Blog

Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

 

… from a former Pret employee having survived systemic workplace bullying and gaslighting under Pret’s HR, CEO Clive Schlee and a Development Manager from HQ, who’s also an NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist under the National Hypnotherapy Society. On a side note, many Pret leaders from HQ and Operation Managers are NLP practitioners. It seems Pret encourages them to the NLP course, and if one researches on Neuro-linguistic Programming, it is or can be a tool to manipulate people.

As my website has become quite large with various writings from behind the scenes, I decided to create an Index to the most important issues regarding Pret A Manger, that portray themself as this ethical and caring company.

I am still in disbelief myself on what I went through, and writing about it helped me survive and come back to my senses, and expose Pret A Manger! I declined 4 settlement offers from Pret if I am silent about my ordeal and never go to court. I explain in full in my interview at the bottom of most pages here or as the first feature of the below index.

The very fact that Pret did NOTHING after TWO customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized, and numerous warnings ignored, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public remains lulled in, especially in the UK whereas in the U.S. it would hail a storm of lawsuits! The German Reimann family behind JAB, the new owners of Pret, work very hard to divert issues opening in various countries in a whirlwind, more charity work etc.

I write so boldly and loud because I almost lost my life, having been targeted and bullied during already traumatic bereavement. I had several close calls at the bridge and am very proud that I made it through to expose this company!

If this is only thing I do, having survived this toxic company that hides behind the shiny PR[et] facade and fake smiles, I will do it as thoroughly and detailed as I did when I worked for Pret! I wasted 10 years of my life in this company and explain in my interview how I went through this. This is not a disgrunted former employee, this is more. This is a about a company that portrays itself to the public as this ethical company and lures in customers as well as employees, exploiting staff for profit. This is just a usual business out for profit as any company is, but the public has been lulled in for years about Pret A Manger and it is human nature to want to believe a fairy-tale…

I confront Pret on a suicide of an assistant manager in 2017 of whom I learned prior to her death. I almost went over the edge, Pret hid TWO customer deaths until it became public, how many suicides of current or former staff happened no-one knows about.  I was recently leaked an email that Director of HR Andrea Wareham sent to all Pret shops informing them that two Pret staff have died in two different UK shops. One of them I was told was a suicide, the other person’s death is unclear to the persons who leaked the email. The press is informed and in my 10 years in Pret having had access to Pret emails as I was a team leader, I have never seen an email regarding staff deaths.

Pret must have learned from the customer deaths they never even told us  about and also my situation that the truth will always come out.

It is my biggest regret having wasted my time, skill, effort and care for Pret A Manger.

If people don’t believe my story, I have evidence and confront Pret openly on Twitter, Facebook etc. Again, I explain in my interview why Pret is not responding. All I can say to everyone regarding the nice facade of Pret or any company is:

If something looks too good to be true, take a closer look!

The below Index takes openness to read, as many people want to believe the fairy-tale that is Pret A Manger. Only the Unions, Activists and some from the Press know better and look closer.

 

Illusion

 

I start the index with my own story in an interview and continue with general issues, categorizing as best as I can. Any reader and writer, please be aware of the work I’ve put into this website before you just cope & paste and mind the copyright. I have other websites as back-ups. I am open for any interview and article feature, as well as questions.

Any new writings in the future that I may add, I will indicate as UPDATE or NEW.

 

Index:

Links open in a new window / tab

 

INTERVIEW

For the first time I share my story with Pret verbally in an interview on a podcast based in California. Interview with The Adam Paradox: (The interview can be played while scrolling through this page and is featured on my website at the bottom of most pages)

 


 

ARTICLE

An article I wrote that is featured in the monthly Scottish Left Review May/June 2019 edition (pages 21-22), or as a direct link via my blog:
On the Frontline: Crushed by Corporate Capitalist Culture

 


 

PRESS

Journalist Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover into Pret after reading my blog, and having suggested to her to go undercover. I added my thoughts to her report in “Undercover Under Pressure


 

UPDATE May 2019

TWO recent Pret staff deaths

I was leaked an email that HR Director Andrea Wareham sent to all Pret shops mid/end of May that TWO Pret staff have died within a month. One staff I was told was a suicide, the other TM the “leakers” don’t have the info.

 


 

£1000 FOR ALL STAFF
(£800 after tax)

Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 announcement (after he became aware of my Blog)

 


 

PRET STAFF REVIEWS & COMPLAINTS

On the below slideshow I added just a selection of staff reviews and comments to save long blog entries. These are from review websites like Glassdoor and Indeed, but also from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other websites where people commented on the work environment in Pret.

Just some examples, before the Slideshow, from former Pret employees in NYC, London etc.:

Go back to UK

Link

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Four years after Bridgepoint took over Pret and tasked to open on every corner in London specifically. Scrolling to the 23 July 2012 at 12:53 comment.

 

2019-03-07 Modern Slavery

Link

 

IT Analyst HQ

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

June/July 2019 overall figures on Glassdoor

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices. Wifi needs to be enabled.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

 


 

CUSTOMER OBSERVATIONS
on Stressful Work conditions

The Pain of Working at Pret A Manger

 


 

FORCED SMILES & HAPPINESS
for Mystery Shopper bonus, extra cash and fear management

How Companies Force Emotional Labor on Low-Wage Workers

The Truth Behind the Pret A Manger Smile via cash incentives and fear management

How Emotional Labour Harms us all – my comments on an article in the NewStatesman

 

Pret Uniform2

 


 

PRET’S MARKETING with Charity
and Former Homeless People

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

 


 

ALLERGEN DEATHS
and Pret’s procrastination

Ongoing Issues – Hospitalization, mislabelling, cross-contamination, understaffed …

Vegetarians eat Ham and Meat products – more ongoing issues

Pret’s Labelling Commitment?

Allergen Label Warnings Pret ignored before and even after customer deaths

 


 

VARIOUS LAWSUITS
(that I’m aware of, there are more, but depending how public they are)

USA: Two Wage Lawsuits settled that Pret employees filed, re-paying 4000 workers (middle section of page).

USA: Deceptive Packaging Class Action settled. But the misleading packaging still continues.

Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat Lawsuits vs. Pret on the “Natural” Food claim while Glyphosate was found in food. Change of signage, packaging and Website.

USA: 2016 “sesame reaction” Lawsuit and Pret doing ZERO
At the bottom of the page: A New York customer suffered an anaphylactic shock from unlabelled sesame in a Pret Wrap. He lost the case, yet Pret still did nothing to label food even after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from the same unlabelled allergen in the same year of 2016.

No Lawsuit, but ongoing complaints regarding the watery Chicken Broccoli and Brown Rice soup

 


 

FREE COFFEES MARKETING

And why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card System

 


 

EXTERNAL PRESS ARTICLES

Pret A Manger and “broken windows” syndrome

My Comments on Sathnam Sanghera’s article in The Times: “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it”

Man invoices Pret A Manger and EAT. for time spent waiting in shops

The Guradian article: “The brilliant Pret a Manger marketing con we want to fall for

 

… more to come

 

Robot sad crop

 

10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

A customer’s comment in Chicago regarding a deceased Pret employee and Pret in general.

 


 

Lastly, THE Best description of SYSTEMIC Workplace Bullying and what I have gone through under Pret’s senior leadership and HR, is summed up in this text I found on Twitter.

I have spent over a year writing my hands into a carpal tunnel (not really, just using a metaphor!) on what I’ve been through in Pret A Manger. I described how systemic and toxic Pret’s bullying is behind the smiley facade!

I can wrap up my whole experience and website in this one text:

 

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now

 


 

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. 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 a recent 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 – How Companies Force Emotional Labour on Low Wage Workers

 

Fake Smile Robin Williams

 

 

Pret Uniform2

The Pret A Smile Uniform Cupboard.

Take your pick Team Member, any of those will do.

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

Customer Tweets:

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

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

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

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

Part of Mystery Shopper Reports

 

04 MS

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.”

Mystery Shopper: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile …”

Line Manager to the person having served the MS: “I need to see you in the office!”

 

Pret A Manger Reality behind the Smile:

1. On average a Team Member does between 300 – 500 transactions per day. Some less, some more if they work a regular 6 – 8+ hours shift (many work 12 hour shifts!), and depending on how busy it is and if working in the rush times. 300 transactions are NOT 300 individual people! 1 transaction can be serving 3 people for example. 1 transaction is ONE sale/payment that goes through the till/system, no matter how many people. It can be a group of tourists, families, colleagues who order together and often pay together, but each person will be spoken to about the order that they place. So, on average a TM communicates with 500 – 800+ PERSONS, plus colleagues, line managers etc. PER DAY/shift. The exhaustion staff members go through, not to mention depression is something the public doesn’t want to know about. I was complemented many times by the Mystery Shopper and customers for my friendly service, attentiveness, professionalism… but they did not know that several times I left my shift headed for the bridge.

Customer observation:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

2013 Customer being treated nice by manager then snap at staff

Link (It makes the employee feel even weirder not to mention shamed and humiliated crying in the staff room later!)

 

2. If the TM is successful and the MS is happy with the overall atmosphere and requirements of the shop, the whole team receives the bonus. If the TM messes up, doesn’t smile or whatever the MS may not be happy with, the whole team loses bonus, and the TM will find themself in the office being told off, at times manipulated with fear management, threatened with a disciplinary and/or job loss… Even during bereavement, I was summoned to the office and my non-smiling was one part of a list of (small) things I was targeted with.

One of many such staff reviews, quote:

“Better salary than McDonalds or Costa as long as you keep your fake smile up … (A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period) … if you have seen the film “Compliance” then you know what type of person you will become if you stay there for longer.”

2015-09-29 Staff cry

Link

 

Emotional Labour Labor

Link

Quote from above article:

“… in The New Republic, Timothy Noah observes that the sandwich shop chain Pret A Manger aggressively monitors its employees’ displays of enthusiasm. If any worker at any particular store seems insufficiently pleased to see their customers, he and all of his coworkers could suffer the consequences. Pret CEO Clive Schlee even monitors whether his employees are making enough affectionate physical contact with each other.” Link

I can verify that. Being summoned to the office myself or consoling a crying team member in the staff room who just received a file note (now called “note of concern”), after coming from the office where the manager used fear management on them for not having smiled while serving the Mystery Shopper. The team member then was sent out from the office to the shop and demanded to smile. Clive Schlee himself sent me to the till when he visited a shop I worked at. He visited after I contacted him for help when HR kept sending me away when I was bullied by managers during bereavement. Clive visited me at that time as my case panicked him (fear of Tribunal cases). After he introduced himself at a quiet period between the morning and lunch rush, I was in tears as I felt relieved to finally get help (fooled at the time!). He saw about 3 customers queuing at the till and sent me back to the till while I was in tears! Full story in my interview at the bottom of this page.

Any person and customer who quickly complains that staff should look for another job if they can’t smile for service should get a reality check and stop being so calloused towards low-paid workers! I survived, I almost ended my life and confront Pret on Twitter. Guess why they don’t respond or block me! I spill the beans in my interview at the bottom of this page or the home page.

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

 

“I was served after 15 seconds …”

“Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill …”

“Your smile is part of your uniform. You are expected to wear a smile like you wear your uniform!”

