Family, Friends, Firms – The Journey of an Abnormal Load

Since my brother died and everything that unfolded regarding his death, how the police dealt with it, how I had to learn about it, how he was already cremated and so many other complications, how my friends were either helpless or careless and most abandoning me early on, how relatives dealt with it, how Pret bullied me etc. etc. etc. I have become a complicated “being”. A heavy, abnormal load.

Since my brother died and everything else that happened, I have become like this bulky, unstable, loud load that really needed a vehicle to drive ahead, next to me and behind me to navigate through life and keep other vehicles on the road safe.

I didn’t have a vehicle like this to protect me and others from this load. I bumped into other vehicles, crushing them and kept crushing myself with the load. And when a vehicle came along, at best it was more like a bicycle trying to pull a truck out of the ditch. And at worst there was none to help me navigate the load, and worse, there were tanks from several sides crushing me under the load (Pret A Manger etc.).

Where I used to be the most loyal friend, reliable, trustworthy, discreet, patient, giving the benefit of the doubt, I became the opposite of these. Partly through the trauma, through alcohol, in anxiety, anger, hopelessness, not knowing who to trust. But nevertheless, it’s my load, it’s my responsibility, it’s my fault, it’s my sh!t.

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(While searching for a picture of the escort vehicles for abnormal loads, I found this and love their name “P.A.L.S.” Priest Abnormal Load Services. Very fitting for my metaphor.)

I don’t mix the 3 “Fs” well. I have always kept them separate.

If I have family, I have family who are there no matter what. But that wasn’t always the case. If I have friends, they are not my family and abandon you quickly. And a firm, an employer should stop calling themselves a “family” to brainwash employees to work for free and work most of their waking hours spending time at the firm. And if someone offers me friendship, I don’t trust it thinking what do they really want.

I walked through Oxford yesterday with some people who are neither family, nor friends, nor a firm I work with.

The “leader” of the group was like a General who zigzagged us through the town to check off all the events they planned to see. One of the group was an elderly, but still young enough lady who had walking difficulties. She couldn’t keep up with the pace and had another lady walk with her most of the time. I spent most of the day trying to slow the General down and decided halfway through the day to give up and to also walk with the lady at the end of the flow.

I went home yesterday KNOWING that in society people who “slow down” a group / an agenda / an idea … are left behind. I refused to leave the lady struggling at the end of the line. My wish would be that all the group slow down their walk and walk side-by-side with the lady, instead of pushing ahead in passive-aggressiveness to cover everything they wanted to cover on the journey.

That’s my story. I used to have friends until my brother died. Then my friends and the firm I worked with (Pret A Manger to name them) deemed it inconvenient to walk with me at the back of the group.

My family was broken, and are now dead. My relatives didn’t help, rather the opposite.

And whatever else people want from me is just for their needs/wants/conveniences.

And whoever is left, or resurfaces or is new in my journey, I push away when drunk.

I have become high maintenance, where I used to be easy, where I used to be light (in load and radiance / neither heavy nor dark).

I still have so much anger and so many wrongs I wish to right, but don’t know where to start and if I can survive the load.

I sabotage myself, partly I think with the thought that why should I have a good life with good things and good people when my brother can’t have that anymore because he’s fucking dead and I couldn’t change that?

A favourite artist’s music used to carry me through difficult times when I thought those times were horrible, which now seem a far away walk in the park.

Julie Miller’s »At the End of the Road« which, like many of her songs she sings with her husband Buddy, describes the burdens of life in simple words:

In today’s climate, a cheesy song. And this song is from a Christian perspective where God is waiting at the end of life to carry you into bliss. I don’t believe in that stuff anymore, but the song is still a comfort, to at least hope, that I can be some “burden-lifter” to someone without being taken advantage of by false friends, or a firm that exploits without shame, and a family that is none as in some relatives, or a family that is no more, as in dead.

But as beautiful as the song is, and ringing “truth” to Christians who put their faith in the beyond, that at the end of a heavy life they might bump into a god who THEN helps them, I don’t need anyone at the END of my road. I needed someone DURING the journey ON my road, like the lady yesterday who couldn’t keep up with the pace of the group. Then two of us walked side-by-side with her, chatting and giving her the dignity that she is not a burden, but that we love to walk alongside her and explore the town, in the hope she forgets her painful back and legs. I think she was in a lot of pain, but put on brave face and refused to sit down inbetween. She was more thinking of the group than herself. And that’s the shame of our soiciety today.

The ones who really need some burdens lifted are the ones who lift wrong burdens in society.

And as beautiful a metaphor Julie’s song of faith is, it would have been hyporcisy to have said to the lady with her deformed legs and painful back yesterday, “Hey babe, keep walking, at the end of this road over there by the trainstation the journey will be lighter, I will be there. Until then, see ya la’er”.

And how cynical would it have been if I told the lady yesterday that her painful back will be lighter, and that she should just look down on the pavement where there are the invisible footprints of Jesus who carries her. Bye! I’ll meet you later at the train station where I will be there for you. The lady didn’t need to be met by the General and the rest of the group at the end of the road, the train station, but at the BACK of the road where she was left behind.

Or when I had Covid mildly in 2021 and I helped in a nearby cafe as a volunteer “opportunity” (free labour for a business!) and we still had to self-isolate by law, I informed the facilitator that I can’t come in for at least a week. She replied back that if I needed anything “next week” to just let them know. I told her a week later when I tested negative again, that I don’t need anything once I’m negative, but that I might have needed something THAT DAY when I started the week-long self-isolation and wasn’t allowed to go outside for shopping! In other words “call me once you’re better and I can pretend to be there for you at the end of the road.”

I hope the lady with the walking difficulty didn’t feel like a burden or that we showed pity. It wasn’t pity, although I was angry with the General and some of the group. I said to one of the group who was kind to the lady that I didn’t realize I joined the military when driving up to Oxford.

I want to re-write Julie’s text a little for the walking lady:

If you should feel tired and cold
And if you need someone to hold you, my friend
Then you should feel perfectly safe


In the middle of your road
There are we to carry your load with you to bear, we-ee are there


So when you’ve been long on your feet
With no idea when you might meet the rest of the fleet
Then onto these arms you can lean

In the middle of your road
There’s hopefully NOW a much lighter load for you to bear, we are here

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The end of the road I am moving towards, where the load becomes light, is the end we all will come to. I simply cannot see an end of a road being that my life becomes “light” again, or that I won’t have anger anymore, or that I will succeed to completely stop drinking, or that I’d be able again to trust people, or that I won’t lash out in this PTSD mode, or that I can trust that there will be someone somewhere, or that I won’t be the one in my family who dies alone in a room or a hospital or a nursing home …

And maybe I can take an offer of friendship at face value without the suspicion of anyone being an opportunist. That’s my fault to be suspicious. And it’s my fault to push people away. I’m not a risk-taker. I rather crush under my load than take the risk to hope. I have no courage anymore to lose people, to lose things.

My abnormal load has become other people’s load they can’t carry. And it is not their load to carry. It is mine. But I don’t know how to shed the load in a constructive and healthy way. And if people come along to help carry some of the load or better, to move alongside the abnormal load to help navigate through the narrow roads, I don’t allow them for fear they crush or leave me in the ditch again. I prefer to crush on my own. Self-sabotage is the load to divert the “punishment” from others to myself.

All I know to do is try to lift other people’s load a little bit. A lady who can’t walk fast and is left behind by a group who has an agenda. Let’s walk side-by-side, no matter how slow.

One of my favourite Emily Dickinson poems may be a favourite because I try to give “legitimacy” to my existence by trying to not be a burden to others, but maybe be able to lift a burden instead of being one. But that’s wishful thinking.

»If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.«

But even a bird’s feather is sometimes too heavy for me now. I have become selfish, more than I need to maybe.

I can’t apologise anymore. I can only say that I am not the friend anyone thinks I am. I am not what you need and not what you want. I am incapable in friendships and in employment. I am useless in any relationship. That’s my end of the road, and I am there myself to stop walking with my load and just leave it be.

This blog entry will be an evolving one, because there is no answer or moral to this story.

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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 Year in Review 2022

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Via YouTube:

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The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger

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Converted audio version.

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Podcast: https://anchor.fm/expretdotorg/episodes/The-Enforced-Happiness-of-Pret-A-Manger-e1ho28b .

Text version.

Pret A Manger’s mystery shopper scheme. Smile for cash.

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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 CEO Pano Christou and Kind??

Upfront to the WordPress staff who always check my blog posts when I publish a new one. I’m not sure if it is WordPress policy to pass info on to current and former company heads, in this case Pret as I got a certain “visitor” again after I wrote a crucial post. WordPress already moved me into the “adult” section where they only move porn sites to. This is censorship after I believe Pret must have reported me, but I write under free speech and don’t lie, backed up with tons of evidence.

So, if a WordPress staff serves as a “snitch” to Pret, please talk to your line manager and check if this is appropriate or WordPress policy.

Thanks.

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I don’t check Pret staff reviews anymore as much like I used to, maybe once a month. But a recent review from a shop General Manager (GM) got my attention. This GM mentioned among some negative feedback on Pret that CEO Pano Christou is “exceptionally kind”.

Part quote from the review:

“Cons: Expectation to achieve work that is physically impossible, in a timeline that, when broken down, is mathematically impossible. Intense pressure leading to breaking codes and regulations is a common occurrence, and those with stronger ethics end up working up to 100 hours/wk.

Advice to Management: Instead of only setting targets and expectations, map out how they could be achieved. Consider why most management leaves the company they love so much, due to burnout.

With that said, Pano is exceptionally kind and I’m sure he would fix all these issues with more competent direct subordinates.

Haha! 😀

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Link to review.

And this is where most workers, even managers when young go wrong and are brainwashed. It is the CHIEF, the head of the company who is the problem and who sets the tone for the company. Pano decides on pay cuts and cut workers’ pay, benefits and paid breaks so he can get a pay-rise and millions in bonus.

And why did this GM not approve of Pano and give him the green light (check mark). This GM refrained from giving an approval or disapproval. Very weird review. Confused GM? But it shows how Pano continues to charm and blind workers as well as journalists.

It is Pano who works in Pret since over 20 years, who implements and continues an abusive mystery shopper scheme and sets unrealistic targets for his bosses and shareholders to be happy.

That’s exactly the mistake many staff make, they are unhappy with how Pret are, how they are treated etc. but they don’t attribute this to the top leadership, because like former CEO Clive Schlee, current CEO Pano speaks “kindly” to staff in head office or when they do their rounds visiting shops.

And that’s exactly their game. It’s like a “bad cop / good cop” situation. It’s all a tactic, a game where the CEO separates himself from the harsh OPs (Operations/Area Managers) who are tasked to set high targets that GMs find unrealistic to reach.

CEO Pano, like Clive before him, is the “good cop” and let’s lower ranked staff be the bad cop, but all of these execs have a common goal: make as much money as possible on the backs of low-wage workers and customers.

But THE FISH STINKS FROM ITS HEAD!

In June 2017 Pret held a one or two week seminar only for leaders and managers at the prestigious Barbican Centre on customer service. I speak about this seminar extensively on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02, Part 03 and Part 04 of labeling issues and allergy trial. All episodes will open in a new window.

I speak about this seminar as it was held a year after the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died, but NO mention whatsoever on allergens or labeling. No training or retraining. NOTHING.

All we were “taught” was how to continue to “slime” customers and love-bomb them to gain and retain them and then bring back to the shops what we “learnt” (which was nothing new). In hindsight it seemed to me that the development team came up with this seminar where we learnt nothing new to use their annual budget. When departments don’t use their annual budget, it often gets cut for the next annual period.

That seminar seemed to me like a complete waste of time and funds. It could/should have been used to invite scientists and allergy experts in light of the first customer’s death and several injured to teach us on allergens and labeling. But no, Pret went ahead with a meaningless seminar in the expensive Barbican rooms.

The title of the seminar was called “Be Kind – Be Honest – Be Generous”. A VERY typical Pret brainwash which turns out to always be the complete opposite.

I explain on my 4 part podcast episodes above that Pret are far from kind when they did NOTHING after TWO customers died and several got injured, as well as having bullied me DURING bereavement and the systemic bullying culture that exists in Pret.

And being honest? I know from own experience how dishonest Pret are and expose some of their lies on social media.

And being generous? Let’s see how generous Pret are.

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The email invite to the seminar where I got my slot to go:

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Also, calling Pret’s training center an “academy” I felt always as a joke. In my training times in head office, I rarely learnt anything and had to train myself for years in shops searching and reading up on issues myself.

Pret’s generosity

On 18. March 2020 just before the first lockdown when the whole world was still in the air about Covid, Pret made a typical PR announcement to be giving free coffees and 50% food rebates to all NHS workers every day. All they need to do is show their NHS badge and they get a free coffee and cheaper food.

Great. Everyone went crazy on Pret’s “generosity”. And as Pret are Pret, they often make these charity announcements to cover up what they’re doing in the background to staff or other dodgy things.

The very next morning 19. March 2020 I wake up to a DM of a desperate staff that CEO Pano Christou sent an email to all shops and head office with the announcement that Pret will be cutting hours, and with it pay.

DM:

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Pret used the NHS not only for PR but as a smokescreen to hide their nasty cuts to staff. very generous!

Full CEO email here: To NHS Employees. Already low-wage Pret workers basically PAID for the NHS PR stunt.

There was only ONE NHS staff who was disgusted at this after I started swamping Twitter with this:

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Further on Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity”

Again, on 1st June 2022, just before the Queen’s Platinum Jubliee I woke up to a new DM by a different Pret staff reaching out to me that Pret for the 2. time this year delayed paying staff under supposedly “payroll errors”.

I immediately emailed CEO Pano Christou but openly copying in the press including Sarah Butler from the Guardian, other journalists and BFAWU President Ian Hodson who, Sarah Butler then interviewed.

Again, Pret cleverly used an occasion, just like with the NHS freebies, where the public is distracted with the Queen’s celebrations AND knowing that on bank holiday Monday all banks are closed.

Part of the DM:

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Pret’s announcement where if staff need money they can get it but with a fee which Pret supposedly would pay:

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On Instagram a staff member announced to be sabotaging Pret now, others called sick as an indirect strike action. Food and service quality would be compromised:

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Is it “exceptionally kind” of Pano to cut pay, use the pay cuts to fund NHS freebies etc. etc.?

WAKE UP EMPLOYEES!

People may ask why Pret would delay pay on purpose, simple, CEO Pano behaves exactly like a manager in Pret does. They have weekly, monthly, but most importantly quarterly targets to reach. June was moving to the end of the 2. quarter. And pay delays with constantly managers “forgetting” to pay hours helps shops and management to reach targets and get higher bonuses.

Pret settled TWICE in New York having had to repay 4000 workers close to a million dollars each time for WAGE THEFT!

Pret was also amongst UK companies being caught to pay some staff UNDER the legally required minimum wage and were then named and shamed by the UK Government.

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Or a few years ago under Clive Schlee, customers started to boycott Pret after finding out that Pret wanted to get young people to get free labour, using the apprenticeship short-term experience to not pay them except via “free food”.

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So, after I emailed Pet’s CEO copying in Sarah Butler and the press and Sarah wrote the following article, but it got drowned out by the Jubilee celebrations.

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Link

And Sarah Butler dug a little further later after I mentioned on my blog and podcast that Pano Christou received £300K pay in 2020 but didn’t spill the beans on how much he got in 2021 and 2022 after cutting wages. Then in August 2022 she reported the following:

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Link

So, in 2021 Pano got a £100K pay-rise and £4million in bonus while cutting as much as possible from low-wage staff who carried Pret through a dangerous pandemic. In 2020 Pano already got paid more than the UK Prime Minister and about the same as US President Biden. Since 2021 Pano overtook that further.

I could go on and on and on regarding Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity” by posting countless staff reviews on Pret’s wage theft, pay delay, missing pay as well as my own experience. But I want to end with my all-time favourite former customer tweet which I could not have put into better words!

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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.

My Upmost Respect for Bethany Eaton!

She takes responsibility while Pret blame downwards as usual.

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Let’s see some tears, hey!

But it needs to be the tears of a young blonde female.

Nothing new under the sun.

Pret will use that to say “See, not our responsibility”.

Let’s use a new business venture, a female young person to put blame on. Let’s do the usual.

You know the drill.

And it will work. Why? Because we live in a globalised situation where the trend is to suck anyone lower out of their skill, thei rights, their will.

I may not live to see the day, but I KNOW the day will come when Julian Metcalfe, Clive Schlee, Pano Christou, David Carter …

will be remembered via my blog. And as much as the media, politicians like to ignore it. All good 🙂

P.S. Pret A Manger, you have blood on your hands, also with at least one staff suicide I know of, but can’t proof. Lucky you. But I survived. Now go and keep getting off the hook.

P.P.S. keep smiling.

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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.

Thank you for reading/listening.


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: We are deeply saddened by the passing of Celia Marsh

Pret A Manger: “We are deeply saddened…”

So much so that we printed a label within ONE day of Natasha’s and Celia’s deaths.

One day!

NOT!

That’s how fast we can do things! In fact, we anticipated our customers deaths that we had labels ready to go once they died.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

We are deeply saddened by the death of 42 year old mother of 5 Celia Marsh.

