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.
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