoint purchased Pret and set a high target to open at least 15 shops per year. And already in 2009 and certainly 2010 I saw Prets pop up everywhere. When JAB Holdings purchased Pret 10 years later, now former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on bonus alone.

»This has allowed the business to grow in spite of the widespread downturn of the high street that claimed fellow food chains like Jamie’s Italian and Carluccio’s.«

Hm, to compare Jamie’s 22 restaurants where they COOK in pots and pans quality food to a 500+ sandwich chain, with low-wage sandwich makers, that Pret psychologically calls “chefs” isn’t the best example.

»Pret CEO Pano Christou boils the company’s success down to two things. “Two important aspects of Pret have been critical to growing our business in the past decade: our business model and launch of Veggie Pret,” he tells me.«

Yes, here’s the business model: exploitation of low-wage employees. And there is a reason why 1. Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co, and 2. why Clive Schlee then let Pano Christou already take over on Glassdoor in July 2019, even though Schlee’s retirement was set for September 2019.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor scores

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

»Alongside its dependable food offerings and the sheer number of outlets, Pret is notorious for its cheery – and very human – customer service. Staff are trained to create the “Pret Buzz”: smiling as they call out coffee orders, making smalltalk with regulars and giving freebies to customers they like the look of. Former CEO Clive Schlee said the first thing he looked for in shops was “whether staff are touching each other. Are they smiling, reacting to each other, happy, engaged?”«

Yes, of course, Pret fails to mention that the “cheery” human customer service is driven by fear management and cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. If staff are not smiley enough they lose bonus and are fear managed, even threatened to lose their job.

I write about this emotional labour and collect articles by journalists, researchers and service workers: The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I particularly can highly recommend two articles apart from my own first hand experience in Pret: Timothy Noah’s “Enforced Happiness in Pretand Sophie McBain’sHow Emotional Labour Harms us all”. Both also linked on the above site with other really good articles on the subject of emotional labour.

I made a brief slide show of only a few of the questions Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on. There are more questions like how clean the shop was, how many product lines were on the shelves etc. I concentrated mainly on the smiley part and used comments from real Mystery Shopper reports.

 

»Pret became the nation’s favourite sandwich shop not for its food or customer service, but its dependability. It is easier to go to Pret than not to go to Pret. In this turbulent decade of political uncertainty and an escalating climate crisis, it’s nice to have something as knowable as a place where the staff smile at you, and you can always get a good egg mayo sandwich.«

Yes, where it’s easier to go to Pret as it is on every corner. And where staff always smile because they want to earn the extra £200 reward, or if they lose bonus don’t want to get fear managed.

For any journo who cares, just go undercover for more than a week in the mornings into kitchens and shops, and even Head Office and care to take a closer look.

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

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and an extensive article with staff reviews about the systemic bullying culture in Pret that a customer witnessed: Caught in the Act at Pret

 


 

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.

 

 

Day 16: Pret A Manger Soup Rota

 

Day 16 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

The soup rota for the week goes as follows:

Monday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without chicken
Tuesday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without rice
Wednesday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without broccoli
Thursday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without a label
Friday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice with a veggie label
Saturday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice with a flat wooden spoon
Sunday – Chicken Broccoli and Rice with vegan turkey
Any other day – Chicken Broccoli and Rice without chicken, broccoli and rice. Water-detox soup!

 

2018-12-10 Chick BrocRice Soup Nooooo

Link

 

Sure, no problem:

 

2018-10-17 Chick BrocRice Soup NEVER any chicken

17. Oct. 2018

 

2019-05-12 Chick BrocRice Soup

12. May 2019

 

2019-05-01 Chick BrocRice Soup

01. May 2019

 

2019-04-24 Chick BrocRice Soup

24. April 2019

 

2019-04-19 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. March 2019

 

I love this “etc” soup 😀

2019-04-13 Chick BrocRice etc Soup

13. March 2019

 

2019-04-11 Chick BrocRice Soup

11. March 2019

 

2019-04-10 Chick BrocRice Soup2

10. March 2019

 