 

Ctrl & + to enlarge:

MS Mystery 15 seconds to Mars

4 out of 5 points even while being served in 15 seconds. Sorry dear “Misery” Shopper, that the team didn’t serve you in 1.5 seconds to get 100%.

 

MS Mystery Shopper VAT eat in take away

 

MS Mystery Shopper Team Member should smile cough

“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.”

1. Team Members are not paid the first 2 – 3 days, depending on age, when sick, EVEN if they have a sick note from day 1. This forces them to make constant decisions if to stay home and lose income, or if they are fit enough to work while ill.

2. After this comment I found myself in the office being told off by the manager. No question of “how are you”…

3. I couldn’t smile at times after I buried my brother and my manager again had no mercy. And when I smiled and the MS gave excellent comments, there was NO recognition from the managers.

4. Pret A Manger, stop this emotional abuse and exploitation for your millions.

 

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 has 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

 

I worked while sick many times and served the Mystery Shopper, had to cough, received this below report and had a telling off in the office later from the manager:

06 Other MS cough

Quote:

“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 also didn’t feel cheerful to smile after I buried my brother, who died 5 weeks before we found out and they cremated him before finding us.

And I couldn’t smile while being bullied during bereavement from several managers under HR’s watchful eye, with CEO Clive Schlee later labelling me his “late night girl” because I became ill with late night emailing in trauma after work. (The full story in the interview at the bottom of this page).

 

 

MS Mystery Shopper Miserable

“I felt miserable when I walked in to begin with. I looked at the staff on the tills and they all looked very unhappy and not cheerful at all. To improve, the staff members could be smiling and interacting with each other to liven up the atmosphere.”

After this comment, the never-smiling, moody, shouting manager told the team in the kitchen after this MS report: “Your smile is part of your uniform. You are expected to wear a smile like you wear your uniform!”

 

MS Mystery Shopper Detail

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole shop team during your visit.”

MS: “There was a staff member who was replenishing stock and another tidying away after customers left promptly. Before sitting down at a table the member checked my table and chair to see if they were cleaned properly.”

 

04 MS

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Were you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?”
MS: “I was served in less than a minute.”

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was?”
MS: “I was served my hot drink almost instantly.”

1. The “reasonable” time is unrealistic, staff get so pressured and used to work on autopilot that they ALWAYS rush and panic for every second they may lose to finish any job, especially customer service.

 

So, after you smiled for 8+ hours, maybe in the middle of serving the “Misery” Shopper, gave a free coffee and whatever acrobatic you did, the Mystery Shopper then in their OWN DISCRETION can reward a team member if they even go FURTHER than they already do… It’s like bending backwards, forwards, smiling left, right and center, kissing butt all day and the Mystery Shopper is still not happy:

 

Not Outstanding

 

If any team member, including leaders and managers would have been “outstanding” by giving a free coffee for example or making lots of conversation (kissing butt) that person can receive an extra £50, even if the bonus was lost. And if the score/points were perfect, that person can earn double, £100.

 

2018-07-04 Outstanding Card

Link

 

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.

Note: She lost the bonus for the whole team at a time before, and even said she “redeemed” herself this time. She fluffed it up, and they all lost the bonus. Sad.

 

2018-01-25 OC

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

Customer Tweets:

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

And the psychology of “group incentive” is actually peer pressure and what a recent reviewers called “blame culture” which I totally underline. I spend 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.

 

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

Link

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

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

The Mystery Shopper results count towards the biggest chunk of managers’ quarterly bonuses, therefore the Mystery Shopper requirements are the biggest in terms of pressure, a manipulating tool for fear management and mental strain.

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

 

 

End MS

Link

 

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

»Everything is over priced and you are forced to act like a happy jack-ass or your pay is cut. This place is what hell must be like.«

Link

 

Lose Everything That Makes You Human2

 

2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

Glassdoor June 2019 figures

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices. Best viewed on Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be pause

 

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

 

2019-04-22 NEW on TWITTER

Link

 

A recent article on the alcohol issues of customer service employees highlights the mental strain of emotional labour.

 

UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 

 


 

I tell my story with Pret for the first time verbally in one setting in this interview on a podcast. Brief intro below.

 

 

Adam

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 

Also, undercover report by Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror who went into Pret after reading my blog: Undercover Under Pressure and when the two customer deaths became public.

 


 

 

Emotional Labour Emotional Abuse

 


 

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. 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. 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.

 

Mind Map of my Pret A Manger Ordeal

 

 

Courtesy of

 

>>> MindMeister.com

 

 

This link My Pret A Manger Ordeal is a simple and easier overview to link straight to some of the most important blog entries, summarizing my trauma with Pret A Manger. There is much more writing on my website / blog, but the links on the map are the main articles to narrow down, pointing to the main writings of my trauma with Pret.

On the “map”:

  • click on the – minus top left to decrease and get an overview of the map
  • click on the dots to expand or close menu.
  • click on the -> arrow on a particular title to link straight to the article
  • hold the mouse clicked, “grabbing” it to move map around as you would with Google map

 


 

P.S. Twitter “shadow banned” some of my Tweets, please google what shadow banning means. I responded to Twitter’s right out lie about it, and even then can’t find my Tweet when logged out, and one example of many where Twitter shadow banned my Tweets Regarding the first Pret customer death.

 

2018-12-23 my twittel star re to shadow ban lie1

 

 

 

2018-12-23 my twittel star re to shadow ban lie2

Twittel Twittel Little Star…

 

 

2018-09-30 Pret death tweet shadowban1

My Tweet visible when I’m logged in

 

 

2018-09-30 Pret death tweet shadowban2

 

My Tweet hidden when logged out, completely different feed even though same URL

This same URL is: https://twitter.com/Pret/status/1045671338260787201

ending with: 1045671338260787201 but when logged in I see my tweets, when logged out ALL my tweets are gone / hidden from everyone else, making me think everything is ok. I assume my tweets are tweeted, my likes are done etc. but only I see it. My followers are NOT notified of new tweets or DMs and can only see my tweets, what I write in DMs when they go straight to my Twitter feed or their DM inbox which most won’t as they are not notified while I am shadow banned … It’s a secret censorship Twitter denies doing on behalf of those with money and power.

 

I will do an extra blog entry in detail on what exactly shadow banning is with my own Tweet examples, and that many people are affected on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org
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 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Undercover Under Pressure in Pret

 

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror contacted me on Facebook after I declined another Mirror Journalist’s request for an interview.

I declined her request as well, as I wasn’t ready for the press, and as I am still paranoid to be tricked and trapped like Pret did with the Development Manager I write extensively about in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department“. My experience in Pret is very complex and sounds like straight from a twisted Hollywood script, but I have it all in writing and confront Pret openly on Twitter, which in turn have them shadow-ban me. But I urged her to go undercover to see for herself and not just take my word for it, just like James Bloodworth did in Amazon. And she did.

As I commented on Sathnam Sanghera’s Times article, I’d like to give my two cents also to Amy Sharpe’s undercover article. Both articles from very different perspectives as one from a customer and business point of view, the other from behind the scenes for a few days. But both are equally important and revealing how business works with the main goal of profit in mind.

I have to say that when I saw the undercover reporting yesterday morning (28.11.2018) linked on Twitter, after Amy has been very silent about going “under”, and rightly so, I teared up. I cried when I read her name on the report because not just did she follow my suggestion taking my ordeal serious, but someone from the outside saw what I and many others experience(d), but the public doesn’t want to know about unless it is the press poking into an organization.

It sadly takes deaths becoming public to show how negligent a company, in this case Pret, really is. I’ve been writing openly about my experience with Pret since May 2018 after my father died in March and I started to come to terms again of another loss… still recuperating from my Pret trauma that has “postponed” my grief for my brother. Regular readers know the story.

Some people criticize The Sunday Mirror’s report as being part of a witch hunt, but I don’t think that. The public is so used to be lulled in by a nice and shiny facade, free coffees and cookies.

Customers are so used to the smiles of staff, but no-one knows what really is behind it. The fear management via the Mystery Shopper, rewarded extra £100 if specially nice or told off by the boss in the office and threatened with job security if they didn’t smile non-stop in the highly stressful work environment. I mentioned this in a Tweet response to a customer who without any thought or empathy complained to Pret about a barista, even naming him, for not smiling and rushing the service:

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

Link

 

Amy Sharpe’s undercover article to me is like someone understanding this and finally confirming my and the team’s ordeal. Some points I want to highlight as I don’t use the full article, just what I want to confirm and expand upon a little from what this journalist has experienced and witnessed. The article will be in black and my comments in grey. I added the bold to the text to highlight some issues.

 


Article:
A manager reacts in horror as I point out the mistake (of an Almond Croissant with a Jam Croissant label).
“Oh my god!” he cries as he switches labels on two trays of croissants – one containing jam, the other almonds.

This is the typical PANIC reaction of a manager who either didn’t take the time or is too disorganized to do the MBWA (Managing By Walking Around) to check that everything is in its proper place, health & safety checks and so on. This could easily be improved by investing to have plenty of staff, instead of cutting staff to save money, so that the Manager On Duty (MOD) can concentrate on checking everything daily as well as throughout the day. It’s a very simple organizational issue. Very, very simple.

 

 


Article:
In the wake of two allergy deaths, he adds: “It’s really dangerous, especially with everything that’s been going on.”

And yet, no-one steps on the brakes to put immediate, and what CEO Clive Schlee calls, “meaningful” changes in place. The problem with the word “meaningful” to me here is, it sounds too wishy-washy, “poetically” correct but shows no urgency, even though “it’s really dangerous”. The appropriate word should have been to implement “immediate” changes! As Natasha’s parents are in shock over Pret’s procrastination, ITV’s November report:

 

 

 


Article:
I am standing behind the counter in Pret a Manger … The pace is so relentless, the demands so constantcustomers want serving super-quick – that I find myself under constant pressure. I sense that other staff feel the strain too.

Ms. Sharpe does not give the time of day she was behind the counter, but mentioned having to dash to the toastie machine, so this may have been lunch time. But the strain can especially be felt when a Team Member does the morning shift from 5 or 6am till 2 or 3pm going through two intense rushes: breakfast and lunch. When I worked in Pret I made a decision to not meet with a friend or have an appointment straight after my morning shift having come out of lunch time. I was always like having come out of a tumbler, being shaken for hours and still on electricity. My friends commented on this, so I tried to get home first to clean up and rest and calm down before joining any events.

One staff review paints this very bluntly. This is why I wished Amy Sharpe would have also covered a week in the kitchen to really get the full Pret “blow”: “This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.

Many kitchens I have seen with very small working areas for the Hot Chef in particular. Someone leaked a photo to Twitter.

Customer areas are increased to get as many customers / money in as possible; staff areas are decreased. This then creates multiple problems, not only on the mental strain of staff but customers lives as mistakes happen quickly as with labelling I collected in another post “Vegetarians Get Meat Products“:

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

 

Or a shop where I worked where there was only ONE multitask room: office, staff changing room with lockers, fridges, freezers, stock room, hot chef soup prep area, chemical room for cleaning materials etc and to top it all, illegally the rubbish room next to the food prep area! This shop was the worst shop I’ve worked in. This photo is from 2015 and after years like this, Pret was forced to expand the work space to separate the rubbish for health and safety reasons. This room was medium size and approx. 15 square meters max. A total nightmare.

