Day 6: Pret A Manger Trial

 

Day 6 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Trial starts today 6th December 2019

Via SomersetLive.co.uk

LINK: >>>Pret A Manger and Planet Coconut will go on trial after allergy death <<<

 

0 Trial

Photos: SomersetLive.co.uk

And now I understand the recent news that Pret set aside £10m for food allergy scandal. Via TheGrocer.co.uk

>>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal <<<

£10m

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 5: Rat A Manger

 

and Pret A Mice.

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

 

Day 5 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

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:

 

UPDATE: November 2019 – SEVEN mice where counted running around:

2019-11-07 Mice filmed in Pret TrafSq

Photo via The Mirror / video by David Nassim on Mirror.co.uk

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

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 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 4: The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idea!

Day 4 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Remember Pret’s £1000 announcement to all Staff?

I wrote about this already on various blog entries and made an extra post, but I want to put a visual of the timing of the announcement here, and why this is important.

Pret A Manger’s now former CEO Clive Schlee made an announcement on 29. May 2018 on Twitter, welcoming the new owners of Pret, JAB Holdings under German billionaire family Reimann. The Reimann’s also own Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread and a list of other companies. The press is full recently of Reimann’s Nazi past, but that’s another story.

For my full story with Pret please scroll down to the interview in the audio player at the bottom of this post.

I started this blog and website in May 2017 under poetrasblok.com where I posted poetry and videos I made for my brother, who died in December 2014. I had another website before, but it was loaded with advertisement, and I wanted a clean looking homepage that didn’t distract the reader with blinking, and I mean literally blinking imagery!

After my ordeal with Pret I added the URL LateNightGirl.org to my website in May 2018, and then mid 2018 added expret.org, as Late Night Girl doesn’t make much sense for people who don’t know my story. In short, Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl”, so I put a “dot org” behind it! All three URLs will lead to this same site. Again, I explain in detail at the bottom of this page.

Late on 28th May 2018 I sent a link of this blog to an area manager I worked under, whom I know cannot keep a secret. I was angry still and wrote to the area manager that she can do with it what she wants. I know she can’t keep a secret because she sent my emails on after promising she wouldn’t and is in general VERY talkative, I just sent my link to her.

On 29th May I woke up before 7am and found my website statistics skyrocketed!!! Before that date I had just a handful of visitors every day, like 5 visitors one day, then 3 visitors the next, zero visitors, 10 visitors etc. Suddenly on the 29th in the morning it went into the hundreds, and to this day (4. December 2019) it is still the most visited day my blog has ever received! My website gets a lot of traffic now, but nothing like the 29th May 2018!

On 28. May 2018 late in the evening I sent my blog LateNightGirl.org to the area manager. On 29. May 2018 in the morning I could literally watch the visitors and clicks increase LIVE as they happen! From that day on my stats have increased visitors, but never as much as the 29th May 2018 to this day.

BEST views ever 29May2018

And on the 29. May 2018 Clive Schlee, then CEO of Pret, posted this tweet in the early hours:

2018-05-29 Clive Announcement

Link

And what do the public write? How wonderful Pret is and that the CEO is the BEST!

PR[et] at its best for sure! 😀

Now, I don’t believe that he just came up with the idea then and there to give £1000 to all staff, but I strongly believe the timing was due to him getting informed of my website late on 28th May 2018 into the 29th May, because in October 2018 staff were still waiting and going on Twitter frustrated why the bonus hasn’t been paid yet! And I know how Clive Schlee reacts when confronted with difficulties, he quickly counters with “charity” to win people over, sowing doubts that Pret ever would be harmful to people, staff as well customers.

So, I’m proud to have been part of getting all staff some extra cash, although I feel for them being fooled, as the timing of the announcement was premature and a typical panic reaction Clive Schlee does when he’s about to face difficulties or Pret is in danger of getting exposed.

A quick gesture and PR stunt was supposed to “eliminate” any doubts towards Pret, once, more people become aware of my website and exposing Pret for what they really are behind the facade. Frankly, Pret is not the ethical and caring company they portray to the public.

Las Vegas
Link

Weeks and months later though, staff got frustrated and confused on when the £1000 would finally be paid. And Schlee of course put responsibility downwards unto his managers, wanting staff to get away from public tweeting. I tweeted in his announcement feed, but got shadow banned at that time without realizing, as I didn’t know what shadow banning was then. But I did notice that my tweets weren’t visible when I was logged out. They are still there, but visible when one has the direct link.

So, here he is, making this announcement and when the going gets tough and staff complain on when the promise will “moneyfest” (sorry, couldn’t help it!) Schlee diverts to managers and the People Team (HR).
In August, 3 months after the announcement, the first staff members started raising questions, some even started a Twitter account just to confront the CEO on his promise, as staff didn’t get any info from the shops. My response at the bottom is the only one that didn’t get shadow banned (secretly censored/hidden):

2018-08-29 My response to £1000 delay

Link
Into September and October:

2018-09-01 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

2018-09-12 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

2018-09-19 Meme USA

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000
Kevin makes an important point about the timing of the announcement. What Kevin and all the others don’t know (he knows now), is WHY Clive Schlee announced it prematurely! I even posted the reason in September, but was shadow banned unbeknown to me at the time. I’m not sure if people got the message then and there. I retweeted the info a few times after that on different occasions on some of my “late night girl” shifts!

So, needless to say, “Stockholm Syndrome” is not my problem anymore, THIS is NOT my fault that he made this announcement prematurely, giving an untimely hope to all his staff! This is solely Clive Schlee’s TYPICAL panic reaction to a problem he faces!

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

My response to Meme was hidden as I must have been shadow banned at the time without knowing it. Meme in the USA doesn’t even know what the Pret “People Team” is, because in the U.S. many complain that they are discriminated against, British staff are preferred, they aren’t trained, HR is non-existent or a “joke” etc.
My hidden/shadow banned tweet visible via my Tweets & Replies:

2018-09-28 Meme People Team my response

And the ridiculous slogan of Pret’s HR department:

Right Thing Naturally

One Team Member got it right, money isn’t everything, but family is!

Typo: Hay here means “employee” not employer.

2018-09-29-hay.jpg

Last complaint in that feed before the £1000 (£800 after tax) got finally paid out to those who worked longer than 1 year at Pret:

2018-10-01 Staff Twitter £1000

I am contacted by Pret staff who were warned that if they tweet or post openly on social media with any complaints, they get a disciplinary or dismissed.

But, basically the deal wasn’t finalized until September 2018. Managers and probably HR were in the air about it. Team Members thought Managers were secretive. But knowing Pret and managers, they were not secretive, they were CLUELESS because Clive Schlee made the announcement too early. On 29th May 2018 after being informed about my blog, he jumped quick to do a PR announcement, so that when the public becomes aware of my blog, they won’t believe me, but assume that Pret is so wonderful to its staff. Good one Mr. Schlee, but not good enough, because throwing money at a problem is just temporary while not working on the root issue.

It used to take 10 years service to receive £1000 and now suddenly all staff members would receive it even new employees after one year of service. If the CEO originally planned to give all staff £1000 only he knows, but staff on Facebook have complaint that the 10 year £1000 reward has been cancelled.

When I worked in Pret still in 2017 Pret already cancelled the 5 year award of £500. So, it looks to me that the plan was to slowly faze out all these awards as Pret has entered the nasty business of fast-food workers exploitation even more now with the JAB take-over.

The £1000 announcement to all staff looks to me like a farewell gesture where no other awards will be given anymore as they did before.

So, the wording of the CEO “Today is a big day for Pret” … why TODAY when the sale wasn’t finalized?! Staff still waited in October for the promised cash, which by the way is around £800 after tax is deducted!

My thought: “TODAY” was the big day when Clive Schlee and Pret got confronted with my blog as I have declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal with Pret.
And sadly only 2 people immediately saw through this PR stunt among all the euphoria:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR
Link

2018-05-30 £1000 PR Union
Link

Pret also suddenly became very selective in staff, even after the 3 months trial period being excellent in his work, this kitchen Team Member in the below link, who has a mental health issue did NOT get the job as Pret would have had to pay him £1000 after a year of service. Ben, the manager* of the Brixton shop even wrote the following to Hind from the Pret Foundation trust: (I added the bold but the manager wrote in capitals EVERY).
*The OPs manager of the Brixton shop area is called Ben:

“Please let him know that we were very impressed by his professionalism at work and always giving 100% in whatever he was doing. The quality of products he made were picture perfect EVERY time. Myself and the team would like to say a big thank you and we wish him luck in his new job and we hope he will pop by for a coffee on us whenever he is in Brixton as he will always be one of us.”

In a nutshell, Sergio was only used for PR and he is oblivious to it and does what we all do when we believe nice sounding words. Sergio was treated exceptionally well, worked only Monday to Friday in the morning which is very unusual as Pret excepts staff to be flexible. Sergio was NOT pushed, and yet, even though they were impressed with him, he was excellent and his products picture perfect EVERY time, he wasn’t even taken on in the shop! They had no work for him… hello, anyone smell a rat??

He shares on this website of the Mental Health Club. I know him, because I am a member of the same Mental Health Club that Pret tries to infiltrate to fish for workers and mainly use people for PR. I cover this and the trap Sergio fell into extensively in my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust.
Even with this “generosity”, the recommendation on Glassdoor for Pret and the CEO in July 2019 (1 year after the £1000 announcement) speaks volumes. Clive Schlee “retired” with this legacy (while remaining in the background as a Non-Executive Director):

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

New CEO Pano Christou:

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

A recent review by a Manager which needs no addition:

2019-11-16 GM - Not as they present it
Link

GM slavery

Go back Pret

etc. etc.

For a detailed report on Pret’s systemic bullying environment with many reviews from the UK, Paris, USA from Workers, Managers and HQ Staff alike, please scroll down to the screenshot of Caught in the Act at Pret.

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Two Pret staff have died within a month.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?


I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 3: FREEBIES at Pret A Manger

 

Why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card system.

 

Day 3 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

First of all some Pret shops outside of big cities had Loyalty Cards, because the volume of coffee sales being much less than in London and other busy cities. Not sure if those shops still do Loyalty Cards. Tweets from 2012:

 

Pret Loyalty Card 2012-09-13

Link

 

Terms and conditions at the bottom of this below Loyalty Card:

“Redeemable at the Manager’s discretion. Excludes Pret shops within Central London Zones 1 and 2…”

It even has an expiry date on it, forcing the customer to buy coffees before that date to get a free one … and at the manager’s discretion mind you! Pret showing its true “generosity” here!

