Pret A Manger Shops Closed … I Smell a Rat!

I wrote a post with 3 possibilities why several Pret shops are closed throughout the UK: “Short Term Staffing Issues“.

But I want to do an extra post adding a 4th reason. My alarm bells go off when Pret seemingly speak the truth. It is true that Pret has staff shortages, like all in the hospitality industry.

But some shops have a note on the door saying they are closed due to refurbishments. The memo didn’t get around to settle on which lie to tell I guess. So, there are always conflicting messages even within ONE shop.

Link

There are daily complaints on all social media platforms to Pret that customers cannot use their subscription as their local shop is closed. Thus they keep paying the monthly £20 without being able to get any drink. This looks typical like Pret to me ripping customers off and not giving a refund. This to me is unethical, because if Pret would care about their customers, instead of quick money coming in, they would make a list on their website with WHICH shops are currently closed and email all subscribers informing them of those shop closures.

If Pret cared, they would also put information on Pret’s subscription sign-up page, to inform any customer who is about to sign up to check THEIR area for open/closed shops BEFORE they sign up. But what am I talking??! Since when would Pret care for customers and for ethics instead of just for money.

My theory is that Pret does a clever economical thing, they take all the staff from shops that don’t bring much profit, close those shops and place the staff in the shops that do make profit.

Then Pret negotiates with landlords to get a cheaper deal or refuse to pay rent altogether, like Pret does in the USA and has at least six lawsuits on their necks for unpaid rents.

Link to June 2021 article

So, saving money in rents, maybe either negotiating with landlords or refusing to pay altogether in the hopes they get away with it, as the UK is more forgiving then the USA. Pret has also received a £185 million cash injection from their in tax-haven Luxembourg based owners JAB Holding, yet do a lot of questionable money saving stunts. I list some here: Pret will INDEED try anything to survive.

Saving on overhead costs on closed shops, deliver service costs for the daily products delivered to shops from the depot, saving on shop management payroll as less Managers are needed, and then continuing to sell the coffee subscription to customers who can’t use it!

Clever deal, Pret. But in my eye highly unethical.

Also, some shop staff put the lie on the front door of a closed shop that they are closed due to refurbishment, or like the above Tweet says “nip and tuck makeover”. Well, if you’d worked at Pret like I did for 10 years (yeah, don’t ask me, it’s my biggest regret!) you would know that refurbishments in Pret take no more than 2 days, 4 days max AND that refurbishments are ALWAYS done at night, OUTSIDE of business hours so as not to disrupt the trade!

I have worked in several shops over the years where Pret did the huge refurbishments back in the early 2010s when they changed from the cold, silver, metal look to the warm wood ambience! The shops where I worked at did the refurbishment mainly during the weekends at night, but also during the week at nights. Many times when I opened the shop on Monday morning 6am, neighbours were already waiting outside fuming and then coming in to complain that builders were making unbelievable noise during the night. Builders were hammering, using the electric saw OUTSIDE to avoid too much saw dust inside for staff to have to clean … Everything was done during the night to avoid interruption to the business!

I had to personally apologize several times to rightfully angry neighbours and get them the number or email for head office. I always offered a free coffee on top of it, but some were so angry, they didn’t even want a freebie! And when Pret opens a new shop, builders in different shifts work 24/7 to get the shop opened as soon as possible. The worst that was always shocking to me was when neighbours told us of the sawing machines OUTSIDE where builders were sawing during the night! No regard whatsoever of the residential neihbourhood.

Only one of several complaints on Twitter.

Link

So, let’s see how many more lies Pret come up with and what confusing messages staff put on shop doors.

No sir, it’s not due to refurb!

Link

A FULL refurbishment doesn’t take 4 days! Even when they work only the night, it may take 4 days, but during the day the shop is open! And especially a “nip and tuck” which indicates a small refurb, doesn’t even take more than 2 nights!

Link

Pret itself give the “short term staffing disruption” on several occasions while some shops didn’t get the memo on which lie to post on the door.

I can only say to customers who have the subscription while their local Pret shop is closed, to demand a full refund for the period when the shops where closed (while having the subscription).

But Pret won’t do that, because they are not challenged by consumer rights groups or in court. In the USA there would be a class action suit in no time. But in the UK people keep giving Pret the benefit of the doubt, no matter how many customers die, how many staff speak out about exploitation and the bullying environment in Pret etc. etc.

For more on how Pret is ripping customers AND staff off: HERE again.

The rip-off also happens in the USA where customers pay for their drinks while having the subscription (pass), or the usual “no iced drinks”, no expensive plant-based milks, customers can’t cancel the subscription, and IF they manage to cancel, Pret continues to withdraw money yada yada yada …

Link

Link

Customers are continuously charged AFTER they successfully cancelled the subscription. Via YouTube:

Hardly any shop serves the expensive frappes and smoothies on subscription. This goes back since the subscription started last year which can be seen in below YouTube slide on the dates of the Tweets towards the end.

And IF people are lucky to get an iced drink (often the cheaper iced Latte or Americano, Pret managed to get 14oz cheaper paper cups from the suppliers, while claiming since MONTHS to have “supplier issues” on the more expensive 16oz plastic cups.

My question to a current Pret Barista on the cup issue, but the Barista isn’t sure why Pret changes the cups. What this Barista means by “which is bigger” is that the 14oz paper cup is bigger than the usual 12oz hot coffee paper cup, but it’s smaller to the 16oz plastic iced drink cup.

Link

Pret should actually adopt a similar slogan to what Tesco uses: “Every little helps” (for Pret that is)!

Pret in the UK did only 2 cup sizes (apart from the small espresso cup), the 12oz usual coffee paper cup and the 8oz flat white and strong espresso cup. Mind you a “strong” espresso is NOT a double shot, it’s 1.5 shots, thats why Pret NEVER advertises it as “double espresso” but “strong espresso” to not get n trouble, while paying with people’s perception of “assuming” it’s 2 shots. But Pret charges the 1.5 strong coffee shot as if it was a 2 shot coffee, just like normal cafes like Caffè Nero does. Caffè Nero does actual TWO shots as a double shot and charges the same for an extra shot like Pret does.

When a Pret customer asks for a double shot latte, the Barista presses the “strong” espresso button, which is 1.5 shots NOT 2 shots. Even when a customer asks for a latte with an extra shot, the Barista presses the strong button. ONLY when a customer asks for a latte with TWO separate shots but demands to pay for the advertised “strong latte”, the Barista reluctantly does it as an exception if the customer persists. But most customers don’t know about the 1.5 shots as they assume it’s a double shot.

Please scroll up and down in the following Twitter feed where a former Pret Barista confirms this.

Pret just uses psychology to fool people into thinking they get a double shot. Every little helps! 😉

And now Pret has added a 14oz paper cup for the iced drinks. Excuse me, how can Pret have NO “supplier issues” on the 14oz paper cups, but since MONTHS on the 16oz plastic cups?

Every little helps!

Pret confirming to a customer that their iced plastic cup is 16oz:

Link

Getting cheated out of 2oz doesn’t sound much, but it adds up. Every little helps!

.

Anyone who has the subscription while local shops are closed should get a full refund.

.

UPDATE 16.08.2021

It seems that Pret also closed shops in city centers to open new ones outside cities. Oh and the irony of creating 2000 new jobs! Minimum-wage jobs and facing strike action!

Link

.


.

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.


Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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.

5 Minutes

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

etc. etc. etc.


.

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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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

The Difference between a Man and a Man

.

1. The difference between a Mother and a Mother.

2. The difference between a Black person and a Black person.

3. The difference between a European and a European.

4. The difference between an Educated and the Educated.

5. The difference between Rich countries and Richer countries.

6. The difference between “strong” Males and “weak” Females.

To be continued unfortunately …

Non-commercial Break:

.


.

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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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

The Nasty Business of Emotional Prostitution

.

I’ve read a short Tweet exchange today between Pret customers regarding the service in Pret.

Link

.

I start entering the conversation under @Ethical_Sailor’s Tweet. Please click “Show more replies” and “Show replies” as my account is blacklisted on Twitter due to censorship as I expose Pret. I won’t put all my Tweets here, please just read the feed on Twitter as I added some more.

Link

I then also write under the original Tweeter. Again, please click “Show more replies” and read further Tweets in the feed.

