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Pret & itsu founder Julian Metcalfe in Jeffrey Epstein’s “Black Book”

UPDATE 29.11.2021

As the Ghislaine Maxwell trial started today and the UK media remains silent after I sent the below to the press, and Maxwell’s camp tried hard to keep evidence out of court, I re-post this again and again!

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So here I am, minding my own business when I receive an email from an anonymous person with a link to page 38 for a “black book” of none other then convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who some believe may have been “suicided”. As I am contacted by former and current Pret staff, as well as now itsu issues that I pass on to the press, and at times it gets reported on, I get info as my blog is the main link between behind the scenes of Pret/itsu and the public/press.

So, the black address book of Epstein, what names do I see?

Pret A Manger co-“re”-founder and itsu founder, net-worth £215 million, Julian Metcalfe and his former wife Melanie with two addresses and phone numbers.

Of course it’s not a crime to be in a convicted pedophile & sex trafficker’s address book. And to be fair, Metcalfe was married to Melanie between 1992 and 2005. The first allegation on Epstein to police came in 2005, so technically people didn’t/couldn’t know about Epstein’s crimes. But still! Itsu staff have reviewed Metcalfe as sexist, racist, aggressive etc. (see YouTube below). Metcalfe comes from a long line of elite British folk and grew up wealthy and privileged. And in an interview with the Telegraph in July 2021 Metcalfe’s words are headlined with “Only the fittest will survive high street cull”.

This is very much in line with Metcalfe’s words to the Daily Mail last year regarding lock-down and being happy to sacrifice a few thousand very old and vulnerable people for the hospitality industry (again, please see YouTube below).

So, only Metcalfe knows why he is in Epstein’s infamous “black book” that has Ghislane Maxwell shake in her boots! And it doesn’t need to mean anything. But I find it noteworthy to mention after Metcalfe’s own aggressive words to the press (and other words that he deleted after I confronted him on Twitter), and what others say about him.

Quote from the Western Journal: »Epstein employee Alfredo Rodriguez called the list the “Holy Grail” or “Golden Nugget” that would map out the billionaire’s alleged underage sex network. Rodriguez first tried to sell it to journalists; instead, authorities seized it as evidence.«

About the black book via CNBC: The big names in Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Black Book’

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Page 38:

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Link

I was sent this because I chased Metcalfe off Twitter last year and put it on a YouTube slide where I explained why Pret can’t be distanced to Metcalfe, after Pret made a statement of distancing themselves when Metcalfe made his appalling “eugenicist” lock-down comments to none other than the Daily Mail tabloid of all papers! Dumb move! After I chased him off Twitter, he’s become a little more media savvy now!

On his 2 day Twitter stint, I posted itsu staff reviews to Metcalfe where he is alleged to be sexist, racist, aggressive etc. Metcalfe continued his dumbness by RT’ing my Tweets to him! I suppose someone from Pret then must have warned him of who I am, as he then deleted his Twitter account the next day after only 2 days there, not knowing I already made screenshots!

I even tweeted at him saying, “will see how long you can hold on Twitter”, never thinking he lasted only 2 days, as other Pret execs ran off Twitter since I exposed Pret there.

His deletedTweets:

I use YouTube as my blog url is blocked completely on Facebook/Instagram even in private messages! But they can’t block YouTube!

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Little side note: Former Pret CEO Clive Schlee is very close friends and business partner with Julian Metcalfe. And Schlee is on the board of directors and owns half of itsu. But no, Schlee isn’t in Epstein’s address book, I’ve already checked! 😉

And a little piece about one of the phone books, as there is more than 1 it seems:


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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee (a close friend & business partner of Julian Metcalfe who also owns half of Metcalfe’s company itsu). I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My Pret A Manger Ordeal

A “Mind Map” 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 issues of my trauma with Pret.

On the “map”:

  • click on the – minus bottom right to decrease and get an overview of the whole 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

DONATIONS

I fully fund my blog and choose not to use ads

If you would like to donate, it would be appreciated. Thank you!

£10.00

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger

If you have no time to read,
please scroll to all the screenshots further down below.

(And read the comments at the very bottom of this page.)

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NYC


This is the REALITY of Pret A Manger behind the facade WORLDWIDE. The clean facade of freebies, the forced smiles (tested by Mystery Shoppers), the “ethical” front of Pret that got away with 2 customer deaths, a third allergy reaction nearly fatal (new court-case in November 2020), several injured, multiple warnings ignored etc. Seeking independent investigation into a staff suicide.

 

UPDATE: LAWSUIT filed against Pret in NYC for racism and discrimination (bottom of page).

2019-12-24 FL review NEVER go to Pret

Link (More reviews further below in this blog post)


2018 Chaotic hellhole ambience

A rare complaint from Hong Kong where most people put their heads down and continue under hard conditions:

2020-01-30 Pret staff Hong Kong complaint

Link to Tweet. An online conversion from HKD 45 to British Pound is roughly £4.65 an hour! And Pret didn’t even respond to the Tweet.

UPDATE: August 2021:

2021-08-27 Manager shocking to staff

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A VERY common bullying incident from a Manager towards a Team Member. But this time it didn’t happen behind the facade in the kitchen, office or staff room, hidden away from customers, this time it happened in front of customers. The “ethical profile” of Pret is a facade the public still believes, because the bullying is usually happening behind the scenes, away from customers’ eyes. And then, when the Manager or Leader has finished bullying the staff member, the intimidated and humiliated Team Member then is send out to the shop floor, and expected to smile for Mystery Shopper bonus and fool customers with a fake happiness. And as many are from other countries, young, have children to feed or Uni tuition to pay, they feel stuck, too exhausted to find a new job and not knowing where to turn to.

2019-12-11 Trapped marked

Link

Fear of leaving

Link (Excerpt of Manager review)

And when the bullying is happening on the shop floor, shops are so noisy with loud music, shouting of staff to make and get coffee orders, talking, busyness. Customers are occupied on their phones or laptops, distracted with talking, eating etc. So, when it happens in the shop, people don’t even notice.

Even when I was bullied during bereavement under the watchful eye of HR, I NEVER told a customer or colleague. I was complimented by customers and received rewards from Mystery Shoppers for my service, smile, giving freebies etc. And after my shift at times I headed for the bridge and still don’t know how I survived. But none of my colleagues and customers knew my inner state and turmoil. I explain in detail at the very bottom YouTube slide about what weekly Mystery Shoppers test staff on, or via this link: “Smile for the Misery Shopper“.

This creates a host of mental health issues under Emotional Labour, that staff are forced to perform. What @Katecordon witnessed here and confronted Pret in below Tweet, is so familiar to me, and this would be a situation where I as a Team Leader then had to console the Team Member crying in the staff room and at times speak to the Manager. Only ONE time when I spoke to the Manager why they shouted at the TM, this Manager apologized to the TM. But this was only one Manager out of many who did not apologize and rather bullied me then as well for speaking out. But I didn’t care!

The Team Member in below customer Tweet made a very simple, innocent, normal mistake. No big deal. And by the way, the TM made that mistake because she was most likely NOT trained in the first place! The Manager must have stood nearby witnessing this mistake. To correct the mistake the TM then did give the 10% discount, but explained at the same time that she made a mistake and gave the 10% as a one-off. PERFECT customer service!!! In fact, a Mystery Shopper would have probably given the TM an “outstanding card”, meaning the extra £100 reward, or even £200 if the overall scores were perfect. Mystery Shoppers many times gave the reward, even when a mistake happened, but they rewarded the staff member due to how they handled the mistake.

The same is by law, when a price tag gives an old cheaper price even though the price has increased, the business is obligated to charge that old cheaper price, even if the till system is updated with the new expensive price. But this TM probably doesn’t know the law on this and did instinctively the right thing because she cares! The TM here did a perfect, correct and kind customer service, but was bullied by the Manager for making a simple mistake and then giving the 10% discount as a good will gesture, which is commendable! And this Manager is particularly offensive by talking down on the customer as well: “It’s company policy, love“. Very, very, very, very common bullying incident in Pret! Bullying and fear management by the book.

The reason this Manager makes a huge issue out of the 10% discount wrongly given as a student discount, is that Pret only does regular discounts in some places like malls or train stations (but not all malls or stations), where the other companies and train station staff within that station or mall get a 10% discount showing their staff badge. So, this Manager would have to do half a minute of paper work to explain for the financial file why the 10% was given in this Manchester airport, that doesn’t give student discounts. Managers hate to do little paper work issues like this as they want their financial records to look perfect. I got in trouble many times for doing it the proper way in recording mistakes, because Managers didn’t like mistakes in their financial files and rather stress staff to not make these mistakes. And at one time I’ve had enough and told one Manager that if a financial file is perfect without any mistakes, this would ring alarm bells with me if I was a financial auditor. But that’s another story. And honest mistakes that are effectively recorded can be traced back in the system and explained. Again, no big deal.

And also by the way, this Manager most likely continued the bullying later in the office, as bullying Pret managers and leaders can’t let go and continue later on, especially when caught out by customers and they “lost face” in front of the TM they just bullied. So, they try to “establish” authority and continue behind closed doors. I hope that young lady finds quick support! And if this Manager is disciplined by Pret, then only because he got caught by a customer who called him out publicly, like he did with his Team Member. If the TM alone would have complained to HR, nothing would have happened.

This shows as well in the very first review from the new LAX Pret shop that was opened in the summer 2019. I could not have put it into better words how this bullying environment thrives in Pret worldwide. I love American reviews, because they find amazing words!:

LAX

Link

Caught in the act!

A customer witnessed very common and regular bullying:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2

Full text:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer3

Link to Tweet

A little reality check and crash course of Pret’s “ethical” profile. What staff dare to say in anonymity, away from the fear management. Clive Schlee “retired” with quite a legacy!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

Glassdoor scores on Pret and its leadership. I wrote a new blog post as well on >>>  Pret’s new CEO Pano Christou, and Clive Schlee remaining in the background as a non-executive Director, while on his Twitter account he still presents himself as the CEO of Pret! (UPDATE: July 2020, Schlee’s Twitter account has also been deleted in July 2020). I explain in above blog why Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account. Clive Schlee let Pano Christou take over on Glassdoor already in July 2019, even though Schlee’s retirement was set for September 2019. This typical passing the buck downwards is to avoid further negative scoring. And yet, still not taking responsibility.

UPDATE: 20. Nov. 2021:

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2019-09-18 Customer witnessed bullying

Link

2019-05-05 Rude aggressive manager

Link

2020-01-02 NEW bullying GM shite

Link

2013 Pret manager smile at customer snap at staff

Link

2020-02-29 Humiliating Manager Pret USA

Link Feb. 2020

2018 Bullying staff killing customers

Link

UPDATE Feb. 2020

2020-02-10 Customer Complains about Manager rude

Link

2020-01-24 GMs steal hours HQ ordered

Link

UPDATE: Feb. 2022

2022-02-03 Manager spoke like crap to staff

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Pret settles $1m

Link

NOTE:
Pret settled TWO lawsuits in NY having had to pay 4000 workers back after illegally having “shaved off” (rounded down) their pay. But in the UK no-one goes to court, even though the same problem of unpaid hours is systemic throughout the company, as I have experienced countless times myself. One review below shows the hopelessness on the feeling that staff can’t do anything about this.

And only after getting caught and a public outcry and boycotts for not wanting to pay 500 (!) young summer recruits. Do the math on how much money that is. And getting young folk in, who don’t know their rights and are brainwashed easier. Pret always tries and changes direction when caught and boycotted.

2017 Pay apprentices

The Guardian Link

A little reminder that Clive Schlee pocketed £30 Million on bonus alone when JAB Holdings bought Pret! Link to article.

Clive £30 million

Daily Mail

Only a few of the many reviews and complaints:

100 times Stephen Hawkins Staff Tweet missing Pay

£100 owed

Link to FULL review and how HQ played dumb!

2016-03-17 Pret will do anything not to pay - RVW9823882

Link to FULL review WORTH READING! One quote from above review on the hopelessness, compared to U.S. staff who filed class-action suit against Pret twice: “Sometimes it can be challenging maintaining a natural smile on my face for 8 hours straight. … Pret will do anything not to pay you. They will bend the law and the contract in any way they can, and there is nothing you can do about it (unless smile).”

Because the legal system is different here…no pro-bono lawyer likes to take this on as I’ve experienced, because when you win, the payout is so low, lawyers don’t want to pick this up for their 33% peanuts from a low reward in the UK legal system. Too much work for little reward.

