Leave no mess behind

When you visit the world, take your shoes off out of respect for the environment.

When you leave, leave in such a way that no one has to clean up after you.

I hope I did that.

Never meant to hurt people. But also, never experienced such poor support.

RUN after your career, reputation, looks, money, run after it.

If you can stay alive, do that.

If you can’t, write a will. Even if you just have a diary to pass on. Write a will.

🙂

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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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. Discla

Journalist Sarah Butler from The Guardian & My Blog

When I started writing publicly about Pret on my website and also Twitter, Facebook etc. Sarah Butler from the Guardian started following me on Twitter early on.

I’ve already emailed many journalists before I was on Twitter, but hardly anyone responded. When Sarah started following I was of course gobsmacked that a journalist seemed interested in my story with Pret. I sent her a DM, but she never replied. After a few weeks I “kicked” her off my following.

I had many journalists follow since, and of course in my drunken stupor kicked most off.

The only journalists that either replied or initiated contacting me and then investigated further were BBC journos Vivienne Nunis and Mike Powell. Mike was very interested in telling my story and mentioning my blog, which he did in his report on Pret’s lack of iced drinks on the coffee subscription.

Vivienne also reported on a Pret issue, a leaked video that I was sent via DM of a zoom call with Pret CEO Pano Christou. I passed it on to Vivienne, she reported, but didn’t mention my blog. I understand that this is often due to the editor not wanting to mention.

After Mike reported on the coffee subscription, mentioning my blog, other major news outlets reported as well, but never mentioned my blog. A Times article even quoted from my blog, but without crediting back to me. The journalist probably didn’t anticipate me finding his article with my quote. Journalists blame their editor, and here with silly excuses:

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Link

Other journalists via emails confirmed that it’s not right to NOT credit the source when quoting. One theatre and arts reviewer even agreed publicly that they should have credited to my blog:

Link

And some other journalists who got inspiration from my blog, but never bothering to mention the source.

Yes, of course I have manic episodes when drunk, but with Sarah Butler this wasn’t the case initially. In fact Sarah would comment rather positive towards Pret, especially in 2018/19 when former Pret CEO Clive Schlee was still in Pret and on Twitter. Schlee also followed Butler on Twitter. It seems to me that people often follow someone to “influence” them. As Sarah states on her Twitter profile that she writes on “ethical” business, she must have been fooled like most of the public, including many journalists, that Pret is an ethical business.

This was Pret’s and Clive Schlee’s main marketing tool to fool the public. But now, the facade has gotten much more cracks and Sarah is taking a closer look. But again, no mention of my blog.

The only time she responded to me was when I publicly asked in frustration if the claim of the Guardian to be “independent” investigative was here in 2019. Please note, I changed my Twitter handle from @LateNightGirlMe to @expretDOTorg:

Link

So, Sarah was introduced to Union president Ian Hodson, as she started interviewing him when staff issues became public after I either tagged her in or emailed her.

I could write on and on and on, but just to say that it is disheartening that journalists love to peek from my blog or social media, but hardly anyone likes to credit back to me. And no, I don’t solely put the blame on my drunken rants.

I will never forget that Mike Powell was willing to mention me. I DID mess it up and it’s the way it is. But I will always be grateful to Adam from the Adam Paradox podcast, Gergor Gall from the Scottish Left review (links at the very bottom here) and Mike Powell from the BBC for mentioning my blog.

I’m also grateful to Vivienne for investigating THE MOST on Pret issues and for her immense patience with me.

My drunken outbursts are not right and no excuse. I just want to explain what’s going on when I feel frustrated. I’ve been “robbed” so-to-speak of so many things, especially in Pret. Constant promises were broken. And when people just take and take and take and take … I can’t take it anymore.

I’m sorry to everyone for my horrible emails, tweets etc.

Please always have courage and care to credit to sources and mention who/what inspired you to write your article. It shouldn’t be me to “press” journalists and their editors to mention my blog as the source of your report. And it shouldn’t be me to do all the research so that journalists can just write articles to their name on my “back” and labour.