 

Pret Loyalty Card 2012-03-29

Link

 

2017 Pret Loyalty Card

Link to a 2017 Tweet

 

So, here I am making free advertisement for Pret, but there’s more than meets the eye… I am not a journalist nor an established writer (although I have one self-published book under my belt with a now bankrupt publisher… out of print), and writers like to peek and copy what they find here, but I am writing from behind the scenes of having worked at Pret for 10 years. I don’t copy & paste articles under lazy journalism.

Pret is next to nothing when it comes to marketing and winning new and retaining regular customers. I think to gain customers, the best thing is to give freebies, and Pret does this fantastically. No business does this as best as Pret A Manger. So far so good.

But …

There’s that hairy but(t) again!

 

THE PRICE

Of course this brilliant marketing strategy has not just one catch apart from the ultimate goal of profit. People don’t realize how cheap the coffee is. If customers knew how much 1 cup of coffee costs for Pret, incl. the milk, cup, lid, labour and then would see the profit margin… people’s stomach would turn on what they pay for a regular latte! (There are reasons why CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million in BONUS alone after JAB purchased Pret, not to mention all the other senior leaders and shareholders! Plus Schlee owning half of itsu and whatever else business he’s involved in).

Even while I worked at Pret I always wondered how Pret’s claim to be certified Organic and Fair Trade can even be valid. Not making allegations, just raising questions! To get certified as being organic is super expensive for companies. Pret has been sued for their claim to be natural while the food contains glyphosate for which the mighty Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, currently has 11,000 lawsuits on their neck, with two major lawsuits lost in the hundred millions, due to denial that their main product Roundup causes cancer, which has not been labelled on the product… But that’s another story altogether.

So, if the public is paying attention, I have seen it more lately that Pret signs are changing due to the successful vs. “natural” claim lawsuit.

 

2018-12-10 Pret froced to remove Natural from sign

Link

 

From the above familiar signage where the “natural” is replaced with “good”.

Even on Pret’s website, the word “natural” seems to have completely disappeared.

 

good-food-new-sign.jpg

Link to Pret USA Twitter

A customer on Twitter posted this picture confused on why the word “natural” was covered over at LAX airport. In the U.S. Pret has to act while in the UK everything is lenient again.

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over2

 

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over3

Link to David Blumenstein’s Tweet

I write extensively on the “Natural” issue in Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat.

But, back to the free coffee marketing. Even while working at Pret I always questioned how Pret can have Fair Trade AND certified Organic coffee while the coffee is so cheap. This may be another area some may be looking into after having looked at the “natural” food claim.

So, all the free coffees (and at times cookies, especially items at the end of the day or when products are expiring…) while being low in price for Pret, someone still has to pay for all these free items. And it won’t be Pret! Pret keeps raising prices regularly also to cover the cost. At the end of the day customers still pay for all the free coffees etc.

2019-04-17 Pret price increase

Link


 

THE PSYCHOLOGY

Clive Schlee, since September 2019 former CEO of Pret and master of marketing with an approachable smile, his words on the freedom for staff to give free coffees and why:

Quote:
»We looked at loyalty cards but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis.
Instead the staff have to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food every week.
They will decide “I like the person on the bicycle” or “I like the guy in that tie” or “I fancy that girl or that boy”.
It means 28 per cent of people have had something free. It’s a nice, different way of doing it.«  *
From ThisIsMoney.co.uk

(*cough* while 72% go empty handed… see below)

Yes, the “having to give away” is even a pressure point for managers that push team leaders when the targeted percentage of freebies for the week has not been reached. It was part of my job as a shop team leader to keep an eye on the numbers and encourage teams to keep giving freebies OR stop giving, when we reached the percentage for the week, before the new week’s budget started again.

2017 Free coffee budget punishLink

 

2018-12-31 re free coffee marketing2

Link

 

On a side note, when the two customer deaths became public and the outcry was loud for a while, there was also an increasing Twitter “storm” on freebies where customers went online to post with enthusiasm about their free coffee or cookie…

And here is how that “fancying” is out of proportion with Clive Schlee’s admitted 28% as well as my experience as a team leader:

 

~ MULTIPLE FREEBIES at times even within ONE WEEK ~

 

 

2019-03-28 4th Free coffee

Link

 

2017-04-17 free coffee AGAIN

Link

 

2016 TWO free items in ONE week

Link

 

2018-06-21 2 free items

Link

 

2015 TWO Free coffees.jpg

Link

 

2019-04-13 Regular free coffee

Link

 

2019-04-09 Free coffee 1 to 2

Link

 

2019-04-13 Patience Smiles for Free Coffee

Link

 

2019-04-16 Free coffees often

Link

 

2017 Getting freebies free coffee for ages

Link

 

~ vs NOTHING for YEARS ~

 

2019-01-11 1st Free since years

Link

 

2019-04-18 Free Coffee after YEARS

Link

 

2019-03-21 Free coffee since years

Link

&

2019-03-21 Free coffee since years2

 

2019-03-28 free coffee today was the day

Link

 

2017-02-25 After lifelong devotion free coffee

Link (I love typos on Twitter… from devotion to devolution!)

 

2015 Free nonsense loyalty card

Link

 

2017 In 5 years no free coffee

Link (Another lovely typo: Pret as in looking for “Prey” >:-] )

 

2018-12-13 NOT attractive for free coffee

Link

 

2015 Never etting free coffee

Link (And Pret having a laugh!)

 

Political jokes Free Coffees 2015 Discrimination

Link

 

2019-04-16 five 5 years no free coffee

Link

 

2019-04-16 Free Coffee Legend replie

Link

 

… and so on….

Needless to say that those customers who get free coffees regularly, even daily, will not spill the beans on Twitter. 😉

As a team leader I had to “re-adjust” my teams’ choices to give solely at their own “discretion”, especially flirting baristas giving free coffee EVERY TIME to specific (to them) attractive customers. Or one team member would give free coffees every day to a customer who was an editor of a weekly celebrity tabloid magazine bringing that TM a free magazine every week. Company policy would be dismissal to “exchange” services for private purposes. But that’s how it works and Pret would never admit how discriminating the give-aways are in the name of “random acts of kindness”. That’s why staff are not allowed to have friends and family members eating on the 50% rebate WHILE staff are on the shift working.

Staff also are not allowed to ring up the 50% rebate on their staff discount themselves on the till while serving customers, as some customers make friends with staff for freebies and rebates. So, this was always a struggle to shake up the “policy”. I loved to give freebies, it was my favourite thing giving whole lunches on the house. But I often gave it to the moody and even rude customer to “kill them with kindness” or “heap burning coals on their heads” or just be kind to someone who looked pretty down…
I looked for the “underdog” to give freebies as we never know what hell they may be going through!

 

And another reason why Pret aims to have Taxi parking spaces in front of shops… Cabbies move around London being the BEST advertisers, especially to tourists looking for a coffee place!

2014 free coffee taxi cabbies

Link

 


 

CONTROL (of the carrot)

 

Carrot

 

2017 Behavioural science free coffee loyalty card

Link

And this is how the psychology works that Pret is so cleverly using. A Loyalty Card system, apart from costing additional money for Pret as Clive Schlee rightly said, would give the customer control over the timing of free items. And as Pret whips out coffees like no other coffee chain (the 1 minute Mystery Shopper pressure <- YouTube slide – on workers for fast service is another reason for high profit in Pret via Emotional Labour) a Loyalty Card system would guarantee customers free coffees at their chosen time, especially all the regular customers who go to Pret EVERY DAY.

For staff to give freebies at their discretion (or discrimination!) gives Pret the control on when customers get freebies (the timing is completely out of customer’s control) AND serves like a carrot in front of the donkey that keeps going to Pret like a gambler, spending money and hoping to get that free coffee or cookie or whole lunch …

 

2019-01-15 waiting for next freebie

Link

 

Carrot

 

2019 No free coffee for a while

Link

 


 

FREE ADVERTISEMENT

To shorten the already long blog entry with more customer tweets on freebies, I mainly put journalist tweets here. Only a few tweets by a host of journalists who are supposed to be neutral, reporting on events rather than making free advertisement for Pret, while not looking deeper as one would expect from “investigative” journalism. Mainstream media for you:

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2013

Link

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2015 Guardian Journo

Link

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019

Link A boost in self esteem even with a freebie!

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019 to other half

Link

 

One journalist even goes a step further and plays Job-center for Pret, recruiting low-wage workers:

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019 Jobcenter

Link

etc.

Makes you wonder if they are paid under the table or are so infatuated with the cheap free coffees, and then being blinded to do real neutral journalism. Kind of sinks your heart how the majority goes with this freebie scheme so easily.

Staff hope the Mystery Shopper is nearby or even serving the MS when the staff member is extra generous. As staff can earn up to extra £50 or if perfect even £100, if the Mystery Shopper is even more impressed with their service (butt kissing). Often this is quickly done by giving a free coffee and BOOM! if it was the Mystery Shopper receiving the freebies, that staff member gets extra cash award. I write about this extensively in The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile.

 

A customer’s observation most people are blind to:

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

Customer Tweets:

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

And the psychology of “group incentive” is actually peer pressure and what a recent reviewer called “blame culture” which I totally underline. I spent a lot of time building my team member UP when they messed up the Mystery Shopper after our manager put them DOWN, because putting down is counter productive and leads to mental health problems. If I had buckets for the tears that were flowing after the harsh telling off when the Mystery Shopper wasn’t happy …

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link

 

A Pret employee’s review on the Mystery Shopper pressure:

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

Link

Or the “happy family” trap and the pressure on ONE person who loses the bonus for the whole team turning the team against that one person. Again, I had to many times step in-between the 1 person to protect them from the group and the bullying mentality Pret encourages.