We are deeply saddened by the allergen injury of Isobel Colnaghi in 2017, also from unlabelled sesame in the UK who also almost died, who lost in court against us in 2021 because we successfully blamed one of our low-wage worker.

We are deeply saddened of the injury of David Matt in 2015 in New York, also from unabelled sesame, who lost in court against us in 2016 before Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died. We are deeply relieved that sesame wasn’t part of the USA allergen list compared to Canada.

We are deeply saddened by all the other allergen injuries, 21 reported that we were made aware of, before Natasha died, which we all ignored.

We are deeply relieved that former Pret CEO Clive Schlee’s open letter response to a concerned allergy sufferer is buried from the public’s eye (but don’t tell anyone that it’s on this blog).

We are deeply relieved that the UK justice system and the media are on our side.

And we are deeply able to label packaging WITHIN A DAY when a higher-up person like the Queen dies.

We’re deeply able to do that.

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The press, the justice system, and survivors keep ignoring what I expose about Pret’s negligence because I am a traumatised person having survived Pret’s systemic bullying culture. People don’t want to listen to current and former low-wage workers if they are traumatised. I am traumatised after what I survived (audio player interview at the bottom of this page).

But I keep talking and writing. And I keep saying that people will not be able to say that they never knew how bad Pret is.

I explain in detail in 4 podcast episodes how Pret were and continue to be careless with food safety, including selling moudly food increasingly. And no-one pays attention, not even the Food Standards Agency that I tagged in many times.

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For a full visual of mould and rat droppings on Pret food as well as on the ongoing mislabelling I explain in my podcast, please see pictures. These are visuals of what explain on the podcast on WHY this keeps happening:

Stale, expired, mouldy food. Pret food is NOT “freshly made”. That’s false advertising AND dangerous.

Mislabelled food and mistaken ingredients. Vegans and vegetarians eat meat at Pret. And Pret are now breaking the law, “Natasha’s Law”.

Food poisoning, hygiene issues and now also labelling issues can be reported on the government Food Standard Agency website.

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Link to report.

PODCAST:

I’m not a professional podcaster or journalist, I just speak from my gut and from memory having worked at Pret for 10 years in over 30 shops, with horrible experiences of the top leadership including CEO, HR, HQ staff and management. I have tons of evidence, including paperwork from Pret themselves. I declined Pret’s hush money and never signed the NDAs they wanted me to sign.

Podcast episodes:

Part 01 of ongoing mislabelling and why staff accidentally take wrong ingredients and mislabel.

One example from even last year, 5 years after Natasha died and 4 years after Celia Marsh died. I explain how Pret work behind the scenes and why it is SO EASY to mistake ingredients:

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It’s profit over lives by under-staffing and pushing low-wage workers to the brim. Pret only cater to the strict weekly mystery shoppers, the emotional labour scheme that Pret implemented many years ago to portray a “happy” facade while ignoring food safety issues. Lack of food safety has gotten much worse, despite customers having died. Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be Fatal.

Part 02 I highlight a weird Barbican seminar and the difference between Starbucks CEO’s and Pret CEO’s handling of crisis.

Part 03 Allergy Trial of Isobel Colnaghi in 2021, and how Pret was cleared after successfully blaming Roberto Rodriguez, a low-wage worker. I also explain how training is done in Pret, or rather how it’s NOT done and the dodgy things shops do.

Part 04 In light of the inquest into Celia Marsh’s death and how Pret had TWO types of labelling in place before customer deaths became public, BUT not the labelling that you’d expect from a multi-billion £ multinational company.

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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.

How Pret Was & Continue to be Negligent with Food Safety

I did 3 podcast episodes explaining how Pret was and continues to be careless on their food safety, even after 2 customers died, a 3. narrowly surived and over a dozen got injured. Pret ignored all that until it got public.

And dispite “Natasha’s Law” in place, Pret continue to mislabel their food and even bring food overnight, not fresh, many customer pictures of food with mould and even rat droppings on.

ALL due to extreme understaffing, high pressure, poor training etc.

I mention a particular Barbigan Centre seminar Pret held AFTER Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the first customer died. This is significant. I also talk about the difference between Starbucks and Pret CEOs actions in times of crisis. I explain how training in Pret is REALLY done and why Pret successfully was able to blame a low wage staff for another customer injury of Isobel Colnaghi who almost became the third fatality.

I also explain my role as a team leader which is one reason why I’m still shocked in how Pret ealt with this and the money power Pret had, but didn’t use.

Of course people say that I have an axe to grind, but that is not my concern. It is people’s choice to LISTEN to what experienced current and former staff explain, especially when they deliever it with EVIDENCE.

I don’t ask people to believe me if I don’t bring evidence. But I have plenty, that’s why I link to them.

I may do an updated episode with all 3 combined in less time. This the first time I did a podcast and just spoke from the gut. But I try to redo those with notes into 1 episode and in much less time. I’m not a professional, please bear with my simple talk.

But I give a lot of info from behind the scenes.

Below, under these episodes are links to the mouldy food and mislabelling issues.

Episode 1: Pret’s Ongoing Mislabelling Issues

Episode 2: Mislabelling Issues ADDITION

Episode 3: Allergy Injury Trial of Isobel Colnaghi
(Why Pret was able to successfully blame a low-wage shop staff)

UPDATE 07.09.2022

New podcast episode in light of Celia Marsh’s Inquest.

NEW Episode 4: Ongoing Mislabelling – Celia Marsh Inquest – Pret now break the Law

The first customer who died, 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse of sesame hidden in the dough of the baguette which wasn’t labelled on the packaging nor the fridge label. Her parents’ campaigning brought “Natasha’s Law” where all food businesses must label packaged food now.

The second customer was 42 year old mother of five Celia Marsh who died in Bath from dairy traces in a vegan wrap. Isobel Colnaghi who almost died also of hidden sesame, lost her case against Pret.

So, the unsafe food practices continue, even worse now. See pictures of mouldy food via below links. And due to the ongoing mislabelling, Pret are now breaking “Natasha’s Law”. A new inquest into Celia Marsh’s death will start in October 2022.

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(Image: Universal News And Sport (Europe))

Pictures of mould, rat droppings and other things on food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh

Pictures of mislabelled food: Vegetarians & Begans Eat Meat at Pret

All this is due to ONE reason: understaffing, stressing and exploiting staff to the max. CEO Pano Christou doesn’t care. He lives in La La Land and has never been a leader, even when he was UK Managing Director and former CEO Clive Schlee’s shadow.

He enjoys the money, his mansion, working from home etc. while exhausting his staff. He cut wages, benefits, even the paid break. Most work 10 hours through without a break due t high staff turnover and unreasonable pressure.

Then Pano had the audacity TWICE this year to delay paying staff under dodgy excuses. The second time cleverly using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, knowing the public would be distracted if the press would get wind of it.

The press DID get wind of it because I was contacted by staff in despair as I write publicly and pass leaked info on to the press. I emailed CEO Pano Christou directly, openly copying in the press, including Sarah Butler from The Guardian who a day later reported on it.

She started to dig depper and also reported recently that Pano received a pay-rise and millions in bonus in 2021 after he made temporary pay cuts permanent.

So, needless to say staff are p!ssed off, they are already on the fringes of existance, carried Pret through the pandemic, risking their lives. Some got sick I was told, but were pressured to keep working or lose their jobs.

I’m still hoping there’s an undercover journalist in Pret for at least a month.

Some staff on social media announced to be sabotaging Pret now (see screenshot below). Many call sick as an internal strike action. All of this contributes to unsafe food handling, stale, expired food, mislabelling, exhausted staff etc. etc. etc.

Pret got away with 2 customer deaths and multiple injuries, so they feel invincible and the lack of food safety has gotten much, much worse iin broad daylight.

Writing to journalists and the government food safety people didn’t help yet. How many people have to die? A small independent, and especially minority business would have been shut down and the owners sent to prison if one customer had died. Pret is protected and safe in this Tory government of corrupt politicians.

Staff on Instagram in June when Pret for the 2. time delayed pay:

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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.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

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©2020 expret.org


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.

Julian Metcalfe Case Study & How I chased him off Twitter

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Let’s do a little bit more digging into Julian Edward Metcalfe, founder of itsu and re-founder of Pret A Manger. This is just a brief “case study”, not a deep dive into Metcalfe’s family line as I want to highlight something specific.

And dear journalists, maybe one day you may give credit where all the research I do for free and ALWAYS credit/link to the source where I found the information, my experience and encounters with these people comes from.

Also, to British people especially journalists, I write so detailed as if I was teaching a school class because I have many American readers who are not familiar with who’s who in the Royal Family.

Julian Metcalfe is the founder of itsu and what I call the co-RE-founder of Pret A Manger. I explain below.

Julian’s father: David Patrick Metcalfe.

The Duke of Windsor (who before that was King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle) was David Metcalfe’s godfather.

Julian’s grandfather: Edward “Fruity” Metcalfe.

Edward Metcalfe was best man to then recently abdicated King Edward VIII and American actress Wallis Simpson. This led to Queen Elizabeth’s father becoming king.

Julian’s great-grandfather: George Curzon, 1st Marquess of Kedleston.

I will mention him later from an interesting tweet.

Source: Telegraph

Quote from The Telegraph article about Julian Metcalfe’s parents:

»The couple had two sons and a daughter, but divorced in 1964; two years later Alexa died after taking what a pathologist at the time suspected was “a sleeping draught”. Their children, including Julian Metcalfe, the future founder of the Pret A Manger sandwich chain, moved back to live in great style with their father. “We had powerful people to dinner all the time,” Julian Metcalfe later recalled of his childhood

Another quote about David Metcalfe, Julian’s father which shows how Julian grew up in the highest society and privilege: »Friends celebrated (David) Metcalfe as “the last man about town with a bit of style”. At his home in Wilton Street, he was host to “everybody who is anybody”.«

And of course with all these connections to the Royal Family and high society, Julian Metcalfe has an OBE.

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Now let that melt on your tongue like a mouldy Pret sandwich: Julian Metcalfe’s FATHER was the godson of King Edward VIII, who gave up his “kingship” to be with Amercian actress and *scandal scandal* divorcee Wallis Simpson. Prince Harry repeated that, but he didn’t have much to lose.

Let’s do some brain-fnck here:

Prince William is the great-grand nephew of King Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor), giving the OBE to great-grand son of best men to King Edward VIII – or – son to godson of King Edward VIII / Duke of Windsor.

Got it?!

Oh, what a coincidence!

Katschink!

Is there any wonder that some call Pret a “British institution”?

The million dollar question is: Who is Julian Metcalfe’s godfather? Prince Philip? Or even Prince Charles if he wasn’t too young to have become godfather? Metcalfe’s Wikipedia entry is mighty quiet about all his royal connections.

In his full Q&A at the Oxford Union I noticed one thing very predominantly, Julian is constantly portraying that he fell into success by accident. He pretends to be clueless, admits that he was lazy in school and that success supposedly just keeps falling into his lap, as if he’s such a talent where everything he touches just happens to turn to gold.

In reality, I believe that from what I read in the press, his foot-in-mouth disease in his tweet exchange with me and the itsu staff reviews (see my YouTube slide further below), that he is a spoiled prat who had enough money to re-start Pret after it didn’t succeed the first time around.

I write so blunt because of how he treats his staff and his indifference to the health and life of people in general.

And I, a NOBODY chased him off Twitter simply because this prat isn’t used to getting challenged! When you read the staff reviews of him that I linked to him on Twitter and later put on my YouTube slide, it’s very visible that he must be a very aggressive, angry and patronizing person. His staff must be in sheer fear around him. He is used that everybody hushes around him or is part of his harsh environment. Most journalists kiss up to him and business people worship him. And then little me comes along, challenges him for 5 minutes and he tucks his tail between his legs and dashes off after just 2 days on Twitter!

Most of you who read this are perfectly fine with rich people, especially men, to treat HUMAN BEINGS on low wage like sh!t. But you counter me, a “nobody” when I speak out, because you are upset that YOU don’t do the same.

In his Oxford Union Q&A he keeps portraying to be falling into success by accident. One itsu staff review hints at this very strongly in a shocking review calling him “oafish”.

Click Ctrl & + to enlarge the screenshot or just read the full review via the link underneath. Ctrl & – to decrease the size again.

“Cruel founder/CEO”

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Link to Glassdoor review.

For people with visual impairment where audio reading programs cannot read screenshots, I just quote a few highlights from above review, quote:

»Toxic leadership, Favouritism, Lack of Diversity, Poor Management, Cruel CEO/Founder

JULIAN METCALFE the oafish chaotic founder who insists on being involved across all areas despite having little to no knowledge in anything apart from sales and operations. He wanders the office behaving as if he’s a cutesy naive child and then behind closed doors will overtly disrespect and bully those that work directly with him. Have noticed him being very sexist, making racist jokes in front of minority staff, and regularly shouting loudly and aggressively at managers TIL they’re in tears. (A technique which his leadership team mimic) – head office is in constant turmoil and there’s a very high staff turnover due to people leaving after breakdowns or lack of support (mainly Julian’s mistreatment) or by being discreetly fired when Julian decided he’s displeased. – schoolgirl gossiping, hostility and aggression amongst department heads.

… When you have your employees shaking with stress and fear who call the police on your c.e.o. Due to an uncomfortable environment that is probably a wise time to step in.«

End of quote.

This and other similar reviews I linked to Metcalfe on Twitter, causing him to delete his account shortly after.

A recent little video appeared on Twitter with the title “Why I h8 itsu”.

Just click the play |> button or click the Twitter link under this video:

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Link

As I write on Pret and also “chased” Metcalfe off Twitter (please see YouTube player below) I get contacted now as well by itsu staff and customers. One email I received was last year:

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Quote for people with visual impairment where programs can’t read screenshots:

“Hey there! I saw your Twitter and how you faced bullying and abuse from Pret. I’ve recently been doing research into Julian’s other company Itsu as I’ve been a consumer of it for a while. However, there are massive racist notions and cultural misappropriation that I’ve found and hoping to gain support from for the company to make actual changes.
Would you be interested in seeing what I have over email or Discord or anything else?”

Other reviews along those lines where Metcalfe is directly mentioned as being accused to being sexist, racist, aggressive etc. I put on my YouTube slide below together with his deleted tweets that I screen-grabbed before he deleted.

I find his facial expression, tone of voice and choice of words pretty intense to put it lightly. But of course an appearance or impression doesn’t prove anything. Many people, especially in the business world fall for this and mistake this for “passion” or “being passionate”. What I see is aggression and anger. And I also noticed that half the questions he is asked, he doesn’t answer except with the same supposedly “humility” of saying that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Anyone taking a closer look? Anyone REALLY look at his words and demeanor, and see something here?

Many of these itsu staff reviews keep pointing out that he behaves like a clueless child, before then aggressively “undoing” months worth of work.

I linked some of these reviews to Metcalfe on Twitter. He must have been warned by Pret about who I am, as he then suddenly deleted some tweets and his Twitter account completely after being on there only for 2 days.

Most of his tweets I took screenshots of before he deleted it as I was gobsmacked that he even responded to me and kept retweeting my tweets. I think someone in his PR department needs to get fired, unless he doesn’t listen to them. I placed most of his deleted tweets here on YouTube:

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I use YouTube because my blog where I expose the REAL Pret A Manger from behind their happy facade, is heavily censored and completely blocked on Facebook and Instagram. But they can’t block YouTube. Pret must have reported me to social media, Twitter is regularly censoring me, but this forced me to spread out onto other sites and thus expose Pret on a much broader spectrum. Thank you very much Pret. 🙂

What’s crazy is, that after I also chased Pret CEO Pano Christou and former CEO Clive Schlee off Twitter (Pano “hides” on Linkedin where people tell him all day long how wonderful he is), I tweeted to Metcalfe that we will see how long he will last on Twitter. I had a laugh basically, not realizing he’d delete his account a day later!

Note: I changed my Twitter handle from @LateNightGirlMe to @expretDOTorg as Clive Schlee patronized me, calling me his “late night girl”. So I took that, turned it around and created my blog latenightgirl.org which will lead to expret.org. I created a Twitter handle to throw it back at him publicly. But I changed the handle as it doesn’t make much sense for new readers who are unfamiliar with my story.

But I know how this shocked Clive when he first learnt of my blog and then qucikly made the £1000 announcement to all staff to counter my writings. I write about the timing of the £1000 for all staff in The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idee.

And as my handle is changed, it is now under my new handle on Twitter itself. Also, as Metcalfe deleted his account, you don’t see his handle in the tweets anymore, only the screenshots I took at the time show it.

Excuse my strong words, but I struggle with anger after what Pret put me through:

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Link

And if people put his deleted handle @JulianEMetcalfe into Twitter search, they will only see the replies from people to Metcalfe, but not his handle anymore.

THERE ARE TWO JEFFREYS that Julian Metcalfe doesn’t want to be connected to.

The first is the late Jeffrey Hyman, the original Pret founder, opening the first shop in 1983 Hampstead but didn’t succeed. He sold the brand, name and logo to Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham. But Pret, Julian Metcalfe, his friend and business partner former Pret CEO Clive Schlee who owns half of itsu, and current CEO Pano Christou all refuse to mention or honour Hyman.

