Blog

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 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 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, and depending on how busy it is and if working in the rush times. 300 transactions are NOT 300 people, 1 transaction can be serving 3 people. A group of tourists, families, colleagues who order together and often pay together, but each person will be spoken to about their order 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 reviews:

 

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.

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. 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.

 

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

 

02 Annahilates Humanity12

 

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 

UPDATE 22. April 2019

2019-04-22 NEW on TWITTER

Link

 


 

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.

poetrasblok.com

 


 

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.

Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

 

Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat
“Organic Coffee NaturalGood… Glyphosate Food”

 

Even while I worked at Pret I always wondered how Pret’s claim to be certified Organic and Fair Trade regarding their coffee can even be valid. Not making any allegations, just raising questions! To get certified as being organic is super expensive for companies.

The mistake most people make, and why companies employ expensive marketing and psychology is, when looking at the signage that is being fazed out now after the class action suits on the natural claim, it says in a round logo: “Organic Coffee Natural Food”. Or now the new signs “Organic Coffee Good Food”. Clever marketing knows “eye-level, buy-level” and in most countries we read and write from left to right and from the top down. And many times I read it on Twitter especially that people recommend Pret to others as this “organic food” chain…

But even if Pret would claim to sell organic food, the ingredients that are delivered from factories every morning are PERFECT, the eggs are all the same size and often the same bleak yellow colour, the bananas are perfect etc. But Pret claims their coffee is organic, okay, we have to “swallow” that until someone can prove otherwise. I just raise the question as I know how much the coffee costs having had to do the ordering for the day-to-day running of shops. If customers knew how much it costs for Pret to produce a cup of latte, including the coffee, milk, cup, lid and labour… people would get sick at the profit margin. That’s why Pret can afford to give so many free coffees and then turn around, raise the price as someone has to pay for all the freebies. And it won’t be Pret!
On the Free Coffee marketing I write extensively on Free Coffees in Pret A Manger.

Back to the “Natural” issue. The round logo gives us the impression of “Organic Food” as our brains move automatically from left to right and top down. But Pret will say they never claimed to have organic food, but organic coffee. They “throw” the perception back at the customer again and I wonder if anyone is looking closer into the organic coffee claim.

Pret has been sued for their claim to be natural while the food contains glyphosate for which the mighty Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, currently has more than 13,000 lawsuits on their neck. With three major lawsuits lost in the billions, due to denial that their main product Roundup causes cancer, which has not had a warning label on the product. Bayer upon purchasing Monsanto in 2018 set aside $250 Million for the expected lawsuits, but has bitten out a bigger chunk than they can chew in legal bills, and the shares have tumbled towards the basement since the verdicts. Bayer never expected that the jury would now draw the line, as the fake laboratory tests Monsanto conducted saying that Roundup is safe, coming to light. But that’s another story altogether.

So, if the public has been paying attention regarding Pret’s signage, I have seen it more lately even in London that Pret signs are changing due to the successful vs. “natural” claim lawsuits. More and more it says “Organic Coffee Good Food” now. How about changing it to “Organic Coffee Labelled Food”!!

 

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

Link

 

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

Even on Pret.com, the word “natural” seems to have completely disappeared.

 

good-food-new-sign.jpg

Link to Pret USA Twitter as the U.S. shops have to act fast

 

A customer on Twitter posted the below pictures confused on why the word “natural” was covered over at LAX airport that is getting ready for its first Pret on the West Coast, as JAB / Reimanns are on a mission to expand fast, trying to restore Pret’s reputation and divert from all the scandals, especially the TWO customer deaths. They divert with swamping first airports and busy train stations in new areas. In the U.S. Pret has to act on the “natural” signage while in the UK everything is lenient again.

Two customers died from hidden allergen in Pret products, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized and Pret did not act after numerous warnings before and even after the deaths occurred. Pret only started acting slowly after the deaths became public.

Same with the “natural” food claim.

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over2

 

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over3

Link to David Blumenstein’s Tweet

 

Pret to remove Natural

Link to Daily Mail article

 

Watching the developments on how fast Pret has to change the signage and packaging in the UK and Europe…

 


 

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.

 

 

 

 

On the Frontlines of Pret A Manger

 

With JAB / Reimann’s takeover of Pret, they are exploding from here on, purchasing sandwich chain rival EAT. with the plans to bow to public demand, turning the 90+ EAT. stores into Veggie Prets. The work environment of Pret will spill over to EAT.

EAT. as an imitation and the most serious competition to Pret is known by Pret staff as being more relaxed and less strict. EAT. has always been a sore in Pret’s sight, so one can imagine the triumph they must feel (all on workers’ backs!). Many Pret staff that I also worked with, especially leaders, left Pret and went to EAT. after they couldn’t handle the harshness of Pret anymore. They said that they rather get paid less and have less stress.

I’m sure current EAT. staff will be taken on more or less. Andrew Walker, CEO of EAT. used to be Pret’s UK Managing Director and has his story of why and how he left Pret …

 

2019-05-22 EAT

Photo: eat.co.uk

After the initial rumor mid May 2019 before the confirmation days later, the slogans are already out there quickly, as Pret A Manger means ready to eat, Twitter is full with “Ready to Eat EAT.” and “Pret swallowing EAT.” posts.

My concern remains regarding employees as I have survived Pret on another matter (my podcast interview at the bottom of this post). Perfect timing that my experience with Pret was also published in the May/June 2019 edition of The Scottish Left Review at the same time the rumors of the EAT. purchase circulated on Twitter.

 

2019-05-22 Preat A Merger

Link

How the leadership structure will be changed with Andrew Walker CEO of EAT and Clive Schlee, Pret’s CEO and their past “issues”, time will tell. But both companies in mid to end of May 2019 aren’t the highest scores from staff reviews on Glassdoor as well as Indeed and other sites. A little over half of EAT. staff and less than half of Pret staff recommend working for their companies on Glassdoor.

 

2019-05-22 EAT Percentage Reviews

versus

2019-05-22 45 staff 55 Clive

Regarding staff reviews of Pret, the below Slideshow at the bottom should make it clear why less than half recommend working at Pret.

 

The Scottish Left Review, a monthly left wing magazine published my story in their May/June 2019 edition.

I copy the full article here with link to the publication. I submitted the text which was slightly edited for grammar as English is my second language. But the text has been written by myself with information given to the magazine on the Pret Union and the I-Hate-Pret-A-Mangerpreth8ers” Facebook group.

 

Full text:

 

On the frontline: crushed by corporate capitalist culture 
Fighting-Back-Logo

 

Late Night Girl’ tells of the bullying behaviour at work she suffered and how she is fighting back.

