Employees are the Blood of the Company

 

»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.«

 — @minmilyjung

 

2018-06-13 Hellhole - RVW21022161

Link

 

Clive Schlee “retired” with a legacy on Glassdoor & Co where staff dare to speak bluntly without fear:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2020-01-22 Pano 39 34

 

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger 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:

©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.

Pret A Manger Service Secrets REVEALED

Pret A Manger’s strict Mystery Shopper scheme.

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness3

 

Note: If you prefer to read with a green background, not white, please delete amp/ in above url and reload. Linked from Twitter for some reason it has white background and an addition in the url.
Or click here: https://expret.org/2020/01/22/pret-a-manger-mystery-shopper-scheme

 

Introduction

This is a very detailed account on Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper scheme with a full report, and why staff everywhere always smile and chat so much, and give freebies etc. I walk the reader through the steps in how staff are drilled to perform to perfection for low pay, and why they do it. If you don’t have time to read, please scroll down to the large red writing (about halfway down this post) on the 30+ questions Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on every week. A current staff member sent me a recent Mystery Shopper report, and I want to post the whole report here. I renamed the Mystery Shopper to “Misery” Shopper for a reason!

I write so detailed and extensive to show the public how micromanaging, brainwashing, exhausting and patronizing Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme is.

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

I touched on this already in other blog posts, but also on a YouTube slide I made from excerpts of real Mystery Shopper reports. But I only used about 4 – 6 questions that Pret tasks Mystery Shoppers every week to test staff on. I concentrated mainly on the smiley service part and speed of service. In this post I want to put a current and FULL Mystery Shopper report, to highlight the micromanaging scheme that stresses staff every minute, as they anticipate Mystery Shoppers for cash incentives and to avoid getting fear managed.

A brief YouTube slide on real Mystery Shopper reports I combined from several years:

 

Pret makes no secret that they have Mystery Shoppers (MS), but they portray themselves to be such a happy place, when in reality staff are checked on  micromanaging questions every week.

If you want to skip this long intro, please just scroll down to the 30+ questions from current Mystery Shopper reports.

But as a taster, here are the questions without the answers. I posted the answers further below. Out of these 32 questions, 28 are “scoring” questions, meaning the results affect Managers and Team bonuses. Halfway through this post the answer from the Mystery Shopper are posted under the Qs. But here first of all just the questions, which span over 8 pages with the MS answers. When I worked at Pret it used to be 4 – 5 pages max.

NOTE: categories 1 – 6, Style, Selection etc. are the “6 steps of Service” that I explain further below that affect the whole Team bonus.
Category 7 is about an individual staff member’s service and their individual cash reward, even when the Team bonus is lost.
Category 8 is about the Government Value Added Tax (VAT), which currently is Pret’s “focus question” since about 2012-ish when the Government increased pressure on companies (I explain further in the post).
And in Category 9 are the 4 “non-scoring” questions that don’t affect bonus, and are just for market research.
The numbers in brackets i.e. (16 out of 20) is 16 points reached out of 20.

Quick rundown of the 32 questions:

1 – Style (30 out of 30)

1 – How inviting was the shop from the outside?

2 – How clean was the shop entrance?

3 – How welcoming was the atmosphere at the entrance?

4 – How was the presentation of food and drink in our display units, fridges, fruit stand, crisp baskets and queue stands?

5 – How presentable was the till counter and bakery display?

6 – How well presented were team members?

2 – Selection (16 out of 20)

7 – 1 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the cold fridges had less than 2 items.

8 – 2 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the hot food display had NO stock.

9 – 3 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for pre-packaged cakes, cold drinks and snacks had NO stock.

10 – 4 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for unwrapped bakery (behind the glass till counter) had NO stock.

3 – Speed (10 out of 10)

11 – 1 – Please rate the time it took to be served from joining the queue.

12 – 2 – Did you receive your hot drink within reasonable time from payment?

4 – Service (10 out of 10)

13 – 1 – How well did the person at the till connect with you with a smile, eye contact and some polite remarks?

14 – 2 – Were all your items stated during the transaction, were you charged correctly and did you receive the correct products?

3 – Please select which scenario question you asked. Asked for more information on a product Asked for more information on a product

15 – 4 – Based on the scenario you selected, please rate your experience when asking our team member your enquiry.

5 – Seating (13 out of 15)

16 – 1 – How clean were the bin stations inside the shop?

17 – 2 – How clear and clean were the floors, tables and chairs inside the shop?

18 – 3 – How well presented and stocked were the toilets INSIDE the shop (if applicable)?

6 – Say Thank You and See You Again (5 out of 5)

19 – 1 – How well did your server or any member of the team end the transaction by thank you and/or giving a pleasant parting comment?

7 – Additional Scored Question (5 out of 5)

1 – Was any ONE member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or outstanding?

2 – Please provide the name or a description of this outstanding member of staff.

8 – Additional Information (0 out of 5)

1 – It is a legal requirement for our teams to charge VAT for all ‘Eat In’ items/transactions. When served, were you asked if you were ‘taking away’ or ‘eating in’, and charged correctly? Asked & Charged

2 – Did you notice someone in charge and, if so, what were they doing?

3 – Did BOTH questions 2.1 and 2.2 achieve the top answer OR N/A?

4 – If you ordered a dairy free alternative milk, was the correct sticker applied to your cup to indicate the milk used?

5 – If you bought a hot food item, did the label on your product match the product you purchased?

6 – Did the label on your cold fresh food product match the product you purchased?

9 – Customer Segmentation (non-scoring)

1 – Based on your overall experience on this visit, how likely are you to recommend Pret to people you know on a scale of 1-10?

2 – In order for you to have the perfect visit, which of the following aspects should we prioritise to improve?

3 – From the list below, please choose which area is our main strength.

4 – Where do you normally go to purchase similar products?


 

When breaking down the questions, these reports are very complex as you will see with the answers the MS gives further below. Any tiny issue can penalize the whole shop team. Staff HAVE TO smile, HAVE TO chat, HAVE TO make eye contact and are drilled to give freebies, as every shop has a weekly marketing budget. For space and to keep the post as short as possible (yeah right!), I just mention a few of the many, many ways shop teams can lose or gain bonus, and individual Team Members, including Managers, can earn an extra cash reward called an “outstanding card” (OC) of £100 or a “super outstanding card” (SOC) of £200 per week / Mystery Shopper visit. An outstanding card is not a literal card, it’s just the name of the cash reward. This reward can be earned ON TOP of the wages AND on top of the Team bonus. Sounds, generous? No, if you experienced the daily stress, headache, depression, tinnitus, anxiety, physical pain, rude customers, bullying … this is 1. peanuts, and 2. even if the reward was higher, it’s not worth what your mental and physical health goes through on a prolonged period of time, every day, having to bend backwards for a little more money and small recognition.

Also, the following week this reward is forgotten, especially if you fail on a Mystery Shopper visit. It is never good enough.

A recent review from LAX, that was just opened in the summer of 2019, shows as well the bullying culture and how the reviewer doesn’t care if they get $15.25 per hour. Even a higher amount of wages isn’t worth the abuse they’re subjected to. Also, in a New Shop Opening (NSO), they pay a little more and usually have a lot of staff, as the first year of the NSO, the store doesn’t have targets to reach, as they first want to build a customer base. After about a year the pressure really starts on the targets, profits, cutting labour etc.

