Julie Miller is Back!!!

 

… and I missed it by 2 months!

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

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

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

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

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

A quote from the Tennessean:

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

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

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

 

Brief NPR review of their new album

 

 

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

 

purchase, purchase, purchase ….

 

[ 💛 Favourites 💛 ]

 

1. 💛 Breakdown On 20th Ave. South 💛

 

2. Feast Of The Dead

 

3. Everything Is Your Fault

 

4. Unused Heart

 

5. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

 

6. 💛 Til Stardust Comes Apart 💛

 

7. Underneath The Sky

 

8. Spittin’ On Fire

 

9. Secret

 

10. 💛 War Child 💛

 

11. 💛 Thoughts At 2am 💛

 

12. Storm Of Kisses

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Thread-ish

 

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

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

 

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

 

Dirty Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Odyssey through the Mental Health System

 

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

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

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

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

 

COUNSELOR #1 – Spring 2015

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

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

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

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

I quit after the 13th session.

 

COUNSELOR #2 – Mid 2015

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

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

 

COUNSELOR #3 – Mid to Fall 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

COUNSELOR #4 – January 2016

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

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

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

The mother cat

DSC00221

 

DSC00188

 

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

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

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

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

 

COUNSELOR #5 – Early 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Back to square one.

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

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

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

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

 

COUNSELOR #6 – 2016

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

 

COUNSELOR #7 – 2016 and beyond on and off

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

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

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

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

The Listening Place

 

COUNSELOR #8

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

 

COUNSELOR #9 – Mid 2016

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

 

COUNSELOR #10 – End of 2016

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

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

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

 

COUNSELOR #11 – End of 2018

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

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

 

COUNSELOR #12 – 2017 / 2018

I kept going back to my doctor and now they started realizing that I need something serious and long term, By now I am mentally broken down, still coming to terms about my brother and now with the added trauma of the systemic bullying I was going through like in a mental war-zone. I was put on a waiting list for long-term therapy and had two assessments with a Psychologist, one in December 2017 before I lost my job, and the second in January 2018 after I lost my job and my dad in hospital in Germany, after his three week coma as a result of a stroke. He died in March 2018 and the whole thing of nightmares started again like a never ending Twilight Zone.

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

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

 

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

 

But it didn’t stop there!!

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

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

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

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

Sorry what??!!

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

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

Me and another guy got up and left.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The leading Psychologist who looks over the program and the Therapists held an appointment with me after I refused to have an appointment with the Psychologist who dropped the bomb of videoing. But this “chief” Psychologist seemed to have been ticked off with me as I ruined his program to film sessions, because he started the appointment by saying he has only 30 minutes and seemed to rush. He offered me a choice of two programs, one would be a long waiting list again for a long-term therapy, but to cut the waiting time, I could volunteer in the nearby hospital! I thought he was joking! I emailed him later that I felt he was cross with me and now wants to push me to the side to do volunteer work in hospital where there would also be some doctors if I had a crisis and needed help!! I couldn’t believe it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A friend in Germany who is a family counselor once said to me that I should maybe just stop all this therapy search and find a new hobby!! I used to have hobbies and was very active, but nothing interests me anymore.

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

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

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

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Women and Emotional Labour

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Melvin Fingernails OLD

Link to my Tweet

 

21. December 2018 photo-shopped version:

Melvin Fingernails NEW

Link to Tweet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pret A Manger has underestimated the power of females.

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

 

 

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Death without Knowledge – Cremation without Consent

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


 

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

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

 

 

 

Greed is a Thief

 

it’s not what Emily said

 

She said grief is a thief

and she declared it tongueless

 

I say no to this

because it’s a refusal to love those

who went before us

a little bit too early

 

They just went

without our permission

and they stole away

quietly

 

Grief is no thief

it just buries you

 

Greed is a thief!

 

Dear Thieves Schlee & Co,

 

 


 

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

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

 

A Day in the Life of a Pret A Manger Worker

 

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

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile

 

Timothy Noah Quote Emotional Labor

 

LINK to Emotional Labour article

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

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

The magic word: Mystery Shoppers

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

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

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

 

2018-01-23 Outstanding Card

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

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

 

And here comes the long version.

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

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

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

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

Journalists getting used to harrassment

Link

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

One recent staff review:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

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

 

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

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

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018

 

Unpaid2017

Link 2017 NY

 

Unpaid2

Link 2015

 

Unpaid2014b

Link 2014

 

Unpaid2011

Link 2011 NY

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

 

Unpaid2014

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

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

 

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

 

25 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link

 

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

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

MS Cough

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

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

 

Pret Staff Tweets:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

Link

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

 

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

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

Link

 

A typical day in Pret

(underneath the slideshow)

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

 

A typical day in Pret

Main “Crunch” Times based on an average shop:
5AM
6AM
Between 8-10AM
Between 12 Noon-2PM
Afternoons until closing time.

I share these times from all the shops I worked at, with an average of 6 – 8 tills and a team of about 25 – 35 staff.

 

5AM start of shift. The first TMs come in and hopefully no-one called sick, as even ONE person missing puts incredible stress on the rest of the team because every team is tightly staffed.

Between 5-6AM there are around 6-8 TMs and later from 6 or 7AM onwards more people start coming in.

Kitchen TM starts preparation of slicing vegetables.

Shop TM, often the HFC but can also be the Barista, starts baking frozen croissants and baguettes. Every shop decides their own way who starts the shifts.

A Team Leader, can be KL or FL, should be starting first with Health & Safety checks, like taking the temperature of all cooling systems in case any fridge/freezer broke down over night warming the food which has to then be thrown away to avoid food poisoning. They also start checking the huge delivery of ingredients and products to make sure that nothing is missing, which then has to be re-claimed from the suppliers.

But reality in Pret is, because they like to staff very tightly, the first 3 – 6+ people from 5AM have 1 hour to get everything ready for 6AM opening time. It is extremely stressful to get everything done in time for opening, especially when the evening shift before left the shop in a bad state.

Many who are new make the mistake and start before 5AM UNPAID!! Because when they can’t finish in the unrealistically short time they’re given, the GM pushes them in pretense that they were not working well or fast enough. It’s psychology that happens in most Prets! But most of the Teams I’ve worked with are extremely hard working and work very fast, but are fooled and manipulated by managers who come in at 8 or 9 o’clock pressuring the Teams via the Team Leader or AM. And because the Team Leader wants to move up fast to escape this culture, they become bullies and only spare those that make friends with them.

Most shops have the HFC who starts all the baking and also preps the coffee machines, brings the milk out etc. Depending on how the evening Team left the shop, this often is a nightmare when the previous shift didn’t close properly, didn’t stock up etc.

At times this is due to lack of staff etc. But often it is simply due to laziness, where the evening Team Leader sits in the office all night, while the 2 people outside slave away without support! As a FL it was important to me to not do that, but to support my Team and we mostly finished in time leaving an immaculate shop for the morning Team. The next shift then had a clean and easier start. But many shops don’t care for the next shift, which in turn comes back to them when they take over from the morning team who retaliate to the evening Team… vicious circle and it adds to the stress that’s already there.

But I always changed that behaviour in every shop I worked in. This created a relaxed atmosphere where the teams started to work together instead of against each other, because they realized that this actually became much easier to work in support of each other instead of a cliquish environment.

 

6AM opening the doors

Again, if the Team had a good start and nothing went wrong, no delays etc. the shop can be open smoothly and customers can be served in a relaxed way.

 

Between 7:30-ish and 9-ish depending on the shop and which area they are in, the shop then becomes humongously busy with the coffee rush. But still there are only 2-3 TMs on the till if they are lucky and 1, maximum 2 Baristas. This forces the HFC to interrupt their hard, hot and sweaty work, to constantly having to jump in to “bust” the queues as the Teams have 1 minute to serve each customer which the MS probes them to the second!

A Mystery Shopper report excerpt (I added the blue writing and yellow marking):

07 15 seconds

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Where 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 quicly, 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?”
MS: “I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.”

And yet, the MS gave 4 out 5 points on each question as if 15 seconds wasn’t good enough. The point system is important mainly for managers. The more points the more bonus. So, even when the Team gets the bonus, but the points are not as high, GMs still stress and pressure the Teams because the manager’s quarterly bonus depends also on the point score. Managers are rewarded their bonus based on all the different results: profit, waste, labour, cleanliness etc.

But the Mystery Shopper reports and bonus system counts towards the largest chunk of managers’ bonuses! One GM was happy with his Team to cheat on everything, but the Mystery Shopper results. As a Team Leader new in his shop, he took me aside and said to me, “I close my eyes to everything, but not to the Mystery Shopper.” In other words, if I as a Team Leader failed to engage my Team and this resulted in poor MS results I’d get in big trouble. But on other things, even Health & Safety issues, he would have closed his eyes. … I’m not going to elaborate what my response was, but I communicated that he shouldn’t close his eyes to anything. I said that also because I was penalized for the smallest things in a previous shop. So, I made sure I covered all my basis and not let a greedy GM sabotage my job.

The MS being the biggest contributor of Managers’ bonuses creates even more stress because the Team get the message, “It is NEVER good enough what you achieve”. And I have countless example of how managers stressed us even when we got the bonus and even when someone got the OC. It’s never good enough unless it’s 100% perfect EVERY time. And even then, one slip, one mistake and all hell breaks loose!

This is the reason why so many customers complain on Twitter with half empty cups of cappuccinos, or a milky Americano where they asked for a black one. Because staff are so robotic, fast and on autopilot.

Only one of countless Tweets with photos like this:

2019-02-11 Stingy coffee

This is St. Pancras, one of the most busiest shops in Pret!

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover into Pret (after having read my blog I’m proud to say!!) and writes about a conversation she had with a Barista during coffee rush. Quote (I added the bold):

“Undercover reporter Amy Sharpe worked inside the scandal-hit chain and discovered a potentially fatal blunder with labelling and staff who are hugely over-stretched. …

I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags.

I shout orders to a barista while dashing to a beeping toastie machine to retrieve a baguette.

I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.

All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.

One barista tells me the cramped service area is a “nightmare”.

He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad. You’ve got to focus, stay calm.”

When the bonus is lost, the boss will give the Team or the individual a good telling off. At times directly and loud, other times subtle manipulation threatening with the job security.

I survived this during bereavement! There was no mercy!

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link by @terry_mcparlane Twitter of a typical cramped Barista working area.