My story with Pret-A-Manger is very complex and long. Only in hindsight, do I think I understand the extent of what I’ve been through and how systemic the problem of workplace bullying in profit driven companies can be.

I have always worked in the food industry in three different countries. I have worked in a hotel, wine bar, canteen and various restaurants and cafe chains but I have never experienced the stress and discrimination I went through in Pret. Only now, when I have contact with unions (like the BFAWU) and activists, do I realise that this is a growing problem as a result of capitalist globalisation and the accompanying intensification of competition.

Before I worked in Pret, I was an assistant manager (AM) in Caffe Nero. Nero was a lot of stress, but nothing like Pret, and the atmosphere with colleagues and managers was relaxed. I left Nero as Pret paid better. Even as a new team member, I got paid more than as an AM in Nero. I would not have left Nero if the wage was not so poor. Little did I realise that the reason Pret pays a little more than its competitors is because the work is so intense, incredibly stressful and with a bullying environment under poorly trained management.

But I’m used to hard work and don’t shy away from it. I started in Pret in 2008 just when Bridgepoint, the private equity investor, purchased Pret and put forward the target to open on every street corner (in London specifically). That meant a lot of managers were needed, but there was not the effort to really train them, and most have neither people nor leadership skills.

But again, I gave Pret the benefit of the doubt, thinking in time when I moved on or rose upwards in position that it would become easier. I never expected this bullying environment – which at first I denied was happening as it happened in every shop I worked but it continued and even intensified when I was bereaved.

I was a team leader of the shop floor – there is a separate leadership in the kitchen – from around 2011 onwards. Team leaders do the real work, whereas managers tend to sit in the office, come in late, leave early, look important, go to meetings etc. Team leaders are blamed a lot while not being supported.

My story really starts to become horrendous when my brother died. This in itself was the most traumatic event in my life and I never expected to be treated so badly with the seeming intention to have me leave my employment as bereaved employees seem quickly to become something of an inconvenience in Pret, and often in many other companies.

My brother died in December 2014 in his flat and was not found for approximately six days when neighbours smelt the strong odour of his corpse. My brother was self-employed – after having gone back to studies, he started his own business as an environmental advisor on green energy to companies. He travelled throughout Germany where I’m from, so it was not unusual that neighbours didn’t see him much.

We didn’t know for five weeks that my brother died, and to make it even worse, the police did not investigate properly, not finding us and after a few weeks just cremated him. I have written extensively about this on my blog (https://expret.org/). Here, I summarise what I went through in Pret.

I travelled back and forth between London and Germany for the funeral, running errands, investigating what happened, brought my mum with me to London as I had to continue to work. I spent all my savings with all the costs and was forced to return to work.

I had basic support from Pret as staff receive a few days ‘compassionate leave’. But that was all. I was never sat down and told what support I may need, and was also put on late shifts which kept me from vital support from friends as I worked when they were off and they worked when I was off. Initially, I didn’t mind and didn’t even notice, as I couldn’t sleep until the morning anyway as I was tormented with shock and grief. I kept going to work to keep me occupied and distracted as best as possible.

I approached human resources (HR) informally to make a suggestion on how to support bereaved employees. But unbeknown to me at the time, I believe this inadvertently put a ‘target on my back’ and my superiors, I think with the guidance of HR, started pursuing me with little issues where I made mistakes (but my mistakes were even less than those of my colleagues).

One of several Mystery Shopper (MS) requirements is that staff have to smile, be friendly and show happiness all the time. Only recently have I learnt that this is called ‘emotional labour’ that is forced upon low-wage workers and I have since written about it. Also, in Pret, staff have one minute to serve customers, one minute to serve the hot drink from the time of payment, are tested to see if they give eye-contact, make some polite remarks etc. The MS even times the service to the second. I give a few examples with excerpts of MS comments on my website.

If teams fail in any or several points, the whole team loses its bonus. The bonus system is the biggest chunk towards managers’ remuneration. So, managers are extra strict when staff fail. I was traumatically bereaved: I even begged sometimes to be sent into the kitchen, away from the shop floor as I was tearing up at times and didn’t want to be seen by customers. I couldn’t afford to go home as I had had to spend all my savings. But I was denied this with the reason that I’m not used to the kitchen and would be slow. Everything in Pret has to be done fast. ‘Time is money’, customer circulation in and out of shops has to flow fast, meaning the money flows fast.

After I approached HR informally, I also requested a transfer to a shop where I would have rotating shift patterns, as my then general manager refused to give me rotating shifts as the evenings weren’t as busy and the MS visited very rarely in the evenings. I was warned when I didn’t smile by an area manager, and was summoned into the office on my day off because I made some minor mistakes. I was sent to another area and shop that had lots of problems, and in hindsight, I believe, I was sent there to set me up for failure.

I quickly became paranoid and felt I was targeted. And, I think I was right because months later I applied for my employee file which included emails between HR and managers who were brainstorming all the time what to do with me. I was constantly put under pressure in the hope I would resign. But I didn’t. I even declined four settlement offers if I’d resign and never speak about my ordeal or go to court. Three offers were made internally and the fourth was via the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) when I withdrew my Tribunal claim as my dad just died in the middle of preparing for the case. I could not afford a lawyer and was unable to fight this on my own.

I have collected other staff reviews from employment review websites, YouTube, Twitter etc and I have learnt the hard way that, without a union, there is no hope of raising issues of systemic workplace bullying. Many people were shocked and disbelieving when I mentioned how Pret really is behind its well-polished PR facade. Only the unions, activists and some from the press have believed me.

The targeting I went through was everything apart from sexual and physical violence – the typical bullying, both open and subtle. I was shouted at and, when this didn’t work, I was excluded from leaders’ meetings, was not given important information I needed to do my job, and was sent to difficult shops to receive a disciplinary for failing even in little things. Pret, it seems to me, works mainly with fear management.

The more perverse thing Pret did was with emails after I became ill. I believe I was targeted in group emails from my boss, in the emails I read between HR and managers etc. I spiralled into ‘ill emailing’. I received a disciplinary for the emailing but Pret used a Development Manager who told me she had also lost her brother in similar circumstances to my brother. She went into personal text messages and emailing with me because of our common grief. But this confused me further and, only in hindsight, does it now seem that I was being set up to get fired. I believe I was ‘gaslighted’ and then fired while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma. CEO Clive Schlee labelled me his ‘late night girl’ due to my late night emails to everyone which then lead to my firing. I adopted that label to be a sore in his and Pret’s eyes. I confront Pret openly on Twitter and Facebook about this.

