I was Team Leader Responsible for Health & Safety but Pret did NOT tell us of Allergen Deaths

Please click on above Spotify logo to listen to a converted voice version of below text.

I want to link to several posts I wrote from a behind the scenes perspective having worked at Pret A Manger when two customers died. The first fatality was 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from unlabelled sesame in a baguette. The second customer was mother of 5 Celia Marsh who died of dairy traces in a vegan wrap.

It is still not clear whose responsibility Celia Marsh’s death was, if the non-dairy yogurt supplier or Pret.

I know from experience that it is super easy to hastily grab the wrong products in Pret as shops have always been under-staffed to maximize profit, and many are foreign workers who can take the wrong ingredient in a hurry. Staff are penalized if they don’t reach a certain percentage in the speed of assembling sandwiches.

I want to keep this short here and only link to the posts with certain issues I have experienced first hand. I continue to highlight that under-staffing shops is dangerous. And Pret continue to do so to maximize profit, even before the pandemic. Burnt-out staff are bound to make dangerous mistakes.

Some people say that I have a “vendetta” against Pret after what I survived as staff, and that’s why I write on all sorts of issues. My response to this is, it takes immense wrong doing for someone to speak out extensively and “whistle-blow” on wrong doing. If I was “just” a disgruntled former employee, I would have never started a blog. This is not about being disgruntled, this is about my own survival from this company and why Pret remain dangerous to people’s health.

I need to stress that I was a Team Leader of the shop floor responsible for a host of things like running the shops (opening or closing), ordering stock, counting money at the end of the day, checking temperature of cooling equipment, looking after the staff, striving that we had high scores in Mystery Shopper visits etc. etc.

A Team Leader in Pret is really like a mini-manager! they do EVERYTHING except hiring and firing. They are the true managers who run the shops. Same with kitchen Team Leaders, they run the kitchens.

But one of the responsibilities and job description of Team Leaders is health and safety. I myself took that extremely serious as I had many years experience in the hospitality industry in three countries.

I was known by colleagues to get on their nerves when I saw spillage on the floor and I stressed to first grab the yellow caution sign before getting the mop. Or the emergency exits even having the slightest item blocking it. Or the emergency calling cord that’s hanging to the floor in toilets and was tangled up. I always untangled it and re-trained everyone to keep checking that the chord is always loosely hanging on the floor easy to pull should someone be lying on the floor etc. etc.

This was not my managers training me to keep an eye on, this from my experience outside of Pret where I was TRULY trained!

I stress the Team Leader health & safety responsibility because Pret is extremely strict with many issues, but also with a lot of unimportant issues. But Pret did not only NOT tell us, especially Team Leaders, that not one, but two customers died and several got injured, there wasn’t even as much as a HINT to be more cautious with labelling and allergen. Absolutely nothing! I am still very angry about this because Pret left us basically in the Wild West that if something happened, it’s our fault because they basically didn’t break the law at the time.

A list of issues I expand on in great detail:

Be Honest, Kind, Generous – Seminar on Customer Service. I start with a seminar that Pret did at the Barbican in spring 2017, a year AFTER Natasha died. But the seminar was NOT about allergen or labelling, it was about how to lure customers further to keep coming back spending money.

Vegans and Vegetarians Eat MEat at Pret with many photos by customers. Pret shops still mislabel products even in 2022 due to under-staffed, stressed out workers having to rush. Picture in the heading is a pot of mayonnaise sold as Bircher muesli. A stressed, rushed staff took the MAYONNAISE bucket instead of the dairy yogurt bucket. EASILY done!

A staff could have grabbed the dairy yogurt instead of the non-dairy yogurt for the vegan wrap that Celia Marsh died from.

Link

Pret’s labelling Committment? How staff easily mistake products due to under-staffing and rushing.

Pret do not label food in Dubai and Paris in 2021 and maybe other countries where there are insufficient labelling laws. Customers complain to Pret on social media with photos. Most likely there are no laws like the UK law “Natasha’s Law” since October 2021. Should a customer die in Dubai or Paris, Pret will again blame the local laws.