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

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 of 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

 

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

Between 7 and 9AM or even later, the GM starts to come in. Depending on the GM, some come at 7AM, others at 9AM etc. Some sit in the office during intense stressful morning rush. Others help. But if they help, almost all GMs prefer to be at the coffee machines with their backs to the customers, as customer service is extremely stressful with the demand to SMILE CONSTANTLY … for the Mystery Shopper. This is the frustrating thing for the Teams, because the GM pressures staff to be perfect for bonus, while themselves “hiding” at the coffee machines!

When I was bereaved and wanted to get away from customer service as I could not afford to stay at home unpaid, having lost all my savings. I begged the GM at times when I couldn’t hold back the tears, to please let me work in the kitchen for a day because I was tearing up at times on the shop floor. But because I wasn’t used to the pace in the kitchen, the GM denied this. I stopped asking then. But at times I asked the GM or AM if I can please be at the coffee, as I was really fast at the coffee and wanted to get away from facing customers in tears. Again, it was denied because most GMs are selfish and always choose the easiest job, no matter how a TM or even I as a leader, was doing!

A rare observation and even rarer comment by a customer who noticed that the manager is always sitting in the office during busy times. Pret tasks the Mystery Shopper also to record if they see a manager on the shop floor and what the manager was doing. Pret leaves all this to the Mystery Shopper instead of having regular visits from the Operations Managers (OPs – area managers). OPs often themselves sit in the pub during busy lunch times, pretend to be busy and mostly communicate via email. I know this for a fact, I’ve seen it.

Customer observation:

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

 

Here I want to paint the picture and would ask the reader who is a regular customer in Pret to take a morning out of their work routine if they can, go to Pret, sit closest to the till area where they can observe BEHIND the counter all the TMs. Sit down and JUST WATCH for 30-60 minutes during the most busiest coffee rush. Just sit there, quiet and concentrate without any distraction or phone, reading… Just observe for a solid hour and then ask yourself HOW staff can smile, have eye contact and make polite conversation with EACH customer!

They can, but only because of the above mentioned cash incentive and fear management via the Mystery Shopper.

MS excerpts:

04 MS

Pret probing on the INDIVIDUAL Team Member:

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: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engage[d] and positive.”
(No concern if the TM was extremely busy and may have gone through person tragedy, depression etc.)

 

Pret probing on the WHOLE Team:

05 Attenditve to EACH customer

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole team in this shop during your visit.”
MS: The team members were focused on their jobs but were not welcoming customers. This could be improved by the team members smiling at customers when they entered the shop, and making friendly remark or small talk, where possible.”

 

ANY and ALL the Team are under CONSTANT observation and fear of being watched and rated! All the time. Every moment. Not only from the CCTV all over the shop and office, but managers, customers and Mystery Shoppers.

 

Yes, Pret states “reasonable time” and depending how busy it was etc. And the above MS contradicts themself by saying “where possible”. But the Teams are so conditioned and robotic, they always rush and the GMs stress them even during the quiet periods. If they can’t finish a task, they have to often stay longer unpaid. If they DO finish the task, they are criticized for not kissing the Mystery Shopper’s butt sweet enough when they enter the shop! It is always a lose-lose situation and NEVER good enough!!

And here is the perversion of Pret’s Emotional Labour abuse, and I call this perversion and abuse!!

Because this is what it is, PERVERSE, ABUSIVE, BULLYING and EXPLOITING!

Put yourself in their shoes.

A low-paid TM (£8.65 per hour in London) serves between 100 – 200+ customers before lunchtime going through the hellishly hectic coffee rush!

While they slave away like this, they have to smile, make eye contact, some conversation and go the “extra mile” give freebies etc. AND remember all the coffee order, hear the Barista call out the coffees that get constantly mixed up. They have to answer questions, especially on allergens, be polite to rude customers ETC! ………. and be like acrobatic clowns so that Clive Schlee CEO alone can pocket £30 million after JAB purchased Pret.

And customers remain fooled to think staff are so happy in this hellish environment forced to be like clowns because they have kids to feed!

AM ure Misery

Assistant Manager 2017 NY

Highlighting from above review:

“The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. … Everything is over priced and you are forced to act like a happy jack-ass or your pay is cut. You don’t get paid your full hourly rate if you don’t impress the “mystery shopper”. This place is what hell must be like.
Advice to Management: Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

It’s not the first time that an American reviewer angrily wants Pret to go back to the UK.

 

01 Go back to UK

Corporate NYC Review

 

I could add countless reviews like this also from YouTube, Twitter, FB and other sites, but to shorten this, the smile behind Pret is forced via Mystery Shopper’s bonus / cash incentives and fear management.

Anyone who falls for this facade that staff are so happy to work in Pret can remain lulled in if they want to.

I have to also say that staff truly love to give freebies and help customers, they really do. I did, my teams did etc. BUT becoming conditioned to this and then being bullied when personal tragedy hits you like it did me and many others, will add to mental health problems, even depression.

I was leaked an email recently which the Director of HR wrote to all the shops that two  staff members died within a month. I was told by the people who leaked the email to me that one was a suicide. They don’t know the circumstances of the other TM.

But I know of an AMK who died by suicide in 2017 and I may have learned about her turmoil before she died.

I almost went over the edge with what I’ve been through in Pret. If I would have gone through, my death would be the third suicide in Pret. And my suicide would certainly be related to Pret A Manger’s bullying environment. I explain in full in below interview.

So, dear reader, if you have an hour to spare in the weekday morning, go to your local, or even better, another Pret where they don’t know you, sit close to the counter where you have a good view of all TMs. And just observe WITHOUT being distracted. But observe in a subtle way as TMs will assume you are the Mystery Shopper if you “stare” at them. But then again, you may get a free coffee or even breakfast if the Team thinks you are the MS! 😀

If you read though all this, thank you for reading and caring! Please know, I never take people’s time lightly. I know I write a lot, it’s my passion. But I always appreciate people’s time with difficult subjects and when their perception is crushed. I always say, if something looks too good to be true, especially in profit-driven multi-billion pound business, please take a closer look.

 

The Clever Marketing of the Free Coffee give a way, and why Pret may not be doing a Loyalty Card Scheme: FREE Coffees in Pret A Manger.

 

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Staff Deaths?

 

NEW:
Clive Schlee’s “retirement” and the
Dangers of the Lack of Leadership“.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

itsu / Tesco Product Recall – Unlabelled

 

Supermarket chain Tesco is urging consumers to check their cupboards for a product they have to recall due to unlabelled ingredient from itsu.

Quick reminder:

“Itsu is a British chain of Asian-inspired fast food shops and restaurants, and a grocery company” – Wikipedia

Itsu was founded by Julian Metcalfe, who co-founded (or rather re-founded) Pret A Manger in 1986 after its first start in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman and soon closure before its new start in 1986. Clive Schlee, current CEO of Pret A Manger, partly owns itsu and has been friends with the Pret (re-)founders Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, which got him the CEO job in Pret 16 years ago.

Sinclair Beecham has been on the board of Directors of Pret until 2018 when JAB Holdings / Reimann purchased Pret and axed him, among other Directors including Director of HR Andrea Wareham and Pret U.S. President Jo Brett. Sinclair Beecham doesn’t have a Wiki page, but his name-link leads to Pret A Manger instead.

Tesco now has to recall a product they bought from itsu, which has not been correctly labelled.

Quote from Express.co.uk:

»The supermarket chain, Tesco, has had to issue an urgent recall warning after one product did not have the correct information listed on the label. Those who have recently been shopping in the supermarket are being asked to check their cupboards and urgently return the product if they have bought it. The recall has been issued after the packaging of an itsu (grocery) product failed to mention it contained prawns in the ingredient list. This could cause a serious risk for anyone with allergies and people are being asked not to eat the product.« – By Sarra Gray for Express.co.uk

The [Pret] Schlee labelling saga continues …

Also, issues of mislabelling, cross-contamination etc. are ongoing in Pret, especially where Vegetarians or Religious people eat Ham Croissants labelled as Veggie.

I explain in the article why this keeps happening: >>> Vegetarians Eat Ham.

 

2019-05-03 Ham instead of Veg croissant

 

And the reason why Clive Schlee leaves Pret with such poor results on Glassdoor & Co. and general staff complaints:
>>> “The Dangers of Non-Existent Leadership” and the anti-CEO Playbook.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

The Dangers of Non-Existent Leadership – #PretAManger

 

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them. But yet, the CEO’s pay goes up and up and up… and so many people are left behind. I’m here to tell you: No more! It’s not right! It’s never been right!«

Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani

 

I’ve posted Hamdi Ulukaya’s TED Talk from which I took above quote on the “Anti-CEO Playbook“, which is worth watching for anyone who is tired of today’s profit-over-people driven global business ventures. It CAN and MUST be done differently! I’ve also written many posts on Clive Schlee’s “leadership” in Pret A Manger, like for example the Timing of the £1000 Announcement to all staff on Twitter on 29. May 2018, which came after he and Pret became aware of my blog in the night from 28th to 29th May 2018. But I want to pull some things together into one post again as I feel people still don’t get it!

I used to be your typical good citizen (and I still am!), working hard, keeping my head down, loyal come rain come shine, doing things by the book with all my shortcomings and down falls as well. I was your average employee. No, I was more. I always gave 150%. But I equally was lulled in and brainwashed by this Pret PR machine and a smiley, approachable CEO. Until they crossed so many boundaries that I, in an utter traumatized state endured. It took me distance to understand what happened to me. For any new reader, my full story is in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

Apart from what I have survived in Pret and collected in other staff reviews, it is beyond me how easily society today remains lulled in, blinded in the acceptance of how business is done today. People are comfortable with a business EVEN after 2 customers died from their products, and a third nearly fatal reaction.

I should be stopping right here in this post, as the ultimate terrible thing that can happen to any business is customers dying from that business’ product or service! And in Pret TWO customers died. Yet, after the initial outrage, everyone goes back to business, and the chaos behind the scenes continues without any consequences for that company!

 

While I worked at Pret, and even before my brother died when all the nightmare began, I always wondered why in shop after shop the management is so poor with just very few exceptions. There is a bullying environment I looked over as everyone was treated bad, except those who kissed up to leadership for quick promotion. But I tried to ignore the environment and kept going. Yet, I always knew in my heart that the “fish stinks from its head” and if a company has poor management skills across the board, it comes from the top down.