2019-04-07 Chick BrocRice Soup

07. March 2019

 

2019-04-05 Chick BrocRice Soup

05. March 2019

 

2019-02-27 Chick BrocRice Soup

27. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-23-chick-brocrice-soup-1.jpg

23. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-20 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-08 Chick BrocRice Soup

08. Feb. 2019

 

2019-01-27 Chick BrocRice Soup

27. Jan. 2019

 

2019-01-18 Chick BrocRice Soup

18. Jan. 2019

 

2019-01-15 Chick BrocRice Soup

15. Jan 2019

 

ALSO the 15. Jan. 2019

2019-01-15 Chick BrocRice Soup AGAIN

15. Jan. 2019

 

2019-01-14 Chick BrocRice Soup

14. Jan. 2019 Video

 

2019-01-04 Chick BrocRice Soup

04. Jan. 2019

03. Jan 2019 Disappointed …

 

TWO for the price of … happy new year!

2018-12-31 Chick BrocRice Soup

31. Dec. 2018

 

10. Dec. 2018 True disappointment…

04. Dec. 2018 A little light on the chicken

 

2018-11-20 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. Nov. 2018

 

2018-11-12 Chick BrocRice Soup Video

12. Nov. 2018 Video

 

2018-11-10 Chick BrocRice Soup Increase Price

01. Nov. 2018

 

2018-10-29 Chick BrocRice Soup Video

29. Oct. 2018 Video

 

Note: People with white/blue “ticks” are not patronized with “Oh no/Oh dear” responses, the rest of the customers are patronized like idiots!

2018-10-22 Chick BrocRice Soup RENAME

22. Oct. 2018

 

2018-10-08 Chick BrocRice Soup Video

08. Oct. 2018 Video

 

Jumping over a host of more Tweets and going back to 22. March 2017… and then I just stopped…

2017-03-22 Chick BrocRice Soup

22. March 2017

 

Not only is the Chicken Broccoli & Rice soup a see-through meal without the main ingredients, Pret adds some glass to it to make it more transparent:

2019-02-28 Chick BrocRice Soup GLASS

28. Feb. 2019

 

And finally, the Soup Question of the Day:

2019-01-05 Why ALWAYS Chick BrocRice Soup

05. Jan. 2019

 

2018-11-26 Why ALWAYS Chick BrocRice Soup2

26. Nov. 2018

 

2018-11-21 Why ALWAYS Chick BrocRice Soup

21. Nov. 2018

Because it has hardly any ingredients in it, making the profit margins fatty for those millionaire pockets…

 

Class Action Suit against Pret
settled in NYC for deceptive packaging;

A Visual of the
Misleading Wrap Packaging Size.

 


 

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.

Day 15: PRotesting Giants, PRotecting Clients

 

PReserving Reliance

 

Day 15 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Note: If you prefer to read on a green background, not white, please delete the amp/ in above url and reload. Linked from Twitter, for some reason it has white background and an addition to the url. On green background comments at the bottom will be visible compared to white background page.

 

A Crash-course on the PR[et] stunt and how businesses PRostitute their values and demand their staff to do the same.

 

PRet’s

PRactices in

PRocrastinating

PRoper labelling when

PResented with concerns to

PRotect people and

PReventing

PRemature deaths from

PRepared

PRoducts, taking

PRecedence by being

PReoccupied in

PRioritizing and

PReferring

PRosperity, while being

PRetentious, but not

PRoactive,

PRactical,

PRagmatic,

PRimarily

PRofessional,

PRincipled and with

PRide

PRoviding all ingredients by

PRinting labels to

PReserve and

PRolong life … is so out of

PRoportion!

 

The PRefabricated

PRemeditated and

PRedictable

PRopaganda,

PRoclaiming

PRomising and

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

PRobing a death, public

PRostests and

PRessure from the

PRess is typical for the

PR[et] machine with

PRofits over

PRivate lives

PRoving their negligence

 

PRoblem remains: no

PRocecution, no

PRison sentence, and no

PRoposed new leadership

 

Pret A Manger

PRovokes anger,

PRevails and regains

PRominence by hiring and

PRomoting

PR firm

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

 

PRecious lives paid the

PRice, financially

PReyed and

PRowled upon by greedy

PRicks!