LAX

Link

The “outstanding card” (OC) used to be a £50 reward for an individual staff member, or “super outstanding card” (SOC) of £100 if the shop scores were perfect. And even if the whole shop lost the bonus on an issue I explain below, an individual staff member can still get the extra £50 (now £100) cash reward. So, it used to be £50 OC or £100 SOC if perfect scores were reached. And now it is £100 OC or £200 SOC with perfect scores.

2018-07-04 Outstanding Card Prets Response

Link

The irony is, I gave suggestions to an OPs (area) Manager, who asked me for my input on how Mystery Shopper scores can be improved company wide, as our shop was always very successful. And one of the suggestions I made was to double the MS reward from £50 or £100 to £100 or £200! Thank me later Pret staff! 😀 – I still have the email with the suggestions to the OPs!

No, I’m not floating my own boat here, but as a Team Leader I was responsible for “team engagement”, and everywhere I worked, I helped improve the scores by organizing the teams and encouraging them, NOT blaming them. I worked to lift them up, not put them down. And that showed in the Mystery Shopper reports. But my Managers never encouraged me, in fact one OPs tried to use one Mystery Shopper report that had bad scores (when I was in bereavement) to target me. I then collected all Mystery Shopper reports where I / we succeeded, just for my protection. Sad, but reality! And that’s how I was able to put above “Misery” Shopper YouTube slide together.

NOTE: I have been asked by some Journalists on the Mystery Shopper requirements, one Journo asked me if a staff member ever got fired for making mistakes with the MS scores. But that will never happen in an open way. I know of a Team Member who received what they used to call a “file note”, now called “note of concern”, when he didn’t smile and that lost us the bonus. A “note of concern” is NOT a disciplinary / written warning, but it is a first step to get a person towards a disciplinary and out of the company. If the management is looking for something to pin on the employee, they will find it fast. And Mystery Shopper result is the perfect way in that direction.

Many insecure Managers who work a lot with fear management, hand out “note of concerns” like staff hand out napkins. It’s always a clear sign to see which Manager is scared themselves by the amount of “notes” they “motivate” staff with. In my 10 years I only received 1 “note of concern” on a stupid thing, but not another time as I saw through this manipulation quick and wasn’t impressed. But I was the recipient of a lot of verbal fear management and unfavourably shift times etc.

Quick Sack

Link

I have been targeted by an Area Manager when we lost points, NOT bonus, but points as I didn’t smile. The Area Manager KNEW that I just lost my brother 6 months before. I have this as evidence if anyone doubts this. I was invited for a meeting and was presented with a list of (silly!) things I was doing wrong, including the non-smiling when I served the Mystery Shopper.

And I was often spoken to in a manipulative way when I didn’t achieve the highest points or some stupid remark the MS made about my service. I know of Team Members where the Manager would say something like, “maybe this job is not for you”… or “maybe you would do better in the kitchen” … etc. And I know of people who have been placed in the kitchen as a penalty to get them off the shop floor into the kitchen like Cinderella separating peas! And especially when staff are younger or new to Pret, they are very quickly manipulated with subtle undertones of fear management.

What the Managers didn’t know was, that I as the Team Leader took the Team Member aside later and told them not to be afraid, and I put in a good word for them, and that I know how well they do their job etc. The relieve on their faces, and at times calming their tears, was more worth to me than any effing Mystery Shopper reward! I also told my colleagues when they are harsh with the person who lost us the bonus, the day will come when they also lose the bonus and will be treated with the same measure! 

My message always was: We ALL make mistakes, let’s look after each other and not let the big guns upstairs throw crumbs at us to fight over!

As I was the shop Team Leader, responsible to “engage” the Team (to kiss butt all day!), one Manager took me aside in the beginning of me working in his shop and he said to me, “I close my eye to everything but the Mystery Shopper”. In other words, I can mess up on everything including Health and Safety issues, cutting corners everywhere, but if I mess up on the Mystery Shopper, he won’t close his eyes. I made clear to him, that he shouldn’t close his eyes on ANYTHING. I just came from a previous shop where I was targeted for small things, so I was not going to get sabotaged on ANYTHING! And I was still angry and distraught about what happened in the other shop, so I clearly spoke my mind! But this was also due to me being traumatized and in great anxiety to make the smallest mistake that could be used against me.

Pret cannot and would not openly fire someone on the grounds of having messed up the Mystery Shopper. But the targeting and bullying with the help of Mystery Shopper reports is very vast, subtle and extensive. If the Manager doesn’t like you or is angry with you for messing up the Mystery Shopper, they will arrange for you to fail further in other areas to get you fired or in the “least” transfer you out to another shop. Anyone who has been through systematic (and systemic) workplace bullying, knows what I’m talking about.

On a side note, I really recommend watching the 3-part mini-series “Sticks and Stones” from ITV, regarding subtle and systematic workplace bullying that was screened in December 2019. In this case a Team Leader is bullied and sabotaged by his Team for his position. And as the company has announced redundancies, he is put through an ordeal that is throwing him off and leads to a breakdown, that makes him look like the bad guy, incapable to do his job, out of control. Oh, how I can relate to that!!! This was another part where Pret HR gaslighted me after I raised grievances. They turned it around and used a breakdown I had after my line manager bullied me in December 2015. I broke down, sobbed and became erratic in front of my team and boss, two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death. And Pret made me look like an angry person who causes trouble. In reality I had a breakdown similar to the breakdown the actor has in below “Sticks and Stones” Trailer.

Unfortunately the series is offline now, as ITV.com just screened it until the end of December 2019, but in case you see it on Netflix & Co. please watch! It is really well portrayed how subtle bullying happens, and how hard it is to proof without solid evidence! I watched this twice back to back and cried as I was triggered, even though Pret shops are not an office environment and I was bullied and targeted by my superiors, not by my Teams. But the principles are the same.

The Trailer on YouTube:

 

So, I can only suggest for Journalists to go undercover into Pret for AT LEAST 4 weeks, best in the mornings, where the pressure is the most intense and where the Mystery Shopper requirements are felt hard every single moment of the day! Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover only for a week in the evening shift where it’s quieter. Amy made a good start, but to really feel the Pret “blow”, people need to work in the mornings from 5AM in both the shop and the kitchen. The most poignant review by a staff member who jumped between the kitchen and the shop, is the following review on Indeed, and I can verify every word of it:

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

You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 45

Link I spend 6 months racing all day and barely spoke 3-5 words a day on my shifts if I’m not on till where you are required to have the widest fake smile on earth…”

 

Brainwash

Now, what I explain here may sound harsh, and of course it is commendable when a business looks nice, friendly, clean and fully stocked etc. But the price low-wage workers have to pay, so that company leaders reap their millions, is ridiculously high and damages a lot of people physically, mentally and even financially.

£30m

Daily Mail

Pret Mystery Shopper requirements are very militant and what Timothy Noah even called “Stasi” like, quote: “Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi”. From his excellent article Labor of Love: The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger. And I totally underline his article. More about the exploitation via strict Mystery Shopper emotional labour demands, I cover extensively in: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Side note: For any person wanting to criticize me on silly spelling because you have no other arguments to defend Pret, I write from England on WordPress that uses American spell-check. I also respect American and British spelling, so when I write “labor” it’s because an American author wrote it, vs. “labour” from a British or European writer. Also, English is NOT my first language, and I think I’m doing pretty good so far. So, before you criticize me on silliness like this, click away and watch a film or something.

Having said that, I welcome genuine corrections on typos and spelling mistakes.

Pret has a lot of brainwashing slogans in place that staff have to memorize and follow. The most appalling wordings I always found while working at Pret is on their packaging: “Lovingly handmade in this shop today”! When you work at Pret, this particular slogan can make you puke, and the many staff reviews at the very bottom page slideshow explain why!