Link

One Tweet I want to place here because it’s important:

Link

Here is a screenshot of a Mystery Shopper (MS) comment when I served the MS (unbeknown to me) and I was coughing because I had a minor cold. I remember this very vividly because after we received the report that week, my boss ordered me into the office! I was intimidated at their “preaching” to be more careful when serving. I wasn’t as bold then as I am now. This was before my brother died and all hell broke lose in Pret. But comments like this can tip any person over who suffers mental health issues, let alone having a flipping cold!

And maybe the MS doesn’t know that low-wage staff are NOT paid sick day on their first and second days, even with a GP sick note. Or maybe they didn’t care. But I worked while sick MANY MANY times, having to make the decision if I should stay at home and get well, but lose money or go to work struggling, but able to pay my bills.

I don’t understand why above MS screenshot is blurred! Is there censorship on this website provider, too??

Please see the following link where the screenshot is enlarged and clear:

https://s20.directupload.net/images/210728/eba3rst4.jpg

Quote:

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served
you at the till.”

MS: “Team members should smile at customers and may be not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore
not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.”

Uhm, I wasn’t even “cheerful” to smile under extreme stress and noise 8+ hours each day on a good day you arrogant, entitled prat!

Since I started writing on Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme, Pret has now changed the wording, they don’t say anymore “We aim to connect with every customer with …” as many customers on social media became appalled at this when I posted this.

Back to above Tweet feed, I started looking at Ms Persaud’s original Tweet on the top closer and decided to write a blog post on this. And this time I WANT Deborah Persaud to take it personal. I’m going to copy her full text into my blog as well as the screenshot above.

Quote:
»Just goes to show how much difference one good person can make – went to my usual @Pret fir coffee this morning. The helpful person must be on holiday as I stood right at the counter for 5 minutes being actively ignored by the staff. So I left, lunch-less.«

Poor YOU Deborah Persaud, poor you!

.

This kind of attitude and expectation is what Sophie McBain writes about in her subtitle of “How Emotional Labour Harms Us All” quote: »Workers are put at high risk of anxiety and burnout, while consumers are emboldened to behave aggressively.«

Now Deborah Persuad doesn’t seem like behaving “aggressively”, rather more passive aggressive, but comments like hers I remember reading in the weekly Emails that Pret’s head office sent out to all shops on Fridays where we, in our area would read all the positive and negative comments on shops in the area that customers sent in to Pret. Some sent it via Email, others on Social Media. Pret does this so that EVERYONE in shops can read each others’ comments to either shame us if negative comments or make others jealous if positive, so as to strive to achieve better. It’s the typical manipulative bullying behaviour to keep low-wage staff on their toes at all times.

And customers like Deborah Persuad love this, because she gets her emotional ego stroked, probably even a free voucher to keep her coming back spending more money. In the meantime the staff member whom Ms Persuad complained about PUBLICLY, will probably find themselves in the office with the equally frustrated Manager who gives the staff member a good telling off, threaten them with a disciplinary and then sends them out onto the shop floor demanding to smile for Mystery Shopper bonus. Please read this real Mystery Shopper report and put yourself just for 5 minutes into the shoes of a low-wage front-line FOOD worker.

And mind you, some customer take photos of staff and publish their names on social media, humiliating already burnt out, underpaid staff.

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

I recently had a go at a customer from Pret New York who put a photo of a female staff member whom he accused of having touched her face while serving. As the staff member was black, I equally accused the Tweeter of racism! I won’t put the screenshot here, because this low-wage worker deserves protection and dignity! And many other Tweets with photos and names of staff that arrogant, entitled, spoiled customers post.

Two YouTube slides I did on Pret’s abusive Mystery Shopper scheme. I use YouTube as well because my blog is blocked on Facebook/Instagram where the algorithm even deletes PRIVATE messages when I link to my blog! But they can’t block YouTube or Twitter! ‹^› (°_°) ‹^›

The first slide is with excerpts of Mystery Shopper reports from different years and shops. All those were from shops that I worked at. I coined Pret’s Mystery Shopper as “Misery” Shopper for a reason:

.

This second slide is from one Mystery Shopper report in December 2019 that a Pret staff send me. From this report I included most of the 32 micromanaging questions Pret tasks weekly Mystery Shoppers to test staff on. Staff have to bend backwards and sideways like acrobatic clowns, just to get some extra peanuts. selling their smiles like emotional prostitutes, yet with NO guarantee to even get the bonus! If ONE Team Member “sicks duck” enough, they MAY be lucky to get the £100 reward, which happened in this report, while the whole shop lost bonus because a few food products were missing from the range:

.

The FULL report of above second slide can be found here: Pret A Manger Service Secrets Revealed.

And then of course as we are in the Internet age and also in the cancel culture pandemic, she now blocked me. As if I’d care! 😀

.

The only thing that is disheartening is that customers who are the “worst” in terms of quickly complaining and completely disregarding low-wage fast-food worker’s plight, are often mental health advocates, in Deborah Persaud’s case she’s a “disability activist”. She seems to have forgotten or not know that many disabilities are invisible.

And I take offense that Deborah Persaud doesn’t think the person who didn’t live up to her expectations isn’t a “good person”.

When I read her initial complaint Tweet closer again, I read with tears in my eyes, partly in sadness and also fuming in anger. I had a clash yesterday with a Samaritan which was a scary moment for me to tip me over. I write about it here: I’d Rather Die Than Delete My Tweets. Apologies for my strong language and fuming anger, but I smiled for 10 years in Pret INCLUDING during horrific bereavement while being bullied! I have NO MORE sweet words to say to people who don’t give a sh!t while presenting themselves as “saviours”. And on a side note, the fact that the Samaritans give awards turns my stomach! Shove your awards up your asses and STOP using broken people to scratch your fucking egos!

And to any new reader, before you judge me as being a “disgrunted” former employee, please familiarize yourself with my story first and also read some of the accounts of other former and current Pret staff that I post on my blog. I wish I was “just” a disgrunted former employee! I wouldn’t go out of my way writing “war and peace” on Pret!

Dear Pret Customer, you want to go on social media and shame low-wage employees who are burnt out, depressed, some are even suicidal, others functioning alcoholics or taking medication to be able to sleep, especially during this horrific pandemic, I may come and shame YOU!

One of many GOOD and important Tweets, just yesterday by a rightfully concerned customer about how shops are SWAMPED with customers and only 1 or 2 staff at breaking point. And Pret does NOT care!

Link to video.

Link to recent Pret staff email.

Another email by another then current Pret staff:

Link to full unedited email, unedited because the person didn’t give any specific details like the above (yellow) did to may get identified by Pret.

Link

To anyone else who cares, please read the following Facebook exchange I’ve had with a former Pret staff, who described that Pret did NOTHING after a colleague tested positive for Covid-19:
Pret A Manger Staff Tested Positive for Covid (and Pret did nothing).

Excerpt:

.

UPDATE 30.07.2021

As there have been some more information via a Tweet exchange and then I was blocked again, I want to update this post and respond to Tweets that I cannot respond to as I’m blocked.

Please scroll up (and down) in the following Tweet exchange:

.

.

A blind person once told me that they cannot read texts that is on the screenshots, so I type out each Tweet underneath the screenshots, and then my response to it.

.

  1. Quote:

»Thank you, @FieldsHighbury. I don’t need to explain myself to strangers, and my OP wasn’t directed at you, @ExPretAManger, but my banner and profile sets out a few salient facts to help readers understand my situation, and a moment’s perusal would have helped you here.«

First of all Ms Persaud blocked again but continues tweeting @ my blocked account. So, I respond here on my blog. After the Tweet exchange with FieldsHughbury I see the figures/emoticons on your profile now. As many people on Twitter use flags, emoticons etc. it often passes me by what some signs mean or because they are very small. But of course now I can see what this means. I am a text person, I don’t like picture books, I don’t often use emoticons, but only started recently to use them more, I prefer text and #hashtags, my brain doesn’t pay attention as fast to pictures compared to text.

.

2. Quote:

»For the benefit of anyone who needs my OP spelled out more clearly… My guide dog and I visit that branch of Pret very regularly and are welcomed warmly. They even know my order. This is a very nice thing.«

Yes it is. And why couldn’t you spell this out from the get go? And I have seen this MANY times that customers have had 10 experiences in Pret, 9 of the 10 experiences were super positive, and the 10th was negative. And immediately that ONE negative experience makes them go on social media and rant! Disheartening.