 

If Public Relation is not for the sake of both, the company AND the public; if a company cannot relate to families having lost loved ones, due to the company’s negligence, going full steam ahead with business as usual, then Public Ramifications won’t fix lost Reputation.

 

PRaying for the families, especially this Christmas time.

 

©2018 expret.org

 

P.S. Mind intellectual PRoperty.

 

Word PR.Isolated on white background.3d rendered illustration.

 


 

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 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.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment:
Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
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.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

 

©2020 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.

Day 14: Cheer Leader vs. Fear Leader

 

Day 14 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

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):

 

 


 

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.

Day 13: A Day in the Life of a Pret Worker

 

Day 13 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger smile, and the emotional, mental, physical and financial cost to staff.

 

Timothy Noah Quote Emotional Labor

LINK to Emotional Labour article

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

 

~~~ Here is the Short Version ~~~

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

The magic words: Mystery Shoppers

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

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

  1. Cash incentives. Overall bonus for the whole shop team which is £1 per hour worked. So if a Team Member (TM) worked 40 hours that week, they will get an additional £40 on top of their contracted wage for that week, provided the MS report was all in the green area and then gave the bonus to the whole team. Managers’ bonuses are given quarterly. But a TM can individually also earn extra cash on top of the bonus (or even if the bonus for the whole team was lost).
    This is called an “Outstanding Card” (OC) which is £100 extra if the MS is super happy with a particular TM or even General Manager (GM), Assistant Manager (AM) etc. Meaning, if the TM “kissed butt” especially hard, gave a freebie etc. they can earn that extra cash on top of their wages and team bonus. If the report is 100% perfect scores and the MS awards an OC to a staff member, that TM earns double = £200. So, that one staff member gets their weekly wages, the weekly bonus PLUS the extra £100 or £200 cash. £100 OC (Outstanding Card) or £200 SOC (Super Outstanding Card).
    Side note: An Outstanding Card is not literally a card, it’s just a name for the extra cash award. There are no cards given, “just” the money. So, when a TM is EXTRA SPECIAL nice, it is often (not always!) that they assumed they’re serving the Mystery Shopper!
  2. Fear Management. If any TM or several of the Team messes up in any way resulting in bonus being lost for the whole team incl. GM (bonus not awarded by the MS), the angry manager will have a word with them. Depending what the bonus was lost on, this often is done in subtle or direct fear management where staff are made to fear for their job or position.

 

2018-01-23 Outstanding Card

Link The reason why she got the Outstanding Card and with it the extra £100, or £200 if the shop had perfect scores, is the white writing on the red background. The Mystery Shopper rewarded this TM for this reason, quote:
“I noticed that the avocado in the remaining veggie box salads were brown and I asked if there were any fresher ones. The team member said she would ask the kitchen to make me a fresh one. She telephoned them and said if it was okay she would take the veggie box to the kitchen and they would replace the avocado for me.”

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

NOTE: The bonus is also used by abusive management to manipulate staff members. For example: company policy is that when a staff member (except Managers & Assistant Managers who are on the monthly pay-role, not on hourly pay) calls sick, even just for one day, they will not receive their bonus for that week. Also, when staff members come to work late, they get their bonus cut. BUT while the bonus cut for sickness is company policy and already bad enough, the lateness issue is supposed to be in the discretion of the Manger. So, if I come to work always on time, even earlier, and one time I am late 5 minutes due to traffic issues etc., the Manager could (and should) be merciful as they would know me to always be on time.

But I have worked with Managers who didn’t like me or another Team Member and cut our bonus mercilessly! We had to then fight and reason with management why they are so harsh, while letting their favourite staff members off the hook regularly.

Also, bonus is cut for stupid reasons. I was threatened by a Manager early when I just became a Team Leader and wasn’t even trained well. In those days Pret had the burgundy plastic opening/closing sign that you needed to slide open for the opening time, and slide close to the closing time. In my early days I forgot to slide it to “open” about 2 – 3 times a week. But instead of training me how to double check everything before opening time, I was threatened that if I forget to slide it to open, that my bonus for that week would be cut. It was absolutely kindergarten and ridiculous. A colleague of mine got his bonus cut because he came to work after a few days off with a beard. Pret demands staff to speak with management first when they plan to grow a beard! Yes, I’m not kidding! So, the staff member flipped out, had a big verbal fight with the Manager and left Pret because that was just the last drop on the barrel for him.

Abusive, insecure and immature Managers use the bonus as fear management.

Pret Staff Tweets:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

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

A Tweet to the then CEO before his “retirement” in September 2019, by a frustrated Team Member:

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

Link

 