 

The 6 Steps of Service

In the shop there is what Pret developed as the “6 Steps of Service”, which all start with an “S”. In the kitchen Pret has the “6 Steps of Production” which all start with a “P”. A lot of psychology went into developing those. But I will just concentrate on the shop 6 steps of service here, and can cover the kitchen another time. The kitchen concentrates on the speed of production (productivity), while the shop concentrates on appearance (happy facade), yet also speed.

These 6 steps are in a particular order for Mystery Shoppers to check every week. Mystery Shoppers basically work their way in, from the entrance to the food display/fridges to the counter to the seat and out again, via a D-tour to check the toilets. The 6 steps are:

1. Style (atmosphere of the shop, this is in their own discretion. What one MS likes, another MS dislikes the next week)

2. Selection (clear rules the MS has to follow)

3. Speed of service (also called “SOS”)

4. Service (if staff always smile, chat, are attentive, efficient etc. Giving freebies always helps and often gets the Team Member the extra £100 or £200 “outstanding card” reward)

5. Seating (if seats / tables etc. are cleaned within 1 minute of customers leaving, sometimes even crumbs are a big problem)

6. Say Thank you and See you again (a departing remark of some kind)

And then some non-scoring questions at the end, which even though are not scored, still fear manage especially the shop Managers.

The questions and some answers below are self-explanatory, but I want to highlight the stress and peer-pressure Pret puts on Teams and the Mystery Shopper reports being used as a tool to bully staff to always perform with a fake front, no matter what. Smile, chat, eye contact etc. to achieve maximum scores, to appear as such a happy and efficient company, while in reality it is VERY stressful and depressing!

One person on Twitter has put it in simple, but poignant words on how Pret penalize the whole Team if ONE person makes a mistake. I have experienced this countless times. And this is done on purpose where hard-working staff lose their bonus and effort after ONE person messed up. This one person is then shunned or dealt with the silent treatment. As a Team Leader I went the opposite and encouraged the one person, instead of putting them down, as this is counter productive and hurting them. I signaled that we all make mistakes and not to let others pressure them! But Pret wants peer pressure… to always appear happy… to draw people in… to increase profit:

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive marked

 

Bonus is £1 per hour worked for hourly paid staff in shops. So, if I worked 40 hours that week and as a Team we receive the bonus, I get an extra £40 on top of my weekly wages. Sounds great, but is very, very stressful for the peanuts you get extra! If I am sick even just for one day, I automatically get my bonus cut and don’t receive it. Also, there’s no bonus when you are on holiday which is fair. But if I am late, even 5 minutes, the Manager in their own discretion can cut my bonus. As in Pret there is a lot of favouritism, which can also be seen in the many staff reviews I collected, some staff members make friends with the Manager, and then get away with a lot of sh!t. And those who work their butts off, who are very reliant, but are not the Manager’s favourite, come late ONE time for 5 minutes, and bam! – get their bonus cut! The bonus is used for a lot of abuse by Management.

Managers, Assistant Managers and upper area Managers (OPs) get their bonuses not every week, like hourly paid shop staff, but every quarter which are huge amounts of money! Managers’ bonuses are based on many things, like profit, how little waste the shops have, how little labour costs (that’s why Pret under-staffs), health and safety checks and other things. But the biggest chunk of Managers’ and upper Managers’ bonuses are the Mystery Shopper scores. That’s why Managers stress a lot about the Mystery Shopper and the point system that is VERY important to Managers to compete in their area of 10 – 14 shops, and company-wide.

So, it’s the typical greed of the few to squeeze the many. Pret cuts staff, so that the few Managers on top get a lot of bonus, instead of staffing appropriately, giving everyone a piece of the cake, value and respect workers, lowering their stress, and with an adequate amount of staff also giving customers a much better and calmer service.

 

Examples on how a shop can lose or gain bonus

On product selection for example, Pret demands a certain amount of selection during certain business hours. The Mystery Shopper is also tasked to count the “lines” of products. Any product is a line. The Tuna Cucumber Baguette is a line. The Egg-Mayo Sandwich is a line. The Tomato Soup is a line in the hot food section. Every different product is a line.

Usually between 12 noon and 2:00 or 2:30PM (depending on the area) Pret wants FULL selection of all products they offer in that particular shop. But Pret changes that at times. But from my experience it was between 12 noon and 2:30PM. Staff are NOT allowed to run out of a product (line) at that certain time. Staff are also not allowed to take the product label off the shelf if they run out of a product (line). If a Manager or Leader is caught taking out the label, they risk getting a disciplinary. This is to stress staff to ALWAYS have products available or MAKE them on demand to increase profit. At the same time, Managers and Leaders are stressed by OPs Managers when they have too much waste. It’s an absolute nightmare to balance without a lot of pain! And beyond the charity PR is daily food-waste in plastic packaging to landfill because of over-production to have the shelves full and the money rolling in!

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

Link

Waste

Link

2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

Link etc.

For a longer list of customer photos and complaints on wasted food, please see: Pret A Manger Food Waste. I had to waste countless bin bags like this over the years due to overproduction and under-staffing to manage the waste properly. And Pret now use increasingly NON-transparent bin bags to hide the food-waste in the streets.

Before 12 noon and after 2:30PM Pret demands a certain amount of products. This may vary from shop to shop and area. But in a nutshell, let’s say Pret wants 15 different products (lines) after 2:30PM on the shelves, but my shop has only 14 different lines, and if the Mystery Shopper happens to be there at that time (they have to count the lines), and if 1 line is missing, the whole Team lose the bonus.

This means, if I worked in the morning in the kitchen, worked my butt off to get the products on the shelf, then at 2PM I go home and at 5PM the shop is missing 1 line because the afternoon Team is understaffed to make more products, the Mystery Shopper happens to be there at that time and counts the lines. I then, who have already left hours ago, and can contribute NOTHING more, I lose my bonus for that week! Or even if I was off that day, working 5 out of 7 days, and this was my off-day, I lose my bonus if ONE person messes up in any way on the day I was off! And I can do nothing about it. My efforts went down the drain. And THAT is what Pret wants, colleagues to get mad at that one person or shift that made a mistake, even if it wasn’t their fault due to under-staffing!

 

Pret even goes a step further

Each product line HAS TO have at least 2 items behind its label. So, if the MS counts 15 lines of products, but ONE line only has 1 item, instead of 2, it means it is 14 lines. If the fridge has 15 different products (lines) but out of these 15 lines I only have 1 Cucumber Baguette (in its line) instead of 2 baguettes, I am “out of selection” and we as a Team lose the bonus!

An example I found on Twitter. These 2 BLT sandwiches in 1 LINE. If there was only 1 sandwich, this would NOT be a line. (Side-note: 4,70€ for a sandwich!)

2020-01-25 @GillyBerlin Pret Berlin 2 Sandwiches behind sticker2

Link

Managers often find ways to “cheat” by taking a label out until they fill the shelf with the product. But this can get them a disciplinary as Pret wants the machinery to run perfectly at all times. Another way to cheat, and this is when it gets dangerous, is when they take a DIFFERENT baguette from a different line that looks similar to the Cucumber Baguette, and place this baguette behind the Cucumber Baguette to make it look like they have TWO. This way they avoid losing Mystery Shopper bonus, as the MS doesn’t have time to check all products perfectly but often just scans and counts the lines quickly. 

