Request to Delete Tweet re: Food Safety

 

I’d like to respond to a request on Twitter for me to delete a Tweet regarding food safety. I respond via my blog, as I want to avoid posting 50 million Tweets to explain.

The thread is about food donation via apps. It’s a great way to safe food from being wasted. It’s an increasing way in many countries to tackle the food waste crisis, and it’s really amazing to see this trend grow.

Something caught my eye in the top right photo which I mentioned in the Tweet.

Initial Tweet:

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 00

Link

On the top right photo (by @Laurahodges_) are cups of soups. I mentioned about Pret not giving out hot food due to health and safety reasons with the temperatures.

I was informed that as of recently Pret does give out hot food, as long as it is picked up within a 2 hour window.

I explain further below, underneath the Tweet screenshots:

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 02

Link

 

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 03

Link

 

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 10

Link

The “shocking” response is about the daily food waste in plastic to landfill that I posted about in Pret A Manger Food Waste. The daily food waste to landfill is a reality that Pret wants to sweep under the carpet.

Just some of the photos and Tweets from customers, the problem is much larger as I had to waste for years, as well as Amy Sharpe, a reporter who went undercover into Pret after reading my blog and my suggestion to go undercover to see for herself:

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

@amylsharpe >>> Undercover Report

amy sharpe waste bag

The Sunday Mirror photo

 

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

Link

 

2019-07-22 Food waste

Link

September 2019, Chicago

2019-09-16 Chicago food waste

Link

A recent staff review, also from Chicago, on daily food waste:

2019-08-09 Review Chicago Food Waste

Link

The above are only a few of the photos customers post on social media.

Further in the food donation thread from today:

2019-10-12 @LauraHodges_ Food waste 08

Link

So, here’s the back-story.

I am being asked to remove a Tweet as this won’t look good on whatever is being portrayed to the public in regards to food safety.

I worked for TEN years in Pret, and for most of these 10 years I was a Front of House Team Leader (Floor Leader – FL), which in Pret is like a mini-manager. Team Leaders do the most work and get the blame for anything Managers don’t want to take responsibility for. Health and safety is one of THE responsibilities of Team Leaders. I took that very serious and was known for throwing out products that where of low quality or “off” as instructed by company standards. I was not a favourite of my bosses as I followed instructions while still helping to bring profit.

So, Managers were always in a pickle with me. For one, I did my job extremely well, even under difficult circumstances and in bereavement, helping to raise the profit in each shop I worked at. BUT I also followed standards and didn’t bow to pressure to do dodgy things to avoid waste.

One such incident was when I helped out in a shop that failed in health and safety, having to bring the shop back up to standard. As I was the Team Leader in charge of this shop one Friday evening closing shift, this shop was closed during the weekends. A Team Member was cleaning and closing the kitchen including washing the vegetable for the next business day’s production. Pret has the procedure that once the vegetables are washed with the chlorine solution, it should be used within 2 business days from THE DAY the veg is washed. So, if I wash vegetables today 12th Oct. 2019, the expiry date should be tomorrow 13th October at the end of that business day! In the case of Friday, the veg should be used or discarded on Saturday.

Most shops wash the veg towards closing time at about 5pm, and most if not all veg is used the next day. So, all is in the green. Part of my job as a Team Leader was to sign off the “product labels” for the ingredients. The person who closed the kitchen prepared the label for me to sign AFTER he washed the veg. But I couldn’t sign for the label as the shop was closed over the weekend, meaning the 2 days would be passed by Saturday closing time, and Monday would be the FOURTH day, with the veg being soggy.

I called the Operations Manager (OPs – area manager) as all Managers were in the big quarterly meeting and informed her that I need to waste all the veg as I cannot transfer it out to other 7 day (Mon – Sun) shops, without any vehicle and no Managers around to agree to take the veg for Saturday’s production. The OPs via text just said to me after I asked if I should throw the veg out, she just said: “Do what you know is right”. She tried to get herself out of responsibility by neither telling me to do the right thing by wasting, nor to do the wrong thing to keep the veg.

So, I did what I knew was right according to what I was taught and wasted numerous kilograms of vegetable!

A few days later I saw an email between that OPs and the Food Safety team, sending the email to the area of shops, asking if I did the right thing. I kept the email for my protection, which said that I DID the right thing, as I was constantly being targeted for every little thing to get me to fail (I explain in the audio player at the bottom).

The OPs being insecure, if what I did was right, as it cost a lot of money, asked for confirmation with HQ. And it seems that I again was the only one who followed procedure, whereas most shops extend and stretch products to avoid waste and not be in a clinch with management. And the procedure was changed then for a Team Member to come in earlier on Mondays to wash vegetables.

The Email between the OPs and HQ Food Team (I smudged out the names):

2015-08-11-email-hs-1.jpg

 

What Managers did then, they kept me as the Team Leader doing all the hard work, but never promoted me, as I didn’t want to do the short cuts for their bonus. It’s an open secret that Managers subtly coerce Team Leaders into doing wrong things like stretching products etc. And if getting caught, the Manager is off the hook, and the Team Leader gets fired as they can never prove that the Manager coerced them manipulatively to do dodgy things. And at the same time, Team Leaders should refuse to do short cuts, even if it means they’re never promoted. If a Team Leader does the dodgy things and never gets caught, they are promoted as they do everything requested of them. It always had this little “Mafia” or gang feel to it.

I worked in a dozen Pret shops that were my main shops, and worked in even more stores, helping out for a day or a week. I closed many, many shops for many years! Regarding food waste, when the charity pick-up did not happen or we had no manpower and time to apply the allergen labels for charity; when pick-up did happen, the instruction was always to NOT give out hot food as well as no sushi (raw fish / rice), when Pret stocked sushi. Basically, any high risk foods were to be wasted.

For 10 years, I and my Teams and my Team Leader colleagues were instructed to NOT give out hot food to charity or anyone picking up the food for charity / homeless people.

The reason we were explained is, that due to the temperature fluctuation, the food can go off quicker and wouldn’t be safe for people to eat.

Hot food in Pret is kept (or rather is “supposed” to be kept!) for 2 hours in the hot cabinet. This is for quality purpose as the food becomes dry, stale and hard after 2 hours, as well as not being as hot anymore. But due to under-staffing and pressure to have products on the shelves, staff cheat and “stretch” the hours by marking on the lid an hour or two hours longer. But the food is still in the HOT cabinet.

In this below Tweet from Pret it’s very clearly marked. In this case the porridge lid has 10 o’clock marked, meaning the porridge was prepared at 8am and then marked for 2 hours. But at times a staff member marks a new lid to let’s say 11am or noon, and replaces it, throwing away the earlier lid. This they do if they ran out of porridge/soup etc. to keep products for the Mystery Shopper bonus and to minimize waste.

2014 Soup Lid timed

Link (Side note: Pret’s being sued for the “natural” claim >>> Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

Hot food being given out AFTER the 2 hour HOT cabinet storage fluctuates the temperature, and this is when it can become tricky with health and safety. The main thing that can happen to people eating a luke-warm or cold soup after it being heated (or rather RE-heated) is they get, in plain language, diarrhea. For a homeless person on the streets, this wouldn’t be very pleasant.

I want to mention as well that the hot food, particularly the soups are re-heated at least once. Pret soups are produced in factories and come ready cooked in bags to the shops. In the shops the bags are then re-heated in water-baths or if in a hurry put into the microwave. This is then the second time the soups are heated. There is NO cooking in pots and pans in Pret kitchens! Sometimes, due to lack of time, lack of staff and lack of soup products, the soups are even heated a THIRD time, even though staff are not allowed to do this!

For example, if a soup bag is still sitting in the hot water-bath unopened at the end of the business day, staff are supposed to WASTE the bag which holds 6 cups of soup. But due to the Manager always pressing to minimize waste for his/her bonus, staff cheat and let the bag cool down and store it back in the fridge for the next day to be heated up AGAIN.

They are not allowed to do this, but it’s an open secret that this keeps happening and it’s only a point of not getting caught. So, potentially soups are heated three times, but for sure always two times. Plus, if a person gets a soup or other hot product from the charity run, they may heat it up as well, for sure for the third time and maybe even fourth time!

Thus, if a person eating the soup gets any health issues, they can never trace back what happened or if the hot food was re-heated multiple times etc. I often got the “evil eye” from my bosses when I threw out unopened soup bags that were left-over in the water bath as I 1. didn’t want any health and safety issues for customers and staff, and 2. it wasn’t worth losing my job for Manager’s bonus by decreasing waste in a dodgy way.

And just today I saw a Tweet to a video of how Panera Bread heats their Mac & Cheese. Panera Bread is also owned by JAB Holdings that bought Pret last year. But this is exactly how the water-baths look like in Pret:

 

One recent review also states clearly that food is not fresh and comes in ready cooked from factories:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Food not fresh stop being evil RVW27190460

Link (Glassdoor incrasingly wants people to log in to see reviews that’s why I do screenshots).

So, I’m being asked to delete a Tweet, as it is supposedly false information. I speak from 10 years in Pret, having seen and witness countless times how food is handled and mishandled! The new “training” Laura Hodges has received may be due to the list of food waste that I’ve posted and that has outraged many people. I know how Pret works, I know their tricks, traps and ways in fooling the public.

My own story I share in below audio player in an interview on a podcast based in California.

I will not delete my Tweet and Ms. Hodges has already re-posted. I will not be silent and hush about what is going on behind the shiny PR[et] facade on various of issues. TWO Pret customers have died, a third nearly fatal incident and numerous ignored warnings on allergen labelling by Pret. I will not be silent nor delete. I also posted about the ongoing issues of mislabelling in Pret: >>> When Vegetarians Eat Ham

Ms. Hodges can feel free to block me. I have no concern about being blocked or reported.

The main issue I write about regarding Pret is the toxic work environment for profit. I almost lost my life and continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

More here: Why is Pret A Manger not investigated on Staff Deaths / Suicides?

So, MS. Hodges can do with this what she likes, but I will always speak out after TWO customers have died (while I worked at Pret responsible for health and safety, never being told about it!). And Pret only started acting when deaths became public. I will also continue to write from a behind the scenes perspective on staff treatment and the forced happiness staff have to portray for Mystery Shopper cash incentives and to avoid fear management.

Clive Schlee, now former CEO of Pret “retired” with poor scores on Glassdoor & Co. for a reason while remaining as a non-executive Director in the background:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

New CEO, Pano Christou:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

Glassdoor Review: “Worked into the ground without empathy”:

 

Incomplete list of questions weekly Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on, no matter how staff feel, if bereaved, depressed, even suicidal:

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Secrets to Great Customer Service

 

How to guarantee a return to the business with vibrant, consistent service and a generous approach.

As recommendations of Pret A Manger customer service has increased lately, with praise for the great staff who with smiles, helpfulness and generosity are impressing customers, after I spilled the beans on why staff are so “happy”, I want to put into one blog entry the secrets for this. Why are staff who earn £8.25 an hour, always seemingly so “happy”, chatty and smiley in a highly intense, noisy, hot and stressful work environment for 8 – 10 hours daily?

In short: Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management.

I put a YouTube slide together with some of the questions weekly Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked by Pret to test staff on in every shop. In the slide I concentrate on the smiley service.

 

When the MS visit has been successful, all the staff in the shop receive their weekly bonus, which is £1 extra per hour worked that week. So, if a staff member worked 40 hours that week, they get an extra £40 on top of their wages. If an individual staff member, including the manager do “outstanding” service and impress the MS, for example by giving free coffees or other items, this individual employee can get an extra £100 or even £200 if all the scores are perfect.

I write extensively about the free coffee “myth” in Pret and why many customers never get a free coffee in years, while others receive free items weekly, some even daily:

—>>> Free Coffees in Pret A Manger

Managers receive their bonuses each quarter on a variety of issues like profit, how much/little waste they have, how much they managed to save on labour (Pret under-staffs throughout the board), routine health and safety checks etc.

A Tweet from a customer just today:

2019-10-16 Understaffed

Link

And a few days ago:

2019-10-12 Understaffed

Link

There’s more, but I want to keep it as short as possible.

A recent of the many staff reviews on chronically understaffed shops:

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

But the biggest chunk of Managers, upper Managers and regional Leaders bonuses is the Mystery Shopper results. That’s why staff are stressed intensely about this.

I had one Manager take me aside as I was the Team Leader and say to me: “I close my eyes to everything, but not the Mystery Shopper”. Meaning, if I made mistakes or even did dodgy things with health and safety, the cashing up, the Team etc. he would close his eyes and not get me in trouble. But if the Mystery Shopper results were poor, I would get in trouble, as part of Team Leader’s responsibility is to “engage” the Team to always smile etc. Like a cheer-leader. The above YouTube slide shows this clearly.

Not floating my own boat, but I had most of the time excellent MS results and still even kept the MS reports for my protection as one Area Manager targeted me alleging I didn’t engage the Team, while Mystery Shopper after Mystery Shopper and even regular customers said otherwise and constantly commended my Teams. Quite sad that I had to keep those reports for my protection. But for me, even if Pret would have scrapped the Mystery Shopper scheme, I would have still worked the way I worked as I love people and customers pay a lot of money for products.

I did not “push” my colleagues to smile, be friendly etc. I encouraged my Teams, I asked them how they were, I gave them extra breaks if they were exhausted, sick or depressed, I supported them and cared about them. And that reflected on their service and in interacting with each others and the customers. But the general tone in Pret is to “force” staff to smile, at times threatening them with disciplinary and even job loss. I’ve seen, heard and witnessed it all and had to console many many times Team Members crying in the staff room or on their way home.

Only two of the many Mystery Shopper comments below. The MS commented on both individual Staff Members and all the Teams as a whole in our service.

Excerpts from two different Mystery Shopper and shops/team: (Ctrl & + to zoom in)

MS Best Team

 

MS Best

So, shops are tested on if they have a certain amount of selection set for a certain time of the business times, are tested on cleanliness, how the overall atmosphere of the shop is, if the service doesn’t take longer than 1 (one) minute etc.etc. etc.

But the most important thing that shops are tested on is customer service. Are individual and all staff smiling, seem happy, chatty etc. The above YouTube slide goes into detail on this. Pret does not care how staff feel, if they are bereaved, depressed etc. I was traumatically bereaved and was bullied and targeted when the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile. I did smile most of the time and have that in black and white (sad to say!), but there is no mercy, no empathy as profits are more important.