Because I have never experienced anything like this in any workplace, I was so traumatized with my brother’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, I became so out-of-sync giving Pret the benefit of the doubt again and again and putting blame on myself and what psychologists call ‘Sibling Survivor Guilt’. I even apologised for a nervous breakdown after a line manager rebuked me repeatedly in front of my team. For an overview of my trauma with Pret, I have created a ‘Mind Map’ linking each title to a blog entry as my blog has grown: https://www.mindmeister.com/1194255218/my-pret-a-manger-ordeal

‘Late Night Girl’ also tweets at https://twitter.com/LateNightGirlMe and she was recently interviewed on a podcast based in California where she tells her story in more detail (see front page of her website: expret.org).

• The editor adds:
There is a facebook group, started in 2011, called ‘I Hate Pret A Manger’. And, a now former employee, Andrej Stopa, helped start the Pret A Manger Staff Union (PAMSU). He was reportedly fired in 2012 under the pretence of him allegedly having made homophobic remarks. See also the case of Rodrigo (in boxed graphic), another fired union activist. Unfortunately, both groups are not very active now. Unions like the BFAWU and UNITE are continuing to try to unionise Pret. For more on the employment practices of Pret, see The Guardian and The Independent.


 

Full text on its own.

Full Magazine with text on pages 21/22.

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

The above slideshow is just a selection of comments and reviews taken from review sites, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other sites. 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. 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.

Bystanders

 

can be worse than offenders

It’s one thing to hit and run

out of a panic

It’s another to just stand there and watch

 

Do not minimize me to grief

or have pity because of what I scream about

Death will come our way

without exception

 

But hurting people while they grieve is a crime

I had and still have no strength and no money to fight Pret A Manger in court

I just write

 

And you all can pret-end to not care

and keep it politically correct and quiet

 

Bystander

 

Pret A Manger Chicken Broccoli Rice Soup

 

2018-12-10 Chick BrocRice Soup Nooooo

Link

 

Sure, no problem:


2018-10-17 Chick BrocRice Soup NEVER any chicken

17. Oct. 2018

 

2019-05-12 Chick BrocRice Soup

12. May 2019

 

2019-05-01 Chick BrocRice Soup

01. May 2019

 

2019-04-24 Chick BrocRice Soup

24. April 2019

 

2019-04-19 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. March 2019

 

I love this “etc” soup 😀

2019-04-13 Chick BrocRice etc Soup

13. March 2019

 

2019-04-11 Chick BrocRice Soup

11. March 2019

 

2019-04-10 Chick BrocRice Soup2

10. March 2019

 

2019-04-07 Chick BrocRice Soup

07. March 2019

 

2019-04-05 Chick BrocRice Soup

05. March 2019

 

2019-02-27 Chick BrocRice Soup

27. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-23-chick-brocrice-soup-1.jpg

23. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-20 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. Feb. 2019

 

2019-02-08 Chick BrocRice Soup

08. Feb. 2019

 

2019-01-27 Chick BrocRice Soup

27. Jan. 2019

 

2019-01-18 Chick BrocRice Soup

18. Jan. 2019

 

2019-01-15 Chick BrocRice Soup

15. Jan 2019

 

ALSO the 15. Jan. 2019

2019-01-15 Chick BrocRice Soup AGAIN

15. Jan. 2019

 

2019-01-14 Chick BrocRice Soup

14. Jan. 2019 Video

 

2019-01-04 Chick BrocRice Soup

04. Jan. 2019

03. Jan 2019 Disappointed …

 

TWO for the price of … happy new year!

2018-12-31 Chick BrocRice Soup

31. Dec. 2018

 

10. Dec. 2018 True disappointment…

04. Dec. 2018 A little light on the chicken

 

2018-11-20 Chick BrocRice Soup

20. Nov. 2018

 

2018-11-12 Chick BrocRice Soup Video

12. Nov. 2018 Video

 

2018-11-10 Chick BrocRice Soup Increase Price

01. Nov. 2018

 

2018-10-29 Chick BrocRice Soup Video

29. Oct. 2018 Video

 

Note: People with white/blue “ticks” are not patronized with “Oh no/Oh dear” responses, the rest of the customers are patronized like idiots!

2018-10-22 Chick BrocRice Soup RENAME

22. Oct. 2018

 

2018-10-08 Chick BrocRice Soup Video

08. Oct. 2018 Video

 

Jumping over a host of more Tweets and going back to 22. March 2017… and then I just stopped…

2017-03-22 Chick BrocRice Soup

22. March 2017

 

Not only is the Chicken Broccoli & Rice soup a see-through meal without the main ingredients, Pret adds some glass to it to make it more transparent:

2019-02-28 Chick BrocRice Soup GLASS

28. Feb. 2019

 

And finally, the Soup Question of the Day:

2019-01-05 Why ALWAYS Chick BrocRice Soup

05. Jan. 2019

 

2018-11-26 Why ALWAYS Chick BrocRice Soup2

26. Nov. 2018

 

2018-11-21 Why ALWAYS Chick BrocRice Soup

21. Nov. 2018

Because it has hardly any ingredients in it, making the profit margins fatty for those millionaire pockets…

 

Class Action Suit against Pret
settled in NYC for deceptive packaging;

A Visual of the
Misleading Wrap Packaging Size.

 


 

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.

The Pain of Working at Pret A Manger

 

Two customers recently have commented on the intense stress or the lack of management on the shop floor during busy times.

  • Most customers only complain when they have to wait more than 2 minutes to be served, while being perfectly happy to wait 10 minutes at Starbucks. This is because customers now are “spoiled”, knowing they get served within minutes, even seconds at Pret. I explain in my interview at the bottom why Pret has the 1 minute rule.
  • Most don’t understand that staff are forced to serve within 1 minute or they may lose the bonus if the Mystery Shopper wasn’t happy with the timing and service.
  • Most people do not see the stress and pain staff go through.
  • Most don’t care to know about the fear management under harsh managers and the depression staff suffer. I mentioned this to customers on Twitter who were fast to complain about the service, I told them that I was complimented many times by colleagues, customers and Mystery Shopper reports on my service, friendliness, giving coffees on the house etc. Of course I had bad days as well, but I received a lot of good feedback and yet no-one knew how many times I left my shift after work headed for the bridge, especially during bereavement and the bullying on top of it Pret put me through.

 

My story at the bottom in an interview.