This is also not allowed, but because Pret under-staffs and workers are stressed to the max, it forces Managers to cheat! One recent review by a Manager highlights this, and the danger it brings as customers take the WRONG item behind a label. Managers cheat in many ways to make the numbers look good, so as not to get bullied by their superiors, the OPs Managers. I was never promoted, because I refused to risk my job for Managers and OPs Managers bonuses! But this Manager’s (GM) review is very brave, as they even mention their city. But also in regards to the “fear culture” mentioned at the bottom of this review, this is not only in Edinburgh. I worked in over a dozen shops and it is systemic and everywhere:

GM cheat

Link Quote:Managers are forced to cheat on results and break standards just so that the area manager looks good on paper, though he stays at home most of the days whilst the shops collapse.

I often said to my Teams and bosses, who were frustrated at Pret, I always said that Pret is like a company that binds our feet together in a tight rope, and then demands from us to run! Any way you turn, you have to make constant decisions if to cheat and risk getting caught, losing your job  – or if to lose bonus and get fear managed by the OPs Managers. OPs Managers who often sit in the pub at lunch time (I’ve seen it), or are at home as the above review states. I didn’t see an OPs for 3 – 4 months at a time. Once an OPs “visited” a shop for a few minutes to let their bossy attitude scare Managers and Teams, you knew immediately when they were there, as everyone was always talking about it in fear or annoyance the next day. So, OPs Managers get a shit-load of money, while having a laugh in the pub or at home during busy lunch-time rushes. And the only “presence” they show is via Emails stressing the shops for higher numbers! Typical Pret “leadership”.

This also shows in a recent review by a Team Leader from Chicago of the bullying environment:

GM cry

Link

Las Vegas

Link

 

Coming to the full Mystery Shopper report

The below Mystery Shopper visited shortly after 11AM when the shops are quiet and Team Members have more time to “kiss butt” to receive the cash rewards, as Mystery Shoppers come mainly before and after the busy morning and lunchtime rushes. In this case the Team Member got the “outstanding card”, the £100 even though the shop lost bonus on selection. The “outstanding” service described below wouldn’t be possible during intense coffee or lunch time rushes. Most rewards are received at quiet times, not so much at peek times, as Mystery Shoppers visit more quieter periods to properly check everything they can’t check during manic busy times. But I want to also say that Team Members LOVE to give freebies and good customer service if they are not stressed and have the time, BUT even if they have a bad day, they have to function like smiley robots or get fear managed and peer pressured. 

My favourite thing to do was to give freebies, which is Pret’s number 1 marketing tool that I write extensively about in Free Coffees at Pret and why Pret doesn’t do a loyalty card system. But when I was ill, and especially going through traumatic bereavement and being bullied by my superiors under HR, it was HELL having to perform like an emotional prostitute for a few more peanuts. And I smiled, not for money, but to get my bosses off my back suffering in anxiety! 

What always bothered me was when some Team Members only lingered around the till area for a chance to serve a potential Mystery Shopper. So, they love-bomb customers letting their colleagues work their butts off, do the cleaning and stocking up, while “sliming” customers. And while those who try to get the cash rewards, love-bombing customers, they are being rude to their colleagues behind the scenes. I was always disgusted at this and made sure there was a good rotation of staff doing a variety of tasks, not the same people cleaning or the same people being stuck on the tills trying to get rewards, while others made the shop look good. And it worked, because it improved team-work and encouraged the shy ones to have some success without always doing the dirty work.

So, dear reader, get yourself a cuppa, maybe even while you’re in Pret reading this, because this will take a while! Know WHY staff are always so attentive, cheery, chatty, even if they are not well or are depressed or bereaved or ill or pregnant or bullied etc. Read the DETAIL and micromanaging actions, that Mystery Shoppers are expected to test staff on to perform like acrobatic clowns, stretching themselves like octopuses in all directions for low pay and some small recognition! Know the high emotional, mental and physical price they pay for little return!

And no, don’t make it so easy on yourself by saying that staff can just look for another job! Oh no! Don’t assume that people can just switch jobs, especially when they are so exhausted and burnt out, unable to look for another job! Pret keeps them busy, even wanting staff to “never stand still”.

Many employees left their countries to find work and a better life, have kids to feed, Uni tuition to pay, and so on. Many even have degrees, but their degree is not accepted in the UK, or their English is still improving. Staff are brain-washed and promised a lot (see next reviews here below), not realizing the intense work and stress they will be subjected to. Pret hangs a carrot in front of employees, and staff always hope for that breakthrough that never comes, because the price for it is too high. And by the time they do reach that goal, they are embittered, exhausted, discouraged. It is my experience, and also from many staff reviews, that if you make friends with upper Managers (sometimes even in the bedroom!), and are willing to do anything expected, even if it’s wrong, you will make it far in Pret! And what’s so disgusting about it is, that you’d expect this in a law firm, and certainly in politics and Hollywood, but a sandwich chain? Very sad!
(Also, pay attention to the amount of “Yes” vs. “No” votes on the reviews!)

A recent Manager review and I can underline this from experience:

Step on others

Link

A recent review on HEAD OFFICE:

HQ Bullies

Link

Another Manager from 2016:

Kiss bum

 

2017-12-15 Lick asses Prayer

Link

And a recent Manager review:

GM Horrible

Link

etc. etc. etc. …

In some of the below Mystery Shopper comments I make a remark in blue and italics to briefly explain further. I also changed names of Team Members into italics “Name of Team Member” etc.

Also, regular customers can be Mystery Shoppers. But once a Mystery Shopper has visited one particular shop to do a job, they are NOT send back to that shop to do a job for 3 months, so as not to be spotted as MS by staff. They can of course visit privately, but as Mystery Shoppers not for 3 months after a job.

 

The 32 questions Pret tasks Mystery Shoppers to test staff on every week:

This is a real recent Mystery Shopper report:

MS scrores

 

MS scrores2

 

1 – Style (30 out of 30)

1 – How inviting was the shop from the outside?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The outside signage, windows, and door frame were reasonably clear and clean. There is no outside seating at this site.”

2 – How clean was the shop entrance?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The entrance area and door mat were reasonably tidy with no visible debris or litter.”

3 – How welcoming was the atmosphere at the entrance?

Friendly (5)

“There was a good buzz of energy at the entrance. The team members were not close enough to acknowledge people entering the shop.”

(These kinds of comments from Mystery Shoppers always upset the Teams, as the MS expects staff to kiss butt from the get go at the entrance, not taking into consideration that shops are understaffed and workers get in trouble when they don’t finish all the cleaning, stocking up etc. It’s that thing again of having ones feet bound together in a tight rope and expected to run or stretch in all directions like an octopus!)

4 – How was the presentation of food and drink in our display units, fridges, fruit stand, crisp baskets and queue stands?

Well presented (5)

“All food and drink displays were tidy and well organised.”

5 – How presentable was the till counter and bakery display?

Well presented (5)

“The bakery display looked attractive and well arranged. There was no mess on the till counter. ”

6 – How well presented were team members?

Very smart (5)

“The team members that I saw were well groomed and wearing clean pressed uniforms.”

 

2 – Selection (16 out of 20)

7

1 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the cold fridges had less than 2 items.

4 or more tickets had less than 2 items (1)

“A baguette, a sandwich, a flat wrap and a salad.”

(THIS is where this shop lost their bonus.)

8

2 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the hot food display had NO stock.

No tickets without stock (5)

(…psst, unless the Manager or Leader took the label off 😉 )

9

3 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for pre-packaged cakes, cold drinks and snacks had NO stock.