 

Spitalfields Waste MultitaskOffice_6Sep15

 

 


Article:
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.

Yep. And as one customer on Twitter pointed out the chaos and stress on the staff and customers alike. I had to console Team Members many times over the years who held their tears back or just cried in the staff room after being shouted at by the manager. Another review: “Better salary than McDonalds or Costa as long as you keep your fake smile up. Staff with more experience cuts corners on Sanitary rules because otherwise it is impossible to finish your batch on time.
– The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period.”
I also shed many tears on my way home in the bus, especially during grief of course, but after a terribly depressing shift this was a common thing to let the tears finally flow.

 

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 


 

UPDATE Jan. 2019

I found a photo of the coffee area and it shows how cramped and small the work area is. And the barista/coffee makers are required to get PERFECT coffees out within 1 minute that the Mystery Shopper times to the second! It doesn’t get any more dehumanizing and mentally straining than this. I don’t know how I managed, but we worked a lot in mental and physical pain. Under the coffee machine where the silver jugs are, this working area is so small baristas switch on autopilot and just keep going. Hence, lots of stress, shouting and customers going to Twitter with complaints of half cups of coffees that are made so fast to satisfy the Mystery Shopper, the manager and the long queue.

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link by @terry_mcparlane Twitter

 


 

It is rare that a customer speaks out like this and it’s sad that most customers don’t care how stressful it is behind the counter. They see it, at times even commented about it to me, but they just want their coffees fast. Pret has spoiled them where they would be perfectly happy to wait 5-10 minutes in Starbucks, Pret made the service so fast to get the money circulation into the shops fast. Pret staff are expected to whip out PERFECT coffees within ONE minute and are timed to the SECOND by Mystery Shoppers, while customers think that staff is just happy working under intense pressure. They don’t realize what’s behind that happy facade!

 

Excerpt:

Speed in Seconds

1 minute aim to serve and another 1 minute to have a perfect hot drink ready, checked by the MS to the second:

“I was served very quickly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.”

“I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.”

And then customers run to Twitter with pictures of half full cappuccinos, missing cream, lukewarm coffees…! There’s nothing more dehumanizing at a workplace that I have experienced. And should anyone suffer from boredom, do an experiment and just read through some Pret Tweets a few minutes each day for a week, with the same sweet-talk response from Pret veering customers away from public Tweets to private DM.

Some complaints are legitimate when a customer already spoke to the manager, and yet Pret has a DM button, but customers feel the public needs to be aware of their dilemma in Pret shops. I know, I know I respond a lot to some Tweets, and maybe it is because for 10 years I had to bite my tongue towards rude customers, I take the opportunity now to give my opinion. And Pret doesn’t block me as they collect my Tweets in case for court and certainly to learn some tips, as I have showered them with suggestions for improvement while I worked there. Be my guest, Pret.

 

 


Article:
Staff now repeat orders to customers to avoid any mistakes. Allergen enquiries are referred to the duty manager, who will show a list of ingredients.

Which is good to repeat, but the pace is still kept high with all sorts of demands, especially for the “Misery” Shopper: always smile, eye contact, make some small-talk, serve within 1 minute, stand on your head, dance on one feet, bend your back, twist your brain, know all the answers, kiss their butts … and all this with a big fake Pret A Smile to keep a low-paid job! In other words you either develop superhuman abilities or mental illness. The pace is the same, the demand is higher, and life is still at risk including the lives of staff who suffer depression, mental ill health and at times become suicidal. But the public “just” wakes up once customer lives are affected. Forget the “slaves“.

 

 

A positive Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

MS eye contact

“The staff member who served me made good eye contact and greeted me with a friendly smile. While remaining focused and efficient, she also took time to engage in a few words of conversation, which added a personal element to the exchange – enhancing the welcoming atmosphere of this store.”

 

 

A negative Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

Mystery Shopper poor comments

“I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The only 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, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

 

— or —

 

MS_Cough

“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 to smile that day.”

I wish I could have told this MS that staff are not paid sick leave for the first 2 and 3 days depending on age. So one had to decide if to stay home sick and lose income, or go to work unwell and get a telling off from the manager like I did because I coughed when I happened to serve the MS.

I wonder if Amy Sharpe served the Mystery Shopper and how she would have felt reading a negative comment on her service while feeling the experience of the “overstretched staff” and it being “stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.”

I even wished sometimes customers would just join us for a few hours, especially those who quickly complain about everything.

Just few of the countless Tweets, just from this week:

This customer had good service for THREE years, then one negative experience and the world has come to an end. I linked her to Amy Sharpe’s report to bring some perspective for her feeling so unwanted. But I deleted the Tweet again as I write too many Tweets and always like to de-clutter my Twitter feeds:

 

2018-11-28 Bad Service after 3 years

Link

 

“Every time…”

2018-11-28 Wrong Coffee

Link

 

 

2018-11-28 No steamed milk

Link

 

 

“Oh no!…”

2018-11-29 Gingerbread Latte

Link

 

etc. etc.

So, companies like Pret have created a “nation” of complainers where the British were usually patient and polite, they now cry like babies whose bottoms haven’t been wiped in a while! And the money keeps coming in while Pret responds with “Oh no…” and “Oh gosh, are you okay?…” sweet-talk to keep the babies happy and the money rolling!

 

I responded, but since deleted as well to this baby who had no issues to call hard working people the “C” word because he was in the “teething” period having his day ruined by a hard avocado. Pret’s typical cut’n’paste response, apologizing while he is offensive, and as if they really contact each shop all day long for repeated hard avocados:

 

PretBehaviour01a

 


Article:
The mantra, I am told repeatedly, is “NEVER guess”.
But from what I witness, the speed at which staff often have to work could put these commendable new standards at risk.
On my second shift I find an orange juice two weeks out of date on the shelves.
The shocked team leader tells me: “You don’t need to tell anyone, otherwise we’re f****d. It is really bad… I’ll throw it away.”
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.”
With soybeans and dairy prominent on the menu – and among the 14 allergens kitchens must legally declare – this admission is worrying.
On my last shift, stickers are introduced to distinguish between soya, coconut and regular milks. But one barista serves a coffee without a sticker – and a manager barks: “Where is the sticker?”
The £8.25-an-hour shifts are tough and I collapse into bed exhausted after eight hours on my feet, lifting boxes, mopping and dragging tables around.

Nothing more to add except this Link

 


Article:
Some staff do 12-hour shifts or work at other branches to earn more. To add to the intensity, employees are battling the cold due to its station location. I wear extra layers to stay warm – there are only two Pret fleeces to go round, so we share.

Nothing more to add except that some staff even do 60-70 hour weeks assigned by the manager! I had to speak out about this as Team Members were exhausted, at times became sick from the amount of work, but were too scared to speak with the GM. Again, I did not make friends with my bosses. But neither did I care!

 


Article:
When the bustle dies down I clean the shop but a colleague urges me to skip certain tasks.
“You’re supposed to sweep and mop every day but don’t do that or you’ll never leave on time,” he says.

This unfortunately is common in most shops that staff are so swamped with work they are not able to finish in time and are NOT paid for overtime. I fought for this with my managers in every shop. I would say to my teams who did their best and me as the Team Leader helping them, that if they can’t finish I will mark this on the cleaning rota with an explanation, instead of just ticking off the jobs as done like most do to keep the appearance that jobs were completed. I’d then take responsibility when the boss summons me in the office the next day. I let the team go on the dot when our shift finished at 9 or 10pm or whatever closing and cleaning time the branch had.

 

2018-08-18 #50 Pret A Not Worth

Coffee Specialist, London April 2018

 

Most Team Members have families with kids at home, not seeing their children all day as they are in school, and later the parent is working when they go to bed. So I made it a point to let them go when the shift finished. I was very organized and made sure that the important jobs, health & safety was taken care of and prioritized these. I structured my teams in this way and left the unimportant jobs unfinished if we didn’t have time or enough staff.

In the early times in Pret I would work and work, finish in time and also worked overtime unpaid. But then the time came where I drew a line. It is okay here and there to finish a little late, but it was the norm in Pret and it seemed a very calculated one as Teams worked extra for no pay every day. I struggled with my managers and communicated that if we have to stay longer to finish the job, I will pay them the extra time through the system as was part of my job. If my bosses didn’t want that, then I told my team to finish on the dot and we go home. Full stop.

This of course didn’t make me friends with my bosses, but neither did I care! My friends are not these kind of people who exploit workers for their own bonuses. One Pret staff reviews this as a common practice for managers to give them a job to do 15 minutes before the Team Member would have finished the shift. But the job would take 30 – 60 minutes to complete. I experienced this many times as well and was made to feel bad if I needed or wanted to leave. It took me some time to stand up against this. Pret staff in the UK should do what their colleagues in the U.S. did, a class action suit for not being paid overtime.

 

Full article of the Sunday Mirror

 

I have to be honest that I wished Amy Sharpe would have worked longer, a month or so like James Bloodworth did in Amazon. It would have been good for Ms Sharpe to cover the early shifts and weekends as well, including working in the kitchen, as each time and job has its own challenges. But I’m not complaining. She covered 1 or 2 weeks (?) really really well, while I have 10 years of “material” to share that almost literally killed me having survived bullying during bereavement.

So, I have to be patient and acknowledge the brilliant work by this journalist having been willing to do this, as well as Sathnam Sanghera’s article. And many more people will tell their story in time away from the typical PR that Pret does so well. I keep confronting Pret on a staff suicide in 2017 and who knows how many more are under the carpet when they could hide two customer deaths for two years and the other for 10 months! I know my approach and direct confrontation is full on, but I almost lost my life after having worked with integrity, honesty, very hard and with passion for my teams. I cannot be silent after having wasted 10 years of my life in Pret with the knowledge that staff continue to suffer behind the facade. And if any reader wonders if I went to court, I explain here.

Thank you for your time in reading this. And thank you to anyone in the press to have taken a closer look. Thank you to Amy Sharpe. Ironic and delighted to be calling a reporter a now former colleague of mine! Well done Amy!

Life is short, please be kind to yourselves and others.

expret.org

 


 

UPDATE: 14.12.2018 A rare observation from a customer regarding forced friendliness.

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

Link

 


 

UPDATE March 2019 – The first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview.

Interview:

 

 

Adam

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 


 

UPDATE February 2019, my posts on Why do Pret Staff continue under Harshness

 


 

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. 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. Thank you for reading/listening.

©2018 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.

Questions to Pret A Manger

 

Since Twitter is limited in the amount of words that can be used and on Facebook Pret tends to delete my comments, I’d just like to expand my questions here and just link to it.

I used to get told off and “corrected” from line managers in front of colleagues, one GM in particular would repeatedly do this, to which I kept asking to please give me feedback in person not in front of my team. This particular GM would say that he “feed-backs” me in front of the team for their benefit, so that they learn from my mistakes. Apart from this being complete nonsense, incapable management and plain wrong, I understood his bullying mentality and insecurity.