Pret Hygiene Rating 2/5. Many customers complain on filthy shops and London City Airport has scored 2 out of 5 in a December 2021 EHO visit on pest and hygiene issues. Again, under-staffed shops where staff are pushed to work fast to get products out but have no time to clean. Pret has never paid overtime while giving staff purposely very little time to do the job, then forcing them to work for free. Many staff walked out of Pret now.

Photos and videos of flies, maggots, rat droppings etc. in Pret food, as well as mice and ants running around including on food etc. Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot via YouTube:

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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.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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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.

Pret A Manger Fans & Media HOLD YOUR HORSES!

Pret’s in shambles alright. But above picture by @Ruffbinta on Twitter, where Storm Eunice knocked at Pret’s door a little too hard, is a good metaphor how Pret is a shadow of their past PR glory. Though, they’re still able to fool the public with a smiley front.

So, relax! Pret won’t go bust! Take a deeeeep breath and have some soothing camomile tea on the house. You’re just being fooled again. This is just their usual way to use the media to make people believe Pret’s crocodile tears!

In Germany they have a saying, “In der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen”. Loosely translated, “In times of crisis, the devil eats flies”.

In other words, in unprecedented times we do things we’d NEVER EVER thought we’d do in “normal” times. We would even eat flies if it keeps us alive.

The problem here though is, Pret is NOT in trouble! They are doing the USUAL thing of using the media to keep luring customers in.

I explain this in the “Tränendüse” post from 2020 when CEO Pano Christou did a clever PR stunt using The Guardian.

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Every link I post below shows evidence of how Pret keeps tricking the public.

Pret is desperate for customers. And what BETTER way to get customers in than saying, “We are about to close down if you don’t come and wait for 15 minutes to be served by our understaffed minumim-wage workers while we refuse to pay taxes and are busy counting our money … Hey boo, come on, buy our fertilizer.”

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Link to @Karatee’s photo.

All the customers who not only boycott Pret, but vowed to never set foot inside Pret again (for lowering wages, coffee subscription issues, poor quality coffee and food, customer allergen deaths and injuries etc.), Pret wants to get back by squeezing their tears into a throw-away cup in hopes people return in droves.

Pret is back 93% pre-pandemic levels, but hey, someone needs to foot the bill for the loans Pret took out and all the lawsuits they’re hit with, including the recent settlement for FINGERPRINTING staff in Illinois agreeing to pay 800 staff a combined $677,000 (after lawyers take their share around $500 per staff)!

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LawStreetMedia.com

And at least 6 further lawsuits in the million for unpaid rents in the USA.

Give Pret 6-12 months, if not less, and they’re soaring again higher than before.

And most importantly, they still sleep well at nights.

Telegraph: “Pret scrambles to delay loan payments over ‘going concern’ warning – Coffee chain has until June to repay £66.7m after pandemic borrowing”

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Link to Telegraph article.

UPDATE: 19.02.2022

The comment section shows a lot of insight into private equity. Some people aren’t fooled by this.

Quote from Hercule Smith: “This is a non story. The PE sharks are just running their business in their normal fashion: drowning in debt to negate tax (until just before they want to refloat it, when debt will just marginally reduce). They’ll drop in more equity when they have no choice, unless they spot a chance to dump the debt via a pre-pack or similar.”

Another quote: “How do you issue a warning and say you are continuing to expand?”

Bingo! As the above person already explained about the private equity sharks, Pret received £100 million from shareholders to open 200 more shops within 3 years. This will now be doubled to £200 million. Pret also received £185 million from owners JAB Holdings in tax-haven Luxembourg as well as the support from the government during furlough etc. There is NO plan to pay debt!

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Another person wrote what I also thought yesterday, quote: “If they are struggling to pay £60m this year how on earth would they pay £600m next. As for trading at 93% od pre pandemic level I find that hard to believe.”