An excellent article about this I found and commented on: “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” is about the increasing competition in the service industry and how low-wage workers are forced to perform emotional labour and a big hype to create the impression they are so happy in the company.

https://poetrasblok.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/emotional-labour-statesman-article.jpg?w=755&h=421

 

So, people seem to have been “recruited”, even on the Pret USA Twitter feed, to tweet about the smiley and great staff, as this has hugely increased lately like I’ve never seen before, since I read Pret Tweets from 2018. These customer Tweets started at about the second week of October 2019, after I increasingly blog and tweet about the Mystery Shopper in Pret. It’s also clear they have been recruited as hardly anyone responds to my Tweets about the Emotional Labour and Mystery Shopper incentives, meaning these people who tweet know about me and my writings.

Of course it is better that customers go on Twitter & Co to commend staff (many wordings are similar 😀 … come on people, at least make an effort and get more creative!), than to complain about low-wage workers publicly, who in turn cannot defend themselves as they are unaware that they were just negatively called out, even by name on Twitter.

Yet, I respond as a former Team Leader having survived this abuse and fear management, that the reason why staff, some of whom are depressed, even suicidal, seem so happy, is the reality of Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management. People need their jobs, have kids to raise and Uni tuition to pay. And the staff reviews on Glassdoor and Co including YouTube, Twitter etc. give a grim reality how depressing it is to work like this.

One such review is THE most poignant report on behind the scenes in Pret. It’s from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in to do customer service with fake smiles, as shops are always understaffed.

The review is the one that starts with the large red letters in below slide show:
“This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.”
and ends:
“You will lose everything that makes you human.”

Direct Link to the Indeed review.

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

So, dear Pret Customer, if you have been recruited to leave recommendations of Pret staff or not, only you know, but I am writing to make people aware of WHY low-paid employees in a high intense, stressful work environment, with often bullying managers, smile so much against their true emotions. I was recommended many many times by customers and Mystery Shoppers on my professional, friendly, generous and smiley service. But no-one knew that at times I left my shift headed for the bridge. My story is in the below audio player in an interview on a podcast based in California. 

There’s a reason why CEO Clive Schlee “retired” with such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co and the general Pret staff scores, as staff dare to speak out anonymous more than on the often rigged annual Pret questionnaires.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

A collection of writings on Emotional Labour with links to articles:
The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

OH the Americans, I love the Americans!

 

»This isn’t a company/business it’s a shit show!«

I haven’t looked at, nor updated my blog of new reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed for a while, but just yesterday a new review on Glasdoor made my day!

I will in time try to do an extra blog post on American reviews on Pret A Manger, because Americans are very blunt with their anger, and very passionate about what’s right and wrong! I am proud of these my former colleagues!

There’s also a new review on Indeed from an U.S. staff, mentioning that Pret is constantly being sued.

What this American reviewer doesn’t realize is, that in the UK people don’t sue as easily, because the legal system is a joke here. Even if you win after having been injured so badly, you’ll get peanuts and are left with a high bill!

TWO customers DIED from Pret products, and NOTHING happens, no-one is taken to responsibility, while now former CEO Clive Schlee sneaks out the back door, passing the buck to the new CEO Pano Christou (who came from McDonald’s management) on Glassdoor already in July 2019. Yet, even though Schlee’s retirement was set for September 2019, he quickly passed the buck to Christou! #coward

And yet, Christou will continue on the same lines, exploiting low-wage workers under private equity.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-09-27 Pano 39 27

 

Yes, sure, while in the U.S. people sue for every peep and poop, and it’s a little over the top, in Europe we let companies sh!t on us, and then we rejoice when getting a free coffee!

Yesterday’s Glassdoor review that needs no more comments:

2019-09-27 Shitshow Review USA

An “Everything” employee, sounds like they worked in all areas which many hard workers do

 

2019-09-26 WOrst place always getting sued

Constantly getting sued … out of date products

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Bullies with Wings

 

In 2016 before I openly exposed Pret A Manger, I wrote a blog entry on another website on a bullying incidence I witnessed, but couldn’t do anything about.

I re-posted it on here last year: Picking on Cannibals.

In a nutshell, I came across a bleeding pigeon on a pavement in London on the many walks I do. Around this injured pigeon were other healthy pigeons literally “picking” on the injured one. I realized naively that this is where the term “picking on someone” comes from! Dah! I chased the pigeons away, and stayed put for a while just watching over the bird on the pavement. I explain in above blog post why I couldn’t help. But I vouched that I won’t walk away again.

Today on my usual walk I took a different route than usual and found this goose standing alone under a roof. It just stood there looking at me. I’m not a bird expert, not certainly in goose, but it was odd that this fellow was just standing there alone.

When I came closer I saw it had no feathers on both wings, and under the wings were more feathers missing as well as on the neck. On the other side of the property, the front side by the main road, were other healthy fat geese and some chickens, which I always see when walking by on the road. But this time I took the other road from the back.

I took some pictures and went to the vet that I know who lives nearby. He confirmed that it looked like this goose was picked upon by the other stronger geese.

I went home, contacted the animal rescue place via email, as the phone line was closed for the day. Then I went back with bread and water, and this goose literally drank the water for 5 minutes straight! I just recorded about 3 minutes of it as I missed the first part.

But it is a metaphor of a bullying situation, and how this critter had to hide under this lonely roof, away from his “peers”, his “race”, his “brand” that had no other thing to do than to pick on this goose because it was weaker, maybe?

I sure hope it will be there tomorrow, and I sure hope the animal rescue people bother enough to come by. But the owners surely don’t care. Any animal owner or farmer who loves their animals ALWAYS know EVERY SINGLE animal in their flock, some even know ever animal by name. But for this little one to be left aside, beaten and ripped apart, means the humans who own this property and flock, don’t give a shit!

What’s the message here, apart from jumping in to help? Maybe just to take a different route from time to time on your usual walks or rides to work. You’ll never know what you’ll find at the back.

I call this goose “Pret”, because it’s a pretty little one, and it reminds of the broken wings Pret leaves on many of their workers, not realizing how much they break their own wings!

So, pray or cross your fingers that little “Pret” is still there tomorrow, and that the animal rescue people care enough to get it out of there. I don’t want to have to climb over the fence, please.

IMG-20190925-00770

 

IMG-20190925-00773

 

IMG-20190925-00776

 

IMG-20190925-00775

It’s hard to see here, but under the roof thing on the other side of this picture are the other fat geese and chickens. Little “Pret” is just hiding from them, not having access to food and water.

 

IMG-20190925-00778

 

IMG-20190925-00779

 

I put the tub inside, poured water from a bottle and the goose drank for 5 minutes straight! I just captured about 3 minutes of it! It even dunk some bread into the water which I didn’t capture, but it had a little feast today.

Turn up the volume to hear the fella drink.

All you Vegans and Veggies out there, please think about humans as well, those who left their home countries of high unemployment in hopes for a better life, but find themselves exploited yet again.

Reality behind the scenes of Pret A Manger:

And why Pret staff smile so much:

 

2019-09-30 Pano 38 26

Glassdoor.com scores for CEOs and Pret.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

La Dispute

 

L.O.V.E. this Band!

 

Directed and animated by Sarah Schmidt: http://sarahmaes.com

“Fulton Street I”
(Panorama 2019)

Found a body at the rest stop
Buried in the woods beneath
The garbage and leaves
Workers clearing overgrowth
Saw hidden in the brush
Just beyond the line of the trees
A jawbone and teeth
Winter into spring on Fulton Street

And cities grow weeds, and cities grow
And cities keep secrets in the trees
In the shadow of a pyramid
And cities grow weeds, and cities grow
By the river and the covered bridge
All cities grow weeds, and I know

All the memories your dreams retrieve
You pick a dress out for the funeral
Hold a vigil in a field, release
Lanterns at night and I saw
On the shoulder of the interstate
When I followed your eyes
When I followed your eyes

All the crosses for the accidents
All the photos and the flowers by the street

Will I ever put flowers by the street?
Will I ever put flowers by the street?
Never needed to live and suffer through the pain
All the tyrannies of grief, if I ever do
Will I even have the strength to do anything?
Could I go and leave flowers by the street?

And I saw signs on the shoulder of the interstate
When I followed your eyes
And I saw lights fading every monument
And the passage of time
If I could just try, could I banish all the pain in you?
Give you everything you need
If I hid rose quartz underneath the mattress
Would it help your nights
When you’re struggling to sleep
When you’re struggling to sleep

Will I ever be half what I can be?
Can I ever be half what I can be?
If you needed me to be anything
Could I even be half of what you need?
Will I ever be me? Will I ever be me?
If I could take hands to shake you, would you want me to?
If it shook you out of grief, if I gave chase
Summers when you tunneled into nothingness
Would it bring you some release?
If I saw signs on the shoulder of the interstate
When I followed where your eyes went
I saw nights spent after midnight in a eulogy
That you never got to give

And I saw fenders bent hard on an oak tree
I saw sirens at the scene
I saw cigarettes falling in the tangle of machinery
Between the console and seat
And I saw hands reach, car drift across the center line
I saw it all in my dreams
And I saw leaves hiding bodies in the tree line off the interstate
But I’ve never put flowers by the street

I’ve never put flowers by the street
If you need for me to be anything
I could be everything you need
If you need for me to be anything
I could be everything you need
Every monument, every memory
And I’ve never put flowers by the street

© Jordan Dreyer / La Dispute

Smile, Fool!

 

Pret A Manger’s new fool can’t smile enough, it seems!

Clive Schlee, since September 2019 former CEO of Pret A Manger, has passed the buck to Pano Christou on Glassdoor in July 2019 already. Christou is the former UK Managing Director, and since JAB purchased Pret, the new role of COO was then filled by Christou. Before Chirstou took over as UK Managing Director in 2012, Andrew Walker filled this role before leaving Pret and via several companies became the CEO of EAT., which is now purchased by JAB via Pret. The official take-over of Christou as the new CEO of Pret was announced on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press about Schlee’s retirement. Christou’s take-over was announced for now September 2019, but Schlee being who he is, not taking responsibility, he let Christou take over on Glassdoor in July to avoid further poor scoring for Mr. Schlee.

Now there’s a proper smile!

2019-09-20 Schlee retirement final announcement

Link to Tweet

 

A customer pointing out the poor scoring when the first official announcement was made after I tweeted to the press:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link

So, Schlee quickly let Christou take over on Glassdoor!

July 2019 Glassdoor score:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-07-15 Pano Christou CEO

 

So, what’s up CEOs? Your annual internal questionnaire for staff to fill in their reviews on Pret is often tweaked by shop managers to win prices, making Pret look good. But it doesn’t work on real review sites, where bullied staff tell it like it is!

Staff dare to speak out anonymously, and more will speak out openly soon.

I am proud to inspire former and current Pret workers to speak out in any way they are ready to speak out.

And I will not give up until there are independent investigations into staff suicides!

—> Why is Pret not Investigated on Staff Suicides?

For any new reader, why am I writing this?

If you are interested, my website is filled with my and others’ story. But in a nutshell, I’ve put together into a few minutes on YouTube the emotional labour that staff are forced to work under, no matter if bereaved, depressed, sick etc.:

 

»Any damn fool can run Pret.«

— Wife of Clive Schlee, former CEO of Pret A Manger

 

Smile, Fool!

2019-09-2019 Pano 39 27

Glassdoor

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Pret A Manger has a New Fool

 

organic-coffin-natural-fools-1.jpg

 

»Any damn fool can run Pret!«

Oh no, those are not my words!

Those are the words of the wife of Pret A Manger’s now former CEO Clive Schlee, who “retired” in September 2019!

On the question of Pret’s success and how much of it was luck or hard work, the CEO responds:

»We had some very good following winds. My wife always would say ‘any damn fool can run Pret‘.«

I comment on this interview in “Clive Schlee: A Case Study (of the Fun Factory)”

Why would the wife of a CEO keep saying this, what’s the conversation before such a statement?

Let the sweet-talk stop and let the women speak for a change! For real change!

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

On a side note, Clive Schlee here continues to say that Pret had “natural” food, even though Pret has been successfully sued for having Glyphosate in the food and having to take the word “natural” off signage and labelling. I write about this in “Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat“.

But this interview is full of @&%!… I can’t believe he keeps getting away with it, and I ask myself what does it take to face the truth away from the delusion?!

The problem with companies that have fools running it is, they may endanger their clients and employees lives. God forbid customers number 1. die, number 2. the company doesn’t do anything until these fatalities become public, and 3. get away with it!

And God forbid that this company gets away with not one, but two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal and numerous hospitalized …

And God forbid even further that staff struggle and suffer, some dying, even by suicide.

And of course who would think that a CEO would sneak out quietly into early retirement, remaining a non-executive Director in the background, working on fixing his reputation with some more charity work and finally reaching out to low-paid workers?

What company would have a fool running its business and ruining a lot of people’s lives?

Good thing the facade of Pret is still in tact! Let the free coffees flow to put the public back to sleep!

That’s all that counts these days.

So, »any damn fool can run Pret!«, and certainly any damn fool can ruin it!

Legacy of a Fool CEO  

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

One of my many articles about and to Clive Schlee, one of which I dedicate to his farewell gift:

Foot-In-Mouth Disease at Pret A Manger

So, welcome Pano Christou about whom I write about in: Under New Management Pano Christou, Now CEO of Pret.

UPDATE: October 2019:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

And here’s my welcome gift to Pano Christou:
(Smile Pano! S.M.I.L.E. Fool!!!)

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

LINK: TWO Pret Staff have died
1 is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret!

I continue to ask for INDEPENDENT investigations into staff suicides!

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Workers on the Edge – #WorkRelatedSuicide

 

Having survived workplace bullying during traumatic bereavement, which on its own could have killed me, this campaign is very close to my heart.

If you are in the UK, please sign this “postcard”. If you are in another country, please find a similar campaign to make it mandatory to report and investigate suicides, if they are potentially work related, the same way that work related accidents are reported and investigated.

 

THE CAMPAIGN

Hazards Campaign – Worke Related Suicide

Work Related Suicide

 

What for the USA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Osha)
for Australia – Safe Work Australia (SWA)
für Deutschland –  BMI Bund
is for the UK the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Non-profit organization The Hazards Campaign via their magazine Hazards Magazine is campaigning directly to the new CEO of HSE for mandatory reporting and investigation of suicides, for potential work related links. Accidents at work have to be reported, and if serious are investigated, but suicides are not reported or investigated independently!

I write about this in regards to suicides in Pret A Manger on: Why is Pret A Manger not investigated on staff deaths?

Please support this campaign and similar campaigns in your respective countries.