 

But only two customers that I found recently speaking out on behalf of overworked staff. Yes, customers also go on Twitter to commend staff for giving free coffees and being (seem!) happy and smiley. But no customer asks themself how anyone can smile, be happy, chatty for 8, 10, 12+ hours EVERY DAY in an intensely stressful, noisy, busy, often hot and dry environment, where they are not allowed by management to drink even water behind the counter to stay hydrated. People have NO idea how exhausting, stressful and depressing the job is. And they are expected to fake a happiness and smiles or lose bonus when the Mystery Shopper marks them down and managers threaten them with disciplinaries or job security in the office.

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 


 

I write extensively about this in the Emotional Labour article.

 


 

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

The second Tweet is a response to the CEO’s reply to the above tweet, yet it’s not addressed to his Twitter account nor posted in the same feed as above. Not sure what that’s all about:

2019-03-19 Customer re managers

Link

 

And this customer’s observation made my day, because most people either don’t see the stress nor care how horrendous it is for staff. In this case here it’s King’s Cross, one of the most (and worst) busiest branches. I worked there for a week to help as they were always low on staff. After that week and the manager asking me if I can come again, I politely declined, there’s only so much mental and physical pain you can take.

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link There are more tears that flow behind the scenes in the kitchens, staff rooms, in the bus going home… Just 1 customer had enough eyes to see and care!

 

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!)

 

2015-09-29 Staff cry

Link

Yes, as a Team Leader I had to console a lot of Team Members over the years after they were shouted at by managers and/or customers, received a warning because they didn’t smile when they served the Mystery Shopper etc. I cried many times, but as a Team Leader not in front of my team, I locked myself away in the toilet or on my way home in the bus I just led the tears flow.

And in all this Pret tasks the weekly Mystery Shoppers that visit every shop to probe on the following among also probing if they are served within 1 minute, receive their hot drink within 1 minute etc.:

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!

 

Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness2

 

What staff go through behind the scenes that customers don’t see, nor care about:

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

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be pause

 

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

 

2019-04-16 Depression

Link

man-320273__340

 

For the first time I verbally tell my story with Pret in one setting on a podcast.

Preview:

 

Full Interview:

 

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

The main subject being workplace bullying, we also spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general and what to look out for in an interview for a new job. 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.

 


 

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.

Why Pret A Manger doesn’t do Loyalty Cards

 

… in Central London… and the Free Coffee “myth” or legend as some assume.

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

 

Pret Loyalty Card 2012-09-13

Link

 

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

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

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

 

Pret Loyalty Card 2012-03-29

Link

 

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

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

But …

There’s that hairy but(t) again!

 

THE PRICE

Of course this brilliant marketing strategy has not just one catch apart from the ultimate goal of profit. People don’t realize how cheap the coffee is. If customers knew how much 1 cup of coffee costs for Pret, incl. the milk, cup, lid, labour and then would see the profit margin… people’s stomach would turn on what they pay for a regular latte!

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

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

 

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

Link

 

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

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

 

good-food-new-sign.jpg

Link to Pret USA Twitter

UPDATE 23. May 2019

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

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over2

 

2019-05-23 Natural Food labeled over3

Link to David Blumenstein’s Tweet

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

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

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

2019-04-17 Pret price increase

Link


 

THE PSYCHOLOGY

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

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

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

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

2017 Free coffee budget punishLink

 

2018-12-31 re free coffee marketing2

Link

 

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

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

 

~ MULTIPLE FREEBIES at times even within ONE WEEK ~

 

 

2019-03-28 4th Free coffee

Link

 

2017-04-17 free coffee AGAIN

Link

 

2016 TWO free items in ONE week

Link

 

2018-06-21 2 free items

Link

 

2015 TWO Free coffees.jpg

Link

 

2019-04-13 Regular free coffee

Link

 

2019-04-09 Free coffee 1 to 2

Link

 

2019-04-13 Patience Smiles for Free Coffee

Link

 

2019-04-16 Free coffees often

Link

 

2017 Getting freebies free coffee for ages

Link

 

~ vs NOTHING for YEARS ~

 

2019-01-11 1st Free since years

Link

 

2019-04-18 Free Coffee after YEARS

Link

 

2019-03-21 Free coffee since years

Link

&

2019-03-21 Free coffee since years2

 

2019-03-28 free coffee today was the day

Link

 

2017-02-25 After lifelong devotion free coffee

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

 

2015 Free nonsense loyalty card

Link

 

2017 In 5 years no free coffee

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

 

2018-12-13 NOT attractive for free coffee

Link

 

2015 Never etting free coffee

Link (And Pret having a laugh!)

 

Political jokes Free Coffees 2015 Discrimination

Link

 

2019-04-16 five 5 years no free coffee

Link

 

2019-04-16 Free Coffee Legend replie

Link

 

… and so on….

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

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

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

 

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

2014 free coffee taxi cabbies

Link

 


 

CONTROL (of the carrot)

 

2017 Behavioural science free coffee loyalty card

Link

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

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

 

2019-01-15 waiting for next freebie

Link

 

Carrot

 

2019 No free coffee for a while

Link

 


 

FREE ADVERTISEMENT

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

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2013

Link

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2015 Guardian Journo

Link

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019

Link A boost in self esteem with a free cuppa!

 

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019 to other half

Link

 

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

Journos adversiting for Pret 2019 Jobcenter

Link

etc.

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

Staff hope the Mystery Shopper is nearby or even serving the MS when the staff member is extra generous.

 

A customer’s observation most people are blind to:

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

Customer Tweets:

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

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

 

So, the marketing of Pret is simple:

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

 


 

For the first time I share my traumatic story with Pret verbally in one go in this podcast interview:

 

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

The main subject being workplace bullying, we also spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general and what to look out for in an interview for a new job. 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.

 

A long list of reviews and complaints from current and former Pret Staff underneath the Interview section in this 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. 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.

Patronizer

 

The reason why Pret and Clive Schlee don’t block me, is partly for any potential court case. They collect Tweets like they collected emails. They’ve let me write emails and then pretended it was wrong, while in the meantime having a laugh.

The newly appointed COO (a position that didn’t exist until JAB took over) Pano Christou, who likes to keep a low profile typical for Pret management, he blocked me.

The head of training or whatever her position is these days, blocked me…

Nikki Fisher from the Pret Foundation Trust blocked me …

…. and others from Pret.

But Pret itself and Clive Schlee don’t block me, because they collect my Tweets for court as well as sabotaging any future employment.

Pret has been sued successfully many times and ordered to pay whatever amount. And then they just went back to business as usual, not giving a sugar-pie on treating their employees with respect.

One Tribunal Judge called Pret’s HR grievance hearing AND appeal’s hearing “fundamentally flawed” (check-marks top right).