My experience with Pret has messed me up big time. And if I have to bend a journalist’s arm to credit back to me, something’s not right! End of. That’s the main reason I’ve kicked most journalists, even high profile journos, off my following. I’m tired of journalists just sitting there on my following, waiting for a story to drop in their laps! No, you need to put in the work and stop wanting me to feed you, where you then get the rewards to your name on the back of my research and insight.

Please have integrity and care.

Thanks for reading.

Latest podcast episode on Sarah Butler’s writing and my podcast:

If the podcast player doesn’t work, please click on link below.

Link

My prediction which Sarah Butler looked into in above episode:

Link

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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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 CEO Payrise & Millions in Bonus After CUTTING staff pay

Two podcast episodes on my “forecast” in April that Pret’s CEO Pano Christou most likely either got the same pay from 2020 (£300K) or higher, plus the millions in bonus. And today’s episode after yesterday’s Guardian article.

The CEO didn’t spill the beans in April’s Times article what he got paid in 2021 and what he will get in 2022 because if he got the same or less, he would have announced it like Pret always announce their “charity” quickly. He only shared what his pay was in 2020.

Yesterday the news emerged that Pano Christou got a 27% payrise (£400K) and £4.2 million in bonus after cutting low-wage staff’s pay, benefits, paid breaks and other perks.

And before any office worker complains that you don’t get paid breaks, well, work for 8, 10, 12+ hours in excruciating heat, noise, stress, rude customers, mystery shopper fear management, bullying managers etc. and then we can talk again. Until then, keep sitting on your butt and browse through Linkedin.

Today’s podcast episode (may have to click on link underneath if WordPress refuses to post the player here):

Link

And on Pret’s Wage Theft, please click here.

My April 2022 podcast episode predicting that Pano either got the same or higher pay after cutting staff wages:

Link

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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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.

Friendships & Sabotage

Podcast:


Lemon Music Studio »The Cradle Of Your Soul«
James Blake »Friends That Break Your Heart«

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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.

NEW: Podcast.

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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’s “Propaganda”?

Let me explain.

Following Pret issues I keep seeing confusing information and mixed messages regarding Pret’s sales and profits. One week Pret’s sales are down, next week sales are 80% pre-Pandemic levels, next week Pret is close to ruin due to having to repay loans by the summer 2022, then profits up again … In the USA there are lawsuits in the millions for upaid rents.

Knowing Pret and their top leadership CEO Pano Christou, HQ staff, the HR department, OPs (area) managers, shop management etc. while claiming to be doing “the right thing naturally”, Pret’s way is to cheat, steal, borrow and scam customers and staff.

Pano Christou is under pressure to speed open shops. Pret received close to half a billion pounds, yes billion, from tax-haven Luxembourg based owners JAB Holdings (Germany’s 2. richest family, the Reimanns with an extensive Nazi slavery past) and shareholders. Pret received this money with the task to open 200 shops worldwide in the next 2 years. This is a huge and unrealistic task.

I remember when private equity firm Bridgepoint took over in 2008 and tasked Pret to open at least 15 shops per year. Me and my colleagues felt the squeeze. And now with JAB it’s even worse.

India’s richest business man has hooked up with Pret to open shops in India. I feel sorry and worried for workers AND customers in India, especially since Pret has a very poor track record on food safety and customer care, despite their “happy” and generous facade.

JAB and shareholders are like the Mafia, they want their money back. These private equity firms pass companies like Pret from hand to hand like drug dealers do with drugs and money laundry. Makes me almost feel sorry for Pano Christou who is squeezed in-between like a middle man and lower ranked drug dealer appeasing the big lords.

But the price is paid by the very bottom, the “addicts”, those who need jobs and sell their labour cheap to the overlords because they don’t know that they can beat the “addiction” when they get help and organise.