And yet, Pret keep using Hyman’s original Pret logo/font in their head office and in at least one shop, in Victoria. I made the below photo in about 2020 or 2021 outside one of Pret’s Victoria shops when I walked by, knowing about this original Pret sign that I saw for the first time in Pret’s Victoria 75B Bressenden Place head office, and then later again in below tweet of Hyman’s first Pret shop.

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This logo was used by Hyman in 1983 when Pret was like a deli and then sold to Metcalfe and Beecham. Pret use it as a retro sign in head office and at least one shop, yet Pret and Metcalfe refuse to mention Hyman. A plaque is dedicated to Metcalfe and Beecham, but no mention whatsoever on Jeffrey Hyman.

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And maybe Pret cleverly mention the first Pret shop AND kitchen to say later that Hyman’s shop didn’t have a kitchen?

Since about 2 – 3 years Pret now have the brainwash words above shops and sometimes packaging, simply saying “London 1986”. This way, every customer who walks into a Pret shop gets brainwashed of the opening in 1986 by Julian Metcalfe and Sinclaire Beecham, instead of in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman.

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A friend of Hyman told me on Twitter that Pret employed someone to keep deleting Jeffrey Hyman and the 1983 opening of Pret from Wikipedia:

Link

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THE OTHER JEFFREY that Metcalfe doesn’t want to be connected to is Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein who’s the convicted pedophile whom many believe was “suicided” in prison. It does not need to mean anything that Metcalfe is in Epstein’s address book, as Epstein was collecting data from many rich and influential people he met or knew. But it’s still interesting. I write about how I came to this info on Julian Metcalfe in Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book.

As I “chased” Metcalfe off Twitter, blogged about it and made this slide on YouTube showing his deleted tweets, itsu staff or people who are familiar with Metcalfe issues contact me. This is how I became aware that Metcalfe is in Epstein’s “little black book”. Again, this doesn’t mean anything, but I still find it interesting. It’s clear that the rich and famous are connected, often dating back decades into the past. Not to mention Prince Andrew’s direct friendship with Epstein and Metcalfe’s family connections with the Royal Family. They all know each other.

It’s one big happy family. This and Metcalfe’s close friendship to Clive Schlee, who is Pano Christou’s mentor, is why Pret cannot be distanced to Metcalfe when he made his ‘eugenicist’ statements to the Daily Mail and continued to rant on Twitter before deleting his account. Not to mention how Pret ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before it got public. Not to mention how awful Pret treat their staff. That’s from my own traumatic experience and what staff review on Glassdoor and Indeed, press articles etc. etc.

They’re all in the same flow of entitled greed.

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After I linked itsu staff reviews to Metcalfe on Twitter, he kept putting his foot in his mouth saying that anonymous staff reviews are biased. Well Mr. Metcalfe, this then also goes for the positive reviews. You can’t have it both ways.

One of his responses I didn’t include in my YouTube slide where I put most of his deleted Tweets. But he had the arrogance and audacity to claim that his low-wage staff “begged” for zero hour contracts. He also aims to turn shops mostly into robots and machines serving customers, eliminating labour costs to advance his net-worth £215 million personal empire.

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Link

Does that sound like a business man who cares for his (zero hour contracted) staff and people in general?

Customers start to speak out, one very unhappy person just recently:

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Link

Pret as well as itsu staff are also mainly “trained” via iPads on their free time during break or after work. There’s little to no training in both companies. And whatever training there is, workers have to do unpaid in their free time.

Greed is a bottomless pit.

Please note that my Twitter handle used to be @LateNightGirlMe after Clive Schlee called me his “late night girl”. So, to throw it back at hi, I took that offense and created my blog under latenightgirl.org & Twitter name. I changed it as it doesn’t make much sense for people, and to keep my blog URL visible as it’s often censored on social media platforms. I explain the “late night girl” issue in the audio interview at the very bottom of this post.

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What a clown!

He actually wrote that! As if low-wage workers who are already paid the minimum possible, have so much money to spare to afford being flexible with their time. Anyone who wants to have flexibility to work can afford it and does not need a low-paid shitty job like itsu or Pret. I’ve rarely been held for such a fool. And before anyone mentions that Pret and itsu have “happy”, smiley staff, do some research on their strict and micromanaging mystery shopper scheme.

If people just take a slight look at his business dealings, it becomes very visible that he does NOT care whatsoever about workers, labour rights, building up a healthy workforce etc. He is your “average” greedy, entitled business men, coming from privilege but pretending to be an entrepreneur having started from nothing.

His “survival of the fittest” attitude is not just evident in his ridiculous lack of being media savvy to the Daily Mail (or his PR rep was on holiday), where he was happy to sacrifice the elderly and vulnerable people to save his millions, but in an iterview with The Telegraph. The heading quotes Metcalfe: »Only the fittest will survive high street cull, warns Itsu and Pret founder Julian Metcalfe«.

I didn’t even know about the ads that Metcalfe did with women athletes he later tried to justify to me in his (now deleted) tweet after I linked staff reviews to him saying he’s a sexist. Just after he mentioned this I researched and found this ad in The Evening Standard:

Photo: Rebecca Reid in The Evening Standard.

His comment to me retweeting my tweet:

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»Women who are not trying to be men!«??? What insecure talk is that Mr. Metcalfe?

Julian’s great-grandfather which led me to reasearch a little.

George Curzon, 1st Marquess of Kedleston.

I started to dig a little deeper into Metcalfe when I saw the following tweet after Metcalfe made his lock-down comments to the Daily Mail:

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Link

And of course I need to mention Metcalfe’s buddy Clive Schlee with whom I had shocking encounters that I explain on the audio player interview here at the bottom of this page. Metcalfe and Schlee have been friends and business partners since decades. Metcalfe gave Schlee the CEO spot in Pret.

I found an interesting lawsuit that was won by a former itsu partner who claimed he was booted out by Metcalfe and Schlee. He won his court case and received an undisclosed compensation amount, probably in exchange for signing a NDA so the amount cannot be disclosed.

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Quote from The Caterer article: »A senior chef last week won his unfair dismissal case against Julian Metcalfe, founder of both the Pret A Manger sandwich-shop chain and Itsu sushi restaurants in London.

Clive Fretwell, who had worked for 14 years at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, told a Woburn employment tribunal he had been recruited in 1988 to help develop a chain of Itsu restaurants.

He said the intention had been to give him a 2.5% founding stake in the business and an additional 10% in two years, with the possibility of “big money” if it were sold.

When a second restaurant, which opened two years later, failed to live up to expectations, Fretwell claimed he became aware that Metcalfe and Itsu co-director Clive Schlee were trying to get rid of him.

He said he was told last July that the company could not afford his salary, and he was dismissed in August.

The compensation agreed was undisclosed.«

»… trying to get rid of him« sounds very familiar to me. I wasn’t even a “partner” with a certain percentage stake in Pret, just a small fish, an underpaid and overworked team leader. But I raised big concerns and trauma on Pret’s systemic bullying culture where they tried to get rid of me as soon as I became bereaved.

In an The Independent article about the lawsuit Clive Fretwell described Metcalfe as a “strong personality”.

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Link to article.

It’s worth doing some research into Clive Fretwell who is a respected chef having learned in France and cooks “proper” cuisine.

Staff and workers help Pret (and itsu) to build their brand and ONLY if they are part of their elite group of like-minded people who are only out for profit and having a laugh on the costs of workers, are they protected. If they’re not part of their way, regardless how hard they work and help make the brand successful, they’re out. That’s why the Pret Foundation Trust is a joke, a smokescreen to hide ruthless practices behind the happy facade and a PR stunt for brownie points with the public. I had NO help from the Pret Foundation when I became bereaved and then bullied by the core people of Pret.

Not even when I specifically asked via email (in writing) to be placed under the PFT, and EVEN a longtime OPs manager asked this in writing via a disciplinary hearing.

Nopes. Nada. Instead, upon HR’s request run under David Carter, then head of HR, I was gaslit via another HQ staff and then fired days after my dad came out of a three-week coma. The more and the louder Pret, itsu and any large corporation talk about their good deeds, intentions and charity, the closer you need to take a look.

Since writing about Pret publicly for 4+ years now and all the social media posts I read and boycotts customers announced, one tweet is my alltime favourite tweet that puts down in a nutshell who Pret really are, I could not have said it in any better way:

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Link

Betty tweeted this in response to a call to boycott Pret after they made the pandemic temporary paycuts permanent, which came to no surprise to me. And Pret twice this year delayed paying staff, the 2. time using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, knowing the public would be distracted should the press get wind of it and banks are closed on bank holiday Mondays.

I was contacted by desperate staff as they know I write publicly and pass leaked info on to the press.

I immediately emailed CEO Pano Christou himself, openly copying in journalists including Sarah Butler from the Guardian who then reported on it. She also reported later, recently in August that CEO Pano Christou got a payrise and millions in bonus after cutting staff wages and benefits in 2021 during the height of the pandemic. I predicted that this would be the case back in April on my podcast.

A current Pret staff announced on Instagram that staff now sabotage Pret from within:

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And apart from the extreme under-staffing, even before the pandemic, this sabotaging as well as stressed workers leads to unsafe food practices. Mould and rat droppings on food as well as ongoing mislabelling of food.

I always say that all the slogans Pret have on their walls, all the sweet-talk, the ethical bla bla, all the “charity” Pret announce on their marketing and walls, you can be sure that 9 out of 10 times it’s the complete opposite. And the same goes for itsu. The nonsense Julian Metcalfe always says how much he cares for staff etc. while when you look at him speaking without the sound on, he looks angry, tense, and his words are “strong” to say the least. Clive Schlee is more slick, he was the Ronald McDonald clown for Pret. The smiley mascot hypnotising customers and staff with sweet-talk while having a horribly abusive mystery shopper scheme in place and naming, shaming and blaming shops publicly to the whole company when they fail.

At least Pano already removed the stupid brainwash slogan “lovingly handmade” from the packaging since I’m exposing Pret’s toxic bullying culture and unnecessary high stress. That one got the most on my nerves.

The sheer perversion of Pret’s conduct still has me speechless like it’s straight out of a twisted Hollywood script. I have no other word at the moment than to call this “perversion” what Pret did, my ordeal reaching to the top leadership. It couldn’t have gotten any higher than that. That’s why Pret don’t sue me and Julian Metcalfe upon learning who I am tuck in his tail and ran for the hills. But I have it all in writing. And when people ask why I didn’t go to court, I did, and I explain in detail in my audio interview at the bottom of this page.

I experienced and witnessed it many times as well as reading staff reviews on the favouritism that reigns in Pret while hard working people with skill are dumped like dirt, and the crooked staff take all the credit for the success skilled people bring to the company.

Further in the Telegraph article about Julian’s father David shows how frequent and used Julian was to mingle with the richest people and royalty. And there is then no surprise that he had connections to Jeffrey Epstein. Julian can’t help himself to be set apart from “normal” hard working people, using “lower classes” to advance his rich lifestyle. He doesn’t know it any other way while pretending to care.

Further quote about Julian’s father David: »In particular (David) Metcalfe had a flair for pairing New World entrepreneurs, ambassadors and tycoons with Old World aristocrats, intellectuals, royalty and social commentators. His dining table was frequented as much by dukes and royalty as it was by Detroit and Texas tycoons and politicians from across the political spectrum.«

Julian’s ex-wife is from the USA and is mentioned in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book. It always comes around full circle. These people mix and mingle with each other, and it all remains with the richest people while claiming to be a trail blazing entrepreneur starting from nothing.

And as far as I have read in my research, I have not found anywhere that Julian mentions his connections to the Royal Family via his father and grandfather. I believe he doesn’t mention it as he wants to be seen as this groundbreaking entrepreneur having started from scratch. Many entitled rich people want to be seen as “self-made” millionaires while having gotten huge starting packages, loans or gifts from family to start or restart a business.

Little side note that I don’t know enough of to get into further, but “ARK” is from a quote on reddit, »Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), is an international children’s educational charity based in the UK. ARK held fundraisers every year from 2002 to 2012. Dozens of people listed from Jeffrey Epstein’s Black Book attended these ARK Galas.«

CHILDREN’S charity and Jeffrey Epstein go together like Pret A Manger/itsu go together with Trade Unions! *Irony off*

Also note, the woman in the picture is Pippa Holt, not Metcalfe’s ex-wife Melanie. This is just what I found in connection with this ARK charity gala event.

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Current Pret CEO Pano Christou does the same, having learnt how to BS the public under Clive Schlee, portraying that he started in shops as if to say he started at the bottom. He started in shops alright, but he started as an assistant manager having come from McDonald’s management. Pret’s assistant manager role is position #4 in the shop hierachy. The lowest, #1 position is Team Member; 2. Hot Chef or Barista; 3. Team Leader (kitchen or shop) and then #4 is assistant manager before becoming the shop general manager.

He started with higher pay, £500 business attire that Pret paid for, monthly £50 to dry clean his clothes, “business” travels, management parties and galas, and all the perks that are thrown at assistant managers and higher up management.

Pano did not start at minimum-wage, wearing a Pret uniform and a silly cap with pins that could have dropped into food while staff weren’t allowed to wear jewellery or piercings. He didn’t labour for 9-12 hours in the high paced, noisy kitchen being shouted at by leaders and management. Since I point this out on my blog, he finally mentions in interviews that he started as an assistant manager instead of how he always said that he started “in shops” where people assume he was a low-paid team member.

Back to Metcalfe, many in the press and certainly business people love this success story, not wanting to hear how Metcalfe really is, as “success” often only comes when exploiting the masses and being “someone” regardless what it does to society as a whole.

Maybe Jeffrey Hyman’s friends, who occasionally mention him on Twitter at his birthday or anniversary of his death want to write a book about Hyman and make him known to the world, since Pret and Metcalfe refuse to honour, refuse to even mention him while using Hyman’s original font/sign. If you don’t want to mention or credit to the original person, at least have the integrity to not use anything the original person created as in an old font/sign.

Oh silly me! Pret/itsu and integrity?

Pret remain Pret, they lie, steal, manipulate and exploit in any way they can. Just your good ole greedy corporate, owned by in tax-haven Luxembourg based private equity firm JAB Holdings under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns with an extensive Nazi slavery past. And itsu now hooked up with Bridgepoint, Pret’s previous owners. And the real reason that Mectalfe hooked Pret up with McDonald’s was to get Pret into the U.S. market. Once in, they “divorced” their “marriage of convenience”. When I learnt about the McD and Pret collaboration, all alarm bells went on. It’s like a vegan business hooking up with a meat factory to get into a certain market. Red flag right there.

And Pret had to remove the word “natural” from all their marketing after getting slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority … but that’s another story for another day, not to mention Pret selling mouldy food with rat dropping on in 2022, while claiming to “freshly make” years after 2 csutomers died and over 20 got injured which Pret all ignored until it got public, and keep getting away with …

»And when your sun goes down, you’ll know, you’re like everybody else you know.« – Whitey

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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.

Denial & Tactics of a die-hard Pret Fan

Subtitle: When a Pret fan is overwhelmed.

I really don’t want to waste a blog post on this guy, but it’s important to show how some people want to be in denial, go against whistleblowers and try all sorts of “tactics” to deny that they don’t care about customer deaths and staff exploitation.

I responded to a tweet that has now been deleted by a Pret customer in Switzerland about Pret opening a new shop there. The person, who on his profile had “Journalist” as well as “Media Personality” stated, said “finally some good sandwiches”.

I replied with a tip to be cautious regarding the “good” sandwiches and posted my blog post with customer complaints on mouldy food etc. all with photo evidence. He then replied with the TYPICAL set of tweets that die-hard Pret fans do. It later turned into silly and also nasty gaslighting, lying, getting his tweets switched that I couldn’t reply anymore.

My response to his now deleted tweet with English translation underneath:

Link

The others who are tweeted in either remained silent or encouraged him to ignore me. Cancel culture as well as enabling behaviour by the book.

Mould, stale bread, rat poo, bugs, flies, hair,plastic in food with photo evidence:

Denial or Tactic #1 – Never happened to “ME”, therefore the problem doesn’t exist:

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“Never happened to me in London” – translated = therefore this problem doesn’t exist (and I don’t care that customers died, and Pret having ignoring it).

My responses are to show further evidence and sharing that in my 10 years in Pret KNOWING Pret from behind the scenes including senior leadership and CEOs, that I’ve seen a lot in Pret. I also link to the customer deaths and so on.

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My tweets can just be followed from above link.

I then tease him saying that he probably doesn’t want Pret to get bad press with all the things I link him to, to which he responds:

Link

I then apologize, which was the mistake, because since then he kept accusing me of offending or attacking him in hopes I would fall for his cheap gaslighting.

The Google translate doesn’t translate well here, I basically said “Of course (not assuming anything). Apoloogies.” etc.