And I am sure Pret is not keen on answering my questions, certainly not directly, I’d like to take this “example” be it poor as it is, and do the same thing. For the sake of the public, so they learn from your mistakes, I’d like to ask you publicly again a few questions.

After I was bullied during bereavement in all its forms, shouted at, excluded from leader’s meetings as well as a leaders Christmas dinner (when my dad just woke from his coma and I returned to work and was put on late shifts to cover for them to have their dinner), information withheld that I needed in order to do my job, held low in jobs where I could not grow and thrive, hours cut to zero during Christmas time even though I was on a 35 hour contract needing money to visit my dad again, hours not paid that I had to chase, the patronizing approach from Clive Schlee, CEO who labelled me his “late night girl”, the lies and dodgy grievance hearings, after all this bullying under the guidance of HR and the Head of HR & Recruitment, after all this mistreatment you tasked one of your Development Managers to sanction me supposedly because of my emailing, for which your CEO labelled me his “late night girl” two months before you dismissed me.

Your Development Manager, who also is a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner (as several of your leaders are) and in 2017 studied to become a Psychotherapist, was put on my case because she had a brother who died in his flat and was not discovered after days later, just like my brother died and was in his flat for days before his corpse was found.

She was put into contact with me, not so we could support each other in our common grief, but so that I would be able to receive the disciplinary as I would be more receptive since we have the same loss. This which I already put forward to your Director of HR, I called “perversion” for lack of a better word. I had to learn later that this was gaslight in its most primitive form.

Your Development Manger, who is governed under this therapy body, then entered into personal communication with me right from the next day onward which was secret, even though you all knew about it of course. This confused me further. Not only did she enter into unallowed contact, but she solely communicated with me via text messages and email, for which she sanctioned me in the first place!

Fasting forward a few months, I of course got dismissed (with my dad in intensive care just out of a coma) while she is safe in her job as she served HR well. She even at times sounded like the Head of HR, saying things only the Head of HR knew and vice versa.

Now my question is, as I am not sure anymore what to believe because there were so many lies from you from the top down, did she really have a brother who died very similar to how my brother died and the delay in her learning about his passing, like in my case as well?

If she did have a brother and all she told me about him and the situation, why did you step on her dignity by using her against me, instead of for me and her being able to have open, not in secret, support in our grief. Her brother (supposedly) died 2 months before my brother died, in his flat, alone, for days undiscovered… like a twin story. And yet your core value of “doing the right thing naturally” … NATURALLY … I still have to let that word melt on my tongue… is such a disgrace and arrogance I have rarely come across.

If she did not have a brother and made up this story to really fuel the gaslight, than she is a bad person.

But if she did have a brother and everything she told me was like it was, than she is even worse than a bad person, because she should and could have declined the task of sanctioning me to protect her as well as my dignity.

I certainly would have declined and offered instead to be available for support and open contact with respect and integrity.

What this also particularly bad is how manipulative she was. Right from the start of our secret contact she wanted to meet me to interview me for an assignment she was writing for university as she was studying to be a Psychotherapist. She was writing an essay on anger and wanted my input as I was very angry with everything surrounding my brother’s death and being bullied on top of it.

I declined being interviewed as I didn’t know her, no matter how similar our losses were, but I also didn’t want to feel like a guinea pig for someone’s projects and from the get go I was confused about her role. A friend even warned me that Pret may be using her to “spy” on me to see how best to fire me. But I was so blinded from grief and all that happened at work that I fell for this trap that sounded too good to be true that someone with such an identical loss could be even in the same company.

She later declined showing me her essay as I was interested what her take on anger was. Her reasons for not showing it to me was supposedly because she wanted to protect the volunteers who participated in the interviews. And yet, an essay or book is usually written with changed names and even if the first names were real, I wouldn’t know anyone anyway. So, from all the lies and manipulations I reckon she used my story anyway against my permission.

My aim since May 2015, when I approached HR informally to make suggestions on how to support bereaved staff not only put a target on my back. I would enter further and further into troubled waters from superiors in the years to come, but Pret’s non-existent bereavement support program involves using one bereaved employee against another in the most disgraceful way! Perhaps they bribed the Development Manager either with immunity if any future disciplinary against her would come up, or she got that promotion she had an eye on for some time, as she worked in Pret’s HQ since over 15 years. She certainly got the personal protection from the Head of HR who would manipulate and tweak my situation on several occasions, leaving me like a lamb up for slaughter under incapable management. Only she knows why she not only allowed HR to use her, and even went further to take advantage of my story in her university studies.

 

And that is what makes Pret, Pret:

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

… and HR takes this to even more lofty heights:

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

PR, slogans, lies, dishonesty, tricks and traps, disrespect of dignity, lack of integrity behind a facade…

So, those are my questions regarding the Development Manager, did she really have a brother whose story in death was so similar to my brother’s, and if so why did you step on her and my dignity as well as her allowing this.

As you know you got away with it from reaching court as I cannot deal with this mentally without a lawyer and having buried my dad in March. I finally completely broke down. But I can write and ask and expose and share…

 

The other question that keeps burning in my heart which I already addressed you while working in Pret, was the incident one of your People Business Partners told me in an appeals hearing where I raised a grievance against another PBP, which of course was a waste of time, but at least I gave it my best. The PBP in the hearing told me about an assistant manager who was bereaved and mistreated on top of this at work and raised grievances, just like I was. He had the audacity to not only compare me with her, but judging her as well as me to be bitter, because we raised grievances.

I later emailed him as I was speechless in the hearing when he told me this, and wrote that she is not bitter, but in a lot of pain as I could relate to that. I deeply regret not having tried to get in contact with her to support her. But you know, Pret, I was so traumatized, not ready to give any help or assistance to anyone, I was so lost myself, whereas you have all the money, resource and manpower including your Development Manager who is a therapist… I had no strength nor mental capacity to help.

And my question again that I raised before, is this AM the same AM who a few months later ended her life in suicide?

 

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

 

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

Dear Pret, you take former homeless staff hiking, at times your CEO is taking them to his home in Austria and this serves your PR very well as one of your former IT Analyst’s reviewed your Head Office. And yet you put people on the streets through unfair dismissals. I certainly also could have ended up on the streets and was on my way downhill. You drive hardworking staff to suicidal thoughts maybe even successfully, you bully them during bereavement and then try to get rid of them with all kinds of tricks and traps under the umbrella of “doing the right thing… naturally”.

My public outcry, no matter how creative I write to try to heal, my ordeal with your company remains traumatic and it will never go away, no matter what you try next. And having a former team leader colleague of mine whom I used to highly respect and work well together, for him to call and then text me a few weeks ago, after not having heard from him for three years doesn’t work. He lied during an investigation in favour of a line manager who bullied me. He never expected that I’d read his lies later on after I applied for my file. I immediately told him to not contact me again. Your trick-box should have been exhausted by now.

I know you are collecting and waiting for me to do the “right” wrong thing for you to take action and certainly keep my public outcry should this reach court, and I wholeheartedly tell you that I neither care nor am afraid of you. Your systemic disregard for decent and hardworking people with integrity, your lack of compassion for people who give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions, your PR that gotten more cracks in its facade after your appalling dealings with two deaths becoming public… your carelessness will not be hidden forever, no matter how many hikes you take and use former homeless people for PR and step on even their dignity.

These questions remain, and the truth will always come to light… how many more have died, be it customers from allergen reactions or staff by suicide, some even after having left Pret so that no connections can be made. And how many more keep suffering, slide into depression and suicidal thoughts, as the true staff reviews reveal on the same lines of mistreatment again and again?

The truth will always come out, no matter how long it takes.

Kind regards,

Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl

 

 

 

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 – 2018 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org 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“.

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 

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

 

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.

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

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link

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.

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.

 

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 top 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:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

 

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

 

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 

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?

 

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 


 

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.

 

David Breakspear – A Reformed Man (Former Prisoner)

 

My first interviewee, who is very courageous to be interviewed by a newcomer in doing interviews (!), is David Breakspear.

I met David on Twitter not long ago while I was doing one of my “drive-by” Tweets about Pret that I tend to do. I do these Tweets where I post to someone who responds to a Pret related post, in this case it was about Pret employing former prisoners, not knowing David at the time. But he wasn’t one of the employees recruited by Pret, he just commented on it.

I comment on Pret related Tweets and then move on, as I always try to reach as many people as I can, not being a newspaper that could reach the masses. I am basically going from “door to door” like a politician who’s running for office. But what I am “running” for is sharing my and others’ story with Pret.

From the get go he was super supportive and gives me a lot of insight as he draws from immense life experience. I am also very encouraged by his attitude and how he learns to tackle issues! I appreciate and am inspired by his spirit!

Enough said, here’s the interview.

 

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

Hi, my name is David Breakspear, I’ll be celebrating my fiftieth in September. Since the age of 10 I had been a part of the criminal justice system. The typical route of care to prison. I finally broke the chain in 2017 when I was released from what I fully intend to be my final visit to HMP as a prisoner. In April this year my license from prison ended, as did my involvement, for the first time in nearly 40 years, with the criminal justice system. I am now a freelance writer, blogger and an active campaigner for prison, criminal justice and social reform.

 

LNG: How would you describe yourself in one word?

DB: Tenacious

 

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

DB: “You only have control over your own mind not outside events, realise this and you will find strength.” I can’t remember who said it.

 

LNG: Biggest regret?

DB: It’s not that I don’t have any regrets, it’s that I can’t have any regrets. I am the best person right now that I have ever been, that is down to my life that I led, not despite it. Any change to my past would’ve affected my future.

 

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

DB: This is an easy one if it is one to make me smile. On Wednesday 22nd May 2007, an episode of ‘The Weakest Link’ was shown on BBC2. It was one that I was not only in, but one I also ended up winning. I walked away with £2,090. 

 

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

DB: Plenty of patience and a thick skin. The criminal justice system moves at the rate of a glacier, you need the patience of a Saint sometimes or it can frustrate the life out of you. There are plenty of people willing to shoot you down whenever you campaign in an area that is unpopular so being thick skinned really helps. 

 

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

DB: One that continues, my mental health disorders. Although, I no longer allow them to define me. I’ve learnt how to control them without the necessity of medication. Mind over matter if you like.

 

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

DB: I would’ve taken control earlier, you must know what you are working with. My diagnoses didn’t happen until 2010.

 

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

DB: I’ve applied to be at a TEDx talk in November and am awaiting a decision very soon. If I’m successful, the talk will be about a part of my journey. 

 

LNG: What is your definition of success?

DB: That it is subjective, and we view it in our own perspective. To some, just waking up in the morning is success, whereas, someone else may think getting out of bed for £1,000 an hour is their benchmark of success.

 

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

DB: I made a serious attempt on my own life while serving in prison in January 2009. I hadn’t changed my mind, in fact, I was angry when I came through. A fellow prisoner had raised the alarm. Once I had calmed down, and with a bit of therapy, concluded it isn’t my time to go.

 

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

DB: Another saying I love is “I didn’t fail because I didn’t achieve what I wanted, I failed because I gave up trying”. So, in answer to your question, never. 

 

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

DB: Overseeing you! 

 

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

DB: This is an extremely difficult question to answer, I recently blogged about the books that had a profound effect on my life, however, if I put my finger on one it would be ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. So simple really.