I’ve seen interviews of Pano Christou in India and other places lately, and he does NOT look relaxed. He looks tense, nervous, keeps sniffing as if he had a cold or is snorting cocaine. Not alleging that he does, but his nervous sniffing is unusual for him. I know of former OPs managers and HQ staff who took drugs in the toilets in head office.

I had to wipe cocaine traces off toilet hand dryers in Pret shops where mainly business people frequent. Again, I’m not alleging Pano is taking drugs, but I am calling Pret out again and again for scamming customers, stealing and borrowing from staff, selling expired, mouldy food even after having ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before this got public. THAT is what I can say for sure! I link to the reasons and evidence further below.

The media is helping Pret’s “propaganda” by saying sales are up, profits are soaring again, and I have a sense this is to attract potential investors.

Pano must be under pressure from JAB and shareholders to produce numbers. Hence, Pret delayed paying staff TWICE this year under dodgy excuses, the 2. excuse was “payroll error”.

Pano seems to be doing the EXACT thing that all shop managers do. Shop managers tweak numbers, cheat, extend expiry dates to save on food waste to boost their bonus and please their OPs managers. Pano has to produce and reach targets for his bosses JAB Holdings.

And since Pret’s been making profit again, they could and should raise wages, reinstate the benefits and paid breaks they cut. But of course no, they continue to cut in anyway they can including stopping complimentary items like butter portions for soup bread, seeds for porridge, sweetener, downsized the complimentary honey portions etc. etc.

These cuts are okay for me, what is NOT okay is borrowing from low-wage staff like workers are a bank to loan from without interest! Wage theft is also huge in Pret.

Here are just some of the mixed messages and “propaganda” Pret and the media throw out there:

04. July 2022

Link

Also 04. July 2022

I can’t believe Pano Christou getting involved, wanting the rail strikes to end so HE can make money! I have no words for this company!

Link

So, trading slumped down to 62% “because” of the train strike, let’s just blame workers again. Yet, on this same day news say that Pret’s sales are UP.

Can they make up their minds, or is this truly “propaganda” to get investors and customers in?

Pano Christou is SO detached and deranged, he doesn’t care one bit about workers. He even had the audacity AFTER he cut wages, making “temporary” pay cuts permanent to ASK his low-wage staff to donate to his “charity” half-marathon. Pano has NO shame whatsoever. His greed, or maybe it truly is desperation is amazing! I gave Pano a nickname, “Panoccio”! 🤥

-> Pret’s “charity” projects.

It also reminds me of Pret RE-founder and itsu founder Julian Metcalfe who didn’t want a 2. lockdown willing to sacrifice “a few thousand very old and vulnerable people”. I chased him off Twitter and was later informed that he is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book:

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Pret and itsu are thick as thieves and ice cold business people hurting people with a smile.

30. June 2022

Link

Februrary 2022

From the Daily Telegraph, quote:

»Pret a Manger has fired a fresh warning shot over its future as it races to delay debt repayments following two years of lockdown turmoil.

Company filings for the coffee chain’s owner, Pret a Manger Ltd, said it was attempting to buy more time to repay its loans.

It has until June to pay back £66.7m in loans, after having already extended that facility. A separate £605m loan facility is due to expire the following summer

Link

Link

This news to me seemed to have served to panic customers to flock to Pret for support. No more news on this since then. So, Pret either seemed to have repaid the £66 million and still has to repay £605m by the summer 2023.

And here’s what Pret’s been doing to reach targets:

BBC: Pret customers complain over drinks subscription deal

Ongoing complaints on the coffee subscription, apps, deals etc.

Claiming to have suppLIEr issues and technical faults preventing customers to get special offers and certain expensive and complimentary products.

The worst for me is delaying to pay their front-line, lowest paid staff TWICE this year and the ongoing wage theft.

And no, don’t make it too easy on yourself by saying staff can just look for another job. It’s not that simple when you have no money, a family to support, maybe even debt. Pret wear out their workers on purpose so they can’t think straight and have the strength to stand up or look for better jobs.

But customers can EASILY shop elsewhere and CHOOSE EASILY to support small independent businesses.