Exactly! Especially also with all the lawsuits and settlements, Pret have no urgency to pay any debt. I also find it hard to believe that Pret made 50 million coffees on the subscription. They claim 50 million cups on Instagram and Facebook but NOT on Twitter because more people would call Pret out on Twitter than IG & FB> And the press is more active on Twitter but not elsewhere.

Here one customer calling Pret out on their BS on IG which I posted on Twitter:

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Link to IG

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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 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 Love-Bombing from Pret A Manger Low-Wage Staff

I have written already extensively on Pret A Manger’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme including slides on YouTube. Someone last winter linked to my blog from Wikipedia, after I wrote a lot about my experience in Pret with the Mystery Shopper scheme and I kept mentioning Timothy Noah’s excellent article, “The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger“. But the Wiki editor deleted the link again. I don’t know who put my blog on Wiki or why it was then removed.

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But after 2018, after the customer deaths became known, Wikipedia updated a lot of information they didn’t have before, like the first Pret being opened in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman NOT in 1986 etc. Pret keep it away from the public that Jeffrey Hyman was the first to open Pret and have now even put signs on Pret shops with a simple “London 1986”.

A friend of Jeffrey Hyman alleged on Twitter that Pret employed someone to keep deleting Hyman’s info off Wikipedia!

Link

A lot of info has been taken from my blog as usual, while Wiki remains out-dated on Pret issues. But that’s for another post.

I want to highlight again Pret’s humiliating Mystery Shopper scheme, but instead of a long blog post (don’t bank on it!), I want to link to my page with certain posts and YouTube slides I’ve already published. I use YouTube and keep adding to a playlist on a variety of issues, as Facebook and Instagram completely blocked my website after Pret must have reported me. But they can’t block YouTube! ‹^› (°_°) ‹^›

The press now KNOW about Pret’s emotional labour scheme but don’t want to elaborate on it as they always like to avoid having to mention my blog from where they got the initial info from. So, I keep updating customers who are still fooled that minimum-wage workers seem happy in an unforgiving stressful, noisy, hot, straining work environment.

Many customers are grateful to learn of this, some other customers cuss me out or communicate in other passive aggressive ways that they don’t want to know about this. They are p!ssed off because I destroy their illusions that staff actually smile for bonus and £100 cash rewards and NOT because they are in love with the customer or are happy working at Pret!

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Many middle-aged people are especially annoyed when they learn of the Mystery Shopper requirements, because they love to flirt with low-wage staff (for free coffee or just because they can). Some even LOVE it that staff are exploited this way and seem to get a kick out of it. Others have expressed their “reliance” of being “emotionally” cared for by poorly paid staff, who are exploited to meet the emotional needs of customers so that these customers return again and again to spend more money.

Customers become “reliant” on the emotional attention of low-wage staff as if workers are psychologists or emotional “prostitutes”. Customers have become conditioned to get their emotional fix from hospitality workers and workers have become accustomed to sell emotions on top of food in order to top up their low pay. I still cringe at this having had to distort my feelings for extra cash and to not get fear managed when a Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile, even when I was sick. Staff are not paid the first 2 – 3 days sick leave, depending on their age, even when they have a sick note.

I had to constantly make a decision if to stay home to get well but lose money, or go to work sick and risk that my Team didn’t get the bonus because I coughed!

Mystery Shopper excerpt when I coughed and therefore couldn’t smile:

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

I was reprimanded in the office later by my boss after this report came in. I also didn’t “feel cheerful” enough to smile after I buried my brother and Pret bullied me to keep performing emotional labour and refused to place me in the kitchen. I literally begged managers to please put me in the kitchen for a day or week where I didn’t need to smile. But they often refused because I was too slow in the kitchen but very fast and efficient in the shop.

I had to suppress my grief and keep smiling. After my shift I often headed for the bridge. Well Pret, I survived to tell my story!

Important to note as well that Pret staff have 60 seconds (sometimes Pret changes it to 90 seconds) to serve a customer, also to get the coffee ready into customer’s hands, and on top of that staff are demanded to stroke people’s emotions on the go!