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Link

Tactic #2 – This is not under Pret but under a franchise, therefore not Pret’s fault:

“The branches in Switzerland do not run directly under Pret. But as a franchise company.” = It’s not Pret that fuck up like this, but franchises! 😀

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Link

To which I explain again that 1. Pret’s name is still on franchises and Pret THEMSELVES have and continue to screw up in London, UK where Pret are head quartered. And that Pret themselves have ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before it got public. I worked at Pret when people died and wasn’t even told, despite my responsibility having been health & safety.

So, I link him to the two customer deaths in the news on YouTube to have a VISUAL bringing it closer to him, as he is also a father:

Tactic #3Sure it’s bad but this would never happen in Switzerland.

“yes bad Clearly. Here in Switzerland, everything is declared everywhere.” = Yes, bad, but that happened way over there in the UK, HERE in perfect Switzerland we have strict food standards.

Link

To which I pointed him AGAIN to a recent customer video from BERLIN, Germany where there are also strict food safety laws, and the video showed how stale the bread is.

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Link to tweet with video.

I also explained that mouldy food continues to happen in the UK as well as MISLABELLED products where Pret are now breaking the LAW, “Natasha’s Law”.

End of correspondence.

I already packed this tweet exchange away into the past and moved on, when he tweeted the next day a German news article about a woman having bitten into a mouldy McDonald’s product. He now deleted this tweet also, like he deleted his initial “fan” tweet about “good sandwiches” in Pret. But here are my responses to his ridiculous McD comparison.

Tactic #4 It’s not only Pret, it’s also other businesses, therefore this is “normal” in large chains:

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Link

Tactic #5Continued gaslighting accusing me of offending and attacking him in hopes I become insecure, while it is HIM that’s insecure like heck:

Just follow the links and click translate otherwise the post gets too long.

I kept asking him to give precise examples where I offended or attacked him. That didn’t come. And by then he could have just blocked me. But instead he switched his replies to me so that I couldn’t reply anymore, while he kept tweeting at me. Very nasty, cowardly and childish behaviour by an adult “journalist” and “media personality” from Switzerland.

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Tactic #6 – SEVERAL things: He deleted information, was embarrassed to behave so poorly while a journalist, then lied he never claimed to be a journo.

DELETED “Journalist” off his profile after I addressed him as a journalist having seen his claim on his profile and asked him to not take things personal. He then lied that he never claimed to have been a journalist and asks me to check his profile where he just deleted “Journalist”. I pointed out to him that I already checked it and that he deleted it off his profile. He now added it again, see screenshots.

What a creep!

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1. Journalist:

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2. The “Journalist” deleted:

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3. Then “Journalist” added again:

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Tactic #7 – Playing dumb asking if I was a bot:

This is then when he started to make all his replies to me “non-repliable” anymore (I just made up that word 😉 ), but he continued to tweet at me. I then blocked him to which he blocked as well. He said that I am an Aldi fan because I gave a metaphor on Aldi vs Lidl to explain his ridiculous comparison between McDonald’s and Pret. I explained that Pret claimed to be fresh and wholesome which McDonald’s never claimed, and that the whole world knows how bad McD is. But Pret was successful in fooling the public for decades.

He then tried to trick me with the Aldi example and then I couldn’t reply anymore. But I replied later via my other account after screenshot some of his tweets before he deleted.

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Unable to reply to his tweets:

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His behaviour is a typical bullying behaviour by the book. And he is enabled by others who pad him on the back.

Tactic #8 – Playing dumb again:

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He received tons of information about my own story as well as customer fatalities and injuries, staff exploitation etc., yet he pretends to not understand what all this was about. Then he deletes his initial tweet and the McDonald’s tweet as he was caught out being indifferent and doesn’t want to be seen as a journalist who is a big fan of Pret.

In a nutshell, this guy was shocked and impressed to have come across so much evidence in how bad Pret really are. Many people respond negatively because they feel shocked and called out to have fallen for Pret. He was so occupied with it that he tweeted the McDonald’s mould issue to me the next day where I was already finished and done with this feed.

But I always respond to anyone and then move on. And I don’t really want to waste a blog post on him, but want to show how SLICK gaslighting, lying, deleting, accusing etc. works in cancel culture.

It’s a shame, because I am more disappointed of people claiming to be journalists than the average Joe who rants on social media.

The last time I came across such a toxic, gaslighting, cowardly person with lofty claims was literally the top Pret senior leadership team. This Gerry guy cowardly switched his tweets so I can’t respond anymore, but kept tweeting at me while I couldn’t respond. Then I blocked him, which I rarely do, so that he can’t continue to tweet while I can’t respond.

I then tweeted my response to him via my other account and now write this blog post and pass this on to his journalism buddies because his and my correspondence are public.

This was TYPICAL denial, cancel culture, trying to manipulate JUST because the person did not want to look objectively at what I presented as huge evidence including customer pictures, news articles, my own experience. THE worst thing that can happen that customers died and Pret IGNORED it has NO meaning to this Gerry guy and his friends. They are bystanders, onlookers and enablers who don’t care except if this would happen to them. Very sad.

And by all means, mute or block me, but to “silence” me and then keep tweeting at me where I can’t respond is COWARDLY. And this is why I call this guy out now.

If this Gerry guy says anything “positive” about his encounter with me in the future, stay away, be cautious, he has lied and played his tricks like an insecure yes-man.

Oh, und Gerry, guck mal wer alles von Twitter weggerannt ist nachdem ich getweeted hab 😉

Du hast noch sehr, sehr viel zu lernen was Pret A Manger betrifft, und ich habe dich jetzt angespornt Pret zu helfen deren Fassade aufrecht zu halten. Ran an die Arbeit, Gerry! Put your name to Pret and STAND behind everything they do, with your name.

I chased Pret RE-founder Julian Metalfe, former Pret CEO Clive Schlee and current CEO Pano Christou off Twitter. And Julian Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book. Link in the YouTube description.

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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.

.
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.

Lose, Loss, Lost …

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I tend to write long blog posts to cover all the basis possible. And I could write the longest blog post yet about loss, but I don’t know where this would go. I have had losses, disappointments, betrayals in my life, like we all have. It’s what makes life a bitch. But I have not known how loss can be a string of things for a long time.

I have yet to speak, either on my podcast or here on my blog, about details regarding my brother’s death. I touched on it here and there but still can’t go into it for fear it would spiral me again into the deepest darkness again. This out-of-control feeling that if there is a hell, this must be part of it, an endless falling into a dark bottomless pit.

I never knew that when you lose a close person, a family member, anyone close to you, that this is the catalyst of many other losses. I heard about it that a loss of a child breaks up a family and the parents often end up divorcing.

For anyone new to my blog or story, I learnt in January 2015 that my brother died 5 weeks prior and was already cremated when we learnt of it. To top it up, I learnt this via an EMAIL! This is how far I can go at this moment, as I can’t cope to go into detail how everything unfolded without falling into this pit again.

To top it up further, I was bullied during this traumatic period of shock and grief in and by Pret A Manger management under the watchful eye of HR and later patronised by former CEO Clive Schlee. I explain this in greater detail on my podcast “expretcast” in 3 episodes. In the audio player on the bottom of this page I didn’t go into the detail of it, but on my podcast with greater hindsight I went to town detailing how Pret targeted me since the beginning.

Links:

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 1

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 2

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 3

Three years after my brother died I almost simultaneously lost my job and my dad within months of each other. Pret fired me days after my dad came out of a three-week coma, knowing he was in intensive care. In hindsight, losing a sh!tty job at Pret is nothing to be mourned about. Pret’s head of HR David Carter made me 3 offers of money if I resign, sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to never speak about my ordeal or go to court. I declined the “offer” and was fired. Later when I withdrew my court case against Pret as my dad died, I was made a fourth offer which is normal when withdrawing a tribunal case. I also declined as I didn’t want to lose my voice to speak out what happened.

In-between all this I lost a lot of friends pretty much from the first year as in our society death and loss is still a taboo, as if this would never happen to anyone.

Three years after my dad died my mum died. She died during second lockdown in Germany while I was stuck in London. I couldn’t bury her. Another loss I can’t go into at this time as I can’t cope. I made so many videos of and with my mum when she was still living in her house as I don’t have ANY video of my brother and still regret having deleted all his voice mails from years ago. I still have this problem that I clean up my phone very fast and don’t keep much. That’s why I kept my mum’s voice mails and made videos. But I still can’t look at the videos, even though I assumed I would devour them once she dies. But I can’t look at them at the moment.

Recently a long-time friend died in the USA where I lived for a few years. I didn’t expect to be thrust into a new darkness, as I haven’t seen him since 2013, and only sporadically had email conversations with his wife in-between the years. He was a rare gem of a man who don’t come around much, and I am broken for his wife, who’s equally a gem. I’ve never met a couple like them, which the world needs more of.

I lost my mind, my mental health is screwed up. I was overweight and lost 35-40kg within a year. The first 25kg I lost in the first 6 months after the news of my brother’s death. I had to go shopping 3 or 4 times for clothes as I kept losing weight, never anticipating to “shrink” so fast. EVERYTHING I had to buy new in smaller sizes except socks and shoes.

Some say that this is a good thing that came out of the loss of my brother. Sure, in a certain way there are always “good” things that can come from trauma and loss. But the weight loss was so rapid, as I couldn’t eat, even though I had free lunch food at Pret, that it brought upon other health issues. Rapid weight loss isn’t healthy either. I am grateful I rather lost than gained weight, as my dad was the total opposite. After my brother’s death, he gained weight and comfort ate while I couldn’t even swallow. But yes, having gone back to my original weight I grew up with is a plus as I can walk up stairs without pain in my joints and shortness of breath. Or I can buy clothes again whereas while overweight rarely found what I liked in my size. But I’d rather weigh like an elephant and have my brother back.

I lost support. I lost opportunities. I am a few steps closer to understand how people can lose their homes and end up on the street due to alcohol or drug issues after a traumatic experience.

I still struggle with drinking although it has become much better.

Receiving the news of my brother’s death via email and then also being bullied in Pret by a line manager via group emails, as well as Lila Warren who was tasked to give me a disciplinary for emailing Pret so much, she then later ALSO started to communicate with me via text message and email in private for which she disciplined me in the first place. has fucked me up so much that I started to write thousands upon thousands of emails to EVERYBODY! I also struggle then when I tweet sh!t to people while drunk.

There is no excuse, I looked into getting a time-lock safe but haven’t gotten it yet. That’s completely my fault and responsibility.

I have almost lost my life in close calls to jump … and know we will all lose our lives one day.

I still want to look into researching and maybe writing about our society’s and culture’s approach to death, loss and grief. I have experienced so much sh!t in the last 7+ years that I don’t know which book to write first or if to write a series of books combining a lot of the things I went through. But I’m tired of writing.

I called into a BBC radio show in the early morning of Christmas Day 2019 where I briefly touched on how we in our society today handle grief and loss. Of course now since the pandemic and more wars this subject has become more “accessible”, and even on the radio I hear more and more that this theme is popping up.

In my experiences the last 7 years I have sabotaged a lot of opportunities and friendships. Apart from PTSD, I also think I do this partly out of guilt not having responded to my brother’s email which ended up being his last. Why should I have a good life while he is dead is the emotion I often felt. Sibling survivor guilt, fear of losing friends again when a tragedy hit. The friends that left me hang early on, I didn’t deserve it. But I deserve it now. I push everyone away now so I have nothing left to lose.

As I said, screwed up. And before you judge, check my podcast episode on my NHS mental health service ordeal. I asked at one point if I have some form of autism, and a brief questionaire was started by a psychologist where it was mentioned that I cover some points, but no further assessment. I gave up.

In a nutshell, one major loss is often the catalyst of a string of losses, it certainly was in my case. And where this goes from here, I’m not concerned anymore.

And again, my apologies to all and everyone I offended, hurt and upset. After such a long time, I have no excuse.

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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.

.
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 – “Corporate Mafia Company”

I start my post with the following concern:

As if Pret A Manger need more customers to die and get injured.

5 years after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died and 4 years after Celia Marsh died:

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Link

I explain on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02 and Allergy Trial as part 3 why Pret was and continues to NOT care. Please pay attention to a particular Barbican Centre seminar I mention.

From the bottome up: Part 01, Part 02, Allergy Trial 03

More customers and the public have and still are realizing now how bad Pret really are. I refer to Pret as plural, not singular (Pret are vs Pret is), because there is a core group of people behind this company who detached themselves from the suffering of shops and workers. And this detachment affects customers.

A recent Facebook comment in July 2022 to one of Pret’s posts says it all:

Link

For people and audio reading programs who can’t read screenshots, a person commented to Pret, quote: »So glad you haven’t managed to pollute the Middle East with your corporate mafia company.« End of quote.

Pret is also increasingly getting bad press since more journalists seem to wake up now instead of doing free advertising for Pret with all the “slimey” articles. I talk about it on my podcast episode: Pret CEO Pano Christou’s 2021 pay-rise & millions in bonus after cutting staff pay.

When I first started writing publicly about Pret in May 2018, even before the two customer deaths became public later that year, I discovered Glassdoor and Indeed review websites that I didn’t even know about while working in Pret. I couldn’t believe my eyes in how blunt and angry some reviewers wrote about Pret because I experienced the same, if not worse.

I became obsessed and sieved through Glassdoor, Indeed and the Internet in general, on a search for others who know Pret as a toxic company that fooled the public for decades with a caring and ethical facade, while the total opposite is the case.

My all-time favourite former customer tweet that needs no further explanation:

Link to @betty_de_brazil’s tweet where she responded to customers’ call to boycott Pret after Pret made temporary pay cuts permanent.

In 2018 there was hardly any critique from customers. But I became obsessed with staff reviews and wrote a DAILY “Quote of the Day” with a chosen review I found. I expanded on the reviews, explaining what the reviewer means. I now stopped since 2019, and rarely check reviews anymore as I’ve made my point now!

But a few reviews I found from recently which I want to put here, as work conditions have worsened to an unbelievable level of carelessness by Pret and current CEO Pano Christou. Pret delayed paying staff TWICE this year under bogus excuses, the second time during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend knowing that the public would be distracted and banks closed on bank holiday Monday.

One staff on Instagram in early June 2022 after Pret delayed paying them announced to sabotage Pret by reducing food and service quality.

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The result of this AND of hugely understaffed and stressed shops becomes more and more visible. This mouldy sandwich was posted just two days ago:

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And many more complaints.

Food quality has decreased a great deal already during the pandemic with customers flocking to social media posting photos of mouldy sandwiches, even rat dropping on a baguette. Reports on food poisoning has also increased. The latest even from today 01. August 2022. I posted more photos on Pret food is not fresh. Check the dates of the posts.

Not only are shop managers pressured to cut labour, sending staff home when there’s a hint of a quiet time, leaving whoever is left to work in shops completely overstretched and exhausted. In the meantime CEO Pano Christou cut their pay so he and shareholders can get a raise and millions in bonus. So, staff morale is low. Workers cut corners to try and resist the slavery-type bullying to work harder and faster for less. Working overtime without pay has also been a big thing in Pret even before Covid. Wage theft is also huge in Pret from own experience and also from two class action lawsuits Pret settled in New York, repaying 4000 workers. I write about this in Wage Theft in Pret. But in the UK the legal system is different and often in favour of companies rather than poor workers.

I will post some recent review at the bottom of this page and want to just as briefly as possible (yeah right!) explain Pret’s mentality.

From my interactions with current CEO Pano Christou and what I read in his emails to shops when he was UK Managing Director under then CEO Clive Schlee, I perceived Pano NOT as a leader. Pano came from McDonald’s management, and for a while until I kept pointing it out on social media, has always said to the press that he started on the shop floor. This of course gives the impression to the public that he started at the bottom. But far from it! So, I keep calling out Pret’s bullsh!t.

While he started in shops alright, he actually started in position number 4 as an assistant manager (AM) with higher pay, more bonus, more perks, paid travel to fancy places with other management, quarter briefs with galas, free fancy food and booze etc. etc. One of the perks he got that all staff who move into management get, even assistant manager roles, is £500 from Pret to go shopping for business attire which they can keep. And then assistant managers and shop general managers (GMs) get £50 EVERY month for the dry cleaners. This may have changed since the pandemic, but I’m talking about the “rich” years in Pret. I write extensively about these perks and the difference of assistant management to team members in Pano Christou’s Rags to Riches Story.

Since I kept pointing this out, he now at least says that he started as an AM.

Pano was for years Clive Schlee’s shadow. All I saw of him in my 10 years in Pret was when he accompanied Clive to shops, silently standing next to or behind Clive. And the only correspondence I saw was when Pano kept writing weekly or monthly emails to shops in how much money Pret made, especially when Pret reached a new million pound mark. And he also wrote emails to shops to announce when a shop closed.

Those emails where the most ridiculous emails I’ve read from anyone in Pret’s leadership teams. Especially when I was bereaved and traumatized. I was a team leader and would sit in the office in the afternoon to do the ordering of stock or cash up tills when I saw an email from Pano come in starting with the words: »Dear shops … it is with great sadness that I have to announce …«

Reading just the first few words, panic overcame me and my heart stopped thinking, “who died?!” And then the sentence continued: »it is with great sadness that I have to announce that (such-and-such a) shop is closing down due to (whatever) reason …«

I had these mixed emotions of anger and complete ridiculous shock that he spoke about the closure of a shop as if someone died, and as if we low-wage overworked staff even cared! Of course part of my panic was also because I received the news of my brother’s death via an email! So, I was constantly on the edge about emails and bad news. But I didn’t give a toss if Pret made another million mark or closed a shop because we were treated like dirt and bullied. I didn’t care if shops closed or how much money Pret made. I had NOTHING from this except manager after manager and OPs managers cheating me out of hours, money and break promises.