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

So, the marketing of Pret is simple:

  • Give LOTS of free coffees (& cookies, lunches, but mainly coffees) that costs very little for Pret.
  • Lure customers in with the free items and 99p coffees or even better, 49p with a reusable cup (& now free water tap refills even if not a customer and the cup recycling stations inside shops – they will become customers while in the store! 😉 ). The carrot is getting them into the shop so they’ll spend on other products they never intended to buy. Reason for the oven in the shop vs kitchen is the smell of freshly baked croissants enticing to purchase…
  • Don’t do freebies on a Loyalty Card system to have the control over customers, luring them in with the freebie carrot while they keep spending and hoping for that free coffee like a gambler waits for the next win.
  • Raise the coffee and product prices as someone needs to pay for all the freebies. And it won’t be Pret.
  • Give staff the feeling of power over their decision whom to give freebies, but deny that it is done discriminatory (take my word as a former team leader, it IS discriminatory).
  • In return just watch how customers from street-smart cabbies to text-book polished journalists flock to Twitter giving FREE advertisement on behalf of Pret.
  • The free advertisement of free coffees, as well as now free water taps for non-paying “customers” also, brings people in who then spend money they didn’t intend to spend …
  • Lean back and watch the profits rise, doing the math in how much money people spend before getting that free coffee… if at all!
  • Good luck to all the customers paying it forward for the other customers to get the freebies while faithfully waiting to crack that jackpot one day! 😀

 

UPDATE:

Why staff in every Pret shop smile so much and ALWAYS seem so happy and “generous”. In a nutshell: Weekly Mystery Shopper visits that test staff on several points like how much selection is in stock, how clean is the shop, how is the overall atmosphere etc. But the MAIN thing staff are tested on is service. Do individual AND all staff smile, give eye contact, make small conversation with EVERY customer!
Details in below YouTube slide with Mystery Shopper excerpts that I’ve put together, but I left out a lot of other issues and concentrated on the smiley, “happy” facade.
I also write extensively and collect articles on “Emotional Labour” in the service industry that hurts and harms low-wage employees: —> The Dangers of Emotional Labour

And there’s a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co as staff always speak out in anonymity while at work pretend towards customers to be happy to keep their job having kids to feed and Uni tuition to pay. People fall for the friendly facade, but staff know how it really is.

And customers who go on Twitter complaining about non-smiling staff, even when it’s quiet, just do not realize how EXHAUSTED staff are, having come out of coffee/lunch rush, or working 7-10 days straight without a day off!

And those customers who do commend staff on Twitter, often their recommendation and praise is NOT passed on to staff. I was told by customers several times over the years if I received feedback from my boss as they commended me to Pret HQ or social media. But I never received the feedback from managers. So, dear customer, please praise the worker INSIDE the shop IN FRONT of the manager and team, because many managers bully staff, and THIS would help the worker to get some much needed feedback and “vindication”, so to speak.

I found only 1 Tweet where a customer not only bothered to ask the staff if they received feedback, but then confronted Pret on it:

2019-08-06 Customer recommendation praise not passed on

Link

Mystery Shopper Slide:

 

 

Clive Schlee’s “retirement” exit on Glassdoor:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Pano Christou, New CEO:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 


 

A long list of reviews and complaints from current and former Pret Staff >>> in this LINK.

 


 

TWO Pret staff have died in one month.
More here > Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 2: Where have all the Homeless gone?

 

Day 2 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Where have all the homeless gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the homeless gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the homeless gone?
PR firms picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young man gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the apprentices gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the women gone?
Gone to Pret A Manger, every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the Leaders gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the emotions gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the workers gone?
They are all in uniform
When will they stop to smile?
When will they start to cry?

Where have all the smilers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the smilers gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the smilers gone?
Gone to graveyards some of them
Why didn’t anyone care?
Why didn’t anyone care?

Where have all the Unions gone?
Long time passing
Where have Politicians gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the Mystery Shoppers gone?
Counted the seconds every time
When will they ever learn?
What Living Wage to earn?

Where have all the Foreigners gone?
To mainland Europe everyone
When will true change begin?
Long-suffering’s coming, run!

Where have all the mourners gone?
Young GMs picked on them everyone
When will they ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Adapted/Changed text from Pete Seeger’s “Where have all the flowers gone”

 

So, what’s happening in the homeless house, Pret?

One guy advertised for it with Nicki Fisher.

Where are they now? What’s with the house of the Rising Stars?!

Or was it one of those quick fixes and cover-ups? JAB took over, Clive Schlee and Nicki Fisher skipped out.

Remember this blog entry, Pret, Mr. Schlee, Pano Christou?

Nicki Fisher went from the brutal city place to the rural country place, in the hopes to help some burnt out people? Really?

Isn’t it rather that she burnt out? JAB knocked at the door, and those of you from the old guard called it a day, hey!

What’s happening in the House for the Homeless?

2019-05-30 Nikki Fischer rural

Now there’s a proper smile!

Link

On 15. June 2019 I replied to above Tweet, mentioning that Clive Schlee is already gone. I didn’t know at the time that he would “retire”. On 01. July 2019 I tweeted to the press about Clive Schlee’s clumsiness regarding his retirement. But on the 15th June I didn’t know about his retirement. He was very quiet for weeks, and knowing him I had a hunch that he’d sneak out of Pret, Just like Nicki Fisher did. But Schlee remains in the background as a non-executive Director, still pulling the strings.

2019-06-15 Nicki Fisher Clive Schlee gone

Link

I write about Clive Schlee’s clumsiness and my Tweet to the press regarding his “retirement”: >>> Foot-in-Mouth Disease.

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The above slideshow is just a selection, longer list: —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

Brutal Nightmare

YouTube

 

Who cares to investigate staff deaths, in particular suicides?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

When Pictures don’t even Speak One Word

 

I read a Tweet where a person is torn if a victim of a crime is speaking the truth. They are torn because the photo of the victim, giving an interview, doesn’t look like their perception of what a victim should look like.

I only want to put a few photos of people who were either victims, perpetrators or neither (as far as can be known).

I number the pictures and give the info at the bottom of the page. Most of these people are well known. But imagine yourself that you see these photos for the first time.

Pictures often don’t even speak one word.

1.

01 Turpin Children

 

2.

02 Nassar

 

3.

03 Natascha Kampusch

 

4.

04 Dr Mark Benecke

 

5.

05 Jimy Savile

 

6.

06 Chris Watts

 

Info below

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1. The Turpin family where the parents imprisoned their 13 children for years and decades.

2. Larry Nassar who, as a very well recommended USA Olympic Doctor molested hundreds of under-aged athletes for decades.

3. Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian young woman who was abducted when she was 10 years old, locked in an underground dungeon of a pedophile house, and escaped 8 years later. Her abuser killed himself after she managed to finally flee. Natascha gave an interview within days of being free and had a TV show a few years later. But she was heavily criticized by the public and media for being so outspoken and visible. They wanted her to crawl back into a dark hole and silently cry about her ordeal. They wanted to cover their own conscience of how this could happen on their doorstep. Natascha remained visible and outspoken. Good on her!

4. Dr. Mark Benecke, German Forensic Biologist, who helped crack many difficult cases. He examined the skull and teeth of Adolf Hitler. He trains police academies in New York and Germany, and is a sought-after Medical Examiner. He is neither a victim nor a perpetrator in this list.

5. Jimmy Savile, one of – if not THE most prolific pedophile in British history, certainly in the British entertainment industry.

6. Chris Watts who murdered his wife Shan’Ann and his three children Bella, Celeste and Niko.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Day 1: Hot Chocolate NOT in Santa’s Stocklate

 

Day 1 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Let’s start this Ad-VENT Calendar with a nice, sweet, comforting hot chocolate.

Wait! No hot chocolate in November when the Christmas menu started a month too early??

Customers have been flocking to Twitter to express their outrage that there hasn’t been any Hot Chocolate available in all Pret’s (except for the odd chocolate sprinkles on the cappuccino!)

As usual Pret gives the “supplier” version as a reason why a product has not been available. I worked at Pret and when we had “issues” we were always instructed to say that it is due to a delivery issue.

Trouble is, the truth has a way to always sieve through, and an honest Team Member accidentally spilled the beans on the real reason why the choc powder isn’t available:

2019-11-04 Hot chocolate lie truth dairy allergen

Link

Thus forcing Pret to speak the (half) truth before going back to the “supplier” version:

2019 Hot Chocolate Lie vs Truth

Link

Why blame the supplier when Pret can just admit that they’re changing the recipe to non-dairy? A quick update or reminder that Pret is facing trial on 6th December 2019 in Bath after the second customer Celia Marsh, mother of five, died after eating traces of dairy in what she thought was a non-dairy wrap.

Photo: SomersetLive.co.uk

Link: >>> Pret A Manger and Planet Coconut face trial after allergen death, which also may be the reason why Pret has set aside £10 Million in legal costs.

Link: >>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal.

Mainstream media keeps quiet about the Hot Chocolate issue and only “report” on issues like new vegan options, or the Jambon Beurre that has been discontinued, and then re-introduced after a public “outcry”. Isn’t it interesting that the media has not mentioned the Hot Chocolate powder issue, even though the public is much louder about this? If you want to know the reality of Pret, you need to DIG and not swallow everything mainstream media (that is in Pret’s pocket) is dishing out.

So, here are only a few of the many of same responses that Pret keeps telling the public, copy and paste replies to try and keep the dairy issue silent:

2019-11-20 Hot Choc issue

Link

2019-11-20 Hot Choc issue2

Link

2019-11-20 Hot Choc issue3

Link

And so on and so forth…

The above Tweets are only from a few hours of one day, but this issue with Pret’s “supplier” response has been going on for weeks.

Quick reminder on the REAL reason and the hopes this little slip of the truth went unnoticed:

2019 Hot Chocolate Lie vs Truth

Link

I write mainly on Pret staff issues and the bullying environment the public is unaware of.

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

And the reason why staff smile so much under intensely stressful, loud, hot working conditions:

 

 

And the exploitative work environment in Pret:

 

And detailed examples of what staff say about the bullying environment in Pret, including Head Office. A customer recently witnessed first hand how staff are bullied:

Link: >>> Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger

Dear Public,

for the most part you are oblivious and unaware of how Pret A Manger treat their staff. There’s a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co where staff dare to speak out in anonymity. And the legacy Clive Schlee, now former CEO, leaves behind I can only underline with my own experience I share in the audio player at the bottom of this page.

Pret has been very successful in fooling the public and luring employees in with incentives and a smiley facade. But all I can say if you don’t want to believe the reality of Pret, is that if something looks too good to be true in a multi-billion pound company, especially now under private equity, TAKE A CLOSER LOOK!

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

 

Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

This year I thought I’d do something special for the Christmas season.

While Pret is busy on their Christmas menu, getting the labels mixed up, spreading themselves too thin between Vegan and Lobster, I prepared a very special “Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar” 2019.

Every day until the big day there will be a surprise behind the “door”, published on this page.

I guarantee it’s free of anything that may harm your eyes, but it may crush your heart if you care. It’s packed full with ingredients of experience, observation, reviews of Pret’s little helpers and other staff members’ accounts.

It’s going to be heart-wrenching with some eye-openers for new readers. Plenty of bags stuffed with a good peek behind the doors of the well polished, glittering facade.