 

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

DB: Far too many to list, I’m always trying to improve my weak areas. I do wish I could narrate as well as I write. 

 

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

DB: That I’ve remained true to my words with actions. 

 

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

DB: It’s a bit of a busman’s holiday really. My hobby is writing about organised crime. I write for the largest Mafia history website National Crime Syndicate (www.nationalcrimesyndicate.com). I do like the weekends to be quiet though. At home with my missus Kelly, our two dogs; Frankie, he’s a Staffie and Bonnie, she’s a West Highland Terrier (Westie) plus our cat Millie. 

 

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

DB: Change and reform. 

 

LNG: Favourite meal and drink apart from mama’s cooking!!

DB: Roast dinner, any meat. I hardly drink alcohol these days, so I normally have diet coke with my meal (all other brands of diet cola are available hahahaha!) 

 

LNG: Favourite film or theater play:

DB: Scum (Link to IMDB)

 

LNG: Favourite artist (famous or not, any artist you love):

DB: Not many people will know who, plus it is literally recent, but someone called Phil Forder. He can be found on Twitter. I’m hoping he will exhibit soon. I love his work.

 

LNG: Favourite song or piece of music:

DB: Mozart: rondo in E minor for flute and piano. 

 

LNG: Favourite quote:

DB: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Buddha 

 

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

DB: Oscar Wilde so that I can ask him about the ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’, along with ‘The Listener’ by Walter de La Mare, they are my favourite poems. 

 

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

DB: I currently use a #, it’s #TogetherWeCan, because that is the only way that we can ever truly reform the system. Together. Prison is a part of our society; therefore, our society should care about their prisoners. We all make mistakes, however, should then therefore, that mean we can no longer contribute to society. The ban on prisoners voting, I believe, answers that! 

 

Thank you, David!

One of my own favourite quotes by David from his writings – About prison reform:

»Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t want to spend all your money on a washing machine only to keep having to send it back to the warehouse every now and then, because it didn’t work properly to begin with and the warehouse keep sending it back without doing anything different to it. But! That is exactly what is happening with our fellow citizens who find themselves in prison. Man, woman and/or child.« – David Breakspear

 

David’s Twitter: @Areformedman

Blog: journeyofareformedman.net

Please also visit the Shannon Trust that David is involved in, an organisation supporting prisoners who support prisoners. www.shannontrust.org.uk

David shares on the experience of his talk in the House of Commons on his blog entry: “A Day to Remember” and can be heard in his House of Commons speech in this audio: “Evidence Week – Shannon Trust

 

David also has regular chats with a retired cop, Gary Jenkins from Kansas City, MO on YouTube. These chats are very insightful where they share on similarities in police work and how criminals operate, as well as similarities and differences in the legal system in the UK compared to the U.S.

David Breakspear and Gary Jenkins on “Gangland Wire

 

David’s and other interviews are listed on Interviews and Life Stories.

 


 

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 OverHeated conditions

 

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

 

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 woring 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

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 

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 Classic Pret A Manger Bullying Experience

… by the book!

I’ve seen this review and “logged” it into the general “Pret Staff Complaints” page a while ago, that I update periodically. When I saw this first, I flew over this review initially, but never really looked at it closer as I am used to this type of account, especially from own experiences, but also countless of the other reviews. But today I stumbled on it again and took the time to really read through it thoroughly. I can only say that this review is a very typical Pret staff experience of systemic targeting and bullying. Many reviewers complain about favouritism. This person is a typical hard worker who cares a lot, and also raises issues. But once they raise issues, they become a target which I share in an interview at the bottom of this page in the audio player.

I decided to pick this one apart, like I do sometimes with long reviews and recently did with (current) CEO Clive Schlee’s interview which I simply called “Clive Schlee – A Case Study (on the fun factory)”

In Pret the Kitchen Leader (KL), or other senior kitchen staff member, has to do a daily “line check”, but for lack of time they just fill in the book with numbers and don’t actually do the line check. But a line check is where the KL chooses any product off the shop fridge, like a sandwich for example and takes it apart in the kitchen. They weigh out each ingredient if it is up to Pret standard and best quality. If ingredients are too many or too little, they are supposed to check on this batch and re-train the person who usually does this product daily. Sounds good on paper, but again for the lack of time and not being paid overtime, staff just fill in numbers in the book.

So, I take this as a metaphor and did a “line check” on Clive Schlee’s interview I linked above for the accurate “weight” of his words compared to my and many other people’s experience.

The same with the below review, I do a line check on its weight and can say already, a lot is pretty accurate in its “quality” of experience! But this review walks the reader through a typical day in Pret. And in this case, it looks to me that the reviewer worked the late shift as there is lots of cleaning and multi-tasking involved which can not be done during the morning and lunch-time rushes.

 

THE REVIEW (April 2019)

Upfront, the 23 “yes” to 0 “no” votes (as of July 2019) also speak for itself on how systemic this is in Pret!

Yes, this is a long review, but it is important as this gives a very good picture of how it is in most Prets. And anyone who writes that extensively really cares in general! I will write in-between the text underneath the screenshot. As usual I leave any mistakes in to keep it in their own words.

2019-04-18 Understaffed Review

Link

Reviewer in bold black and my comments in grey. At times I use blue to highlight something:

 

Constantly understaffed

“Worked in this company for a year.Typical day at work would be clearing tables,working on tills,coffee machine,making hot and cold food.”

Typical late shift tasks. Late shift times differ from shop to shop, but on average shifts start either at 11am until 8 or 9pm depending on opening times. Other shifts start at 2pm after the lunch rush and go till 11pm etc. All depending on closing time and how many people work on a shift. But the main crunch times in the afternoons are from 1pm till 7pm (ish).

 

This company promises you pay above minimum wage,but they will slave your for every extra penny,that they pay you.Manager constantly cutting hours,to get their bonus(managers only).So we are always understaffed.”

Nothing more to add really! But this is in every shop I’ve worked in. What “saved” me and my teams often, was that I was very organized and able to structure the teams, also helping them to finish in time. That way we had a strong team spirit, supporting each other without having to work overtime too much. But it was always a struggle for time, especially with new staff who were not given time to learn.

Another review states this clear as well: “Either stop cutting hours or stop giving teams a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete.”

Either stop cutting hours2

Link

 

“They have high standards to ask you to smile constantly and have everything perfect at all times,but by cutting hours some staff are forced to work for 3 people or so fast,that you are literally catching your breath and running a marathon from the minute you start to shift to the end of it.”

Bingo!
I wish I could put these words into a visual, a video of sorts, because it really is like a marathon. And Pret even expects and demand to “never stand still”. This is written in their “values and behaviours” booklet. They drive people to never stand still, so they look like always active! Activity looks like a lively atmosphere for customers, while in reality it is draining the staff!

 

“Constantly being dehydrated at work,because you are not allowed to keep your water bottle while working(often felt thirsty and having headaches).Sometimes didn’t even have time to go to bathroom properly.”

This is a massive problem where my Manager saw a Team Member drink water behind the counter, I was then instructed as the Team Leader by the Manager to tell the Team to not drink behind the counter or anywhere visible, except on their breaks. But with different Managers and shops I found a compromise. Teams are not allowed to leave the tills, especially during busy times. And because water is a necessity to stay hydrated I did not follow this instruction and let my Teams drink water. Sure, if they wanted to drink a Mocha or Frappe with Cream, those are luxury drinks and can be consumed later. But water needs to be available at all times, especially since shops are overheated from all the machinery and body heat.

If Team Members were not allowed to leave the till area I said that they can drink water discretely in a corner behind the counter, especially when the staff room was too far away to quickly go in to drink. If the Manager got mad, I took responsibility and demanded for the Team to be able to drink water when they needed to! It was for me either, they were allowed to go into the staff room to drink, communicating and taking turns, or they were allowed to drink behind the counter. But either way, depending on the shop size etc. I always went against this stupid rule and let them drink water, especially since Managers like to sit in the office drinking, eating, playing on their mobile phones …

Most, no ALL air conditioning in shops are not adequate and cannot cool the overheated shops in the summer. It’s hell in there!! I worked twice for months in overheated shops and was always the one ending up to raise the issue further. When my shops were out of AC we literally begged the customers who mentioned the heat, to please talk to HQ on our behalf, as Pret does not listen to staff. They simply don’t care, except for show! Three customers recently went to Twitter complaining about this as well, in the UK and the U.S.

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

Link

 

And these 3 customers are only those who care to raise this publicly! But the problem exists in most shops with inadequate air conditioning. We took a temperature at one point and stopped looking at it when it was close to 40 degrees Celsius.

 

“And I have been used to hard work in busy places my whole life as I worked in fast paced food industry for more than 10 years.They have mystery shopper bonus,but lately it was also a fail as they will ask you allergen related question and you have to direct them to Team leader or manager so technically they will take over and you loose your chance for outstanding service bonus,which you can get if your service is excellent(100£ or 200£).”

Since the customer deaths became public – and I want to emphasize again, as many people keep saying “since the customer deaths Pret started labelling …” – NO! Since the customer deaths became public, did Pret slowly start the labelling! Up until the press published this, Pret did NOTHING whatsoever!
I’m doing a thorough “line check” here!

But since the deaths became public Pret also tasks the Mystery Shopper to ask allergen specific questions. Staff are told to pass the customer on to the Manager or if the GM isn’t available, then to the next Leader who is in charge. This reviewer then is not able to get a chance for the extra cash they can earn personally if this customer happens to be the Mystery Shopper. So, the reviewer having passed on the customer to the Manager, the reviewer then cannot serve the MS anymore, giving a free coffee and being extra special nice for a chance to get the “Outstanding Card” = extra money.

 

“The best part of this place was my colleagues,that I worked with.When I started,some of them were so experienced and working many years-I learned a lot from them.But through this one year at least 8 long term staff has left,few of them working 5 years at least because of manager,that doesn’t care about their staff,doesn’t appreciate their hard work and and if she have personal dislike,she will sack you and find reasons how to get rid of you.”

Yep, sounds familiar! Pret keeps shooting themselves in the foot by being profit-driven, making lots of money fast, but losing a lot of high caliber people while keeping those who bully and do the short cuts for quick gain! Pret, like many profit-driven companies forget who the REAL advertisers for the companies are.

 

Target1

 

“I literally can’t tell if my review is based on company overall or just this manager, …”

Oh no, you can base it on the company!! 😀

And here is where the marathon and stress is explained well:

“…but she surely has ruined my view at company,because I felt like I have been working so hard and literally multitasking to another level,where you are left on tills alone,quickly running to clear tables,wash china and trays,clean toilets,run to kitchen to make soups,come back make coffee,do the delivery,make sure you food display has proper amount of food available for sale,bake hoot food and above all the serve customers at the same time and manage to prepare to close shop,where you have to wash every table and chairs-sofas,floor,bin stations,toilets etc.(the area is huge).”

And here again I quote from the beginning of this review:

 

“They have high standards to ask you to smile constantly and have everything perfect at all times”

 

Yes, and then most Team Leaders sit in the office abusing their position and let the Team or Team Member struggle out in the shop on their own. Then when the Team Member can’t finish the ridiculous amount of tasks or loses the Mystery Shopper bonus for the WHOLE TEAM because they were swamped with work and did not SMILE while breaking their backs, they get pressured and bullied and gaslit to think they didn’t do a good enough job!