~~~ And here is the Long Version ~~~

I cover mainly the “smiley” culture of Pret in: “How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers“, but I want to take the reader through a typical day in Pret A Manger, and why this MS scheme is dangerous for mental health, not to mention patronizing and humiliating.

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

First of all I want to start off by saying that I don’t think a Mystery Shopper scheme is a bad idea, I think it can be helpful to improve customer service where needed. The problem with Pret is, they take this to intense levels which I find abusive. Or in the words of a case study, quote:

»The case is about the enforced happiness of the employees of Pret A Manger. Here, the employer demands those persons who have specific attributes and capability to appeal to the senses of the customers to attract them. … It presents an extreme case of emotional labour that the employees of Pret A Manger are made to practice while selling cheddar and tomato sandwich. Emotional labour is conceptualised as a practice that sabotages the rights of the employees

— From Arsalan, Case Study

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

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

Journalists getting used to harrassment

Link

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

2019-11-29 View into Pret kitchen photo2

Link

For example in the shop staff HAVE TO smile and perform a cheery presence, while in the kitchen they can just be themselves. In the kitchen they have no windows, have to work super fast assembling products without time to think until their break (or until they literally break!). In the shop there are windows to get daylight and space, while still having to clean, stock up etc. In the kitchen the staff can choose their own music BUT the music has to be LOUD and FAST, so they work fast! Pret sells this as “fun” while working, but in reality it is a beating drum to set the pace. But at least they can choose their songs. In the shops staff cannot choose and have to listen to the same old, same old, same old tunes every single day for months and months, until Pret changes the playlist! And many other differences between the two work areas. (Side note: the music in shops is also loud so that customers don’t linger around too long occupying seats 😉 The money has to flow…) And many other things that vary between the kitchen and the shop.

I often “mediated” between the two teams when they were at “war” pointing fingers, where the kitchen felt the shop team is lazy or the shop felt the kitchen team have it easier. I always pointed out to both teams that each team has their challenges as well as good parts, but that EVERYONE works hard and has a lot of stress, just differently.

The most poignant Pret staff review I came across. It’s from a worker who mainly worked in the kitchen, but also had to jump in helping at the tills doing customer service. This jumping back and forth is VERY common in Pret, and very frustrating for staff:

Annihilate Humanity 45

Link

Hierarchies

Shop hierarchy:
General Manager (GM) and Assistant Manager Floor (AMF) are in plain business attire
Floor Leader (FL) – Green belt and name badge

Baristas/Coffee Makers – Black belt, shirt and name badge
Hot Food Chef (HFC) – Red belt, and name badge
Team Members (TM) – Burgundy belt and white name badge. Sometimes wearing red apron to help the Hot Chef out.

The colour of the badge is the main indicator of position, not the apron or even shirt.

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

Kitchen hierarchy:
Again the same General Manager (GM) but a different Assistant Manager Kitchen (AMK), plain business attire
Kitchen Leader (KL) – Green belt and name badge
Team Member Trainer (TMT) Blue belt and name badge
Team Members (TMs) – Burgundy belt and white name badge

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

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

One recent staff review:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

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

 

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

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

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018