.

3. Quote:

»This time, however, in an almost empty store, my dog and I stood at the counter repeatedly asking for help and I was ignored. This is not a nice thing and I left empty-handed. I decided to let @Pret know. I did not direct individual criticism at anyone, just a generic (emoticon of a woman shrugging her shoulders).«

And why not? Why using a general brush aimed at ALL Pret staff giving vague information? What you have experienced is unacceptable and hurtful. A fair criticism would be to openly critique, explaining what happened so that the company and the people involved can UNDERSTAND where they were wrong or made a mistake.

.

4. Quote:

»If you care to track back through my historic tweets, you’ll soon see the numerous occasions where I’ve given very positive feedback on the service I’ve received. Hence the (emoticon of a woman shrugging her shoulders)«

Why would I care to track through your historic Tweets if you keep blocking me first thing, and then even write TO ME while I am being blocked, not able to read your response TO ME (except when locked OUT), and not able to respond as I’m blocked. This cancel culture to immediately “diss” people who disagree with you is tiring. I have no interest to check the historic Tweets of a person who immediately shuts the door in people’s faces because they have a different opinion or who give critique, especially while not knowing the events but vague and general criticism of staff.

You chose to write on a PUBLIC platform, without initially giving information and then expect people to immediately understand what the issue is. I am not a saviour or “advocate” or anything like that, but from my own experience in Pret where we got DAILY criticism from our line Managers, from Pret’s Head Office, from customers, and to top it and make it worse, from weekly micromanaging Mystery Shoppers commenting that basically NOTHING is EVER good enough and that EVERY LITTLE thing we do or make a mistake on is IMMEDIATELY condemned, called out, named, and shamed!

And if that wasn’t enough, low-wage staff don’t get their bonus and suffer not only mentally, emotionally and physically, but financially!

If I then see vague Tweets like your initial Tweet, I cannot just silently read it and move on KNOWING that low-wage, exhausted, bullied, overworked, underpaid, depressed, sick Pret staff have NO ONE to speak up for them! Because I KNOW how they will find themselves in the office with an equally frustrated, and by area Managers bullied shop Managers, and the staff are NOT given a chance to voice THEIR side of things! But instead they are shouted at behind closed doors in the office or kitchen or staff room, away from customers. They are fear managed to get in line or fear for their job. Then they are send out to the shop floor and ORDERED to smile and pretend to be cheery, so that the WHOLE shop Team get their bonus and the area Managers their bigger chunk of money while sitting home having a laugh!

.

5. Quote:

»I know the staff are minimum wage and I have always graciously thanked them (we have no way of tipping here). So I can only conclude that @ExPretAManger is a lazy troll and I was right to block. Take your grievance out on the right person and leave me and my supporters alone.«

I’ve been called a lot of things since I expose Pret. I’ve been called “insane”, “angry”, or when people are upset because I have a different opinion they quickly call me “troll” etc. But “lazy? LOL! No, that’s not one that people call me. 😀

And yes, it is kind of you to thank staff and try to give a tip. Pret has even stopped the tip box in the USA and turned the tip boxes into charity boxes. But while tipping staff and thanking them is wonderful and boosts their spirits for a moment, what people really need to start looking at is the HEAD of the company, the SOURCE of the problem. This is why Tweets like the following has me hopeful that some customers pay attention at the REAL issues.

Screenshot with text underneath:

Quote:

»Until it changes its exploitative working practices I will not buy a single sandwich a @Pret_UK. The average worker at Pret works a 6-hour shift without a single break (breaks are unpaid) at an unstoppable pace. …« – Dr. Eunice Goes Link to Tweet

Regarding your assumption on me being a “lazy troll”, what you CAN indeed call me though is: uninterested in your historic Tweets! And that is because, if you come on Twitter and in a passive aggressive way criticize low-wage staff in GENERAL, WITHOUT giving specific details on WHAT happened, and THEN you immediately block someone who KNOWS firsthand how immensely stressful, ungrateful, toxic, fear managed, depressing … working at Pret is, where staff are FORCED to smile or they lose money and get threatened with their job security, then I have no interest whatsoever to check your history.

.

6. Quote

»And I really don’t think going into a shop, standing at the counter and asking for service is being ‘emotionally needy’ – it’s just buying stuff in a shop. Most people do it most days!«

Knowing what I know now, no of course it’s not “emotionally needy”. I wrote my blog post without the information I have now because people throughout the years have complained on Twitter or via email to Pret making staff responsible for THEIR emotional needs. Pret itself even demanded from staff to “attend to EACH customer’s needs” as if staff are little psychologists or nurses responsible for customers’ emotional well-being. So, staff love-bomb customers to get extra money and avoid getting fear managed if they lose bonus.

And you wrote, quote: »I’ve become reliant on the warm welcome and consistently great service…«

Please do NOT become reliant on low-wage staff’s welcome or the lack thereof! They just sell coffee and sandwiches under EXTREMELY stressful conditions! And even if it is quiet in the shop, you don’t know how it was prior to it, and if a staff member just was bullied back in the office. That of course is NOT your problem or responsibility, but please do not put your reliance of warmness on low-wage food staff!

And especially since you have received CONSISTENTLY great service, it is upsetting that ONE incidence makes you question the “goodness” of the staff, not knowing what went on that moment or day.

I’ve read many ridiculous complaints from customers with the expectation to, figuratively speaking, be “cuddled” by low-wage food staff, but the most ridiculous and plainly upsetting complaint is this:

Link

Quote with bold highlight by me:

»@Pret Queen Street Pret at 8:10 this morning. Poor service from server named ‘Adil S’. No smile. Rushed service. Didn’t give me a warm and welcoming feeling. He should not work in the service industry if smiling doesn’t coming naturally for all your morning coffee customers!«

I responded to his appalling complaint, but now I would just put a vomit emoticon under his complaint! Pret staff including Baristas have 60 seconds to serve a customer or risk losing the WHOLE shop their bonus! I am sick to my stomach at customers like this.

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

And I won’t get bullied to take down anything I write while equally being offended. I am by all means NOT lazy at all, and for sure I’m angry and to a certain degree “insane”, but I am not interested in anyone who comes on a public platform and in a vague way “snitches” on low-staff who are at breaking point, without giving fair and specific details why you are upset or offended.

I want to end with an excerpt of an email by a current Pret front-line staff who wrote to me in tears. And believe me, Pret staff will NEVER tell you and other customers how it REALLY is for them for fear you jump on Twitter and humiliate them, or for fear they happen to speak to the Mystery Shopper, because even regular customers can be Pret Mystery Shoppers!

Staff excerpt, quote:

»I came across your blog just before applying for a job at Pret, but stupidly looked over what you were saying as I was growing desperate to work … I’m writing to you … and I wish I’d taken your warnings before applying. … Honestly, I feel like I’m drowning … I would never want to be the kind of person who gives up on things just because they’re challenging, but …. I spend most … times … crying, I don’t have enough time to eat. … I haven’t been shown where to get certain items and have to keep asking, it’s absolutely humiliating. …«

Link to email.

So, please complain to Pret, even publicly which is important, because it is UNACCEPTABLE how you were treated! But PLEASE complain fairly and be specific on what happened without expecting people to read every emoticon or history of your Tweets! And before you criticize my grammar or English, because that’s what people often do when they run out of arguments, please know that English is not my mother tongue and I haven’t studied. I do know about my weakness of making sentences too long. But I don’t apologize for it. It’s everyone’s prerogative to read or not.

But please do some research on what a troll actually is. If you do choose to respond, please do so in a FAIR way. Other then that I have nothing to say to you or your friend anymore. Best wishes.

P.S.

.

Also for the record, it’s open to me to comment on anything that is written on a public platform. To call this “harassment” is laughable and a typical accusation when people are not happy being challenged. When you call people a “lazy troll” you cross boundaries and have become extremely rude, and I would like it to stop. Thank you.

.


.

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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.

I’d rather die than remove my Tweets!

.

Today I had a “lovely” Tweet exchange with an award winning suicide prevention Samaritan worker.

The Tweets started like this:

Link

So, I hung my Tweet at @sharkyrae, not directly at @GaryLiverpool.