 

This is Pret A Manger in a nutshell!

 

“I have learned,how to travel in time here.Like I said I don’t mind working hard apart from that You always end up late to finish your shift,which nobody pays for and if you leave unfinished ,you will get sacked or given note of concern.”

Yep! The “Note of Concern” formerly called “File Note” is a very typical Pret manipulating tool! Staff members received this piece of paper, which is not a formal written warning or disciplinary, but a step before that to fear manage staff. And those who mostly get this Note of Concern are those who work already like donkeys and seem intimidated easily.

In my early months in Pret I worked with a Spanish guy who didn’t understand English well yet as he just arrived from Spain a few weeks prior to joining Pret. He served the Mystery Shopper, didn’t smile and lost our whole team the bonus. The bonus for the managers are paid quarterly and can be huge or little. And the Mystery Shopper reports count towards the biggest chunk of their quarterly bonus.

So, the Spanish colleague got a Note of Concern to intimidate him to smile. He left Pret a few weeks later, just never turned up for work again.

A Mystery Shopper excerpt of Pret wanting staff to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. And dare you not smile when you happen to serve the Mystery Shopper!

1 Minute Smile

 

“This lovely manager will give you note of concern for smallest things,that you do wrong,so prepare to be perfect or robot.She has also taken my bonus,when I arrived at tills 2 minutes late and never taken it from people,that she favours more for the same time of lateness.”

In my first weeks of becoming a Leader, I was threatened by a Manager that my bonus would be cut if I forget again to slide the opening sign from “closed” to “open”. It was something I forgot 3 times that week. But I was a new Leader and not trained how to check for things. These belittling and abusive behaviours by Managers is so common that you just switch into autopilot and move like a robot. And it’s true as well that even ONE minute lateness gets you a lot of drama and cut bonus!

 

“Never paid my minutes after I had to stay after my working hours,or she would go telling,that am bad staff.”

Very, very, very, very typical Pret management of manipulation, fear management and bullying! Extremely immature and poor management skills that doesn’t care about people.

 

“She lied about Christmas period holidays,when she told me no one is allowed to go on holidays,but 5 people was.Ended up few people working including me during the busiest season of the year,some of the got sick from overworking.”

Yes. Those that the Managers favour get the best holiday slots, and those who work like animals get dumped all the heavy shifts and seasons.

I’m getting triggered as I sieve through this review!! Phew!

 

“Also finally let me to get trained on coffee for coffee start specialist during Christmas season(because she had no one else to work) and literally did not provide any training,because she was to busy for that.After Christmas period ended.when I asked If I can be promoted to barista,declined-said I not good enough for that-don’t want to pay you more.”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! Also, very typical! People are put on coffee and Hot Chef jobs for weeks and even months. They are not trained properly and then their “graduation” to the role is delayed so the Managers can delay the appropriate pay-rise for the role. Or they are promised the role of a Barista for example, get put on the coffee machines during Christmas and other holiday periods when the main Barista is gone. When the main Barista returns, the coffee maker who was promised the role is told they were not doing a good enough job!

Bottom line, they were just used to fill in for Baristas who are on holiday, because if they are not promised things, they often don’t want to step in doing extra work not paid accordingly.

Happens in nearly every shop! When I went through my Team Leader training, my Manager kept postponing my graduation day. She also promised me a certain amount of pay, but then broke to me that she cannot pay what she initially said. After a few weeks of this and her breaking her promise, I finally said that I will step down from this role as I should be a Team Leader already and receive the promised pay. And I meant it. I was in the middle of taking the green Team Leader badge off when she then said that I would graduate that day and get the promised pay.

But since then I never trusted her words again and kept my cards close to my chest.

 

“So did not train me at all and expects master coffee specialist straight away. Just felt like I have been used to patch up her Christmas period time.”

Nothing more to add to that!

 

“Finally gone to all staff,that ever had some dislike with me and promoted them to write abusive and false letters about me,because I reported Christmas understaffed period to head office.”

And this one is what I really want to highlight here, something Managers do systemically when they want to get rid of people. This is what I went through when the bullying really started, when an Area Manager (open letter to her), who was upset with me, because I couldn’t join her New Shop Opening (NSO) as a Team Leader at that time, because I was in the middle, in the first 6 months of my traumatic grief about my brother’s death! With the help of HR she pursued me for 6 months were I was moved around back and forth between shops and the bullying was the worst!

When I applied for my file the following year to understand what happened to me, I read all those lies in emails from colleagues whom I loved to work with! One particular email was from the Area Manager who was the catalyst of me getting targeted, and in that email she asked another Manager, who was also bullying, to write their thoughts about me as soon as possible! I’m not gonna go into the emails and lies here too much, but this is a very strategic foul thing people in management level do. In my case, only few people either wrote positive about me or neutral. But these emails to the bullying Area Manager were not in my file as she must have deleted them. But those people who wrote positive or neutral told me that they wrote. And I never found any email or notes from them in my file.

But this Manager I’ve worked with just a few weeks and she was very harsh, threatening us Leaders with our job security constantly. I approached her twice about her harsh tone, and only in the second time I briefly mentioned my brother and that I don’t need any extra unnecessary stress where I still come to work on time, work with high standards etc. She just listened and then later in the email the Area Manager wanted her to write about me, she was stupid enough to label me a “drama queen”.

Here I was, still working everyday with high standard, on time, hard working WHILE traumatically bereaved. And she called me a “drama queen” and that even in writing! No-one expected that I’d apply for my file, and her email was one of several emails I raised grievances based on those written statements. She did get disciplined but only because she’s a small fish in management. The higher ups I raised grievances against got off the hook!

This screenshot is the email the Area Manager wrote to the Manager. I blacked out any names and location. But when I read those emails of the Area Manager wanting colleagues and Managers to write about me, the blood in my face dropped and these terrible emails were one reason I spiraled into emailing for a prolonged time in trauma, for which the CEO Clive Schlee later labelled me his “late night girl”. And under this patronizing label I write and decided to be a sore in his and Pret’s sight!
I share this in my interview at the bottom audio player.

Area Manager email to Manager wanting a written statement about me to get rid of me. Hundreds of emails and papers I read in front of me like a fly on the wall, going from shock to shock to shock…:

Drama Queen NamesDeleted

 

“The last straw,that I have had enough,is allowing for 11 months of the service I am there taking free coffee before I start to work and suddenly I have to pay for that.Why are you allowing it and then decide to not allow it anymore? and just for me,because the favorite staff she still allows it and even to give food outside their food allowance for girlfriends,family etc”

I’m so sorry you were bullied, dear Reviewer! You went through a typical bullying scenario by the book!

 

“Because of this she has yet again got me in trouble for creating situation,where she allows something,writes a complain,that I am doing something against her will and denies ,that she have ever said,that she allowed in first place.She doesn’t care about nothing unless it’s dollar signs in her eyes.Everyone,who she feels threatened by or have different opinion about something-she will eliminate.She is a boss,not a leader.”

Yes, sounds like a typical Pret A Manger Manager.

And the last sentence cannot be said better:

“She is a boss,not a leader”

 

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 

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.

 

Clive Schlee: A Case Study of the Fun Factory

 

Even though putting this interview between Clive Schlee and Mario Bauer on here, I am indirectly making advertisement for Pret, and Clive Schlee and Pret like to peek here once in a while, but I want to do a reality check on this conversation from 02.07.2019.

He and Pret have announced on Monday 01.07.2019 (after I tweeted to the press and the press “broke” the news) his “retirement”, but remaining as a non-executive Director.

I find this interesting in many ways. First, when JAB took over Pret they reshuffled the top team pretty quick, including axing co-founder (or “re-founder”) of Pret Sinclair Beecham and HR Director Andrea Wareham.

Quote: “Filings show that CFO Mr Jones, former chairman Larry Billett, HR director Andrea Wareham, co-founder Sinclair Beecham and US president Joanne Brett had all been terminated as directors from parent company PAM Group Limited.” – Daily Mail

Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham re-founded Pret again in 1986 after a short run of the original Pret which was founded in 1983 by Jeffery Hyman. Funny enough, up until the two customer deaths became public, the Wikipedia entry on Pret never showed this info regarding the 1983 start. Julian  Metcalfe is also founder of Asian style fast-food chain itsu and “Metcalfe’s Food Company, in partnership with Clive Schlee.” – Wikipedia

So, JAB axing Sinclair Beecham, yet keeping Clive Schlee on board is interesting. For one, I’m sure it is to “safe face” and not let Schlee look defeated, after the poor re-action on the terrible and unnecessary deaths that happened. But also, knowing how Schlee works, he is the perfect “mascot” for Pret. I always experienced him more like the Ronald McDonald of Pret A Manger, who’s job it is with an endless smile and friendly approachable front, to keep the workforce happy slaving on low wages and the public happy with colourful, fancy food and freebies.

Pano Christou, who came from McDonald’s as a Manager having started in Pret straight away as an Assistant Manager, has a more serious approach to things. He at least blocked me and now deleted his Twitter account. He will be dealing with issues more directly and swifter, but he will do the same business of a profit-driven company.

And that’s where Schlee now will continue his “clown” role, to not only represent Pret as this oh so happy and friendly brand, but to redeem himself with more and more charitable work. This can be seen in the below interview that I’ll be taking apart like a Pret A Manger “line check”, picking ingredients apart, weighing out each item for its “correctness” and if it’s up to standard (truth).

 

THE INTERVIEW (my comments below)

From Teddy Talks interview by Mario Bauer

Upfront, I doubt Clive Schlee will have a TED Talk anytime soon, but for a Teddy Talks it’s insightful enough.

Key points and my comments on just the things important to mention, not the whole interview. As Mario Bauer’s first language is not English, I will leave grammatical issues, or mistakes in general, in the transcript. I prefer to leave people’s sentences the way they are when I quote them, out of respect and to keep it in their own words like I do with all the staff reviews I collected.

 

PEOPLE CULTURE

Mario Bauer: at 2:44
“For me the most fascinating thing about Pret is the People Culture. Because what you built over the years, when I talk to Head Hunters, they say you don’t even need to call somebody on Senior level or OPs Manager level, to kind of steal them from Pret. You cannot steal people from Pret, there’s a very high loyalty to you, to your management, to the brand. How do you build that loyalty, how Pret became the people company. Because at the end of the day it’s a sandwich store, how do you make it a people company?”

Clive Schlee: at 3:16
“I think at the very early days, Julian and Sinclair recognized that to get people to get up so early in the morning, and work and make sandwiches in difficult conditions, something had to be special. And they inherently sensed that giving people a future, and giving them friendship and making a sense of family, was going to be very attractive and much more important than money. Money had to be good, but those three F’s: future, friendships and family, that was the beginning of Pret’s culture, which I hope stayed throughout, I always tried to encourage those three.
As a result of that, people get very loyal to Pret, and as you say, it’s difficult to head hunt them away, which we like that very much.”