Clive Schlee’s management style is very simple: It’s a “good cop, bad cop” approach. He’s the good cop who pretends to not realize what’s going on when staff complain about the bad cop managers in their shops. But all cops have one thing in mind: profit, profit, profit and squeeze the maximum “productivity” out of employees until there’s nothing left to squeeze. And when they’re dried up and burnt out, they are discarded like broken machines! Clive Schlee is one of those leaders who doesn’t like to hire and fire, he leaves that to the firing squat called the HR department, who in turn let the Operations Team do the firing.

man-320273__340

Responsibility is handed down through the ranks to the bottom. A typical cowardliness leadership style. It’s like the captain of a ship that jumps ship first when it sinks, instead of doing the courageous and principled thing that a true Captain is supposed to do. I distinguish these two “captains” by a capital letter. A true Captain gets passengers and crew off the ship first, starting with the most vulnerable, and then as the Captain, he leaves the ship at the very end when EVERYONE is off the boat!

But in Pret A Manger the typical “leadership” style is, that the captain, the top leadership saves their skin first and blames downward, or in the words of Hamdi Ulukaya again:

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them … and so many people are left behind.«

The most recent example of this is Pano Christou. With all the press regarding the allergen deaths and my blog being a sore in Clive Schlee’s sight, the announcement of his “retirement” (he’s 60!) was made AFTER I tweeted to the press on 01. July (I explain in detail here) and the press then contacting HQ for confirmation. Pano Christou becomes the new CEO in September. But since Clive Schlee leaves a legacy of poor staff reviews on Glassdoor & Co. what does he do? He does what he does best: he passes the buck downward and let’s Pano Christou already appear in mid July on Glassdoor.

A customer pointed out the poor Glassdoor scoring on 01. July 2019 when the retirement announcement was tweeted. So, Schlee must have arranged for Christou to take over on Glassdoor before the official September handover:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link to Tweet

 

Las Vegas

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Both percentages of Schlee and now Christou are from the mid July 2019 handover on Glassdoor. The £1000 “bribe” and marketing didn’t help cover over the reality of work in Pret.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

Again, instead of owning up he quickly passes the buck to the next in line. Pano Christou having come from McDonald’s management (one of the biggest exploitative companies) and started in Pret in management, he learned under Schlee.

And this is clever as well because Christou starting from zero, once he gets let’s say the first 10 votes and 7 out of the 10 are positive, he will be at 70% approval rate in no time, making it look like he’s the great CEO. New viewers, especially those from other countries who are completely new to Pret assume Pret has great senior management in place. But he will continue under the “CEO Playbook” that Hamdi Ulukaya adequately criticizes and works on to reform, having a McDonald’s background and having been longer in Pret than Clive Schlee. He will make no difference, but will continue under the same facade. And this is very typical Pret, tweaking, tricking, covering up instead of really caring. It’s just regular millionaires who only care to advance their wealth.

A quick reminder of what Pret staff experience and mainly voice in anonymity:

 

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Assistant Manager NY 2017

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

 

2014-12-26 NY

2014 New York

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be pause

 

+ More recent reviews:

 

The above slideshows are just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

A poignant truth someone wrote on a Twitter feed. Worth reading the whole feed:

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons.
Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.«

 – by @minmilyjung

Out of my own experience and my former colleagues’ complaints to me as their Team Leader, I was at least lucky enough to be in a position to stand up for them as their Leader, but my and their experiences topped with the way Pret dealt with the customer deaths, shows so frighteningly how reckless and dangerous this kind of “leadership” style is.

“Leadership”, that I can only put in quotation marks, that refuses to take responsibility, blames downwards, passes the buck to the next in line, and then has the audacity to remain as a non-executive Director in the background! I can only boil it down to narcissistic arrogance which shows when Clive Schlee, only thinking about himself, ignores a serious customer complaint on behalf of staff on Twitter!

Customer complaint on 29. June 2019 about hellish work conditions in a shop:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke. (A long list of customer complaints regarding overheated shops with broken air conditioning and the hellish work conditions staff are left in).

On 30. June 2019, Schlee’s response to a farewell regarding his retirement, but no official retirement announcement until I tweeted to the press on 01. July (after I tweeted this to the press I got shadow banned and then the press started “breaking” the news on Twitter). Clive Schlee’s response to Neil here came AFTER the above customer, Kirk tweeted TWICE to Schlee about broken air conditioning:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring TWO Tweets a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions! I’m sure he didn’t realize that he spilled the beans again unintentionally regarding his non-caring about the welfare of his hardworking employees!

 

In the U.S. it would hail a storm of lawsuits on Pret with one customer death being enough to sue the living daylights out of them! One customer already unsuccessfully sued Pret in New York in 2016 after having suffered an anaphylactic shock ALSO from an unlabelled Sesame product. He was devastated when he learned of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s anaphylactic shock, leading to her death from an unlabelled Sesame product ALSO in 2016! He fought in court, but lost.

This lawsuit wasn’t a hint enough for Pret to do the right thing labelling their products! And then even AFTER TWO customer deaths Pret STILL didn’t do the right thing UNTIL the deaths became public! Only THEN did SLOW change happen. I cover this and their inconsistency in “Pret’s Labelling Commitment?” with their appalling and infamous slogans.

“It’s what makes Pret, Pret”!!

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

HR department logo:

Right Thing Naturally

 

So, this is the UK, no lawsuits.

“Polite”.

Politically correct.

Sweet-talking.

Complacent, inefficient, indifferent and arbitrarily dangerous for people’s health and lives.

FoodAllergyNews

From AllergicLiving.com

And Pret is very quick to change the shop signage of their 350+ stores in the UK for Pride month, while not acting on allergen labelling on their products until customer deaths became public.

Pret Signage

@celestine__ on Twitter

Customer deaths don’t make people wake up, certainly staff complaints, staff deaths and suicides don’t wake people up. No lawsuits. No investigations. A society full of indifferent people that only cares for a free cookie. We all know that the opposite of care and love is not hate, but indifference.

I despair at this.

And perhaps it mainly takes CEOs who are also the founders of their companies to care enough to make a difference. Most CEOs these days are just “managers” who were given the rod to the flock, and thus they don’t have concerns for what they were entrusted with. They then open the door to the wolves of private equity. And the suffering gets out of control with the “managers” sneaking out the back door, when the “slaughter” gets too bloody and the managers are in danger of getting cut.

 

Times report

The Times article

 

But I want to end on a positive note, another hopeful, courageous and principled CEO, whose words are blunt but much needed, and like Hamdi Ulukaya, a Captain with a capital “C”:

»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

 

A list of blog entries I wrote regarding Clive Schlee: “Late Night Girl Articles

 

Riverford and Chobani scores June/July 2019 on Glassdoor

Riverford Chobani

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

what IF god was one of us?

 

what IF god was one of us?
what if he was so far away
that we had to make him up
to be close
yet closed up

up
up high

we call him a he
and not an it or she

why?

because we are used to a patriarchal system?
that gets away with
murder
rape
greed
cover-ups
political correctness…
whatever an “up” system
gets away with?

so white
and right
the snow flakes
don’t know where to fall?

when my brother died
most of my christian friends
were at a loss
they went gone
far far away

when I was bullied in Pret
some of my christian friends
victim-blamed me

yeah
you say
don’t rely on
nor trust in people
only trust in Jesus
he’s your friend
or judge
he smites you
or comforts you
only trust in God
(with a capital letter of course)

this god is very bipolar to me
you go to heaven
or you go to hell
nothing inbetween

ok
I’m in!

I had baths
with candle light
for mindfulness
and I wrote on my walls
to avoid writing emails

I went from charity
to charity
to church
to ministry
to government mental
health support
to work
to home
to the streets

and secular organizations just want your money
and spiritual places want your membership
and your money
and where’s my family
and where are my friends?
my family is almost gone
and my friends left long time ago

and what IF god was one of us?
and I don’t really care
god certainly isn’t me
but I’m here

— poetrasblok.com

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Why I Declined To Be One of “Them”

 

After all the things I’ve been through in Pret, and this past year writing about it, with the distance and having written it off my chest, I see in hindsight the effort to “make” me one of “them” after all the classic bullying tactics didn’t work. Initially they were nervous because they bullied me while I was going through the horror when I lost my brother! The effort was made to get rid of me early on, but when I kept raising the issue the effort became more subtle.

Pret had NOTHING on me in regards to my work, even though they tried with the usual primitive bullying tactics, which is a book in itself. I brought success to shop after shop raising the numbers and profit, restructuring teams to work more efficient, but with more ease than the strife I often found.

Pret succeeded for a while with the gaslighting via the Development Manager, who supposedly had a brother who died alone in his apartment like my brother did. For any new reader, my full story with Pret is at the bottom of this page in an interview in the audio player. But people from HQ got involved in my “case” incl. the now retiring CEO Clive Schlee and higher level of HR people dealing with grievances, so much so that the Head of HR said I “exhausted the HR department”. Well, that happens when HR hearings a “fundamentally flawed” as a Tribunal Judge called it. In my trauma I stumbled from grievance hearing to grievance hearing not realizing much they had a laugh.

I was a Team Leader of the shop floor, or also called Floor Leader (FL) running the shop, as there is a Kitchen Leader (KL) who’s responsible for running the kitchen. Of course there are Assistant Managers on the shop floor (AMF) and an Assistant Managers in the kitchen (AMK), but they often do what the General Managers (GMs) do, they hide in the office looking busy while the Team Leaders are actually doing the hard work, running the business.

Team Leaders are stuck in between the roles. They are not like Team Members who come in, do some work and go home. No, they have a lot of responsibility doing the ordering, waste management, making sure the Mystery Shopper results are perfect for the bonuses, they look after the Team, health and safety etc. They work harder than the managers who often hide away from the hard work under the pretense of office work all day. Team Leaders are overworked, underpaid and mainly blamed when things go wrong, while having hardly any training or backup. Many only survive when making friends with managers to not get penalized too much and rise the ranks quicker.

Sure they are paid a little more then the Team including Baristas and Hot Chefs, but the work they do, if they are good that is and not imitating managers sitting in the office loading it onto the Team, the work is horrendous and the pay is an offense for what they have to put in! The brainwash in Pret is that Pret pays more, but Team Leaders and the Team in general work double for it!

People get so exhausted, they have no strength nor sense to realize what’s happening to them. Drive workers to exhaustion so they can’t figure out 1. what’s happening to them and 2. how to stand up against it.

GMs and AMs reap the rewards of huge quarterly bonuses when the shop succeeds, they get allowances for business clothes and all the perks they receive and parties they go to. Team Leaders receive nothing extra UNLESS they work with a good manager, who rewards them when the shop succeeds in the top scores. But that is very rare and in my 10 years I have never received even as much as a thank you for what I have put in!