2017 Always messing up pay

Link

etc. etc. etc. …

Several reviews on Pret’s shiny London Head Office
from current and former employees at the time of reviewing on Indeed and Glassdoor. Again, these are reviews on Pret’s HEAD OFFICE in Victoria, London where the CEO and other Senior Leadership also have their desks in the open plan offices where I saw them many times working on laptops etc.

Also, some reviews from office / corporates in New York.

HQ Bullies

Link People don’t seem to get promoted unless you are a bully or belittle your team members. The place is toxic.

Another one from January 2019

2019-01-23 Great Brand Poor Management - RVW24352473 marked

Link “… working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever”.

2017 review on HQ from an IT Analyst on Glassdoor:

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link  Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”


UPDATE 05. January 2020 NEW HQ review (customer service team) on homophobia, manipulative HR dealings etc.

2020-01-05 HQ Customer Service Team review

Link

Las Vegas

Link “Pret has brought over many managers and leaders from the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand…”

This is really upsetting, because I remember when I asked my managers over the years where such-an-such an OPs Manager or General Manager is, I often heard that they where sent to New York, as the American Managers can’t handle the work / can’t manage properly. I remember being confused about this, because I lived in Florida for almost 6 years and traveled to different cities over the years, visiting friends. I stayed 3 months on the West Coast, visited North Dakota, the East Coast, the deep South, often for several months. I have many American friends. Americans are one of THE hardest working people. They are inventive, passionate, disciplined, fun, helpful etc. I was confused, but then thought that I know how complex and micromanaging Pret is, so I didn’t think any more of it. But now I realize, reading all the American reviews that what I was told was bullcrap!

Reading the above review and all the other reviews from the U.S., the main thing the American reviews have in common is: favoritism and racism. And it’s really upsetting, because I know the American mentality vs. the British.

UPDATE: Feb. 2020 from Washington DC – Fired due to pregnancy!

Probational period is 3 months, so they quickly fired her and she can’t take it up in court.

2020-02-10 DC - Fired due to pregnancy

Link

2020-02-09 Bullying management

Link I can verify that. I worked in over a dozen Pret shops over the years, and EVERY manager seems to take it personal when you move on. I only moved shop due to management. The reason was always management. They don’t look at you anymore, seem offended when you move on, and yet, they can’t give you a positive word while you work there and then wonder why you leave! And the language barrier is big. You do feel left out very quick when the majority are from a certain country, and you work with them for 8+ hours without understanding a word all day. You feel left out, not understanding their language. And this is not meant racist at all. It’s just a courtesy and inclusiveness to speak English.

Bullying from the top down: A review by a Team Leader who runs the kitchen and the shop! OPs (area manager) bullying the manager who cries in the office. This OPs sounds particularly nasty, and reminds me of an OPs that I had before my brother died and I was still strong holding out under this kind of “leadership”! It’s also a recent review from 03. October 2019 (this is Chicago, but this happens in other countries/cities as well):

OPs yell Managers cry

Link My typical work day consist of Ops Manager yelling and cursing at my manager.Managers cry in their offices because of how stressed they are.Managers are secretly looking for new jobs right now to get out of Pret.

17 Odd

Review by former purchasing Director, NY

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

Link “This place is what hell must be like.”

This is probably THE ANGRIEST review I have come across, and even by an Assistant Manager!

01 Brutal Nightmare

YouTube

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

“I hate Pret” group on facebook.com/preth8ers

A customer in Chicago in 2017, commenting about a Pret staff who died, and then making a general comment on Pret:

2017 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for2

“I knew Dante. He was an extremely nice person. That being said, Pret is a horrible company to work for.”

2018-10-02 Anxiety Depression Dread

Link Depression…

2019-04-10 Depression review

Link Depression…

Dept Labor

Link “This job should be reported to the department of labor”.
Pret settled 2 lawsuits in New York, re-paying 4000 workers. In the UK hardly anyone sues because the legal system is different, low rewards that no lawyer wants to pick up. In the U.S. one reviewer on Indeed recently wrote that Pret is always getting sued.

0 Sued

2019-06-11 Corporate hell on earth - RVW27190460

Link “This company is everything that is wrong with the world. … Corporate hell on earth.”

Former General Manager 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM

2011-07-19 Admin Closer NY - Title

Link Review from NY 2011, but this is throughout the company and still today, quote: “Management is very incompetent. It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company itself.Even though Pret A Manger emphasizes that they are a “people first” type of company, the reality of it is is that they are solely concerned with sales and view their employees as faceless and a dime a dozen.
You’re not God. Take a continuing ed course in management, employee relations, and labor rights. This should be a requirement before even obtaining the position.

I can only underline above (and ALL) reviews, and yet know that Pret does NOT care about labour rights etc.

2015 PAMSU likes to see evidence of good jobs

Link

UPDATE: 25.11.2019

A new review from a Team Leader also with 10 years experience:

2019-11-26 leeches Indeed TL review

Link I gave this review an extra blog entry because it deserves an extra mention: >>> Pret A Manger in a Nutshell

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness3

Times

The Times article and photo

Amy

Undercover report by Amy Sharpe, Sunday Mirror photo on “staff who are hugely over-stretched”.

2018-06-13 Hellhole - RVW21022161

Link  “… get down from that high horse you’re on”

2015 People Cry

Link “A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period”

0 Terrible Hiring Useless people cry

23. Oct. 2019 “I have work in different shops and they are all very similar, it is a toxic environment, Never in my life I have seen so many different coworkers cry in the job. Give more training to your managers, and hire better people, don’t allow them to abuse the staff, it is appalling.”

The next review from recently is a very typical scenario of abusive fear-management by Managers. Scaring low-wage workers that they’re “playing with lives” while the top Senior Leadership got away with TWO customer deaths, Clive Schlee sneaking out quietly, remaining in the background as a non-executive Director, while having ignored customer warnings (link to article), not acting until the deaths became public:

Brainwash

Link

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

You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 45

Link I spend 6 months racing all day and barely spoke 3-5 words a day on my shifts if I’m not on till where you are required to have the widest fake smile on earth…”

Pret Abuse


UPDATE: 31.10.2019

A brand new review by a current General Manager that absolutely breaks my heart! One of many along the lines of no work-life balance, due to under-staffed shops and not paid for overtime.

2019-10-31 GM - Slavery - RVW30135565

Link “I am about to lose my family as I am never there. I leave to work at 4 am and get home 7 at night. My children looking at me like a I am a stranger. It’s not a life. … Bullying, long hours, shortage of staff, – it’s a proper Modern day slavery”

I think this is the most heart-breaking review I’ve ever seen by any staff member, let alone a Manager. I hope they find a way! I actually cried when I read this.

Another recent Manager review from Chicago tells a similar story, quote: “With the wrong management, the shops begin to break down and brings inner conflict. Pay could be better, especially for seasoned employees. Management gets overworked to save on labor costs. Don’t expect to see much of home as a manager.” Link

Another GM from London in August 2019:

2019-08-10 GM 5am to 8pm

Link A little side note, GMs go to quarterly meetings where the CEO and top leadership are present as well, so GMs know Senior Leaders more than the regular staff. Some GMs disapprove of the CEO – at the time it still was Clive Schlee. But I find it interesting that this GM has NO opinion of the CEO, as if this GM doesn’t care to even mention their like/dislike.

And another GM on Indeed from Glasgow, Scotland:
Amazing in the beginning – showered with benefits and entitlements and opportunities to advance. Terrible once you see how horribly mismanaged and micromanaged the company is. Zero care for human beings and nothing but boosting sales and company growth.

2019-10-11 GM - Horrible

Link

A little reminder again that Clive Schlee pocketed £30 Million on bonus alone when JAB Holdings bought Pret! Link to article.


UPDATE: 10. November 2019
Brand new Manager review on Indeed worth reading!

2019-11-10 GM Horrible

Link Quote:Managers are forced to cheat on results and break standards just so that the area manager looks good on paper, though he stays at home most of the days whilst the shops collapse.
Yes, but this has always been like this. OPs Managers sit in the pub at lunch time when shops are horrendously busy. OPs Managers fly out to Dubai, Paris or in the U.S. to Vegas, Orlando etc. as mentioned above, to party and blow the hard earned money the shops bring in. Many times I didn’t see my OPs Manager for at least THREE MONTHS at a time, and when they came in, they bossed us around and played scary fear management for a few minutes, before disappearing again for months! The only thing I saw regularly was EMAILS and pressuring us on numbers and Mystery Shopper results!

Quote: Since 2018 there is so much pressure in getting the standards right however I’ve seen kitchens running on two people on night shifts and even one on day shift (where four people are required per shift) as area management does want figures to be right on paper- this could cause enormous issues if something went wrong i.e. allergens.” 

Quote: People are over stretched and tired since the pressure to achieve selection in stores is high but not enough labour in.

Quote:
“We as managers aim to make our teams happy and safe however the over stretching on labour just made us cover the gaps over and over not realising the biggest gap was within us unable to have a normal life or humanity due to the amount of hours being psychologically forced into work.”

Quote:
“I have met great people and higher management in this company but there is an unacceptable level of fear culture up here in Edinburgh, where people believe they won’t actually be okay if they quit their job if unhappy. It’s 2019 and if your employer raises you to be scared to develop elsewhere then it’s not a good employer.”

Nothing more to add!

And the gift that keeps on giving, a NEW MANAGER review on Glassdoor 16. Nov. 2019

GM Horrible - not as they present it

Link “Those willing to step on others make it to the top. Talk the talk but actually don’t live by the values they preach.”


This review is one of my absolute favourites, and brings some humour into all this!

Also, pay attention to the YES vs NO votes on all these reviews.

2017-12-15 Lick asses Prayer

Link

I could go on and on and on, and add countless more along those lines of above reviews, but my posts tend to get too long. I just post one more which is the shortest review I have come across. It doesn’t take many words to describe Pret A Manger. This is even from a Team Leader. Well, it’s simply Pret:

2019-09-16 CoWOrkers bomb Company trash

Link


UPDATE July 2020

Lawsuit filed on 01. July 2020 against Pret for racism, discrimination, hostile work environment at several shops in New York City.

–> Battle v Pret A Manger & Ramos.

Pret Lawsuit RacismLink


Above comments and articles are only a fraction of a long list of staff reviews and complaints. For an extensive, yet not exhaustive list please visit: Pret Staff Complaints (list needs to be updated, I stopped in August 2019) with a few collected in below slideshow.

Finally, some very wise words I came across once on Twitter, but I know Pret will not heed (they read my blog) because they are stuck in this profit-driven business and always find ways to sweet-talk their way out of responsibility:

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

Any employee reading this, especially in Pret and the service industry:

Join a Union and leave reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and other platforms.

The following Unions cover the food industry:

The BFAWU are the best informed about Pret and have helped Pret staff already. The BFAWU have been instrumental on the first ever McDonald’s strikes in the UK. Also another vital and very active Union that specialize in helping foreign workers is IWGB.

BFAWU1IWGBMcStrike (UK)  — GMB UnionUniteFast Food Forward (USA)

The BFAWU and IWGB are very active with McDonald’s strikes and are the best informed about Pret A Manger.

 

May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

Slideshow can be paused

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

Staff review: “Bad managemet, always being ‘hounded’.”

Staff review: “Worked into the ground without empathy.”

Smile for the Mystery Shopper. I renamed: “Misery Shopper”!

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

NOTE: When on Glassdoor, one has to register and be signed in to read reviews. Glassdoor has changed its selection of reviews. On Pret A Manger reviews, Glassdoor is now sieving out Managers and Leaders reviews on the front page.
To see ALL the recent reviews on Glassdoor, click where it says “Popular” and select “Most recent” or “Lowest Rating” AND Clear All “Full-time, Part-time”. Also, Glassdoor demands logins now, where you can only see ONE review without being registered and logged in. The reason why the amount of reviews change from 683 to 697 may be that Glassdoor withholds some reviews. But I’m not sure how that works. On Indeed at the Location feature, scroll up to select “All” and it will automatically list all cities/countries in chronological order starting with the newest.

Indeed now even started handpicking reviews as “the most useful review selected by Indeed”, which shows that these review sites are not neutral, as they only select the positive ones, no matter how “rotten” the company may be or how many experienced staff have voted their agreement with the (negative) review:

2019-12-10 Indeed selects featured reviews now

DEFAULT view:

2019-11-22 Glassdoor Default

Click on Sort: “Most recent” and “Clear All”

2019-11-22 Glassdoor Clear Moste Recent

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review: 1. “Late Night Girl’s” Story with Pret and 2. Pushing Back Against Pret.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illusion

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

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

Index:

Links open in a new window / tab

INTERVIEW

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


ARTICLES

Two articles I wrote for the Scottish Left Review:
1. “Late Night Girl” Story with Pret
2. Pushing Back Against Pret

Thank you for reading/listening.