But no, most customers are as greedy as Pret by wanting freebies, a cheap coffee subscription and are willing to wait 10 – 15 minutes now while giving the few staff that are left a hard time for being “slow”!

So HOW can Pret be making pre-Pandemic 80% plus profits again while being understaffed, long queues, many customers boycott or completely abandon Pret.

Is it “propaganda” again to draw new investors while Pret is struggling in reality?

Many large companies underpay workers and are into wage theft. But for Pret to delay pay twice this year by getting bolder and bolder in broad daylight, shows desperation to me.

The uo and down, back and forth messages of soaring sales, then being close to bankruptcy is such a typical communication mess from Pret.

One employee review from New York from a purchasing director give some insights into Pret’s leadership. A purchasing director is closer to Pret leadership than shop staff. And I can underline this having had my traumatic experiences with Pret’s leadership ncluding former CEO Clive Schlee, Pano Christou, the HR department and some HQ staff.

Quote: »One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.«

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Just a few more from the USA and from London’s head office staff:

Link

Link

Link

Next, part quote:

»The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives. … Advise to management: Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.«

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Link

»Spoiled, selfish upper management has ruined it for the rest. … upper management thinks they are better than everyone else. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them.
Advice to Management: get over yourselves.«

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Link

A recent review of many along those lines, partial quote:

»harassing higher management from group and ops manager above. Unhealthy to both mental and physical health. … Group manager shaming for being sick. … Wages regularly not paid on time. … Safety standards for teams lack luster [causing] high risk of injury. …
Advise to management: Replace Pano with someone competent

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Link

I could go on and on and on, but to wrap it up, here some words from people in Ireland and Spain regarding Pret opening in those countries:

Spain’s and Ireland’s “welcome” message to Pret and below, “The Pret A Manger Anthem”.

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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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.

I feel sorry for Workers in India when Pret opens there

People in India are used to hard work and low pay under extremely harsh circumstances. I can imagine that Pret are anticipating speed opening in India where they can exploit and abuse workers even worse than they do in the UK and USA where people go to court more than people in India.

My heart breaks for any worker who is told lies and believes they get a good job in a “good” company!

It is beyond me how people, especially business people are either too naïve, too lazy, not concerned or plainly don’t care about the truth of Pret or any company at that. Of course business people are MAINLY concerned about money increase, no matter how that increase comes. And IF there are some ethical points, they don’t take a closer look and just copy & paste what they are fed by the company.

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UPDATE July 2022

A Guardian article recently reported on Pret CEO Pano Christou’s pay-rise and £4 million bonus in 2021 after he cut staff wages.

I speak about it on my blog and predicted back in April 2022 that I believe Christou either got the same pay or higher after cutting wages.

As the embedded players are just 30 second previews, please click on the blue links:

July 2022 episode:

April 2022 episode:


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I want to dissect a thread on Twitter by an Indian business man with over 190K followers. Mr. Mukul Agrawal is the founder of Agrawal Corporate, entrepreneur, investor, trader, stock market analyst, finance coach and TEDx speaker. But it is evident that he only copied what he read maybe on Pret’s website and a little on Wikipedia, and whatever info is prevalent still.

He first writes that Pret opened its first shop in 1986, then later writes correctly that the first shop opened in 1983. He must have briefly peeked at Wikipedia. His copy & paste info is all over the place. I responded and corrected him on a few issues and pleaded to take a closer look. But I doubt he would care. It bugs me that especially business people don’t do their homework properly.

So, here for other people who do care about the truth and reality of Pret A Manger.

For people with visual impairment, I put some screenshots of the tweets and news articles here, which I always do as a form of “evidence” and in case people delete their tweets. But I paste the text underneath, as I was told by a blind person once that reading programs cannot read screenshots. I have found the same with the automated voice converter that reads my blog posts and converts my text into audio. I put some audio conversion of my blog posts on my podcast. The voice can’t read the screenshots. So, I aim to also type out or paste texts from screenshots on my blog.