Pano Christou, now COO who came from McDonald’s and a manager in Pret at the time of the Tribunal decision was (and still is) part of this flawed system.

For Pano Christou and others from Pret to block me means, they are not bothered. But for Pret and Clive Schlee to NOT block means, they collect for any potential court case as their name is out there.

Pano Christou doesn’t even put Pret’s Twitter properly, he writes on his Twitter: “Chief Operating Officer @ Pret”

He writes @ Pret not @Pret avoiding linking straight to Pret’s Twitter.

Low key, hey?

Pano, you don’t want to be visibly affiliated to Pret? Ok.

Hey “leaders” some bottom line management training?

The captain of the ship jumps last, not first.

Like many reviews from current and former Pret staff said, Pret A Manger is a good company, a good concept, a great idea… but Clive Schlee sold out and turned his “sheep” over to wolves. And Clive, that’s on your house.

Key issues:

I worked at Pret, was bereaved and then became an inconvenience for Pret.

Pret is an unprofessional company that got away with bullshit for decades (including two customer deaths and one staff suicide that I know of, with myself almost quitting as well).

Life is short but worth living.

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 


 

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.

 

 

 

Shawdow Banned / Censored on Twitter

 

If you found this page it’s because you were tweeted to but Twitter on behalf of Pret A Manger “shadow banned” the account. I explain extensively what shadow banning is in an interview at the bottom of this page.

Hidden Tweets

The posts that Pret A Manger does NOT want you to see were hidden from you.
NOTE: some have been notified of the below tweets before the ban happened. But once the ban happens, tweets are hidden from the public. Also, Twitter denies that they shadow ban and while they deny they hide THOUSANDS of Tweets (indication that 1.6K tweets were posted, but only a handful are visible!)
Banning happens to a lot of people who speak out, without them even knowing they’ve been banned. Again, I explain further in the interview at the bottom.

The posts that were tweeted to different people and that Pret does not want the public to see, are:

>>> How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers

>>> Why Pret gives Free Coffees and does not do a Loyalty Card system

>>> Ongoing issues of cross contamination and allergen (mis)labelling

 

Regarding Shadow Banning (secret censorship) and how it works.

It shows that Pret has a lot to hide from the public, and only when the two customer deaths became public did Pret slowly start implementing allergen labels.

The following account was shadow banned on 12.04.2019 before 11am and recipients won’t be notified and tweets are hidden EXCEPT when going to it with a direct link or via the account’s Tweets & Replies.

Example:

Shadowban.eu is an external independent website programed and developed by Free Speech activists, who fight against the shadow bans by making the public aware of Twitter banning secretly. This website shows if an account is banned or not. In this case @4ABWE was banned, and the ban will be lifted approximately in a day or two (13. or 14.04.2019). But bans have lasted for a week at times.

Accounts often get secretly banned for the volume of tweets, but in my case I get banned very quickly even after 1, 2 or 3 tweets when I tweet to the press, politicians, famous people etc. Anyone with influence basically. I can tweet 20 tweets to individual people who have 20 followers and not much impact. No problem.

But the moment I tweet to “influential” people, especially the press, the ban happens very quickly. Please note that these shadow bans are done in secret and Twitter denies doing this because they don’t want to admit that they censor free speech. But I don’t want to get too deep into this here. If you search on YouTube “Twitter undercover shadowban” you find videos on undercover investigations into Twitter, particularly by investigative journalists from Project Veritas. My blog here gets bookmarked by a bot in a certain country within a minute I release a new blog entry, as Pret has an eye on my blog. I know because my stats show this.

Shadowban.eu/4ABWE which looks like this while banned:

2019-04-12 4abwe Total ban

 

If anyone goes to this below Tweet you will NOT see @4ABWE’s tweet below anywhere WHILE the ban is on. Once the ban is LIFTED the Tweets becomes visible again but mainly via clicking on “Show more Replies”. You will see that there are 2 (TWO) replies, but you’ll only see Pret’s reply:

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE free coffees

Link

 

But via @4ABWE’s Tweets & Replies, you will see a second reply otherwise hidden from the public:

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE free coffees2

Link (click on Charlotte Ashworth’s initial tweet again within this feed, and 4ABWE’s tweet becomes invisible again)

After the ban is lifted, the tweet becomes visible again when you click on “Show more replies”.

 

This is Pret A Manger not wanting bad press or the truth to be known in the public. I explain in my interview at the bottom why Pret let’s Twitter shadow ban (secret censoring/hiding tweets). This also happens to many other accounts regarding political tweets or when rich companies want to avoid getting exposed.

 

Other banned Tweets

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE GF1

Link to Tweet where no response tweet is visible, the speech bubble is visible with 1 response, but no tweet can be seen.

 

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE GF2

Link to now visible tweet via @4ABWE’s Tweets & Replies … peek-a-boo

 

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE Staff1

Link to initial Tweet and a hidden tweet not visible.

 

2019-04-12 Shadow ban example 4ABWE Staff2

Link … Pret A Boo…

 

Other direct Links to hidden Tweets:

To Ben Baughan‏ @benfishbag and Jackie Holt@jaxxholt Link to Tweet

To @paddy_delaney, @SarahCahill123, @SaimaFerdows, @rocknrolga, @gangofgin2004 Link to Tweet

To @wmpccn @whosalama and others … Link to Tweet

… etc.

 


 

Pret A Manger Staff issues Pret does not want the public to know, and my interview underneath the slide show

 

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

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. 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.

 

Questions to Journalists

 

2019-03-28 Swiss journo advertises for Pret crop

LinkA Journalist turned Jobcenter case worker, recruiting for Pret.

 

Dear Journalists,

I just want to throw out a few questions to any journo, be it that you are independent, mainstream, at the beginning of your career testing the waters, or as a hobby writer, blogger, radio host etc. Twitter is full of “writers” of course, but my question is to the serious writers and show hosts who dig deeper than just the copy & paste journalism that we’re swamped with! And yes, I’d love a response and a dialogue, but I understand that most remain just observers from a save distance.

Of course I must be naïve to assume that journalists are neutral, just reporting news to the public. I often lose hope if there are more journos who particularly would expose the truth, lifting the carpet on issues which in turn makes it hard for them to get published to the masses. I can relate, even though I’m not a journalist or an established writer. Most jump on the bandwagon once a story breaks and everyone then copy & pastes. This happened with the recent JAB/Reimann Nazi story that supposedly broke from the German BILD at the end of March 2019. And yet, the Daily Mail published this already in September 2018.

Sathnam Sanghera wrote a good article in The Times after the customer deaths became public when he started to take a closer look. And yet, everything he wrote about, except the part on how investment and private equity works, I already publicly wrote about since May 2018.