 

Suicide prevention / help in the UK:

The Samaritans – Telephone helpline – Call 116 123 – email: Jo@Samaritans.org

The Listening Place – Ambulant face to face support by appointment (London) @TLPCharity

Maytree – 5 night FREE stay (London) @MaytreeSavingLi

Hazards Campaign @hazardscampaign

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

 

Rat A Manger & Pret A Mouse

 

Two new businesses Pret A Manger adds to their empire after the Veggie Pret take over of EAT.

So, the recent Rat sighting on 6th September 2019 in a Soho Pret Branch has everyone on their chairs, not realizing this is just a visual of a bigger problem.

Rat

Daily Mail Video Link

 

These are just videos and photos some people took and posted. The problem is much bigger!

I worked in mice infested Pret shops and asked to be transferred to a clean shop, as Pret didn’t tackle the problem UNTIL an EHO closed down a shop due to pest infestation.

Pret only reacts when their pockets are squeezed.

 

Pret Mouse (2)

This picture is from a shop I worked at where a mouse built their house inside a Bloomer bread loaf. In one shop where Pret kept ignoring our plea to close down to clean up the place, the mice were so bold, they didn’t just come out at night when it’s dark and quiet, no, they strolled along under the coffee counter even during the busy and noisy coffee rush! It was ridiculous and like a Tom & Jerry clip how blunt the mice were. They were taking the Micky Mouse! I asked for a transfer.

I learned a lot about mice then. Their favourite Pret products are: seeded bloomer bread (above picture) which Pret uses for Toasties, but they settle for the Granary bread as well.
Seeded High Fiber muffin, but they don’t touch the Blueberry muffin, so, dear customer you can still enjoy.
Popcorn. Oh, do mice love popcorn!!! The amount of opened, nibbled on popcorn bags we had to waste I can’t count! Some customers even put a popcorn bag on the counter saying “Oh, this is already open!” And we staff blushed and apologized for this mishap, knowing exactly “who” was responsible for opening it! I wanted to SCREAM to the customer:
“WE HAVE MICE BUT PRET ISN’T DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!!!!!”

So, as usual, it took an Environmental Health Officer from the Government to do a routine check, and close down a shop having found mice droppings all over the place.

If you ever pass by a Pret shop and they are closed in the middle of the morning or day with a sign saying something like, “For technical/internal reasons/issues…closed…” Then take a good look inside, and if you see the team frantically cleaning and moving furniture around, you may have gotten yourself a little pest issue in there.

And since the EHO closed a shop in 2011/12, Pret then FINALLY got an outside Pest Control company to do checks once there is a sighting of droppings or pests. But it took a shop closure. Before, I had more mice as colleagues than humans in two shops!

A Manager review from London in 2014 about mice droppings (poo) and advising people not to eat at Pret. This is AFTER an EHO closed down a Pret shop 2+ years before. Pret is never on top of their game, they always just play catch-up when it’s too late. The manager here points out the SPEED that is always at the center of work.

Pest Review

Link

A review from January 2019: “dirty place”

Dirty

Link

Another one from the U.S.

dirty2

Link

And a very recent review on poor hygiene due to time pressure:

Poor Hygiene

Link

I’ve put a video slide together on YouTube about the speed and time pressure staff are subjected to for £8.25 an hour. The weekly Mystery Shopper is tasked to probe staff on speed, smiles, eye contact, chit chat. Staff have to serve within 1 minute to get as much customer flow = £££ through the shops. If even just ONE staff member fails on any of the tasks they’re tested on they risk losing bonus for the WHOLE team and then get fear managed. I explain on YouTube WHY this is a problem, especially for health and safety of staff’s mental health and customers lives.

Smile for the “Misery” Shopper:

 

This video where the mice run around openly because the shop is closed, but the shop where the mice strolled along under the coffee counter during busy coffee rush, it looked like this, just that the mice where more walking along the wall, not through the middle of the shop between customers:

(Forgive the language in the video…no I don’t mean the F & Sh word, I mean how he pronounces “Pret A Manger”! 😀 )

 

Here’s a rat in a Soho branch recently again, after another customer already posted a video of a mouse in a Soho branch in August 2019.

A video Tweet of a RAT via the Daily Mail in September 2019

Video Tweet ALSO of a Soho branch of a MOUSE in August 2019

Video of a MOUSE in Veggie Pret London

2 videos of a MICE infested Pret shop in New York. I love the commentator: “Pret A Manger, Good, Natural Mice”!

St. Pancras station, a customer sighted a MOUSE.

2016 Tweet of little Jerry chillin’

Pret Mouse 2016

 

UPDATE 19. September 2019

2019-09-19 Mice again

2019-09-19 Mice again3

Link to Tweet St. Martin’s Lane, off Leicester Square area 18. Sep. 2019

 

And many other Tweets but without videos/photos. Of course the problem is much bigger.

Pret didn’t do ANYTHING even after TWO customers died until it became public! You are kidding yourselves if you think they really proactively tackle pest issues, even now. The CEO Clive Schlee sneaks out the back door but remains as a non-executive director in the background! Getting away with customer deaths, injuries, ignored warnings, staff suicides not investigated yet……

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor

2019-09-16 Pano 40 29

 

UPDATE:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

Las Vegas

New York review about senior management

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ review about senior management

 

The reality of the happy factory behind the shiny PR[et] facade. The cats that made Pret wealthy, but are stepped upon like worms. The reason why staff, who get exploited for £8.25 an hour, are unable to tackle the pest problems as well as labelling, cross contamination and allergen issues…

Arrow

 

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The above slideshow & YouTube is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

Lila Warren, David Carter, Clive Schlee

 

Lila Warren (the lady with a typical Pret A Manger smile) is the Development Manager at Pret A Manger for more than 15 years, and branched out into her dream role as a Therapist. She’s a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Psychotherapist.

But in Pret, she was happy to be used as bereaved person to gaslight me. And she played her role well.

She either is a really good liar, or she really had a brother named Zain, who was dead in his flat for 10 days, like my brother was dead in his flat for 6 days. (Full story in below audio player).

I don’t know what this woman went through in her life to have gone down to such abyss!

I wish her well, but I will always tell people to avoid her “therapy”.

I raised a complaint with the National Hypnotherapy Society she is subscribed to and that equally have such big smiles on their front page, but they remained silent in the hopes I let go. And I did let go, because I had no strength left.

But I can only say, stay away from the National Hypnotherapy Society (Twitter) and from Lila Tighilt Warren.

Stay away from David Carter, who in my time was the Head of HR and is now promoted to UK People Director which is just another facade word for Human Resources. He is not for people, he is for money, protecting a bully company.

Stay away from Nick Davis, People Business Partner who came from Wetherspoon and who was THE main enabler in HR of the Area Manager who bullied and targeted me, using several managers and colleagues against me.

david carter nick davis

LinkedIn

Stay away from these smiley, nice looking folk who are toxic behind their facade.

Stay away from Clive Schlee, who uses vulnerable people for PR.

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ review Glassdoor

 

Las Vegas

New York review on senior leadership Glassdoor

 

Stay away from Pret A Manger that kill people and get away with it, as well as target and bully bereaved employees. Staff suicides still need to be investigated.

Lila Warren, I forgive you of course, but don’t ever cross my path, I will call you out on the rooftops “sweetheart”!

You guys “up there” tried to convert me to your level?

No, my people are on my level, and they are stronger than you. They don’t run away. You will face them, and what @__PAMSU__ started in 2012, I continue and others will soon grow to a proper confrontation with the Unions! There are more, be it the group preth8ers or all the others in the background.

What happened to me can be summed up in the following I found on Twitter. And it took the senior leadership of Pret, HR and HQ to “work” me out of the company in such a perverse way:

Bullying Summed Up Nutshell.jpg

Link

I do move on while I expose this toxic company!

Now “retired” CEO Clive Schlee, who couldn’t label food to save lives, labelled me his “late night girl”. He quickly passed the buck on Glassdoor to his predecessor Pano Christou, who came from McDonald’s management when he started at Pret. Schlee let Christou take over on Glassdoor mid July 2019, even though Schlee retires in September 2019 and remains in the background as a non-executive Director like he is in itsu.

Never take responsibility Mr. Schlee, hey? Always pass the buck!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Glassdoor results

UPDATE

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

Staff speak out mainly in anonymity:

Arrow

Arrow

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Foot-in-Mouth Disease @ Pret A Manger

Arrow

(This is an x-ray of my left middle finger after an accident at work.
I wanted to use this picture, but am still waiting for permission to use,
but maybe I will leave my finger here. More fitting for Pret!)

 

foot-in-mouth disease
n. the tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

foot-in-mouth disease
The knack of always saying the wrong thing. The expression is both a verbal play on the foot-and-mouth disease that affects livestock and on the expression “to put one’s foot in one’s mouth,” meaning to make a verbal blunder. The latter dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The current cliché is much newer, dating from the mid-twentieth century.

TheFreeDictionary.com

 

At least Three Feet in One Mouth

 

I’m sure Clive Schlee, exiting (certainly not exciting!) CEO of Pret A Manger has been advised to lay low, and not spill the beans prematurely regarding internal things on Twitter & Co.

He gives himself away every opportunity he has, it seems. He certainly didn’t expect that his patronizing way in talking to me would end up with a “dot org” behind it.

For any new reader asking what happened? In short, Clive Schlee, pretending that my traumatic late night emailing to Pret was wrong (I also emailed tons of other people), he put his foot in his mouth, belittling me by introducing me to the Director of HR, Andrea Wareham in October 2017 as his “late night girl”. Two months later under his watch I was dismissed while my dad was in hospital, just out of a coma. My full story about this is in the interview audio player at the bottom of this page.

When I started this website, I started it as LateNightGirl.org, which still functions under this handle. Since then I have been writing about, and confronting Pret and Clive Schlee openly. I have “caught” them many times in their clumsiness on Twitter. And I use their “foot-in-mouth disease” to show the public how unprofessional, patronizing and non-caring they really are.

I write so blunt because I almost lost my life and witnessed too many times how Pret names and shames managers via emails to all shops when they fail. I keep asking for independent investigations into staff suicides. I also write extensively about the systemic bullying environment in Pret, something most in the public are surprised and shocked to hear about. Don’t be, if you live long enough, you will come to know that if something looks too good to be true, to better take a closer look. Two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal allergy reaction, several hospitalized and numerous warnings on allergen labels ignored, even after the deaths occurred. This should ring massive alarm bells! But here we are again, as long as it doesn’t affect us or our loved ones, we keep believing the fairy tale that is Pret A Manger, and our lives revolve around the free coffee and cookie marketing carrot.

 

Illusion

 

For a comprehensive list of issues in Pret that I experienced, observed, researched and gathered, please visit The Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger.

 


 

So, where does Mr. Schlee put his foot in his mouth?

#One of the many opportunities he takes to spill the beans on things, is a little more hidden revelation he never expected to be caught out on. On his Pret blog on the former homeless employees, they call the “Rising Stars” they came up with the idea for the “Rising Stars” to solely run an entire shop by themselves, from the General Manager (GM) to the newest recruit. It all sounds so well, yet it is a dead give-away how the Pret Foundation is more a marketing tool than anything.

Clive Schlee writes:
“Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

Again: “Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

Leaving them too exposed for what?

And why being careful to integrate former homeless people into regular shop teams? (Short-term homeless and mainly young people mind you!)

Too exposed for this, Mr. Schlee?

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Some people in the public aren’t impressed and take a closer look:

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff
Not impressed with only 450 “Rising Stars” having come through the program in 10 years, with 12K employees! Georgia Greenfield couldn’t be fooled either. Why so few? Because it only takes a handful of people or things to blow up a bigger picture than it actually is. It’s like advertising 5 cheap airline seats and winning hundreds of customers buying flights, as they assume many or all seats of that flight are cheap. The seats go fast and once a person goes online to book that seat, it’s gone and they find another flight just a bit more expensive.

 


 

#Two

It’s always good to have a second foot to put in one’s mouth. This one still gives me the chuckles. I wrote an extra blog post on the Timing of the £1000 announcement that Schlee made on Twitter. But in a nutshell, to this day 01. September 2019 the 29. May 2018 is the most visited day on my blog that I can see in my website statistics. Late in the evening on the 28. May 2018 I sent a link of my blog here to an Operations / Area Manager (OPs) I used to work under. I know this OPs to not keep secrets very well. Up until the 28. May 2018 my website was visited 3, 5 or even 10 times a day, sometimes even zero visitors.

I woke up on 29. May 2018 after having sent a link to the OPs late on 28. May 2018, and my website exploded into a three-digit number even before noon.

BEST views ever 29May2018

That day, early morning on 29. May 2018, Clive Schlee made the £1000 announcement for all staff on Twitter.

In October 2018 staff were still waiting for it to “moneyfest” (sorry had to!), and in August already started to get adjudicated, wondering if it was all a joke.

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

 

2018-09-19 Meme USA

 

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

 

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

 

Only few people at least saw through this PR stunt:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR

 

2018-05-30 £1000 PR Union

 

Of course the money, which after tax came to £800, was finally paid out to staff who work(ed) longer than a year at Pret. But the announcement was made prematurely, once Clive Schlee and Pret became aware of my blog, quickly trying to win the public and staff over with a little PR carrot.

Fasting forward to July 2019, the bribe didn’t really convince staff after all, but I’m delighted to having pressed Clive Schlee’s panic button, but feel sorry for the staff who had to wait so long.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Being careful to integrate the “Rising Stars” into regular shops makes sense as Clive Schlee and the now new CEO Pano Christou not only are aware of work conditions, but set the tone for profit and the share holders / owners. I call the staff from the regular shops who mainly dare to speak out anonymously, the “Fallen Stars”. And no former homeless person or anyone with a difficult past or mental health condition, would last long in a “regular” shop. It would give Pret a bad name if a “Rising Star” was catapulted back on the streets after having suffered what these “Fallen Stars” suffer on a daily basis and what I have survived during bereavement:

 


 

#Three

This one gives me a feeling of anger at all the fear management Pret hurls at hard working people with the anxiety I have suffered under them, and then Clive Schlee being so careless, clumsy and seemingly narcissistic in his communication. They are not as scary after all! It also gives me a sense of almost feeling sorry for him. But I have no “pity” nor empathy for this millionaire under whose “leadership” two customers died, staff suffer and suicides still need to be investigated.