Every ticket had at least 1 item (5)

“There were no labels without products.”

(Here the “lines” don’t need to be at least 2).

10

4 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for unwrapped bakery (behind the glass till counter) had NO stock.

Every ticket had at least 1 item (5)

“There were bakery items for each label.”

 

3 – Speed (10 out of 10)

11

1 – Please rate the time it took to be served from joining the queue.

Perfect (5)

“I was served immediately.”

(Because it was at the quiet period after 11AM and before the 12noon lunch rush).

12

2 – Did you receive your hot drink within reasonable time from payment?

Perfect (5)

“My hot drink was ready within 30 seconds.”

(Pret changed their question now, as they also read my blog where I mention the 60 seconds rule as featured in the first YouTube video at the top of this post. It used to be that staff had to serve within 1 minute from the time payment was made. So, Pret changed the wording as this high pace expectation adds to a lot of mistakes with the non-dairy milks, allergen issues etc. A recent interview of the new CEO Pano Christou still mentions the 60 second rule. A current staff member told me that Pret briefly changed the 60 seconds to 90 seconds after a staff member died. But now they changed it back to 1 minute:
“We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of tills open, please rate the time it took to be served?”
~and ~

“We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Bearing in mind how busy the shop was, did you received your correct hot
drink in a reasonable time?”

Here is an excerpt on the 60 seconds rule from 2017).

1 min

 

I got confirmed by a current Pret staff that this 1 minute rule still applies to the Mystery Shopper.

Back to the current 2020 MS report:

MS scrores3

 

4 – Service (10 out of 10)

13

1 – How well did the person at the till connect with you with a smile, eye contact and some polite remarks?

Friendly (5)

“Both Name of Team Member A and Name of Team Member B were welcoming, making eye contact, smiling and interacting in a cheerful manner.”

(Pret change the wording here. It used to be worded:
“We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.” – screenshot of MS excerpt from 2015, but this question was still worded like this at least till 2018).

Every customer

14

2 – Were all your items stated during the transaction, were you charged correctly and did you receive the correct products?

All correct (5)

“The items were clearly stated, charged, and served, exactly as ordered.”

(Because of the allergen deaths, staff have to name the items, in case the customer took the wrong one).

3 – Please select which scenario question you asked. Asked for more information on a product Asked for more information on a product

“No comments are required for this question.”

(Again: since the customer deaths, Mystery Shoppers have to ask staff about a product, for example on allergen, or calories etc. to test how well staff can answer the question. Staff are supposed to call the Manager to take over, but that’s not always possible).

15

4 – Based on the scenario you selected, please rate your experience when asking our team member your enquiry.

N/A

(The Mystery Shopper chose NOT to ask any allergen related questions, which used to be mandatory straight after the customer deaths became public).

Friendly (5)

“I approached a manager who was checking stock at the fridge. I asked him about identifying low fat products. Manager’s Name said that he could bring the allergy guide, or we could use the electronic wall mounted screen for more information. He showed me the display label detail of fat content per 100gm and encouraged me to ask for any further assistance if required.”

(If the Manager wasn’t helpful or not knowledgeable, this would have consequences for him and the Team).

 

5 – Seating (13 out of 15)

16

1 – How clean were the bin stations inside the shop?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The bin stations were very tidy and clean.”

17

2 – How clear and clean were the floors, tables and chairs inside the shop?

Presentable (4)

“There was a large seating area that was clean and clear of debris and litter. The table tops that I could see needed a full wipe as there was some very small residue of crumbs.”

(Some “very small” residue!)

18

3 – How well presented and stocked were the toilets INSIDE the shop (if applicable)?

Presentable (4)

“The toilet I visited had adequate toilet roll, hand soap and a working hand dryer. There was some paper litter on the floor.”

 

6 – Say Thank You and See You Again (5 out of 5)

19

1 – How well did your server or any member of the team end the transaction by thank you and/or giving a pleasant parting comment?

Friendly (5)

Name of Team Member A thanked me and wished me a good day.”

 

7 – Additional Scored Question (5 out of 5)

1 – Was any ONE member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or outstanding?

Yes

Name of Team Member B was preparing the hot drinks and heard me talking to Name of Team Member A about trying a new variety. She asked if I liked coffee and said that she would be happy to make me another drink for me to taste. Name of Team Member B explained the drink and prepared it for me, making helpful comments and encouraging me to let her know if I liked it. The drink was amazing, absolutely delicious, and something I would never have known about without her taking the initiative. It added value to my visit and I savoured the drink with pleasure.”

2 – Please provide the name or a description of this outstanding member of staff.

N/A

Name of Team Member

(This Team Member received the £100 reward. £100 because the scores weren’t perfect and the shop lost bonus. If the shop had perfect scores which also would have won the Team bonus, this Team Member would have gotten £200 reward.)

 

8 – Additional Information (0 out of 5)

1 – It is a legal requirement for our teams to charge VAT for all ‘Eat In’ items/transactions. When served, were you asked if you were ‘taking away’ or ‘eating in’, and charged correctly? Asked & Charged

Asked & Charged Correctly Correctly

Name of Team Member A carefully asked me and charged accordingly.”

(It used to be between about 2012 and 2017-ish that the Government put pressure on companies as they realized there isn’t as much VAT payment coming through. So, the Mystery Shopper was tasked to eat inside the shop. And when the Pret server, who rung up the Mystery Shopper order, did 1. not ASK “eat in or take away” OR 2. did not CHARGE the eat-in price, forgetting to press the eat-in button even when they asked, the whole Team lost the bonus! Pret tried to avoid getting fined by the Government for not having a certain amount of VAT payments to pay these Government taxes. So, Pret turned around as usual, and put that burden on low-wage workers, penalizing them if they didn’t charge the eat-in VAT price.
I once lost my Team the bonus because I gave the wrong receipt from the SHARED receipt machine, where we took receipts in a hurry having to serve fast. Mystery Shopper ask for receipts 1. to proof they visited the shop – also have to take a photo from outside the shop, 2. they need the receipt to get reimbursed, 3. the server’s name is on the receipt for the reward or critique).

2 – Did you notice someone in charge and, if so, what were they doing?

Yes

Name of Manager was the manager and during my visit was concentrating on filling stock for a full display. ”

(Here again, Pret uses the Mystery Shopper to even check on management, while OPs Managers, who could come by more often sit in the pub or at home! This again is the constant “surveillance” staff go through).

3 – Did BOTH questions 2.1 and 2.2 achieve the top answer OR N/A?

No

“N/A”

4 – If you ordered a dairy free alternative milk, was the correct sticker applied to your cup to indicate the milk used?

Yes

“There was a yellow soy sticker on my cup.”

(Mystery Shoppers HAVE TO purchase a hot drink to also time baristas the 1 minute rule)

5 – If you bought a hot food item, did the label on your product match the product you purchased?

N/A N/A

“I did not buy a hot item.”

6 – Did the label on your cold fresh food product match the product you purchased?

Yes

“The wrap and baguette contents were as described on the shelf and package labels.”

 

9 – Customer Segmentation (non-scoring)

1 – Based on your overall experience on this visit, how likely are you to recommend Pret to people you know on a scale of 1-10?

10 10

“The service was excellent and the food and especially drink were very enjoyable.”

2 – In order for you to have the perfect visit, which of the following aspects should we prioritise to improve?

Other

“I was disappointed not to find any breakfast products when I arrived a few minutes after 11 on a Saturday morning.”