.

He tweets back the following:

Link

Thinking it’s just a usually annoyed person which happens, and is completely understandable and acceptable. I get that occasionally. I start replying with my usual response to just block me, and then my eye caught his profile to the right … and I started losing it!

.

.

.

I know why I don’t trust awards! And that HR departments are toxic is more or less common knowledge, but this just turned my stomach. I’m not proud of my language here and the row of Tweets that follow, which you can easily follow by clicking “show more”. My Tweets are hidden in general, all the time behind the censorship wall, even when I write positive things, as my account is blacklisted for exposing Pret. But his profile just did it for me.

I used to call the Samaritans. I will certainly never call them again. I’d rather jump off the bridge.

If this guy answers a phone call or email of a suicidal person who happens to work at Pret and shares that they want to end their life because they are bullied during bereavement, the exact thing why I called the Samaritans 5-6 years ago, of course he would NOT say to not “call him again with my sad story and that he loves Pret”, but he would also NOT take a suicidal person with exactly that experience serious! Just the thought makes me want to get the fuck drunk and end my fucking life!

He would sweet-talk the caller and volunteers as well as professional counsellors are (supposed to be) trained to be non-judgmental and neutral. And just thinking that he would sweet-talk on the phone to a suicidal person and in private be so vile … The Samaritans have certainly lost my “custom” should I ever stand at the bridge again.

Of course I’m now partially shadow banned for the next 12 hours (until approx. midnight tonight) as he must have reported me.

I wrote further once I noticed that my account is shadow banned. And by the way, Twitter allows multiple accounts, so I’m not doing anything illegal here by having more than 1 account, Twitter even allows to connect one account to another.

I explained to him that as a mental health worker especially in suicide prevention, that he is held to a higher standard. And what he tweeted would have pushed me to the edge 2 years ago if not even recently, and I’m still struggling to survive, let alone live. I expect these kinds of words from ANY regular Joe, and I have received much worse comments from a regular person, but NOT from a suicide prevention volunteer (or staff).

I am grateful I wasn’t drunk when I read his words, I would have right jumped out of my window. And I need not go down the alcohol path.

What is also such a cowardly thing he did, he deleted @sharkyrae handle to reply only to me and Pret so she won’t see it. People sometimes do that to suck up to Pret while hiding their true face from others. I later copied @sharkyrae back in again amongst others like the Samaritan handle etc. Fucking hypocritical coward!

If you as mental health worker, no matter if volunteer or paid staff, write in such a way, and THEN hide yourself from others in the conversation, I will CALL YOU OUT EVEN LOUDER!!!

.

Link

I filed a complaint with the Samaritans that this guy should not be near a mental health service, let alone suicide prevention. People tell me at times on Twitter to fuck off, or that they don’t care, and much worse things. That’s “normal”. And I can understand people’s annoyance being tagged in. But I also know that this is a public platform. I don’t knock at people’s door like a Jehovah Witness or call people on the phone, even though I have some high profile numbers.

When I get an angry reply, I then just respond that they should just block me so they won’t get tagged in again in the future, which happened before by accident as I don’t pay attention to social media handles. But a suicide prevention charity worker saying what he did would have tipped me over 2 years ago. And I still am not over the hill when it comes to suicidal thoughts. I used to go to bed with suicide on my mind and wake up with suicide on my mind and have passed by countless bridges on my way home from work. It’s not a daily tortures thought anymore. But this guy turned my stomach.

The Tweets towards the end is him threatening me with a lawsuit. And I say it here loud and clear, I rather die then take back my Tweets! I have nothing to lose and a piece of sh!t like this hypocrite would just make my fucking day!

.

.

.

No it’s not irrelevant! So much lack of emotional intelligence. I don’t expect a lot from human beings, but if you work in certain fields, you’d better think twice before calling someone who has NOT offended you initially a “sad account” for calling out Pret’s terrible treatment of staff who test positive for Covid19. Because that is the link I’ve tagged him in about, before he proclaimed his love for Pret again and calling my account sad.

It’s like a police officer who goes over the speed limit while driving in private without being in an emergency. Or all the politicians who broke Covid restrictions after making them law. Or if I wear a T-Shirt saying “Jesus loves you unconditionally”, and then I say to a person “I’m really not interested in your sad account/story/experience” etc. If this guy would be the average Joe, I would have laughed it off as usual and just asked to block me. But when I saw his profile, I lost it.

I was one of the first clients at The Listening Place (TLP) when they first started in 2016. They do face-to-face meetings with suicidal people. Never ONCE where ANY of them in any way unprofessional or told of their personal feelings, either positive nor negative towards Pret. They even wrote a letter on my behalf to Pret. I later applied for my file from TLP to hand it in to my NHS file and I was gobsmacked in how professional they are. I couldn’t even find ONE mistake, whereas in my NHS file are multiple mistakes that I had to get corrected.

And then a “Smaritan” like this says something that he did, I am still in shock. And I’m not proud of the language I use, but I don’t give a flying fuck about his meaningless threats. Make my day you fucking piece of shit! And get the fuck away from people with mental health problems, especially those who want to end their life. YOU piece of shit makes me want to end my life!

.

Link

.

UPDATE:

I received a TYPICAL sweet-talking email back from the usual “jo” @Samaritans …

Upfront, I can only say that The Listening Place started by 2 Samaritans, started off caring beyond believe, but I lost hope.

If you are suicidal, please reach out to a snail, they’ll help you.

The generic, sweet-talking email I received from the anonymous “Jo” @ “Samaritans”, and please keep in mind that this is a McDonald’s answer to beef.

Quote:

»Hi,

I appreciate you getting in touch with us. The details of your complaint have been passed on to the relevant department for review.

I am very sorry to hear about your mum passing away. I imagine not being able to go to her funeral would have been very hard to deal with. It sounds like you have been going through a lot recently with work and your personal situation. How are you coping at the moment?

You mentioned before that you would be happy to die. Can I ask, do you still feel this way? Could you tell me a bit more about your thoughts and feelings around this?

If you still feel comfortable talking to us, please know that we are here to support you.

Jo«

Here is a vomit emoticon:

🤮

SHAME on you “Samaritans”.

You are the McDonald’s of mental health. Fucking stay away from me!

I gladly die without the “help” you offer you clowns! And congratulate the Tories for privatizing mental health help. Fuck you!

.


.

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived … no, I’m still surviving … 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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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 Staff tested Positive for Covid …

and NOTHING was done!

I have the permission from a former Pret staff to post the following Facebook messages between them and myself. That’s what they meant by “yeah go for it”. I absolutely believe that account as I know Pret very well. Also, don’t forget that Pret did NOTHING after TWO customers died from allergen, a third narrowly survived and this was not public until the inquest into Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death. I was a Team Leader when 2 customers died, meaning part of my responsibility and job description was health and safety! But not only were we NOT informed about fatalities, Pret didn’t even give us as much as a HINT to be more cautious and diligent with labelling, and not further training on allergen was done. Zero. Nothing. Nada. Null!

And I implore the press to send a journalist undercover for at least one month in DIFFERENT shops to see the SYSTEMIC issues throughout the company. Pret is desperate for staff now, so it should not be an issue to get a journo in for a second time. Many shops are closed due to what Pret on Twitter says, “short term staffing disruption“, while some shops have a note at the door that shops are closed due to “refurbishment” or “nip and tuck”! 😀

Yet, I worked in several shops over the years and KNOW that Pret ONLY does refurbishments during the night and mostly on weekends, so as not to disrupt trading hours. I had to deal with neighbour complaints several times who came into the shop first thing Monday morning fuming that builders made noise of hammering, sawing etc. during the night.

So three possibilities why shops are closed: staff walk out, virus outbreak to pest issues, and I add a 4th now on 29.07.2021 – I have a hunch that Pret send staff from less busy shops to busier and more profitable shops, closed the less busy shops and keep selling the £20 monthly subscription, while many customers can’t use it due to closed shops!

Nip and tuck is NOT a massive refurbishment, but even if there was a massive refurbishment, they only take TWO NIGHTS while shops remain open during the day. I’ve worked in several Pret shops over the years that had huge refurbishments in the early 2010s when Pret changed from the ugly cold steel look to the warm wood ambience. And EVERYONE of those shop refurbishments were completed within two nights, often during the weekend. There was NEVER a disruption during daytime opening hours, never!