On 30. June 2019 I saw a little, quiet tweet to Clive Schlee and his response:

2019-07-01 quiet retirement

 

An unassuming tweet about Schlee’s retirement, yet no official announcement made. Not thinking before he writes or speaks, Clive Schlee responds:

2019-07-01 Retirement Clive

 

On 29. June a very concerned customer tweeted to Schlee about hellish work conditions in a shop where the air conditioning was broken and still not fixed. But the CEO did not respond. He only found time and care to respond to his (still unannounced) retirement:

2019-06-30 AC

 

Early on 01. July 2019 I tweeted the news of Schlee’s retirement to the press after I wrote a blog entry on his legacy. After confirmation from HQ the press then broke the news all over. But I had to tweet to the press again as everyone was fast asleep!

2019-07-01 ExPret tweet to the press retirement

 

Only then did Clive Schlee as well as Pret make an official announcement of his retirement AND Schlee finally replied to the 29. June 2019 concern of the broken AC:

Schlee AC

(A long list of other customer tweets regarding broken air conditioning in many shops for prolonged time I listed here: Overheated Shops / Work Conditions)

Schlee’s response tweet to the well-wisher on his retirement went completely over the heads of the press, except after I tweeted them.

Also on the 01. July 2019 after I posted new blog entries on Pret’s leadership and linked to the new CEO Pano Christou’s Twitter, he deleted his Twitter account @christoupano

But weirdly that day I made a screenshot as Mr. Christou blocked me, while Pret and Schlee didn’t. I am not blocked by Pret and Schlee as they collect my Tweets for a potential court case in the future. Christou who of course is different to Schlee, will most likely steer away from having an online presence as the new CEO. Smart move!

2019-07-01-coo-pano-christou-twitter.jpg

 

Pano Block

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter DELETED

¯\_()_/¯

 


 

Having run out feet, we can always continue after taking one foot out via the PR machine, and then put it right back in again! There are more issues where Clive Schlee spilled the beans on things, but they are not as interesting to mention here…

In mid July 2019 Clive Schlee has been quickly replaced by Pano Christou on Glassdoor, to avoid further poor results, even though the announcement was that Schlee retires in September 2019. But a customer pointing out the poor results, again only to protect their own skin does Pret under Schlee respond fast! Forget labelling products to safe lives, only label when customer deaths become public, but be fast to make £1000 announcements and disappear from Glassdoor to avoid further cracks in the facade.

Too late.

And Christou, having come from McDonald’s management and learned under Schlee, he won’t put his foot in his mouth, but he will continue in the same way to maximize profit. Low-wage employees will continue to struggle and the Unions will continue to get them unionized.

 

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

 

2019-08-29 Pano 42 33

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Worked Into The Ground @ Pret A Manger

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years 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 starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

#RuinABandNameWithOneLetter

 

My collection in one place.

The rules are simple: Ruin a band name with one letter (1 letter added, taken off or exchanged).

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Pret Shop Boys

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Lad Gaga

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Tuna Turner

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Con Jovi

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Iggy Poop

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Beastie Buys

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Hack Williams

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Annie Lennonx

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Boy Dylan

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Moan Baez

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Kanye Vest

Link (sorry Stormzy!)

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Taylor Shift

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Wall Smith

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Van Haven

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Guns R Roses 2

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Kate Rush

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Boys III Men

Link

 

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Dolly Pardon

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter ZZ Stop

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Price and the Revolotuin

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter R Cell-y

Link

 

#RuinACompanyWithOneCEO

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

The Sequel – HOUNDED! 2.0

 

2019-06-28 NY Hounded

Link

 

 


 

 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Caryn Walker – Survivor of #CSA

 

Continuing in my series of interviews of people I find worthwhile to feature.

People who survived “life” as it was thrown at them.

I became aware of Caryn Walker on Twitter very early on in 2018 when I started my rants about Pret. Caryn was a very early supporter, actually one of the very first! She’s quiet, but solid in the background. I appreciate it, Caryn. Thank you.

Her autobiography about child sexual abuse, and the violence she and her siblings suffered is a difficult read, but it is an important read.

I left a review on Amazon last year, but it is gone as I have deleted my Amazon account and everything will be deleted when closing an account (I closed it because they are the biggest workplace bulliessorry had to mention!). But I kept a screenshot as Caryn was very touched about it, so I thought I’d keep it.

 

2018-08-22 Caryn Walker on my Review2

 

Ok, I am German, I write long sentences, please bear with it. But it comes from my heart. My review on Caryn’s book:


 

A Must-Read for Victims, Survivors, Supporters, Care Workers, Law Makers and Legal Institutions

»Our scars make us who we are; let’s wear them proudly and throw this shame aside because it was never ours to bear« — Caryn Walker (P. 187)

I came across this book a few days ago, bought it and did not expect to be taken to where it took me. This book will take you into a war-zone, a hell so out of proportion for anyone to suffer through, let alone innocent little children at the hands of their own parents! The crimes Caryn Walker, with the help of Linda Watson-Brown describes are so horrendous, I lost faith in humanity while reading these accounts. But I gained it again when I finished reading. The strength, determination and love for justice, life and true family beams out throughout the book.

You will feel all kinds of emotions, sometimes at once, utter shock, the sense of urgency, love for these precious kids, disbelief at the social workers system, total disgust for criminals who should never have been allowed to be “guardians” over children, relief at justice, frustration, hope, fear, courage.

Caryn Walker has given herself and her beloved sister Jenny the voice that was suffocated in confusion, pain and horror as they were forced to hide, as well as never believing they could be heard for so long. Caryn, Jenny and their siblings experienced all kinds of abuse imaginable, or rather unimaginable. Caryn’s determination to give Jenny and herself a voice, and to go all the way through to reach justice is beyond inspirational and humbling!

This book is a must read for everyone to see the reality of cruelty done to children, and the urgency to open our eyes in our neighbourhoods, families, class rooms, everywhere, and to give ear to anyone speaking up about childhood sexual and all kinds of abuse, as well as to investigate where the victim can’t speak as yet, it should also question the legal system, and provoke new discussion and laws to move away from lenient sentences and bring true punishment and a better deterrent against the sadistic criminals, who commit these crimes.

This book has to serve as a painful reminder to a disastrous social workers system that failed these children for so long. And it will be a megaphone for so many children and adults who suffer and suffered through childhood abuse. It will give them the courage and voice they never dreamed they’d have and a renewed trust in the Legal System!

Her name is Jenny.

 


 

Caryn’s Interview

Late Night Girl: Please introduce yourself and what you do, be it in occupation or private, even if you are out of a job, it is not about a status but your passion for whatever your hobby, campaign or raising awareness is about:

Caryn Walker: I have worked as a photographer for the past 17 years. But qualified as a life coach last year and as a CBT counsellor in 2016.

 

LNG: How would you describe yourself in one word?

CW: Empathic.

 

LNG: What quote, that inspires you, has either changed your life or even helped you transform it into action?

CW: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” – Nelson Mandela

 

LNG: Biggest regret?

CW: None.

 

LNG: Biggest success or something you’re proud of, next to your children of course if you have children, can be anything from occupational or private, something you still would smile about on your last day?

CW: Giving my sister a voice.

 

LNG: Apart from the usual things like ethics, honesty, hard work etc. what piece of advise you would give to anyone who is thinking of going into the activity you are/were involved in? What headaches or pitfalls would you tell them can be avoided?

CW: Always have a back up plan, and go see the world – explore. Nothing is set in stone.

 

LNG: What was the most challenging experience you’ve ever had, be it personal or professional, that you overcame and went through in one piece so-to-speak, or if you got broken, recovered again?

CW: Taking my father to court, emotionally and physically it was the hardest thing, I thought it might break me.

 

LNG: What, if at all, would you do differently in this challenge now in hindsight?

CW: Let go of toxic people earlier, I learned who did and didn’t have my back but I still held on too long hoping things would be different – they weren’t.

 

LNG: If you were invited to do a TED Talk, what would be the subject you would want to talk about and why?

CW: I would talk about my journey and how talking heals. I would try to reach that person in the room that was still holding onto guilt and shame.

 

LNG: What is your definition of success?

CW: Success to me is peace in your heart and being loved.

 

LNG: What was a time or situation where you felt like giving up, but found a way to keep going?

CW: Court again. I honestly felt I would not make it through to the trial, I lost parts of my hair, I got really poorly, but I did get through and got the justice I deserved.

 

LNG: When is the time to indeed give up or let go?

CW: When your heart doesn’t feel it any more.

 

LNG: In one word, how do you define leadership:

CW: To empathize as well as be in charge.

 

LNG: Favourite or most meaningful book to you and why? If it is hard to choose one, then the last or most recent book that really meant something to you or something clicked:

CW: “from heroin to CHRIST” a true story by Elizabeth Moldovan. A real survivor with the spirit of a lion.

 

LNG: If you could change a pet peeve of yours, what would it be?

CW: I would love to see an end to the use of plastic in the supermarket.

 

LNG: What is the positive thing people keep saying about you?

CW: People tell me that I am strong, and that I am genuine.

 

LNG: Outside your occupation, and again next to your family, what is your great passion when off work?

CW: I love to be outside, walking or cycling, or reading on the beach with my dog.

 

LNG: What is the core “mission” of your occupation or campaign?

CW: To reach victims/survivors and help them to find their voice.

 

LNG: Favourite meal:

CW: My favourite meal is beans on toast, with cheese.

 

LNG: Favourite drink:

CW: Favourite drink – cream soda… alcohol – amaretto. 🙂

 

LNG: Favourite film, TV/Netflix series, or theater play:

CW: My favourite film is “The Color Purple” with Whoopi Goldberg.

 

LNG: Favourite artist:

CW: I love Frank Sinatra and all of his music.

 

LNG: Favourite song or piece of music:

CW: But my favourite song is – “Que Sera Sera” by Doris Day. I have this tattooed on my back and arm.

 

LNG: Favourite quote:

CW: Keep smiling.

 

LNG: Which person, alive or already passed, that you have never met would you love to have a conversation with, or even collaborate on a cause, art, work situation? NO selfies allowed! A one-off meeting between you and them!

CW: I would love to meet Rosa Parks and give her the biggest hug and tell her how she changed things. ❤

 

LNG: An open segment: Anything you like to mention about anything that’s important to you, no matter if you covered it already or anything that you have not mentioned, can be pointing out another website or a cause people need to know about from you or others, anything. It can even be a list of things and sites, there’s no limit, anything you want to share.

CW: THE FIRST QUESTION: Writing my life helped with my healing journey. I didn’t know it at the time but talking/reporting my abuse was the very first step on my road to healing.

The positive has come from friends and from many strangers, they have showed me that I am not responsible for what happened to me and that I needed to shake off the shame I was carrying.

I gave my sister the voice she never had and people hear her now, and they tell me that they almost know her. This warms my heart.

The biggest negative was my family, they hate me more now than before (some of them) but hey-ho. Another negative – I thought, was baring my soul on paper. But that is because I was still holding onto someone else’s guilt.

I now know that it’s ok to share your story. In fact it is really important and helps a lot of people.

Next time I will self publish, I don’t like the idea of not having a lot of control over my own story. I believe that the reason it takes people often many years to disclose or talk about child abuse is because you have to be secure in your personal life and within yourself to allow yourself to be vulnerable for a while.

This can take 5 or 50 years. But when you are ready, talk, talk, talk, it’s ok. People will hear you and believe you and you will be supported, wherever that support comes from, it may not be family.

I would tell anyone wanting to write their story to not be pushed into sharing the parts that they aren’t comfortable with and to take the time to write down what you really want to be in there.

It is your story, your journey. Big hugs to anyone that may need one.

Caryn x

 

Thanks Caryn.

I always end with a favourite quote of the person I interview. My favourite quote from Caryn’s book of course is the one I quoted first in my Amazon review, but I break rules and add a second quote:

“Her name was Jenny”.

 

Caryn’s book »Tell Me You’re Sorry Daddy« has been a Sunday Times and Amazon bestseller. It is translated into French and Dutch, and will be translated into Swedish and German. It can be found not only on Amazon. Ebay and other sellers, as well as ordering at WH Smith or your local bookstore.

@CarynWalker4 on Twitter and Facebook.

 

List of Interviews.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

 

 

 

Hounded @ Pret A Manger

 

hounded; hounding; hounds

Definition of hound

transitive verb

1 : to pursue with or as if with hounds
2 : to drive or affect by persistent harassing

Merriam-Webster.com

 

2019-06-28 NY Hounded

June 2019 New York … »Try your best not to work there … Bad management, Always being “hounded”.«

 

Turning the tables on a multi-million £$ company!

 

2015-03-24 TM - If you want to work in a happy env - RVW6182241

Link  »Being bullied Total disregard for health and safety Being made to feel incompetent Worked into the ground without empathy«

 

Worked Into the Ground without Empathy”

— Former Pret Employee

YouTube

 

2015-09-01 TM - WORST Job - RVW7802756

Link … »I am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!«

 

2014-02-11 GM - Great Company in Risk of Ruin Bullie Out - RVW3683526

Link Former Manager: »Please get the bullies out …«

 

2012 Ex GM ExGM Ex-GM

Link Former Manager

 

2019-04-21 Harrassment

Link »Bad management, non ethical HR, slavistic management …«

 

Forced Smiles and “Happiness”
for Mystery Shopper bonus, cash incentives and fear management

YouTube

 

2019-07-28 HFC - Bullying Harrassment Regular - RVW28288697

Link … Hot Chef: »Leaders harass you when you are not finished in time but they sit in office talking.«

 

2019-04-16 Depression Toxic

Link … »if you want to know what Depression is work at Pret a Manger is the best place for that«

 

2019-07-09 TM - Aweful Vile - RVW27896448

Link »Constant bullying and harassment by the Team Leaders and staff«

 

And just a brand new review on Indeed:

2019-08-20 Does not recommend at all Finsbury Sq Bullying

Link »In my shop only for a month 6 people gave resignation. … Nobody care for you in Pret A Manger. Selfishness, bullying, harassment and lies– this is Pret A Manger. I have changed shops to see if elsewhere will be better, but unfortunately no! Same treatment same behaviour

 

etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. …… .. .