UNRELATED TO PRET – But important

> My call-in to BBC radio show of Dotun Adebayo early morning on Christmas Day 2019. The subject of the show was »What does “Christmas spirit” mean to you?«. One of the questions was, if more people are alone at Christmas than it used to be, and what people’s experience is with Christmas in general. As I was up, I just called in. I didn’t speak about Pret, as death and grief is already “heavy” as it is on Christmas Day and I don’t think a BBC radio program would be ready to hear about Pret! I kept it “light” I hope.

(My losses happened in a span of 3 years, not 5 years, I just spoke from looking back on 5 years.)


PRESS

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


UPDATE May 2019

LINK >>> TWO recent Pret staff deaths

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


£1000 FOR ALL STAFF
(£800 after tax)

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


PRET STAFF REVIEWS & COMPLAINTS

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

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

Pure Misery Go back to England - RVW15228294

Go back to UK

Link

2012-07-23 Ex GM

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

2019-03-07 Modern Slavery

Link

Las Vegas

Link

IT Analyst HQ

Link

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

June/July 2019 overall figures on Glassdoor

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

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Slideshow can be paused

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

NEW

I’m branching out to YouTube, as not everyone likes to read long blog posts. I cover mainly staff issues currently:


CEO CLIVE SCHLEE RETIREMENT
NEW CEO PANO CHRISTOU

NEW 01. July 2019: Announcement of early “retirement” of Clive Schlee supposedly in September, but new CEO Pano Christou is already featured on Glassdoor, probably to avoid further negative voting for Schlee.

A list of articles I wrote on Clive Schlee: “Clive Schlee – Late Night Girl Articles

Article on Pano Christou, new CEO officially from September 2019.

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

July 2019 New CEO, new start on Glassdoor


UPDATE October 2019

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26


CUSTOMER OBSERVATIONS
on Stressful Work conditions

The Pain of Working at Pret A Manger

Pret Staff work in overheated shops. Customer complaints on behalf of employees regarding excruciating work conditions in 35-40ºC+ heat for prolonged time, weeks and months.


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

How Companies Force Emotional Labor on Low-Wage Workers

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

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

Pret Uniform2


PRET’S MARKETING with Charity
and Former Homeless People

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust


ALLERGEN DEATHS
and Pret’s procrastination

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

Vegetarians eat Ham and Meat products – more ongoing issues

Pret’s Labelling Commitment?

Allergen Label Warnings Pret ignored before and even after customer deaths


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

A recent staff review from New York mentions that Pret is constantly being sued. In the UK the legal system isn’t as helpful:

Worst

Link

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

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

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

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

USA March 2019 Court PDF Document of new lawsuit regarding Pret’s “Natural” claim. List of chemicals from page 10 onward.

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

NEW Slideshow: Pret A Manger Bang Bang Rip-Off Wrap

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Slideshow can be paused


FREE COFFEES MARKETING

And why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card System


EXTERNAL PRESS ARTICLES

Pret A Manger and “broken windows” syndrome

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

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

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

… more to come

Robot sad crop

10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

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


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

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

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

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now

Further Staff Reviews, one which states that they felt always being “hounded”. I based more reviews in a YouTube slide on this statement:

“Worked into the ground without empathy”

Smile for the Mystery Shopper – Forced to do emotional labour for cash incentives and fear management (I re-named as the “Misery” Shopper for a reason!)


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

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

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 report me to get shadow-banned (secretly censored on Twitter & Co. which then hides my posts and accounts from public search). 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.

My Facebook message after Amy contacted me:

2018 Amy Sharpe Facebook message2

What I meant by Pret “infiltrating” the mental health club I was a member of, Pret knew about this club as I mentioned it in my last hearing. I write about Pret “infiltrating” the club in my open “letter” to the Pret Foundation Trust which is just a smokescreen to pretend charity to the public.

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

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

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

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

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

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

Link

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

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

Spitalfields Waste MultitaskOffice_6Sep15


Article:
I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags.
I shout orders to a barista while dashing to a beeping toastie machine to retrieve a baguette.
I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.
All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.

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

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link


UPDATE Jan. 2019

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

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link by @terry_mcparlane Twitter


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

Excerpt:

Speed in Seconds

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

A positive Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

MS eye contact

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

A negative Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

Mystery Shopper poor comments

“I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engage(d) and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

— or —

MS_Cough

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018-11-28 Bad Service after 3 years

Link

“Every time…”

2018-11-28 Wrong Coffee

Link

2018-11-28 No steamed milk

Link

“Oh no!…”

2018-11-29 Gingerbread Latte

Link

etc. etc.

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

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

PretBehaviour01a


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

Nothing more to add except this Link


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

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


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

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

2018-08-18 #50 Pret A Not Worth

Coffee Specialist, London April 2018

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

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

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

Full article of the Sunday Mirror

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

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

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

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

expret.org


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

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

Link


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

Interview:

Adam

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

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

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

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.


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


I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
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 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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger’s “Propaganda”?

Let me explain.

Following Pret issues I keep seeing confusing information and mixed messages regarding Pret’s sales and profits. One week Pret’s sales are down, next week sales are 80% pre-Pandemic levels, next week Pret is close to ruin due to having to repay loans by the summer 2022, then profits up again … In the USA there are lawsuits in the millions for upaid rents.

Knowing Pret and their top leadership CEO Pano Christou, HQ staff, the HR department, OPs (area) managers, shop management etc. while claiming to be doing “the right thing naturally”, Pret’s way is to cheat, steal, borrow and scam customers and staff.

Pano Christou is under pressure to speed open shops. Pret received close to half a billion pounds, yes billion, from tax-haven Luxembourg based owners JAB Holdings (Germany’s 2. richest family, the Reimanns with an extensive Nazi slavery past) and shareholders. Pret received this money with the task to open 200 shops worldwide in the next 2 years. This is a huge and unrealistic task.

I remember when private equity firm Bridgepoint took over in 2008 and tasked Pret to open at least 15 shops per year. Me and my colleagues felt the squeeze. And now with JAB it’s even worse.

India’s richest business man has hooked up with Pret to open shops in India. I feel sorry and worried for workers AND customers in India, especially since Pret has a very poor track record on food safety and customer care, despite their “happy” and generous facade.

JAB and shareholders are like the Mafia, they want their money back. These private equity firms pass companies like Pret from hand to hand like drug dealers do with drugs and money laundry. Makes me almost feel sorry for Pano Christou who is squeezed in-between like a middle man and lower ranked drug dealer appeasing the big lords.

But the price is paid by the very bottom, the “addicts”, those who need jobs and sell their labour cheap to the overlords because they don’t know that they can beat the “addiction” when they get help and organise.

I’ve seen interviews of Pano Christou in India and other places lately, and he does NOT look relaxed. He looks tense, nervous, keeps sniffing as if he had a cold or is snorting cocaine. Not alleging that he does, but his nervous sniffing is unusual for him. I know of former OPs managers and HQ staff who took drugs in the toilets in head office.

I had to wipe cocaine traces off toilet hand dryers in Pret shops where mainly business people frequent. Again, I’m not alleging Pano is taking drugs, but I am calling Pret out again and again for scamming customers, stealing and borrowing from staff, selling expired, mouldy food even after having ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before this got public. THAT is what I can say for sure! I link to the reasons and evidence further below.

The media is helping Pret’s “propaganda” by saying sales are up, profits are soaring again, and I have a sense this is to attract potential investors.

Pano must be under pressure from JAB and shareholders to produce numbers. Hence, Pret delayed paying staff TWICE this year under dodgy excuses, the 2. excuse was “payroll error”.

Pano seems to be doing the EXACT thing that all shop managers do. Shop managers tweak numbers, cheat, extend expiry dates to save on food waste to boost their bonus and please their OPs managers. Pano has to produce and reach targets for his bosses JAB Holdings.

And since Pret’s been making profit again, they could and should raise wages, reinstate the benefits and paid breaks they cut. But of course no, they continue to cut in anyway they can including stopping complimentary items like butter portions for soup bread, seeds for porridge, sweetener, downsized the complimentary honey portions etc. etc.

These cuts are okay for me, what is NOT okay is borrowing from low-wage staff like workers are a bank to loan from without interest! Wage theft is also huge in Pret.

Here are just some of the mixed messages and “propaganda” Pret and the media throw out there:

04. July 2022

Link

Also 04. July 2022

I can’t believe Pano Christou getting involved, wanting the rail strikes to end so HE can make money! I have no words for this company!

Link

So, trading slumped down to 62% “because” of the train strike, let’s just blame workers again. Yet, on this same day news say that Pret’s sales are UP.

Can they make up their minds, or is this truly “propaganda” to get investors and customers in?

Pano Christou is SO detached and deranged, he doesn’t care one bit about workers. He even had the audacity AFTER he cut wages, making “temporary” pay cuts permanent to ASK his low-wage staff to donate to his “charity” half-marathon. Pano has NO shame whatsoever. His greed, or maybe it truly is desperation is amazing! I gave Pano a nickname, “Panoccio”! 🤥

-> Pret’s “charity” projects.

It also reminds me of Pret RE-founder and itsu founder Julian Metcalfe who didn’t want a 2. lockdown willing to sacrifice “a few thousand very old and vulnerable people”. I chased him off Twitter and was later informed that he is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book:

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Pret and itsu are thick as thieves and ice cold business people hurting people with a smile.

30. June 2022

Link

Februrary 2022

From the Daily Telegraph, quote:

»Pret a Manger has fired a fresh warning shot over its future as it races to delay debt repayments following two years of lockdown turmoil.

Company filings for the coffee chain’s owner, Pret a Manger Ltd, said it was attempting to buy more time to repay its loans.

It has until June to pay back £66.7m in loans, after having already extended that facility. A separate £605m loan facility is due to expire the following summer

Link

Link

This news to me seemed to have served to panic customers to flock to Pret for support. No more news on this since then. So, Pret either seemed to have repaid the £66 million and still has to repay £605m by the summer 2023.

And here’s what Pret’s been doing to reach targets:

BBC: Pret customers complain over drinks subscription deal

Ongoing complaints on the coffee subscription, apps, deals etc.

Claiming to have suppLIEr issues and technical faults preventing customers to get special offers and certain expensive and complimentary products.

The worst for me is delaying to pay their front-line, lowest paid staff TWICE this year and the ongoing wage theft.

And no, don’t make it too easy on yourself by saying staff can just look for another job. It’s not that simple when you have no money, a family to support, maybe even debt. Pret wear out their workers on purpose so they can’t think straight and have the strength to stand up or look for better jobs.

But customers can EASILY shop elsewhere and CHOOSE EASILY to support small independent businesses.

But no, most customers are as greedy as Pret by wanting freebies, a cheap coffee subscription and are willing to wait 10 – 15 minutes now while giving the few staff that are left a hard time for being “slow”!

So HOW can Pret be making pre-Pandemic 80% plus profits again while being understaffed, long queues, many customers boycott or completely abandon Pret.

Is it “propaganda” again to draw new investors while Pret is struggling in reality?

Many large companies underpay workers and are into wage theft. But for Pret to delay pay twice this year by getting bolder and bolder in broad daylight, shows desperation to me.

The uo and down, back and forth messages of soaring sales, then being close to bankruptcy is such a typical communication mess from Pret.

One employee review from New York from a purchasing director give some insights into Pret’s leadership. A purchasing director is closer to Pret leadership than shop staff. And I can underline this having had my traumatic experiences with Pret’s leadership ncluding former CEO Clive Schlee, Pano Christou, the HR department and some HQ staff.

Quote: »One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.«

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Just a few more from the USA and from London’s head office staff:

Link

Link

Link

Next, part quote:

»The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives. … Advise to management: Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.«

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Link

»Spoiled, selfish upper management has ruined it for the rest. … upper management thinks they are better than everyone else. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them.
Advice to Management: get over yourselves.«

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Link

A recent review of many along those lines, partial quote:

»harassing higher management from group and ops manager above. Unhealthy to both mental and physical health. … Group manager shaming for being sick. … Wages regularly not paid on time. … Safety standards for teams lack luster [causing] high risk of injury. …
Advise to management: Replace Pano with someone competent

.