On 01. July 2019 Pano Christou, who was then still the Chief Operations Officer, closed his Twitter account after I tweeted Clive Schlee’s retirement to the press, also pointing to Pano’s Twitter account. And Pano was the only Pret executive who blocked me. His former Twitter handle has been taken on by another Pano Christou from Canada a few months later.

The COO role by the way didn’t exist before and after as it was just a stepping stone for Pano to go from UK Managing Director (2018) to CEO (2019).

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Pano has his head in the sand with the current issues, despite increasing complaints on mouldy food, bad press, more staff speaking out etc. It’s like he feels invincible after Pret got away with so much, especially TWO customers having died and dozen plus injured.

Clive Schlee was more “attentive” to reputation issues. He bullsh!tted the public and staff as well, but he was more active in bullsh!tting everyone, while Pano put his head in the sand, “hides” on Linkedin and enjoys other business people kissing his butt all day long, telling him how awesome he is in Linkedin’s typical toxic positivity way. Pret also has a lot of favour and support by some journalists like Harry Wallop from the “independent” newspaper The Guardian, which I explain in above podcast episode I linked to.

Pano is used that Pret keep getting out of trouble, no matter how bad it gets. He is either delusional or really doesn’t care, but he certainly is not a leader.

Clive left with this legacy from staff:

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A customer on Twitter pointed out that Pano upon becoming CEO in September 2019 has work cut out for him. Pret then let Pano take over the Glassdoor CEO spot in July 2019 despite him becoming CEO in September 2019. Clive didn’t want any more poor scores I guess.

In August 2022 Pano continues the trend with staff:

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Staff review and also email me saying work conditions have become beyond bearable. I know how hard it is to work at Pret. It was already horrific in my time, long before the pandemic. But I can’t even imagine how it is now! And this is not to be excused with Brexit or Covid.

  • Skimming customers out of money in many ways like via the coffee subscription, apps, deals that Pret don’t honour under bogus “technical issues”;
    Placing donation devices very closely next to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidentally donate £5 to Pret’s “charity” (charity = tax breaks and brownie points with the public);
    Not serving complimentary items any more,
    Decreased product size
    etc. etc.
  • Under-staffing (has always been done, but is much, much worse now)
  • Resulting in longer queues and frustrated customers who let it out on the low-wage workers who are at breaking point while Pano Christou smiles to the bank
  • More work while still expecting the same and higher standards, and expecting high financial results
  • Ongoing bullying
  • Ongoing wage theft, delayed pay, cutting hours, not paying hours worked for
  • Leadership non-existent
  • HR don’t care (that’s a no-brainer after what I’ve been through)
  • Poor food and hygiene standards (mouldy food, pest issues, dirty shops etc.) due to lack of staff and
  • Low morale
  • It’s each to their own to survive
  • And so on …

I say it again, Pano Christou is NOT a leader. He is stuck in the old Pret way that has shown him that Pret get away with ANY- and EVERYTHING.

After what I survived in Pret with direct contact to the top leadership, Clive Schlee, HR, HQ personnel, Pret’s lies, cheats, theft etc. I FIRMLY believe Pret, as in the core group of Pret’s leadership team like Pano Christou, Andrea Wareham and David Carter from HR and a handful of others who worked there many years for high pay, they are a clique of overpaid executives who run Pret like an organization which to me does indeed resemble like a mafia organization that a person on Facebook pointed out to Pret.

It’s all about the few at the top getting the biggest cut of the cake while abandoning the “slaves” on the front-lines who make all this happen but break at the end of the day. And it shows a great deal of the arrogance of Pano and the executive team to KNOW about all the suffering and appalling food safety issues from social media posts and news articles, but continue to drain employees AND customers.

A really good tweet just from today that made my day knowing that more and more people are aware of how abusive Pret are:

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Some recent staff reviews I find noteworthy to mention here.

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Link to Indeed review.

Link to Glassdoor review.

This is review is worth quoting in full:

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Title: Company of hell

Pros
Company from hell where lying is the key to their marketing strategy.

Cons
Managers shout at us, cleanliness is non-existent, no recycling, expired food in the fridges, stress all the time.

Advice to Management
Shut down your modern slave factories where you rely on green washing to attract consumers! You are not a healthy company!«

End of quote. I underline every single word 150 million percent! And I cannot explain how many times I have literally cried when I was contacted by staff in despair telling me that Pret delayed pay again, or do cuts here and there, how broken down workers are who are still forced to pretend a happiness or not get mystery shopper bonus. And whatever else they write.

I have many regrets in life, have made many mistakes, but it is safe to say that is it hands down by miles my biggest regret having worked in this horrible company!

For more reviews, please just scroll through Glassdoor and Indeed yourself and also check my front home page.

To end this long blog post, I post again here what made my day when Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha had some stern words for Pret and called on her 500K+ Instagram followers to boycott Pret. I still tear up when I watch this as not many celebrities would speak out on behalf of low-wage workers.

Unfortunately her words fell on deaf ears with Pret. After this video keep playing to see how I chased itsu founder and Pret RE-founder Julian Metcalfe and Pret executives off Twitter. An anonymous person sent me the info that Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book after the person saw my YouTube slide with Metcalfe’s deleted tweets, which I screen grabbed before he deleted. Metcalfe kept retweeting my tweets, but someone from Pret must have warned him who I am, he then deleted his tweets and Twitter account, but not before I screenshot most of it.

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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’s “Freshly Made” Brainwash

How Pret continue to do false advertising.

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Also Los Angeles and other places outside the UK:

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And many, many more. Pret also always want people to DM to lure their data from them for future marketing, and then make it hard to unsubscribe from emails.

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Some products Pret have ALWAYS for years prepared the day before, NOT “freshly made”, like the honey yoghurt, birchler muesli and berry yoghurt pots/bowls. A team member closing/cleaning the kitchen in the afternoon would also prepare the berry bowls with yoghrurt into the plastic bowls, put clingfilm over it and place into the fridge overnight. The next morning a team member would just put the granola on top. The granola wouldn’t be put on the night before as it would be soggy by the next morning. Bottom line, the berry or honey is already in the bowl with the yoghurt the day before sales. NOT “freshly prepared”. This is why sometimes there is a watery texture in the honey pot as the yoghurt “separates” from the honey over night.

And Pret now prepare many other items the day or days before, as seen below.

Any food issues, food poisoning, pest issues and now mislabelling can be reported directly to the government via:

https://www.food.gov.uk/contact/consumers/report-problem

Upfront to any regular customer in Pret who SEES how Pret UNDERSTAFF shops even before the pandemic (1 person on coffee, 2-3 on tills in the morning, queue out the door, 3-4 people in the kitchen etc.) where staff are BURNT OUT. Many shops now open later and close earlier than advertised, due to many staff leaving and whoever stays behind is left completely exhausted …. All this after Pret cut wages and CEO Pano Christou got a payrise and millions in bonus. HOW do you think these burnt-out and disheartened low-wage staff, who are forced to smile for bonus, can keep up with hygiene and health & safety practices? Not to mention correct labelling after 2 customers died and 20+ got injured that Pret all ignored before it got public? Tell me how?! And you STILL fall for the “freshly made” lie!

Before customers died and got injured, people were oblivious to Pret’s poor practices and TRUSTED Pret because former CEO Clive Schlee and current CEO Pano Christou and the executive team were successful for years to sweet-talk the public with their wholesome slogans. Now it’s not just more common knowledge how bad Pret really are, but with below EVIDENCE, you have NO reason to believe that Pret’s food is “freshly made” nor fresh! Pret and their enablers in the PR and business world repeat over and over and over and over again, like a cultish mantra, the lie of “fresh” and “freshly made” food to keep brainwahing the public.

If a company understaffs to maximize profit and treat their staff like the dirt on their feet, it WILL come back to customers and endanger people’s health and very lives. And food.gov.uk and the media close their eyes because I’m “just a disgruntled former employee with an axe to grind”. Well, you’ve been warned.

I write so blunt because I was a team leader responsible for health and safety, and I took that very seriously. And here are the Pret executive team having a laugh to the bank on the backs of workers and the health of customers. I speak about this extensively, how it REALLY works behind the scenes on my podcast.

As Pret continue to mislabel their food and mix up ingredients, they are now breaking the law, “Natasha’s Law” whereas before they kept getting off the hook as there was no law.

Pret are known for their fairy-tale slogans, some which they removed now. Since I expose Pret from 2018 on, calling Pret out on their lies and fake slogans, they removed at least one that I know of and which has always gotten on my nerves.

Former CEO Clive Schlee was very good in fooling customers and staff alike. The slogan “Lovingly handmade in this shop today” was always a sore sight for me when I stocked up the fridges in Pret, seeing this bullsh!t, but experiencing every day that NOTHING is “lovingly” made, nor is it “made” but it’s just “assembled”. We staff were pushed and pressured to work at a high pace without being able to just breathe. I point out Pret’s systemic bullying culture. And since the pandemic it’s much much worse to regain profit!

Unrealistic targets are set on purpose that staff simply cannot fulfill the time given to assemble sandwiches. So, they’re manipulated and pressured to work extra time for free as they’re told they weren’t fast enough, while in reality they work at a super fast speed which results in neglecting health and safety, and hygiene issues.

On the “freshly made/prepared” brainwash, it’s Pret’s typical slogan where they applied psychology like all companies do, knowing how we humans think. It’s the same with the lie that Pret’s food is “natural” and Pret were then ordered to remove the word “natural” from all their marketing as their food is loaded with the “obscure chemicals” Pret claimed to not have.

You can safely say that 9 out of 10 times all the slogans on Pret’s walls and marketing is the complete opposite. It’s the same with the “happy” facade and all the smiles that are enforced by very strict weekly mystery shopper visits. If ONE staff member doesn’t smile, the whole team can get penalized by not getting bonus. More on Pret’s psychological abusive mystery shopper scheme with excerpts of mystery shopper reports via YouTube: Smile for the “Misery” Shopper.

As more and more customers wake up to the reality of Pret, many who started boycotting Pret when they learnt how Pret cut wages etc. My alltime favourite tweet regarding Pret is:

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I couldn’t have said it any better after all the bullying, lies, brainwash from Pret.

UPDATE 26.01.2023

Would you like some fleecy hair with your baguette?

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Link to Tweet.

Pret’s sign used to be: “Organic Coffee – Natural Food”. The sign was created in such a way that we in the Western world who read from left to right, and top down, that we read “organic food”. But Pret didn’t claim that the food is organic, just “natural”. And I question Pret’s claim to do organic coffee as their coffee is so cheap and Pret stopped doing fair-trade coffee since a few years now.

There are countless complaints since years on Pret’s coffee, at one point Pret was even named “worst coffee shop” as their coffee tastes like “charcoal”. I worked in many restaurants and coffee companies, Pret’s coffee beans are by far the most oiliest beans I’ve ever seen! I often got stomach cramps from the coffee that I switched to tea. And I love coffee!

Some of many complaints I summarized on YouTube:

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After being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to remove the word “natural” from Pret’s marketing, Pret exchanged the slogan from “Organic Coffee – Natural Food” to “Organic Coffee – Freshly Made Food”.

Former Pret CEO Clive Schlee said in an interview that his wife would always say to him, »Any damn fool can run Pret«. Well, that seems obvious. And any damn fool can also ruin it.

I therefore redid Pret’s sign with a more realistic logo and write about Pret’s “natural” claim in Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat.

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So, we think that Pret’s food is fresh, but Pret never claims that, they claim that it is “freshly prepared”. But that’s also not always true as you will see in the below customer complaints and pictures of mouldy food. Pret now carry over sandwiches from previous day(s) while claiming to donate leftover food each night to charity with another of their slogan “made today, gone today”.

And even the food donation isn’t fully true, as a lot of food is wasted every day. I write about this in Pret’s Food Waste with pictures of food in the streets and my own experience of having had to waste countless large bin bags of food for many years.

Before I get to some of the many complaints on mouldy food, here just a few of many complaints on stale food from over a decade ago:

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I already wrote a post about how Pret “stretch expiry dates” which they’ve always done.

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Link to June 2022 Tweet.

Link to September 2021 Tweet.

Link to April 2022 Tweet.

etc. etc. etc.

For more pictures of mouldy food, even food with rat droppings on please see Pret’s Food Isn’t Fresh.

Pret also now freeze soups and other products. A former Pret staff already told me 2 years ago via Facebook messenger.

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It is no surprise that Pret cannot be reached. Pret fired many, I’m sure the social media staff is also downsized. This soup sounds like it’s been re-heated 3-4 + times already. Again, keep in mind that Pret soups/porridge are cooked in factories and just re-heated in shops.

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“Odd” tasting soup:

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UPDATE Feb. 2023

It’s kind of weird that an Evening Standard journalist can’t find contact details for Pret. But maybe out of shock people incl. journos just at first want to call out Pret on social media, as many know that I have an eye on Pret issues:

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Also, I have to find the DM and screenshot of another Pret staff who contacted me in 2021 with the following:

“Pret have started keeping their food overnight and selling it the next day. Considering they’ve built their entire brand on the Freshly Made slogan it’s very misleading. They’ve also slowly started removing all the freshly prepared signs from their stores hoping no one finds out.”

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For more pictures of mouldy food, even food with rat droppings on please see Pret’s Food Isn’t Fresh.

And for many pictures of mislabelling, as well as mixed up ingredients (dairy Bircher Muesli made with mayonnaise) even after TWO customers died and over 20 got injured which Pret all ignored until it got public, please see: Vegans and Vegetarians Eat Meat in Pret.

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Freshly Prepared versus Fresh

You can simply “freshly prepare” a sandwich or salad with stale bread and mouldy cheese. It’s freshly prepared, but not fresh. And now, sandwiches etc. are carried over to the next day(s), so even the “freshly prepared” slogan isn’t always true and false advertising. That’s why I also advise for people to be careful with hot food like toasties where you won’t easily see when the cheese is mouldy or the bread stale. Once it’s heated up, ingredients just melt and stick into each other.

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And soups in Pret are often reheated 3-4 times to save money on waste. If there’s a bag of soup left in the “marinator” (water-bath) at the end of the day, the staff are supposed to throw it away for safety reasons as the soup by that time will have been heated up for the 2. time (first cooked in the factory, then reheated in the shop).

But to save money, staff cheat under pressure from management, take the hot soup bag out of the marinator, let it cool down and then place it back in the kitchen fridge. The next day or two days after, it’s reheated for the 3. time, at times even repeated for the 4th time.

And now, since Pret want money after the pandemic losses, they even SELL cooled down hot food like soups, croissants etc. via the Too Good To Go app under Pret’s charity umbrella (tax breaks). Pret with the help of TGTG sell end of day food under the charity umbrella (tax breaks and brownie points with the public).

Before the pandemic, Pret had the STRICT rule for us NOT to give even for free hot food at the end of the day for safety reasons. Not they SELL it! This means, by the time a customer buys it for cheaper via the TGTG app, they will reheat the soup at home or in the office in the microwave for at least a 3rd time, often 4th or 5th time.

When I was a team leader handing out food to the charity volunteers who picked up food after closing time, I got in trouble by management for giving soups and other hot (cooled down) items to charity. Since getting told off, I then never gave any high risk food to charity, no matter how much they asked for it. I only gave them a hot item to choose from if the charity worker ate it then and there in the shop while it was stillsomewhat warm, but explained to not take it with them. While I put their food together, made them a hot frink and they enjoyed the food in the shop after closing time while we were cleaning up. But now when Pret want money, they do everything they can to get a penny. Health and safety out the window.

Where before Pret wouldn’t even give it for FREE, they sell it now cheaper, risking health and safety of customers. What do we expect when a company gets away with 2 customer deaths and over 20 injuries we know of.

When I called Pret and TGTG out on this, TGTG blocked me.

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So far to health and safety, and transparency.

Chefs versus Sandwich Makers

When Pret run out of an item, they just place a sign into the fridge saying “Chefs at work” to imply that there are chefs/cooks in Pret’s kitchens, while they’re “just” sandwich makers who ASSEMBLE sandwiches/salads etc. from factory ready cooked produce, hence: prêt à manger / ready to eat.

The only products that are not ready cooked in factories are the frozen baguettes, cookies and croissants that are up to a year old (not fresh) and then just baked in ovens from their frozen state.

The other raw item that is delivered every morning, and god knows how old, is the raw egg mix that comes in Tetra Paks and are then just poured into paper trays and cooked in the oven for the bacon butties. Same with bacon, it’s just cooked on baking trays in the ovens.

No Pots and Pans in Pret’s Kitchens

Soups and porridge are also cooked in factories, delivered in bags that contain 6 cups per bag. These bags are then just reheated in water-baths or microwaves. The hot chef, or whoever starts in the morning first thing switches all the machines on (coffee machines, ovens, “marinator”/water-bath) to preheat. Porridge bags and some soup bags are put into the water bath which takes a good 40-60 minutes to heat up, ready for breakfast (porridge) and lunch (soups).