BUT, don’t cheat! Don’t prematurely open a door of a later day like you used to do as a kid with the chocolate calendar! 😉

 

No04

 

Day 1 Hot Chocolate NOT in Santas Stocklate

Day 2 Where have all the Homeless gone?

Day 3 FREEBIES At Pret A Manger

Day 4 Pret A Manger Allergen Trial – 6th December 2019

Day 5 Rat A Manger

Day 6 The Door

Day 7 The Door

Day 8 The Door

Day 9 The Door

Day 10 The Door

Day 11 The Door

Day 12 The Door

Day 13 The Door

Day 14 The Door

Day 15 The Door

Day 16 The Door

Day 17 The Door

Day 18 The Door

Day 19 The Door

Day 20 The Door

Day 21 The Door

Day 22 The Door

Day 23 The Key

Day 24 The Kingdom

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Plastic and Animals over People

 

Above picture is from the Business Insider article … trash dumped from ships could be a major culprit.

Regular readers who know my blog know that I mainly write about Pret A Manger staff issues, systemic workplace bullying, exploitation etc. My own story is at the bottom of this page in the audio player interview on a podcast.

I read a lot of comments from environmentalists and vegans who do their activism on plastic pollution and animal welfare. When I mention how Pret staff are treated behind the smiley facade, many respond along the lines of “yes, but … plastic … but vegan … but ….”

It amazes me how people separate people from waste and animal issues. Yes, of course we all have our area of activism, I campaign mainly on employment issues, but I’m also working on being more environmental friendly, eat less meat already etc. And no, any vegan out there, don’t judge me regarding eating meat. I understand the passion behind these campaigns. But from an employment perspective, people are going in circles when they go on Twitter complaining to Pret that a Barista was handed a reusable mug for a latte, but the Barista used a paper cup to measure the coffee in, poured it into the reusable mug, and then threw the paper cup away.

Pret then responds in a generic way, with their usual copy and paste sentences of ,”oh no” and “which shop this was from”… pretending to be surprised and care. Thus, the customer gets off Pret’s back, assuming it’s just a stupid Barista not having gotten the memo!

Reality is still too much for most customers to handle.

Pret A Manger, like many large corporations are a profit-driven, now multi-billion pound company under private equity. Low-wage staff are neither trained nor does Pret care to educate and tackle the waste problem. The public for most part just assume that it is a long way for Pret to get on top of this, while in reality waste is cheaper. And it is cheaper to not employ more staff to work on dishes. And it is cheaper to keep work spaces small and customer areas expanded for more profit, thus not creating room for dishwashers and stock room for crockery, metal cutlery etc. It’s always about money. Period.

People ignore that the plastic ocean has a lot to do with big corporations dumping plastic waste into the ocean, that was supposed to be shipped to other countries for recycling. Dumping plastic waste into the ocean is, again, cheaper than bringing it to recycling facilities in those countries.

Apart from above article, I can recommend to watch the documentary The Change by a group of students who started to scratch the surface on the ship waste dumping. These guys made an experiment of living for one week completely plastic free, and how challenging that is. I only found the trailer, but if anyone can find the whole film, I can only recommend it:

 

These students only started to scratch the surface on the plastic-dumping ships. And it makes sense of course that it is not you and I, sitting on the beach with a cocktail, sipping through a plastic straw, and after we finished the drink we threw the plastic straw into the ocean! Nah, that’s not how the countless tons of plastic ended up in the ocean. We only try in our frivolous way to aim for bio-degradable straws and bring our own reusable mugs.

Pret and other multi-billion pound companies just do these ridiculous little things like paper straws as a smoke screen and whatever else the government order firms to do. And the reality continues, keeping the rest of the business swamped with waste, and no-one’s waking up, yet. Yes, of course every little helps, and every little start is a start. But Pret A Manger and other large chains CAN implement change much faster than they do! Believe me, I know how fast Pret can change things IF it affects their profit! Believe me! I have seen it! And reading Pret’s Tweets, that over many months customers complain about plastic cutlery, and then they complain about the wooden fork, and then the flat soup spoons etc. And the wooden cutlery disappears again, and then it’s being re-introduced again … and the chaos continues! Inconsistent, inefficient, ineffective.

Plastic cutlery and napkins were removed, doors were closed with signs on them to save energy when Extinction Rebellion hit town, then when Extinction Rebellion left, the cutlery was moved back to the bin station customer area and the doors were opened again.

There’s is a chaotic mess with plastic vs. wooden cutlery, back and forth. And no-one is staying with it and digging deeper.

But back to the people issue. I write extensively and collect staff reviews on how Pret really treats their employees behind the happy facade. I give many examples with screenshots of what staff say in anonymity in: Caught in the Act Bullying in Pret.

And it is beyond me how we can separate people from issues like animal welfare and the waste problem. Pret staff get bullied to work fast for profit. If they don’t function, they get fear managed, all while faking a smile to not lose their job. If they don’t make friends with management they get fired fast. It’s the same elbow mentality like in big business.

This exhausts staff, makes them depressed, I was suicidal after being bullied during bereavement as Pret doesn’t want any “inconvenient” employees. Again, my story in the audio player at the bottom of this page.

Pret staff have thrown away brand new food products still in its boxed packaging to sabotage their bullying managers and ruin managers’ quarterly bonuses. Baristas using paper cups to measure liquids for reusable cups. I explain in my blog post Daily Food-waste in Plastic to Landfill why staff waste so much food. Shops are understaffed to maximize profit, staff are not paid for overtime.

 

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

Link

 

2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

Link

 

2019-07-22 Food waste

Link

etc. etc.

And only few of the reviews and comments on social media by staff:

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

If a company is only concerned about the profit margin and exploit their staff, save money on anything they can save on, the public remains fooled because change can come VERY quick if that is their priority.

If staff are exhausted, depressed and remain in low position and low pay even after years of employment, they stop caring. And this in turn reflects on the waste and even on animal welfare, as milk is wasted unnecessarily. Food, eggs, meat are wasted DAILY unnecessarily, because companies like Pret overproduce to raise the profit. And even with the humongous amount of waste every day, they make hundreds of millions of pounds annually.

Former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on BONUS alone! Add to that all the other top leaders and share holders wages and bonuses! Even with all the waste, this is very lucrative and all the customer complaints on Twitter are a joke. Pret just gives their generic replies, and people swallow it so easily and get excited for a cheap free cookie or coffee. And then Pret raise the prices because someone needs to pay for all the freebies, and it won’t be Pret! I explain further in Free Coffees in Pret.

£30m

From the Daily Mail

People don’t understand that things are connected!

If employees are treated with respect, reimbursed properly for their labour including paid overtime, have a saying in decisions etc. they will have the strength, motivation, resources and care to help tackle environmental issues.

I know Pret staff, I know how they talk behind customers’ backs and make fun of the vegan issue and waste problem. Low-wage workers who are upset at the cockiness of snobby customers. Employees who have no strength left to care. Staff suicides I continue to ask for independent investigation.

Two customers have died in Pret, a third incident was nearly fatal and numerous warnings ignored by Pret. And the public for the most part still live in LaLa Land. If Pret that didn’t act on customer deaths and ONLY slowly implementing change with the labelling BECAUSE the deaths became public, you are kidding yourself to believe that Pret cares about the environment!

Other companies can do it, like Black Sheep Coffee and many independent businesses. But people want to believe the fairy-tale that is Pret A Manger with their sweet-talk and little paper straws and wooden cutlery, while other waste issues remain.

black sheep coffee

Evening Standard

How Black Sheep Coffee and other environmentally conscious firms treat their staff I don’t know, but my point is that it is possible to change the waste problem if this is truly a company’s priority.

And my main point is that if staff are treated well, they will care for the waste issue, animal welfare etc. So, if people want to continue to believe that Pret is an “ethical” company, please scroll down to the screenshots of this blog entry again.

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Recruited Tweets on Pret’s Customer Service

 

To avoid repeating words in Tweets, I put this in a blog entry.

I mention in my other blog entry already that Pret seemed to have recruited Tweeters to post on the smiley customer service and freebies. This started around the first week in October 2019. Knowing Pret’s little tricks, I want to post for any new reader oblivious to why Pret staff always seem so “happy”, while in reality they smile, are “generous” etc. for Mystery Shopper £200 incentives and to avoid getting fear managed.

I put a few questions that weekly Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on in a YouTube slideshow. I concentrated mainly on the smiley service questions and the Barista 1 minute rule. I left out other questions like Mystery Shoppers counting the product lines – how many products at certain peek/off peek times are on display, or how clean the shop is etc.

If staff fail on ANY of those points, the whole team loses bonus. If ONE staff member doesn’t smile enough or isn’t chatty, the WHOLE Team is in danger of losing the bonus. If the Team get the bonus, or even if the Team does NOT get the bonus that week, but ONE Team Member does “outstanding service”, that Team Member can get extra £100 on top of their wages and bonus. If the overall scores of the shop is perfect and the 1 Team Member blows the Mystery Shopper away with their “outstanding” service, then the TM can get £200 on top of their wages.

That’s why throughout Pret shops worldwide customers wonder why staff are always so “cheery”, even while low paid, stressed, loud shops etc.

 

For visually impaired readers, I put some examples below on what Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on. I concentrate mainly on Emotional Labour.

Just a few reviews from staff on Glassdoor, Indeed & Co., there is much much more, but to not get the blog too long again, I just post a few. For an extensive, but not exhaustive list that has to be updated, please visit: Long List of Pret Staff Complaints

2019-10-02 Mystery Shopper happy

 

2019-09-16 Stressful not worth Mystery Shopper

 

2014-08-01 TM - Good first job Too much pressure Mystery Shopper - RVW4701443

 

Smile Please

 

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

 

A few customer Tweets:

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive marked

 

2009 Cheerleaders Smile

 

2013 Low Wage Exploitation Smile marked

 

There are many more Tweets from customers / the public on this, but I try to keep it short.

Here are some of the questions the Mystery Shopper tests staff on, in particular on the service. I used comments from different Myserty Shoppers: (Some of the words I underlined to highlight)

Pret: We aim to create an enjoyable atmosphere in all of our shops. Taking into account how busy the shop is, please rate the atmosphere in the shop at the point of entry.
Mystery Shopper: The atmosphere was enjoyable. The staff members that I came into contact with were helpful and polite.

Pret: We aim to keep the exterior of our shops looking inviting at all times – this includes: the outside seating area, the outside signage, outside windows and door frames and outside entrance area. Please rate how inviting the shop was from the outside, bearing in mind how busy the area was.
MS: The cleanliness of the exterior was exceptional. The windows, door frames and signage were very clean.