Link

I could go on and on and on, but to wrap it up, here some words from people in Ireland and Spain regarding Pret opening in those countries:

Spain’s and Ireland’s “welcome” message to Pret and below, “The Pret A Manger Anthem”.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

I feel sorry for Workers in India when Pret opens there

People in India are used to hard work and low pay under extremely harsh circumstances. I can imagine that Pret are anticipating speed opening in India where they can exploit and abuse workers even worse than they do in the UK and USA where people go to court more than people in India.

My heart breaks for any worker who is told lies and believes they get a good job in a “good” company!

It is beyond me how people, especially business people are either too naïve, too lazy, not concerned or plainly don’t care about the truth of Pret or any company at that. Of course business people are MAINLY concerned about money increase, no matter how that increase comes. And IF there are some ethical points, they don’t take a closer look and just copy & paste what they are fed by the company.

I want to dissect a thread on Twitter by an Indian business man with over 190K followers. Mr. Mukul Agrawal is the founder of Agrawal Corporate, entrepreneur, investor, trader, stock market analyst, finance coach and TEDx speaker. But it is evident that he only copied what he read maybe on Pret’s website and a little on Wikipedia, and whatever info is prevalent still.

He first writes that Pret opened its first shop in 1986, then later writes correctly that the first shop opened in 1983. He must have briefly peeked at Wikipedia. His copy & paste info is all over the place. I responded and corrected him on a few issues and pleaded to take a closer look. But I doubt he would care. It bugs me that especially business people don’t do their homework properly.

So, here for other people who do care about the truth and reality of Pret A Manger.

For people with visual impairment, I put some screenshots of the tweets and news articles here, which I always do as a form of “evidence” and in case people delete their tweets. But I paste the text underneath, as I was told by a blind person once that reading programs cannot read screenshots. I have found the same with the automated voice converter that reads my blog posts and converts my text into audio. I put some audio conversion of my blog posts on my podcast. The voice can’t read the screenshots. So, I aim to also type out or paste texts from screenshots on my blog.

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Link to tweets

Text of the tweets, I copy 4 of the 5 texts as Twitter didn’t translate the first tweet. I responded to some wrong information but want to expand here in the post. My “corrections” come underneath each quote.

First Quote: »Pret’s mission has been simple. Serving hygienic and properly prepared fresh food and good organic coffee.« End of Quote.

My response on Twitter but I expand on some more information here below.

1. Pret had to remove the word “natural” from their signage & packaging after lawsuits as their food is loaded with chemicals.

2. Pret food is NOT fresh. Customer complaints with picture of mouldy food. And Pret’s food is NOT organic. Pret do not claim that their food is organic, but they claim that their coffee is. I explain in my blog post why Pret had to remove the word “natural” from all their signage, packaging and marketing: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat.

I also linked people to my post about Pret’s food not being fresh with pictures of customer complaints of mouldy food, rat droppings on food etc. I also want to highlight that reports on food poisoning has increased in the last few months. Blog post with photos of mouldy food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh.

Pret’s brainwash slogans of “freshly made food” which replaced the “natural food” slogan on their packaging, is also a typical psychological message. But the reality is, even if it was made fresh on the day and not secretly carried over from the previous days, you can “freshly make” a sandwich from stale bread and mouldy cheese. It’s “freshly made” with NON-fresh items.

And never forget that Pret ignored TWO customer allergy deaths and over a dozen further injuries before this got public. Pret ONLY slowly started to act when the deaths became public. We staff weren’t even told and on my podcast I explain in 3 episodes how Pret was and continues to be careless with food safety and customers health and safety. Please pay particular attention to a specific London Barbican Centre seminar that Pret held AFTER the first customer died and several got injured. I speak about this in Part 01, Part 02 and Allergy Trial as part 3: expretcast on Spreaker.

And in memory of the two customers who died, it is important to keep saying their names:

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, died in July 2016 from a reaction to sesame.

Celia Marsh, 42, mother of 5 daughters died in December 2017 from dairy in a vegan wrap.

A student named Isobel Colnaghi, almost died and would have been the third victim in 2017, also from an unlabelled sesame reaction. She lost her court case against Pret because Pret was successful to blame the low-wage worker. I speak about this in the above three podcast episode.

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Link to Daily Mail article.

Second Quote from the business man: »Since opening its first shop in London in 1986, Pret’s mission has been to serve freshly cooked food and the best organic coffee. Its food is prepared throughout the day and the unsold food is donated at the end of every day.« End of Quote.

My response:

I highlight in the tweets that not all food is donated to charity each night and link to my blog post about daily food-waste with pictures of customer complaints having seen food waste in the streets: Pret’s Food-waste.

Also, many people still don’t seem to know or realize that Pret’s food is NOT cooked in Pret kitchens, but cooked in factories and then just re-heated and assembled in shop kitchens.

It is like when you go to the supermarket, get a loaf of ready-sliced bread, some cheese, some ham and salad. You go home, put the food into your fridge and a day or two days later “make” a sandwich “fresh”. Freshly made from factory-cooked ingredients. Same with the soup. you buy a ready cooked soup in a tin or plastic tub, put it in your fridge and re-heat it a few days later in your microwave. Pret’s just been successful to fool the public with all their slogans and brainwash. And we love to fall for these fairy-tales of a multi-billion pound company with seat in tax-haven Luxembourg under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns, with an extensive Nazi slavery past!

The only products that are cooked from raw or partly cooked products are the frozen baguettes that are up to a year old, frozen croissants, frozen cookies and raw eggs that come already mixed in Tetra Paks for the bacon breakfast rolls. NOTHING is cooked in Pret shops, there are not pots and pans and stoves in the kitchens. There are only ovens for the baguettes and ready mixed Mac & Cheese, water baths to heat up the already factory-cooked soups and porridge, and microwaves to quickly re-heat soups.

A former employee of Pret’s sister company Panera spilled the beans on how Panera re-heat their already cooked macaroni and cheese. The staff got fired for putting a video of this on YouTube. But this is the exactly same way that Pret re-heat the ready cooked soups and porridge, in water baths of bags containing six cups of soup. The water-bath equipment is called “marinator”.

Video on YouTube:

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The only thing with Panera Bread is that compared to Pret, Panera do not advertise that their food is “freshly made”. So, I won’t have any expectations. But Pret claim that their food is freshly made and with it play with customer assumptions that they interpret this to mean that Pret’s food is fresh.

Third Quote from the business man: »Their coffee is (and always will be) 100% organic and they also have a coffee fund that financially supports the next generation of farmers. This is (partly) what we think makes Preet special.« End of Quote.

My response on the financial support for coffee farmers:

Pret exploit farmers and have even stopped doing fair-trade coffee. Pret’s multi-billionaire owners JAB Holdings in tax-haven Luxembourg pressured farmers to lower prices! I linked to a The Economist article titled, »JAB upends coffee trading« with the sub-title: “The owner of Peet’s and Pret a Manger is pressuring suppliers already ground down by low prices.” Link to the article.

Customer complaints have increased that Pret’s coffee tastes horrible. The cheap prices and Pret not doing fair-trade coffee anymore makes me question HOW their coffee can be organic. I have visited organic animal and vegetable farms in Virginia, USA where I was looking into doing a 3 month sabbatical a few years ago. I asked many questions to the farmers and they told me that it is extremely expensive to get certified organic via annual fees. And my question is, how can Pret’s coffee be organic when it is so cheap and the taste very poor.

A reminder, Pret was caught cheating by claiming that their food is natural. They had to take the word “natural” off their marketing. In other issues Pret has been caught ripping off customers, lying about the subscription deal which the BBC reported on in December 2021. Article: Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal.

And the price reflects on the quality and taste. Here are only few of the many complaints from customers who say Pret’s coffee tastes like “dishwater” or the beans are like “rat shit”:

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And many, many, many more.

Last Quote from the business man: »Established in 1983, Pret currently has over 460 shops in the UK, with 324 locations in London alone.« End of Quote.

My response was just that this time he mentioned the correct date of the first Pret shop opening. I want to highlight something that a friend of the late Jeffrey Hyman, the original founder of Pret, told me on Twitter not long ago. Hyman’s friend paid tribute to him on the anniversary of his death. I responded to his tweet saying that Pret always avoid mentioning Mr. Hyman. I have noticed now as well that since about a year, Pret has put the words “London 1986” above their shop doors. This seems to me like wanting to brainwash the public about the year of Pret’s first opening.

Jeffrey Hyman’s friend said the following to me on Twitter after I pointed out Pret’s refusal to mention Hyman:

Link to Tweet.

When I tweeted, “Unfortunately Pret don’t give him credit and continue to avoid mentioning him”, he replied, quote: »I know. They even employed someone to repeatedly change the Wikipedia page that mentions how Jeffrey Hyman founded the first Pret-A-Manger. A moderator banned the person when they said they were retained by Pret to do that.« End of quote.

After what I survived and went through in Pret, especially from the VERY TOP executive leadership team and the HR department, I absolutely believe the person. Pret lie, cheat and steal left, right and center! They have no morals, no ethics, and every good, wholesome or ethical thing you read from Pret is the COMPLETE opposite!

I want to nightlight again my favourite tweet by a former customer who said the following after replying to a customer who called for boycotting Pret when Pret made the temporary pandemic pay cuts permanent:

Link to the tweet and quote:

»A while back, I saw a Pret ad that said its staff were “passionate” about making sandwiches. This kind of bullshit talk always hides ruthless practices in my experience« End of quote.

At least current CEO Pano Christou removed the brainwashing slogan on their packaging that used to say “Lovingly handmade” after I keep pointing out the opposite. And people are usually naïve to believe that a low-wage, stressed out worker can “lovingly” hand make anything!

I want to expand now on a few other issues. The main issue of exploiting workers. Pret settled twice class action lawsuits in the USA. Pret “shaved down” (meaning, rounded down) wages and were sued twice within 4 years. Pret settled and repaid close to $1 million each time repaying 4000 workers. Pret also recently settled a lawsuit for finger printing workers. More on these and other lawsuits including on racism and bullying in shops: Pret’s Lawsuits and Settlements.

Also, recently Pret delayed paying their lowest-paid staff twice! The second time Pret cleverly used the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, knowig that the public would be distracted with celebrations. And they were right! I was contacted by desperate staff with this info and passed it on to journalists, including Sarah Butler from the Guardian. Sarah reported on it, but her article was drowned out by the Jubilee weekend as hardly any customer commented. Usually when the Guardian or BBC report on a scandal in Pret, there is an outcry for days and calls for boycott. But not this time, because Pret was clever enough to use the bank holiday weekend to delay pay. And also on bank holiday Monday all the banks are closed so that Pret won’t have to pay emergency wages and staff cannot arrange an overdraft in order to pay their bills.

Staff have announced that they basically now will sabotage Pret, which means also their food and service quality. What a staff member said on Instagram about the pay delay which directly influences food safety and customer satisfaction. And please don’t blame the staff here, that’s too easy! Pret put customers in danger again by under-staffing shops and treating their staff like sh!t

It comes around full circle. How you treat your staff reflects also what you think of your customers.

Link to Instagram post.

One person raised the delayed pay with Pret on Instagram, quote: »This is outrageous, it’s a bank holiday week-end and your team members are working instead of enjoying themselves and you didn’t even pay them. You should not allow to have these technical issues as you push your staff to not do any mistake. And is not even the first time.« End of quote.

To which the above person replied in part, quote:

»Don’t worry. We already drastically reduced food and service quality (since we work for free) and we will make sure Pret doesn’t make as much money as they think they will this bank holiday weekend.

They told us 12 hours before payday that there is no money, on 1st of June when everybody has rent/mortgage to pay. They left us with no money to provide for our families.

We tried to contact the head office regarding the issue but all of them were already gone enjoying early bank holiday.

Lots of people already took sick-leave as a strike action leaving those in the shops understaffed (food availability will be affected). Thank you for your support.« End of quote.

More on this with a link to the Guardian article after I contacted the press: Bloomberg’s Pret Index and Pret’s Wage Theft.

I also want to highlight here as a reference why and when Pret make huge “charity” announcements, especially why former CEO Clive Schlee made the £1000 announcement for all staff back in May 2018 when he found out about my blog. A small list of “charity” announcements: Pret’s Charity Projects.

Former CEO Clive Schlee under whose “leadership” two customers died and over a dozen got injured, left with this “legacy” from staff on Glassdoor:

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And current CEO and Schlee’s prodigy, Pano Christou is continuing it:

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I could go and on and on, but I stop here and leave the reader with two YouTube slides of people in Spain and Ireland resisting Pret’s plan to open in their countries. I doubt India will resist Pret as many workers there for one don’t have information on how exploitative Pret are, and also because they are used to harsh work environments. But it’s not right. They also deserve a decent wage and respectful working conditions with dignity and a good life. But that will never happen with Pret, not in reality, only on paper.