If around lunchtime a shop either runs out of soup or didn’t put enough soup bags into the marinator, they just pour a bag of cold (factory ready cooked) soup bags into a container and heat up for 8 minutes in the microwave.

I was told by a former staff that Pret now freeze their soups to extend the expiry date. Does all this sound “freshly made” or fresh to you? The private message on this is found here: Pret Staff Tested Positive For Covid (And Pret did Nothing).

In a nutshell, Pret “freshly prepare” their food the same way we do at home. We buy bread, ham, cheese, ready-boiled eggs that come in water/brine, tomatoes etc. We put all the ready cooked foods into our fridge, and two days later “freshly prepare” a ham and cheese sandwich topped with slices of ready-boiled eggs.

All the ingredients are several days to weeks old, and keep aging in our fridges.

Panera Bread, the chain mainly in the USA, which is also owned by JAB Holdings that own Pret, fired a staff for posting a video on social media explaining how Panera really do their Mac & Cheese, in water baths, just the way Pret do their soups and porridge.

Pret’s Mac & Cheese in my time 2018 was made from ready cooked pasta, then mixed with Bechamel, added in some ready-cooked cauliflower, bacon and cheese on top, and then heated in its paper packaging in the oven. But again, everything’s already factory cooked and then just assembled and re-heated.

Panera’s (frozen) Mac & Cheese preparation, same way Pret do their soups and porridge:

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Bon appétit.

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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

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:

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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.

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.

©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.

my wounds are not for you to see

If you want to know the epitome of a therapist, or the epitome of a true gentleman, or the epitome of a simple human being … I dare to believe that there a good human beings out there.

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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.

Bloomberg’s Pret Index & where rising Numbers REALLY come from

Days before the Queen’s platinum Jubilee weekend I was contacted by someone informing me that Pret delayed paying their lowest paid shop staff for the second time this year.

Cleverly using the bank holiday weekend knowing the press and the public would be distracted with the celebrations. I contacted journalists, including Sarah Butler from the Guardian. Actually, I emailed Pret’s CEO Pano Christou, openly copying in journalists and Ian Hodson from the BFAWU union whom Sarah later asked to comment. I included the info I was given as Pret staff always reach out to me with important issues, knowing I write about it and pass it on to the press.

Part of a DM I was sent and passed it on to the press:

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Shortly after, Sarah Butler reported on it, but of course it got drowned out in the news due to the Jubilee celebrations. Sarah Butler also reported on a strike action plan I tagged her in last year, and this started an uprising of customers who called for boycotts. But Pret being Pret, using the bank holiday weekend as people are distracted was a clever move. There was no uprising this time.

But I want to point to another reason why I believe that Pret used the Jubilee weekend to not pay staff on time. On 22.06.2022 I saw some info via Propel that Pret’s sales have risen, also during the Jubilee weekend.

Link

I am not business savvy and don’t understand business matters too well, but I know Pret very well. I know their mentality, their tricks, their sweet-talk in charity, the environment and safety issues versus how it is in reality.

I know that when there are systemic issues in a company, group or family, it always comes from the top, “the fish stinks from its head”.

For one, how can sales be up 88% to pre-pandemic levels when more and more customers boycott Pret, with many vowing to never set foot inside Pret again after learning how Pret exploit staff. Plus, shops have shorter opening times due to lack of staff. How do they throw around with figures like that?

How about a closer look?

I cannot count the number of times when manager after manager in shop after shop in my 10 years, in over 30 shops in Pret, “forgot” to pay me the odd hour here and there. The same with colleagues who would approach me as I was the team leader, complaining that the manager didn’t pay their full hours AGAIN. Often a new team member was too scared to speak to the moody or angry manager, so they came to me and I spoke to the manager on their behalf. But I also encouraged the colleague to not be afraid as they are not doing anything wrong, but the manager is!

I say with certainty that this was on purpose in shop after shop. This was especially clear when staff were sent home earlier then scheduled and managers QUICKLY adjusted the hours where staff worked less, but often “forgot” to adjust the hours in the system when staff worked longer than scheduled! Many staff don’t even check their hours and never notice that the odd hour or two hasn’t been paid, ESPECIALLY when they helped out in another shop for a day.

I kept a spreadsheet at home and marked it daily in my phone calendar how many hours I worked EACH day. Then I checked the pay and it was literally almost on a weekly basis that at least 15 minutes to an hour was missing.

Pret managers do this on purpose to not pay the odd 15 minutes to make the staff feel embarrassed to ask for the 15 minute pay. But after a while I DID demand to be paid to the minute as this became the rule rather than exception to “steal” pay/hours from us.

Do the math, if you are looking after a shop of 25 – 30 staff members, take an hour here and there from most of them every week. It is 20 – 30 hours every week that you profit from by “forgetting” to pay. It all adds up.

The same with last week’s pay. I myself have not been paid for a whole week when I left Pret. When a team member starts in Pret, they don’t get paid for the first week. They get the first week pay on the end of week two. And then when they leave, Pret forgets to pay it back.

Managers and assistant managers are on a monthly fixed payroll. But Pret exploit them as well by making them work overtime without extra pay.

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Link to Glassdoor review.

Shop managers are constantly pressured to produce numbers and reach targets. They cater to the area managers (operation managers OPs). OPs cater to head office and their heads. And CEO Pano Christou of course caters to owners JAB Holdings (Reimann family) and share holders.

The systemic and systematic issue of not paying staff their full hours worked is a huge issue in Pret, as it may be in many low-wage companies.

It was especially noticeable that managers “forgot” to pay when we neared the end of a quarter where managers and higher ups get their bonuses. Pret also has the “premiership” where shops compete for the top shop spot, being the #1 shop in all of Pret. I worked in shops where we became top shop, and often #2 and in the top 10. This of course means a sh!tload of bonus for managers and also regognition to be on the top.

Every quarter Pret holds a “quarter brief” where these shops are mentioned and where the CEO mentions specific managers. A gala is held and money blown out with expensive food and booze for the top people. while the lowest paid workers paid the price for it. Also, trips to Dubai, Paris, Las Vegas for managers and higher ups under the guise of “seminars” and team building while shop staff crumble.

The following review from New York is worth quoting outside the screenshot:

»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.«

In Europe they go to Paris or even Dubai.

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Link

In the USA people don’t mess around much and go straight to court, while in the UK and Europe the legal system is different, not as much in favour of plaintiffs. Most workers don’t even entertain the thought to raise a complicated and expensive lawsuit. So, they give up, bear under the burden or just leave.

Former CEO Clive Schlee left with this legacy:

And current CEO Pano Christou is continuing it:

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Twice in the USA Pret settled lawsuits for “wage theft” where Pret “shaved off” (rounded down) pay. Twice Pret repaid approximately 4000 workers a combined $1 million. More info: Wage Theft in Pret.

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Link

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Link

And speaking of “deal bonus” posted on Twitter by Clive Schlee, I write about the reason WHY Schlee made the £1000 bonus announcement to all staff back then. It came as a response after he was made aware of my blog in the eve of making this announcement. More info with proof: The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright “Idee”.

And now the Pret executives have become bolder, DIRECTLY taking from workers instead of before via the “middle-men” of OPs and shop managers. Pret now directly claim to have had “payroll error” delaying to pay staff.

Sarah Butler’s report after I contacted her and others:

Link

A payroll expert had this to say:

Link

McDonald’s had a 30% stake in Pret in the early 2000s for Pret to get their foot into the US market. Once in, they divorced their “marriage of convenience” shortly after. But this should have rung alarm bells for the press and public. Pret, who claim to be healthy and ethical hooking up with McDonald’s just leaves behind a bitter taste. And CEO Pano Chrsitou having come from McDonald’s, where he was a manager (started as an assistant manager in Pret with all the perks, NOT a low-wage team member), is now turning Pret further and further into a McDonald’s style business.

We all heard of horrifying instances where low-wage fast-food staff spit into customers’ food. I doubt a Pret staff would do that, BUT staff are now internally striking, literally striking back and sabotaging Pret from within.

From Instagram

Also, the same person:

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I explained later to above person that it DOES matter if Pret “only” delay pay for a day. Pret’s financial week starts on Fridays. Weekly staff are paid on Thursdays. So, paying staff 1 day late on a Friday means Pret has a new budget to work with to present better numbers of the previous week to JAB, shareholders and now the Pret Index. Just as I explained above that managers take an hour here and there, if a staff member notices this, the manager then repays it the following week. I had a sneaky manager put me on three day sick leave in the system, while I was only sick for two days. A full 7 hours were missing from my pay. He profusely apologized, but then asked me if he can repay 1 hour per week. I was new to Pret and naive and agreed! I should have demanded the full 7 hour pay then and there which Pret can do.

When I was off sick leave for 3 months during bereavement and the bullying environment, David Carter from HR met me to offer the first of 4 settlements if I sign an NDA. As I was off sick and without pay, I asked David to meet me at a cafe close to my home as I couldn’t afford the bus fare to HQ. David came and immediately took advantage of my financial struggles by offering me money in return for me to resign and sign an NDA. But to appear supportive in case of a court case later, he also offered me £300 as a good will gesture and gift. I smelled a rat but accepted the £300 gift. I didn’t want Pret to later say in court that they offered money but I rejected Pret’s offer of help and therefore have no grounds to sue them. Pret also paid for counselling but the bullying continued. After a year of no support and bullying, then having contacted the CEO, only then did some support come in while the bullying continued.

But later when I arrived home, within an hour, I had £300 in my bank account from Pret. Pret and companies in general CAN pay within minutes. This was in 2016 and David told me to take a while to think about the settlement offer which I later declined. Part of the email which he put into writing, I believe in case for court:

And yes, the funds appeared within an hour.

My former manager wanted to spread out the 7 hours pay over several weeks to reach targets. And this is what I mean regarding the Pret Index and using the end of a quarter or a specific event like the Queen’s Jubilee to delay pay.

And now even more than ever before, I fear for food safety. As if Pret need more customer deaths and injuries, shops serve expired, mouldy, stale food with insects, rat droppings, hair etc. Pret also keep mislabeling due to under-staffing and with it now break “Natasha’s Law” which was implemented in October 2021, five years after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from a baguette containing unlabelled sesame she was allergic to. The second customer, mother of 5, Celia Marsh died of dairy in a vegan wrap. And further dozen plus got injured over several years, including after the two deaths and Pret doing NOTHING until this became public.

Ongoing mislabeling of course is due to the extreme under-staffing which happened already before the pandemic. The pandemic just made everything worse and Pret, instead of putting on the brakes and rebuild the brand with QUALITY, they rush ahead with dodgy practices and aggressive expansion plans to please JAB and share-holders.

Blog link with more pictures of mouldy food than I used in the YouTube slide below: Pret Food is NOT Fresh. It all comes around full circle.

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After having received cash injections from JAB Holding (£185million) and shareholders (£100m and later again £200m) Pret are tasked to open 200 shops worldwide in the next 2 years.

Link

Bridgepoint bought Pret in 2008, I started in Pret mid 2008 and never even knew Pret. But since 2008 I noticed Pret shops popping up at every corner in London. Later I learnt that Bridgepoint tasked Pret to open 15 shops per year. Link to “Case Study“.

And I can tell you we FELT the SQUEEZE! Now, I don’t know Pret in any other way than being back-breaking work for little money. But I kept hearing in the early months of working at Pret that colleagues who worked pre-2008 kept saying Pret has become stricter, harder, more unfair etc.

And now, with JAB, the squeeze got even worse. Tasking Pret to open 200 shops in 2 years … good luck shop workers AND customers! Of course Pret moved more into franchising. But being desperate to please JAB and shareholders after the cash injection and the task to speed-open shops worldwide, they directly now stoop even lower from their castle to the slave pit, and take from low-wage staff like using workers as a piggy bank or bank to loan money from without being charged interest.

And of course Pret wants more investors, and most people outside the UK either don’t know the scandals in Pret or still think of the “old” Pret with the happy facade. Business people and investors read Bloomberg with the Pret Index showing rising numbers that also came during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. And passionate business people drool over the Pret Index. So, what better time to “borrow” money from the lowest paid workers to have rising numbers, than during the Jubilee to pimp up the Pret Index to lure in possible investors.

In a nutshell, Pret KEEP ripping staff off, y’all, just like they rip customers off via the coffee subscription, apps, special offer deals etc.

Pret’s shady practices on a variety of issues:

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Spain’s response to Pret’s plan to open:

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From Facebook

Ireland’s response:

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Pano Christou’s 2020 pay was £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He didn’t reveal how much pay he got 2021 and 2022 after cutting wages, benefits, paid break etc. during the pandemic, keep taking from staff having made temporary pandemic cuts permanent. But if he had cut his wages like he did to staff, he would have announced it as Pret are quick to announce “charity” events. For me it is safe to assume he receives the same pay if not more. And by the way, Christou is paid more, double than the UK Prime Minister and gets the same pay as US President Biden. Katchink!

My podcast episode on this:

I could go on and on and on and on and on, but mark my words, food safety is already highly compromised and will not get better with this aggressive expansion and labour issues. I know what I’ve seen and experienced in Pret. I know what staff tell and send me. And I see the ongoing complaints on social media, including food poisoning websites reporting on every increasing issues of food poisoning issues people report.

To the WordPress staff who always check the blog posts that I do, you can inform Pret all day long, I can see how you check each post when I publish it. WordPress has moved my blog into the “adult” section where they move pornography sites to. A WordPress staff, they brainwashing-ly call “happiness engineer”, (yuck!) told me it’s been moved. And when I checked the rules they linked me to, all I can see is that they move porn sites there. So, they use this excuse to censor my free speech. Pret most likely contacted WordPress and the platform bowed to pressure by hiding my blog within its platform. This means, WordPress users who are logged into WordPress cannot find my blog on the internal “reader” platform. When people use the internal WordPress reader search button, put “pret a manger” in search, my site cannot be found/seen. Same with any other social media platform restricting my posts. So far to free speech and whistleblowers being protected, hey. 🖕

What do Pret have to hide, I wonder …

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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.

Spain & Ireland’s “Welcome” Message to Pret A Manger

Spain:

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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: 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 more.

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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.

Fear vs. Care – Pret A Manger – BBC

I wanted to call this post “Fear Management vs Courage” but I know that when you care, you won’t need courage. You only need courage if you are afraid.

If you care, if you love people and have a passion for the truth, you won’t need to bullshit anyone around you.

I know I am a “nutcase” for many. I’ve offended many people while drunk, wrote horrible tweets etc. But not always and not when I reached out to journalists early on.

From the get go, I want people to know that Sarah Butler from the Guardian ignored my “concerns”. But she now writes on issues in Pret that I tag her in or email her about. Sarah Butler was the first journalist of a major news outlet who followed me very early on in 2018 when I started writing publicly on Pret in May 2018.

After having contacted journalists, I was excited of course that a journalist from The Gardian started to show interest. I also saw that former CEO Clive Schlee followed Butler and that she wrote very favourable of Pret, like most journos did and still do.

I DM’ed her, but never got a reply. After a few weeks, I “kicked” her off my following and from then on kicked most journalists off who started following me from The Guardian, Times, BBC etc. That’s me being stupid, still in trauma, angry etc. It is what it is.

But this post is dedicated to 2 BBC journalists.

Vivienne Nunis and Mike Powell.

Vievienne, because she is of course a great journalist, but she is a human above anything.

Mike Powell, because he is a human, and a journalist who was ok after I emailed his editor to even just utter my blog, and indirectly my story with Pret. It takes a human to do that.

There is no “human-ness” in Pret. They kill people and exploit staff with a smile.

We live in these times where journalists are silenced with a simple whisper, a simple smile, a free coffee, a facade, a fairy-tale. I am disheartened that journalists in this country are silenced and soothed by simply being silent.

It’s all about getting (y)our names out there.

Journalism is extremely competitive. Twitter is filled with “investigative” journalists who do copy & paste journalism.

I contacted hundreds, if not thousands of journalists on various platforms since 2018.

Vivienne Nunis was one of very few to respond. And she was the only person to reluctantly meet me for an interview. And whoever she interviewed of current and former Pret staff, she found reasons to not cover the bullying environment in Pret. That’s fine. It’s a risky subject to cover.

Three years later, Mike Powell, also BBC and now freelance, contacted me after I tweeted to him. But he wanted me to provide all the research while saying that my blog won’t necessarily get mentioned. I contacted the BBC ahead of publication to explain my concern. They then mentioned it. But it should go without having to raise the issue. Sources should be mention if they wish to, without having to “beg” to get mentioned.

I contacted the BBC to make clear where his upcoming story was coming from.

They “mentioned” my blog then. The Times later jumped on the story and took a sentence from my blog but without mentioning the source of my blog, quoting me verbatim but only mentioning “a blog” and never thinking I’d find the article. The journalist of course just blamed his editor. Every journalist avoids tooth and nail to name my blog while taking info from it. You have no shame, press.

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I put on my media page which press articles I directly influenced and/or got the ball rolling.

Any future leaks I get from Pret staff, I want to pass on to an unknown, young, starting journalist.