In the Facebook exchange, I leave a lot of messages out that are not relevant here, to keep it focused on issues of staff getting Covid, no cleaning, expired food etc. But they are in chronological order. I absolutely believe this former staff because I’ve seen enough carelessness when I worked at Pret, but this is now much worse which in my time I never thought possible.

Please click ctrl & + (ctrl & plus) to enlarge the screenshots for easier read, and ctrl & – to decrease again.. The blue screenshots are my writings obviously.

.

.

The person means this Tweet from me, please click on “show more” as Twitter censors/hides my Tweets:
https://twitter.com/LateNightGirlMe/status/1417130241248665605

Further in the FB message:

.

(mild = milk)

.

.

A customer recently called Pret out on this:

.

Link to Tweet.

About the toasties etc. being carried over to the next day and NOT freshly made daily, as Pret claims, confirms what another current staff private messaged me on Twitter a few months ago: Pret Food is NOT Fresh

And about the milk, what the former staff is talking about is that when the Barista (or staff in general) have milk bottles out on the counter for 4 hours, it needs to be WASTED! Because the time for the safety of the temperature outside the fridge is 4 hours. In the morning, the counter is full of milk bottles, and they will all go by the end of the super busy morning coffee rush even within 2 hours. The morning person scribbles down the time with a black marker. So, when they put out the milk at let’s say 6am, and at 10am there are still 2 bottles left outside, they HAVE TO be wasted.

In the afternoon/evening shift, the coffee maker should usually have just 2 – 4 bottles out as it is less busy. But at times they put out too many bottles, ending up having to waste. But instead of wasting, they put the milk back into the fridge for the next day.

Thus, customers flock to Twitter complaining about bitter coffees. And I could give a gazillion other examples how there’s is cheating going on under the pressure of management. I explain it in detail here: Pret A Manger also Stretched (Expiry) Dates

And important to mention that these practices where already done for years pre-Covid, it has just gotten worse now. A Tweet from 2019:

Link

And a Tweet from just yesterday:

Link

And on the hygiene issues, I’ve done a whole blog entry on pest, mice, rats, flies etc. including rat POO on food!

Link

Further in the FB message:

.

Absolutely agree!

To the person on Facebook, thanks for letting me post this.

And this goes along the lines of some staff reviews I found:

Link

A recent review:

Link

Also, at the start of the pandemic, just before the first lock-down, Pret did the typical thing to play pretend to care for customer safety for show, while completely ignoring staff safety – Customer safety March 2020:

.

Versus staff safety March 2020:

.

And from 19th July 2021 Pret has put the following safety measures in place:

.

Link (the text in the link may change as time goes on, screenshot above with my markings).

If people check Pret’s Tweets & Replies regularly, they will find customer complaints that tables, chairs etc. are NOT sanitized. And how can it be cleaned with so little staff?!

.

.

.

.

UPDATE 01.08.2021 – It’s not only in that shop, it’s in MOST shops due to chronic under-staffing:

.

.

Also since the UK lifted all restrictions on 19. July 2021, daily customer complaints on social media of being appalled that Pret immediately took of the counter screens, and hardly any staff wears a mask. But I can’t be bothered to screenshot any more …

Just one Tweet from a customer at the start of lock-down 2020 where it was already evident how Pret treats staff for anyone who has OPEN eyes. This is after the PR stunt of announcing NHS freebies and rebates on 18. March, and the very next morning CEO Pano Christou sent out an email to shops announcing cuts to staff. I was sent the CEO email by a staff that morning and published it. The NHS was used for PR AND as a smoke-screen to hide staff cuts.

Full CEO email here: To NHS Employees

.

So, the question remains, WHY are several Pret shops closed throughout the UK? Somehow the press got wind of one outbreak in March 2021:

Link

The following video I’ve shot in Stansted airport July 2020 when ALL food shops were closed EXCEPT Pret (and essential Boots & WH Smiths). And before anyone crucifies me, I had to do essential travel as my mum was placed in a care home and then hospital (non-Covid related) after I cared for her during 1st lock-down, briefly went home and her health (dementia) deteriorated to the point the neighbours and ambulant care service couldn’t care for her at home anymore. I tried to keep her at home as long as possible flying back and forth pre-Covid and then staying for 3+ months during 1st lock-down. I was even planning to move back and care for her. But that never worked out …

.


.

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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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.

Another Email by a Pret A Manger Staff

.

With the permission of a Pret staff member who contacted me, I want to post the following email. I cut out a lot of specific detail to protect the person’s identity and checked back with them for permission. So, there’s a lot of dots and stars, but the main message is clear. I receive a lot of private messages, but this one, like the other email I posted, shows a lot of detail. The only text that I added is in italics. Thank you to the person for your trust.

The email:

»Hello,


I came across your blog just before applying for a job at Pret, but stupidly looked over what you were saying as I was growing desperate to work … I’m writing to you … and I wish I’d taken your warnings before applying.

Firstly, I was clear that I was looking for **** hours and was heavily pressured/tricked by team leaders into working around **** (more hours) with full availability all week despite me saying I couldn’t, which means I am essentially full time. They are immensely understaffed so I have received very little training (I was hired as **** and still don’t know how to make half of the ****) while being thrown into working at least three people’s jobs, all while being threatened with the mystery shopper.

Honestly, I feel like I’m drowning … I would never want to be the kind of person who gives up on things just because they’re challenging, but …. I spend most … times … crying, I don’t have enough time to eat. … I haven’t been shown where to get certain items and have to keep asking, it’s absolutely humiliating. Communication between managers and the team is abysmal. You are absolutely right when you write about younger TMs being manipulated by staff. …


Thank you so much for taking the time to read, it’s massively appreciated.«

Pret Employee 2021

.


.

As I always advise everyone who contacts me, here again for any new reader, join a Union, even if you have no problems at work currently. The best Union for food workers is the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) that know most about Pret from my blog and communications. https://www.bfawu.org

Another good Union is the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB). They specialize in supporting foreign workers who don’t know their rights. https://iwgb.org.uk

Also, leave an anonymous review on BOTH Glassdoor AND Indeed, even in your own language to help people from your country make informed decisions. I always emphasize to leave a review on BOTH sites, as some people just find one or the other but not both. And last time I checked as I am German, there a FOUR reviews in German on Pret Berlin on Indeed, but not 1 Berlin review on Glassdoor. It might have changed, I don’t know as I checked months ago, but take advantage of every site out there and leave a review on each site especially in your own language.

For some other staff reviews and 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 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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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 does NOT label food in Dubai, Paris

.

So, here is to “meaningful” change:

Former CEO Clive Schlee’s address to the press after the September 2018 inquest into Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death:

VIDEO via Twitter

.

Clive Schlee further states in an interview repeating about “meaningful change” and blames the law! I “translated” his words here: Crocodile Tears

.

It is July 2021 and Pret does NOT label food on the packaging in Dubai and Paris, and probably not anywhere else outside the UK if they don’t have labelling laws. “Natasha’s Law” is coming in October 2021 and yet when a customer dies in Dubai or Paris etc. from unlabelled allergen, Pret will blame the laws in respective countries and also low-wage workers for looking at the SHELF label.

.

Link

Link

And Pret passes the buck WITHOUT giving the customer ANY contact details. I bet the Dubai Prets don’t have an own Twitter handle or website like USA has:

Link

PARIS:

Link

Pret also continues to MISLABEL food due to chronic under-staffing, overworked staff rush and make dangerous mistakes even in 2021. AN incomplete list, there are more complaints I didn’t add:

Link to: Vegetarians and Vegans Eat Meat 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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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

The Pret A Manger Effect

Link

Sure it’s gone downhill, but this is just now the effect of many years of exploiting staff and treating them like sh!t, as well as ignoring customers’ health and safety.

In hard times, like in this pandemic, the true face of companies is coming to light! What customer see now is what staff suffered through for decades, even long before the Bridgepoint take-over. Pret, that claimed to have “natural” food before being challenged in court and by ASA, already showed their true face when they sold 33% stake to the USA side of McDonald’s back in 2001 to get their foot into the door of the U.S. market. Once in, they divorced their marriage of convenience.

.

.