Pret: We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Were you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?
MS: I was served very quickly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.

Pret: We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was?
MS: I received my hot drink very quickly, after 30 seconds, quick service.

Screenshot of comment:

MS Mystery 15 seconds to Mars

It took 30 seconds in above and 20 seconds in below screenshot to get the drink. And then customers go on Twitter complaining why they received a half empty cup, or their coffee is too cold etc. I wrote in the YouTube slide that customers are happy to wait 10 minutes at Starbucks, but are not willing to wait 2 minutes at Pret. Pret has spoiled customers and the speed of service is to have a fast customer flow = money flow.

20 seconds drink

 

Pret: We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.
MS: Team members should smile at customers and may be not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.

Screenshot of above comment:

2014-12-01 MS cough

 

Pret staff not only lose a day’s wages when sick per day, but also the whole week’s bonus.

A Tweet by a Pret staff on this sickness policy forcing her to work while having the flew:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

 

Another upset staff member on the sickness policy, losing income:

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

 

Pret: We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole shop team during your visit.
MS: The team member was friendly but to be engaged and positive, the team member could have made small talk or a friendly remark.

Pret: Was any one member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or absolutely outstanding?
MS: No.

If there was outstanding service, then the MS would briefly describe and this 1 Team Member or Manager would get the “outstanding card”, which is not literally a card, but the £100 or if perfect scores the £200 cash reward. That’s why staff compete for this and “bounce” around like seemingly happy bunnies on speed!

This is what an MS wrote about a TM’s outstanding service:

Pret: Was any one member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or absolutely outstanding?
MS: [Name of TM] was the team member who served me. I thought that she offered a charming service. [Name of TM] is female, about 5′ 6″ tall, with medium length, blonde hair worn in a ponytail, and was not wearing glasses. She went out of her way to be friendly and engaging, and even brought over my toastie for me. I was made to feel as though my custom was valued.

In this case the TM got the £200 because the overall scores of the shop was perfect. If some points were missing, the TM would have gotten £100 reward. Even if the whole shop Team lost the bonus, the TM could still get the cash reward of £100 as their individual reward if the Mystery Shopper is blown away by their service.

If Team bonus is lost, whoever responsible for losing the bonus because that person didn’t smile for example, this person will get fear managed and peer pressured.

I was told of by my boss because I coughed while the Mystery Shopper as I was sick. The Mystery Shopper commented on this that staff should stay home when sick as I wasn’t feeling cheerful enough to smile while sick. What the MS doesn’t know nor seems to care about is, that staff are not paid sick leave the first 2 – 3 days, depending on age.

So, we had to constantly decide if to stay home and lose income, ro go to work and risk losing Mystery Shopper bonus for the whole and then get in trouble.

I wrote it in other places several times that Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper scheme that forces emotional labour is emotional abuse. PAMSU who got fired for starting a Union called this scheme “humiliating” and challenged Pret to end the Mystery Shopper scheme.

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link to Pret A Manger Staff Union Tweet demanding to Pret and CEO at the time, quote: “@pret @Cliveschlee Dismantle the humiliating mystery shopper!”

To cut this short, I write and collect on the subject of forced Emotional Labour on low-wage staff in the service industry. It is amazing how people don’t want to accept that low- paid workers are forced to smile all day and most people seem to enjoy getting “stroked” in their own emotions by low-wage staff. What PAMSU called “humiliating” I go a step further and call this “emotional prostitution”. Staff who have to top up their low pay, compete for Mystery Shopper cash rewards and recognition.

I was bullied during bereavement when I couldn’t always smile. But when I did smile while being traumatized and on autopilot, my bosses never bothered to encourage me whatsoever. Only when a negative comment came, did they see it fit to warn me and my colleagues.

Mystery Shopper bonus count towards the largest chunk of Manager’s and Upper Managers’ quarterly bonuses. So, the pressure on this fake happiness is the biggest on staff.

If anyone who regularly goes to Pret really cares about this, I collected writings on Emotional Labour: The Dangers of Emotional Labour

One particular article by Sophie McBain in the New Statesman, I want to highlight, which describes perfectly how harmful Emotional Labour is:
How Emotional Labour Harms us all

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

I end with a quote from another excellent article on this by Timothy Noah:
“The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger”.

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

Timothy Noah quote, highligths by me:

»For a good long while, I let myself think that the slender platinum blonde behind the counter at Pret A Manger was in love with me. How else to explain her visible glow whenever I strolled into the shop for a sandwich or a latte? Then I realized she lit up for the next person in line, and the next. Radiance was her job. …

Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self.

Why do Pret workers accept the customer’s emotional state as their personal responsibility? … In England, the vast majority of Pret workers are foreign immigrants, but that seems less true here [USA]. “My only thought,” says Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown, “is that it is such a buyer’s market in the labor market—because of so many unemployed workers per job—that employers can get away with a lot of demands on their workers that ordinarily wouldn’t be possible.” In other words—shhhh!—Pret clerks love-bomb customers for the money…«

Timothy Noah in the New Rebublic

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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 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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 in a Nutshell: Leeches, Predators

 

Like I already said, Pret A Manger sucks!

There are quite a few new reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed, but I have no time to keep presenting it on a silver platter. Do your own homework, people!

But this one I want to give an extra blog entry, pheeeww, because it shows the arrogance and exploiting nature of upper management in Pret A Manger.

This is even from a Team Leader of 10 years experience. High five bro/sis!

This video describes Pret in a nutshell! Beautiful detail here. I love his choice of words, “how leeches wait and ambush”, and how this is visible in the “ambush area down there”. Leeches attack from the bottom, because they are not in a position to lead. But that’s another story.

 

25. Nov. 2019 Review: The Pret parties mentioned here are the two main big summer and winter parties, and I assume the Friday night drinks that Pret spends money on to appear like a fun company.

2019-11-26 leeches Indeed TL review

Link

This also reminds me of a review from NY and how HQ staff “fiddle” with employees and the arrogance of upper management:

Las Vegas

 

The touching bit was also something Timothy Noah expanded on in his brilliant article in The New Republic on emotional labour in Pret. He zoomed in on the touching that former CEO Clive Leech, uhm, Schlee is looking for, quote:

»Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self. And these cops require literal stroking. In other workplaces, touching a co-worker may get you fired, but at Pret you have to worry about not touching co-workers enough. “The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Here are some tangible Glassdoor scores:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

And here’s a video of how it looks like when the Unions get involved:

P.S. I am the ant with the red arrow! Thank you!

 

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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 Accused of Racism

 

In my experience in Pret with the bullying culture and favouritism, racism is a subject that is present but denied across the board. At Pret’s Head Office the majority of staff are Brisith Caucasian, some Germans, some French, a few Black and Asian people. The majority of people working on the front-lines in shops are foreigners.

Before I link to The Voice’s article from 2012 I remember an incidence that still saddens me today, and it frustrates me that I didn’t respond faster.

Racism, I felt, does happen, but not only from white towards black, but from one country to another. And for any new reader to my story, I am a German Caucasian having worked on the “front-lines” in shops for years. In my first year in Pret, I just started my leadership role and was still new-ish to the whole concept of Pret. I realized early on that Pret is quite complex and micromanaging, but I put my sleeves up and went to work. In that first shop where I started early as a leader, one staff member who was also new, worked in the kitchen, and was from India.

His name I will never forget because it matched his personality. His name was Lovelu, and although his English wasn’t as fluent and he seemed to have been slow in the kitchen, he was lovely! He brought me to laugh, had a funny personality. He was new and worked in the kitchen for a few weeks.

One late morning I came to work for my late shift and was stopped immediately by the Assistant Manager when she saw me entering the shop. She urged me to go straight to the staff-room to Lovelu. I was often sent to Team Members by management when they needed someone to calm down a person. I usually had a coffee first thing when I came to work, as I was always 15-30 minutes early to have a slow start in the shop before work, but the AM sent me to the staff room immediately. I asked why, but she didn’t say, she just said, “please go to the staff-room.”. When I entered the staff-room, Lovelu was sitting there unusually quiet and serious looking. I asked him as usual “how’s it going”, and he looked at me with a perplexed look saying that he just got fired.

What??? Why?? Supposedly he was too slow in the kitchen! Aha? Okay? Hm!

I was still speechless, and still new to Pret and my leadership role, I couldn’t react fast enough, so in my own perplexed state I just waffled something to Lovelu, like I’m sorry and that I thought he was great etc. What pissed me off as well was that the AM didn’t even have the guts to fire Lovelu herself, but got a Manager from a neighbouring shop to do the dirty work, as our Manager was on holiday. But later I said to the AM that before they fire someone, please place them in the shop, I can take them under my wing and if they don’t improve within let’s say 2 weeks, in whatever area the management is unhappy with, then fair enough. But give them a chance, as some people were better in the kitchen, others in the shop. And Lovelu should have been put in the shop, where his personality would have bloomed and the much coveted Mystery Shopper rewards would have increased, I’m sure. Pret demands staff to smile, be friendly and chatty at all times, and for Lovelu this came naturally. He truly had a lovely personality, it was effortless for him to smile and crack jokes. He had a mischievous, cheeky personality that was refreshing!

He was from India, the Assistant Manager and most of the kitchen staff were from a certain country I will not name here, as I don’t want to come across racist towards this country or people. But I couldn’t help to think that Lovelu’s “fault” was not that he was slow in the kitchen, he probably was slow, but he was a male in a predominantly female group of workers, and he was the only Indian guy in the shop.

Another guy who worked with me in the shop was also slow, never smiled and because of his lack of smiling he lost us all the bonus one time when he served the Mystery Shopper. But he was from the same country the Assistant Manager was from and was even recruited by this AM, so his lack of smiling and slow service got him off the hook many times.

One recent review from the new LAX Pret shop beautifully puts into words what Lovelu experienced:

2019-10-10 NY Strokes Folks

Link

It didn’t make sense at all why he was fired with such a beaming personality! But this gave me a lesson to not be quiet and from then on when I got wind that a Team Member was about to be fired or put in a possition they didn’t like, I spoke with the Manager and asked if they can be put under my wing so-to-speak. Sometimes Managers listened and gave that TM another shot, other times they didn’t.

I’ve seen these ganging up situations many times in Pret when the majority of the Team are from a certain country, because the management is from that country. Good luck if you’re not from that country!

