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


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

Personal Issues2


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


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).




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


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


2019-11-10 GM Horrible


Head Office Reviews

HQ Bullies


It Analyst HQ Head Office Review


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




This part is now moving into leadership roles.




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.”



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


Lila Tighilt Warren and “her brother” Zain


Some reviews on the brainwash in Pret:


2013-07-30 Brainwashed Sandwich Making - RVW2875416


2015 People Cry


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





Brainwashed scared


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

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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 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.



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