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Link to tweets

Text of the tweets, I copy 4 of the 5 texts as Twitter didn’t translate the first tweet. I responded to some wrong information but want to expand here in the post. My “corrections” come underneath each quote.

First Quote: »Pret’s mission has been simple. Serving hygienic and properly prepared fresh food and good organic coffee.« End of Quote.

My response on Twitter but I expand on some more information here below.

1. Pret had to remove the word “natural” from their signage & packaging after lawsuits as their food is loaded with chemicals.

2. Pret food is NOT fresh. Customer complaints with picture of mouldy food. And Pret’s food is NOT organic. Pret do not claim that their food is organic, but they claim that their coffee is. I explain in my blog post why Pret had to remove the word “natural” from all their signage, packaging and marketing: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat.

I also linked people to my post about Pret’s food not being fresh with pictures of customer complaints of mouldy food, rat droppings on food etc. I also want to highlight that reports on food poisoning has increased in the last few months. Blog post with photos of mouldy food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh.

Pret’s brainwash slogans of “freshly made food” which replaced the “natural food” slogan on their packaging, is also a typical psychological message. But the reality is, even if it was made fresh on the day and not secretly carried over from the previous days, you can “freshly make” a sandwich from stale bread and mouldy cheese. It’s “freshly made” with NON-fresh items.

And never forget that Pret ignored TWO customer allergy deaths and over a dozen further injuries before this got public. Pret ONLY slowly started to act when the deaths became public. We staff weren’t even told and on my podcast I explain in 3 episodes how Pret was and continues to be careless with food safety and customers health and safety. Please pay particular attention to a specific London Barbican Centre seminar that Pret held AFTER the first customer died and several got injured. I speak about this in Part 01, Part 02 and Allergy Trial as part 3: expretcast on Spreaker.

And in memory of the two customers who died, it is important to keep saying their names:

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died in July 2016 from a reaction to sesame.

Celia Marsh, 42, mother of 5 daughters died in December 2017 from dairy in a vegan wrap.

A student named Isobel Colnaghi, almost died and would have been the third victim in 2017, also from an unlabelled sesame reaction. She lost her court case against Pret because Pret was successful to blame the low-wage worker. I speak about this in the above three podcast episode.

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Link to Daily Mail article.

Second Quote from the business man: »Since opening its first shop in London in 1986, Pret’s mission has been to serve freshly cooked food and the best organic coffee. Its food is prepared throughout the day and the unsold food is donated at the end of every day.« End of Quote.

My response:

I highlight in the tweets that not all food is donated to charity each night and link to my blog post about daily food-waste with pictures of customer complaints having seen food waste in the streets: Pret’s Food-waste.

Also, many people still don’t seem to know or realize that Pret’s food is NOT cooked in Pret kitchens, but cooked in factories and then just re-heated and assembled in shop kitchens.

It is like when you go to the supermarket, get a loaf of ready-sliced bread, some cheese, some ham and salad. You go home, put the food into your fridge and a day or two days later “make” a sandwich “fresh”. Freshly made from factory-cooked ingredients. Same with the soup. you buy a ready cooked soup in a tin or plastic tub, put it in your fridge and re-heat it a few days later in your microwave. Pret’s just been successful to fool the public with all their slogans and brainwash. And we love to fall for these fairy-tales of a multi-billion pound company with seat in tax-haven Luxembourg under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns, with an extensive Nazi slavery past!

The only products that are cooked from raw or partly cooked products are the frozen baguettes that are up to a year old, frozen croissants, frozen cookies and raw eggs that come already mixed in Tetra Paks for the bacon breakfast rolls. NOTHING is cooked in Pret shops, there are not pots and pans and stoves in the kitchens. There are only ovens for the baguettes and ready mixed Mac & Cheese, water baths to heat up the already factory-cooked soups and porridge, and microwaves to quickly re-heat soups.