I always wondered why Team Leaders are put through such a grind, stuck in the hard work without rewards. I only have my speculation about this. I believe that the psychology behind this is that Pret wants to have a certain type of person at their top, people who literally live for the company. Many GMs on Glassdoor and Indeed complain that there is no work-life balance and that they put in so many extra unpaid hours to cover for the immense work load. Those are the Managers who work hard. Other managers just put their heads in the sand and load it over to the Team Leaders and Teams under the pretense of having to go to meetings!

And if a Team Leader would be rewarded, they may get comfortable in this role as they have just some responsibility compared to AMs and GMs, so the buck doesn’t stop with them. They are still blamed and gaslighted that when things go wrong the Managers try to convince the Team Leader that it’s their fault, so Team Leader pay the price.

When Team Leaders grow through the ranks to become Managers, they show that they are happy with whatever happens beyond that level. They have to compromise, cut corners and now have the opportunity to load it over to the Team Leaders who are willing to do the dirty work to escape the Team Leader existence and become a Manager.

Managers keep their hands clean, putting the dirty work unto Team Leaders … sounds like an old scheme the Mafia had figured out long ago.

And yet even AMs and GMs, if they are not like the next level of management, the Operations Managers (OPs = Area Managers) they bite the dust as well. The OPs level is when the real money and benefits flow. Once you are on OPs level, you are more safe than on shop level.

I often heard in this politically correct world that we shouldn’t speak in terms of “us” and “them”. No, I disagree now. I speak on those terms. Because “us” are low-wage workers, who when we lose our job are in danger to lose our apartments, our families, the floor underneath us.

Sheriff

Sheriff Bajo, former Pret Assistant Manager and father of a young child was unfairly dismissed and ended up sleeping in his car.

And “them”, when “they” lose their job, they will find another one quickly and retrieve to one of their million dollar mansions in any of their chosen countries wherever their mansions are.

I stumbled across a lady on social media recently whose comment I found and put on my blog. She left a comment on a blog in 2011 after her husband, a GM, was fired as he tried to stand up against a bullying OPs manager. The lady told me the full story which I won’t repeat here, but it put the point across that on a shop level, even as a Manager, if you don’t play the game well and make those friends, not joining “them” up there, you have no chance.

Her two comments on a blogspot site where her husdband just started in Pret having run into problems with his boss, and then 4 months later he was fired:

GM fired

Link (clicking “ok” to get rid of the grey cookie note)

Review sites are full of complaints of discrimination and favouritism, especially in U.S. Prets.

Her last sentence I used to shun back a little for its bluntness, but after what Pret has put me through, I do understand those words in the light of how calloused they act:
“The management of this company are pure evil.”

We always say when a politician messes up with extra marital affairs and drug taking etc. that we need to separate the professional with the private person. But how can we do that? I now think that when a CEO of a company can do and allow to be done to me what Pret did to me under his leadership, that they did that in a professional setting, work related etc. And yet, so many personal issues were involved.

And if a person is willing to hurt people on a professional level and being a bad professional, they are indeed a bad person, regardless if they are good fathers and friends. If as a professional you go out of YOUR way to hurt people, you ARE a bad person! Period!

Clive Schlee is going into early “retirement” now. Well, let’s guess what his leaving really is about after two customers died and him not acting on it until it became public. And all the staff complaints on websites that I have posted and confront Pret on Twitter. Pano Christou is replaced as the new CEO already on Glassdoor even while the announcement was that Schlee retires in September. This is probably to avoid more embarrassment for the Glassdoor scoring that Schlee leaves the company with.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

On 14. July Schlee was still on Glassdoor. On the 15th Chrsitou replaced him.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

After my blog entry on Schlee’s exit they are working hard now to get those percentages up again!

Why did I decline to be one of “them”, apart from being “of the many not the few”? People say a lot of things about me, some say I’m a lunatic, insane, traumatized, crazy, blunt … but no one will say that I am greedy, loading it over to lower positions, or evil.

I bit into the bait of the Development Manager from HQ supposedly having had a brother who died like mine and wasn’t discovered for days in his apartment. But I never did and never will bite into the bait of being one of the few at the top, because that bait is tasteless to me.

 

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

 

#MentalHealth #FirstWorldProblem & other issues

 

I’ve had one of my “flip-outs” again after a long time of improvement. I’ve hurt some people on Twitter and don’t expect my apology to be taken serious. It’s a circle of trauma, anxiety, anger, and when mixed with alcohol it’s explosive in words.

I really am sorry, but I understand for it to not be taken serious!

I fought on my own, it seems, for so long now since my brother died. And yes, I’ve had support in whatever capacity people can help. And I had plenty a back stabbing. My odyssey through the UK NHS mental health system will be a book in itself. I have been sent away two times from hospital while seeking help, and only people with mental health issues in the UK will understand the challenge to find help. I’m not “fighting” for my own sanity anymore, and maybe shouldn’t fight for others so much. I am waiting for someone to take the “baton” and not rely on my public writing so much. There are groups out there that could do something, but their priorities are in other places.

When you present information like on a silver platter, people seem to rely on you or they fight their own battles. I have to be honest without sounding too gloomy, I have no confidence that there will ever be any investigation into staff deaths in Pret A Manger. Low-wage workers are not worth the effort in this society. And they themselves are too conditioned in fear management to stand up for themselves. They have kids to feed and often left their home country to find a better life. But they find themselves being exploited by millionaires, who smile to the front and ruin lives behind the scenes. And those who do stand up, do so loudly, fight for a while, and then retrieve.

And then there are the silent readers in the background who will take the credit one day, collecting material for their own gain. It’s a selfish society. Prove me wrong if I’m too pessimistic.

People complain to Pret on Twitter about their coffee not having enough milk, or plastic forks stored behind the counter having to ask for it. Then they complain why the plastic cutlery and straws are within reach of customers in this environmental crisis. Others can’t handle that a popular cookie is off sale … and a lot of these complaints have one thing in common, they call this #FirstWorldProblems.

But most people don’t care to know that one #FirstWorldProblem among other issues is exploitation of low-wage employees. And at the same time, customers who spend over £1500+ a year on coffee and snacks, are lulled in to believe this company is an ethical and caring employer. Humans have always been easily bribed with cheap products, as long as it’s occasionally free. Free things make people feel special, not realizing how easily they fall for the cheap marketing and aim too low. And then the company raise prices as someone needs to pay for all the freebies.

Customers are equally exploited. They are treated nice, especially on social media, for their continued custom. Yet, when even customers die due to the neglect and plain complacency of the company, even they don’t get justice.

Years ago a clever feisty man invoiced Pret A Manger and EAT (which is now purchased by JAB via Pret) for time spent waiting in shops. He posted the invoices and email correspondence on his website. He successfully charged Pret, EAT and other companies almost triple of what a sandwich maker earns per hour. He received compensation in cash and vouchers for waiting in shops: “He charged them £25.50 an hour.” And it seems that Pret, EAT & Co. went along for the ride. These millionaires must have had a laugh, throwing around with pennies that low-wage workers slaved for.

2009 Man Invoices Pret

From Telegraph.co.uk article 2009

I’m sure this stint won’t succeed now, but it would be worth a try. If all the customers, that post #FirstWorldProblems of missing cookies and cold coffees, would actually send invoices to Pret & Co. combined as a group, it may be interesting to see how Pret would deal with it now in 2019.

And it’s futile to think that customers, staff, Unions and the press would combined demand answers on why customer deaths where not acted on until it became public, and why staff deaths, especially suicides, are not investigated.

What IS a first world problem? Anything that is supposed to be of less suffering than people dying in other crisis-ridden places?

People die here, too.

Customers from unlabelled products.

Staff by suicide.

Systemic workplace bullying under a toxic HR department and CEO in their profit-driven “leadership” style.

Excruciating work conditions for prolonged times in 40°C heat!

As long as we keep distinguishing between worlds we won’t care for our immediate neighbour!

We will only stand up if we ourselves or our loved ones are affected, and at times if we FEEL first hand what others go through. Other than that we keep separating worlds and peoples, and occasionally give some spare change into far away places, while closing our eyes to the issues right in front of us. Only hindsight will teach us again, often when it’s too late.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Pret A Manger Overheated Shops / Work Condition – July 2019

 

Before I get into the detail of the ongoing issues of broken and inadequate Air Conditioning in Pret A Manger shops for YEARS and Pret not caring about it, I want to paint a picture from the perspective of staff.

I briefly explain below that staff have cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. They can earn up to an extra £100 individually ON TOP of their wages AND team bonus, if the Mystery Shopper is extra impressed with the individual Team Member’s service. If any staff member loses the bonus for the whole team because their service isn’t with a smile or whatever else the Mystery Shopper (I call them Misery Shopper) isn’t happy with, that Team Member and the Team get fear managed, because the MS bonus scheme counts towards the biggest chunk of Manager’s and upper Management bonuses.

One of many Mystery Shopper report excerpts:
Staff have to serve customers within 1 min of a person joining the queue and serve the coffee/drink within 1 minute of the customer having made the payment. Staff have to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. THAT is why they are still on this robotic autopilot even in 40ºC+ heat. I know, I’ve work in these conditions, brain-washed, fear managed, even during bereavement!

Mystery Shopper excerpt: (Click Ctrl and + to enlarge)

04 MS

 

What customers experience as heat and 35-40ºC, for staff behind the counter it’s 45-50ºC!

Dear customer, imagine yourself BEHIND the counter for an 8-10 hour shift every day! Look at this picture from brummie_photography on Instagram from a Birmingham shop. This shop at least is very airy, looks like a station or airports are like this. But most Prets have low ceiling, cramped areas, no air-flow. If the air conditioning then is broken or inadequate, it’s literally HELL in there!