If a staff or the Barista takes longer than 60-90 seconds, they risk also not getting Mystery Shopper bonus as Mystery Shoppers time them to the second while expecting PERFECT coffees, smiles, chatting, eye contact …

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Link to article.

UPDATE: On my podcast I talk in detail how the Pret mystery shopper scheme works. As WordPress also censor me and now don’t allow embeds, just click on the link or copy paste into a new window: https://anchor.fm/expretdotorg/episodes/Pret-A-Mangers-Strict-Mystery-Shopper-Scheme-e1ho40a

Or check Spotify:

Many more customer comments via the below YouTube l slides.

I received many Mystery Shopper “outstanding cards” (£50 cash reward) and “super outstanding cards” (£100 rewards when the scores were perfect) and many customer compliments for my service. But inside I was burnt out and later suicidal after my brother died. Pret continued to demand that I smile. I was reprimanded by management, including an area Manager after the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile.

The Mystery Shopper didn’t know that I just buried my brother, but Pret knew. It didn’t matter. No mercy.

Since I publicly write on this, highlighting certain sentences from the Mystery Shopper reports, Pret has changed the wording to avoid criticism.

Excerpt of previous Pret Mystery Shopper questions which Pret has now changed to more general questions:

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Quote, I highlight/bold a few things:

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.”

Mystery Shopper: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

Little but important side note, an individual Pret staff serves an average of 300-500 customers per 8 – 10 hour shift depending on the busyness of the shop and their position. Hot Chefs, Baristas, Kitchen Staff of course serve less people as they have their job roles cut out for them. Pret demands that staff bend backwards like acrobatic clowns and what I call as “emotional prostitutes” to draw customers in emotionally to spend more money.

Further:

Quote:

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole team in this shop during your visit.”

Mystery Shopper: “The team members were focused on their jobs but were not welcoming customers. This could be improved by the team members smiling at customers when they entered the shop, and making a friendly remark or small talk, where possible.”

Where possible? Maybe it wasn’t possible because Team Members were FOCUSED on their JOBS for which they were paid for. Bonus is at the discretion of Mystery Shoppers and Managers. it’s a bonus, not a required wage! Yet, in this they are bullied and fear managed THE MOST!

It’s a lose-lose for staff. They are focused on their jobs for which they were hired and paid to fulfill, and if they wouldn’t be doing their jobs, they would be penalized for not cleaning, stocking up etc. And customers love to flock to Twitter to complain that their tables weren’t wiped or there is no sugar stocked up. All the while Mystery Shoppers are demanded to probe if staff smile while bending backwards being FOCUSED on their jobs!

If they do their jobs, they are reprimanded for not smiling. If they smile and chat but then don’t have time to stock up or clean or a bit of toilet paper is on the floor etc., they are reprimanded for not doing their jobs. It does not matter AT ALL how well they work, how much they do, they are always penalized and bullied in a nutshell.

Only one of many such reviews, quote from Glassdoor review “Stressful“:

»Constantly understaffed and expected to clean the entire store and multitask like crazy because there is no one else to do it
Sometimes really hard to get the bonus because you work so hard to make the entire store presentable, clean and neat but if the mystery shopper comes during the busy lunch period when you are understaffed and have to stay on till and cannot leave it and tidy the shop floor and they then don’t give you the bonus because there was ‘toilet paper on the floor in the toilet that could have been tidied’. Or if there is a long queue until the door they complain that they were not served within a minute and a half of joining the queue which is ridiculous.«

So, now many shops have locked the toilets with “out-of-order” sign on it since months.

They go left, they’re penalized for not turning right. They turn right, they’re penalized for not turning left. They run, they’re penalized for not stopping. They stand still, they’re penalized for not moving … You get the picture! I know what I’m talking about, I survived this bullsh!t abuse!

If you, dear reader, really want to see the micromanagement and humiliation in how ONE staff made a silly mistake, resulting in the whole team not getting bonus, read THIS, especially at the bottom of the page!

But be warned, your illusions are going to really get fucked up!