A Leader review, London 2013:

2013 Racism Review

Link

Another Team Leader review from London, 2019:

2019-03-08 TL - Rasism Racism - RVW25061701

Link

An Italian review on racism:

Italian review racism

Link

 

A USA review on racism:

USA 2013 Review racist

 

There’s a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co, and why Cliver Schlee, former CEO, left with this legacy:

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

 

There are countless more reviews and complaints on various platforms along the lines of racism, slavery, favouritism etc., not just on Glassdoor and Indeed. But I just stumbled across a 2012 article by The Voice of two black employees who are very specific in describing their experience. And their experience sounds very familiar of the systemic bullying environment in Pret A Manger.

The claim that Pret treated them as “slaves” is a very common complaint on Review sites and YouTube etc. I can post many more reviews on this, but just post one more from recently which is even from a Manager. And I can underline that claim, But the “modern slavery” claim is not just due to colour or country, this is due to an abuse of power and the rampant exploitation in Pret. I am Caucasian from Germany and have been exploited and bullied, even or especially during bereavement! And I was bullied and exploited also by black management and various nationalities across the board. My story is in the audio player at the bottom of this page. But I agree that there is racism in Pret.

GM slavery

Link

Link to The Voice article.

Full text below, quote:

»TWO BLACK employees have accused fresh food retail chain Pret A Manger of racism, claiming they were treated as “slaves” at one of the company’s outlets.

Deborah Ainon and Leyo Mbolo, who are now participating in a grievance process within the company told The Voice they wrote to company CEO, Clive Schlee, to raise concerns over ‘the real examples of modern day slavery’ they have faced over the last few months at a Pret outlet in east London.

Humiliation

Ainon and Mbolo, both originally from France, told how they had written several letters to Schlee after being subjected to humiliation, ‘discrimination and racism’ and ‘bullying and harassment’ at the King William, east London branch of the food retailer.

Ainon said her experience of prejudice included being singled out and put in situations where she felt ‘humiliated’. She said for example, on one occasion, she was forcibly stopped and searched in front of customers at the store’s entrance, the only employee to be stopped on that day without any warning or reason.

She said a fellow employee was told that he was to stop her and search for ‘company property’, to see whether she had taken food from the store, which was against company policy. She said this incident happened in front of customers.

In a second incident, Mbolo was given file notes and had a discussion about improving her performance in front of customers. She said one customer, who allegedly witnessed the discussion, said to Mbolo later that he “suspected it to be either a warning or some form of blame”. Mbolo said she felt ‘humiliated and embarrassed’ after this statement.

Both Ainon and Mbolo alleged they were given a huge work load and told to meet unrealistic targets and often worked ‘42 hours a week’ when in fact they were only contracted to work ‘30 hours’, without getting paid for overtime.

They claimed they were denied sick leave and had to be signed off by doctors because of stress.

Both also claimed that black co-workers at Pret, who had been working at the establishment around 12 years, were only ‘earning £7 per hour’. They also claimed one manager would ‘block the promotion of people whose colour does not please you.’

In a statement on June 26, a Pret A Manger spokesperson told The Voice: “Leyo Mbolo and Deborah Ainon are both currently employed by Pret. We can confirm that a personnel process is underway with every effort being made to investigate and resolve their issues. As such, it is not possible for us to comment any further.”«

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Some more “slavery” reviews from different years and different cities/countries like London, NY, Chicago etc.

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

 

TITLE 2018-10-18 Slave Company

 

2019-06-01 TM - Just Ugh Slave - RVW26426142 marked

 

TITLE 2017-06-15 TM NY - Workers are Slave - RVW15492936 crop

 

2014-11-11 Kitchen Prep NY - Horrible Overworked Slave Fired Fast - RVW5359199

 

etc. etc. etc. etc………

For a detailed behind the scenes view of the systemic bullying environment at Pret, including at Head Office and Management complaints, please scroll down to the screenshots in this article:

>>> Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret A Manger.

 

And I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides:

>>> Why is Pret not investigated on Staff deaths?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

People are to Blame

 

A beautiful Tweet just made my day (or night, being the “late night girl” that I am).

I have been writing about my Pret ordeal now openly since May 2018.

1.5 years.

In those 1.5 years the majority of people are silent.

Some comment, some follow, some block, some get angry. But most are silent. And when some speak out with “empathy”, the most common thing I read is, “Well, this is in most corporations, isn’t it…”

Yeah, that’s a good cop-out! That’s what people say in all systemic situations. That’s what they said before the #metoo movement started to kick butt! It’s just men, that’s what they do. Let’s put our heads into the sand. Let’s look away. Let’s accept and let’s obey, because it’s just the way it is.

 

be-careful-when-blindly-following-the-masses-sometimes-the-m-26295700

 

In a nutshell this acceptance and attitude is plain complacency and cowardliness. It is easier to stroke and fill our tummies with cheap free bribes and tuck ourselves away, getting slow cooked like frogs. Beautiful. Dead before we realize!

I appreciate the ones who comment and support, and I value and love when people engage, even in anger, because it means they care!

But the majority is silent. The silent onlooker and bystander who turn their heads are the worst. Give me anger, cuss me out, call me names! I’ll put a .com behind it! There have been even recruited Tweets lately on the smiley customer service to counter my writings, you will understand once you know my “campaign”. Pret again imitating what I’ve been doing with all the staff reviews (below slideshow).

I’ve had people who in their honesty, taken off-guard said something like, “Why are you doing this to me?”, when I  pointed out the bullying reality behind the smiley Pret facade. The person was shocked and disappointed at Pret, but angry with me for destroying their illusions.

 

Illusion

 

Another Tweeter literally said after I posted the staff complaints and reviews, “I wish I wouldn’t have mentioned Pret”.

And I emphasize with them, because Pret does put on a great show, a beautiful mask, a brilliant picture! The slogans are in place, the smiles are engraved in people’s minds, and the freebies are the cheapest bribe people settle with. I was fooled myself as a staff member by a friendly CEO who liked to be approachable. But I didn’t realize that his approach was the same as the approach of the Ronald McDonald clown that lured little kids and their mums into the business. Catchink!

My story with Pret is in the audio player at the bottom of this post.

Yes, companies have a responsibility and they will have to answer for the stuff they put on others. It may take a while, but the buck will stop at the right person eventually. And the ones who got away, leave a legacy behind.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

But without the people who support these profit-driven companies, customers who close their eyes, because their belly is more important than the suffering they are confronted with, without these customers these companies wouldn’t be able to flourish on the suffering of humans and animals. Let’s close our eyes and blame the foreigners and the big companies and plastic and them over there. I ain’t my fault! Why are you doing this to me?! I wish I wouldn’t have mentioned Pret!

No. People are to blame. Everyone of us who puts a penny into this.

 

2019-11-26 People are to blame

Link

For a good view behind the Pret smiles, please scroll down to the screenshots on this post >>> Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger.

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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 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Help less the Helpless

 

The Elephant in the room!

When I learned of my brother’s death, not only that he was dead, but already cremated and we didn’t know for 5 weeks that he was dead and gone, I went into a state of shock I am just now after almost 5 years coming out of slowly.

Those who know my story, also know that Pret A Manger, the company I worked for 7 years at the time, bullied me and under the watchful eye of HR very quickly tried to get me out of Pret.

Because I fought and kept standing up, Pret searched and found a way to gaslight me and finally get rid of me, as bereaved employees are an inconvenience for Pret, as they are for many profit-driven companies.

My full story is in the audio player interview at the bottom of this post.

But in all my shock, trauma and the complex turmoil I went into, I made the mistake most people make who’ve never encountered this kind of work situation: I kept giving Pret the benefit of the doubt. I’ve never experienced the type of toxic workplace, until I came to Pret. I blamed myself as I was also in deep shock over my brother’s death. A multi-million (by now billion) pound company that did not know, nor care what to do with me; a company that has the money and could get the resources to support an employee, especially a longstanding staff member with a good rapport at work. I even researched myself with ACAS and passed those resources on to Pret. Here I was, low-paid, bereaved, traumatized, in shock … and giving this rich company resources! Hello? But it took a deep, dark and long valley to finally wake up that Pret has no interest in truly helping people, but rather suck the life-blood out of them.

One of the many Tribunal cases Pret lost was after having fired a staff member, and the Judges ruled that Pret’s HR hearings are “fundamentally flawed” (I can verify that from experience) and further said, quote:

»We conclude that the respondent did not carry out as much investigation as was reasonable in all circumstances of the case … The respondent is a large sophisticated employer and there was no reason put forward why it failed to comply with the Code.« Tribunal ruling at the bottom of page 11 (at 15 and check mark)

And there are many, many other things Pret does which cannot be excused as they are this “large sophisticated” employer. And staff will always speak bluntly in anonymity and there is a reason why Pret and its leadership have such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co, and the legacy Clive Schlee, now former CEO leaves behind, with the new CEO Pano Christou not being better under private equity greed.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

38 26 Header

 

I collected a lot of staff reviews on the bullying culture in Pret and added screenshots with links, so that people don’t just need to take my word for it. I also continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret staff suicides, having survived myself. Link to staff reviews on the bullying environment including in head office.

But on helping the helpless, which often is the opposite of help, hence the “help less the helpless” wordplay, I want to briefly give some tips to people who care but don’t know what to do.

This is about help for people who suffer trauma, become bereaved, receive terrible health news, victims of crime and any other traumatic event that pulls the rug under their feet.

I have had all the types of reactions we all experience in our lives when we go through painful times. And these painful times can also be divorce, separation, job loss, loss of status or reputation, or even that you are a teenager with lots of friends and your parents move you across the country to another state where you don’t know anybody! That will be grief as well! And the heavy events like trauma, accidents, victims of crime, grief etc.

Apart from the bullying from Pret that I write extensively about, I want to concentrate on two types of people. The one type are the people that are friends, colleagues, strangers, even healthcare professionals who turn their backs on you when you go through immense trauma. The people who feel helpless or even don’t care and you see a big dust cloud behind them.

The other type of people are those who care and who want to help, but they don’t know how. To these latter people I am writing.

One of the common things a bereaved or traumatized person hears from well-meaning people is: “If you need anything, let me know” or “Call me anytime if I can do something” or “I’m here for you”.

Those are truly well-meaning words, especially when they are authentic and people really want to help. The difficulty with this is, that the person who just got their rug pulled from under them does not know what help they need nor want. And if they know, they are too concerned to be a burden to ask for help.

I went through it all. I didn’t know and then didn’t ask for help, especially at the beginning. Other times I was so in pain and grief that I screamed out, and still do today at times. Other times I was angry and pushed people away because of the bullying in Pret on one side and being abandoned by friends on the other side. I couldn’t see straight ahead anymore nor distinguish real helpers from those who tricked me (again, my story in below audio player).