I count about 11-12 Team Members (TMs) behind the counter (and worked like this myself). Now, imagine a low ceiling on the team like it is in most shops, and box them in:

Pret Sardines

brummie_photography on Instagram

 

Behind that counter of about 10 Sq Meters space there are:

  • In the shop the fridges (called Langars in Pret) blow out hot air from the back
  • Behind the counter and behind Team Members 2 – 3 coffee machines with heat and hot water/coffee
  • To the left or right or behind TMs 1 – 2 hot toastie machines
  • In most shops 1 – 2 hot ovens that are at the counter area (not like here in an extra room)
  • In front of TMs are the black hot croissant plates under the glass counter (I often switched it off in the summer!)
  • From above beaming bright lights on the low ceiling burning on their heads. Years ago staff members even had to wear caps no matter how hot. In Pret USA shops they still wear caps!
  • Large windows without any marquee for sun protection
  • Open doors so that shops don’t look closed from the outside when people walk by. This has been changed recently after environmentalists increasingly raised the issues regarding waste of energy. Unfortunately the same environmentalists don’t seem to bother about the staff burning in the heat! So, now for the most part Pret keeps the doors closed.
  • And from ALL AROUND hot body heat from colleagues who stand next to each other like sardines in a can! I felt my colleagues’ body heat left and right! Bad breath, sweaty smelly air, not allowed to drink water behind the counter or shop floor during work or use mints/peppermint gum!
  • And in many shops TMs are NOT allowed to drink water behind the counter for *irony on* “health and safety reasons” *irony off*. And are not allowed to go to the staff room to drink during the coffee and lunch time rush! I always broke that rule and went against manager’s instructions and let my team drink WATER!!

What for customers is excruciating in a few minutes, these low-paid workers endure ALL DAY every day. One TM in 2011 when I worked in one terrible shop like this, got pneumonia as she was going in and out of the walk-in fridge switching temperature between under 5 degree Celsius in the fridge and 35 – 40 degrees in the shop and kitchen.

Not to mention that the shop fridges (called Langars) are often dripping with water in the heat and are warm with food and drinks stored in them. I had to throw out many times £100s worth of food and drink after having taken temperatures of food and juices, much to the dismay of my bosses! But I didn’t care about the money. As a Team Leader, Health & Safety was not only part of my job description, it was my top priority! I didn’t even eat my free meal allowances in Pret during my breaks when the food was warm! Why would I subject paying customers to that, getting them food poisoning!!

My complaining and raising the issue never got me far in a Pret career, and neither did I care!

With most shops having low ceiling, loud music, rude customers, the 1 minute Mystery Shopper rule, a stressed and often bullying manager or team leader… Welcome to the REALITY of Pret A Manger!

Annihilate Humanity 41

>>> Anonymous Staff review on Indeed

 

Apart from the hellish work conditions for staff, this also affects the food. A customer complained regarding food poisoning from a New York Pret and noticed that the shop was warm:

 

2019-06-25 AC warm wrap

June 2019 NY

 


 

Customer Complaints on Twitter

(those who bother complaining, the problem is much bigger)

 

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St1

Link 25. July 2018

 

I link to a blog entry at the bottom on WHY staff smile ALL THE TIME come rain come shine!

I worked twice in shops with 40 degrees heat for weeks and months raising the issue. I was told if I speak to HQ my career is over. The manager who told me this and didn’t know how to make this issue urgent left Pret soon after. But we begged customers to speak to Pret on our behalf.

Below is a list of only a few customer Tweets, not everyone comments publicly. But this problem with inadequate little air cons in every Pret shop persists. Staff are surrounded by hot machines, body heat, beaming lights from above, ovens, toastie machines, hot plates where the croissants are on, large windows where the sun beams in … And the staff are still expected to do Emotional Labour, smile and pretend to be cheery so they don’t lose the Mystery Shopper bonus when they visit once a week.

I was often very disheartened that the weekly Mystery Shopper didn’t even mention the heat.

I worked at Pret for 10 years and this is an endless problem Pret knows about, but doesn’t fix unless customers go online, or staff persist. Staff became sick, one even with pneumonia because of the morning delivery check going inside the walk-in fridge back and forth between 30 degrees heat and then 3-5 degrees cold. That’s when I drew the line and asked for a transferal, not realizing many shops have this issue.

My traumatic story with Pret in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

I will say it loud and clear again to any new reader who does not know my and other staff story and blog: Pret A Manger does NOT care for their low-paid workers! They do NOT care!!!

Please take the time and really listen and look! Pret has been very successful with presenting an image of an “ethical” company! But having ignored customer warnings on allergen labels EVEN after two customers died, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public is lulled in again and want to believe the Pret fairy tale.

And Pret responds often with “oh dear” … “oh gosh” … “oh no” … “we are concerned to hear this” … bullshit, fooling the public as if this was a one-off. I really appreciate the anger and concern customers show for staff who suffer in this hell, while the millionaire senior leaders and Twitter staff sit in air-conditioned Head Office! Thank you for speaking up on behalf of low-paid workers!

3 of the most recent customer Tweets from days ago on the air conditioning problems in Pret. I didn’t go further beyond 2016, and even found one from 2013 … But this is forever going on!

2019-06-30 AC

1st Tweet — & — 2nd Tweet where Clive Schlee took a day to even respond, while on the day of the complaint he responded to another Tweet of someone wishing him farewell for his retirement (before the press got wind of it when I tweeted the press)! But the CEO was not concerned about the AC issue, even after 2 customer tweets!

Second customer Tweet 03. July, and Pret has NOT responded yet (06. July)!

2019-07-03 AC

Link

Third customer 05. July, and again NO response from Pret at the time of me writing this blog entry:

2019-07-05 AC

05. July 2019

 

UPDATE 25. July 2019

2019-07-25 No AC Bicester

Bicester still having issues as expected and Pret keeps sweet-talking
1st Tweet — and  — 2nd Tweet

 

Dan Brown raised this issue 3 weeks ago. 05th July Tweet (also screenshot above).

 

Also 25. July 2015, Great Eastern Street:

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

Link to Tweet and Pret sweet-talking again

 

23. July 2019 London Bridge again

2019-07-23 No AC

1st Tweet2nd Tweet3rd Tweet

 

 

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

 

 

2019-06-19 AC Bath Southgate

19. June 2019 Bath

 

2019-07-17 AC air con USA

UPDATE: 17. July 2018 NY, USA

 

2018-06-19 AC 240 Hi Holb

19. June 2018

 

2018-07-07 AC Hammersmith2

07. July 2018 Hammersmith

 

2018-07-23 AC Luton

23. July 2018 Luton – No answer from Pret

 

2018-07-23 AC Queen St

Also 23. July 2018 Queen St.

 

2018-07-24 AC Strand

24. July 2018 Strand

 

This Tweet is from the first Tweet above from the 25. July 2018. Two more from the 25th underneath:

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St2

 

2018-07-25 AC Queen St

25. July 2018 Queen St again

 

2018-07-25 AC Whitehall

25. July 2018 Whitehall. Pret here lets Teams have extra break instead of putting on the BRAKES to stop the work in these hellish conditions!

 

2018-07-26 AC Euston

26. July 2018 Euston. Pret slimey and patronizing response they always do when someone with an official Twitter account tweets: “Oh they’re all stars aren’t they?”

 

2018-07-26 AC More London

26. July 2018 again More London

 

2018-07-27 AC Milton Keynes

27. July 2018 Milton Keynes

 

This customer’s concern is brilliant.
I want to post the whole feed as she does not let go!
Well done and thank you @kerriewils!

 

2018-08-07 AC01 Victoria St 95

07. Aug. 2018 Pret’s “oh no” BS …

 

2018-08-07 AC02 Victoria St 95

 

DON’T be disappointed, this is NORMAL in Pret!!!

 

2018-08-07 AC03 to 07 Victoria St 95

 

2018-08-07 AC08 Victoria St 95

Thank You!!!

 

2019-08-10 AC South Ken

10. Aug. 2018 South Ken. This is August, and the Pret Twitter staff is taking the mick!

 

2017-12-10 AC Kings Cross

10. Dec. 2017 Someone registered a Twitter account especially to raise this issue. Cold in winter, hot in summer.

 

2017-08-06 AC Tower Hill

06. Aug. 2017 Tower Hill

 

2017-06-01 AC Westfield

01. June 2017 Westfield – Since AGES

I love this follow-up Tweet, and yet it’s very sad that Pret only listens to customers and let staff boil in hell! I can say again to any reader, please believe me when I say that Pret does NOT care for staff except when it is for PR or when they get caught!

2017-06-01 AC Westfield2

 

2016-09-13 AC Adwych Strand

13. Sep. 2016 Adwych / 182 Strand. This is one of the two shops I worked in where the AC was broken for MONTHS. That was in 2011!!!

 

2013 AC slower work

2013 And the staff still working FAST as Pret demand the 1 minute time of service via the Mystery Shopper!

… and so on …

These days Pret keeps the doors closed, but ONLY because of the Extinction Rebellion revolution. Pret only goes with pressure from the masses and what is “trend”. If staff suffer in the heat, doesn’t matter to them. The reason why Pret usually like the doors open, winter and summer is so that the shops don’t look closed from the outside, meaning customers walk by oblivious that it’s open. And it’s true, I walked by shops that seemed to be closed, because the door was closed and it looked darker inside. So, to avoid losing money, Pret likes to keep the door open, except lately since the waste of energy and environmental activists being on Pret’s case. But concerned for staff? Don’t believe a bit of it!

So, thank you to all customers and maybe next time, start a mass petition for Pret to act FAST!! Because this is an ongoing issue and Pret has the public fooled and staff feel stuck, because they are not paid sick days the first two days!

Employees remain professional because they have to in case the Mystery Shopper comes and all the Team loses the bonus. I write about this in “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” and “The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and why staff really keep smiling even during the most excruciating heat and work conditions.

Staff speak out, even if only anonymous on review websites (below).

Target1

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

 

Link: >>> Two Pret Staff have DIED recently
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
I survived. If I would have gone over the edge, to my current knowledge, mine would be #3 and it would be in connection to Pret!

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

A Gag Order on Grief

 

I listened to a podcast on grief and how in this society death, dying and grief are taboo and people suffer in silence. In my own term I find that grief is silenced to death! It’s a blunt yet gentle podcast called Grief Out Loud.

In this particular episode “Inviting Grief Out Of The Whisper Corner – Megan Devine” the interviewee mentions that there’s such a “gag order on grief” in this culture, which I found a perfect description on how this society deals with grief and grieving people.

Full eposiode:

 

Another “loud” group, The Good Grief Project, was started by grieving couple Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds, who lost their 22 year old son Josh in a road accident on his trip in Vietnam. They interviewed other grieving parents and in making documentaries toured UK cinemas last year. In a London cinema they had a Q&A they do at the end of the screening, and Jimmy Edmonds said something striking after an audience member mentioned their struggle with loneliness in their grieving process. Jimmy said that in Victorian times it was common and completely normal to talk about death, dying and grief, but it was taboo to talk about sex, and how today it is the complete opposite.