And to further destroy illusions of Pret’s “generosity”, when a staff member gives a freebie, that is almost a guarantee to get the £100 cash reward from the Mystery Shopper. An example of this is at the very bottom YouTube player.

I am not a fan of chains and neither of Wetherspoons, but boss Tim Martin in his interview with Kirsty Young on Desert Island discs years ago, said something that pleasantly surprised me. I’ve put an excerpt of the interview on Soundcloud, click play:

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Pret boasts about recruiting staff for their personality rather than their skill. This sounds lovely doesn’t it! Yet, so many especially in leadership are clueless on how to do their jobs. But as long as they are like bouncing bunnies fulfilling customers’ emotional fixes, that’s all that Pret cares about.

Two customer deaths and 20+ allergen injuries has not taught Pret a lesson that SKILL is life saving, with or without a smile. I write about this in: Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be Fatal, where I dissect HR Director Andrea Wareham’s interview on this.

Again, please also read Timothy Noah’s brilliant article from a customer and journalist point of view! And you may say, why don’t staff just get another job? Well, this question is for psychology and experienced service workers to answer in how fear management, brainwashing and inexperience with exploitation in low-wage jobs work.

And if you as a customer would ask any Pret staff if they’re happy working there, of course they will say YES with a BIG smile, because they fear you could be the Mystery Shopper! Even regular customers can be Mystery Shoppers and staff ALWAYS anticipate them walking into the shop at anytime.

I renamed the Mystery Shopper to “Misery” Shopper also because these are often people who ENJOY their power to withdraw or give bonus. I once signed up on a Mystery Shopper Forum where secret shoppers mingled and exchanged experiences of their jobs.

I explained to them our ordeal and how excruciating it is to have to love-bomb customers to get extra cash EVEN when we are bereaved, depressed, ill etc. Nine out of ten Mystery Shoppers on that forum were merciless and said that it is our jobs to smile no matter what. They absolutely enjoyed the power they had over minimum-wage staff. That’s why I dedicated my blog post on Timothy Noah’s article naming him a “hero” in my book! As a journalist he dared to take a more critical look at Pret back in 2013 when no journalist dared to critique Pret.

A thorough and extensive list on Pret’s emotional labour demands via weekly Mystery Shoppers can be found here, with links to Mystery Shopper reports, my own experience, YouTube and journalists reports: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Here I want to briefly highlight a few things again. I will now abbreviate Mystery Shopper to MS.

Since I write about Pret’s MS scheme, Pret has put some info into shops to quickly counter any critique and “admit” they do MS requirements, but they fail to explain how micromanaging and humiliating it is. Again, for thorough detail, see above “Dangers of Emotional Labour” page to the links.

After a strike announcement was made in August 2021, Pret quickly reinstated the hourly staff bonus from 50p to £1 starting in September 2021. Now Pret announced that the bonus will be £1.25 from April on when the government raises the minimum wage, forcing Pret to pay a few pennies more to LOOK generous.

I explain in detail why reinstating the bonus is a TRICK: Pret Staff Consider Strike.

In short:

Shop/kitchen hourly paid staff SOLELY rely on their weekly bonus via the weekly Mystery Shopper visits AND shop Managers moods.

Until April 2022 a staff member can earn an extra £1 per hour IF the MS is happy enough to give it. If a staff member works let’s say 60 hours that week, he/she will get £60 bonus that week if the MS is happy to give it. From April 2022 it will be £1.25 p/h. But even if the MS awards the bonus, the shop Managers have the discretion to NOT give the bonus for ANY silly reason. I explain in detail in above “Strike” post.

I and colleagues have been threatened by management that our bonus will be cut for any and all silly reason I explain in detail. Thus, Pret is using the bonus system to penalize staff and save money. Some staff have left reviews on Glassdoor and/or Indeed explaining that the bonus is used as a “weapon” or that achieving MS bonus has become extremely hard due to understaffed shops. Teams have lost bonus because there was a little toilet paper on the floor in the toilet, regardless if the shops are understaffed.

THAT IS WHY many shops have just CLOSED the toilets with an “out-of-order” sign on the door, as they don’t have staff to keep it clean and thus not get bonus.