 

Glassdoor overall CEO results:

Current CEO Clive Schlee “retiring” in September 2019 quickly got his follower, new CEO Pano Christou to take over on Glassdoor to avoid further poor results. I write extensively about Pret’s CEO, how his “retirement” got communicated by him and Pret AFTER I tweeted to the press, and why the business world needs an “anti-CEO Playbook”:
CEOs and Leaderhsip (Pret A Manger)

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-09-03 Pano 41 34

 

HOUNDED! 2.0 – The Sequel

YouTube

 

HOUNDED! 1.0

 

 

 

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

TWO Pret staff have died.
One is said to have been a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
Arrow
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My SUPERPOWER

 

I wasn’t a fan of Ricky Gervais. I know he must be funny because he’s big in Hollywood, and I am German, I don’t have humour! I am more a Robin Williams person, or Russell Brand with his fast brain, thinking around 7 corners at the same time, and yet bringing it all together to make sense, sort of…

But what is it with comedians that portray serious and devastating life issues with such conviction?! Sure, isn’t it always the Clown who in reality suffers depression, is suicidal and may be shy in real life? It certainly takes a sensitive person who experienced life in the different facets. Or if personal loss hasn’t graced them yet, observe closely and understand pain even without having to suffer that particular pain. Clowns who can interpret life from all angles in order to be funny and believable!

And it always fascinates me how humans work. I get blocked on Twitter of course, due to my Pret rants. I do these “drive-by” Tweets where someone comments on Pret. And as fast as I drop into the conversation, I drop out again. I do this, because time is short and conversations keep going on. Silly, I know! But I’m like a politician who’s going from door to door knocking. I’m not running for an office, I run an online-marathon of raising awareness of Pret A Manger where two customer deaths were not acted upon until they became public, and where I ask for independent investigations into staff deaths including suicides. How people “vote” in their decision on what they learn, is up to them.

Sometimes the blocks are completely justified because I came across rude, certainly angry etc. Other times, actually the majority of the blocking, is due to simply how bold my Twitter profile is. At times I just “like” a Tweet and boom I get blocked, never having posted to or with the person. I bluntly mention in the few characters Twitter gives me that my brother died and I was bullied in Pret. I know, I know, a great downer from the get go!! What people don’t understand is, that I am not looking for friends or a following. I am very grateful for the support and the people who do follow, especially when they keep following even during my flip-outs! THOSE are the followers/friends/people I care to know. And the conversations that are happening in the background, positive or negative, people don’t see. Thank God!

At one time in a drunken stupor I blocked everyone, kicked all out, unblocked them again because it wasn’t against them personally, I was just overwhelmed with 30 followers that I didn’t even know! I had worse flip-out since my brother died and lost a lot of friends. But what always fascinates me is that some people who block me, because I am too blunt or loud about my story, these same “blockers” follow people like Ruby Wax, Russell Brand and famous people who have had horrific mental pain and/or a serious drug “career” behind them.

They’ve been to the bottom and back. And when they were unknown, I’m sure no-one would have wanted to be around them, let alone follow them on social media. But now, they’re millionaires and turned their trauma and healing into a career. Now they’re funny and they explain hell in a heavenly way! Death, grief, trauma, drug addiction is sanitized now. Now they are popular, it’s acceptable, even desirable to be “wacky”. We follow success. We don’t want to know the people WHILE they are in the mess! Just tell us how crazy you were in your past, we want to know once you are good again! Alright!?

So, I stumbled over this Netflix series with Ricky Gervais, who’s the brains behind, and all the main parts in it again. I saw this Tweet two days ago while I was searching hashtags. A bereaved mother mentioned Gervais’ “Afterlife” series under the #TraumaticGrief hashtag.

I don’t have Netflix anymore, as I unsubscribed from everything including Amazon. But the few snippets of this series are enough to be 1. devastated that it takes the film industry again to 2. understand what bereaved and traumatized people go through!! It takes a film again to show how torturous loss and grief is. No, it’s no excuse to be outrageously rude to people. It’s not about a license to offend, but it’s high time that the subject of grief, trauma, all the messy complications of it are talked about. People die by suicide. It’s called the “silent killer”.

“In 2017, 5,821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female.” – MentalHealth.org.uk

“Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK.” – TheCalmZone.net

“In the UK, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 45-49.” – Samaritans

So, what does that mean, that we should go around offending people so we won’t kill ourselves? It’s not about a license, it’s about understanding how grief and trauma sometimes manifests. And even though “Afterlife” is dramatized and also polished up, the messiness isn’t as extreme as it is in real life, I understand that the subject has to be accessible for “regular” mortals. One step at a time! And even though I haven’t seen the whole season, I think Gervais succeeded here! And it took someone like Ricky Gervais to do this, so people feel “safe” to test the waters of what will come to all of us eventually.

In our society we push people back into the grief-closet! We love to look with pity on the grieving mother, as long as she’s nice and quiet, hidden away at home. We love her few, little, quiet tears. We offer to be there for her if she needs anything. And we damn right mean it! And she must be okay, because she never calls. And if she goes around offending people, well hell yeah, she’s a bad and rude person! She’s out of line! Get back in line! Get a grip lady! How dare she dump her pain on us! We have lives to live and kids to raise. Don’t bother us with death and grief!

What hit me most from roaming through the various “Afterlife” clips is the one thing that Ricky Gervais says, which was exactly how I felt. Ricky’s character lost his wife to breast cancer. His trauma and pain is so unbearable for him. He turns to cynicism, and it leads him to lash out at anyone with the vilest, darkest, yet colourful barrage of insults. I never used the F-Word until my brother died! I can relate! He offends anyone, except a fellow widow and his dad who suffers dementia. I can also relate. One of the things he says to his therapist in a nutshell is, that when everything fails, he still has his “superpower”, the option to end his life.

When I started publicly to name Pret A Manger and how Pret, under CEO Clive Schlee and their toxic HR department has bullied me during the darkest time of my life, I did with Plan B in mind. I had nothing to lose but life itself. And life that I have is no life. It’s just a blob of existence waiting to end. My full story in the interview at the bottom of this page, but Pret gaslighting me, communicated that my emailing was wrong. Yet, they were having a laugh and stepped all over me from the very top senior leaders using even HQ personnel. When I started naming Pret I was shaking in fear, but I didn’t care anymore. What Ricky Gervais called his “superpower” was my Plan B. I can always end it all and almost did in 2015/16…

I am not advising people to have this strategy for themselves in order to cope with grief, pain and trauma. But it was just how it was for me. And in “Afterlife” Gervais portrays this brilliantly! Everything has stopped for him. Nothing matters anymore. We might as well now do whatever comes to mind.

After having followed all the rules, paid our taxes, loved our closest ones, worked hard, played by the book… with all the imperfections and failings, it all didn’t mean anything in the end… Suicide is the last Superpower and control of a broken person who’s had the foundation underneath their feet pulled away from them!

And maybe sometimes it’s better to watch a film or series like “Afterlife” and scrap all the therapy business!

For anyone who is suicidal, or knows someone who is, and doesn’t feel life is worth living, if you are in or close to London UK, please check out these two charities that support people who are suicidal. They give one-on-one sustained support:

Maytree – Brief intro on YouTube.

The Listening Place  – Intro on Vimeo.

I can vouch for the Listening Place from own experience.

So, I have to find myself a way to view “Afterlife”. And I will NOT do a “viewer discretion advised” warning for the YouTube trailer here even though indirectly I just did! But we are not given permission, nor discretion advise when we are born. I had no “viewer discretion” when I received the message of my brother’s death AND cremation via email. I assume that no child under 18 is reading my blog, but if they do, welcome to my blog! Thanks for stopping by. For the rest, I know you Christians out there are big boys and girls, you can handle this.

Thank you Ricky Gervais and everyone involved in this, for your courage to take a shot at this taboo subject that is death, grief, trauma and all the mess of it.

 

If anyone has Netflix, please check this out. If it is as good as I subject it is, could you feedback? I won’t go back into subscribing to anything in the near future. I lean towards becoming an old woman planting trees.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

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Julie Miller is Back!!!

 

… and I missed it by 2 months!

It’s Christmas and birthday and all the holidays in one!

But I have a feeling, it’s just a one-off thing. Life is short, let’s enjoy it!

One of the best kept secrets in general music. They are the top Americana artists, but the general music scene doesn’t know these gems! Buddy Miller, her husband calls her one of his favourite song writers. She writes most of the songs and has written 60 songs for the new album “Breakdown on 20th Ave. South” of which they chose 12 for the release. Their last album in collaboration was in 2009 and Julie’s solo work goes back into the 1990s.

Illness kept her behind the scenes, and I even wondered if she’s still alive. There is no songwriter, poet, authentic artist that reaches into the depths, and does it without bending to trends like Julie. No couple or duo collaborate like Buddy and Julie Miller!

Their last album together “Written in Chalk” ten years ago was a great album of course, but this new one here is out of this world! It’s only Buddy and Julie, recording in their bedroom and studio at home, and the songs are personal as usual, but very different this time.

And apart from illness and depression, her younger brother died from lightning.

A quote from the Tennessean:

“The record boasts heartfelt tales of losing family members (“Storm of Kisses”), a plea for attention (“I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”) and, accompanied by the oddly soothing hurdy-gurdy, taps into Julie Miller’s affection for documentary films (“Feast of the Dead,” a song literally and poetically about the animals who clean the world by eating the dead).”

Yep, that’s Julie! Unique songwriting, themes and concepts! NO FEAR to touch any subject! But the weird “prophecy” type song writing before her brother died by lightning strike, was that before his death she started writing songs and themes on storms, rain etc.

It reminds me of the Christmas period when I worked and a colleague finished her shift, got dressed to go home and on her way out she picked up a coffee from our counter. She had a really beautiful bag, silver black, rectangular style. It would not suit me, but it really looked great on her. I complemented her on the bag. She said that it used to be her sister’s, but that she died. I remember briefly speaking with her, and then thinking that I cannot imagine how it must be to lose a sibling. But I didn’t know that while I thought that, my brother was already dead.

 

Brief NPR review of their new album

 

 

Buddy & Julie Miller Release Two New Tracks from Their First Album in a Decade: “Breakdown on 20th Ave. South”

 

purchase, purchase, purchase ….

 

[ 💛 Favourites 💛 ]

 

1. 💛 Breakdown On 20th Ave. South 💛

 

💛 2. Feast Of The Dead 💛 (Brilliant!)

 

💛3. Everything Is Your Fault💛 (A Julie Miller love song to Buddy)

 

4. Unused Heart

 

5. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

 

6. 💛 Til Stardust Comes Apart 💛

 

7. Underneath The Sky

 

8. Spittin’ On Fire

 

💛 9. Secret 💛

 

10. War Child 

 

11. 💛 Thoughts At 2am 💛

 

12. Storm Of Kisses

 

13. Can’t Cry Hard Enough (Bonus Track)

Bonus track, from Julie’s 1994 “Invisible Girl” album. It’s a cover written by David Williams and Marvin Etzioni, and first performed by the William Brothers. Julie made it her own again like every song she covers!

 

14. 💛 You Make My Heart Beat Too Fast 💛 – LIVE 2019 (Bonus Track)

I cut a short excerpt of their last bonus track that they played live in Nashville 2019. The song is from their 2004 album “Love Snuck Up”. It’s not on YouTube and I just post half the song. Volume UP! Julie’s back!!! 🙂

 

I used her “Can’t Cry Hard Enough” version for one of my videos for my brother.

 

Buddy and Julie used to have a combined site BuddyAndJulie.com but now turns into BuddyMiller.com

He also changed his Twitter handle and I thought he disappeared from social media like Julie did. Buddy and Julie’s Facebook.

 

Thread-ish

 

I once lived with a friend who is a Christian when we were involved in Church and volunteer work with our friends. She went through deep depression at the time. Once she said that she’s hanging like on a thin thread (she was suicidal)… I’m not a Psychologist, but from no-where, call it God or whatever, it doesn’t matter, I said to her “No, you’re not hanging on a thread, you are held in God’s hands”… and her face was at peace.

And now I say, we may hang on a thread or be secure in someone’s hands out of our control, and be it depression, bullying, loss … we have dignity, no matter what!

 

Buddy and Julie Miller’s cover of “Dirty Water” by John Mayall.

 

Dirty Water

Well I don’t need you hangin’ round my door
Trying to drag me back down to the shore
And I ain’t gonna drink your dirty water no more

Well I got wet from my head down to my legs
And I drank dirty water down to the dregs
But I won’t do it again I don’t care who begs

Dirty water now what’s that for
Dirty water I ain’t drinking no more

You’ve got a lie underneath your tongue where it can’t be seen
And you wanna put the truth on a guillotine
But you might as well put out a fire with gasoline

Well you can serve up dirty water from a golden cup
You can try to lock up the truth but the door won’t shut
Cause the truth just keeps coming out like blood from a cut

Well it sparkles and it shines but it’s just a trick
So you wash it down with a kiss just to get a kick
But that dirty water is about to make me sick

You can try to sweeten dirty water up with grenadine
But I can still read you just like a magazine
And I ain’t gonna drink no more till the water runs clean

Baby you got the kind of love that I can’t afford
And I don’t have a taste for what’s in that glass you poured
No I ain’t gonna drink that dirty water no more

John Mayall

My Odyssey through the Mental Health System

 

My odyssey through the mental health system started with my brother’s death.

He died in December 2014 but we didn’t know that he was dead AND cremated until January 2015, 5 weeks after his death!

Apart from the trauma and shock, I moved like a hypnotized zombie stumbling around on autopilot. I started to investigate and continued to work in-between all the errands and family matters I had to run, traveling back and forth between London and Germany until my savings ran out.

With some common sense still in tact, I immediately sought help via my doctor. After the funeral and all the main errands where done, I went to my doctor around February 2015 as I realized very quickly that I can’t handle this on my own, still working and also trying to help my family. I remember a friend saying to me how surprised she was that I got a counseling spot so fast as she once waited over a year for a spot when she was in deep depression and suicidal.

 

COUNSELOR #1 – Spring 2015

I was lucky to have gotten a place very fast in May 2015 with a counselor. But when I did the initial telephone assessment with the NHS, I asked for bereavement counseling and assumed this is what I was then referred to.

The NHS funded 6 sessions but rejected further sessions that the counselor applied for. He then gave me a rebate and I continued for a further 7 sessions (13 altogether) paying out of my pocket. The sessions didn’t help, for several reasons, one I was gobsmacked when the counselor suggested in the 4th session for me to do an additional counseling session with a bereavement counselor.

But I thought HE was the bereavement counselor! I also learned later towards my last sessions that he was a trainee therapist. Nothing against trainees, we all have to start somewhere, but I needed an experienced therapist who understands trauma.

I also think it didn’t help because of the timing. I was is such a state of shock and a whirlwind that was going on in my head. But I needed help and my friends were overwhelmed from the get go, because of the circumstances of my brother’s death, the way I found out and all the lack of support from the Police etc. I didn’t want to, and couldn’t put this on my friends. And yet, months later I hurt all my friends and strangers in a complete traumatized state!