My comments as Clive Schlee’s patronizing and disrespectful labelling as: “Late Night Girl”
First of all, Mario Bauer asked this question regarding senior people and OPs managers who are difficult to head hunt away from Pret. The reason why they are so difficult to steal away is the immense amount of money senior leaders earn! On top of all the nick-knacks, they fly out to Dubai or if in the U.S. to Las Vegas, throw parties, even sit in pubs during lunch time, while the shop staff slave away and are pressured to work harder for profit and managers’ bonuses! But Mr. Schlee here talks about the shop people as he remains desperate for workers!

On a shop staff level, many people leave easily. I know several colleagues, especially leaders, who left Pret and went to EAT, the competition that is now purchased by JAB via Pret. EAT was set up very similarly and is always seen as the closest imitation of Pret. Andrew Walker, EAT’s CEO used to be Pret’s UK Managing Director before he left Pret, a role which was then taken by Pano Christou. Pano became COO of Pret when JAB took over. There was no COO role in Pret before JAB. Much of EAT’s production did come from large factories, and when they ran out of products in the afternoon, there wasn’t a high pressure to keep making sandwiches. Staff were paid less, but the work was easier, according to those that went there and told me later.

Secondly, I appreciate that Mr. Schlee acknowledges that making sandwiches in Pret is done in “difficult conditions”. Thank you for that acknowledgement!

Thirdly, the three FF’s. Uh-oh, where do I start!? This one I keep brief as the friendship and “family” culture will entangle itself as you read on! I can only say that Pret has either a big fat lying facade when it comes to the “family” environment, or Pret is a very dysfunctional family! But to me I experienced the first to be the case. Only one of many staff reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

INTERNAL PROMOTION

MB: at 3:58
“You have an internal promotional system, university…”

PAUSE: If I understood that he said “university”, I think he means the Pret Academy where staff are trained. Pret doesn’t have a university! Let’s not fly too high here! In the UK, and especially In Pret, there is a lot of psychology used and slogans to sound sophisticated. The Pret Academy is just a place near HQ where leaders are trained. But the results of this “training” can be seen in the appalling way many Managers behave on the day-to-day running of the shops. Not to mention that one of the Trainers is a Development Manager who was used to gaslight me. I share this extensively in my interview at the bottom of this page in the audio-player.

MB:
“You have an internal promotional system, university … there’s a lot of people I met over the years … and you always hear the stories ‘I started as a cashier, I worked myself up to a district manager’ (OPs). What’s the structure / system behind it?”

CS: at 4:18
“There’s a very disciplined system behind our academy. And every step, there’s an increased pay-rate and a series of quiz. And you climb up and up and up. There are many chances to climb and that’s very important to Pret. And then we give the lessons and the practical experience so that people can move from being a Team Member Trainer to be a Team Leader to be Assistant Manager …”

LNG:
Sounds wonderful on paper, but reality is far, far from this! Maybe this was like this before the mid 2000s. But I have not been trained properly and most of my colleagues neither. Only if you were willing to make friends with management were you moved up quickly and somewhat trained. The countless staff reviews in the below slideshow indicate this problem as well.

Yes, there is a strict hierarchy and a complex system where people are micromanaged with small details that burn them out! The really important things they are not trained in: people skills, leadership skills, SKILLS in general!! Pret loves to recruit according to people’s “personality” rather than skill to portray this “happy family” business to the outside. So, you have a lot of happy bunnies bouncing around, burdening down workers who are the ones getting the job done, under intense pressure and low wages while the bunnies claim the credit for it!

Also, the internal promotion system Pret boasts about has always puzzled me! When I started in Pret I was “head hunted” by a former Caffe Nero Manager who got me into his shop. I have worked in several companies where staff were ALWAYS promoted from within! Schlee here says that it must be a world record that in Pret 40% are promoted from within! Sorry?

But what is the saddest thing about the promotion system in Pret is that with some Managers it is an open secret that they got into their position because they became a little “too close” to their boss or even a senior leader from HQ! Their career was paved in the bedroom. This is really sad, because you expect this in a law firm, in Hollywood and certainly in politics, but a sandwich chain? It’s ridiculous and staff often had no respect for management like this behind their backs.

Again, one of many reviews also on this. A recent one from NY:

Promotion

Link

And a very poignant review by a former General Manager, London.
Quote: “”As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”

GM internal promotion

Link

Head Office Review:

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

So, Pret makes such a big deal again out of something, selling ice cubes to Eskimos! The same is true with the free food allowance for staff. EVERY restaurant or cafe business gives free lunch and coffee allowance! Yet, Pret makes it sound like they are the only ones doing this! Sure, the 50% rebate for staff when purchasing items outside of work is very generous, hands down. Many companies either give 10% or like Caffe Nero, we had to pay full price when buying in our private time, which is really unacceptable, to be honest. Same with Iceland. I stood in line behind an Iceland staff member who bought a can of coke for his break, and he paid full price! I asked him about it and they confirmed that they are paying full price. So, Pret is very generous on this front.

 

MB: at 4:52
“So, basically I know when I do a good job and when I follow the plan, you already set out in two years I’ll be in that position, I’ll make that-and-that money, so people can plan with that.”

CS: at 5:00
“They can see a chart showing them how to climb up.”

LNG:
That’s true, there is a chart, in fact it’s a silly chart with colourful little cartoons on it, like in Kindergarten, showing how to climb the “ladder”. And that’s about it! How people REALLY climb the ladder often is not like Mario Bauer says, by “doing a good job” and follow some “plan”. No, it’s again by making friends with management, including doing all the dodgy things and short cuts many managers stop doing once they move into management. Because the higher you climb, the more you have to lose. So, they pass all the dirty work down to the Team Leaders. And if the Leaders get caught, they are easier and cheaper to replace. Simple.

It’s like wanting to join a gang, you have to prove yourself, not by doing the right and honourable thing, but by doing some scary dare to prove they are the same as the gang and mean business going all the way, whatever it takes! Many managers in Pret are very insecure, immature, often not trained properly, fluster about when the heat is on. And the worst thing that I find even “incurable” is, many are lazy! I have learned in my many years of work in different companies, that a lot of attitude can be changed and re-trained, but laziness isn’t one of them!

So, when someone comes along who has skill, they will be burdened down with all the hard work that management takes credit AND big bonus for. And if the hard worker has integrity, they will never ever be able to join the “gang”, as they are like a mirror to managers who don’t like secure people with skill reflecting their shortcomings. I’ve seen too many good people leave Pret or even worse, go backwards from a Team Leader back to a Barista or even an Assistant Manager went all the way back to being Team Member. I’ve never seen employees in ANY company I’ve worked before go backwards! They either climb up, stay at the position, or leave the company.

I had this thought many times in my Pret struggle, but going backwards was never an option for me. It was either: go up, stay put, or go out. But you never go backwards within the company. It might be one of my crazy ticks. But that’s how I always felt.

In 5:04 the question of how many people work for Pret, the CEO answers with over 13.000 in all the different countries. When the £1000 announcement was made a year ago, which I write about the timing of it in connection to my blog. Also, after tax the £1000 really was about £800.

Clive Schlee gives some appreciation to all the foreign workers in 5:18 which I think does need to be mentioned to be fair. He says that Pret would not be where they are without all the foreign workers. This raises the question again on why there are so few British workers. And Pret is reaching out now into all sorts of avenues to recruit especially young Birtish workers (cheaper workers under 21, indoctrinating them early, the investment is for longer and young folk are oblivious of their rights). But I appreciate that he acknowledges that without all the foreign workers Pret would not be where it is today! But words are cheap! Paying them the Living Wage and treating them with respect would make his appreciation more believable.

 

RISING STARS

Mario Bauer’s questions about the “Rising Stars” program at 5:37

CS: at 5:56
Pret has been involved with helping the homeles since the very early days, when we first made sandwiches in the mornings, I think Julian and Sinclair recognized they could never ever keep the sandwiches over night. So, we gave the sandwiches to the homeless. … From the day we made the sandwiches in the morning, within a couple of years of Pret starting.

So we always were generous to homeless people with food. But there’s another thing that matters to homeless people a lot, which is, what they most need is a job. Simply giving them food is not enough. So, we started to work out how we could give them a job and eventually we have developed a program which is one of the successful in the world …”

PAUSE: Did he claim to have one of the most successful project in the world of giving former homeless people a job??

CS: “… giving people who’ve been homeless, we get them recommended to us by hostels and organizations, and ex-offenders. And they come and work in Pret for 12 weeks. We give them a Zone 1 Underground pass. And we make sure they get up and we give them a buddy, and we really train them with care. And they can get careers in Pret…”

LNG:
Sounds all very good and commendable. But this one really bugs me because of the marketing and labelling people in a patronizing way “Rising Stars”. If I was a former homeless person, this would really not sit well with me. First of all, it is really great when he takes former homeless people to his Austrian property or to other places, giving them jobs, and now accommodation etc. And maybe he gives them access to his world to give them an appetite of how to drive for more profit in the hopes to become rich. But nevertheless, it is commendable. Beautiful! Yet, in comparison to how regular staff are treated, it is disheartening to say the least on how he uses them for PR!

In the PRet CEO blog about the “Rising Stars” former homeless employment program, Schlee shares how the idea came up for these “Rising Stars” to solely work together in a Pret shop. From the manager to the kitchen sandwich makers, having all former homeless people work in one shop.

Why?

CEO Quote (I added the colour to highlight something where he’s indirectly giving himself away):

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

 

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

And on the 450 “Rising Stars” since the 10 years of the Pret Foundation Trust, working with former homeless people, some people finally probe deeper, also on Facebook and are just not buying it:

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff

 

“Careful to integrate”?

Might be leaving them “too exposed”?

Too exposed for what?

Clive Schlee giving himself away again. The same CEO who takes former homeless people to his Austrian PRoperty for a hike in the beautiful countryside, is the same CEO who has a highly stressful workplace with bullying managers who are drilled for targets and profit, repaying the investors since private equity took over.

2019-02-11 Critical Tweet re Homeless house

 

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

 

2019-02-09 Response to Homeless House Tweet2

Facebook comment need to load a few second to see the comment, also need to be logged into FB.

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

This part really bugs me now:

MB at 7:20 asking where the “Rising Stars” live when they start working in Pret, if they still live on the streets.

CS: at 7:23
No, no, no, we normally get recommended. We have to choose the ‘Rising Stars’ very carefully, because they look like all the other Team Members. It’s important they blend in with the other team Members. They get selected by homeless organizations who say ‘that person has the capacity to work in Pret’ and they put them forward to us.”

LNG: This is a tricky one because on one hand I can understand that Pret wants people to “blend in” and “be like” all the others. But this uniformity shows how discriminating Pret really is. If this company truly is free of discrimination, free of judgment towards a diversity of people, why have a “chosen few” system? A “regular” homeless person has NO chance to be “selected” to be of the “special few”.

And Pret treats former homeless people with special care. Again, this is good, but it is also damaging for the regular staff who are pushed, pressured and bullied to perform in high pace for profit. This makes regular staff mentally ill, depressed, not to mention even suicidal. THIS is why I write so blunt and loud, because my own story (interview at the bottom audio player) had me almost killed in what Pret under Clive Schlee’s leadership has put me through! I could be dead now or on the streets myself.