I don’t have a clue on how private equity and business works, but I know how Pret works. And I have dangerously felt the impact of, what CEO and farmer Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford calls, those “bastards”. His clear and passionate words, as a multi-million pound employee-owned business is music to my ears: “To sell my business … to one of those bastards (venture capitalists) would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution!”

Having worked at Pret for 10 years and further researching extensively after my ordeal with the “firm”, trying to understand why Pret is the way it is, a lot makes sense now. I narrowly escaped the spiral of suicidal thoughts after my ordeal with Pret while already under a cloud of trauma. So, please understand why I am so loud against this company and their PR[et] machine.

@Sathnam‘s article with my thoughts and experience on it, I renamed: When a Star became Sliced Pret.

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went 100 steps further, going undercover into Pret for a few days after having read my blog and I suggested to go undercover. My huge respect to her! I wish she would have gone for at least a month, covering all of the business, morning shifts, kitchen etc. But it was a good start, and I won’t complain as I can write books on Pret from my 10 years “inside” and Amy covered a lot from the little time spent in a shop.

 

Amy Undercover

“… and staff who are hugely overstretched.”

 

She worked only in the late shift on the shop floor. But to really get the Pret blow, anyone should work longer, as staff are often treated better in the beginning and the evening shifts, until Pret starts pushing them hard after the little training they received, if at all trained. I wrote my thoughts on it as well in Undercover Under Pressure, and I still remember vividly how I felt when I found her article on Twitter after she was very silent about going under, and rightly so. Not to be sentimental here, but I literally teared up when I saw her article!

And then there are some other articles on Pret which many journalists and some bloggers keep referring to and copying from. But I lived through it.

MSNBC article on the Emotional Labour in Pret, Starbucks & Co.

Class Action suits, one on deceptive packaging which was settled out of court recently. I cover this extensively from Twitter posts on Class Action vs Pret where Pret even deleted a Tweet after I posted this.

Class action suits of workers in the U.S. regarding unpaid wages and illegal practices Pret used.

The Guardian on “The brilliant Pret A Manger marketing con we want to fall for”

… and many other early articles I leave to the reader to do their home-work searching for.

I recently wrote a post on the free coffee give-away and marketing Pret is excellent in and why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card system. The psychology behind not doing a Loyalty Card is my interpretation and not something we have been told, but anyone who understands marketing just a little bit might get the idea behind all the freebies.

But in the free coffees post I concentrate on Journalists who tweet making advertisement for Pret.

So, my questions to Journalists are: what is your motivation for a story? What makes for neutral journalism, if that even exists? Is money, reputation and statistics as a journalist and writer really the driving force behind articles and tweets?

Of course asking so bluntly won’t get me anywhere. But I’m a writer, too, even if I never get established. I just have “established experience” and write about it now. And I certainly am not neutral when it comes to Pret A Manger.

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow – May not work on mobile phones

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

Longer list on above slideshow Staff Complaints.

 

Teaser to the 1 hour 42 minute interview:

 

Full interview:

 

 


 

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.

©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.

 

 

Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

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

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

For my full story with Pret please scroll down to the interview and the “Mind Map” that gives an overview of my ordeal with Pret.

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

After my ordeal in Pret I added the URL LateNightGirl.org to my website and recently added expret.org as Late Night Girl doesn’t make much sense for people who don’t know my story. All three URLs will lead to this same site. Again, the full story and overview at the bottom of this page.

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

On 29th May I woke up before 7am and found my website statistics skyrocketed!! Where before I had just a handful of visitors every day, like 5 visitors one day, then 3 visitors the next, zero visitors, 10 visitors etc. Suddenly on the 29th in the morning it went into the hundreds, and to this day (3. April 2019) is still the most visited day my blog has ever received!

I have lots of visitors now, but nothing has reached the 29th May 2018 stats yet!

On 28. May 2018 late in the evening I sent my blog LateNightGirl.org to the area manager.

29. May 2018 in the morning I could literally watch the visitors and clicks increase LIVE as they visited and clicked! From that day on my stats had increased visitors, but never as much as the 29th May to this day.

 

BEST views ever 29May2018

 

And on the 29. May 2018 Clive Schlee CEO of Pret, who labeled me his “late night girl” posted this tweet in the early hours:

 

2018-05-29 Clive Announcement

Link

 

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

PR[et] at its best for sure! 😀

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

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

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

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

Only one of my tweets is visible to the public, my response to Clive Schlee trying to divert responsibility downwards. My other tweets in the feed are hidden from the public but visible in my Tweets & Replies feed.

So, here he is, making this announcement and when the going gets tough and staff complain when the promise will “moneyfest” (sorry, couldn’t help it!) Schlee diverts to managers and the people team (HR).

In August, 3 months after the announcement, the first staff members started raising questions, some even started a Twitter account then just to confront the CEO on his promise as staff didn’t get any info from the shops. My response at the bottom is the only one that didn’t get shadow banned:

 

2018-08-29 My response to £1000 delay

Link

 

Into September and October:

 

2018-09-01 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-12 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

 

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

 

2018-09-19 Meme USA

 

 

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000

 

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

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

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

 

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

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team my response

 

 

And the appalling slogan of Pret’s HR department:

Right Thing Naturally

 

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

Typo: Hay here means “employee” not employer.

2018-09-29-hay.jpg

 

Last complaint in that feed:

 

2018-10-01 Staff Twitter £1000

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

My thought: “TODAY” was the big day when Clive Schlee and Pret got confronted with my blog as I have declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal with Pret.

 

And sadly only ONE customer immediately sees through this PR stunt among all the euphoria:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR

Link

 

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

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

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

He shares on this website of the Mental Health Club. I know him, because I am a member of the same Mental Health Club that Pret tries to infiltrate to fish for workers and mainly use people for PR. I cover this and the trap Sergio fell into extensively in my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust.

 


Long List of Pret Staff Complaints
with my interview at the top.


 

JavaScript required to view slideshow.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived workplace bullying that involved the top leadership, HQ and 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. Thank you for reading.