I quit after the 13th session.

 

COUNSELOR #2 – Mid 2015

Then a friend introduced me to a private counseling organization which is Christian based. By then I ran out of money as my savings dried up with the errands and flights to Germany. The assessment alone cost £50 which my friend lent to me.

But this counseling procedure didn’t sit with me, and I didn’t have the funds to pay for the sessions thereafter. I didn’t go back.

 

COUNSELOR #3 – Mid to Fall 2015

This wasn’t a counselor, but a free volunteer organization a friend passed on to me because I started to lament that I can’t find help. It was Cruse, the largest bereavement service in the UK. I was offered 8 fortnightly evening sessions with a young volunteer, who seemed very knowledgeable and well trained. But I quit after 4 sessions because she lied about something, which for me was devastating, because the foundation of especially counseling has to be an honest foundation.

We did an initial phone assessment after which she offered the 8 sessions. After a few weeks after the assessment call, I received a text message from an unknown number about my first appointment. I logged the number in my phone as plainly “Cruse” assuming that it was an automated Cruse number texting out appointments. My GP does that and other official organizations, where you cannot reply, or if you reply, it is not picked up. So, I assumed this was an automated Cruse number for the sole purpose of sending text reminders.

After my second appointment with the Cruse volunteer I noticed that the “Cruse” number that is automatically also stored with Whatsapp has her photo on the avatar with a cat on her shoulders. I never checked this before as I didn’t use Whatsapp much. I was perplexed that a volunteer would use their personal number for Cruse, but didn’t make much of it.

In our 3rd session I talked about the videos I was making for my brother on YouTube and that this is the only thing at that time which helped me somewhat. She then offered for the 4th session to bring her iPad and that we could look at the videos there. As I had 2 weeks to think about it, I decided to not want to do this in the session as this would mean nothing to me because she didn’t know my brother. It would have been much more meaningful if a friend or family would watch this with me, as we knew my brother and could have remembered situations of some of the photos.

Once I was sure I didn’t want to watch the videos in the 4th session with the volunteer I texted the “Cruse” number to pass on a message to this volunteer not to bring her iPad. The sessions we had was at 7pm every two weeks. I assumed that she might have worked all day and came straight to the sessions from work. I wanted to avoid her carrying an iPad around, which isn’t very light, while I decided I didn’t want to watch my videos. That was the only time I texted that number to pass on to the volunteer assuming it was a general Cruse number.

In the 4th session she thanked me for the message that had been passed on to her and that this isn’t her number. I was confused that and WHY she even mentioned that it wasn’t her number. I assumed it was Cruse number. But now I think she tried to protect herself and accidentally gave away that it IS indeed her number, but lied as she feared I’d contact her again. But I never did and always assumed this was Cruse’s number.

After the session it dawned on me that this IS her number and in anger I confronted her about lying and I never went back. I thought if she lies about this, what else would she lie about in regards to Cruse etc. This was around the time of the first grievance that was raised by the HR advisor at work on my behalf.

By now it is the end of 2015 and the bullying in Pret is in full gear! (For any new reader to my blog, my story with Pret is in an interview audio player at the bottom of this page). After around 9 months of approaching Pret, their HR department and managers / area managers, an HR advisor heard my story for the first time from me. Up until then she only knew the area manager’s side who was the catalyst of the bullying, involving several managers and shops against me.

When this HR advisor heard my side for the first time, she became dead quiet on the phone as I shared what I was going through in my shop. I had to check my phone at one point thinking it just switched off the phone call like it sometimes did, because she was completely quiet. I asked, “Are you still there?” to which she answered in a very quiet, slow and solemn way, “I’m listening”. She then let me continue what I went through.

I understood later that she must have been shocked to hear a completely different story than what she was fed back up until then. To my initial shock, she then raised a grievance on my behalf against my line manager and his boss, the catalyst of the bullying. She raised the grievance on the grounds of “bullying” and was supposed to be at the hearing, but was “sick” I was told. I never heard from her again, except later in a different hearing, and I immediately went into paranoia, because for the first time there was someone who believed me, but she was taken out of the process. And the first hearing they rushed through and seemed very annoyed that I was even there. The hearing process itself was very dodgy in many ways. I will write about the Pret HR hearings (10 altogether) I went through and how systemic it was. But I want to concentrate on the mental health system here.

But all the bullying allegations were rejected fully, which led me to appeal etc.

The appeal was only substantiated in a tiny little thing and I felt from the get go in my gut, that there’s something wrong here. The bullying was never admitted and the hearings were a mess! The bullying continued, even intensified, as my line-manager was angry with me for the partially substantiated grievance against him. He bullied me now openly and aggressively. And after almost a year of approaching HR, managers etc. I contacted Clive Schlee the CEO of Pret, who will be “retiring” officially in September 2019.

New grievance hearings were arranged which then had the initial HR advisor PRESENT who raised the first grievance and was “sick” when the hearing took place. ONLY THEN did Pret start to offer help, AFTER I contacted the CEO. But from how I experienced their “help”, it felt mainly to cover themselves in case of a court claim, so they could say how supportive they were!

 

COUNSELOR #4 – January 2016

I was first referred to a counselor who even lived close by my address in walking distance. Pret’s insurers that arranged the counseling meant well, they probably looked at my address and sought for the closest, most convenient counselor in my area. But I only did 2 sessions with a lady who did counseling from her living room.

Everyone is different, but I don’t like to be in a counseling situation at someone’s private home. The lady was very professional and her living room was arranged like a counseling room, where she had dividers, to separate her private things with her counseling area in the living room. She did nothing bad, but I did not feel comfortable, especially with telling my story of a brother who died in his apartment, was not found until approximately 6 days later when his body was already disintegrating. He left 3 cats behind, that God knows HOW they survived! But the cats ransacked the whole place, probably in distress! I was told his apartment was a complete chaos where the cats pooed everywhere, ripped things apart etc.

My brother was very well kept, handsome, well dressed and his apartments were always super clean and organized. You had to take your shoes off when entering his house, like in my flat as well. But the cats completely destroyed the place! Animals understand death! I remember him sending me photos of his one cat, the mother cat, that slipped out one day and came back pregnant. He kept two kittens and gave the others away.

The mother cat

DSC00221

 

DSC00188

 

My brother loved animals, we grew up with a dog that reached 18 years!! Even as a kid, he was not afraid of anything! When he was around 10 years old he climbed over a fence of a property where they had a kitchen show-room. Our parents went inside to look at kitchens, while we remained in the car right by the window where our parents could still see us. My brother of course always active, couldn’t sit still, saw this huge German Shepherd on the property and climbing the fence, went inside. He cuddled the dog while I was white as a sheet for fear he’d get devoured by this monster! But he didn’t. Actually, this business should have then gotten a new guide dog, because this dog was only useful as a teddy bear and any robber would have easy access!

But how am I going to talk about his death, and all the weird things surrounding it, to a lady who counseled from her private den! I pictured myself counseling someone with a traumatic story in my living room, and being left with the imagery and words alone later in the evening, watching a movie! I would need a professional surrounding, where I can leave the stories in that room and go home to my sanctuary. But some people obviously can do it. And also, this lady, when I told her about Pret, the first counseling was just the day after another grievance hearing. So, I spoke about it and this is what she wanted to concentrate on in the next sessions.

But I needed help with my brother’s death and making sense as best as I could.

The remaining 4 sessions thereafter (6 altogether) were cancelled then on my request, and Pret via their insurer looked for an alternative.

 

COUNSELOR #5 – Early 2016

I was then referred to a Psychoanalyst that the Head of HR introduced me to, saying that he referred other staff to him. These employees were HQ office staff or Operations Managers, people who are in upper leadership roles or jobs, because they were harder and expensive to replace. Regular front-line and low paid staff, from the shops would never be taken care of with paid therapy, except shop managers. Again, anyone who is expensive, in higher position and harder to replace. The rest is fired fast. So, my therapy support paid by Pret ONLY came when I contacted the CEO in WRITING about the bullying and the HR advisor who tried to help, but was “eliminated” from the process. Only then did support start. In fact, reading their email communication between them after I applied for my file, they were running around like headless chickens changing direction now!

I wrote it several times before that I can’t make up my mind if this is stuff for a thriller or a comedy! I’m sure both! But it gave me a lot of insight into the heart of Pret and how deceptive they are.

And again, in the counseling sessions we talked about everything BUT my brother’s death. He wanted to dig into my childhood and wanted to get me to do a cheap 2 year Psycho Analyses with a trainee counselor, where the trainee would learn and I get it half price. I started to think now that there is no help, I don’t need to be guinea pig, I need HELP!!

I learned only then the difference between Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Psychoanalysts! I asked him what I am going through as the emailing started around that time (I explain in my interview at the bottom). This is when he then explained that he can’t diagnose me as he is a Psychoanalyst, not a Psychiatrist.

I quit after 4 sessions of the 6 sessions that were arranged.

Back to square one.

By now the Pret issues continued. I felt blamed that nothing in the counselings seemed to help and I increasingly asked for a trauma specialist via the NHS, Pret, any avenue I could find. This is when I felt increasingly suicidal, still working, started to drink, and the spiral of anxiety and neurotic behaviour added to the nightmare.

In hindsight I can pinpoint very easily WHY the counselings also didn’t help, apart from that I still feel they were the wrong types of counseling. For one, by the time I started into the death of my brother, the 6 sessions were over and I had to start again somewhere else!

And two, I was basically going to counseling once a week or fortnight, went back to work where the bullying continued, this time in a more subtle way. And Pret didn’t understand why the counseling didn’t help me, as I always communicated openly and also quit the counselings, not wanting to waste Pret’s money! I was so stupid and like in a Stockholm Syndrome situation to care about Pret’s money! Figure that!!

But it was like a woman who gets beaten by her husband daily (Pret’s bullying environment), and the husband then gives his wife money to go to hospital and the pharmacy to get “fixed” up (counseling Pret paid for). And when she returns home, he beats her up again…and sends her to the doctor again… and the vicious circle continues. In hindsight, I should have run away FAST from Pret early on! But 1. I never imagined that I would get bullied, and 2. I was in a fogged up daze and a traumatized mind to fully understand what was happening. During the day I was highly professional, worked even very efficiently, and at night I started drinking. I still don’t know how I even worked, and maybe the adrenaline of trauma kept me going on autopilot.

 

COUNSELOR #6 – 2016

I found another charity that offered bereavement counseling. And even though it is a charity, they charge according to your income. I paid a minimal amount for weekly sessions after I was offered 12 sessions. But I did 8 sessions and stopped because the lady seemingly in menopause would freeze and then sweat profusely, and by the clock, around 20 minutes into the sessions would nod off slightly EVERY week!! I kept talking as if nothing happened as it is understandable when someone may be in menopause or even ill. But after 8 sessions I felt like she could at least make an effort and have a glass of ice water and a fan next to her! In hindsight, if this would happen again, I would try to find a way to say something! But I was still in this “nice” mode, continuing something that did not benefit ME!

 

COUNSELOR #7 – 2016 and beyond on and off

I found a charity that works with people who have traumatic loss. All loss is traumatic, but they concentrated on the kind of deaths that don’t seem “normal” or that are premature deaths. But there I also didn’t stay long as I was getting increasingly suicidal. I then found a charity that deals with suicidal people. I became aware of Maytree, a charity that has a house in North London that offers 5 nights for free for suicidal people. I found them via a documentary I saw on YouTube about grief after suicide as I was trying to still find out why my brother died, even though the Police ruled out suicide and fowl play. I was researching all kinds of online support, bereavement forums, YouTube stories, anything!! They showed Maytree in the program where a woman whose husband died by suicide without any previous warnings or signs to her. I link here directly to the part where she visits Maytree to interview the staff.

After a few phone assessments I was advised that I could stay with Maytree after I haven’t drunk anything for 8 weeks. I managed at times to not drink for 2 or 3 weeks, but when I drank something, the clock started at zero again. But Maytree referred me to an ambulant charity in London, called The Listening Place (TLP). They are also run by volunteers in Central London and see people by appointment. I was one of the first “clients” and they were still in the trial period where I was often asked if they can change anything in the service. It was a good way as I was able to help them as well to draft their service, and how they can shape a foundation from which they then offer help.

The Listening Place, even to this day, has been the most professional and helpful, even though they are not paid professionals! I visited TLP on and off between 2016 and 2019.

In 2016 and 2017 I went to hospital suicidal, but was sent away, back into the community and services there. Having applied for my file in 2018 they even clearly mentioned that I was suicidal, and yet I was sent away. In early 2019 I spent a night in the Police station being watched as I went there in fear I’d kill myself that night. I didn’t want to go to the hospital again, getting send away. So I went to the police that I visited already for the third time, but this time they held me over night while waiting for a bed to free up. But all beds were full I was told, so I was sent back home the next morning and I started to go back to TLP again.

The Listening Place

 

COUNSELOR #8

This was a three times 3 hour sessions in group CBT therapy via the NHS, so basically 9 hours of group sessions. This was actually really helpful, but once the group got comfortable in the setting, the program was finished.

 

COUNSELOR #9 – Mid 2016

This was again via the NHS 6 sessions CBT therapy, but even the therapist after the 3rd session realized that this is not what I needed and I was put on a waiting list for another therapy.

 

COUNSELOR #10 – End of 2016

This was again a regular counselor arranged via the NHS. I was now offered 12 session compared to the usual 6 sessions the NHS funds. But this counselor, although more experienced, again didn’t seem to be interested to get into my brother’s death. It was like pulling teeth where I had to initiate the conversation and it felt frustrating. It lasted 4 sessions.

Nothing clicked. I kept asking for trauma based therapy. But nothing came my way.

In-between the months I went back to The Listening Place on and off.

 

COUNSELOR #11 – End of 2018

The third and last Therapist that Pret financed came when the Head of HR started to warn me about potential dismissal. This was in the middle of the gaslight situation with the Development Manager Pret used to manipulate me. I explain fully in below interview. But I was in such a mental state where I was so blinded, manipulated and neurotic that I firmly begged Pret to give me a chance, while I was actually the one who should have gone to court much sooner. They twisted things so well that I felt I was in the wrong. So, the Head of HR pretending to be once again so terribly helpful, arranged for this last Therapist.