In 2008 private equity firm Bridgepoint took over and squeezed staff even more. And since 2018, second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns, via in tax-haven Luxembourg based JAB Holdings, took over. Not to mention customer deaths and injuries Pret ignored until it became public.

Just yesterday a customer from Pret DUBAI complained to Pret that they don’t label food in Dubai, most likely because Dubai doesn’t have a food labelling law like the UK will be having from October 2021 onward with “Natasha’s Law”. So far to “we will learn from it [Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death]” and so far to “meaningful change”!

Not to mention that Pret STILL mislabel food, even days ago in July 2021, due to extreme under-staffing shops, forcing low-wage staff to rush and then make dangerous mistakes. More detail in Vegetarians and Vegans eat Meat at Pret. And the lack of cleaning due to low staff and no time or strength left to clean: Rat A Manger and Pret A Mouse.

.

.

.

Link

What we see now during hard times is a skeleton of a company that was very efficient in portraying an ethical and caring facade to the public and brainwash employees during GOOD and prosperous times. But anyone can do that! But behind that facade has always been a rotten egg that Pret worked very hard to avoid the stench coming out of through the cracks in the facade.

Staff review on Indeed from NY:
»Oh lord. Used to work for Pret a manger years ago, and I told them about the issues back then, and look at them now. … Now, they’re tying to catch up, but it might be very late for it.«

Link

Facebook.com/preth8ers group.

.

So, “charity” and the Pret Foundation Trust and other PR stunts of course serve to try and keep the facade up and polished.

Ok, keep it up Pret! Keep it up!

Here, a lovely Saturday afternoon “film” event with what Pret employees, customers and lawsuits etc. have been showing since years. Get the popcorn out, put the kettle on, or get yourself an ice cold beer or a beautiful glass of wine. A peek behind the shiny PR[et] facade.

»Great Company in Risk of Ruin«

.

»Worked into the Ground without Empathy«

.

»Advise to Pret Management: Burn in Hell«

.

»Pret Annihilates Humanity«

.

»The Pret A Manger Love Treatment«

.

»Hounded – The Sequel«

.

»The Pret A Manger Anthem«

.

»Smile for the “Misery” Shopper« (Pret’s abusive Mystery Shopper Scheme – 1)

.

»Pret Mystery Shopper Report« (Pret’s abusive Mystery Shopper Scheme – 2)

.

»Pret’s Coffee Subscription (Rip-Off!)«

.

»The Endless Pret A Manger Lies«
(Subscription rip-off via the lack of Frappes/Smoothies)

.

»Pret Air Maniac« (A Pandemic On The House!)

.

»WOWING Pret Customers«

.

»Pret A Manger Staff Reviews« (For the Quiet Music Lover)

.

Last but not least:

»Why Pret can’t be Distanced to Julian Metcalfe«
(How to chase 3 multi-millionaire business men off Twitter!)

.

In memory of all the people, customers and staff, who didn’t survive Pret A Manger.

.


.

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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.

Short Term Staffing Disruption at Pret A Manger

.

Yeah, maybe finally staff are doing what some Burger King staff did and walked out in protest and strike!

Customers flock to Twitter and increasingly raise the issue of shops closed without notice, or with conflicting messages. I explain that there are 3 common possibilities why a shop may be closed, in no particular order, and with links to each issue:

  • Staff issues, lack of staff, staff walk out, staff are at breaking point from the exploitation.
  • Pest issues, mice, rats etc. This will especially get worse when shops continue to be under-staffed and Team Members have no time nor strength left to properly clean.
  • Virus outbreak like the one that had to close in Norwich.
  • A 4th possibility I added (31.07.2021) which I briefly touch on here below, but detailed in Pret Shops Closed … I Smell a Rat!

Of course there can also be true technical issues like flooding, electricity black-outs etc. But that would then be very clearly visible when the lights go off etc. and those don’t last more than a few hours before it gets fixed. These emergencies are on the top priority of Pret’s maintenance and repair department, shop would never be closed for more than half a day! I have had many incidences in different shops and the repair was done very fast for us to continue the trading.

And on a “side note”, a list of issues where Pret is ripping off customers:

Pret will INDEED try anything to survive

.


.

UPDATE July 2021:

So, after Pret made 3000+ staff redundant, cut their benefits, bonus and paid breaks (and then asking many again to return for less pay but more work etc., most refuse) Pret continues to exploit staff, mistreat and abuse them and then wonder why they have to close shops. In the meantime, Pret continues to neglect the very shop front-line workers who make Pret happen, by concentrating on digitizing Pret and advancing their marketing stunts.

Link – Also see: Link and Link.

Link

.


.

Maybe Pret staff finally are fed up enough to join a Union and walk out of Pret. Burger King staff certainly have had enough and a Pret customer finds it appropriate for Pret to take heed!

.

.

.

Link

Just a few of many customers raising issues of Pret shops closed in London, Birmingham etc.

York shop closed due to “unforeseen” circumstances:

.

After I gave Brian Lickley some of the above possibilities, he started to ask more seriously later that afternoon:

.

.

A confused customer on Linkedin 15.07.2021 about a Birmingham shop closed without notice:

.

Several London shops closed and Pret now gives the staffing reason:

.

.

Instagram today:

.

.

This shop closure in Elephant and Castle looks like a pest issue! If customers are suddenly asked to leave a shop during opening times, especially in the morning, it most certainly is because staff spotted a mouse. The procedure then is to close the shop until there is NO trace of pest like droppings, nibbled on packaging etc.

When I worked at Pret and we spotted pest, we were instructed to lie to customers, and the most common lie is “technical issues”. But I chose not to lie to not get into conflicting messages and I just said to customers that we have to temporarily close due to “internal” issues. This way I didn’t have to lie and give mixed messages to customers while other gave another reason (as can be seen here in this Tweet), and I left it open for interpretation.

More on Pret’s pest issues: Rat A Manger & Pret A Mouse

I implore the press to send a journalist undercover for at least one month in DIFFERENT shops to see the SYSTEMIC issues throughout the company. Pret is desperate for staff now, so it should not be an issue to get a journo in for a second time. Many shops are closed due to what Pret on Twitter says, “short term staffing disruption“, while some shops have a note at the door that shops are closed due to “refurbishment” or “nip and tuck”! 😀

Yet, I worked in several shops over the years and KNOW that Pret ONLY does refurbishments during the night and mostly on weekends, so as not to disrupt trading hours. I had to deal with neighbour complaints several times who came into the shop first thing Monday morning fuming that builders made noise of hammering, sawing etc. during the night.

So three possibilities why shops are closed: staff walk out, virus outbreak to pest issues, and I add a 4th now on 29.07.2021 – I have a hunch that Pret send staff from less busy shops to busier and more profitable shops, closed the less busy shops and keep selling the £20 monthly subscription, while many customers can’t use it due to closed shops!

Nip and tuck is NOT a massive refurbishment, but even if there was a massive refurbishment, they only take TWO NIGHTS while shops remain open during the day. I’ve worked in several Pret shops over the years that had huge refurbishments in the early 2010s when Pret changed from the ugly cold steel look to the warm wood ambience. And EVERYONE of those shop refurbishments were completed within two nights, often during the weekend. There was NEVER a disruption during daytime opening hours, never!

Here the FULL email again by a Pret shops staff member who contacted me in December 2020, among many other staff, quote:

»Hi, I work for Pret right now and honestly everything you say is 100%. If I didn’t need my job so bad right now I would tell them all to go fuck themselves!

No bonus, unpaid breaks. Everyone is like a workhorse… even a 28 hour contract working 48-60 hours because not enough staff.

People are now just working their 28 hours and leaving, no one stays over anymore the people are waking up!

The exploitation is unreal! Calling people from other shops all over to help! Sweating all day, customers are rude because service is slow.

To make matters worse they add the subscription which states on their website over 18, we have kids coming as young as 8 ordering coffees smoothies and frappes!

Pret don’t care about anyone in this company, everyone is replaceable. It makes me so sick to work for them but at this moment I do not really have a choice!

Keep doing what you do! Fuck them! I really hope they sink In this pandemic! This horrible corporate cog of the biggest scandals wheel.«

– UK Pret Employee Dec. 2020

Link

May be continued if more complaints come in!

To all Pret and general staff, join a union and leave a review on both Glassdoor AND Indeed, especially in your own language to help your fellow country men and women to make informed decisions.