Please see my YouTube playlist for more issues in Pret, especially with the coffee subscription and staff issues. And my podcast where I walk people through Pret’s strict weekly mystery shopper scheme, why stressed staff in understaffed shops smile so much for 8, 10+ hours straight, not mater if they are depressed, sick, bereaved etc. Podcast: Pret’s Strict Mystery Shopper Scheme with examples of weekly reports. I explain how one staff member can get extra cash even when the whole team didn’t get bonus. I also explain how staff use the freebie give-aways to penalize rude customers etc.

Thank you for reading, and I am sorry for my traumatized self sometimes. I still struggle daily and am not sure if I will survive. I just write and write to distract myself and inform people, so they don’t experience the trauma, pain and loss that I went through.

Spain:

Ireland:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

my wounds are not for you to see

If you want to know the epitome of a therapist, or the epitome of a true gentleman, or the epitome of a simple human being … who still needs toilet paper … I dare to believe that there a good human beings out there.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Bloomberg’s Pret Index & where rising Numbers REALLY come from

Days before the Queen’s platinum Jubilee weekend I was contacted by someone informing me that Pret delayed paying their lowest paid shop staff for the second time this year.

Cleverly using the bank holiday weekend knowing the press and the public would be distracted with the celebrations. I contacted journalists, including Sarah Butler from the Guardian. Actually, I emailed Pret’s CEO Pano Christou, openly copying in journalists and Ian Hodson from the BFAWU union whom Sarah later asked to comment. I included the info I was given as Pret staff always reach out to me with important issues, knowing I write about it and pass it on to the press.

Part of a DM I was sent and passed it on to the press:

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Shortly after, Sarah Butler reported on it, but of course it got drowned out in the news due to the Jubilee celebrations. Sarah Butler also reported on a strike action plan I tagged her in last year, and this started an uprising of customers who called for boycotts. But Pret being Pret, using the bank holiday weekend as people are distracted was a clever move. There was no uprising this time.

But I want to point to another reason why I believe that Pret used the Jubilee weekend to not pay staff on time. On 22.06.2022 I saw some info via Propel that Pret’s sales have risen, also during the Jubilee weekend.

Link

I am not business savvy and don’t understand business matters too well, but I know Pret very well. I know their mentality, their tricks, their sweet-talk in charity, the environment and safety issues versus how it is in reality.

I know that when there are systemic issues in a company, group or family, it always comes from the top, “the fish stinks from its head”.

For one, how can sales be up 88% to pre-pandemic levels when more and more customers boycott Pret, with many vowing to never set foot inside Pret again after learning how Pret exploit staff. Plus, shops have shorter opening times due to lack of staff. How do they throw around with figures like that?

How about a closer look?

I cannot count the number of times when manager after manager in shop after shop in my 10 years, in over 30 shops in Pret, “forgot” to pay me the odd hour here and there. The same with colleagues who would approach me as I was the team leader, complaining that the manager didn’t pay their full hours AGAIN. Often a new team member was too scared to speak to the moody or angry manager, so they came to me and I spoke to the manager on their behalf. But I also encouraged the colleague to not be afraid as they are not doing anything wrong, but the manager is!

I say with certainty that this was on purpose in shop after shop. This was especially clear when staff were sent home earlier then scheduled and managers QUICKLY adjusted the hours where staff worked less, but often “forgot” to adjust the hours in the system when staff worked longer than scheduled! Many staff don’t even check their hours and never notice that the odd hour or two hasn’t been paid, ESPECIALLY when they helped out in another shop for a day.

I kept a spreadsheet at home and marked it daily in my phone calendar how many hours I worked EACH day. Then I checked the pay and it was literally almost on a weekly basis that at least 15 minutes to an hour was missing.

Pret managers do this on purpose to not pay the odd 15 minutes to make the staff feel embarrassed to ask for the 15 minute pay. But after a while I DID demand to be paid to the minute as this became the rule rather than exception to “steal” pay/hours from us.

Do the math, if you are looking after a shop of 25 – 30 staff members, take an hour here and there from most of them every week. It is 20 – 30 hours every week that you profit from by “forgetting” to pay. It all adds up.

The same with last week’s pay. I myself have not been paid for a whole week when I left Pret. When a team member starts in Pret, they don’t get paid for the first week. They get the first week pay on the end of week two. And then when they leave, Pret forgets to pay it back.

Managers and assistant managers are on a monthly fixed payroll. But Pret exploit them as well by making them work overtime without extra pay.

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Link to Glassdoor review.

Shop managers are constantly pressured to produce numbers and reach targets. They cater to the area managers (operation managers OPs). OPs cater to head office and their heads. And CEO Pano Christou of course caters to owners JAB Holdings (Reimann family) and share holders.

The systemic and systematic issue of not paying staff their full hours worked is a huge issue in Pret, as it may be in many low-wage companies.

It was especially noticeable that managers “forgot” to pay when we neared the end of a quarter where managers and higher ups get their bonuses. Pret also has the “premiership” where shops compete for the top shop spot, being the #1 shop in all of Pret. I worked in shops where we became top shop, and often #2 and in the top 10. This of course means a sh!tload of bonus for managers and also regognition to be on the top.

Every quarter Pret holds a “quarter brief” where these shops are mentioned and where the CEO mentions specific managers. A gala is held and money blown out with expensive food and booze for the top people. while the lowest paid workers paid the price for it. Also, trips to Dubai, Paris, Las Vegas for managers and higher ups under the guise of “seminars” and team building while shop staff crumble.

The following review from New York is worth quoting outside the screenshot:

»They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them.

Advice to management: get over yourselves.«

In Europe they go to Paris or even Dubai.

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Link

In the USA people don’t mess around much and go straight to court, while in the UK and Europe the legal system is different, not as much in favour of plaintiffs. Most workers don’t even entertain the thought to raise a complicated and expensive lawsuit. So, they give up, bear under the burden or just leave.

Former CEO Clive Schlee left with this legacy:

And current CEO Pano Christou is continuing it:

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Twice in the USA Pret settled lawsuits for “wage theft” where Pret “shaved off” (rounded down) pay. Twice Pret repaid approximately 4000 workers a combined $1 million. More info: Wage Theft in Pret.

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Link

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Link

And speaking of “deal bonus” posted on Twitter by Clive Schlee, I write about the reason WHY Schlee made the £1000 bonus announcement to all staff back then. It came as a response after he was made aware of my blog in the eve of making this announcement. More info with proof: The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright “Idee”.

And now the Pret executives have become bolder, DIRECTLY taking from workers instead of before via the “middle-men” of OPs and shop managers. Pret now directly claim to have had “payroll error” delaying to pay staff.

Sarah Butler’s report after I contacted her and others:

Link

A payroll expert had this to say:

Link

McDonald’s had a 30% stake in Pret in the early 2000s for Pret to get their foot into the US market. Once in, they divorced their “marriage of convenience” shortly after. But this should have rung alarm bells for the press and public. Pret, who claim to be healthy and ethical hooking up with McDonald’s just leaves behind a bitter taste. And CEO Pano Chrsitou having come from McDonald’s, where he was a manager (started as an assistant manager in Pret with all the perks, NOT a low-wage team member), is now turning Pret further and further into a McDonald’s style business.

We all heard of horrifying instances where low-wage fast-food staff spit into customers’ food. I doubt a Pret staff would do that, BUT staff are now internally striking, literally striking back and sabotaging Pret from within.

From Instagram

Also, the same person:

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I explained later to above person that it DOES matter if Pret “only” delay pay for a day. Pret’s financial week starts on Fridays. Weekly staff are paid on Thursdays. So, paying staff 1 day late on a Friday means Pret has a new budget to work with to present better numbers of the previous week to JAB, shareholders and now the Pret Index. Just as I explained above that managers take an hour here and there, if a staff member notices this, the manager then repays it the following week. I had a sneaky manager put me on three day sick leave in the system, while I was only sick for two days. A full 7 hours were missing from my pay. He profusely apologized, but then asked me if he can repay 1 hour per week. I was new to Pret and naive and agreed! I should have demanded the full 7 hour pay then and there which Pret can do.

When I was off sick leave for 3 months during bereavement and the bullying environment, David Carter from HR met me to offer the first of 4 settlements if I sign an NDA. As I was off sick and without pay, I asked David to meet me at a cafe close to my home as I couldn’t afford the bus fare to HQ. David came and immediately took advantage of my financial struggles by offering me money in return for me to resign and sign an NDA. But to appear supportive in case of a court case later, he also offered me £300 as a good will gesture and gift. I smelled a rat but accepted the £300 gift. I didn’t want Pret to later say in court that they offered money but I rejected Pret’s offer of help and therefore have no grounds to sue them. Pret also paid for counselling but the bullying continued. After a year of no support and bullying, then having contacted the CEO, only then did some support come in while the bullying continued.

But later when I arrived home, within an hour, I had £300 in my bank account from Pret. Pret and companies in general CAN pay within minutes. This was in 2016 and David told me to take a while to think about the settlement offer which I later declined. Part of the email which he put into writing, I believe in case for court:

And yes, the funds appeared within an hour.

My former manager wanted to spread out the 7 hours pay over several weeks to reach targets. And this is what I mean regarding the Pret Index and using the end of a quarter or a specific event like the Queen’s Jubilee to delay pay.

And now even more than ever before, I fear for food safety. As if Pret need more customer deaths and injuries, shops serve expired, mouldy, stale food with insects, rat droppings, hair etc. Pret also keep mislabeling due to under-staffing and with it now break “Natasha’s Law” which was implemented in October 2021, five years after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died from a baguette containing unlabelled sesame she was allergic to. The second customer, mother of 5, Celia Marsh died of dairy in a vegan wrap. And further dozen plus got injured over several years, including after the two deaths and Pret doing NOTHING until this became public.

Ongoing mislabeling of course is due to the extreme under-staffing which happened already before the pandemic. The pandemic just made everything worse and Pret, instead of putting on the brakes and rebuild the brand with QUALITY, they rush ahead with dodgy practices and aggressive expansion plans to please JAB and share-holders.

Blog link with more pictures of mouldy food than I used in the YouTube slide below: Pret Food is NOT Fresh. It all comes around full circle.

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After having received cash injections from JAB Holding (£185million) and shareholders (£100m and later again £200m) Pret are tasked to open 200 shops worldwide in the next 2 years.

Link

Bridgepoint bought Pret in 2008, I started in Pret mid 2008 and never even knew Pret. But since 2008 I noticed Pret shops popping up at every corner in London. Later I learnt that Bridgepoint tasked Pret to open 15 shops per year. Link to “Case Study“.

And I can tell you we FELT the SQUEEZE! Now, I don’t know Pret in any other way than being back-breaking work for little money. But I kept hearing in the early months of working at Pret that colleagues who worked pre-2008 kept saying Pret has become stricter, harder, more unfair etc.

And now, with JAB, the squeeze got even worse. Tasking Pret to open 200 shops in 2 years … good luck shop workers AND customers! Of course Pret moved more into franchising. But being desperate to please JAB and shareholders after the cash injection and the task to speed-open shops worldwide, they directly now stoop even lower from their castle to the slave pit, and take from low-wage staff like using workers as a piggy bank or bank to loan money from without being charged interest.

And of course Pret wants more investors, and most people outside the UK either don’t know the scandals in Pret or still think of the “old” Pret with the happy facade. Business people and investors read Bloomberg with the Pret Index showing rising numbers that also came during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. And passionate business people drool over the Pret Index. So, what better time to “borrow” money from the lowest paid workers to have rising numbers, than during the Jubilee to pimp up the Pret Index to lure in possible investors.

In a nutshell, Pret KEEP ripping staff off, y’all, just like they rip customers off via the coffee subscription, apps, special offer deals etc.

Pret’s shady practices on a variety of issues:

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Spain’s response to Pret’s plan to open:

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From Facebook

Ireland’s response:

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Pano Christou’s 2020 pay was £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He didn’t reveal how much pay he got 2021 and 2022 after cutting wages, benefits, paid break etc. during the pandemic, keep taking from staff having made temporary pandemic cuts permanent. But if he had cut his wages like he did to staff, he would have announced it as Pret are quick to announce “charity” events. For me it is safe to assume he receives the same pay if not more. And by the way, Christou is paid more, double than the UK Prime Minister and gets the same pay as US President Biden. Katchink!