I personally am tired of being swamped with sex images, sex talk, sex this, sex that… and THE inevitable that WILL come to ALL of us, Death, dying and grief is avoided like the pest! And when a loss finally hits us, we hang on a string fighting for life itself as we can’t cope with the onslaught of grief and shock! We were never taught about death and grief being PART of LIFE! We avoided it, we silence it to death, we treat it as if it is an evil to be shunned!

My own grief was very loud from the get go because of how my brother’s death was communicated, was unclear and was handled! Within weeks and after his funeral, flying back and forth, running errands, taking care of family, but still forced to work, I very quickly went to my doctor. I ask for help early on with referral to counseling, as I knew immediately this was too much to handle on my own or just with friends. It was too big for friends as well of course who soon withdrew. I had to hold it up for my family, remained strong until I broke. And we all went lost, each in our journey. And as I acquainted myself to loss and shock after shock, I buried my dad 3 years after my brother.

What I went through at work in Pret A Manger, I write about extensively on this blog and don’t want to go into, except to say for any new reader that I was bullied during bereavement, which I speak about in detail in the audio player at the bottom of this page and all over my website. But I don’t want to get into this too much in this blog entry here, and want to concentrate on the “gag order on grief” that Megan Devine so poignantly describes.

With everything that unfolded with my brother’s death and the added nightmare at work, my grief was 95% pure anger! I went into a mix of autopilot, functioning like a machine I was conditioned in for so long, the anger turned inward as I felt a huge burden of guilt to have let my brother down. And yet I was crying out for help in all the places from mental health institutions, friends, work, online bereavement groups … everywhere I went I mostly met a brick wall of silence or helplessness, and being passed on to another organization. The online bereavement groups frustrated me because all of them were widows who, many of them lost their partners 10, 20 years ago. But here I was having learned about my brother’s death weeks before and had to listen to widow’s experiences. With all the added stress at work, I went on an emailing-spree like a mad-man goes on a shooting-spree. No-one’s fault.

All the complications that grief and loss brings I went into head first, full force! I was like a headless chicken running around trying to make sense of what happened and all the added turmoil at work. A Twilight Zone opened up, like I was dropped in a land full of aliens and stumbled through a mental war zone, trying to figure out who my ally was. “Enemies” popped up at work. And in a fog I tried to navigate through a mine field where my presence became an inconvenience for my superiors. There was no friendly fire, no accidental shot, there was real ambush and the fight for survival in a toxic work environment.

Workplace bullying is already a hostile attack on ones dignity, but going through this during grief, I can only say that in the beginning ignorance was bliss! As I was in shock and turmoil, and even though I felt early on I was targeted, I kept going while mixing it up, blaming my turmoil on my grief.

My friends became overwhelmed and I don’t blame them. I worked in Pret surrounded by food with daily free food allowance, but lost 25kg in the first 6 months of bereavement. I was overweight but lost 35 – 40kg within a year, as I couldn’t eat and only forced myself half a baguette or one banana a day. I stood on my feet for 6 – 10 hours a day and went for walks hours after work. I couldn’t stop walking, like I was looking for my brother or trying to escape the mine field. I don’t know how I survived, but I felt “intoxicated” with adrenaline to get to the bottom of what happened and punished myself with questions of why I let my brother down!

Friends were at a loss, and all I always tried to say to people: You can’t and shan’t fix things! But please also don’t be scarce! You don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, so let’s do the unknown together… But neither of us could.

It’s just in other words how Megan Devine in above episode says:

»I feel like I’m more able to have no answers for things than I used to be. I like to believe that I’ve always been pretty good at holding space for whatever is going on for somebody, both as a friend and [professionally]. What’s different in my own grief [and others’] is, I’m okay to have no response at all other than my presence.«

In their own helplessness some blamed me, and I had to come up with my own empathy for my friends and understanding for a multi-million pound company! One thought always came to mind early on, when I tried to function as if nothing happened, I always thought in my utter loss and shock, “If in grief, comfort your friends”. But I still don’t know how to do that.

Death will come to all of us. Grief already has. And everyone grieves differently and in different times, length and depth, but whatever everyone’s coping mechanism or culture may be, grief cannot be silenced and my survival is to be loud.

 

»Unquiet Grief«

The wind does blow
today my bro

A few small drops
of rain

I’ll never have
such a brother again

In a cold grave
his ashes remain

I’d do as much
for my true blood
as any sibling may

I’ll sit and mourn
all at his thought
Forever and a day

The months and all these days
‘been rough
the dead began
to speak

Oh, who sits weeping
at the thought of me
and will not
let me sleep

It’s me my brother
who weeps at your fate
and will not let you sleep

I crave one hint
of what occurred to you
and that is all I seek

You crave one hint
of what occurred to me
the truth may be
hefty strong

If you’ve one hint from my
cold grave, sis
your time may not
be long

I ponder and wander to the
past so green
and go where we used to play

The finest mem’ry
that has ever been
is broken down to clay

My live has turned to dust
my kin
so will our hearts decay

So make yourself
content, little sis
till God calls you away

— poetrasblok.com

 

In memory of my big brother Thomas

Text: “Unquiet Grave” originated in the 1400s
Adapted “Unquiet Grief”: poetrasblok.com
Music: Kris Drever / LAU

 


 

Interview:

©2019 poetrasblok.com

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.

Once Upon A Long Time Ago

 

Further in the Past

(from: Noch früher mal – Felix Meyer)

The gate opens, it shines, it sparkles and
A man dressed in white appears – they say he’s innocent
A corpulent blonde angel stretches out its hand in peace
And some noise abounds, but in their own sphere

Yes, it betrays itself into its deepest dreams
And can’t accept its own outward love
It despairs again in its own grief
And can’t believe to ever succeed

In the land where sunflowers shine
And old weeping willows weep
Stories are told of forget-me-nots
If they really existed long time ago

And if his fate was known by someone
But all this may never come to light
Never come to light

She says her life is like a box of chocolates:
Not unwrapped yet, but already devoured
They claim that the box is still filled
But once it’s your turn, it’s already empty

Whenever it fits, she likes to compare eyeballs to light-bulbs
Olympia is a friend she always wanted to have
To tell her what her father and TV always say,
That all that counts is love

When sunflowers shine
And weeping willows quietly weep
Then it’s summer and we forget easily
That someone’s standing next to us
Who realizes that nothing’s working anymore
And nothing comes to light at the end of the day

If someone really lived here long time ago
And if his fate found empathy
We can only speculate, but no-one knows for sure
No-one knows

– Translation of “Noch früher mal” from Felix Meyer by poetrasblok.com

 

Noch früher mal

Das Tor geht auf, es glänzt, es blinkt und es erscheinen
Ein Herr in Weiß – es heißt, dass er unschuldig sei
Ein dicker blonder Engel, der freundlich die Hand reicht
Und ein paar Fanfaren, doch die sind fast schon einerlei

Ja sie belügt sich gern bis tief in ihre Träume
Und kann dann selber nicht mal glauben, wenn sie liebt
Verzweifelt regelmäßig an ihrer Verzweiflung
Und kann’s nicht fassen, wenn’s was zu gewinnen gibt

In dem Land, wo Sonnenblumen scheinen
Und alte Trauerweiden weinen
Erzählt man die Geschichte vom Vergissmeinnicht
Ob es wirklich früher mal gelebt hat
Und ob sein Leid jemandem Leid tat
Das alles kommt wohl heut bestimmt nicht mehr ans Licht
Nicht mehr ans Licht

Sie sagt, ihr Leben sei genau wie die Pralinen:
Kaum offen, machen sich die Alten drüber her
Behaupten schmatzend, dass das immer noch halb voll sei
Doch wenn man endlich dran kommt, ist die Schachtel leer

Wenn’s passt, vergleicht sie gern Augäpfel mit Glühbirnen
Dann ist Olympia die Freundin, die ihr fehlt
Um ihr zu sagen, dass es Quatsch ist, wenn ihr Vater
Und auch das Fernsehen sagt, dass nur die Liebe zählt

Wenn bei uns Sonnenblumen scheinen
Und Trauerweiden leise weinen
Dann ist es Sommer und dabei vergisst man schlicht
Dass neben einem oft mal jemand steht
Der merkt, dass so nichts weitergeht
Und trotzdem kommt am Ende nichts ans Licht

Ob hier wirklich noch früher mal wer gelebt hat
Und ob sein Leid jemandem Leid tat
Kann man sich denken, aber wissen tut man’s nicht
Wissen tut man es nicht

– Felix Meyer

 

Pret A Manger’s NEW “Bang Bang Rip-Off Wrap”

 

A very light airy wrap with lots of room for imagination…

Get the popcorn out, put the kettle on… this will take a while!

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For a full visual list: Pret A Manger Misleading Packaging and the Class Action vs Pret for Deceptive Packaging settled in New York February 2019 and a Tweet to a customer that Pret deleted after seeing my blog entry on the misleading packaging issue.

UPDATE: August 2019

New complaints keep coming that are not featured in above slideshow. And keeo in mind, not everyone complains on Twitter about it or makes photos:

2019-08-06 Air Wrap

06. August 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-29 Air Wrap USA

29. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-26 Air Wrap

26. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-24 Air Wrap

24. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-10 Air Flat Wrap

10. July 2019

 

to be continued unfortunately …

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

To Current & Former Pret A Manger Employees

 

I have been speaking out, writing, literally “screaming” out my and other people’s story since last year. I received mails from current and former Pret staff who vented their frustration about Pret. I don’t want to get into detail on those contacts as not to identify them with their story.

I’ve had and have current and former Pret people follow me on my different social media accounts. In my drunken stupor at times I kicked some out again as I got frustrated with their silence while sitting their on my following. It’s a traumatic thing I do since everything that happened, and I am not ashamed to talk about it! If you have not experienced extreme trauma in whatever way, than I hope you never will. But I also hope that you don’t judge people who do irrational things after going through hell.

I want to thank anyone who followed my account and still is following me, some even un-followed and months later followed again. I understand that my story is complex, my writing at times angry and it may be confusing and even scary for some to read. But I am not after followers and I immediately block companies or wanna-be celebrities that fish for followers. I do not care whatsoever about followers. I care about people speaking out!

Two things I always advise when I’m being contacted:

  1. Write an anonymous review on Glassdoor, Indeed, YouTube, Twitter & Co.
  2. Join a union!

All the other things like raising grievances and a Tribunal claim are already nerve-wrecking as it is, and only with strong back-up like a union you can make it. Alone against a toxic HR department, you’re more likely to hit your case against a brick wall and are like a sheep up for slaughter! Take it from me, I’ve been through 10 Pret hearings with 20 people (HR & OPs), and have been taken on a roller-coaster ride that I still will write about in-depth!