 

©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: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

 

A Note to the Bot or the Hacker

 

To any bot or hacker,

who is “visiting” from a specific country in the Northern and Eastern Hemisphere, every time this country is represented on my stats, some pictures on my blog get messed up, meaning they disappear and I have to re-upload again. It happens mainly with the same pictures and this just happened again with this royalty free picture suddenly having its own URL:

https://poetrasblok.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/man-320273__340 DOT png
(Exchanging the DOT to a proper full-stop . to get to the picture in a new window)

This is from my blog entry I just published minutes ago: ACAS Guide to Bereavement at Work

This happened many times when they click on a picture, isolating it, and soon thereafter I had to re-upload. This happens especially with Tweet pictures I publish that give nitty-gritty details on Pret, Lawsuits against Pret, anything to do with Clive Schlee etc. As these are very visual they sometimes disappear and I have to re-upload. It also seems like the person who make the pictures disappear is looking for copyrighted pictures as Pret may be looking for ways to get to me. I use only royalty free pictures that don’t need to be credited as it says on the sites and have them all catalogued and logged for easy find. Other pictures I use are my own.

Also, my stats suddenly skyrocket within minutes by this ONE country, but no-one can read that fast where I make very long blog entries. One night this happened while I was watching the stats change AND was in live chat with a WordPress staff who looked into it during the same time.

This is how it looks like when an uploaded picture disappears. Only the file name, in this case > 2018-10-12-wrong-label.jpg is there.

 

2018-10-12 Wrong label Blog Pic missing again WHITE

 

And this is how it looks like when the picture is uploaded again like it was before:

2018-10-12 Wrong label Blog Pic missing again2 uploaded again WHITE

 

I observed this many times now since months, especially late at night and past midnight, when this particular country was the only country visiting my site in the early hours of a new day in my Hemisphere!

The only hint I give away about this country apart from the hemisphere is that people in this country are very technologically savvy and many international companies have call centers in that country.

If you have been employed by “someone” or a specific “organization” that is looking for something to get at me, and for you to hack into WordPress (and WordPress has confirmed after my inquiry into this, that they have a huge problem with bots etc.) to mess with certain pictures and stats, you may get paid to do a sorry job, but let your “employer” know that this is futile and be sure that WordPress is aware and keeps looking into this.

Best regards.

expret.org – Former Pret A Manger Employee
having survived workplace bullying under Clive Schlee’s leadership.

 

UPDATE 19.04.2019

This picture in the screenshot I’ve just made today keeps disappearing and I had to upload about 3 -4 times already. It’s a Tweet screenshot about Pret CEO Clive Schlee who responded to an open letter regarding labelling products for people with allergies and him admitting that he didn’t know how to respond:

Disappeared Picture for the 3. or 4. time with only the file name visible:

2019-04-19 Pic gone disappeared

 

I re-uploaded AGAIN:

2019-04-19 Pic gone disappeared reloaded

Link to the page the picture disappeared

 


 

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.

ACAS Guide to Bereavement at Work

 

A guide I have passed on to Pret A Manger since May 2015 when I first approached HR to make suggestions after my then line manager had me on prolonged 5 months late shifts and refused to rotate my shifts like it was before I became bereaved.

I approached HR, not to raise grievances or complain but to just bring ideas and suggestions. I never imagined that approaching HR would put a target on my back.

I speak extensively about my ordeal with Pret on my blog and podcast interview.

man-320273__340

 

 

I passed the ACAS Guide to Bereavement at the Workplace to HR and several different managers, area managers and anyone in a responsible position between 2015 and 2017. But of course apart from sweet-talk and the horrendous treatment that followed, lead from the very top, this guide was not taken into consideration. If this is now in Pret’s sight, than certainly after I left Pret.

I will keep it short as people who are really interested in this can read the guide and download the PDF file that ACAS has posted in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care, the largest bereavement short-term support charity in the UK that I visited early on in my bereavement as well.

I just want to point out some things concerning bullying during bereavement and how my situation became 10 times worse than I could have ever anticipated even could happen to people who go through grief and trauma.

This will always be on Pret’s resume as well as how they dealt, or rather how they did NOT deal with TWO customer deaths, and why in this profit driven Western society there is such a strong resistance and refusal to supporting people in grief and tragedy. Once tragedy hits an employee they frankly become an inconvenience as companies want “robots” that function non-stop for the millions the top is gaining.

That’s why I have come to start disliking the term “workforce” as this sounds like an army, a factory of robots having to function in a modern-day slavery setting, under the pretense of “productivity” and “buzz” and “fun”.

 

Excerpts from the ACAS Guide on Bullying during Bereavement
on pages 11 & 12

~~~~~~~~~~

ACAS:

»Avoiding discrimination and addressing bullying

Employers should ensure their employees who are likely to be affected by the disability are able to recognise it, especially when performance or absence of a bereaved employee becomes unacceptable over the longer term for no other apparent reason.«

~~~~~~~~~~

This versus my experience of being targeted and penalized for not smiling during customer service even when I asked, almost begged to work in the kitchen for a while when I started to tear up on the shop floor. More on the Emotional Labour in this blog entry and the “brutality” of what Pret expects, no matter what.

 

09 Brutal Nightmare

Only one of >>> several comments on YouTube

 

~~~~~~~~~~

ACAS:

»Addressing Bullying

Bullying is defined as unwanted behaviour or conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. If the bullying is related to a protected characteristic then it is harassment.

Managing bereavement in the workplace

Employers should be alert to inappropriate behaviour following bereavement. Absence through bereavement can place burdens on co-workers and line managers alike who may pressurise (inadvertently or otherwise) or bully a bereaved employee into returning to work or performing their duties to the same level as they did before the death. The intentions of the bully do not matter – what is important is the impact that the behaviour has on the employee who is being bullied.

For example:
Rouji works on a telephone helpline and recently lost her mother. On her return from bereavement leave she is finding it hard to cope at work: she is struggling to reach her targets for calls answered and sometimes leaves the room visibly upset. Brandon, the manager, notices that the staff are unhappy at what they see as “carrying Rouji”, an attitude reinforced by the vocal views of her supervisor who has been overheard saying “she should get a grip, when my mother died, I found work a relief, look at the problems she is causing us.”Rouji has noticed the shaking heads of colleagues and their “tuts” when she leaves the room and this is adding to her distress. Although Brandon recognises the burden on the team, the company has a policy of not tolerating bullying and harassment. Brandon tells the supervisor to stop this behaviour and let it be known that staff may face disciplinary action if this unwanted behaviour continues. At the same time he sees if a temporary worker can be deployed until Rouji is able to reach her performance targets.«

~~~~~~~~~~

The guide goes on to cover a variety of issues regarding paid leave, long-term or reoccurring effects of grief etc. I just concentrate mainly on the subject of bullying here as this involved even Pret’s HR, Head Quarters, Clive Schlee CEO as this is systemic and no surprise anymore, why I went from management to management that had no policy in place to protect me or bereaved employees in general.