My podcast episode on this:

I could go on and on and on and on and on, but mark my words, food safety is already highly compromised and will not get better with this aggressive expansion and labour issues. I know what I’ve seen and experienced in Pret. I know what staff tell and send me. And I see the ongoing complaints on social media, including food poisoning websites reporting on every increasing issues of food poisoning issues people report.

To the WordPress staff who always check the blog posts that I do, you can inform Pret all day long, I can see how you check each post when I publish it. WordPress has moved my blog into the “adult” section where they move pornography sites to. A WordPress staff, they brainwashing-ly call “happiness engineer”, (yuck!) told me it’s been moved. And when I checked the rules they linked me to, all I can see is that they move porn sites there. So, they use this excuse to censor my free speech. Pret most likely contacted WordPress and the platform bowed to pressure by hiding my blog within its platform. This means, WordPress users who are logged into WordPress cannot find my blog on the internal “reader” platform. When people use the internal WordPress reader search button, put “pret a manger” in search, my site cannot be found/seen. Same with any other social media platform restricting my posts. So far to free speech and whistleblowers being protected, hey. 🖕

What do Pret have to hide, I wonder …

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Spain & Ireland’s “Welcome” Message to Pret A Manger

Spain:

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Ireland:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Fear Management vs Care – Pret A Manger — BBC

I wanted to call this post “Fear Management vs Courage” but I know that when you care, you won’t need courage. You only need courage if you are afraid.

If you care, if you love people and have a passion for the truth, you won’t need to bullshit anyone around you.

I know I am a “nutcase” for many. I’ve offended many people while drunk, wrote horrible tweets etc. But not always and not when I reached out to journalists early on.

From the get go, I want people to know that Sarah Butler from the Guardian ignored my “concerns”. But she now writes on things I tag her in or email her with.

This post is dedicated to 2 BBC journalists.

Vivienne Nunis and Mike Powell.

Vievienne, because she is of course a great journalist, but she is a human above anything.

Mike Powell, because he is a human, and a journalist who was ok after I emailed his editor to even just utter my blog, and indirectly my story with Pret. It takes a human to do that.

There is no “human-ness” in Pret. They kill people and exploit staff with a smile.

We live in these times where journalists are silenced with a simple whisper, a simple smile, a facade. I am disheartened that journalists in this country are silenced and soothed by simply being silent.

It’s all about getting (y)our names out there.

Journalism is extremely competitive. Twitter is filled with “investigative” journalists.

I contacted hundreds, if not thousands of journalists on various platforms since 2018.

Vivienne Nunis was one of very few to respond. And she was the only person to reluctantly meet me for an interview. And whoever she interviewed of current and former Pret staff, she found reasons to not cover the bullying environment in Pret. That’s fine. It’s a risky subject to cover.

Three years later, Mike Powell, also BBC and now freelance, contacted me after I tweeted to him. But he wanted me to provide all the research while saying that my blog won’t necessarily get mentioned. I contacted the BBC ahead of publication to explain my concern. They then mentioned it. But it should go without having to raise the issue. Sources should be mention if they wish to, without having to “beg” to get mentioned.

I contacted the BBC to make clear where his upcoming story was coming from.

They “mentioned” my blog then. The Times later jumped on the story and took a sentence from my blog but without mentioning the source of my blog, quoting me verbatim but only mentioning “a blog” and never thinking I’d find the article. The journalist of course just blamed his editor. Every journalist avoids tooth and nail to name my blog while taking info from it. You have no shame, press.

I put on my media page which press articles I directly influenced and/or got the ball rolling.

Any future leaks I get from Pret staff from now on, I will pass on to an unknown, young, starting journalist.

And then there is Ian Hodson from the union. He sent me to a women’s activist group up North London because I was bothering him too much after he contacted me to offer “help” on Twitter.

Keep your help, Ian. Go on TV, go on LBC, go and speak to Sarah Butler from the Guardian now, after you all were too proud, too embarrassed to PUBLICLY speak out from what I survived.

Sarah Butler from the Guardian only cares about a story to her name, and now Ian Hodson.

She followed my Twitter account early on in 2018. When she started following, I DMd her, but of course, no response. Clive Schlee was her follower when he was still on Twitter. I made her unfollow me.

I understand that Sarah NOW immediately writes a report as soon as she’s informed. Sarah writes on issues I tag her in or email her, but she still treats me like I don’t even exist. I have had enough people in Pret and now journalists treat me with contempt.

Like other competitive journalists, don’t ever mention expret.org, hey. Mike Powell/his editor was the only one who mentioned my blog, BUT only after I contacted the BBC. I’ve had several Times, Guardian, BBC etc. journalists follow me, but ignore me when I DMd them. I made them all unfollow again.

I am a human being who survived Pret and have immense insider knowledge I put on a silver platter. But the press in this country play dead until they can use info and then not credit the source.

And regarding unions, I now understand why Pret staff start their own union or just give up, because you “established” unions never gave a sh!t. The BFWAU left the Labour party. I don’t care about politics. Feed your ego, but leave us workers alone.

We can do it on our own.

I vote for Keir Starmer. You know why?

Longevity lasts like a pickled onion in a jar vs crowds chanting your name for a moment.

Many RT all day long. Is that it? You sit in your home to RT Tweets? Really?

We workers do not know the difference between people who care and people who just want their name out there.

And Sarah Butler, go and get your story, after you “followed” me and I contacted you then. But you never responded and remained silent, because you only want a story to you name.

You journalists need to do better.

Work hard. Never stop. And keep bullshitting the public, ignoring the elephant in the room.

You are reporting while using my work, my research and ignoring my story, my experience (except Mike Powell and his editor). Vivienne Nunis put in the most work, but it went nowhere. It’s partly my fault because I kept flipping out. But it doesn’t need to be perfect, I am not perfect. My story is complicated and I”m a mess. That’s it.

Vivienne did cover the leaked video that I made her aware of. But as usual my blog is not mentioned, like it never exists.

Link to Tweet I copied Vivienne in after I texted her about a leaked video I was sent by staff: https://twitter.com/expretDOTorg/status/1273929407707611139

Pret quickly deleted the video after Vivienne reported on it.

Go to Africa. Go to Pret’s head office. Go to the toilet. Just go you journalists.

Go, feed the pigeons. Sarah Butler is ready to report now.

Well done you all. Above all, stay human.

And again, any future leaks I get from Pret staff from now on, I will pass on to an unknown, young, starting journalist.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger are the MOST EVIL People I have ever come across

I keep writing horrible emails to friends, foes, Pret, the press, and I’m sure Pret are happy to see me suffer. I’m sure they’d be glad if I’d kill myself. This company has destroyed my life and the lives of so many others with a big fat fake smile. And they continue to do so.

After I raised issues with shop management and HR for almost a year, being ignored and further bullied, I contacted the then CEO Clive Schlee who then started some support, like Pret paying for counseling. But that was as a show in case for court, and the bullying continued. All the “support” Pret showed after I put my complaint in writing to the former CEO, was to show for court. As the bullying continued, I was offered money if I resign, never go to court, and never speak about my ordeal with Pret. I declined and indirectly forced Pret to fire me.

I tried to resign, tried to find another job, but I couldn’t sell myself, even in a low-paid job. I was too broken down, insecure, hopeless to find even the lowest paid work. If I would have found a job, I would have resigned. Even without signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) taking “hush-money”, if I would have just resigned without signing my rights away, I could have NEVER written this blog.

Pret would have made a public statement like they did with Andrej Stopa who was fired for having started a Union. Pret would have said that they were happy with me as an employee, that they offered me help, but that I willingly chose to leave. Pret HAD TO fire me so that I can speak out. I didn’t realise this at the time. I even BEGGED in the last dismissal hearing to not fire me, my dad was just out of a three-week coma in Germany.

Even before any option of a dismissal came up I asked Pret if I can be put under the Pret Foundation, even an OPs manager later suggested I go under the PF for a while. But that never happened. Pret who claim to help homeless people, young apprentices and prison leavers have no room for long-term employees who go through tragedy. That’s why this Pret Foundation is just a PR machine and a smokescreen to hide horrible practices. I literally begged the hearing manager to not fire me! They did anyway, unknowingly forcing me to speak out publicly.

I have had to watch my parents, each on their own, deteriorate in a horrible institutional system in hospitals, rehab, nursing homes that are mostly chains under private equity. I had to struggle with everything on my own, and when help was offered, it either rarely came or it was not meant or just as a polite gesture. Or when help is offered, there is sometimes an ulterior motive and I have to figure out who means what. Or when I asked for help, I was met with a deafening silence or the words “I’m too busy”.

Or when the help is genuine, I can’t trust it, because of what Pret did to me via so many issues and people, and most vile, via Lila Tighilt Warren who claimed to have had a brother who died alone in his apartment, wasn’t found for days, like my brother was. I researched and searched if this brother existed, but found another person not the same as she described. This very horrific act Pret and Lila did, destroyed my trust in people.

The press are bystanders, watching. And what they use from my blog, experience and research, they make sure not to mention me and my ordeal. And those who wanted to report, I pushed away in my paranoia.

There ARE good people, but I can’t distinguish anymore the sheep from the wolves. And GOOD people are suffering my mistrust and outbursts because of this horrible company! No, it is I who bears responsibility for my words, writings and actions. But it takes evil people to destroy lives.

I have made the mistake to stay in Pret for 10 years, bearing under a toxic, dishonest, corrupt environment, where all that counts is making as much money and more and more and more.

And when someone asks why I don’t go to court, I did, but then withdrew when my dad died and I couldn’t afford legal aid. I have researched the British legal system of workplace related lawsuits while I filed a tribunal claim. I have read that even when former employees win their tribunal cases, the pay-out is so small, they end up in debt for the legal bill.

Pret and companies like Pret know that. They KNOW people can’t afford legal aid. They know that even pro-bono lawyers don’t want to pick up a fight in a 5-day trial for their 30% of an £8,000 payout. Too much effort for too little reward. Unlike in the USA (see Johnny Depp’s lawsuit in the UK vs the USA). Different systems.

A Cardiff bar manager choked by colleague wins tribunal. She was left paralysed in her face and won a meager £6,660 but had an £8,000+ legal bill, leaving her in debt. In the USA she would have won a 6-digits figure if not millions!

A former Pret assistant manager who got unfairly dismissed won his tribunal case getting rewarded about £8,812. Worker unfairly dismissed, says tribunal. After he lost his job, having a young child with his partner, he ended up on the streets living in his car for 2 weeks. For the tribunal it was worth a merge £8¾K. All this money probably went straight into his legal bill. Not to mention the mental strain people go through in a legal case against a large company.

When my dad died, leading me to withdraw the tribunal claim, I knew mentally it would lead to suicide going through the 5 day court hearings, even if I’d won. One day preliminary hearing, and 4 days court hearings, as the dates were already set having had 6 months to prepare with my dad in hospital, flying back and forth. I was told by free legal advice at Citizen Advice Bureau that there may be a 6th day with a second preliminary hearing as my case was so complex, having involved the top Pret leadership team. Even though I had strong evidence and Pret already hinted in their response to court that “if [I] win the case … that the reward should be low” according to some other lawsuit outcome that has set the precedent for lawsuits thereafter. But I had no support, no financial backing, no moral support and a new funeral coming up …

And before anyone says that I need therapy, first of all I have fought for therapy since over five years; 2. I have therapy now but cannot talk as there is a strict agenda to follow a rigorous program. So, please first ASK what people have had in support and therapy before giving unsolicited, patronizing advise.

In this life and society, most everywhere, it is all about money, position, what each individual can get out of whatever they can get from those already at the edge. If you are sick, disabled, bereaved, old … there is no place for you in a society that is looking for “productivity” more than those who produce. You are a disposable machine, a piece of garbage that is of no use anymore, sucked out of the life-blood by greedy corporates and anyone lacking basic human decency. The strong must become stronger and leave the vulnerable behind, as they can’t contribute to this cog-wheel of a society at a given time or forever. Survival of the fittest by the book. A repeated issue throughout time. Human nature at its worst that always becomes the norm with a new generation, until a new “uprising” and new precedent of disobedience …

Yes, I sound gloomy, but I suffer and fought hard to not only survive. I see the dark during a sunny day. And I’m sorry I am not what you thought or hoped for. Pret win again, hey.

I need people to stay away because I have nothing to offer you and I feel I won’t get better. I write horrible when drunk and hope everyone knows it is not personal, but you need to stay away.