You cannot struggle alone, and you are welcome to keep following my Social Media. But other than that nothing will change, because you remain silent.

Some have ranted to me via mail while still in Pret, that when they find another job they will speak out publicly against Pret. Then they found another job, got their lives back and said that they now want to move on and leave it all behind.

And nothing changes.

Yes, everyone can move on, have a nice life and leave it all behind, it’s everyone’s choice. At best I feel like a “John the Baptist” type who calls out in the wilderness alone, eats locusts and wears funny clothes… until whoever with a greater voice comes along and speaks out.

But the only “greater” voice that changes things is a collective voice, as we all see with the Extinction Rebellion, #metoo, #BlackLivesMatter and many other voices, as well as a recent inspiration and advocate for voices to speak out and be heard, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina from Michigan, who gave hundreds of sexual abuse survivors a voice in court … to just name a few!

Systemic #WorkplaceBullying victims and survivors need a voice and need to speak out.

So, at best I feel like John the Baptist, and at worst I feel like a Gladiator and am surrounded by onlookers who cheer me on, or onlookers who silently watch! But no-one speaks out or joins the “fight”.

There are many anti-bullying movements out there, but those I encountered are cliqued in their own cluster, and some even support big workplace bullies like Amazon. This cannot have been it! Other anti-bullying projects are often by people who seem to work alone, and maybe that is the “fate” many of us feel, like I do, where I have been bullied by powerful professionals, under HR and the CEO of the company that have even sent someone higher up to gaslight me! My full story in an interview in the audio player at the bottom of this page.

I have also since I left Pret received questionable mails, and one former colleague who also was a team leader I loved to work with even called after three years not having heard from him! Shortly after the missed call from him he sent a Whatsapp text just saying “hi”. I didn’t recognize his number from the missed call, as I deleted his number three years ago after I applied for my employee file and read his lies. He was siding with the line manager who openly bullied me in 2015, the first year of my traumatic loss and when the bullying really started.

In the Whatsapp text I recognized his avatar photo and immediately texted my reply for him to go back to Pret and whoever sent him, and never contact me again! He replied nervously that he contacted me by mistake and that there are other people with my name, he just mistaken me for another person with the same name. My name is NOT common in London and my Whatsapp avatar has the picture of my brother with his birth date and approximate date of death! So, it can’t be that difficult figuring out that I’m the wrong person! Good try though, Pret! So, occasionally I assume a “spy” is sent via mail, phone call/text or on my following. And if I kicked you out from my following, forgive me, but I have been traumatized by Pret A Manger TOP SENIOR LEADERSHIP!

So, silent followers don’t impress me. You can speak up, even anonymous on Twitter & Co.

You can even use space on my website. I’d create an extra sub-page for your story. You can send me your story, open or anonymous and stay protected; no matter how long or short; no matter if in broken English and full of mistakes; it doesn’t matter! If you want to tell you story with Pret that you suffered, you can have space on my blog and let it rip! >>> Contact

Raise grievances, go to court, and in any case always join a union! I recommend BFAWU.

Regarding following on social media, I will not contact you or ask your story. Everyone needs to do their step and speak out. I’ve created the largest volume of writings on Pret A Manger anywhere on the web! Initially, I wanted to get my story out as best as I could, not anticipating still writing 1+ year later. I have been traumatized in several ways, still suffer, and can only now speak out loudly! And although one voice isn’t enough, I know I’ve made a huge impact! I know of the power of my voice! Please know yours!

Speak out! No matter how, no matter where, no matter what language! But speak out!

Create your own blog, or use mine! My website has space for your story!

Also, public voices regarding Pret:

Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter & Twitter, Facebook … create your own, join, speak out!

I can wrap up my whole experience with Pret A Manger and their HR department in this one text I came across on Twitter:

~~~~~~~~~~

»Under guidance from HR, they will now begin to “manage” you out of the firm. Setting impossible tasks for you, looking for any excuse to tarnish your immaculate record of achievement. So now you’re having to deal with being bullied at work by both your boss and HR. Your peers/colleagues turn on you as they don’t want to get involved and fear the boss thinking they are on your side.

The environment becomes toxic for you and your well-being and health begin to suffer. You are eventually faced with so much stress that you ask yourself if you can win this battle against your bully. You realize not – since the firm is against you and you have no support. Faced with no other choice, you resign and move on.

And that’s how bullying survives in the workplace

~~~~~~~~~~

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now and re-posted on “The Best Describtion of Systemic Workplace Bullying“.

 

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

 

May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
1 is said to have been a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret, as well as my survival.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

 

Pano Christou now CEO of Pret A Manger

 

My message to Clive Schlee and Pano Christou upfront:

»Be careful how you treat people when you’re on your way up, you might need them on the way back down.«

 – found on Twitter profile

 

The announcement that Clive Schlee would retire in September 2019 came on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press, having read Schlee’s response to a well-wisher on Twitter. The press then contacted HQ, got the confirmation and started “breaking” the news on Twitter.

Tweet to the Press early morning 01. July 2019:

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger to the press

01. July 2019

 

Quiet Tweet the day before on 30. June 2019, but no official announcement:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring a Tweet a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions (below Tweets).

I responded to the above well-wisher, and later tweeted to the press, as I told someone already months ago that Schlee would sneak out the back door quietly. I wrote about it hinting that this may happen in:

Clive Schlee and Pano Christou” 02. Apr. 2019
@Cliveschlee – Your Soldiers are Tired” 18. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?” 20. June 2019
The Difference between Profit and True Wealth” 22. June 2019
You are either the Captain” 30. June blog entry, but before I saw his above Tweet to the well-wisher. This blog entry lead me to check his Twitter when I then saw the well-wisher post on Schlee’s retirement.

Clive Schlee all being about himself, responded to the well-wisher’s Tweet on 30. June 2019, yet did NOT respond to a very serious health and safety issue of a customer Tweet on the 29. June 2019. The customer even tweeted twice. Schlee responded on the 01. July 2019 AFTER I wrote new blog entries about his retirement and after the press “broke” the news from my Tweet.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is Pret A Manger leadership:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke.
Customer: “It’s shocking they are not supported by decision makers.”
Don’t be shocked, that’s typical Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger!

I did an extra blog entry on the ongoing Air Conditioning issues with over-heated shops that I worked in as well. Many customers tweeted to Pret about this: “Pret A Manger Staff work in Over-heated Conditions

 

The press then being the press, pretending to break the news with some “inside” knowledge “broke” it after I tweeted to them. That’s why I tweet publicly and not “secretly” in emails.

 

So, September has come early.

BUT knowing Pret and the poor scoring Clive Schlee leaves on his exit (44% recommend working at Pret and 50% recommend Schlee) he stays as the active CEO until September, but they placed Pano Christou onto Review sites to avoid more negative scoring for the CEO.

2019-07-15 Pano Christou CEO

2 Glassdoor ratings already 15. July 2019 as on 14. July Clive Schlee was still as CEO on the Glassdoor profile. Makes you wonder what two people in the first day rated the new CEO already.

 

Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 when I linked to it in “Clive Schlee’s Legacy” as I had a lot of traffic on my blog after having tweeted to the press:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

Now leads to a deleted page.

 

So Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press and the press “breaking” the news and having visited my blog where he saw that I linked to his Twitter account.

But as Mr. Christou doesn’t have a new official Twitter account yet as CEO and Mr. Schlee still has his official Twitter account, this means Christou is NOT yet CEO, but just placed his picture on Glassdoor to avoid further negative voting for the CEO and Pret.

BUT Mr. Christou is the same and learned under Schlee. It’s just a different face to the same exploitative and bullying company. And the press is silent, because they cater to business.

Pano Christou came from McDonald’s management and started in Pret as an Assistant Manager (AM). Even though he likes to portray that he started at the bottom, sorry, I worked with many AM’s who came from other companies. They work at Pret with a Team Member (TM) uniform for a few weeks or even just days, and then go straight into AM and in a few months if they aim for it, become General Managers (GM). So, yes he started in shops, but he never was under the intense pushing, stress and low pay TMs are subjected to.

He will do things differently of course, as his personality is different where he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve or has “foot-in-mouth disease” like Clive Schlee. But he will do things the same in a profit-driven, exploitative company under the new owners who aim to topple Nestle off the throne and expand their wealth.

In my worst time in Pret in 2016 when my emailing started to increase in my trauma and at times drunk (I share my story at the bottom audio player in an interview), one email exchange with Pano Christou I remember very well, where he invited staff to contact him with any concerns, ideas etc. He responded and started his message about my email: »I must admit, beautifully written« and then went on in his email.

I remember this as odd, because only an “opponent” or someone who disagrees with you has to “admit” something. If I stand opposite an opponent that I respect, in or after a boxing match let’s say, we fought, I got caught out with not being on my best form, I may say to the opponent: ‘I must admit, good punch!’.

So, Mr. Christou, you will continue where Mr. Schlee left off, all the sweet-talk you learned under him, how to polish the facade, how to exploit low-wage workers behind that smile, but I don’t buy for a minute that Pret’s work conditions will improve nor that you will implement the Living Wage. So, we continue to work on unionizing Pret A Manger, no matter how long it takes.

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

… apart from two customer deaths (third nearly fatal) he didn’t act on until it became public and all the ignored warnings before AND after deaths!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

 

Clive Schlee’s Legacy” — & — “Late Night Girl Article on Clive Schlee

 

Las Vegas

 

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

 

UPDATE 22. July 2019 Pano Christou’s “clean” start on Glassdoor. He’s been with Pret longer than Clive Schlee, and apart from doing a few things differently, when it comes to staff exploitation and low pay etc. he is not different than Schlee, just a different face on the profit driven company now under JAB that competes with Nestle for the top spot:

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

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

 

Link: >>> Two Pret Staff have DIED recently
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
I survived. If I would have gone over the edge, to my current knowledge, mine would be #3 and it would be in connection to Pret!

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

#FirstWorldProblem

 

#CliveSchlee #ChristouPano #PretAManger #Pret #VeggiePret #1983 #1986 #JulianMetcalfe #SinclairBeecham #Bridgepoint #JAB #JABHoldings #Reimann #PeterHarf #RaiseTheWage #LivingWage #Exploitation #WorkplaceBullying

One person to be mentioned in the Pret A Manger saga: Jeffrey Hyman

Why is his name not blue underlined anywhere on any site?

Why is his name and history not mentioned @Pret?

 

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

how to SPOT workplace bullying — #SpotStop

 

and how to STOP it!