(This disappointment by the MS can also put pressure on staff to have more breakfast items on display at a quiet time after 11AM, and thus increase the waste. These unnecessary expectations put extra pressure on staff. I once had a Mystery Shopper comment that I didn’t ask them “Anything else?” After that comment, my Manager pressured me to say this! I remember feeling humiliated and stunned at this stupid thing! This is why the former staff member tweeted to Pret and its former CEO:)

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

3 – From the list below, please choose which area is our main strength.

Service

“No comments are required for this question.”

4 – Where do you normally go to purchase similar products?

Pret a Manger

“It is interesting to try different food and drink at a new Pret site.”

 


 

If any current Pret staff has read this and found that I missed something important, or some things have changed, feel free to contact me anonymously and add to it via my contact page.

In September 2019 Clive Schlee “retired” but let the new CEO, Pano Christou aleady take over on Glassdoor in mid July to avoid further poor scoring. Schlee retired with quite a legacy, as Pret staff always spill the beans in anonymity, away from the fear management. Yet, he remains in the background as a non-executive director. But this is his legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO Pano Christou:

2020-01-22 Pano 39 34

 

Finally,

JOIN A UNION!

On Twitter and online check: BFAWU who are the best informed about Pret and have helped Pret staff already. The BFAWU have been instrumental on the first ever McDonald’s strikes in the UK. Also another vital and very active Union that help foreign workers a lot is IWGB.
Also check, The McStrike Union, GMB Union, Unite The Union. Just DON’T stay alone!

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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:

 

©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.

Hypocrisy in Society (Racism in Pret)

 

I know there is nothing new under the sun, but I still want to point something out, as the solidarity towards PEOPLE is separated in a class system. On Twitter there’s an outcry regarding racism in Pret, and rightly so, but the hypocrisy is obvious.

I touched on this already in another blog post: “Shocking Comments“, after a customer raised a much needed question on the systemic bullying in Pret. I explained why the public for the most part doesn’t care:

2020-01-09 Shocking comments

Link

I also re-published an older news article on “Racism in Pret A Manger“:

 

2012 Pret accused of racism

Photo: The Voice

I have witnessed racism towards staff, and this racism was also from certain European countries towards another country, especially when the shop Manager was from Country A, employed mostly from country A, and if ONE employee was from country B, they were not treated well. But this was very hard to proof, as the bullying and discrimination is subtle. It’s not only a question of black and white, but a general system of favouritism, that especially Pret staff in the USA complain about towards British Management.

Only few of the many reviews on favourisitm and racism:

2019-03-08 TL - Rasism Racism - RVW25061701

Link

An Italian review on racism:

Italian review racism

Link

2013 Racism Review

Link

2019-06-11 Corporate hell on earth - RVW27190460

Link “This company is everything that is wrong with the world. … Corporate hell on earth”

 

2013 Review racist

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

AM - Pure Misery

Link Assistant Manager: “This place is what hell must be like.”

 

There is RACISM, favouritism, bullying, discrimination towards low-wage EMPLOYEES at Pret A Manger.

But there is NO outcry from the public whatsoever! Mainstream media knows, but there’s silence! 

And this is throughout the board at Pret in the UK, USA etc.

I’ve been writing for almost 2 years on the bullying environment in Pret, with my own story at the bottom audio player interview on a podcast based in California. Yet, only very few people even comment, let alone are outraged.

The moment a customer shares their experience of racism or mistreatment of any kind, ESPECIALLY if this customer has a certain stand in society (in this case is a playwright, screenwriter, artist etc.) the outcry is great, and a boycott of Pret is called for.

Pret staff can be bullied, depressed, even suicidal, and in my case bullied during bereavement, it does not bother hardly anyone!

I write extensively about the systemic bullying in Pret in Caught in the Act where a customer witnessed a classical bullying incident in Pret. I have even tweeted a link in the following feed, but apart from one person, no one is bothered. I argued that if the same Winsome Pinnock was an employee, a low-wage worker in Pret, no one would bother to even read her experience:

 

2020-01-17 Customer

Link to Twitter feed

So, the outcry is huge in above feed, and rightly so, YET low-wage workers are of no concern to these same people who are appalled. Nothing new under the sun in society. And Winsome Pinnock is called a “goddess”, but if the same Winsome Pinnock was a low-wage Pret worker with a racist experience, all the people who commented their concern wouldn’t give a sh!t.

 

Racism

Link

The hypocrisy is great here with all these people’s outcry and seeming concern, almost worshiping someone because of their occupation or stance in society. Their outcry is NOT because of racism, they don’t care if staff are discriminated on race, gender, illness, disability etc. And not only is there NO anti-bullying policy in Pret, the environment is one of bullying as long as profits increase. Racism, discrimination, targeting staff if they don’t fit in is rampant and often subtle. Again, I put plenty of screenshots and links about the systemic bullying in Caught in the Act.

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:

©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.

Shocking Comments

 

A Pret customer on Twitter responded to the blog post on the bullying environment in Pret that I tweeted, where a Manager was “Caught in the Act” bullying a Team Member right in front of customers. I posted many Pret staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, YouTube, Twitter etc. on the systemic bullying environment of Pret, including in Head Office.

I get many responses, mostly of shock, as people have been presented with a clean, ethical image of Pret. I also get a lot of “hate”. I get blocked, cussed out, reported, ignored etc. And that is expected. And at times in my drunken state I have lashed out at people and received appropriate responses. My apologies again to all who were at the receiving end of my drunken Tweets. It’s a trauma thing I do, but it’s not an excuse! So, when people hit back, it’s completely understandable and I accept it.

But the “hate” I get most of the time is when I tweet in a normal or neutral way just raising awareness on Pret. And the opposition of course is expected.

But one person responded, who seems to really care, and asked a question I have asked myself many times:

»These comments are shocking.
Why isn’t the public aware of this mistreatment?«

 

2020-01-09 Shocking comments

Link

I explained a little bit in 3 Tweets, but want to put this into a blog post to not be limited in characters or get shadow banned.

My take on this, after over a year of hitting my head against a wall, is several reasons. I believe the following as a mix of reasons, in no particular order:

  • Most or many don’t care, like in real life, they are bystanders or show indifference. I literally had people tell me that they don’t care after I pointed Pret work environment out to them.

 

  • Also, many people flock to success, they are drawn to big shiny things and great stories. It’s human nature to want to believe a fairy-tale and what a company, organization or person “sells” to us as ethical, “natural” and good. Some people were so shocked about the reviews that I linked to, that they wrote things like: “I wish I never mentioned Pret” after I gave them a peek behind the facade. Or another Tweeter said, “Why are you doing this to me?” – as if I was ripping their illusions apart. We all have seen people or comedy where one person tells another person a truth, but the listener in a silly way holds their ears closed and starts talking or singing loud, so as not to have to hear the truth that is being told, like in this brief scene with Jim Carrey in >>> Dumb & Dumber. And this is how it sometimes comes across with Pret’s work practices that I post and the responses by people on social media.
    A great quote by Nietzsche sums this up well:

Illusion

 

  • I have several accounts on social media as my Tweets are censored (hidden from the public) which then hides my writings from Twitter in general and can’t even be found in search. Only when people go directly onto my Twitter feed are Tweets visible during a shadow ban. But who would do that, especially when not knowing about my account?! And Twitter knows that, denies that they shadow ban, yet even said that people “may have to do more work to find” Tweets. I responded to their right out lying about this in a Tweet over Christmas 2018 after I just became aware of shadow banning. More on shadow banning, which is modern-day secret censorship, and how they do it, please watch this undercover report on YouTube.