And then there is Ian Hodson from the union. He sent me to a women’s activist group up North London because I was bothering him too much after he contacted me to offer “help” on Twitter.

Keep your help, Ian. Go on TV, go on LBC, go and speak to Sarah Butler from the Guardian now, after you all were too proud, too embarrassed to PUBLICLY speak out from what I survived.

Sarah Butler from the Guardian only cares about a story to her name, and now Ian Hodson.

She followed my Twitter account early on in 2018. When she started following, I DM’ed her, but of course, no response. Clive Schlee was her follower when he was still on Twitter. I made her unfollow me.

I understand that Sarah NOW immediately writes a report as soon as she’s informed. Sarah writes on issues I tag her in or email her, but she still treats me like I don’t even exist. I have had enough people in Pret and now journalists treat me with contempt.

Like other competitive journalists, don’t ever mention expret.org, hey. Mike Powell/his editor was the only one who mentioned my blog, But only after I contacted the BBC. Yet, thank you nevertheless. And I know that I MESSED UP many an opportunity.

I am a human being who survived Pret and have immense insider knowledge I put on a silver platter. But the press in this country play dead until they can use info and then not credit the source.

And regarding unions, I now understand why Pret staff start their own union or just give up, because you “established” unions never gave a sh!t. The BFWAU left the Labour party. I don’t care about politics. Feed your ego, but leave us workers alone.

We can do it on our own.

I vote for Keir Starmer. You know why?

Longevity lasts like a pickled onion in a jar vs crowds chanting your name for a moment.

Many RT all day long. Is that it? You sit in your home to RT Tweets? Really?

We workers do not know the difference between people who care and people who just want their name out there.

And Sarah Butler, go and get your story, after you “followed” me and I contacted you then. But you never responded and remained silent, because you only want a story to you name.

You journalists need to do better.

Work hard. Never stop. And keep bullshitting the public, ignoring the elephant in the room.

You are reporting while using my work, my research and ignoring my story, my experience (except Mike Powell and his editor). Vivienne Nunis put in the most work, but it went nowhere, though she is the hardest working journalist out there that I’ve had correspondence with. And it’s partly my fault that the story went nowhere because I kept flipping out in this PTSD mess. But it doesn’t need to be perfect, I am not perfect. My story is complicated and I’m a mess. That’s it. And if someone really wants to cover a story, they would. Just respect the source, the person and their story.

Vivienne did cover the leaked video that I made her aware of. But as usual my blog, my story is not mentioned, like it doesn’t exist.

Link to Tweet I copied Vivienne in after I texted her about a leaked video I was sent by staff: https://twitter.com/expretDOTorg/status/1273929407707611139

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Pret quickly deleted the video after Vivienne reported on it.

Go to Africa, go to America, go to Bucharest. Go to Pret’s head office. Go to the toilet. Just go, you journalists.

Go, feed the pigeons. Sarah Butler is ready to report now.

Well done you all. Above all, stay human.

I’m sorry I “flipped out” so much. But I’m also not saying sorry anymore.

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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.

NEW: Podcast.

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 are the MOST EVIL People I have ever come across

I keep writing horrible emails to friends, foes, Pret, the press, and I’m sure Pret are happy to see me suffer. I’m sure they’d be glad if I’d kill myself. This company has destroyed my life and the lives of so many others with a big fat fake smile. And they continue to do so.

After I raised issues with shop management and HR for almost a year, being ignored and further bullied, I contacted the then CEO Clive Schlee who then started some support, like Pret paying for counseling. But that was as a show in case for court, and the bullying continued. All the “support” Pret showed after I put my complaint in writing to the former CEO, was to show for court. As the bullying continued, I was offered money if I resign, never go to court, and never speak about my ordeal with Pret. I declined and indirectly forced Pret to fire me.

I tried to resign, tried to find another job, but I couldn’t sell myself, even in a low-paid job. I was too broken down, insecure, hopeless to find even the lowest paid work. If I would have found a job, I would have resigned. Even without signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) taking “hush-money”, if I would have just resigned without signing my rights away, I could have NEVER written this blog.

Pret would have made a public statement like they did with Andrej Stopa who was fired for having started a Union. Pret would have said that they were happy with me as an employee, that they offered me help, but that I willingly chose to leave. Pret HAD TO fire me so that I can speak out. I didn’t realise this at the time. I even BEGGED in the last dismissal hearing to not fire me, my dad was just out of a three-week coma in Germany.

Even before any option of a dismissal came up I asked Pret if I can be put under the Pret Foundation, even an OPs manager later suggested I go under the PF for a while. But that never happened. Pret who claim to help homeless people, young apprentices and prison leavers have no room for long-term employees who go through tragedy. That’s why this Pret Foundation is just a PR machine and a smokescreen to hide horrible practices. I literally begged the hearing manager to not fire me! They did anyway, unknowingly forcing me to speak out publicly.

I have had to watch my parents, each on their own, deteriorate in a horrible institutional system in hospitals, rehab, nursing homes that are mostly chains under private equity. I had to struggle with everything on my own, and when help was offered, it either rarely came or it was not meant or just as a polite gesture. Or when help is offered, there is sometimes an ulterior motive and I have to figure out who means what. Or when I asked for help, I was met with a deafening silence or the words “I’m too busy”.

Or when the help is genuine, I can’t trust it, because of what Pret did to me via so many issues and people, and most vile, via Lila Tighilt Warren who claimed to have had a brother who died alone in his apartment, wasn’t found for days, like my brother was. I researched and searched if this brother existed, but found another person not the same as she described. This very horrific act Pret and Lila did, destroyed my trust in people.

The press are bystanders, watching. And what they use from my blog, experience and research, they make sure not to mention me and my ordeal. And those who wanted to report, I pushed away in my paranoia.

There ARE good people, but I can’t distinguish anymore the sheep from the wolves. And GOOD people are suffering my mistrust and outbursts because of this horrible company! No, it is I who bears responsibility for my words, writings and actions. But it takes evil people to destroy lives.

I have made the mistake to stay in Pret for 10 years, bearing under a toxic, dishonest, corrupt environment, where all that counts is making as much money and more and more and more.

And when someone asks why I don’t go to court, I did, but then withdrew when my dad died and I couldn’t afford legal aid. I have researched the British legal system of workplace related lawsuits while I filed a tribunal claim. I have read that even when former employees win their tribunal cases, the pay-out is so small, they end up in debt for the legal bill.

Pret and companies like Pret know that. They KNOW people can’t afford legal aid. They know that even pro-bono lawyers don’t want to pick up a fight in a 5-day trial for their 30% of an £8,000 payout. Too much effort for too little reward. Unlike in the USA (see Johnny Depp’s lawsuit in the UK vs the USA). Different systems.

A Cardiff bar manager choked by colleague wins tribunal. She was left paralysed in her face and won a meager £6,660 but had an £8,000+ legal bill, leaving her in debt. In the USA she would have won a 6-digits figure if not millions!

A former Pret assistant manager who got unfairly dismissed won his tribunal case getting rewarded about £8,812. Worker unfairly dismissed, says tribunal. After he lost his job, having a young child with his partner, he ended up on the streets living in his car for 2 weeks. For the tribunal it was worth a merge £8¾K. All this money probably went straight into his legal bill. Not to mention the mental strain people go through in a legal case against a large company.

When my dad died, leading me to withdraw the tribunal claim, I knew mentally it would lead to suicide going through the 5 day court hearings, even if I’d won. One day preliminary hearing, and 4 days court hearings, as the dates were already set having had 6 months to prepare with my dad in hospital, flying back and forth. I was told by free legal advice at Citizen Advice Bureau that there may be a 6th day with a second preliminary hearing as my case was so complex, having involved the top Pret leadership team. Even though I had strong evidence and Pret already hinted in their response to court that “if [I] win the case … that the reward should be low” according to some other lawsuit outcome that has set the precedent for lawsuits thereafter. But I had no support, no financial backing, no moral support and a new funeral coming up …

And before anyone says that I need therapy, first of all I have fought for therapy since over five years; 2. I have therapy now but cannot talk as there is a strict agenda to follow a rigorous program. So, please first ASK what people have had in support and therapy before giving unsolicited, patronizing advise.

In this life and society, most everywhere, it is all about money, position, what each individual can get out of whatever they can get from those already at the edge. If you are sick, disabled, bereaved, old … there is no place for you in a society that is looking for “productivity” more than those who produce. You are a disposable machine, a piece of garbage that is of no use anymore, sucked out of the life-blood by greedy corporates and anyone lacking basic human decency. The strong must become stronger and leave the vulnerable behind, as they can’t contribute to this cog-wheel of a society at a given time or forever. Survival of the fittest by the book. A repeated issue throughout time. Human nature at its worst that always becomes the norm with a new generation, until a new “uprising” and new precedent of disobedience …

Yes, I sound gloomy, but I suffer and fought hard to not only survive. I see the dark during a sunny day. And I’m sorry I am not what you thought or hoped for. Pret win again, hey.

I need people to stay away because I have nothing to offer you and I feel I won’t get better. I write horrible when drunk and hope everyone knows it is not personal, but you need to stay away.

And I will never stop saying that Pret A Manger, up to this current leadership in 2022, the same PEOPLE in head office that run the place since decades, this a core group of the top leadership and HR, are the most evil, toxic, greedy, exploitative, dishonest, incapable, unsympathetic, unethical, cowardly people I have ever had the nightmare to be dealing with.

And I remain deeply ashamed to have spent so long there and to have had any association with them.

And to friends, I don’t know what “friendship” is. It’s a myth.

Recent, select customer comments and staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter etc.

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The following to me sounds like wage theft again. Highlighted, quote:

“- Did not receive 80% of wages despite being on the furlough scheme

– All your hard work was over in a 2 minute zoom call – If you need a second job to support you, better clear it with your overlords. I know this is a standard practice but it shouldn’t be – if you want your workers to devote so many of hours of their lives to you, pay them decently so they can do more than just about afford to live

Unless you work in their offices, they do not give a s*** about you. Also the CEO doing company wide zoom meetings from the comfort of his very fancy house whilst retail workers are paid peanuts, talking about how we all need to pitch in to save the business is a joke.

Retail workers are the entire reason Pret is still standing. Those in office tend to forget that without retail staff upselling, being on the floor and handling customers, they wouldn’t have anything to sell.

I would love to know what the CEOs salary is in relation to the lowest paid retail employees an whether this has increased or changed during the pandemic – and the justification for leaving those who work their hardest at the bottom of the Pret ‘family’ foodchain on wages that do not meet the stanard of living, are not entitled to many benefits” End of quote.

Answer to the question how much CEO Pano CHristou earns? In 2020 = £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He does not reveal how much he made in 2021 and 2022. If he also cut is pay, he would make that public. The silence is a hint that he remains on £300K and probably more.

Pano loves to present himself as the “cabbie’s son” who started at the shop floor. But until recently, since I called him out on it, failed to mention that he started at position number 4 as an Assistant Manager because he was a manager at McDonald’s. He didn’t start as a low paid team member having to wear uniform, and in those days a silly cap, that increased the body heat in stuffy hot shops and kitchens. Pano received £500 to buy business attire; £50 every month for dry cleaning; insurance; paid sick leave from day one (that’s a big one!) compared to team members who are paid from day 3 being sick with a sick note. His quarterly bonus went into the thousands. And all the other perks, travel, fancy galas for management and so on.

Link

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Part quote: “It was just so depressing that I had to work there and thankfully don’t need to anymore. They need to consider what they do to the staff and force them to work it’s just not a good way to sort and they know that. A lot of workers are mistreated and insulted daily. The management is a huge part of that.”

Link

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Upon my question to above Instagram person who’s staff, if it’s true that Pret for the SECOND time recently didn’t pay staff on time, the answer was, quote: “That is correct, however the delay was much less noticeable as it was late by 1 day only.”

This staff doesn’t realize that even though it wasn’t that noticeable for staff, it’s still 1. unacceptable and 2. a huge deal because Pret’s work week starts Fridays and staff are paid on Thursdays. This means the “less noticeable” for staff is a big deal for Pret as their new financial week starts Fridays. They most likely had issues with shareholders wanting to present better numbers, and then “pay back” the next day starting on Friday’s new financial week.

Pret use and abuse the goodwill of workers. And this has always been the case with shop managers, they ALWAYS for years and years, every week “forgot” to pay an hour here, an hour there. Do this with a handful of shop staff every week and it all adds up, as many don’t check their hours, not noticing the “odd” hour here and there not being paid.

And Pano Christou now does THE SAME company-wide. Stealing in broad daylight, “borrowing” from the lowest paid to appease shareholders. Mafia-style in a nutshell. Pret use low-wage workers as a loan-bank. Absolutely despicable, unethical and disrespectful. And I hope financial auditors and the government get wind of this.

Link and Link

And there is no strength or courage to join a union and stand up. And Pret know that and wear the staff out so they don’t have an ounce of strength left to even entertain the thought to fight back.

Link

etc. etc. etc.

Pano Christou’s “approval” rating:

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And the legacy former CEO Clive Schlee left with:

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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.

In the End it was Friends

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I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

Well fair do’s
Nobody prepares you and nobody’s prepared
Nobody’s prepared
And they tell you, “Just you wait it kills you”
And only love can break you
More the more you care
And all and all in love is fair
But it’s not fair

I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and in the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

And I’ve pushed myself to be vulnerable
And then slept with one eye wide
All that pain and nothing gained in the end

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

– James Blake

Music video by James Blake performing Friends That Break Your Heart (Audio). © 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

Animal Cruelty and Pret A Manger

When I started to write about my Pret ordeal in May 2018, I also started to do extensive research on the Internet on anything Pret related. I searched for similar experiences from staff and came across Glassdoor and Indeed, Facebook, Instagram, other blogs; searched on lawsuits, press articles, anything and everything I could find on Pret, where there are systemic issues. I also did this to back up my own experience as many people didn’t believe me. Now it is more common knowledge that Pret are NOT what they portray to the public.

But in 2018, I was a messenger who got “shot” as my message wasn’t welcome or people wanted to remain in their illusions about Pret. It was and continues to be an uphill battle.

I then came across a video called “Cruelty in Pret” which was uploaded in July 2018, is about chickens and the lack of welfare in farms. I bookmarked it like I do with most important or interesting issues.

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A short while later the video was switched from public to unlisted. I also couldn’t find the website that is listed at the end of the video nor anything on “The Humane League Campaigns” who posted the video.

I didn’t post anything on this as I couldn’t find any info and don’t post anything of which I have no evidence or a source where it came from. So I kept it on the bookmark shelf until now and passed it around social media here and there today.

I was perplexed that the video turned unlisted shortly after it was uploaded.

It could be that Pret contacted the person(s) and warned them with a lawsuit or so, and they then unlisted the video and the website never worked.

And then yesterday the Twitter’s sphere started to light up with this, quote:

“Chickens raised for meat suffer tremendously at factory farms.

Our new report examines which food companies are backtracking or failing to demonstrate action—including Pret.” End of quote.

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Link

The report can be downloaded as PDF from MercyForAnimals.org Report.

In it Pret have been caught yet again to be naughty.

Quote:

“The following companies have failed to report measurable progress toward their broiler welfare goals and have deleted their previously public policy commitments:

• BareBurger

• fresh&co

Pret A Manger

• Tender Greens

• Zoup!”

End of quote.

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I am not surprised at all that Pret deleted their policy commitments. Pret also stopped doing fair trade coffee a while ago, but still claim to have organic coffee. Pret already had to take the word “natural” off signage and packaging after being slapped by the Real Bread Company via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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Further more I found a website that calls out former Pret CEO Clive Schlee for supporting CAGED chickens in Asia. Schlee is on the board of directors of Dairy Farm Group, one of the largest retail companies in Asia. The website DairyFarmEggs.com writes further, quote:

»Clive and Dairy Farm have a dirty secret – A shocking series of investigations has revealed what the company wants to keep hidden: they continue to sell customers eggs from filthy, cruel battery cage egg farms with higher food safety risks.

A series of investigations at multiple Dairy Farm egg suppliers found feces and dirt caked on the bars of cages where eggs are laid. Feces piles up just inches away from eggs and from the birds themselves. Mother hens are crammed for nearly their entire lives in battery cages so small and cruel they are illegal in dozens of other countries around the world. The corpses of dead hens are left to decompose right next to hens laying eggs for human consumption.« End of quote. Link to website.

Clive Schlee also owns half of itsu and worked for several years in Asia before he became CEO of Pret, but left Pret in 2019.

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So, it makes sense that they delete their commitment to not be held accountable for not keeping their commitment yet again.

There was a Twitter storm for days, which as much as I support this, but has drowned out the issue that Pret are not paying their shop staff this week. The Guardian reported on this yesterday after I was informed by staff and passed it on to Sarah Butler from the Guardian and other journalists. Detail on this: Pret’s New PR Stunt on Payrise in Pennies UPDATED.

Pret did this on purpose over the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday as they know that the press and the whole of the UK are distracted with the celebrations. Usually when especially the Guardian, the BBC etc. report on anything Pret related, Twitter explodes with calls for boycotts. But of course, Pret being clever and always do their dodgy things at certain times or distract with charity announcements, there’s hardly any mention now.