A People Business Partner (PBP) from HR in a grievance appeal’s hearing that I raised even admitted that there was another employee, an assistant manager who was bereaved and also mistreated at work, but that she was “bitter”. He foolishly compared me with her as if we were bitter because we raised grievances of wrongdoing. I emailed this PBP later that day in anger saying that this AM is not bitter, but in a lot of pain, as I related to her nightmare.

A few months after this hearing and what the PBP told me in that hearing, I learned that an AM died by suicide. I cannot proof that this is the same person, but I do not believe in coincidences anymore with Pret, especially after they involved a Development Manager from HQ who supposedly also had a brother who died in his flat, like my brother died in his flat… But I don’t believe this anymore. Weeks later after our contact I learned that she is also a Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner, and the more hidnsight I have and keep talking about this, the more I don’t believe that she had a brother, even while I see some posts on her facebook page regarding her brother in 2016 before I knew her.

I tell my story verbally for the first time on a podcast here below in the audio player. I also collected many staff reviews from outside pages like Glassdoor, Indeed, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook etc. and combined them unto one page as Pret Staff Complaints.

I am so loud because I almost lost my life and if I alsmost ended my life, an assistant manager did, how many more are there. If Pret can hide two customer deaths under the carpet, how many work-related staff suicides or attempted suicides are there?

 

“Penalized for calling out for a funeral”

2018-11-01 Funeral

Former Barista, New York

 

Avoid AM

Former Assistant Manager, London

 

Java-script needed to play slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

I can only urge any company, large or small to please have a look at this guide from ACAS. It is only a guide to which companies can draft their own policy from this blueprint that ACAS provides in partnership with Cruse. I survived systemic workplace bullying in a company that is very efficient in marketing and PR portraying themselves to be an ethical and caring company.

I have a different story…

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived workplace bullying that involved the top leadership and HQ. 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. Thank you for reading.

 

©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: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

Pret A Manger Staff Slide Show

Lose Everything That Makes You Human2

Full review of above quote is featured in below Slideshow

 

Recent public complaints by current and former Pret staff (more in the slideshow and blog)

 

2019-04-22 NEW on TWITTER

Link

 

2019-02-08 Pret Staff Facebook Comment Complaint1

 

This Pret staff writes this on Facebook in Feb. 2019 in response to Pret’s new “Homeless House” FB post. He points out the marketing/PR behind this, while current staff are mistreated, issues I’ve been publicly writing about since May 2018. And I underline his posts. It is all PR, using former SHORT-TERM, and mainly young, homeless people to polish up Pret’s image.

Important side note, this is also why Clive Schlee, CEO said in his blog where they put former homeless people (patronizingly calling them “Rising Stars” to which I wrote a blog on the “Fallen Stars” that are featured in the slideshow below) into their own shop, from the manager to the kitchen staff, running a whole shop with solely former homeless people. Schlee gave himself away how terrible work-conditions are when he said, that Pret is “careful to integrate” the “Rising Stars” into “regular” shops, as they don’t want them to get “too exposed“. Exposed for what??!

Watch the slideshow below to see what he doesn’t want them to get “too exposed” for … and I also cover this in my “Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust“.

 

Further in the Facebook comment by a Pret worker regarding Pret’s Homeless House:

 

2019-02-08 Pret Staff Facebook Comment Complaint2

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

2017 Prayer

Link

man-320273__340

 

Below, under the slideshow some info on wage lawsuits against Pret in the U.S. I knew about the one, but didn’t realize there was a second lawsuit that Pret settled! Current Pret staff will NEVER publicly or to customers tell how it really is behind the PR[et] facade, only anonymous on Review sites, YouTube etc. and via mail. Fear management is huge in Pret.
Two other groups/sites are out there, but not active:
Twitter Pret A Manger Staff Union: @__PAMSU__  since 2012
Facebook: I Hate Pret A Manger  since 2011
And myself since May 2018.

Plus, my interview at the bottom of this page and Wage Lawsuits in NY against Pret under the slideshow.

 

THIS selection of Pret staff complaints / reviews is WHY Clive Schlee is “careful to integrate” former homeless people into “regular shops” not wanting to leave them “too exposed” while regular staff are pushed like slaves under Schlee’s leadership, to repay the investors with maximum profit and him pocketing £30 Million in bonus after the JAB takeover!

In the meantime Clive Schlee polishes Pret’s facade by doing some “charity” and loudly proclaiming via the press about it. And the majority of the public falls for it.

 

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

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

Also, an important issue on the forced happiness Pret staff have to display under “Emotional Labour”, something I have survived during traumatic bereavement —> How Companies Force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers.

 

48 55

Overall recommendations from Team Members to Management. This percentage from May 2019 rises again periodically when there are 5+ consecutive (suspiciously looking) positive reviews appearing, often worded similarly and/or listing every position in a row like Hot Chef, Barista, Team Leader etc. I can only ask people to go undercover into Pret like reporter Amy Sharpe did, but go under for a minimum of 3 months, not just a week. Do morning shifts in both the kitchen and coffee rush in the shops and feel the Pret blow!

 

Labor Lawsuit Monthly: Pret a Manger

What Happened: New York workers sued Pret A Manger (for the second time in four years!) over wage violations. This time, workers accused the company of skimping on pay by rounding hours down when employees reported time worked.

The Result: Pret A Manger settled the case for $875,000, paid out to the affected workers.”

Link to Article

Just the thought that CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 Million after the JAB purchase, 30 times more than what Pret has paid in the settlement to 4000 (four thousand!) workers combined. And God knows how much the newly appointed COO Pano Christou got, who likes to stay low-key and is a little too quiet for a COO! And whatever all the other leaders received. Sick and greedy world we live in! From own experience how we were squeezed for the little pay, which is a few pennies more than the competition alright, but the work is humongous, staff work double for this in hopes to get promoted fast! I wrote this on other blog entries, but having wasted my time, skill and labour in Pret, apart from my own trauma with this company, it is the biggest regret in my life.

Pret is NOT what they portray themselves to be, they are just very good in marketing themselves as this ethical company! Look closer!

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

This below review is a huge problem in Pret UK as well, where team members are pressured under the pretense they’re not working hard enough, then have to stay longer to finish tasks without pay. This is done on purpose, where staff get so much to do which is unrealistic high. And then under this pretense are forced to stay longer unpaid. And if they complain they are threatened with disciplinaries and their job security. I had to chase my and my colleagues pay all the time and had to console depressed team members. As a team leader I also had to speak to managers many times on behalf of team members which made me not the favourite of the GMs, but I didn’t care, I cared about my team who had kids to feed!

Pret staff should sue Pret as well in a class action on wage issues. But people in the UK tend not to sue which I can relate to.

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link