This Therapist was the first Counselor to mention that the Development Manager acted abusively and that she isn’t a proper Therapist when she acts like she did. He said to me that as a Counselor he isn’t supposed to give his opinion, but in this regards he saw a lot of wrongdoing by Pret and the danger of an abusive Therapist’s behaviour. I even agreed, but by then I was so eaten up with guilt, shame and felt like a complete failure in all aspects, fully emerged in confusion. I was and am still coming to terms about my brother and the added hell in Pret. This time I finished the sessions, as I felt he was competent and understood a lot of what I was going through. He was also the Therapist who after hearing my story with all the emailing, said that “people in bereavement do the strangest things”. He had a lot of emotional intelligence and understanding.

 

COUNSELOR #12 – 2017 / 2018

I kept going back to my doctor and now they started realizing that I need something serious and long term. By now I am mentally broken down so much, still coming to terms about my brother and with the added trauma of the systemic bullying I was going through like in a mental war-zone. Also my father was found on the floor in his apartment and put into an induced coma and a whole new set of a nightmare started.

I was put on a waiting list for long-term therapy and had two assessments with a Psychologist, one in December 2017 before I lost my job, and the second in January 2018 after I lost my job and my dad in hospital in Germany, after his three week coma as a result of a stroke. He died in March 2018 and the whole thing of nightmares started again like a never ending Twilight Zone.

At the second assessment in January 2018 I was offered a twelve week group therapy introductory course with a relatively new therapy form called Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT). A little taken aback at the esoteric sounding name, I was explained what it is and was relieved to be offered 12 sessions straight away. As I had a good experience with the 3 session CBT group the year before, I finally felt hope!

But it didn’t stop there, it was getting even better! The Psychologist explained that after the 12 group sessions which was an introductory course to MBT and a way for the group to get to know each other, that after the 12 sessions there would be a few months break. And then after the break this same group of about 8 – 10 people would start 18 MONTHS sessions of the main therapy!

 

I felt like I won the lottery!!!!!

 

But it didn’t stop there!!

This would be TWICE a week for 18 months, once a week in a group setting, and the second session one on one with the Therapist. The group sessions are held by two therapists, one which is a Psychiatrist and the other a Psychologist!

I thought this must be an intense therapy that it is that long and held by two therapists. It took THAT long for the NHS to finally put me on a long-term program like this.

In September 2018 the first introductory group sessions started. We were instructed to NOT talk about our personal issues, which was weird and even my friends asked why I was there then, if I couldn’t talk about my trauma. But since this was an introductory course and we were told that the main sessions are then for us to share, I thought nothing further of it.

In the 6th of the 12 sessions the Psychologist dropped a bomb! She asked us how we felt with the therapy program and wanted to do stock count half way through the introductory phase and inquired how we felt so far. But then she mentioned almost casually, and yet in hindsight it was completely calculated, after we each shared how we felt with the therapy and group she said, “I want to stress that the main 18 months sessions will be video recorded” ….

Sorry what??!!

In shock and disbelief we looked around and started to ask what for! I noticed that whole time even before they dropped the bomb, the Psychiatrist who was mainly quiet didn’t look me in the eyes a lot when she spoke to us. I remember even thinking that and assumed maybe I have one of my angry looks, as people sometimes tell me I look so serious. Well after all the forced smiles in Pret and what happened in the last 4 years, sorry, in my private time I choose a face that suits ME, not anyone else! Look elsewhere if you don’t like the looks of my face!

We were explained that they use video to look and analyze “frame by frame” at what is and what is NOT being said. Yet, MBT in a nutshell is all about AVOIDING assumptions and learning to ask and explain emotions. It slowly dawned on me that the Psychologist who mainly talked was in TRAINING, with the Psychiatrist being the supervisor, saying a few things in-between, and we were like guinea pigs here. They would look at the video material afterwards to learn the therapy. We were assured that the videos of the group and individual one on one sessions would be deleted “after a few weeks”, but nothing was tangible and clear! It was all very vague!

Me and another guy got up and left.

I researched this at home later and found that it is becoming increasingly common practice to video therapy sessions, especially MBT. What I did NOT realize, is that I could have just declined consent and continued the therapy. But without them saying it, they left us in the assumption that we either consent to video filming and are part of the therapy, or we cannot participate! They never gave us clear information that we can decline consent and they cannot force us either way.

After a phone call with the Psychologist, whom I believe was in training, I stopped the therapy AGAIN and filed a formal complaint with the NHS. I also would have discontinued even without the video as I lost trust and confidence in the Therapists. What else are they not telling us, I thought.

My main points were that we were never told this in out INITIAL assessment ONE YEAR before. I wasted 1 year on the waiting list which I could have used for alternative therapy OR if I had the full and transparent information, I could have declined and they would have had to continue without videoing the sessions.

I also said that I felt this was calculated to give us this VITAL info, which involves data protection, half way through the 12 week intro sessions so that it would be much harder for us to decide against it as we would have gotten used to the group and therapy. All of us were not private patients, we had no choice and grabbed every opportunity of help, and I felt strongly that they took advantage of this. I even still feel like people who cannot afford a private therapist are used as guinea pigs for therapy training while they would never do that with paying private clients!

I felt used as a “poor” NHS patient for the education of therapists who then use this for paying “rich” patients.

Except for my “conspiracy” theories that wasn’t responded to, all my 4 page points were fully upheld by the NHS complaints department, which led to the therapy NOT being filmed.

But here I was again, raising hell and others benefit from it while I am now back to square one on yet another waiting list! You’re welcome y’all!

The leading Psychologist who looks over the program and the Therapists held an appointment with me after I refused to have an appointment with the Psychologist who dropped the bomb of videoing. But this “chief” Psychologist seemed to have been ticked off with me as I ruined his program to film sessions, because he started the appointment by saying he has only 30 minutes and seemed to rush. He offered me a choice of two programs, one would be a long waiting list again for a long-term therapy, or as an alternative to cut the waiting time, I could volunteer in the nearby hospital! So, basically if you don’t want to wait for the proper therapy, you can just go to the hospital and do volunteer work where there are professionals to talk to if I needed to! If I chose the hospital volunteer scenario, I would lose the therapy opportunity if I didn’t want to wait. I thought he was joking! And again, I felt like a carrot was dangled in front of me and I felt manipulated, to be forced between not waiting long and being cheated out of real long-term help if I skip the waiting period.

Those two options didn’t even match! It wasn’t an option between one type of therapy and another type of therapy like I was given a choice before. It was a choice between long-term therapy after a long wait – OR – volunteer in a hospital if I didn’t want to wait. WTF! It actually felt like he wanted me to quit the idea of therapy and used the waiting time-carrot. He seemed ticked off as I ruined his video project with my successful formal NHS complaint! I emailed him later that I felt he was cross with me and now wants to push me to the side to do volunteer work in hospital where there would also be some doctors if I had a crisis and needed help!! I couldn’t believe it!

He was very patronizing and I really felt he was pissed off and even gaslighting me to some extend. When I emailed him, he quickly diverted and said that he would not speak about my concerns via email and that I raised serious allegations. He further wrote that he would be happy to see me in person and speak about it. I replied that since he thinks that I raise serious issues, I’d like to keep our correspondence in writing (and in my thoughts not be lured away into a “he said / she said” scenario).

One decision I made after the whole Pret nightmare is to trust my gut again! And in this case with this chief Psychologist, I trust my gut and don’t trust him. Sorry, but I’m not sorry. Life is too short to be continuously bull shitted!

I refused to see him in a new appointment, because for one, there are many mistakes, even missing information in my medical file which I had to send evidence in of corrections to be added. For example one hospital assessment where I went suicidal, the doctor assessing me wrote that I was “unwilling to received help from Maytree”!!! And two, I didn’t trust him after the whole video thing and his patronizing way.

Maytree advised me to come back to them once I didn’t drink for 8 weeks. Sure, friends said to me to just lie and say that I didn’t drink for 8 weeks so they would take me in. But I can’t do that. If something is based on a lie, it won’t be effective. If I seek help, I want to do it in a proper way, otherwise I would always feel I missed something because I lied about something. So I applied for my files from Maytree and The Listening Place with all the dates I was in contact with them, which are always dates where I initiated contact as these services never initiate contact.

Also, BOTH Maytree and TLP have written 150% correct information to the T! They written down brief thoughts on each session or phone conversations and what I spoke about. I even got paranoid thinking if they recorded the sessions without my knowledge, because the information they entered was absolutely correct!! But I trust that they wouldn’t secretly record. But it is strange that two VOLUNTEER charities make correct and professional data entry, while almost every NHS staff either entered wrong info or left vital information out!

If anyone from the NHS is reading this, please help me understand here, and please don’t come with the NHS cuts! Volunteer based services are stretched as well, and they are not even paid! Maybe it is just their passion that makes them work efficiently, with care and transparency. And I fed that back to Maytree and TLP with great appreciation for their attention to detail!

I felt that the doctors from the NHS want to cover themselves, so in case I take my life, they would say that they tried to suggest help, but I was “unwilling” to receive help, while in reality I went from service to service, to hospital, even tried to get locked up with the Police because I feared my self and wasn’t sure at times if I survived to the next day.

And this is what I can advise anyone who seeks help from medical services, be it from a charity or their respective country’s medical services, I can advise everyone to always apply for your file after a period of time when your life has quieten down a bit. in Europe under the new GDPR laws we have great advantage to access what is held about us. Apply for your file and read carefully if ALL information is correct! If not, gather evidence and ADD it to the file. In my case, they refused to delete the incorrect info, but offered to add next to every incorrect info the correct info I updated them with.

There were other instances where for example an NHS Psychiatric Nurse, who assessed me after I had a mental crisis, just closed my file and said to my doctor he can’t get a hold of me, therefore he will close my case! And yet THE DAY when he emailed this to my doctor that he can’t get a hold of me was THE DAY my father died and I went to the Mental Health Club where I bumped into him. We briefly spoke, I said that my father died and that I am in the middle of raising a Tribunal claim against Pret. He offered me to look up some free legal advice help and emailed me later THAT DAY with some links to legal advocate sites! A few minutes later he emailed my doctor saying he can’t get a hold of me, so he has to close my case! My doctor printed out the email because I kept saying that I saw him several times for assessment as I was suicidal and bumped into him on the day my dad died.

And another Psychiatric Nurse who assessed me after my night at the Police station, she left some vital information out. So, I am in disbelief and in a neurotic conspiracy type thinking WHY on earth NHS staff not only lie, but keep writing incorrect notes about me, while TWO charities wrote everything correctly! What’s going on?!

And as I write this, I have already submitted the correct information with all the evidence from various services. I did this also with the help of POhWER that helps patients with NHS complaints as a kind of back-up, so the clients are not alone, and the NHS people cannot mess with a lone and vulnerable person raising issues. I may be well worded, but I’m a mess inside!

And all this coupled with what the Development Manager from Pret A Manger did who is also a Hypnotherapy with the National Hypnotherapy Society, that refused to see through the formal complaint I raised with them. I more and more believe that therapies are a load of horse dung and tools to manipulate vulnerable people! I more and more believe this all is not real and just another money making machine!

Now I am again on a waiting list and don’t even know for what! But I have this strong sense, and some may call it “conspiracy theory”, that when you are relying solely on the NHS, because you have no money to choose your own therapist, you are really used as a guinea pig, as you have no choice but to take anything and everything they offer you. I haven’t even been diagnosed after 4 years of my Therapy odyssey! How can this even be?!

Deep down inside I have lost faith and all hope that I will receive help. In Germany I would have by now probably finished trauma based therapy as the health system is very good. I continue in this mental health desert. At least I don’t drink as much anymore, but when I do, I continue to have these “flip outs” where I lash out at wonderful people who have done nothing wrong, but in my drunken traumatized mind they turn to monsters who are out to get me! And I am desperate for help, but I have lost hope and have no confidence in the NHS when it comes to mental health services.

A friend in Germany who is a family counselor once said to me that I should maybe just stop all this therapy search and find a new hobby!! She didn’t say it quite as blunt as I write and it was in German, but it showed me that even she as a Family Therapist doesn’t know what helps. This whole therapy thing is bogus! And I used to have hobbies and was very active, but nothing much interests me anymore. My Pret writings is to expose and turn the tables on them in my way.

And if any “hobby” psychologist or even real Therapist is reading this, forget contacting me, I am not interested in anyone playing saviour or trying to help. I was searching early on especially in 2015 and 2016 on bereavement groups. I met a Psychotherapist once in a Meetup.com group, where people who experienced trauma met weekly to just chat, have a drink or a meal. The Psychotherapist started the group and I even asked him why he is doing this? Of course the answer was to help! And weeks later he offered me a one-off session for half prize and my alarm bells went on. I never went back to the social meeting and later found he was gone from the Meetup page. I never noted down his name, but he surely was dodgy.

So, any Therapist reading this, I am happy for your input on the NHS, but I am not interested in any “therapy”. I do this the proper way via the NHS or Charities that are registered and accountable to their respective Counseling Bodies.

I can also add any organization regarding suicide, or other mental health support. These can be left in the comments section or via my contact page. But those have to be registered and accountable.

In hindsight I think I approached the mental health system from a German perspective, as in Germany the health system in general is really good. Bereavement care is almost immediate and for a prolonged time. Trauma therapies are better available, even if having to endure waiting lists etc. So, I’m not sure if my mentality is still too German. But I certainly went to town trying to get help. And maybe it’s not what I need.

Thank you for reading my mess with the mental health system.

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Women and Emotional Labour

 

At first glance this may look like an article about the “emotional labour” in relationships and families. But this will not be anything in the direction of women multi-tasking, caring, “juggling” all the responsibilities and keeping their men happy. This is about emotional labour in the service industry.

I have commented on several articles about emotional labour and written my own experience with Pret A Manger. I list a collection of articles in The Dangers of Emotional Labour with the emphasis of my own and ex-colleagues experiences.

One of the articles that covers the “extreme” emotional labour Pret A Manger expects is an essay I found on academic-master.com “The Enforced Happiness of the Pret A Manger Employee“. Unlike the other articles I found, the author quotes from International Labour Review “that the females will be given preference for interactive services because of their expertise in managing emotions.”

This reminded me again on how Pret used a majority of women against me in grievance hearings, which I explain in “Pret A Mathematics – 10 Hearings – 20 People – 17 Women – 3 Men”. All these women, in leadership roles, were used to manipulate and gaslight me. Where especially the male bullies failed to mob me out of the company with their open aggression, Pret used females to do the “job” in a subtle way, with the ultimate perversion of using a female Development Manager from Head Office, who supposedly had the same loss as I had! My full story with Pret is at the bottom of this page in an interview in the audio player.