How to spot it, is a question many ask. I have read a lot of workplace bullying sites and organizations. And most of the time I read the same:

  • How to spot it – Good!
  • How to raise the issue with HR – Good!
  • How to find support in organizations – Good!

What I don’t read, is these organizations addressing the issue deeper as a systemic problem in global corporations, where the bullying (masqueraded as coaching for targets) is coming from the top down!

I don’t read how HR departments are toxic and puppets on the string for corporate leaders to put the workforce in line or get rid of them! I don’t like the term “workforce”, nor am I keen on Human “Resources” as working people are NOT treated as humans, but as machines.

I followed some Facebook Anti-bullying groups for a while until I saw that they made advertisement for Amazon Smile, where when a person orders something from that Amazon branch and mentions the Anti-bullying site, this site received a certain percentage. Amazon to me the largest systemic workplace bully today. What the workplace was in the industrial revolution in England more than 100 years ago, to me is Amazon today. I should write an extensive blog post about it, but it would be easier to just check YouTube, especially on undercover reports in Amazon warehouses as well as the other branches.

I also believe there are some fake Anti-bullying sites out there. Those sites have no substance, often give vague examples of real-life bullying, there’s no anger, no resolution, no urgency. And to top it, they support and receive support from Amazon.

I spare the reader of more detail and YouTube links and articles… as most don’t seem ready nor bothered about systemic workplace bullying until they themselves are affected.

I keep saying that survivors of workplace bullying need their own #MeToo movement… laws need to change and be implemented, senior executives need to be held responsible, especially when suicides and injuries are involved…

With Pret A Manger, the public for most still wants to believe the facade of Pret. Every generation has their group of onlookers and indifferent people who, when not affected turn a blind eye.

I keep it short today as I am tired of writing my fingers into a carpal tunnel on this issue …

#SpotStop

 

AntiBullying Spot Stop

LINK

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Change

 

I’ve seen these lists of a 1000 films to see and dishes to eat before you die.

I’ve done a lot of them, but there is always that one more thing to do.

I’d love to see Tracy Chapman, Bobby McFerrin, P!NK, Julie Miller, some friends and family, and stuff …

There’s always things to see and do 🙂

And change

 

 

 

‘Any Damn Fool can run Pret’

 

Oh no, those are not my words!

These are the words of the wife of Pret A Manger’s current CEO Clive Schlee!

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

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

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

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

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

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

And only fools can ruin it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all that counts these days.

 

Legacy of a fool CEO  

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

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Slideshow can be pause

 

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

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Pret A Manger Staff work in Over-Heated conditions (UPDATE 25. July 2019)

 

Before I get into the detail of the ongoing issues of broken and inadequate Air Conditioning in Pret A Manger shops for YEARS and Pret not caring about it, I want to paint a picture from the perspective of staff.

I briefly explain below that staff have cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. They can earn up to an extra £100 individually ON TOP of their wages AND team bonus, if the Mystery Shopper is extra impressed with the individual Team Member’s service. If any staff member loses the bonus for the whole team because their service isn’t with a smile or whatever else the Mystery Shopper (I call them Misery Shopper) isn’t happy with, that Team Member and the Team get fear managed, because the MS bonus scheme counts towards the biggest chunk of Manager’s and upper Management bonuses.

One of many Mystery Shopper report excerpt:
Staff have to serve customers within 1 min of a person joining the queue and serve the coffee/drink within 1 minute of the customer having made the payment. Staff have to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. THAT is why they are still on this robotic autopilot even in 40ºC+ heat. I know, I’ve work in these conditions, brain-washed, fear managed, even during bereavement!

Mystery Shopper excerpt: (Click Ctrl and + to enlarge)

04 MS

 

What customers experience as heat and 35-40ºC, for staff behind the counter it’s 45-50ºC.

Dear customer, imagine yourself BEHIND the counter for an 8-10 hour shift! Look at this picture from brummie_photography on Instagram from a Birmingham shop. This shop at least is very airy, looks like a station or airports are like this. But most Prets have low ceiling, cramped areas, no air-flow. If the air conditioning then is broken or inadequate, it’s literally HELL in there!

I count about 11-12 Team Members (TMs) behind the counter (and worked like this myself):

Pret Sardines

brummie_photography on Instagram

 

Behind that counter of about 10 Sq Meters space there are:

  • In the shop the fridges (called Langars in Pret) blow out hot air from the back
  • Behind the counter and behind Team Members 2 – 3 coffee machines with heat and hot water/coffee
  • To the left or right or behind TMs 1 – 2 hot toastie machines
  • In most shops 1 – 2 hot ovens that are at the counter area (not like here in an extra room)
  • In front of TMs are the black hot croissant plates under the glass counter (I often switched it off in the summer!)
  • From above beaming bright lights on the low ceiling burning on their heads. Years ago staff members even had to wear caps no matter how hot. In Pret USA shops they still wear caps!
  • Large windows without any marquee for sun protection
  • Open doors so that shops don’t look closed from the outside when people walk by. This has been changed recently after environmentalists increasingly raised the issues regarding waste of energy. Unfortunately the same environmentalists don’t seem to bother about the staff burning in the heat!
  • And from ALL AROUND hot body heat from colleagues who stand next to each other like sardines in a can! I felt my colleagues’ body heat left and right! Bad breath, sweaty smelly air, not allowed to drink water behind the counter or shop floor during work or use mints/peppermint gum!
  • And in many shops TMs are NOT allowed to drink water behind the counter for *irony on* “health and safety reasons” *irony off*. And are not allowed to go to the staff room to drink during the coffee and lunch time rush! I always broke that rule and went against manager’s instructions and let my team drink WATER!!

And in many shops TMs are NOT allowed to drink water behind the counter for *irony on* “health and safety reasons” *irony off*. And are not allowed to go to the staff room to drink during the coffee and lunch time rush! I always broke that rule and went against manager’s instructions and let my team drink WATER!!

What for customers is excruciating in a few minutes, these low-paid workers endure ALL DAY every day. One TM in 2011 when I worked in one terrible shop like this, got pneumonia as she was going in and out of the walk-in fridge switching temperature between under 5 degree Celsius in the fridge and 35 – 40 degrees in the shop and kitchen.

Not to mention that the fridges are warm with food and drink stored in them. I had to throw out many times £100s worth of food and drink after having taken temperatures of food and juices, much to the dismay of my bosses! But I didn’t care about the money. As a Team Leader, Health & Safety was not only part of my job description, it was my top priority! I didn’t even eat my free meal allowances in Pret during my breaks when the food was warm! Why would I subject paying customers to that, getting them food poisoning!!

My complaining and raising the issue never got me far in a Pret career, and neither did I care!

With most shops having low ceiling, loud music, rude customers, the 1 minute Mystery Shopper rule, a stressed and often bullying manager or team leader… Welcome to the REALITY of Pret A Manger!

Annihilate Humanity 41

>>> Anonymous Staff review on Indeed

 

Apart from the hellish work conditions for staff, this also affects the food. A customer complained regarding food poisoning from a New York Pret and noticed that the shop was warm:

 

2019-06-25 AC warm wrap

June 2019 NY

 


 

Customer Complaints on Twitter

(those who bother complaining, the problem is much bigger)

 

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St1

Link 25. July 2018

 

I link to a blog entry at the bottom on WHY staff smile ALL THE TIME come rain come shine!

I worked twice in shops with 40 degrees heat for weeks and months raising the issue. I was told if I speak to HQ my career is over. The manager who told me this and didn’t know how to make this issue urgent left Pret soon after. But we begged customers to speak to Pret on our behalf.

Below is a list of only a few customer Tweets, not everyone comments publicly. But this problem with inadequate little air cons in every Pret shop persists. Staff are surrounded by hot machines, body heat, beaming lights from above, ovens, toastie machines, hot plates where the croissants are on, large windows where the sun beams in … And the staff are still expected to do Emotional Labour, smile and pretend to be cheery so they don’t lose the Mystery Shopper bonus when they visit once a week.

I was often very disheartened that the weekly Mystery Shopper didn’t even mention the heat.

I worked at Pret for 10 years and this is an endless problem Pret knows about, but doesn’t fix unless customers go online, or staff persist. Staff became sick, one even with pneumonia because of the morning delivery check going inside the walk-in fridge back and forth between 30 degrees heat and then 3-5 degrees cold. That’s when I drew the line and asked for a transferal, not realizing many shops have this issue.

My traumatic story with Pret in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

I will say it loud and clear again to any new reader who does not know my and other staff story and blog: Pret A Manger does NOT care for their low-paid workers! They do NOT care!!!

Please take the time and really listen and look! Pret has been very successful with presenting an image of an “ethical” company! But having ignored customer warnings on allergen labels EVEN after two customers died, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public is lulled in again and want to believe the Pret fairy tale.

And Pret responds often with “oh dear” … “oh gosh” … “oh no” … “we are concerned to hear this” … bullshit, fooling the public as if this was a one-off. I really appreciate the anger and concern customers show for staff who suffer in this hell, while the millionaire senior leaders and Twitter staff sit in air-conditioned Head Office! Thank you for speaking up on behalf of low-paid workers!

3 of the most recent customer Tweets from days ago on the air conditioning problems in Pret. I didn’t go further beyond 2016, and even found one from 2013 … But this is forever going on!

2019-06-30 AC

1st Tweet — & — 2nd Tweet where Clive Schlee took a day to even respond, while on the day of the complaint he responded to another Tweet of someone wishing him farewell for his retirement (before the press got wind of it when I tweeted the press)! But the CEO was not concerned about the AC issue, even after 2 customer tweets!

Second customer Tweet 03. July, and Pret has NOT responded yet (06. July)!

2019-07-03 AC

Link

Third customer 05. July, and again NO response from Pret at the time of me writing this blog entry:

2019-07-05 AC

05. July 2019

 

UPDATE 25. July 2019

2019-07-25 No AC Bicester

Bicester still having issues as expected and Pret keeps sweet-talking
1st Tweet — and  — 2nd Tweet

 

Dan Brown raised this issue 3 weeks ago. 05th July Tweet (also screenshot above).

 

Also 25. July 2015, Great Eastern Street:

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

Link to Tweet and Pret sweet-talking again

 

23. July 2019 London Bridge again

2019-07-23 No AC

1st Tweet2nd Tweet3rd Tweet

 

 

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

 

 

2019-06-19 AC Bath Southgate

19. June 2019 Bath

 

2019-07-17 AC air con USA

UPDATE: 17. July 2018 NY, USA