I adopted the following song as the Pret A Manger Anthem!

.


.

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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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 Customer Click-bait

When I started to expose Pret publicly in 2018 it was hardly common knowledge how bad Pret is to staff. Many were shocked, many remained silent, some contacted me privately to inquire etc. The majority of people are silent, either because they truly don’t care, they pretend to ignore my writing or they are clueless in how to respond.

But one thing has grown and keeps growing, the statistics on my blog are through the roof!

And since about a year plus minus, some customers or people start to tweet how impressed they are with staff. This started increasingly to happen after I extensively started writing about Pret’s abusive Mystery Shopper scheme, where staff are forced to smile, chat, give eye contact and giving a freebie almost always guarantees to get a staff member the £100 reward. If staff don’t smile, chat etc., if they don’t have time to clean etc., the whole shop lose the Mystery Shopper bonus and get fear managed.

Staff are brainwashed and bullied to present a happy facade. And since I’m exposing this publicly in great detail, many people are shocked of course, but some people start the click-bait tactic, where they give compliments on Twitter regarding cheery Pret staff in hopes I respond. And I do respond, because it’s public and others are reading. And the silent reader often then contacts me privately.

There’s a pattern with these click-bait Tweets:

Many have only few followers like under 10, which is not an issue as I have few followers and am notorious for “kicking” followers off for certain reasons including Guardian and The Times journalists. The amount of followers don’t mean anything to me, but I mention this as there’s a pattern. And of course others have many followers, but the majority I’ve some across as hostile have few followers and Tweets. It’s interesting that they seem similar also in the wording of complimenting a Pret staff with being very cheerful and kind etc.

And Pret staff ARE kind and helpful and most enjoy giving freebies, but they are brainwashed to strive for extra peanuts via Mystery Shopper rewards. I received many Mystery Shopper cash rewards after I smiled, gave freebies, chatted etc. and no-one knew that on my way home I headed for the bridge. Regular readers know my story, I won’t get into it here.

So, when I respond to click-bait Tweets with the reality of why low-wage staff smile and chat so much in extreme stress, due to Mystery Shopper fear management, they respond back with hostility that I’m just a disgruntled or bitter former employee who got fired for not doing my job etc. They start getting vile in that I wasn’t a good employee, bitter etc. etc. They’re wording is very quick to the point as if they know my story, but don’t accept the reality of how Pret is to staff. They also ignore my profile where I state that I declined 4 NDAs from Pret. Or they don’t know what an NDA is. I leave them in their ignorance.

Another common tactic also is that they don’t respond, pretending to not see or care, while in reality they post in order to get a response, not realizing that my response triggers people to contact me and inquire further.

Those who reply with hostility want to discredit people who have made firsthand experience because they can’t handle being fooled by Pret, no matter how much evidence former and current staff bring, in my case the amount of links, news/press articles, customer complaints, staff reviews, and my own story with legal written evidence. It’s a waste of time even responding to them, but it’s important to still respond for the sake of silent readers and the press.

Others are current or former Pret staff pretending to be customers.

But some customers can’t handle that someone is standing up, let alone a female, to a multi-billion “dollar” company while they suck up to a company they so desperately want to believe is either good and kiss up to, or they blatantly don’t care how staff are abused.

The other pattern is, they don’t have many Tweets, and those Tweets they have are mainly complaints to companies where they often don’t even get a reply.

They call me a “sad little life” while when you look at their social media feed, they’re actually describing themselves. There’s no substance to their posts, or at most just complaints to companies that rarely reply. Their compliments about staff seem insincere and just click-bait or seeking attention, or wanting a freebie.

It’s obvious that they posted in hopes that I respond so that they can just rant against me. I explain to them that I always follow click-bait because of silent readers.

Another pattern is that 9 out of 10 times these click-baiters are young and male. Because I state my handle clearly as “late night GIRL” (they don’t know why yet) it is mainly male “customers” or people who quickly become dismissive and hostile, but bring no further argument or depth.

Other times they get their friends together and gang up like schoolyard bullies trying to “impress” the strong kid in the school who actually has the balls to stand up against the main bully.

There are other interesting patterns, but I keep that for my book.

So, dear click-baiter, I will always follow your pretentious compliments and give you the 5 minutes you so desperately crave. But I do that for the silent reader who then contacts me via DM or my contact form in shock about what they read. So, thank you for the click-bait!

And I don’t go into much discussion with these people or explain in detail about Pret, as this would be throwing “pearl before swine”. I always write with the silent reader in mind as well as former and current Pret staff and the press. They know my DMs are always open.

And for anyone who is raising awareness on your own campaigns against be it injustices, toxic workplaces, discrimination etc. don’t give up. It ALWAYS takes YEARS for change to happen. People will call you names, try to discredit you, pretend to not care while in reality they keep writing to you and care but are too scared to out themselves. Keep going, you are making a difference.

And here for any NEW and silent reader who may wonder why Pret staff always smile so much, chat, and give freebies while being underpaid, overworked and many are depressed, some functioning alcoholics: Mystery Shopper fear management.

Staff will never tell a customer how it really is because they are drilled with fear and brainwashed to function under extreme circumstances.

.

Pret’s abusive Mystery Shopper report:

.

Journalist Timothy Noah’s excellent article on Pret’s enforced emotional labour practices: The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger

Pret’s systemic bullying culture witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret

And many more issues I cover, but those who care will know them.

The Pret A Manger Anthem 😉

.

“Worked into the Ground without Empathy 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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Pret A Manger Anthem 😉

.

»Let this be the start of our revolution
Let this be the day that we take it all back
Let the writing on the wall be our manifesto
Let this be the day we go on the attack«

– The Dead Milkmen

A small collection of press articles, social media posts and staff reviews to an appropriate song:

.

.


.

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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

There is Hope for the Hospitality Industry!

Evening Standard:

»Chefs demand Michelin-starred restaurants be stripped of their awards if staff are bullied«

“Michelin-starred restaurants should be stripped of their awards if staff are bullied, says Unichef.

The chefs’ union, which advocates for “zero tolerance of abuse in kitchens,” said that allegations of abusive behaviour towards staff was too common within the industry. … The petition comes after reports that Tom Kitchin, who runs the Michelin-starred restaurant Kitchin and gastropub Scran & Scally, was forced to suspend two senior staff over allegations of abusive behaviour towards employees.”

Link to full article.

There is one “argument” I mostly hear on social media when I point out the toxic bullying culture in Pret with links to employment review sites, social media complaints by staff AND customers who witness bullying, and my own story. Many people say, “well, this is in many other places, too, not just Pret”. And thus I am supposed to accept this. Well, no! It’s time things change and for this systemic toxic bullying culture to end and become widely unacceptable. People who give this “argument” really don’t care and care too much about Pret and the happy image Pret portrays. Some cuss me out because I just pulled down their illusions about Pret! Don’t shoot the messenger!

When people give me this argument, I point out that if the #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter and many other movements would not have happened, we would be in a greater mess than we’re already in. It was accepted that sexual harassment in Hollywood and in workplaces in general is “normal”. No, it isn’t! Even domestic violence has only been criminalized in the 1990s! Before that, it was none of the neighbours or the police’s business what happened next door!

Of course there will always be crimes, sexual harassment, racism, bullying etc. But this is about pulling it out of the “norm” and into the exception that makes crimes as crimes and unacceptable in society. To learn and re-learn again what is and what is not acceptable! We all agree on certain issues like murder is wrong, period. We need to get to the place where we also believe and know that bullying is wrong. Period.

In fact, workplace bullying should be criminalized. The same with Wage theft!

Of course stripping restaurants of Michelin stars is just a demand and a draft of a first step towards luxury brands, but it can trickle “down” to lower wage and fast-food chains and the hospitality business in general, with different consequences for companies who allow and even promote bullying.

It’s not popular to say this, but I always was bothered with Gordon Ramsey. He made a fortune and became famous for bullying, shouting and humiliating the people who worked with and for him! It’s cool and trendy to tell a colleague to “fuck off” even on Television! How then do we wonder that this is so rampant in the hospitality industry.

It’s an upside down world to reward bullying. Life is too short to be treated like dirt when all you do is work freaking hard to build a life and a dream at best, or just pay your bills at worst, and in many cases for the lowest of the lowest wage! NO! Life is too short!