A former employee of Pret’s sister company Panera spilled the beans on how Panera re-heat their already cooked macaroni and cheese. The staff got fired for putting a video of this on YouTube. But this is the exactly same way that Pret re-heat the ready cooked soups and porridge, in water baths of bags containing six cups of soup. The water-bath equipment is called “marinator”.

Video on YouTube:

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The only thing with Panera Bread is that compared to Pret, Panera do not advertise that their food is “freshly made”. So, I won’t have any expectations. But Pret claim that their food is freshly made and with it play with customer assumptions that they interpret this to mean that Pret’s food is fresh.

Third Quote from the business man: »Their coffee is (and always will be) 100% organic and they also have a coffee fund that financially supports the next generation of farmers. This is (partly) what we think makes Preet special.« End of Quote.

My response on the financial support for coffee farmers:

Pret exploit farmers and have even stopped doing fair-trade coffee. Pret’s multi-billionaire owners JAB Holdings in tax-haven Luxembourg pressured farmers to lower prices! I linked to a The Economist article titled, »JAB upends coffee trading« with the sub-title: “The owner of Peet’s and Pret a Manger is pressuring suppliers already ground down by low prices.” Link to the article.

Customer complaints have increased that Pret’s coffee tastes horrible. The cheap prices and Pret not doing fair-trade coffee anymore makes me question HOW their coffee can be organic. I have visited organic animal and vegetable farms in Virginia, USA where I was looking into doing a 3 month sabbatical a few years ago. I asked many questions to the farmers and they told me that it is extremely expensive to get certified organic via annual fees. And my question is, how can Pret’s coffee be organic when it is so cheap and the taste very poor.

A reminder, Pret was caught cheating by claiming that their food is natural. They had to take the word “natural” off their marketing. In other issues Pret has been caught ripping off customers, lying about the subscription deal which the BBC reported on in December 2021. Article: Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal.

And the price reflects on the quality and taste. Here are only few of the many complaints from customers who say Pret’s coffee tastes like “dishwater” or the beans are like “rat shit”:

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And many, many, many more.

Last Quote from the business man: »Established in 1983, Pret currently has over 460 shops in the UK, with 324 locations in London alone.« End of Quote.

My response was just that this time he mentioned the correct date of the first Pret shop opening. I want to highlight something that a friend of the late Jeffrey Hyman, the original founder of Pret, told me on Twitter not long ago. Hyman’s friend paid tribute to him on the anniversary of his death. I responded to his tweet saying that Pret always avoid mentioning Mr. Hyman. I have noticed now as well that since about a year, Pret has put the words “London 1986” above their shop doors. This seems to me like wanting to brainwash the public about the year of Pret’s first opening.

Jeffrey Hyman’s friend said the following to me on Twitter after I pointed out Pret’s refusal to mention Hyman:

Link to Tweet.

When I tweeted, “Unfortunately Pret don’t give him credit and continue to avoid mentioning him”, he replied, quote: »I know. They even employed someone to repeatedly change the Wikipedia page that mentions how Jeffrey Hyman founded the first Pret-A-Manger. A moderator banned the person when they said they were retained by Pret to do that.« End of quote.

After what I survived and went through in Pret, especially from the VERY TOP executive leadership team and the HR department, I absolutely believe the person. Pret lie, cheat and steal left, right and center! They have no morals, no ethics, and every good, wholesome or ethical thing you read from Pret is the COMPLETE opposite!

I want to nightlight again my favourite tweet by a former customer who said the following after replying to a customer who called for boycotting Pret when Pret made the temporary pandemic pay cuts permanent:

Link to the tweet and quote:

»A while back, I saw a Pret ad that said its staff were “passionate” about making sandwiches. This kind of bullshit talk always hides ruthless practices in my experience« End of quote.

At least current CEO Pano Christou removed the brainwashing slogan on their packaging that used to say “Lovingly handmade” after I keep pointing out the opposite. And people are usually naïve to believe that a low-wage, stressed out worker can “lovingly” hand make anything!