It’s a lose-lose for shops! It does NOT matter how much they bend backwards and forwards, Pret penalize and bully them via the strict and unreasonable Mystery Shopper scheme. In hindsight after what I have survived in Pret, I really really believe that Pret executives and head office including HR literally ENJOY treating staff like this. Leadership that abuse their power over minimum-wage staff.

Managers also coerce young inexperienced Team Members to have sex in exchange for promotion. Sure, you may say, that’s a hefty allegation, but what world do you live in where your illusions get the better of you? Abuse in low-wage jobs is rife EVERYWHERE in the world. You know that! It was often an open secret what Manager got into their position via the bedroom! Sad for a sandwich shop! You expect that in law firms and politics or the music industry, but a sandwich chain? Really sad.

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Link to review on Glassdoor.

Or Luton Airport management:

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Link to review on Indeed.

Quote: “… Only sad thing was the whole sleep with a manager to get to where you want. Sadly it was the case for who was my assistant manager and main manager at the time. A lot of staff were very angry at this happening but that was not for me to dwell on. I looked past it.”

People have sex in the staff room because the shop offices have hidden cameras after Managers would have sex in the offices.

Shop Managers, Assistant Managers, Area Managers and above get their bonuses quarterly. But their bonus relies on a host of things like shop profits, waste management, labour costs, health and safety scores etc. But the biggest chunk in management bonus comes from the Mystery Shopper scores.

So, while shop/kitchen hourly paid staff solely rely on Mystery Shoppers and Managers to get their bonus, Managers and higher ups have more chances to get their bonuses. Thus, penalizing front-line, low-wage employees is much easier than Managers. This way they can control staff better while cashing in on the top levels.

Anyway, for anyone who loves to live in the real world and doesn’t mind to get their illusions destroyed, I wrote an encyclopedia on Pret’s “Misery” Shopper scheme with tons of examples and MS reports detailing the point and cash reward requirements.

So, next time a minimum-wage worker is love-bombing you, you won’t need to toss and turn at night thinking they’re in love with you. They just want to top up their crumbs that millionaire executives throw at them.

Smile For The Misery Shopper:

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After my writing on this, Pret changed the wording, but the demands remain as brutal as ever:

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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 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.

Pret A Manger Sourcing New Lies (UPDATE Mar. 2022)

As Pret is raising the coffee subscription price from £20 to £25 a month, some customers announced cancelling their sub (good luck!). Some mention that they continue to NOT get any smoothies/frappes, even now in winter, no chai latte available etc. Pret of course continue to use excuses while in reality don’t want to serve any expensive items, including the complimentary cream on the sub. I write about this extensively in Pret A Manger keep adding excuses for not serving items

Also, Pret played a very clever tactical game. They raised the prices of food and other items these last few weeks, so customers quickly got the coffee subscription in hopes to safe money on raised coffee prices. Pret waited a few weeks so more customers subscribed, then now raise the sub prices. And it is common knowledge now that Pret make is hard to unsubscribe! And even when people succeed to cancel the sub, Pret continue to withdraw money from accounts. More on this below.

Between June and September 2021 Pret came up with yet another lie after multiple complaints kept coming in about lack of smoothies and frappes. Pret held people for fools, and most fell for it.

The lie was that they’re “sourcing improved equipment” but that this will take “a little while to deploy to every shop”. What Pret is NOT telling customers is that the GENERAL term of “equipment” are NOT ice machines or blenders, but the Cimbali coffee machines. Pret again leave it up to customers to interpret new improved “equipment”.

Customers keep speaking about ICE MACHINES and BLENDERS, NOT coffee machines! Pret wants to give COFFEES on the subscription NOT expensive iced drinks and chai latte etc. So a general term of “equipment” should fool the public.

Grass has grown over this and complaints continue now in WINTER 2022 Februrary that hardly any customer can find a smoothie or frappe where the demand is VERY low in the cold weather. Pret still refuse to serve it to safe money and continue to rip customers off via the subscription.