Former Assistant Manager was unfairly dismissed and had to sleep in his car, having lost everything:

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

This happened to him, my story with Pret and many many others who were treated like sh*t and God knows how many landed on the streets, became depressed and even died by suicide!

I call them and us the “Fallen Stars” of Pret A Manger that Clive Schlee burdened like donkeys for profit!

That is why I don’t buy his “Rising Stars” scheme! I even believe that he really thinks he is doing good! I often see Mr. Schlee as living in La La Land, somewhere in a bubble where he actually really believes he’s doing so much good! Now 480 “Rising Stars” in 10 years vs. 13.000 current staff that struggle! Hello?

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Link Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

2019-04-16 Depression Toxic

Link “If you want to know what Depression is work at Pret A Manger is the best place for that…Toxic environment”

 

Annihilate Humanity 41

Link

»This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.«

»You will loose everything that makes you human.«

 

And these above reviews, among all the many other reviews, answer the question on why Pret is “careful to integrate” former homeless people into regular shops, not wanting to leave them “too exposed”. It would hurt Pret’s marketing and image to bully them the same way like they bully regular staff who then break and fall into the same problems some of the “Rising Stars” came out of! This is beyond hypocrisy, this is what the above former HQ IT Analyst wrote about Pret using people for PR.

I was bullied after 7 years in Pret when I became bereaved and continued for another 3 years in hell in a complete fog, emotional war-zone and confusion!

The conversation goes on about food waste, which is also not always done and I cover this in “Pret Food Waste” or about products and food development, Veggie Pret etc. Further in the interview Mario Bauer asks at 15:37 that the London landscape has changed with a Pret on almost every corner, and how the company will stay relevant with a shop on every corner. Schlee hesitates a little bit here, but answers by saying that the staff are Pret’s number one job as they are the ones that have the biggest impact and how Pret works to make things easy for them (uhm!) etc. He goes on about the food, communication on the packaging to customers (well, he doesn’t mean allergen labelling by the way!). Lastly, he talks about how the corner is “king” and when he gives advise to businesses he tells them to open on corners and that he would call Pret a “corner company”. Sounds all very lovely.

What he doesn’t tell us is, what this Times article does in: “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it“, quote:

»Veteran private equity investor: “We buy a business, work out how many restaurants you can get away with in an area until it’s become saturated, then try to convince a new buyer that there is plenty more runway”.«

And JAB took over from Bridgepoint and now concentrates on the USA and other European cities, especially airports and train stations to “spread” the brand faster throughout the world! London’s landscape has indeed changed, but not for the better. It is cluttered with Prets that even long-time fans get tired of it, including above journalist Sathnam Sanghera. So, JAB expands out! And Mario Bauer touches on this when he says that “you own the high street and then you grow…”

I fast forward in this interview to what is important to me as a former long-time employee having suffered in Pret almost to the point of suicide. All the business bla-bla isn’t my concern here but staff issues. They briefly touch on the customers who died and again, Clive Schlee is talking too much about how it was for HIM instead of how he has failed to re-act on warnings, not to mention putting in “meaningful change” IMMEDIATELY when the deaths occurred rather than waiting until it became public years later.

I especially want to skip the private equity part when Bridgepoint came in and when the “squeeze” really started on workers. I don’t want to waste my time on this part of the greed of those business ventures, except to say that their definition of success is that Bridgepoint, and now JAB, bring in great riches. But it is for the top leadership on the backs of low-wage workers. Schlee says in the interview how staff turn-over has decreased. But how can this be, that while Pret is growing, the numbers of staff since 2016 has decreased and the chronic under-staffing, that employees as well as customers complain about on Twitter and other sites, not to mention my experience.

Speaking about “chronically” under-staffing, I speak a lot about this and may have started this term of “chronic” under-staffing. And it gives me hope to know that staff read my blog and Tweets. I know this from the feedback I get in emails and also just found today a brand new review on Glassdoor which sounds like I have written it, LOL!! But someone must have read my words and on reviews sites you cannot leave more than 1 review or vote more than once. I am happy to inspire staff to find words to their Pret experience!

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

Back to the private equity issue, the few pennies Pret pays more or the few perks they give does not cover the pain and double work people go through. One poignant review by a former GM on a blog comment in 2012 about how Bridgepoint’s 2008 entrance has hurt Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM2

2012 on Blogspot

Another from a GM along those lines:

Worst Mafia

2014

Assistant Manager from NY 2017:

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Link

… and so on …

Pret Factory

From an old US Pret site

That’s true, there’s no big sandwich-making machine and no big sandwich factory. There are many small, little sandwich-making human machines, working in small and cramped kitchens. The human machines are pushed and pressured to assemble items fast in factory-style conditions of fear management, loud and fast music to beat the drum of the work-pace under the facade of “fun”!

 

The interviewer now asks the CEO about his management style at 31:37, and Schlee answers that one has to be a happy and positive person. He goes on to give an example about the boss of Barclay’s and how he walks his dog every morning. His dog wags his tale and when a dog wags his tale, the other dogs wag their tales. Schlee teaches this to the managers he says, but again, how can a manager, or any staff at that be truly happy under such excrutiating stress on a daily basis! My only thought is that he is doing emotional labour and wants his staff to do the same, while in reality there is a lot of depression, alcoholism and anxiety. And I mean it when I say that I hope Clive Schlee himself is not suffering depression while performing a fake happiness, as this will catch up on even the most positive person in time.

I do understand that what happened with the deaths, as well as staff deaths and my situation including my blog, must be very hard on him. But the times of feeling empathy for a multi-millionaire who has access to any help, resource and support he can get, is over. He is a leader who has been entrusted with thousands of PEOPLE! It is his decision what he does with that responsibility. It is actually heartbreaking to watch him explain how if managers can wag their tale and be happy during the stressful times, because he knows my blog and by now has read all the reviews of people who are broken! So, I do hope Clive is okay, but at the same time I hope as well that he wakes up to his responsibility of the thousands of people he is over.

And I say again here what I said on Twitter, and the reason I say this so blunt is because of the tone in Pret shops. The way hard workers are spoken to, shouted at, discriminated etc. My own story that I survived and still don’t know how I did. One manager after I came out of a shop where I was openly bullied during the worst time in traumatic grief, and my new manager said to me alone in the office away from witnesses when I was completely out of my mind in trauma and grief; he said to me in a quiet tone when I was distraught and questioned his motive (he didn’t pay me for Christmas Eve!), he said: “I don’t want the area to feel sorry for me anymore”, meaning the other managers in the area felt sorry for him because I was thrust into his shop by HR! I write about this in “Discrimination: Mental vs. Physical“. I cannot describe the shock and humiliation I went through again and again and again and again…

And I say this again here like I said on Twitter, that I do respect Clive Schlee as a human being, but not as a leader. I have no respect for his leadership whatsoever and even feel extremely ashamed to have been fooled for so long about him when I worked in Pret!

The end of the interview is to me the most important part I want to cover on the reality versus the facade or delusion. At 38:10 I want to quote again. But before I quote, it’s funny how he says that having been in Pret a long time, and that “you have to be careful not to stay too long at these places” … at “these places”? 😉 Being so infaturated with Pret, I am sure it wasn’t quiet his choice to step down after all that happened!

CS: “As I now turned 60, I’m beginning to”

PAUSE: Beginning to? … and then he quickly changes direction!

CS:I think there are two kinds of virtues:
your resume virtues when you’re accumulating and opening shops and increasing gross profit.
And then there is your eulogy virtues, which is how people really look at you as a person. And unfortunately they won’t remember the fact that … [a company has made profit]…
They will remember how you handled things”

PAUSE: HOW you handle things!

 

9 Warnings Ignored

From Yahoo Finance / YouTube / ITV

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse mum on her shock that Pret did NOTHING even after Natasha died! >>> YouTube

Quote:

“A young person died from eating one of their products, and the fact that they did nothing and just let things carry on exactly as they had before, is beyond believe actually!”
– Tanya Ednan-Laperouse

 

Also, Pret was sued in New York in 2016 already after a customer went into anaphylactic shock from Sesame in an unlabelled wrap! >>> Article. So, this wasn’t a first incidence of sesame.

 

CS: “How you treated people”

PAUSE: HOW you treated people!

Go back

Link

CS: “So I’m kind of moving in that direction now.”

NOW, hey!

So, he steps down, but remains as a non-executive Director. Pano Christou will take over and continue to drive the Pret machine hard for profit! Clive Schlee will concentrate on repairing his reputation as this lovely, happy CEO, ignoring all the pain and suffering that is still going on under his leadership! I still believe he needs to be taken to court on all these issues.

Clive Schlee says all the right things, but reality is very, very different, and I still cannot come to the conclusion if he is just very diluted or an ice cold business man. Or both! But one thing I am certain is, that his friendly, approachable demeanor does not fool me anymore after what I have suffered and witnessed for years.

 

The legacy of a private equity owned company:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019 figures

 

LINK: >>> Long list of staff complaints.

 

May 2019: TWO Pret Staff have died
>>> Link to Article

 


 

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.

Clive Schlee’s “Retirement” vs. Resignation

 

»Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.«
Proverbs 24:17

 

But, it’s not good enough, Pret / JAB! It’s not good enough!

I found a Tweet last night on Mr. Schlee’s Twitter where he silently responded to a farewell Tweet, which to me looks like what I call a “bait” Tweet, as the CEO has not blocked me…

I wrote a blog entry after reading and tweeting, and this morning tweeted to the press which in turn very quickly announced that Pret HQ announced Clive Schlee’s “retirement”. They must have contacted HQ to verify my Tweet leading to the CEO’s Tweet. Only after my Tweet and then the press’ “breaking” news did Clive Schlee and Pret make the announcement. Maybe it’s their feeble attempt to pretend to be slow in announcements like they were with customer deaths… I don’t know, but with Pret I don’t expect any professionalism.

Last night:

 

2019-07-01 quiet retirement

Link

 

This morning around 10am my Tweet to the press:

 

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

And promptly I get partially shadow banned for the next 48 hours after having tweeted to the Press. My Tweets are still visible within a feed if one clicks “Show more replies” as they left the “Thread ban ” open, but cannot be found in search.

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger NO Thread ban

Shadowban.eu/ExPretAManger
The ban will be lifted and all in the green on 03. July approx. 10:30am UK time.

Retiring while remaining as a non-executive Director (like he is in itsu as well) is not retiring. I do understand that my website may be a sore in JAB / Reimann’s sight and finding a compromise, a typical Pret sweet-talk again to sort of, kind of, a little bit, somehow… have Clive Schlee “step down” but remain in a leading role behind the scenes!

And I write again what I wrote this morning, that Clive Schlee needs to be taken to court and face the music for once! Customer deaths, staff deaths incl. suicides, I survived… how many more are under the carpet? When will Pret A Manger take responsibility, away from the blaming game and sweet-talk?

Not good enough, Pret / JAB! Under Clive Schlee staff is expected to “strive for perfection” and are squeezed the life-blood out of them for low wage!

Not good enough!

One person on Twitter this morning, whom I didn’t read before posted this in response to Clive Schlee’s Tweet (which came after the press reports after my Tweet), a very rare observation of someone from the public looking deeper:

 

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link

 

»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

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.