 

Quote from the Academic Master article:
“Another impact of emotional labour in the retail industry that is mentioned in the given case study is that the females will be given preference for interactive services because of their expertise in managing emotions. It will result in the dominance of women in the service economy.

Women show higher sensitivity and politeness in their speech. Their conversational style has been categorised as cooperative, unlike man whose conversational style has been classified as competitive, assertive and direct. These traits of female language play an important role in emotional labour.

Moreover, unlike men, women are taught to conform and compromise for the happiness of the other from their childhood (CLAES, 1999).”

 

This in itself can fill books, but I remember one particular manager in Pret who would task young, often blonde, female Team Members working on the shop floor greeting customers. The rest of the Team would make jokes about the manager’s preference of who’s going to be the FO (Floor Organizer) during lunch time.

The advertisement industry use mainly women to sell their product. Sexual images, that don’t make any sense in regards to the products, are used for ads, women’s (soothing) voices are recorded for public transport announcements, women’s hands, smiles etc. etc.

One funny but ridiculous ad that Pret did on social media is from December 2018, when Pret advertised the gingerbread man, using a female hand with very unappetizing finger nails. Again, like in other situations, I pointed this out and Pret photo-shopped the image and re-posted a few weeks later. But it shows the lack of professionalism and efficiency of this company.

10. December 2018 lack of manicure, this photo literally turned my stomach!

Melvin Fingernails OLD

Link to my Tweet

 

21. December 2018 photo-shopped version:

Melvin Fingernails NEW

Link to Tweet

A more recent ad isn’t the best manicure either, but I won’t waste more space on this here.

But the fact that women are preferred for emotional labour in the service industry and are sooner reprimanded when they don’t live up to expectations, also shows in many of the customer complaints on Twitter. I don’t have a list here, but the majority of complaints about poor customer service mainly mentions female staff members compared to male servers.

It is particularly unfair when customers mention the names of staff publicly on social media, at times using foul language. It shows what Sophie McBain writes in her article about the harm of emotional labour, “Workers are put at high risk of anxiety and burnout, while consumers are emboldened to behave aggressively.”

I remember many times when customers rebuked us and even cussed at us, and our managers wouldn’t stand up for our protection. Instead, they apologized to the rude customers and gave free coffees to avoid complaints, as Pret does not protect their staff for the sake of profit.

So, being female and having survived this abuse of emotional labour during the darkest time of my life, I have experienced the truth of the saying that “what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”.

Having worked with suppressed emotions, holding back tears with the loss of my brother and all the trauma I have survived; having smiled while giving my sweat, blood and tears in a company that isn’t worth the dirt under my soles, I turn this emotional labour around with my honest anger and unashamed exposing of a company that is toxic and hurtful to people’s mental and physical health, and plainly dangerous to their very lives!

I’m still doing emotional labour, but this time on my terms!

Pret A Manger has underestimated the power of females.

Clive Schlee, having refused to listen to customer warnings to label his products to save lives, has underestimated a woman he labelled his “late night girl”.

 

 

TWO Pret staff have died within a month, 1 is said to be a suicide.
It is not the first suicide in Pret!
>>>
Why is Pret A Manger not being investigated on Staff deaths?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Death without Knowledge – Cremation without Consent

 

I never expected to be carrying my big brother, his ashes in my arms to his grave. Not this early, not this soon. If at all in my 70s, but not mid-life. I never imagined not knowing for 5 weeks that he was dead! I never dreamed that they would not make enough effort to find us, my mum who lives just 70km away from my brother’s city, living at the same address for 30 years with a German ID system in place!

I still speak with the police and hear the same excuses.

I still am numb to know how to cope or survive.

It’s still a nightmare I want to wake up from.

My pain is 95% anger and I can’t recover.

 

I found video on YouTube where this happened to a family in the U.S.

 

 

It happened to a family in the U.S. similar as it happened to us in Germany. Different circumstances, but two same things: someone died and was cremated without finding the family first!I wonder how the family is now? What they managed to find out or reach.

Germany is known for its efficiency and thoroughness has shocked and devastated me! Carelessness, indifference and sloppy police work know no boundaries! I have lost faith in this “efficient” system.

My brother died and was found in his flat, approximate date of death six days before he was found. Police didn’t do their work properly to find us, then cremated my brother without our consent. We didn’t know for five weeks that he was dead and gone… completely gone…

A year or so later I was told by a customer who used to be a police detective after I asked him for advice, that when the police doesn’t find anything suspicious they close the case fast to avoid paper work! Of course if one of their own was found dead, they would move mountains to find the cause and family!

When I speak to the German police now, either silence or pushing responsibility away. I don’t feel I can ever recover and remain on autopilot. There is no life. And I let my brother down.

 

 

 


 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – Present poetrasblok.com unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

 

Greed is a Thief

 

it’s not what Emily said

 

She said grief is a thief

and she declared it tongueless

 

I say no to this

because it’s a refusal to love those

who went before us

a little bit too early

 

They just went

without our permission

and they stole away

quietly

 

Grief is no thief

it just buries you

 

Greed is a thief!

 

Dear Thieves Schlee & Co,

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived workplace bullying during the worst time of my life. Pret is Pret, just another company. But any new company, please make a difference in people’s lives and the business world.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

A Day in the Life of a Pret A Manger Worker

 

And the emotional, mental, physical and financial cost to staff.

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile

 

Timothy Noah Quote Emotional Labor

 

LINK to Emotional Labour article

Upfront, Pret staff will NEVER spill the beans on why they are so cheery! They remain professional because they fall for the Pret trap like everyone. They only out themselves anonymous on review websites, YouTube etc., further below. Just very few speak out publicly. Even during the darkest period in grief and being bullied, I NEVER EVER even hinted to a customer what was going on! I was complemented on my professional service, smile, giving free coffees, and no-one knew that after my shift I went to the bridge at times.

Here is the short version in a nutshell why ALL (most) staff members EVERYWHERE in Pret are ALWAYS so smiley, cheery, friendly and helpful. No matter how busy and stressful it is.

The magic word: Mystery Shoppers

Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked to probe into a list of things every week in every shop, like if there is an adequate amount of selection during certain times, or if the shop incl. toilets are clean and so on. The most important thing the MS have to probe is customer service. I call them the “Misery” Shopper because many times they were so micromanaging pointing out the smallest stain on a table or a smudge on the window!

For Team Members there are two “motivating” factors for the smiley customer service:

  1. Cash incentives. Overall bonus for the whole shop team which is £1 per hour worked. So if a Team Member (TM) worked 40 hours that week, they will get an additional £40 on top of their contracted wage for that week, provided the MS report was all in the green area and then gave the bonus to the whole team. Managers’ bonuses are given quarterly. But a TM can individually also earn extra cash on top of the bonus (or even if the bonus for the whole team was lost).
    This is called an “Outstanding Card” (OC) which is £50 extra if the MS is super happy with a particular TM or even General Manager (GM), Assistant Manager (AM) etc. Meaning, if the TM “kissed butt” especially hard, gave a freebie etc. they can earn that extra cash on top of their wages and team bonus. If the report is 100% perfect scores and the MS awards an OC to a staff member, that TM earns double = £100. So, that one staff member gets their weekly wages, the weekly bonus PLUS the extra £50 or £100 cash. £50 OC (Outstanding Card) or £100 SOC (Super Outstanding Card).
    Side note: An Outstanding Card is not literally a card, it’s just a name for the extra cash award. There are no cards given, “just” the money. So, when a TM is EXTRA SPECIAL nice, it is often (not always!) that they assumed they’re serving the Mystery Shopper!
  2. Fear Management. If any TM or several of the Team messes up in any way resulting in bonus being lost for the whole team incl. GM (bonus not awarded by the MS), the angry manager will have a word with them. Depending what the bonus was lost on, this often is done in subtle or direct fear management where staff are made to fear for their job or position.

 

2018-01-23 Outstanding Card

Link The reason why she got the Outstanding Card and with it the extra £50, or £100 if the shop had perfect scores, is the white writing on the red background. The Mystery Shopper rewarded this TM for this reason, quote:
“I noticed that the avocado in the remaining veggie box salads were brown and I asked if there were any fresher ones. The team member said she would ask the kitchen to make me a fresh one. She telephoned them and said if it was okay she would take the veggie box to the kitchen and they would replace the avocado for me.”

Other times a TM gives a free coffee to the Mystery Shopper but does NOT get an Outstanding Card. It is completely up to the MS what blows them away and what not.

 

And here comes the long version.

I cover mainly the “smiley” culture of Pret in: “How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers“, but I want to take the reader through a typical day in Pret A Manger, and why this MS scheme is dangerous for mental health, not to mention patronizing and humiliating. This Tweet is by PAMSU (Pret A Manger Staff Union) who got fired in 2012 for starting a Union under the pretense of having made homophobic remarks ten months (!) before:

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

First of all I want to start off by saying that I don’t think a Mystery Shopper scheme is a bad idea, I think it can be helpful to improve customer service where needed. The problem with Pret is, they take this to intense levels which I find abusive. The extreme “perfection” staff have to reach is done to create a picture to the public, that staff are so happy to work in Pret. In reality they are tasked to “perform” emotional labour (or “labor” for American readers!). It opens the door to abusive leadership, bullying environment forcing staff into “unnatural” behaviour they would normally not do, unless they “feel” it. And with many other abusive situations, like even domestic violence, bullying etc. people get conditioned to it, accept it as norm, but suffer internally and in silence also because it is systemic and seems acceptable. Everyone is subjected to this, so they feel they go out of line if they complain. At least that’s how I often felt, because everyone “is doing it”, it must be okay or normal to keep smiling even while bereaved. I share in my interview at the bottom of this page the horrific time I went through while already traumatized after I lost my brother.

Even journalists “get used” to abuse and accept it as the norm:

Journalists getting used to harrassment

Link

I want to share a rough timeline of activities on a day-to-day running of a Pret shop, as well as a little bit of the kitchen to paint a true picture of the immense stress staff are under on a daily basis. I was a Team Leader of the shop or also called Floor Leader (FL) and know working in the shop inside out. I can’t speak much about running a kitchen, but will briefly touch on the kitchen. The shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses that need two separate leaders. Both have their own separate challenges as well as positives.

For example in the shop staff HAVE TO smile and perform a cheery presence, while in the kitchen they can just be themselves. In the kitchen they have no windows, have to work super fast assembling products WITHOUT time to breathe until their break. In the shop there are windows to take a breath, while still having to clean, stock up etc. I often “mediated” between the teams when they were at “war” pointing fingers where the kitchen felt the shop team is lazy or the shop felt the kitchen team have it easier. I always pointed out to both teams that each team have their challenges as well as good parts, but that EVERYONE works hard and has a lot of stress, just differently.

 

Shop hierarchy:
General Manager (GM) and Assistant Manager Floor (AMF) are in plain business attire
Floor Leader (FL)

Baristas/Coffee Makers
Hot Food Chef (HFC)
Team Members (TM)

And whatever other position Pret comes up with, as they sometimes add job roles. But these are the main roles distinguished in their colours (belt, name badge) so outside teams can quickly identify who’s who.  The most important who does most of the hard work is the Team Leader. They really are the ones that run the shop, if they are good and don’t imitate most GMs who like to sit in the office, don’t help and just shout like slave masters.

Kitchen hierarchy:
Again the same General Manager (GM) but a different Assistant Manager Kitchen (AMK), plain business attire
Kitchen Leader (KL)
Team Member Trainer (TMT)
Team Members (TMs)

Kitchen TMs, the sandwich makers who are called “chefs” by Pret to make them feel better and portray to the public as if there was some real cooking going on in the kitchen! Lots of patronizing and fooling slogans like “Lovingly made in this kitchen today” bla bla…

In reality all the food comes already cooked, except the frozen bread, croissants etc. But all ingredients are ready cooked and delivered daily from factories. Hence also “Ready to Eat”. The soups come in large plastic bags and are heated in water baths. All other ingredients are like we have at home after getting the shopping from the supermarket. There’s no cooking involved, just heating up and assembling a sandwich. Even the “poached” eggs that do come raw, are just heated in sealed plastic pouches in a water bath. There are no pots and pans and stoves in Pret kitchens!

One recent staff review:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

Link Under Show more: “The food isn’t fresh, it’s shipped already cooked in plastic bags and reheated. A joke.”

 

As the shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses in each shop, the AMF and/or FL run the shops and do the ordering for the shop, look after the Team, customers etc. The AMK and/or KL do the ingredient ordering for the kitchen, look after the Team etc.

As all Prets I’ve worked in are under-staffed to maximize profit and managers’ bonuses (incl. area managers and upwards) many TMs are pushed to multi-task. If a shop is lucky, they have 3 TMs on the tills in the mornings if there are 6-7 tills. They have 1 Barista with the GM doing coffee as well, as this is easier than customer service at the tills! GMs don’t like to work on the tills! As there aren’t enough staff, they ring the bell for one or two of the kitchen staff to then come out and help serve the queues during the morning rush. This puts an immense strain on the kitchen staff, who then get behind on their production, where they are expected to do a certain amount of products per hour. If they fail to finish in time, including cleaning etc., again they will be motivated through fear management and are bullied (subtly or openly) to work overtime, unpaid.

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018

 

Unpaid2017

Link 2017 NY

 

Unpaid2

Link 2015

 

Unpaid2014b

Link 2014

 

Unpaid2011

Link 2011 NY

“It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company itself. …Very, very sad reality of Pret. -Company culture….”

 

Unpaid2014

Link 2014 “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

NOTE: The “for some reason” is more systemic than this and many other TMs realize. I had to chase my money CONSTANTLY.

 

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

 

25 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link

 

Pret had to settle two class action lawsuits in NY within 4 years on wage issues. In the UK people never do a Class Action, but it would be high time for Pret staff to go to court on wage issues!

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

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2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

MS Cough

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

I coughed while serving the Mystery Shopper as I had a cold. But I chose not to stay home as we were not paid the first 2 days even when we have a sick note.

 

Pret Staff Tweets:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

Link

The £45 Mystery Shopper bonus she’s talking about is that she would have worked 45 hours that week. Each hour is £1 bonus, as Pret cuts the weekly bonus even when staff are sick for 1 day that week. And the rest £55 she means is the hours she lost for that 1 day. And Pret only responds to her Tweet because it’s public. In reality Pret does nothing and doesn’t care if staff are sick.

 

A recent Tweet to the CEO by a frustrated Team Member:

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

Link

 

A typical day in Pret

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