June Tweet:

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Link

The last of this generic copy & paste lie came in September 2021:

Link

It’s now February 2022.

Companies who work with Pret usually make huge announcement of equipment roll-outs. Coffee machine company Cimbali and others announced on all social media platforms that Pret has purchased new coffee machine equipment.

Interesting that there is NO announcement of ice machine or other equipment for iced drinks. 😉 The faster coffee machines are there of course to do MORE coffee for the subscription! But no iced drinks are offered. Also, what do faster more efficient coffee machines do when there is hardly any staff to man them!

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Link

So, the Pret social media staff spoke a half-truth. Pret DID roll out new “equipment”, but for coffee beans, not for ice machines or blenders, and neither for more staff to work to get the queues down.

And when complaints flood in about where the equipment is, Pret will claim that they meant the coffee machines. Thus the customer is the one looking stupid again.

UPDATE 24.03. 2022

A new lie has emerged which is so funny I almost peed myself laughing! A shop supposedly got a new blender but with only ONE jug. Well, that is impossible because in Pret we were ALWAYS required to have at least TWO separate jugs for dairy and a separate jug for non-dairy (smoothies). We even got stressed to use the appropriate lids. The dairy jug had its own lids and the smoothie jug has its own lid, EVEN when they were washed, we were required to use appropriate lid for each jug.

And Instagram is also on fire with new complaints regarding no iced drinks served.

Link

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Another lie Pret gives which is also laughable. In the summer Pret claims that due to HIGH demand, they quickly run out of iced drinks (even at 7am in the morning 😉 ). Now the lie is, in winter due to LACK of demand … 😀

I worked at Pret as a Team Leader, like a mini-manager, responsible for ordering stock every day. I worked for 10 years in 30+ shops, we NEVER EVER EVER ran out of iced drinks in WINTER! Not even in the summer. We were always instructed to have plenty in stock, which we did! It was EXTREMELY rare, even in the summer that we ran out of ONE item, then we offered another iced drink. And especially in Winter, there is NO way shops don’t order enough or ran out! Complete Bullsh!t and lies! So, Pret continue to hold customers for fools.

Tweets from just today:

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Pret raise the subscription price while offering sh!t service and VERY limited products. Even the BBC report from December 2021 of 5000 customer complaints doesn’t seem to change that. Only a HEAVY fine and the masses voting with their feet will get Pret’s attention.

BBC: “Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal”

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Pret won’t waste any time to source new lies to every customer.

NHS nurse Tweet:

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Pret is indirectly pinning customers against low-wage staff, saying £1.50 from the subscription increase will go to the staff pay-rise. So, customers get mad at staff, while in reality, Pret is greedy, using the crisis to fill their pockets again. The pay-rise to £10 which will come in April, and is NOT in effect now, is a joke anyway because Pret keeps all the benefits cut, staff are still worse off.

Also, Pret is hit with numerous lawsuits ringing up into the millions, especially in the USA. A recent class action Pret has settled on fingerprinting low-wage front-line shop staff for clocking in and out. Pret agreed to pay 800 staff a combined $677.000. Everyone will get approx. $500 after the legal Teams take their slice.

And who better to foot the legal bills than customers!

More here: Pret’s Lawsuits and Settlements

Dan Price, founder and CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments who lowered his million dollar wage to $70K a year and raised all his staff wages to $70K, made a good statement:

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UPDATE 07.02.2022

After getting challenged on their “supplier issue” excuse (Pret read my blog) as well with chai latte since almost a year as well as matcha latte, cream etc. (all expensive items for the subscription) they now use a broad, general excuse of “operational difficulties as a result of the pandemic”. A one-size-fits-all approach that cannot be traced for truth. Clever Pret. But still, customers aren’t stupid and remain unhappy. Many silently vote with their feet.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2022-02-06-from-supplier-issues-now-to-operational-issues.jpg

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Pret A Manger’s Shady Practices, especially with the subscription and the difficulty to cancel the sub with Pret continuing to withdraw money AFTER people cancelled:

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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.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

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Interview:

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