And those I pushed away or lashed out in anger, when they withdrew it’s completely understandable. I don’t blame those who tried to help and want to protect themselves from my anger.

I have also painfully found that some people just “offer” vague help like, “If you need anything, let me know…” and when I couldn’t verbalize what I needed because I was too broken, those people then would say things like, “Well, I offered help, but you didn’t take it” – (typical Pret response after I reached out for a year and Pret then started with support to just cover themselves).

If you want to help a friend or colleague who is suddenly thrust into loss, devastating health issues etc., the number one ingredient is: Do NOT be afraid!

I don’t consider myself a Believer anymore, not because I lost my brother or was bullied at work during the worst time of my life, I know bad stuff happens and will happen to all of us. But I lost my belief because those who claim to God showed me that there cannot be a God. And no, if you are a Believer, don’t make it too easy on yourself by giving the usual one-size-fits all answer “trust only in God and not in people” bla bla! And the usual “we pray for you” bla bla. Yes, go away, pray and bla, and leave me the hell alone!

But I have studied the Bible for years, and I do say, that a lot of the verses in the Bible make much more sense now after having gone through my own darkest and scariest valley. One such verse is: »There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.« – 1 John 4:18 (NIV)

Of course I cannot compare a “love” for ones own child to the love towards a friend or colleague. And yes, I know the difference between eros, phileo and agape and all the other types of “love”. But to zoom in on what I mean, any good parent knows that they would go through fire if they have to save their child from pain or harm. When you love someone and you see them in pain or danger, you forget fear, fear doesn’t exist, you are only focused on getting some kind of relieve for that person. In a bereaved person, not getting a solution or answer to their loss, but some tiny bit of relieve of the chaos and utter darkness. In Biblical terms, the famous cold cup of fresh water to a burning soul (Mt. 10:42).

This reminds me of a nurse in A&E (ER), when I dragged myself early one morning during a panic attack, thinking I’m having a heart attack. My heart was racing and my chest felt like a balloon that was filling up with water, about to burst. After registering with a nurse, she pointed me to a seat to wait. She was kind, but as a nurse I was gobsmacked when she offered me coffee!!!! In disbelief I mumbled to her, “My heart is racing and you want to give me caffeine???” She quietly went and brought me some water. I felt ashamed to have had an expectation that a nurse should be aware of these things.

That is why I am weary of “friends” who claim to care or love, because the next moment they blame me for being distraught, helpless and angry. And if anyone who claims to be a friend is afraid of me, then they never knew me. I don’t fear people anymore after what I’ve been through, but if I do fear someone from time to time, then only because I don’t know them.

Since my brother died and then my father and the chain reaction of losses that death sparks, I love Elephants!

I have always loved these gentle giants, but now even more learning how they grieve, how they come together to help a fellow Elephant, very actively, very passionately. They also help a weak Elephant that got in trouble. In the first video though, I wish they would have either put a different song and raised the volume of the moderator, or not put any music at all and maybe try and get the Elephant sounds if they were any.

But Elephants are “hands-on” in their grief and investigating!

 

This second video is precious!

 

This third video is heart-breaking but incredible where Elephants desperately try to help a dying calf, trying to lift it up again and again. This will break your heart, but please watch this!
At around 1:05 minutes when one Elephant gently puts its left leg on the little one, as if to feel if it’s still alive or to give it a warm touch to not give up! So heartbreaking!
The commentator sounds Swiss and I can pick up her saying “the elephant is still alive, but it doesn’t get up…”

 

I can’t help but always emphasize how we human beings SUCK at grief, how we suck at helping others, and how we suck at letting others grieve! We humans have all the technology, knowledge, even money, but we often turn our back and in Pret’s case, even step on bereaved and sick people! I was STEPPED on in Pret when I was already on the ground! We can learn from animals like these grey, dry, thick-skinned, sensible and sensitive giants!

But to lift everyone’s spirits again, even the birth of an Elephant is a community effort and event!

 

So, I want to give some bullet points of how meaningful and effective help and support can look like. Keep in mind this may vary from person to person, but I found that a few similar things seem to help most people. MISTAKES allowed! But no blaming of the person who is paralyzed in grief and trauma! Don’t even dare to blame the person! You better run away with a big dust cloud behind you, then to blame the traumatized person!

  • ASK questions, DON’T make assumptions! Don’t give bullshit solutions as to why someone’s loved-one died if you don’t know. Rather ask what may have happened. For example, when we learned of my brother’s death we had no cause of death, not even an autopsy, no answers.
    Bad scenario: In the early days when I flew back and forth from London to Germany to run errands and support my family, my mum one time was extra distraught and silent. I asked her what’s going on and she said that an acquaintance of hers said to my mum that my brother probably ended his life, suicide. I became so angry and told my mum to not listen to people who make assumptions that the police didn’t confirm.
    Good scenario: One person who supported me early on (the ONLY line manager to support me) took me out for a drink on the second day of having met me to just speak, and she inquired about my brother. She ASKED a question after listening to what happened: “Do you think he got murdered?” For some this very direct question seems shocking, but for me it was okay, because it was a QUESTION, not an assumption! And it was a direct question that didn’t talk around the bush. Other good and safe questions, if you don’t want to be as direct can also be “What do you think happened?” … “Did anyone else say/see/hear anything…?” Neutral questions… you can never be wrong with honest QUESTIONS, but you can almost always be wrong with assumptions!

 

  • Don’t offer vague help like I mentioned above, “If you need anything, call me” etc. Tell the person what kind of help you can give. Be specific!
    If you know legal help, tell them, “If you need legal help, I know an organization, a website, a person etc. that can give good advise.”
    If you love cooking, offer the person food, and plainly cook for them, bring it over EVEN if they lost appetite. I worked in Pret, surrounded by free food every day, but I lost 35kg (25kg in the first 6 months of bereavement). My friends were just amazed at my rapid weight loss, but no-one was alarmed. My fridge was empty, not because I had no money for food, and I certainly had an abundant amount of FREE food at work, but I was exhausted, traumatized to go shopping. My fridge was empty. On my free days I couldn’t go shopping or cook! I was paralyzed in grief and shock. Cooking a meal for a bereaved person, or inviting them to a meal with friends has more to do with not leaving that person alone and having fellowship rather than just eat. A bereaved person WILL say no to invitations, but keep inviting them, keep bringing food unless they make it VERY clear that they do not wish for you to bring any more food etc.
    The more vague and chaotic the traumatized person is, the more specific and consistent you need to be. The traumatized, bereaved etc. person is on a free-fall without the bottom in sight.  Those who are in a good place mentally can bring stability within a hurricane.
    Offer to clean their house if you see that their surroundings become unusually chaotic, anything out of the ordinary, again offer stability and NORMALCY as best as possible. In 2015 I only cleaned my apartment 3 times, whereas before I cleaned my floors every 2 weeks at least (I don’t wear shoes at home to avoid the dirt from outside, keeping the apartment longer clean). I am known for being very clean and tidy, but that year especially you could SMELL the dust in my apartment! You could literally smell dust and see the footprints like in the snow! But those who came by, either didn’t notice or didn’t know what to do. If you are a good friend and know the person well, just grab a broom or the vacuum cleaner, offer them to walk their dog or babysit their children, especially when they need to run errands and have to work.
    Offer other bureaucratic help where they are overwhelmed with the paper work that accumulates when you lose someone.
    Anything you can help with, even the smallest of support, a listening ear, BE SPECIFIC in which area you can help, but be realistic in what you know you can do. Don’t promise something you can’t live up to, don’t say to call you anytime and then get upset when your phone rings at 10pm on Sunday evening. Switch the “If you need any help, call me” to “I can help you with such-and-such, do you want me to look into this? It’s very easy for me as I know this area very well…” etc. If the traumatized or bereaved person senses that this is NO problem for you to do, they will feel much more comfortable to accept help and ask for it.

 

  • Longevity: Do NOT give up. If the bereaved or traumatized person says “no” to an invitation to a Christmas dinner or other support you are specific about, don’t assume they say “no” to next year’s Christmas dinner or birthday party etc. And if they say “no” to the second Christmas dinner, ask them for the third year again, especially if before their loss you celebrated Christmas or Birthdays together every year.

 

  • DON’T TAKE THINGS PERSONAL!!! You are dealing with a person who lost someone, or experienced a traumatic event like rape, a criminal offense, break-in, robbery, injury, grief etc. Trauma is messy and there will be incidences where the person may lash out. This is no excuse and it is okay to tell the person that this hurts you, and to withdraw. But if you know the person usually to not lash out, it’s an indication that they are in a terrible place they don’t know how to get out of.

 

  • Avoid saying things like “You need a therapist”… I was told this many times by friends and strangers, but they told me this in their own anger. And many again did NOT ask questions. If they would have asked if I sought help, they’d know that I went through a dozen counselors since my brother died, but even 5 years later I still haven’t received a diagnosis and because I cannot afford a trauma specialist, I am being passed on from counselor to counselor, many of whom were in training. In England it is not that simple to get help for mental health. Anyone who’s been through this will know.

 

  • RESEARCH for professional help. If your friend has been raped or robbed or bereaved… research those events for help. But keep an open mind as every person is different and grieves differently. Don’t give solutions or answers to their grief, but support and practical help surrounding all the things that loss brings.

 

  • The main important thing, DON’T give up, don’t abandon your friend. Yes, withdraw for a while to refuel or protect yourself, pass on the baton to other friends who may have more strength. But if this is your friend, don’t give up.

 

There are countless other things that can be added, especially from an individual, subjective point of view, but the above I find are a core list of support. I am looking into research of different cultures, how they deal with trauma, grief, death, illness etc. I am aware that I live in the “wrong” society, where individualism is a big one, and most don’t know what to do with the subject of death and grief and tragedy in general.

Grieving parents Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds who lost their 22 year old son Joshua in an accident on a trip in Vietnam, started The Good Grief Project to openly work through their loss and also help other parents through their grief. They make documentaries with and for other grieving parents to start the conversation about death and grief. They work to raise the subject out of the taboo realm.

In 2018 they toured the UK with their film A Love that Never Dies” and did Q&A at the end of each screening. At the London screening, Jimmy Edmonds said in the Q&A, that in Victorian times people openly spoke about death and grieving. But it was taboo to speak about sex. And today it’s the complete opposite. And I agree, I am really tired of being thrown images and comments about sex in its most detailed form, in its most intimate acts people so flippingly share today with the whole world! Yet, the very subject we all face at any moment: death, dying, grief, loss, we avoid like the pest! We silence death to death!