I want to expand now on a few other issues. The main issue of exploiting workers. Pret settled twice class action lawsuits in the USA. Pret “shaved down” (meaning, rounded down) wages and were sued twice within 4 years. Pret settled and repaid close to $1 million each time repaying 4000 workers. Pret also recently settled a lawsuit for finger printing workers. More on these and other lawsuits including on racism and bullying in shops: Pret’s Lawsuits and Settlements.

Also, recently Pret delayed paying their lowest-paid staff twice! The second time Pret cleverly used the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, knowig that the public would be distracted with celebrations. And they were right! I was contacted by desperate staff with this info and passed it on to journalists, including Sarah Butler from the Guardian. Sarah reported on it, but her article was drowned out by the Jubilee weekend as hardly any customer commented. Usually when the Guardian or BBC report on a scandal in Pret, there is an outcry for days and calls for boycott. But not this time, because Pret was clever enough to use the bank holiday weekend to delay pay. And also on bank holiday Monday all the banks are closed so that Pret won’t have to pay emergency wages and staff cannot arrange an overdraft in order to pay their bills.

Staff have announced that they basically now will sabotage Pret, which means also their food and service quality. What a staff member said on Instagram about the pay delay which directly influences food safety and customer satisfaction. And please don’t blame the staff here, that’s too easy! Pret put customers in danger again by under-staffing shops and treating their staff like sh!t

It comes around full circle. How you treat your staff reflects also what you think of your customers.

Link to Instagram post.

One person raised the delayed pay with Pret on Instagram, quote: »This is outrageous, it’s a bank holiday week-end and your team members are working instead of enjoying themselves and you didn’t even pay them. You should not allow to have these technical issues as you push your staff to not do any mistake. And is not even the first time.« End of quote.

To which the above person replied in part, quote:

»Don’t worry. We already drastically reduced food and service quality (since we work for free) and we will make sure Pret doesn’t make as much money as they think they will this bank holiday weekend.

They told us 12 hours before payday that there is no money, on 1st of June when everybody has rent/mortgage to pay. They left us with no money to provide for our families.

We tried to contact the head office regarding the issue but all of them were already gone enjoying early bank holiday.

Lots of people already took sick-leave as a strike action leaving those in the shops understaffed (food availability will be affected). Thank you for your support.« End of quote.

More on this with a link to the Guardian article after I contacted the press: Bloomberg’s Pret Index and Pret’s Wage Theft.

I also want to highlight here as a reference why and when Pret make huge “charity” announcements, especially why former CEO Clive Schlee made the £1000 announcement for all staff back in May 2018 when he found out about my blog. A small list of “charity” announcements: Pret’s Charity Projects.

Former CEO Clive Schlee under whose “leadership” two customers died and over a dozen got injured, left with this “legacy” from staff on Glassdoor:

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And current CEO and Schlee’s prodigy, Pano Christou is continuing it:

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I could go and on and on, but I stop here and leave the reader with two YouTube slides of people in Spain and Ireland resisting Pret’s plan to open in their countries. I doubt India will resist Pret as many workers there for one don’t have information on how exploitative Pret are, and also because they are used to harsh work environments. But it’s not right. They also deserve a decent wage and respectful working conditions with dignity and a good life. But that will never happen with Pret, not in reality, only on paper.

Please see my YouTube playlist for more issues in Pret, especially with the coffee subscription and staff issues. And my podcast where I walk people through Pret’s strict weekly mystery shopper scheme, why stressed staff in understaffed shops smile so much for 8, 10+ hours straight, not mater if they are depressed, sick, bereaved etc. Podcast: Pret’s Strict Mystery Shopper Scheme with examples of weekly reports. I explain how one staff member can get extra cash even when the whole team didn’t get bonus. I also explain how staff use the freebie give-aways to penalize rude customers etc.

Thank you for reading, and I am sorry for my traumatized self sometimes. I still struggle daily and am not sure if I will survive. I just write and write to distract myself and inform people, so they don’t experience the trauma, pain and loss that I went through.

Spain:

Ireland:

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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 witnessed by customers: 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.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

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Interview:

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