Today’s main mention is the chicken cruelty issue as vegans and animal lovers come out en masse to tweet at Pret.

That’s alright. The Payment issue will resurface again.

What still surprises me though is that many people are shocked that Pret deleted their commitment. Many still say that they thought Pret was ethical, as if they lived under a rock since 2018 when the 2 customer deaths and several allergen injuries became public. Or is it that animal activists are not as much concerned about people.

Of course people can inform themselves, can stand up against wrongdoing and choose where to go, animals can’t do that. But still, people don’t realize that when a company treat their employees like rubbish waste, it will reflect back on customers and is also a no-brainer that a company like this won’t care about animal welfare.

And it is beyond me that many animal rights activists still fall for Pret who have COUNTLESS chicken products like chicken itself, eggs, mayonnaise etc. And the claim of “free range” chicken still seems to fool most. And the above report points out the suffering on free-range farms. A healthy egg and chickens are from PASTURE RAISED chickens. But that is too expensive for mass production.

And since Pret jumped on the vegan bandwagon, most vegans are excited instead of supporting vegan-ONLY food places. I’m not a vegan, but if I was, I would ONLY eat in purely vegan restaurants, cafes as I’m a little crazy as a purist!

Eating insects is a delicatessen in some countries and slowly is growing in popularity here in Europe. Once this becomes trendy, you bet Pret also will jump on that bandwagon to increase profit.

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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.

My last Email to Pret / Pano Christou

Yesterday after I was contacted by someone regarding Pret not paying staff this week, and then emailing the press and The Guardian reporting, I wrote a last email to Pret’s CEO Pano Christou and HR.

I also want to apologize to any and all Pret staff who contacted me, whom I kept referring to unions. Several of you contacted the unions and didn’t receive any response. I am angry and very sorry to have let you down on this. I can only say, please look for a better work opportunity and leave it all behind. It feels to me that the unions are more about politics and political agendas. The membership fees may be forwarded to political parties and projects. I have so much anxiety and mistrust about any organizations.

It seems ONLY that employees themselves will reach change when we stand up, not the unions. The unions will just “come along” when we initiate action and pay them, and then they will take the credit for OUR sweat, blood and tears. I’m sorry to be so gloomy.

Thank you for your trust and reaching out. I am sorry to have let you down.

If you need any more help, please reach out to the press directly. The press reach things more and quicker than unions or myself. But you need to have evidence, always gather and keep evidence in writing etc.

The Guardian: Sarah.Butler@theguardian.com, Ben.Quinn@theguardian.com

The Mirror: Amy Sharpe who went undercover into Pret after I asked her as I was too anxious. We were in contact via Facebook: https://twitter.com/amylsharpe

BBC and freelance: contact@bbc.co.uk, Vivienne.Nunis@bbc.co.uk, Mike.Powell@bbc.co.uk

The Daily Telegraph: Janet.Eastham@telegraph.co.uk

The Scottish Left Review who published my articles TWICE early on, when no news outlet was ready to report: Gregor.Gall@glasgow.ac.uk

And Adam, the amazing podcaster from California who interviewed me when no news outlet cared/dared: https://twitter.com/1AdamParadox

My last email to Pret, to CEO Pano Christou and HR, copying in the press and staff; verbatim without correcting spelling mistakes and grammar:

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This is my last email to you Pret,

I Blind Carbon Copied (BCC) private people in, staff, friends of staff, customers who reached out to me to tell them to not be afraid to speak out and stand up.

Pret has almost destroyed my life! But I survived to tell my story! And staff contact me with info and leaks, and it is my pleasure to pass this on to the press and others.

Is it still Pret’s practice to name, blame and shame shops that don’t do well? This has always bothered me. But it’s wonderful to turn the tables!

Complaints have increased on stale and mouldy food, expired foods, critters and rat droppings in food … you can “freshly make” a sandwich with stale bread and mouldy cheese.

Not paying your staff, the LOWEST paid staff in Pret who carried you and Pret through the pandemic while you sat at home or in socially distanced shiny air conditoned HQ, demanding for shop/kitchen staff to come to work even when they have Covid. Only you know if there have been Covid sick or even deaths. You managed to keep 2 customer allergen deaths quiet, I fear any news coming out one day that staff have died of Covid while they struggled to get paid!

Customer complaints increased on the coffee-subscription, apps, deals that are not fullfilled as advertised, and all your bogus “technical issues” while receiving “digital technology leaders” award and being slimed with award after award, compliments after compliments on Linkedin where everyone is telling you how awesome you are!

Surround yourself with Yes-Men/Women, hold your seminars and keep sweet-talking about sustainability, and keep ignoring customer emails/DMs/phone calls… and let customers and staff get on with telling the real story.

It’s no surprise that the way you treat your staff, it will reflect on customers.

Your “charity” projects make me cringe everytime I hear about it. The donation devices that Pret placed NEXT to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidently donate £5 thinking they pay for their coffee. And then the psychology that they are embarrassed to ask for a refund from “charity”.

The £1000 announcement that Clive Schlee made late at night from 28. to 29. May 2018 after I sent the link to my blog late that night to Sannu because I know that she can’t a secret!

The NHS freebie PR stunt you did before 1st lock-down on 18. March 2020, and right the next morning sent out an email to shops and HQ to announce cuts to staff. The low-wage staff basically PAID for your NHS PR stunt!

The half-marathon you ran last year and having the audacity to ask your low-wage staff for donation to “alleviate poverty” straight after you made temporary paycuts permanent, had turned my stomach!

And now, using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, where the press and people are distracted with the celebrations, to suddenly have a “payroll error”, and the 2nd time since recently not paying staff.

Your “charity” are a smokescreen and good for tax breaks.

To anyone who still works at Prt, if I can stand up on my own against these dwarfs who almost destroyed my life, you can stand even stronger TOGETHER with the Unions like BFAWU! Pret is more scared of you than you of them when you organise and stand up, strike, walk out, make higher demands and not let Pret trick you again with reinstating bonus that is discretionary to mystery shoppers and GMs!

I could go on and on and on, but I’ve written enough and wrote the Pret poison out of my system!

My greetings to your mentor and buddy Clive Schlee who patonised me as his “late night gitrl” while I SUFFERED with my emailing, he had a laugh and then shortly after getting me fired with my dad in intensive care, which you all knew about. And please tell him that the greatest thing I appreciate on being a woman, who is mistaken for a “girl”, on having been a low-wage “low skill” worker, is that I love it when entitled, rich, privileged, arrogant, self-assured millionaire business men underestimate me, and people like me. That’s my great joy!

Also greetings to Julian Metcalfe whom I had the pleasure to also chase off Twitter. Even if the YouTube slide is slightly out-of-date, but it still shows what’s really is behind you executives.

You can try to shut me down, I will pop up again. I do not care about the amount of followers or anything else and have backed everything up triple. It means nothing to me what you may do or how Pret report me to social media! Keep reporting. It means nothing to me! It only leads me to sprad out on other platforms.

What means the world to me is a SINGLE person to this day sending me an email or DM with words like “Wow, I just read your such-and-such, I didn’t know that about Pret. I thought Pret was so great … I will tell my friends and family and support small independent business from now on…” That is Christmas and Birthday all in one for me!

You made £300,000 in 2020 PLUS bonus. It’s interesting that you didn’t reveal how much annual pay you got in 2021 and 2022. If you had cut your pay like you did to your lowest paid workers, you would have made a big announcement like you make all the “charity” announcements.

I worked all my life in hospitality since I’m 16 years old, NOTHING has been as horrific, traumatic, unfair, disgusting as Pret in any company I worked in! Nothing! Your brainwash and fear management has followed me years after you fired me days after my dad came out of his 3-week coma!

You have it coming for you from staff, unions, more press, whistleblowers, more OPs and GMs leave reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and elsewhere … and you deserve everything that’s coming for you within the law, within the legal frame and free speech! You deserve it!

My apologies again to journalists, staff, strangers, friends … for my drunken outbursts from the traumas I’ve been through. I stand by my mistakes even when I am ashamed of it! But I own up to it. And I work on it like we all work on our recovery.

And to Pret, it is my UTMOST PLEASURE to have put you on a map showing your TRUE colours to the public.

I am not afraid of you, in fact, I have no respect for you whatsoever! I cried tears of anger last night when I received mail about staff not getting paid, because I know the excrutiating PAIN, anxiety, existential fears they go through! All while you sit in your comfortable huge mansion laughing to the bank!

It takes a special breed to not do anything about customer deaths and injuries until it became public. I was a team leader responsible for health and safety and didn’t even know about fatalities! Shame on you! You put ME as a team leader in DANGER to potentially be at “fault” for another injury or death by not telling me, not training and retraining me on allergen, labelling etc.

It takes a special breed to keep taking from the LOWEST paid on the BOTTOM of the barrel! All while portraying to the public to be ethical and caring! I am PROUD to have cracked Pret’s facade further and further!

And I KNOW that my tears of anger and grief will turn into tears of joy!

 expret.org 🖕😎🖕

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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.

Loss, PTSD

Life.

When I die there will be people coming out of the woodwork, former friends who knew me 20+ years, claiming to “know” me.

No they don’t. They’ve left me 6+ years ago after my brother died.

And those who claim to know me, will try to get with those who knew me years ago, but left me hanging.

There will be people who claim to be my friend or know me or have met me. Again, no. Yes they met me, but no, they don’t know me.

You may claim to live close to me, but you don’t. And you know what I mean by that. A neighbour next to me is further away than an alien from the moon.

The people who know me, are the people in the street, in the cafes, in the pubs, in their homes, in my home; people who walk like ants, organizing themselves in love and respect for one another; and who are not embarrassed to be associated with me. That’s a friend. A friend who doesn’t want anything from me but just be.

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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.

The World is a Cruel Place, BUT

Sometimes when you’re running against the darkness, you find someone who seems to know the best path out, someone who has run that road across a terrible landscape and come out alive and better. There aren’t a lot of ways to express the depth of gratitude for the work they put in.

Even if you never come to actually know them, the fact they helped you beat the darkness makes them feel like someone on your team, like the anchor of humanity’s worst and most fucked up relay.

And when you begin to flag a little bit because it doesn’t seem like the race is ever going to end, you can look up to someone like that, someone who showed you that it’s never too late to try to outrun the lies and bullshit the darkness will tell you to get you to slow down.

And then one day you realize, it isn’t a race at all, because a race has a finish line, and this thing fucking doesn’t.

It’s just a run. A long run. Along the way, you pick up running buddies, people you admire for their toughness, people who keep you running, people you never would have expected to turn something that can be so hard into something you can enjoy.

And so when you have run so hard ahead of the darkness that every horizon looks like a sunrise, it’s almost impossible to believe that one of those people who led you out got tired.

“Wait,” you think. “They had it figured out. They showed me how to run. They showed me the sun.”

Even leaders get tired.

Over time, it might be hard to tell difference between the fatigue of running & the darkness they are running against. It might be hard to lead the way for so many people. It might, it might, it might. That’s the thing. You never know what it might.

And then they are gone.

So, what the hell are you supposed to do then? When you have finally learned how to run, how do you keep going when you lose one of the people who showed you the way? What do you do when you start to doubt “the way” is actually the way?

I guess I don’t know.

But today I guess I’d say this:

If you feel like you’re running alone, look around and you will find others running, too. They may be running differently, maybe backward, blindfolded, or in some janky way that makes them stand out against the field. Find those people and run with them for a while.

Eventually, if you just keep running, you’ll find people who are running a lot like you. Even if they don’t know you, they will understand you. And they will lead you—not to a finish line—but toward that sunlight where being tired isn’t so tiring.

And here’s something you might not expect: you might look up one day and realize someone is following you while you run. They are matching your stride and keeping your pace. They are grateful to have found YOU.

Be proud of that and use it to keep running.

It’s crushing to see one of your running buddies fall off stride and slip away. It can make you want to double back and find them. Don’t do that. It’s not how it works, or at least, it’s not how you want it to work.

Keep your stride. Steady your breath. Allow yourself to confuse the tears on your face with the sweat of your struggle.

And don’t stop or double back. Look for the other runners. They are everywhere.

We are everywhere.

(I don’t always feel great about Twitter, but the degree to which this thread resonated among friends & people I’ve never met has been very comforting and reminds me how important it can be to just admit how guy-punched something can make you feel…and how alone we *aren’t*)

And since I woke up to all kinds of inspiring messages today, I will pass this on. It’s what I remind myself when I feel like I’ve felt since hearing about Anthony Bourdain.”

— Brad Willis


Transcribed by ThreadReaderApp.com

AUDIO:

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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’s Fly-tipping

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UPDATE: January 2023

So, in 2018 Pret pledged to eliminate all single use plastic by 2025, although they put a loophole into that pledge by saying “unnecessary” single use plastic 😉

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Link

And then in January 2023 Pret’s “Head of Global Packaging” held a talk at a seminar putting forth “the case for both single use and reusables”.

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Link to Tweet.

The case FOR single use!

And as usual I can’t help thinking that Pret came up with some bogus slogans to BREAK their pledge (as single use packaging is cheaper – katchink!). I’m intrigued with what tricks and slogans he tried to fool the audience. And just like with Pret’s “natural” food claim which they had to stop, teir “ethical” facade, the exploitation and bullying of staff, their foodwaste etc. etc. etc. 9 out of 10 times the slogans on Pret walls, website, marketing is the complete opposite!

When I worked at Pret, even though we had 2 different bins for “recycling”, it all went into the same waste pick-up truck.

Pret must have done a trial for recycling, but it must have not been successful as I’ve never seen this type of bin in any of the 30+ shops I worked at in 10 years.

Tweet from 2013:

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Ignorance is bliss!

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Today’s article in Gloucestershire Live:

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From the article:

»The civic society described the mess that had been left on the street on the last Bank Holiday Monday as a “horrendous example of fly-tipping”.«

Further:

»“We’ve checked the rules and even one such bag of rubbish left on the street counts as fly-tipping, so that puts it into Cheltenham Borough Council’s domain as an enforcement issue.”«

»A Pret a Manger spokesman said: “At Pret, we are proud to be part of the communities where we have shops, and are disappointed to have fallen short of our own standards on this occasion. We are working with our waste management provider and team members to make sure this won’t happen again«

Well, what have we got here … (in chronological order)

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UPDATE July 2022

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And while on the subject of waste, I have written extensively on Pret’s food waste issues. Pret claim to have a “fleet” of cars picking up food each night. Pret do have a car like this or several, but a “fleet” of cars is leaning out the window. I’ve seen a car once on my day off during the day driving by in Trafalgar Square. But in my 10 years in Pret, having worked in over 30+ shops, I’ve never even ONCE seen a car like this pick up food. Not once!

Pret rely on unpaid volunteers to pick up food. If no-one picks it up, it gets wasted in its packaging to landfill. The Pret Foundation car is window dressing more than anything. Of course they drive food to places, but there is no nightly pick-up, and it cannot be coincidence that in 10 years I’ve never seen this car pick up food from any of the 30+ shops I worked in.

Pret also SELL out-of-shelf life cooled down hot food via food app, again, supposedly for the Pret Foundation. Yet, before the pandemic hit Pret’s profits, they were STRICT for us to NOT give out hot food even for free to charity due to safety issues. I got told off by a manager once for handing out hot food when the charity volunteers arrives to pick up food. Now they sell it for cheap under the “charity” umbrella. When it comes to money, health and safety out the window! I write about this extensively in Pret’s Health & Safety Hypocrisy.

Pret always pretends to be so safety concerned, yet, don’t forget they ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen further allergen injuries before this became public. I speak about this on my podcast expretcast from the bottom up, Part 01 Ongoing Labelling Issues, Part 02 Ongoing … and Allergy Trial 2021. I draw especially attention to a Barbican seminar which is very important to mention.

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A former staff member also laughs about this:

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Another former staff:

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Another former staff member who got fired for starting a union:

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When customers or members of the public observe food-waste as it happens, and the below screenshots are only a fraction of what I pasted into my other post on food waste in Pret.

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Repeated food waste ignored by Pret:

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Bleach poured over food:

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Paris, France:

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Amy Sharpe from the Mirror went Undercover in Pret after I asked her to see for herself on issues:

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The above are only a few, there’s much, much more on Pret A Manger Food Waste.

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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.

The Vaults – London

The Vaults graffiti place.

So, here are some pictures of mine … more to come in time.

This blog post will be updated with new pics as the graffiti changes every day.

07.05.2022

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08.05.2022

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more to come one day …

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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’s Mystery Shopper Scheme – AUDIO

I explain in detail about Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I call “Misery” Shopper for a reason.

Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I plainly call abusive:

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The Wiki link to my blog that was deleted, which I explain in above audio.

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I have run out of space/time on my free podcast and am shopping around which podcast provider is the best value before I purchase.

On the podcast I cover some other Pret issues, like the allergen situation, ongoing labelling problems etc. As I ran out of free space I post the above Mystery Shopper episode here on my blog. For Timothy Noah’s “The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger” and other articles on emotional labour, as well as several examples of Mystery Shopper reports, please see my page: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Thank you for listening.

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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:

.

.

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.