 

  • Mainstream media KNOWS my blog, but is in Pret’s pocket. I have contacted HUNDREDS of media people! Sure, they are worried of getting sued, but there are other journalists who wrote about Pret’s emotional labour practices. I collect their writings here: The Dangers of Emotional Labour. So, it IS possible to write about Pret without any repercussions. My writings are the most comprehensive, and if I can do it, anyone can, especially telling my own story AND pulling info from other Pret staff into one place, cross-referencing from other publications as well. 

 

  • Unions want to unionize staff, but I don’t know where this is at and I know that Pret staff are scared, often even too scared to leave, like I was. This recent review, marked in red, by a Manager I can absolutely relate to as Pret steeps employees in fear and brainwashing them. And this is not only in Scotland, as I worked in over a dozen Pret shops in London with my own horrific story with even Pret’s top leadership:

GM

Link

  • The majority of people are followers, not leaders taking risks. So, for example I myself as this “little” person raising awareness, I am unknown, unpopular, have 30 followers here, 2 there etc. Nothing “special”. If ONE person clicks like or RT on my Tweet or even goes a step further and comments in support, even though I am “nobody”, unknown, out of my mind in trauma at times etc. this person is a leader. If I was a known or famous person with 3 million followers and would write exactly the same thing, or even something banal, I would get thousand of likes, RT’s, would probably start a revolution! So, a person who shows their support on my Tweets is a leader, because they don’t go with the flow, but with what THEY value and stand for, regardless what others believe. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything I say or tweet is right, and everyone who agrees with me is right, but my point here is that people who “dare” to agree or support an unknown person is a leader who takes risks against the flow. In society, and especially on social media, it’s not about WHAT you post or stand for, but how many followers and likes you have, regardless what BS you may post.

 

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

 

  • As the bullying in Pret is systemic it seems like such a big mountain to overcome. The number one “argument” I get on social media is, “well, this is everywhere in the world with all big companies”. My response is always that just because this seems (not is!) everywhere, doesn’t mean I have to settle for it! Also, that was exactly the complacency that people have and had before the #metoo movement grew and started kicking butt! “Well, that’s just what men do!” Nopes! Unacceptable! After what I’ve been through (my story with Pret is in the audio player and articles at the bottom of this post), I have come to the conclusion that life is just way too short to be exploited, stepped upon and thrown away like garbage!

 

  • I also asked health organizations like the Health and Safety Executive from the government, and other organisations and charities, for independent investigation into Pret staff deaths, particularly suicides. I wrote emails with detailed accounts to these health bodies, but they only investigate physical accidents at work that lead to death and investigate if they are work-related. I then continued to contact the press. I even contacted newspapers that I don’t like at all, just to call out for help like I’m drowning in despair! But apart from a handful of Journalists who cover the subject of emotional labour, there is not much interest, and those who showed interest seem to just want a quick story, but this subject needs thorough investigation and back-up. I was contacted by a Sunday Mirror reporter just soon after the first customer death from a Pret product became public. But at the time I wasn’t ready for the press and the journalist was apprehensive about getting sued by Pret for covering my story. But I suggested to the Journalist to go undercover into Pret, and I was proud to learn that she did! I commented on her experience in “Undercover Under Pressure“.

 

  • My take also is, that the public frankly doesn’t care about low-wage workers in the fast-food industry or service work. I put a blog post together on suicides in companies and the toxic environment of Amnesty International: “Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Staff Deaths?
    I mention the recent court case in France where 35 employees died by suicide. I followed this when it first broke in the news 10 years ago, then disappeared and now the former bosses have been convicted. At the time of my blog entry the case just started.
    Also, an independent investigation has been done after TWO Amnesty International staff members died by suicide and their detailed findings of Amnesty’s toxic work environment. In Pret I know of also TWO staff members who died by suicide, plus one who became suicidal, went to court against Pret, but lost. Plus myself having survived after having had close calls. Yet, no-one seems to be interested, as I believe fast-food workers are not a priority, compared to human rights activists or the sheer high number of suicides that cannot be ignored.

In Pret there were two suicides that I know of, plus two suicidal people (the man who lost his case against Pret and myself), plus the many staff reviews on depression, bullying etc. There must be more.

And with this, I want to keep this blog post short, compared to the long explanations I usually make. I want to thank Marina Lambrou for caring enough to ask this question! And I want to thank all the people who have liked, RT’d, commented, DM’d and emailed me. I have had some amazing encouraging words from customers and staff alike. I will not out them of course, but one email from a customer made my day a while ago. This customer tweeted to Pret about having received their first free coffee and how exciting this give-away scheme is etc. I just posted the Mystery Shopper YouTube slide to them, where I put excerpts of real Mystery Shopper reports. But in the video I concentrated on the smiley service and posted only about 5 – 6 questions out of the 30 (THIRTY!) that Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on every week! I said nothing more and just let the video do the “talking” where staff are tested if they smile, give eye contact, chat, give freebies etc. These Mystery Shopper reports show how staff “have to” be so cheery and efficient NON-STOP in a high stress workplace to not lose bonus. So, the public thinks that Pret is such a friendly and happy workplace, while in reality it’s fear managed and driven by cash incentives.

About an hour later, I already forgot about their Tweet, as I move on quickly to post to other people, not having a big platform to reach the “masses”. The person emailed me via my contact form and said these very simple, brief, but touching words that had me in tears:

»Hey, I just posted thanking Pret for a free coffee. Thank you for raising attention to this, I had no idea. I shall let others know too. And of course I’ve taken down that tweet. I’m sorry that you had such an awful time at Pret.«

I checked, and the person really took down their Tweet. These kind of responses and feedback keep me going! I read many times on people’s Twitter profile things like, “changing the world, one tweet at a time”. And the thought that if what I post would reach more people quicker, instead of painstakingly contacting individuals one by one, what opportunity and change may actually come! But it’s worth the slow progress, one Tweet at a time, one more shadow ban, and one more time getting blocked and reported. It’s worth it.

Thank you for reading.

 

 


 

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.

Pret A Manger Face ANOTHER Trial 2020

 

In another allergy case regarding unlabelled sesame, after another student, Isobel Colnaghi, allegedly suffered a reaction to a Pret product in 2017, Pret face another trial in Bristol Crown Court on 02. November 2020:

 

Pret NEW Trial Nov 2020

Evening Standard

 

Pret NEW Trial Nov 2020 2

Daily Mail

Another Trial started on 06. December 2019 in Bath, after Celia Marsh died of dairy traces in a vegan wrap in 2017:

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

0 Trial

 

Photos: SomersetLive.co.uk

>>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal <<< Via TheGrocer.co.uk

£10m

£10 million is quite a joke compared to the £30 million BONUS that Clive Schlee alone pocketed after the JAB purchase.

 


 

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:

©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.

Pret A Manger Head Office Reviews

 

London Victoria HQ reviews from various departments, as well as some corporate reviews from New York.

 

HQ Bullies

Link People don’t seem to get promoted unless you are a bully or belittle your team members. The place is toxic.

 

2019-01-23 Great Brand Poor Management - RVW24352473 marked

Link

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

 

NEW

2020-01-05 HQ Customer Service Team review

Link  The company doesn’t support their employees and think that it is okay for their employees to belittle, bully and intimidate team members as well as ostracise them from the entire team. … the actual manager of the CS Team was lovely but everything was out of her hands…

 

Las Vegas

Link

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

17 Odd

Review by former purchasing Director, NY

 

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

Link “This place is what hell must be like.”