And I will never stop saying that Pret A Manger, up to this current leadership in 2022, the same PEOPLE in head office that run the place since decades, this a core group of the top leadership and HR, are the most evil, toxic, greedy, exploitative, dishonest, incapable, unsympathetic, unethical, cowardly people I have ever had the nightmare to be dealing with.

And I remain deeply ashamed to have spent so long there and to have had any association with them.

And to friends, I don’t know what “friendship” is. It’s a myth.

Recent, select customer comments and staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter etc.

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The following to me sounds like wage theft again. Highlighted, quote:

“- Did not receive 80% of wages despite being on the furlough scheme

– All your hard work was over in a 2 minute zoom call – If you need a second job to support you, better clear it with your overlords. I know this is a standard practice but it shouldn’t be – if you want your workers to devote so many of hours of their lives to you, pay them decently so they can do more than just about afford to live

Unless you work in their offices, they do not give a s*** about you. Also the CEO doing company wide zoom meetings from the comfort of his very fancy house whilst retail workers are paid peanuts, talking about how we all need to pitch in to save the business is a joke.

Retail workers are the entire reason Pret is still standing. Those in office tend to forget that without retail staff upselling, being on the floor and handling customers, they wouldn’t have anything to sell.

I would love to know what the CEOs salary is in relation to the lowest paid retail employees an whether this has increased or changed during the pandemic – and the justification for leaving those who work their hardest at the bottom of the Pret ‘family’ foodchain on wages that do not meet the stanard of living, are not entitled to many benefits” End of quote.

Answer to the question how much CEO Pano CHristou earns? In 2020 = £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He does not reveal how much he made in 2021 and 2022. If he also cut is pay, he would make that public. The silence is a hint that he remains on £300K and probably more.

Pano loves to present himself as the “cabbie’s son” who started at the shop floor. But until recently, since I called him out on it, failed to mention that he started at position number 4 as an Assistant Manager because he was a manager at McDonald’s. He didn’t start as a low paid team member having to wear uniform, and in those days a silly cap, that increased the body heat in stuffy hot shops and kitchens. Pano received £500 to buy business attire; £50 every month for dry cleaning; insurance; paid sick leave from day one (that’s a big one!) compared to team members who are paid from day 3 being sick with a sick note. His quarterly bonus went into the thousands. And all the other perks, travel, fancy galas for management and so on.

Link

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Part quote: “It was just so depressing that I had to work there and thankfully don’t need to anymore. They need to consider what they do to the staff and force them to work it’s just not a good way to sort and they know that. A lot of workers are mistreated and insulted daily. The management is a huge part of that.”

Link

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Upon my question to above Instagram person who’s staff, if it’s true that Pret for the SECOND time recently didn’t pay staff on time, the answer was, quote: “That is correct, however the delay was much less noticeable as it was late by 1 day only.”

This staff doesn’t realize that even though it wasn’t that noticeable for staff, it’s still 1. unacceptable and 2. a huge deal because Pret’s work week starts Fridays and staff are paid on Thursdays. This means the “less noticeable” for staff is a big deal for Pret as their new financial week starts Fridays. They most likely had issues with shareholders wanting to present better numbers, and then “pay back” the next day starting on Friday’s new financial week.

Pret use and abuse the goodwill of workers. And this has always been the case with shop managers, they ALWAYS for years and years, every week “forgot” to pay an hour here, an hour there. Do this with a handful of shop staff every week and it all adds up, as many don’t check their hours, not noticing the “odd” hour here and there not being paid.

And Pano Christou now does THE SAME company-wide. Stealing in broad daylight, “borrowing” from the lowest paid to appease shareholders. Mafia-style in a nutshell. Pret use low-wage workers as a loan-bank. Absolutely despicable, unethical and disrespectful. And I hope financial auditors and the government get wind of this.

Link and Link

And there is no strength or courage to join a union and stand up. And Pret know that and wear the staff out so they don’t have an ounce of strength left to even entertain the thought to fight back.

Link

etc. etc. etc.

Pano Christou’s “approval” rating:

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And the legacy former CEO Clive Schlee left with:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My last email to the Press CC Pret A Manger

I sent below to journalists who either know my story with Pret and/or were in contact with me, but still want THEIR story out. I don’t want any of these people in my life who only wanted to hang out while being embarrassed in public with me, the traumatized nutcase, or who have a laugh otherwise. Stay safe cupcakes.


This is my last email to journalists this time, copying in Pret (CC), blind carbon copying (BCC) former/current staff and others. Apologies upfront, my autistic self is coming out full force, and I don’t apologise for it anymore.

To Sarah Butler from The Guardian, I offended you many times on Twitter publicly. That was sh!t, I apologised, and I also don’t apologised anymore. It was the year 2018 when @whatbutlersaw on Twitter followed me. I was new to Twitter, I was traumatised, I was confused, I was angry.

I saw later that Clive Schlee followed S. Butler. And I understand now that when someone follows YOU (me, you, everyone), it’s not always because they are interested in what you’re posting, but because they’re waiting for whatever GOLD you will share that they can grab for themselves (vultures).

I then DM’d Sarah Butler after she started following me, because I was gobsmacked after having emailed HUNDREDS of journalists regarding Pret. But received no response.

Now in 2021/2022 S. Butler reports on EVERY important issue that I send to her or tag her in, while pretending to not “notice”. Keep it up Sarah! You’re name at least is out there!

The MOST important leak I will not send. I passed on your and other journalists email to Pret staff to contact YOU directly without having to go by me. I’m fed up with you all, including Ian Hodson. You go now and have your 5 minutes of press fame. But leave me out of your failure to bring results, while Pret staff reach out in anger and despair why no union is responding!

Mike Powell, BBC, thank you for having mentioned my blog in your report, but we both know that it was because I contacted the editors to RESPECT the source of my research and experience. I wish you would have fought for this on my behalf. But hey, never mind. I know the drill by now.

Vivienne Nunis, sorry again, but nothing to say sorry anymore.

You’re all in this together. Every single one of you is looking out for yourself. Everyone. Journalists, Pret, sellers, buyers, workers, customers … suit yourselves.

Pret are for money and reputation, journalists are for a story and your name to that story.

Keep me out of your greed!

Pret has now come full circle. CEO P. Christou came from McDonald’s and is now turning Pret into McD rapidly. And I am glad about that because the make-up has gone, the stench of the rotten egg is showing.

I want Pret to spread far and wide, not just with promises on social media like bloated frogs in numbers and where theyopen with how many “imaginary” shops in 3 years time …, but like McDonald’s, Amazon, and all the other shitty companies that get away with murder. Keep us updated on your socials! 😉

Thank you to Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror for going undercover in 2018 and getting your hand fucking dirty in the Pret mud, when I asked you, because I was not ready for the media. I’m sorry I was and remain fucked up. But I don’t apologize anymore.

I can only say again and again and again for journalists to go undercover during the DAYSHIFT, in the shop and the kitchen for AT LEAST one month and more to get the full Pret blow.

If I step out of line to one side, my work has been passed on.

If I step out of line to the other side, I will continue to pass on my work.

And you all, keep working, do better, prove your words with deeds. And never stop to uncover bullshit, because if you don’t uncover bullshit, you are part of bullshit. Or in the more diplomatic way: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

And in the words of a mother who lost her child while I was a Team Leader RESPONSIBLE for health & safety … while Pret did nothing, not even telling us … not even telling us … after 2 deaths, dozen+ injuries – an AM who died by suicide, I survived … and I know you all wait for me to die, so you can fall all over my blog … fuck each and everyone of you. Especially the Unions.

Whoever has the last laugh will be very very rich.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

In the End it was Friends

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I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

Well fair do’s
Nobody prepares you and nobody’s prepared
Nobody’s prepared
And they tell you, “Just you wait it kills you”
And only love can break you
More the more you care
And all and all in love is fair
But it’s not fair

I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and in the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

And I’ve pushed myself to be vulnerable
And then slept with one eye wide
All that pain and nothing gained in the end

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

– James Blake

Music video by James Blake performing Friends That Break Your Heart (Audio). © 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

Animal Cruelty and Pret A Manger

When I started to write about my Pret ordeal in May 2018, I also started to do extensive research on the Internet on anything Pret related. I searched for similar experiences from staff and came across Glassdoor and Indeed, Facebook, Instagram, other blogs; searched on lawsuits, press articles, anything and everything I could find on Pret, where there are systemic issues. I also did this to back up my own experience as many people didn’t believe me. Now it is more common knowledge that Pret are NOT what they portray to the public.

But in 2018, I was a messenger who got “shot” as my message wasn’t welcome or people wanted to remain in their illusions about Pret. It was and continues to be an uphill battle.

I then came across a video called “Cruelty in Pret” which was uploaded in July 2018, is about chickens and the lack of welfare in farms. I bookmarked it like I do with most important or interesting issues.

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A short while later the video was switched from public to unlisted. I also couldn’t find the website that is listed at the end of the video nor anything on “The Humane League Campaigns” who posted the video.

I didn’t post anything on this as I couldn’t find any info and don’t post anything of which I have no evidence or a source where it came from. So I kept it on the bookmark shelf until now and passed it around social media here and there today.

I was perplexed that the video turned unlisted shortly after it was uploaded.

It could be that Pret contacted the person(s) and warned them with a lawsuit or so, and they then unlisted the video and the website never worked.

And then yesterday the Twitter’s sphere started to light up with this, quote:

“Chickens raised for meat suffer tremendously at factory farms.

Our new report examines which food companies are backtracking or failing to demonstrate action—including Pret.” End of quote.

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Link

The report can be downloaded as PDF from MercyForAnimals.org Report.

In it Pret have been caught yet again to be naughty.

Quote:

“The following companies have failed to report measurable progress toward their broiler welfare goals and have deleted their previously public policy commitments:

• BareBurger

• fresh&co

Pret A Manger

• Tender Greens

• Zoup!”

End of quote.

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I am not surprised at all that Pret deleted their policy commitments. Pret also stopped doing fair trade coffee a while ago, but still claim to have organic coffee. Pret already had to take the word “natural” off signage and packaging after being slapped by the Real Bread Company via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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Further more I found a website that calls out former Pret CEO Clive Schlee for supporting CAGED chickens in Asia. Schlee is on the board of directors of Dairy Farm Group, one of the largest retail companies in Asia. The website DairyFarmEggs.com writes further, quote:

»Clive and Dairy Farm have a dirty secret – A shocking series of investigations has revealed what the company wants to keep hidden: they continue to sell customers eggs from filthy, cruel battery cage egg farms with higher food safety risks.

A series of investigations at multiple Dairy Farm egg suppliers found feces and dirt caked on the bars of cages where eggs are laid. Feces piles up just inches away from eggs and from the birds themselves. Mother hens are crammed for nearly their entire lives in battery cages so small and cruel they are illegal in dozens of other countries around the world. The corpses of dead hens are left to decompose right next to hens laying eggs for human consumption.« End of quote. Link to website.

Clive Schlee also owns half of itsu and worked for several years in Asia before he became CEO of Pret, but left Pret in 2019.

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So, it makes sense that they delete their commitment to not be held accountable for not keeping their commitment yet again.

There was a Twitter storm for days, which as much as I support this, but has drowned out the issue that Pret are not paying their shop staff this week. The Guardian reported on this yesterday after I was informed by staff and passed it on to Sarah Butler from the Guardian and other journalists. Detail on this: Pret’s New PR Stunt on Payrise in Pennies UPDATED.

Pret did this on purpose over the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday as they know that the press and the whole of the UK are distracted with the celebrations. Usually when especially the Guardian, the BBC etc. report on anything Pret related, Twitter explodes with calls for boycotts. But of course, Pret being clever and always do their dodgy things at certain times or distract with charity announcements, there’s hardly any mention now.

Today’s main mention is the chicken cruelty issue as vegans and animal lovers come out en masse to tweet at Pret.

That’s alright. The Payment issue will resurface again.

What still surprises me though is that many people are shocked that Pret deleted their commitment. Many still say that they thought Pret was ethical, as if they lived under a rock since 2018 when the 2 customer deaths and several allergen injuries became public. Or is it that animal activists are not as much concerned about people.

Of course people can inform themselves, can stand up against wrongdoing and choose where to go, animals can’t do that. But still, people don’t realize that when a company treat their employees like rubbish waste, it will reflect back on customers and is also a no-brainer that a company like this won’t care about animal welfare.

And it is beyond me that many animal rights activists still fall for Pret who have COUNTLESS chicken products like chicken itself, eggs, mayonnaise etc. And the claim of “free range” chicken still seems to fool most. And the above report points out the suffering on free-range farms. A healthy egg and chickens are from PASTURE RAISED chickens. But that is too expensive for mass production.