Let’s talk about sex death, baby!

In memory of my big brother Thomas.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

There is a Place for You

 

After my brother died, after we learned he was gone, dead and cremated already, just gone… and Pret being Pret, going to town trying to get rid of inconvenient, bereaved, traumatized employees…. I was holding on to Pret, to friends, to anything in sheer shock to make sense.

I lost my faith, I lost every purpose, I lost friends of course, I lost meaning, I lost my mind.

When people die a lot of things come to mind that you never thought of before. I never realized that my brother was always gone. I must have assumed because he’s my big brother with special allowances, he could stay out longer, got more pocket money, got away with bad grades etc.

After I learned he was gone for good now, I was always out, looking for him, walking and working and fighting and defending my mere existence in a company that got away with two customer deaths, staff suicides I seek investigation, having survived… No, don’t minimize me to “just” a bereaved person. Pret A Manger staff have died by suicide. And I will keep asking for independent investigation into these deaths.

I held on to a company, and to people I thought were friends.

And an old song popped up once in a while that has nothing to do with my life, but a person beyond the masses. I held on to the song as well… And I hold on to justice. And despite the song, I need to hold on.

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant moon
Or on a silver screen
With the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
You just pass me by

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant screen
Or on a silver moon
Stolen late one night
With arms held high
Screaming take me away

I could watch you 1000 timeS
Row B Seat 13
Half a ticket
In the silver light
An entire universe between

There is a place for me
Far far away
Someone else’s dream
Or in a magazine
Postered over your bed
Put your hands to your head
Screaming take me away

I could watch you 1000 times
Row B Seat 13
Half a ticket in the silver light
An entire universe between

I’m the only one around
Not a sound
Just a breath of the settling
In the flickering light.

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant moon
Or on a silver screen
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
You just pass me by

—  “B-13” Jump, Little Children

Orchestra Version:

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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 Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger

 

I’d like to post an article by Timothy Noah from 2013 on the “Labor of Love – The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger”. This is a great article from an outside and a customer point of view, lucky enough who’s a journalist with a discerning eye. I want to highlight a few things, but the whole article can be found on the New Republic site. I will highlight in bold what I feel is important. But really worth reading the whole article!

Quote:

»For a good long while, I let myself think that the slender platinum blonde behind the counter at Pret A Manger was in love with me. How else to explain her visible glow whenever I strolled into the shop for a sandwich or a latte? Then I realized she lit up for the next person in line, and the next. Radiance was her job.«

»Pret A Manger—a London-based chain that has spread over the past decade to the East Coast and Chicago—is at the cutting edge of what the Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls “emotional labor.” Emotional because the worker doesn’t create or even necessarily sell a product or service so much as make the customer experience a positive feeling. Labor because, as Hochschild wrote in The Managed Heart (1983), the worker must “induce or suppress [his or her own] feeling” to achieve the desired effect in others. Creepy as it sounds, emotional labor is a growing presence in this economy, coming soon to a fast-food outlet near you.« …

»Pret doesn’t merely want its employees to lend their minds and bodies; it wants their souls, too. It will not employ anyone who is “here just for the money.” Noting that one Pret worker in London got fired soon after he tried to start a union—the company maintained it was for making homophobic comments—Myerscough suggested the worker’s true offense was being unhappy enough to want to start a union, since “Pret workers aren’t supposed to be unhappy.”«

»Emotional labor is not itself new. Prostitutes have faked orgasms for millennia. With greater sincerity (one hopes), undertakers calm the grieving, nurses comfort the sick, and migrant nannies lavish on other people’s children the love they aren’t present to furnish back home. Flight attendants, in the pre-feminist era, calmed jittery flyers by being pretty, friendly, even a little bit flirtatious; this ended with deregulation in the early ’80s as airlines stopped competing on service and started competing on price.«

»In all these instances, emotional labor served (legitimately or not) identifiable emotional needs. That’s not true at Pret. Fast-food service is not one of the caring professions. The only imperatives typically addressed in a Pret shop are hunger and thirst. Why must the person who sells me a cheddar and tomato sandwich have “presence” and “create a sense of fun”? Why can’t he or she be doing it “just for the money”? I don’t expect the swiping of my credit card to be anybody’s vocation. This is, after all, the economy’s bottommost rung.«

»Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self.«

Bingo! I want to add something here, one of many customer Tweets regarding the “smiles” and “cheer leading” that has even those business people and marketing gurus fooled:

Smile

 

2014 Smile by Contract

 

2013 Mandatory Smile

etc.

This “cheer leading” or what other people called “mandatory smile” and “smile by contract”, apart from the Team bonus for everyone, can also bring ONE Team Member what Pret calls an “outstanding card” (OC). An OC is not literally a card, it is a cash reward of now £100 or even £200 if the overall shop scores are perfect. So, even if the shop/team lose the bonus, because the shop was dirty or there wasn’t enough selection in the fridge (the Mystery Shopper COUNTS the product lines!), even with a lost bonus for the team, ONE individual Team Member can still get £100 reward if the Mystery Shopper is blown away by their extra kindness, smiles, generosity, chatting etc. It’s basically kissing butt all day in extreme stress for extra cash.

If the bonus is lost, the person or persons responsible for the loss get fear managed, at times even threatened with their job security. Even bereaved staff will find little mercy as I share my story at the very bottom audio player in an interview.

Welcome to Pret A Manger.

Further in the article:

»And these cops require literal stroking. In other workplaces, touching a co-worker may get you fired, but at Pret you have to worry about not touching co-workers enough. “The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Yep, Clive Schlee’s manipulating approach for profit!

Further in the article:

»In the three decades since Hochschild published The Managed Heart, the emotional economy has spread like a noxious weed to dry cleaners, nail salons, even computer-repair shops. (Think of Apple’s Genius Bars—parodied by The Onion as “Friend Bars”—where employees are taught to be empathetic and use words like “feel” as much as possible.)«

»Pret shops are typically located in neighborhoods that bustle with busy professionals whom Pret fusses over like the maître d’ at Alain Ducasse. The more the rich get used to fawning service, the more the rest of us—or rather, the rest of us who can afford to buy a sandwich rather than brown-bag it from home—find we rather like it, too. Eventually everybody will have to act like a goddamned concierge. I don’t want to believe this, but I fear it may be true.«

»Why do Pret workers accept the customer’s emotional state as their personal responsibility? For some, we may presume an extremely sunny personality that has merely found a serendipitous outlet. (They are selected for this quality, after all.) But what about the rest? In England, the vast majority of Pret workers are foreign immigrants, but that seems less true here. “My only thought,” says Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown, “is that it is such a buyer’s market in the labor market—because of so many unemployed workers per job—that employers can get away with a lot of demands on their workers that ordinarily wouldn’t be possible.” In other words—shhhh!—Pret clerks love-bomb customers for the money (which isn’t bad by fast-food standards).«

Bingo!

»Now that I know Pret’s slender blonde doesn’t love me, I prefer the human contact at a D.C. lunch counter called C.F. Folks. The food is infinitely better. But I also like that the service is slower, the staff is older and grumpier, and the prevailing emotion is “Get over yourself.” Try touching someone at C.F. Folks, and you just might get slugged.«

Beautiful! 😀

»The last thing Schlee looks at, to judge from my own experience, is whether the company returns calls from the press. I phoned Pret HQ twice, twice pushing “0” for “operator,” and twice got a recording. I twice left messages saying I was on deadline with a story about Pret, and in the second message I specified that the story was critical. My call was not returned, and I’m not convinced anybody ever even heard my messages. So much for the personal touch.«

Yep! Well observed!

Timothy Noah can be found on Twitter: @TimothyNoah1

I created a list of links to articles that deal with “emotional labour” (or “labor” for American readers): >>> The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I made a YouTube slide with only a few of the many questions weekly Mystery Shoppers are tasked by Pret to test low-wage staff on. Mystery Shoppers tests staff on things like the amount of selection during certain times, cleanliness of the shop, the overall atmosphere etc. But I concentrated mainly on the smiley and service questions.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

Onlookers – Bystanders – Jump, Little Children

 

All of us who are looking for a home and our place, and being ourselves …

Two songs I listen to.

Maybe one day ANYONE of you could STOP being voyeurs, saying “wow”, and “interesting” and “OMG”, and start helping people!

 

2019-10-14 4ABWE - Wow Interesting stuff

 

2019-10-23 Wow - from Turkey

 

00 Oh my word

 

00 Shocking

etc. etc. etc.

 

Maybe one day ANYONE of you could STOP being voyeurs, who say “wow”, and “interesting” and “OMG”, and start helping people!

Helping people who otherwise die by suicide!

Would you do that?

Unions! Would you help workers?

Politicians, would you stop bullshitting?

Customers, would you stop expecting low-wage staff to change your diapers and be your psychologists!?

Tweeters, hey it’s easy to laugh in anonymity! Granted. You win!

 

 

 

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

 

Cage the Elephant

 

because there’s no more room to spill the beans…

The elephant in the room is too much for people who want free coffees at Pret A Manger.

We don’t give a shit about 2 people who died.

We don’t give a shit about staff who suffer and kill themselves.

The media is in Pret’s pocket.

The Unions are distracted with politics.

Who are they?

They are them who are paralyzed.

Who am I?

I am one who lost a lot and didn’t go on a shooting spree.

I just wrote emails and I am proud of that!

So, maybe one day you will stop to be so fucking afraid and start to stand up! Would you do that?

And if you do, I’ll be there with and for you. But I have a feeling you are too ashamed and full of yourself to remember where your courage came from.

Until then, don’t wake me up. I need to sleep to gather strength for those who give a sh!t

>>> Pret A Manger Posh Trash vs Respectable Workers

 

>>> Brothers fighting for their Sisters

 

There’s a place for you

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.

 

Cheer Leader vs. Fear Leader

 

»To sell my business, this thing that I created, that I poured my life, 30 years of work in; to sell it to one of those bastards (venture capitalists), it would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution. And I was never gonna do it.«

Guy Singh-Watson
Founder and CEO of employee-owned Riverford

 

THIS is how Leadership looks like that motivates its employees with respect and mutual inspiration (Employee owned company):

 

And THIS is how Fear Management looks like (Pret A Manger under Private Equity):

»Try your best not to work there … Bad management, always being ‘hounded’.«

Former Pret A Manger Staff

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather 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 tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1.
“Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
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.