 

My own experience with Pret’s HQ was when HR used a Development Manager to gaslight me. She supposedly had a brother who died and was not discovered for 10 days in his flat, like my brother died and was 6 days not discovered.

Link to article: Lila Tighilt Warren and her Brother Zain ~~~ and ~~~ Lila Warren, David Carter, Clive Schlee. My full story with Pret is in an interview at the bottom audio player on a podcast based in California.

In a nutshell: Pret A Manger is a very toxic, corrupt and bullying company behind that “happy” facade.

 

Former CEO Clive Schlee’s legacy, Glassdoor:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO Pano Christou:

2020-01-05 Pano 40 36

Link

 

The following Unions cover the food industry (links to Twitter):

BFAWU1 and IWGB are the best informed about Pret — McStrike (UK) — Fast Food Forward (USA) — GMB Union — and others. The BFAWU is very active with McDonald’s strikes and with IWGB are the best informed about Pret A Manger issues.

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger 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:

©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.

Professional Complainers adding to Mental Stress of Staff

 

I came across a person on Twitter who complained to Pret that their baguette was over-salted. Now I don’t run to the rescue of Pret to defend them, by all means, but having worked at Pret and having had to deal with countless fake complaints of “customers” who were fishing for a cash refund and/or freebie, or even attention, and stress staff unnecessarily via HQ or Twitter complaints, I explained to this person that Pret does not put “plain” salt in this baguette, or any products at that. And also she said that she “ordered” a baguette in Pret, I explained to her that products are not ordered in Pret! These 2 things gave her away as it being a fake complaint!

She had no photo of the baguette and refused to describe how the over-salted baguette looked like, before then diverting to my spelling because she didn’t know what to say anymore! 😀 I’ve had customers who put a heap of salt on a product, from the salt sachets Pret provides by the sugar and cutlery, then came to me and demanded a refund. When I was new at Pret I fell for it, because I didn’t know that Pret doesn’t put salt like this on products. I was informed by a colleague and later worked in the kitchen for a few weeks to learn how the products are assembled. Since then this number didn’t work with me anymore.

I explained to her that it would be better to find a REAL and truthful reason of complaint to get a freebie.

And then I checked her Tweets and Replies and found the most professional complainer, who also has an “accomplice” who “likes” most her Tweets 😀

Let’s take a deep breath and start this blog entry with some positivity and some heartwarming quotes which this professional complainer either posted or retweeted (lol!). Let’s start with a grateful attitude, shall we?!

2018-02-24 RT about greatfulness

 

2018-04-24 Quote

“Never be ashamed of who you are” – Yeah, but let’s shame others publicly who work their butts off, hey!

 

2018-04-13 Hypocisy

 

So, here’s a handkerchief for poor poor Rosie Gillard

CryMeARiver

 

And it is fitting that you see a bunch of toilets on her current (5th January 2020) Twitter profile as it goes well with the fact that some people are so full of shit!

2019-01-05 Rosie Gillard toilets

 

Now to business. THIS is how Rosie Gillard “lives” the above quotes she quoted or RT’d, and then it makes a whole lot more sense what Sophie McBain wrote in her excellent article on emotional labour, quote:

»Workers are put at high risk of anxiety and burnout, while consumers are emboldened to behave aggressively.«

From The NewStatesman “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” by Sophie McBain.

I hope you’re sitting down and not eating or drinking anything that may get stuck in your throat! This is THE worst “customer” complainer I have ever come across, and I’ve seen a lot as a Team Leader / MOD especially! It’s the frequency and that she seems to be looking for things to complain about, with such coldness, naming and shaming service workers, what makes this so bad. And even where she compliments a staff member, it comes across very manipulative and insincere. I shudder at people’s behaviour like this! And I frankly don’t believe many of her complaints, or the “severity” of her complaints. Apart from the 2 Toilet complaints with photos, there are no photos, just public naming and shaming staff of various businesses.

From the above hypocritical quotes, to this verbal brutality and rudeness towards hard-working, low-paid people. It’s one thing to have a genuine complaint, it’s another to do it seemingly professional and with such coldness and attention seeking towards overworked staff. If this girl was in my business, I would throw her out in a heartbeat! And I’m sure in a small independent business she would not DARE to put this bahaviour on, she would find herself outside faster than she entered! She takes advantage of the political correctness and the aim for profit in large businesses. But low-wage workers are paying the price for her disgusting conduct.

In chronological order starting with a Tweet she tweeted into the atmosphere without explanation or tweeting as a response to someone, just an insult into air, like as so many of her Tweets by her “accomplice” who equally is looking for fault and wants to go the “extra mile” in customer service:

2018-10-11 Full of shit

Look it the mirror cupcake, look in the mirror!

 

2018-02-12 H&amp;M

2018-07-04 Nandos

2018-07-05 easyJet

I don’t blame them, bunny, or are those pigs ears?

 

2018-08-05 H&amp;M

 

2018-09-28 Argos

2019-02-27 Premier Inn

 

Here she RT’d someone complaining about OTHER people’s selfishness who gave HER a GIFT and wrote her a note on the gift tag! 😀 The ungratefulness and appalling, really embarrassing rudeness to call the gift giver “selfish”, because they wrote a note on the tag of THEIR gift to her!

I am rarely for loss of words, but this one did it! And Rosie RT’d this, as this rudeness and ungratefulness is just up her alley!

2019-03-15 RT about selfish to write on gift tags

 

2019-04-01 Heathrow

 

2019-04-21 Argos

I have never even seen or heard a Pret customer being so disgusting and rude! And some are bad! But this gal tops them all, hands down!

 

2019-04-21 Argos2

2019-07-22 Tesco

 

2019-07-28 Heathrow T3

 

2019-09-14 Nandos

 

2019-12-29 Pret

Link to my conversation with her. Her complaint is fishy for many reasons! 😀

And I finish with how I started, with her words to hit home the appalling hypocrisy and viciousness she portrays. Absolutely disgusting!

2018-04-13 Hypocisy

Well smile Rosie Gillard customer police! Smile!

And in case she deletes the feed, here are the screenshots. My conversation with her was before I saw her professional complaining feed to different companies:

2019-12-29 Rosie fake complainer 00

 

2019-12-29 Rosie fake complainer 02

 

2019-12-29 Rosie fake complainer 03

 

For new readers of my blog, please read on Emotional Labour. I collected articles and write on it myself of the abuse by companies and customers alike. I know from having lived and worked with many people, in many places, that sooner or later this kind of attitude will bite her in the butt. I hope she’ll learn her lesson sooner rather than later, because otherwise she would make a bitter old woman should she continue on this path.

A collection on Emotional Labour articles from my own experience and from brilliant journalists and researchers:

>>> The Dangers of Emotional Labour

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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 customers:

Caught in the Act at Pret

How Pret forces low-wage workers via Mystery Shoppers to always smile, eye contact, chat etc. no matter if bereaved, ill, pregnant etc.

 

 


 

©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.

Mainstream Media: Pret / McDonald’s

 

The McLibel case was one of the longest cases in British history of 2 regular people against a giant company that took nearly 10 years. These people are my heroes, not just because they won half the case, but because they went further…

 

 

This case was fought, because of the time they were in.

I saw this case in a documentary in the 2000’s. It always inspired me.

Today we fight a silent war.

With drones and clowns, shooting in silence and with smiles.

We fight behind people’s back.

We sneak around to finally win, when we arrive at the door of victory.

And when we arrive at the door of victory, we stab. And we stab hard.

Go fight, if you dare.

 


 

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:

©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.