.


.

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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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 Judy Garland’s Story on Steroids!

If there ever was a modern-day golden cage, forced emotional labour, bullying, slavery, getting tranquilized, human trafficking, threats, black-mail … right in front of us, it’s Britney Spears!

I usually don’t give “outside issues” a blog post, here, but this is utterly shocking!

I’m not into Britney Spears’s music and often felt her performances were too “technical” and robotic. Now I understand why!!!!!!!!!!!

This is emotional labour and captivity to its extremes, covered up behind a golden cage.

I am horrified of what is unfolding and my respect for Britney Spears went through the roof! I firmly believe she WILL be free soon. Her fans, the media etc. are too strong now for this to just go away into hiding again! It just cannot be going on!

Britney has functioned since childhood on. She has performed, worked, paid everybody and has been a “good girl”. And then she JUST had a breakdown when she shaved her head and hit a paparazzi’s car with her umbrella! Male musicians have done MUCH much worse!

This is just Judy Garland’s story on steroids and the court system is AS corrupt! And it’s 2021! This is about human rights that are violated to its core, and there is too much money involved! And Britney said it best, that those who control her need to go to jail!

Leaked audio of Britney’s testimony last week. God bless whoever dared to record and leak this. You get your voice back, Britney! You are just now getting your voice back! Fuck ’em!

.

Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be Fatal!

A few years ago I already dissected an article where Pret’s HR Director Andrea Wareham was interviewed. “Pret’s People Management Secrets” from HR Magazine. In this interview Andrea Wareham shares a lot about the typical Pret PR bla bla. But one sentence stands out to me which is typical Pret, but also dangerous.

Quote: »Pret famously recruits for behaviours, “personality rather than skills” as Wareham puts it, and these, she adds, are “relevant in every market”.«

When I worked at Pret it always astounded me how little many shop Managers knew of the job they were hired to do. Those staff members in lower positions who had more knowledge than some shop Managers due to experience and skill, were exploited and the Manager took credit for it.

It often bothered me how the “wrong” people got promoted and those who knew how to do the job where kept low.

In an unlisted video on YouTube (why unlisted?) new CEO Pano Christou even inadvertently gives away how poor the training in Pret is. He shares how when he did stock take for the first or second time, that he stayed until 4 o’clock the next morning! And that’s exactly how it is in Pret. The training is so poor and even Managers often are clueless that especially new staff have to stay long (unpaid!) hours to figure out how things work! Before I worked at Pret, I worked in many different food places, most of my life I worked in hospitality industry, in wine bars, restaurants, a canteen, a hotel. But never did I have to stay longer hours to figure out how things are done than in Pret! It was the most frustrating thing not being trained and not being given time to train others!

If people are trained and have skills, especially since Pano Christou was a Manager at McDonald’s before he joined Pret as an Assistant Manager, there would be NO NEED to stay until 4 o’clock the next morning to know how to do a stock take and other issues!

Pano should have known the job already, or at least picked it up quicker as he had previous Management experience. Unless he kissed his way up, like so many do. In Pret people also get promoted through the bedroom, and then more than few are incapable to do the job and rely on lower ranked staff to do all the hard work!

Pret is famous for their smiley staff, but since I write about it more extensively since 2018 it has become more common knowledge that this smiley culture is driven by weekly Mystery Shoppers. I wrote a few posts about it and made some YouTube slides as my blog is heavily censored on Facebook and Instagram where it is completely blocked. Even private messages are deleted automatically by algorithm when I link to my blog as Pret must have reported me, thus FB, Insta put me on a black list. But YouTube isn’t blocked.

.

Journalist Timothy Noah wrote a brilliant article on Pret’s emotional labour (labor in US English) that Pret enforces low-wage employees to perform. “The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger“. I really recommend reading this article! And oh, how I remember the mental agony to have to smile, chat, present a happy facade, just to get a few more peanuts. And even during already traumatic bereavement I was expected to “leave my problems at home and wear a smile like I wear my uniform”! Real words of one of my Managers after we lost bonus for not smiling! Low-wage staff have to act like emotional prostitutes and acrobatic clowns to make Pret look good and as a happy place!

Noah wrote this article in 2013, a year after the first public “scandal” hit Pret when Andrej Stopa was fired for having started a trade union. Noah was one of the first, if not THE first journalist to take a closer look at Pret and write critical about the company when no-one dared to write critically. In fact, most journalists, even to this day write ecstatic positive articles about Pret.

Noah points out what former CEO Clive Schlee said about staff touching each other, quote: »”The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Pret’s previous Mystery Shopper requirements even was that Pret aims to “attend to EACH customer’s NEEDS” … and aims to “connect with EVERY customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks”. The weekly Mystery Shopper is then tasked to comment on how low-wage staff smile etc. and give points accordingly.

Excerpts of the old Mystery Shopper reports before Pret changed the wording but kept the expectations via Managers:

Since I write extensively about Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme which has surprised many customers who assumed that staff give freebies out of “random acts of kindness”, while in reality staff are almost guaranteed to receive the £100 reward when giving a freebie to the Mystery Shopper, or the MS at least witnessing this “generosity”!

And Clive Schlee to me served like the Ronald McDonald of Pret. He was the friendly clown that was approachable to customers and staff alike, while in reality putting a rigorous Mystery Shopper scheme in place and manipulating staff with brainwashing slogans, and expecting touch to portray a wholesome and happy company … all to increase sales.

And yet, we all wonder how on earth can TWO customers die in Pret, a third customer narrowly surviving and at least nine more injured due to unlabelled allergen in the food. Pret IGNORED the multiple warnings to label their food, even after customers have died and got injured, Pret kept smiling and went full steam ahead doing business as usual. Pret only started slowly to implement product labelling AFTER customer deaths became public! I worked at Pret when 2 customers died and we weren’t even informed of this. Not even a HINT to be more cautious and diligent with labelling and allergen. Nothing! The emphasis was ALWAYS to drop every task, run on till, smile, serve customers fast and present a happy facade. Personality is more important in Pret than skill!

Link

If you don’t know what you’re doing and just “look” the part, but neglect life saving issues, you shouldn’t be hired or run a business! Smiling and having a bubbly personality is a plus, but without skills it’s useless for the health and safety of staff and customers alike! Clive Schlee, the Ronald McDonald of Pret has proven time and again how clueless he was:

Alicia Turrell deleted her Twitter account, so this link is gone. But to zoom in on what former CEO Clive Schlee responded to an open letter, shows how he lacked skills and knowledge on how to approach the lack of labelling that several customers pointed out, including a lawsuit BEFORE the first customer died.

Schlee’s patronizing, appalling and plain clueless response:

»Dear Alicia,
I am sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting to board my flight and I have been reading your discursive open letter to Pret. I must say you have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret. I am Pret’s CEO.
You also make your point about allergen information. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that. I think you are suggesting we treat allergens more seriously. Again, fair point. Is there anything else that you would specifically like [u]s to do?
With best wishes
Clive«

I am not a fan of Wetherspoons or any food/drink chain at that, and at least their staff have started standing up with Unions. But I heard an interview of founder and CEO Tim Martin recently on Desert Island Discs from 2017. He said something that positively surprised me and maybe because pub business is a different animal from cafe/restaurant business in customer service to some extend, but he mentioned something on how staff present themselves.

Then presenter Kirsty Young asks Martin at around 26 minutes in the interview, quote: »And when you are chatting, as you are doing every week to managers and deputy managers and bar staff, do you ever say to them, “never ever say this to the customer?«

Martin replies: »No. And I also tell them, “you don’t have to smile either”.«

Kirsty Young: »You tell them they DON’T have to smile?«

Martin: »They don’t have to smile, no! We don’t go out of our way to tell them to be nice, because I think that puts too much pressure on people. I think when you go to a pub you get a beer, someone’s natural personality will emerge better if they are not under too much pressure, which of course they are under tremendous pressure anyway. Some of our best bar staff are quite grumpy

I cut out that part from the above program:

.

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

Another brilliant article on emotional labour I have listed in “The Dangers of Emotional Labour” is by Sophie McBain “How Emotional Labour Harms us All“.

I say it again, recruiting for (fake or even true) cheerful personality rather than skill can be fatal!

.


.

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.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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.