And since Pret jumped on the vegan bandwagon, most vegans are excited instead of supporting vegan-ONLY food places. I’m not a vegan, but if I was, I would ONLY eat in purely vegan restaurants, cafes as I’m a little crazy as a purist!

Eating insects is a delicatessen in some countries and slowly is growing in popularity here in Europe. Once this becomes trendy, you bet Pret also will jump on that bandwagon to increase profit.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My last Email to Pret / Pano Christou

Yesterday after I was contacted by someone regarding Pret not paying staff this week, and then emailing the press and The Guardian reporting, I wrote a last email to Pret’s CEO Pano Christou and HR.

I also want to apologize to any and all Pret staff who contacted me, whom I kept referring to unions. Several of you contacted the unions and didn’t receive any response. I am angry and very sorry to have let you down on this. I can only say, please look for a better work opportunity and leave it all behind. It feels to me that the unions are more about politics and political agendas. The membership fees may be forwarded to political parties and projects. I have so much anxiety and mistrust about any organizations.

It seems ONLY that employees themselves will reach change when we stand up, not the unions. The unions will just “come along” when we initiate action and pay them, and then they will take the credit for OUR sweat, blood and tears. I’m sorry to be so gloomy.

Thank you for your trust and reaching out. I am sorry to have let you down.

If you need any more help, please reach out to the press directly. The press reach things more and quicker than unions or myself. But you need to have evidence, always gather and keep evidence in writing etc.

The Guardian: Sarah.Butler@theguardian.com, Ben.Quinn@theguardian.com

The Mirror: Amy Sharpe who went undercover into Pret after I asked her as I was too anxious. We were in contact via Facebook: https://twitter.com/amylsharpe

BBC and freelance: contact@bbc.co.uk, Vivienne.Nunis@bbc.co.uk, Mike.Powell@bbc.co.uk

The Daily Telegraph: Janet.Eastham@telegraph.co.uk

The Scottish Left Review who published my articles TWICE early on, when no news outlet was ready to report: Gregor.Gall@glasgow.ac.uk

And Adam, the amazing podcaster from California who interviewed me when no news outlet cared/dared: https://twitter.com/1AdamParadox

My last email to Pret, to CEO Pano Christou and HR, copying in the press and staff; verbatim without correcting spelling mistakes and grammar:

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This is my last email to you Pret,

I Blind Carbon Copied (BCC) private people in, staff, friends of staff, customers who reached out to me to tell them to not be afraid to speak out and stand up.

Pret has almost destroyed my life! But I survived to tell my story! And staff contact me with info and leaks, and it is my pleasure to pass this on to the press and others.

Is it still Pret’s practice to name, blame and shame shops that don’t do well? This has always bothered me. But it’s wonderful to turn the tables!

Complaints have increased on stale and mouldy food, expired foods, critters and rat droppings in food … you can “freshly make” a sandwich with stale bread and mouldy cheese.

Not paying your staff, the LOWEST paid staff in Pret who carried you and Pret through the pandemic while you sat at home or in socially distanced shiny air conditoned HQ, demanding for shop/kitchen staff to come to work even when they have Covid. Only you know if there have been Covid sick or even deaths. You managed to keep 2 customer allergen deaths quiet, I fear any news coming out one day that staff have died of Covid while they struggled to get paid!

Customer complaints increased on the coffee-subscription, apps, deals that are not fullfilled as advertised, and all your bogus “technical issues” while receiving “digital technology leaders” award and being slimed with award after award, compliments after compliments on Linkedin where everyone is telling you how awesome you are!

Surround yourself with Yes-Men/Women, hold your seminars and keep sweet-talking about sustainability, and keep ignoring customer emails/DMs/phone calls… and let customers and staff get on with telling the real story.

It’s no surprise that the way you treat your staff, it will reflect on customers.

Your “charity” projects make me cringe everytime I hear about it. The donation devices that Pret placed NEXT to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidently donate £5 thinking they pay for their coffee. And then the psychology that they are embarrassed to ask for a refund from “charity”.

The £1000 announcement that Clive Schlee made late at night from 28. to 29. May 2018 after I sent the link to my blog late that night to Sannu because I know that she can’t a secret!

The NHS freebie PR stunt you did before 1st lock-down on 18. March 2020, and right the next morning sent out an email to shops and HQ to announce cuts to staff. The low-wage staff basically PAID for your NHS PR stunt!

The half-marathon you ran last year and having the audacity to ask your low-wage staff for donation to “alleviate poverty” straight after you made temporary paycuts permanent, had turned my stomach!

And now, using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, where the press and people are distracted with the celebrations, to suddenly have a “payroll error”, and the 2nd time since recently not paying staff.

Your “charity” are a smokescreen and good for tax breaks.

To anyone who still works at Prt, if I can stand up on my own against these dwarfs who almost destroyed my life, you can stand even stronger TOGETHER with the Unions like BFAWU! Pret is more scared of you than you of them when you organise and stand up, strike, walk out, make higher demands and not let Pret trick you again with reinstating bonus that is discretionary to mystery shoppers and GMs!

I could go on and on and on, but I’ve written enough and wrote the Pret poison out of my system!

My greetings to your mentor and buddy Clive Schlee who patonised me as his “late night gitrl” while I SUFFERED with my emailing, he had a laugh and then shortly after getting me fired with my dad in intensive care, which you all knew about. And please tell him that the greatest thing I appreciate on being a woman, who is mistaken for a “girl”, on having been a low-wage “low skill” worker, is that I love it when entitled, rich, privileged, arrogant, self-assured millionaire business men underestimate me, and people like me. That’s my great joy!

Also greetings to Julian Metcalfe whom I had the pleasure to also chase off Twitter. Even if the YouTube slide is slightly out-of-date, but it still shows what’s really is behind you executives.

You can try to shut me down, I will pop up again. I do not care about the amount of followers or anything else and have backed everything up triple. It means nothing to me what you may do or how Pret report me to social media! Keep reporting. It means nothing to me! It only leads me to sprad out on other platforms.

What means the world to me is a SINGLE person to this day sending me an email or DM with words like “Wow, I just read your such-and-such, I didn’t know that about Pret. I thought Pret was so great … I will tell my friends and family and support small independent business from now on…” That is Christmas and Birthday all in one for me!

You made £300,000 in 2020 PLUS bonus. It’s interesting that you didn’t reveal how much annual pay you got in 2021 and 2022. If you had cut your pay like you did to your lowest paid workers, you would have made a big announcement like you make all the “charity” announcements.

I worked all my life in hospitality since I’m 16 years old, NOTHING has been as horrific, traumatic, unfair, disgusting as Pret in any company I worked in! Nothing! Your brainwash and fear management has followed me years after you fired me days after my dad came out of his 3-week coma!

You have it coming for you from staff, unions, more press, whistleblowers, more OPs and GMs leave reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and elsewhere … and you deserve everything that’s coming for you within the law, within the legal frame and free speech! You deserve it!

My apologies again to journalists, staff, strangers, friends … for my drunken outbursts from the traumas I’ve been through. I stand by my mistakes even when I am ashamed of it! But I own up to it. And I work on it like we all work on our recovery.

And to Pret, it is my UTMOST PLEASURE to have put you on a map showing your TRUE colours to the public.

I am not afraid of you, in fact, I have no respect for you whatsoever! I cried tears of anger last night when I received mail about staff not getting paid, because I know the excrutiating PAIN, anxiety, existential fears they go through! All while you sit in your comfortable huge mansion laughing to the bank!

It takes a special breed to not do anything about customer deaths and injuries until it became public. I was a team leader responsible for health and safety and didn’t even know about fatalities! Shame on you! You put ME as a team leader in DANGER to potentially be at “fault” for another injury or death by not telling me, not training and retraining me on allergen, labelling etc.

It takes a special breed to keep taking from the LOWEST paid on the BOTTOM of the barrel! All while portraying to the public to be ethical and caring! I am PROUD to have cracked Pret’s facade further and further!

And I KNOW that my tears of anger and grief will turn into tears of joy!

 expret.org 🖕😎🖕

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Loss, PTSD

Life.

When I die there will be people coming out of the woodwork, former friends who knew me 20+ years, claiming to “know” me.

No they don’t. They’ve left me 6+ years ago after my brother died.

And those who claim to know me, will try to get with those who knew me years ago, but left me hanging.

There will be people who claim to be my friend or know me or have met me. Again, no. Yes they met me, but no, they don’t know me.

You may claim to live close to me, but you don’t. And you know what I mean by that. A neighbour next to me is further away than an alien from the moon.

The people who know me, are the people in the street, in the cafes, in the pubs, in their homes, in my home; people who walk like ants, organizing themselves in love and respect for one another; and who are not embarrassed to be associated with me. That’s a friend. A friend who doesn’t want anything from me but just be.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The World is a Cruel Place, BUT

Sometimes when you’re running against the darkness, you find someone who seems to know the best path out, someone who has run that road across a terrible landscape and come out alive and better. There aren’t a lot of ways to express the depth of gratitude for the work they put in.

Even if you never come to actually know them, the fact they helped you beat the darkness makes them feel like someone on your team, like the anchor of humanity’s worst and most fucked up relay.

And when you begin to flag a little bit because it doesn’t seem like the race is ever going to end, you can look up to someone like that, someone who showed you that it’s never too late to try to outrun the lies and bullshit the darkness will tell you to get you to slow down.

And then one day you realize, it isn’t a race at all, because a race has a finish line, and this thing fucking doesn’t.

It’s just a run. A long run. Along the way, you pick up running buddies, people you admire for their toughness, people who keep you running, people you never would have expected to turn something that can be so hard into something you can enjoy.

And so when you have run so hard ahead of the darkness that every horizon looks like a sunrise, it’s almost impossible to believe that one of those people who led you out got tired.

“Wait,” you think. “They had it figured out. They showed me how to run. They showed me the sun.”

Even leaders get tired.

Over time, it might be hard to tell difference between the fatigue of running & the darkness they are running against. It might be hard to lead the way for so many people. It might, it might, it might. That’s the thing. You never know what it might.

And then they are gone.

So, what the hell are you supposed to do then? When you have finally learned how to run, how do you keep going when you lose one of the people who showed you the way? What do you do when you start to doubt “the way” is actually the way?

I guess I don’t know.

But today I guess I’d say this:

If you feel like you’re running alone, look around and you will find others running, too. They may be running differently, maybe backward, blindfolded, or in some janky way that makes them stand out against the field. Find those people and run with them for a while.

Eventually, if you just keep running, you’ll find people who are running a lot like you. Even if they don’t know you, they will understand you. And they will lead you—not to a finish line—but toward that sunlight where being tired isn’t so tiring.

And here’s something you might not expect: you might look up one day and realize someone is following you while you run. They are matching your stride and keeping your pace. They are grateful to have found YOU.

Be proud of that and use it to keep running.

It’s crushing to see one of your running buddies fall off stride and slip away. It can make you want to double back and find them. Don’t do that. It’s not how it works, or at least, it’s not how you want it to work.

Keep your stride. Steady your breath. Allow yourself to confuse the tears on your face with the sweat of your struggle.

And don’t stop or double back. Look for the other runners. They are everywhere.

We are everywhere.

(I don’t always feel great about Twitter, but the degree to which this thread resonated among friends & people I’ve never met has been very comforting and reminds me how important it can be to just admit how guy-punched something can make you feel…and how alone we *aren’t*)

And since I woke up to all kinds of inspiring messages today, I will pass this on. It’s what I remind myself when I feel like I’ve felt since hearing about Anthony Bourdain.”

— Brad Willis


Transcribed by ThreadReaderApp.com

AUDIO:

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.


Pret A Manger’s Fly-tipping

When I worked at Pret, even though we had 2 different bins for “recycling”, it all went into the same waste pick-up truck.

Pret must have done a trial for recycling, but it must have not been successful as I’ve never seen this type of bin in any of the 30+ shops I worked at in 10 years.

Tweet from 2013:

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Ignorance is bliss!

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Today’s article in Gloucestershire Live:

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From the article:

»The civic society described the mess that had been left on the street on the last Bank Holiday Monday as a “horrendous example of fly-tipping”.«

Further:

»“We’ve checked the rules and even one such bag of rubbish left on the street counts as fly-tipping, so that puts it into Cheltenham Borough Council’s domain as an enforcement issue.”«

»A Pret a Manger spokesman said: “At Pret, we are proud to be part of the communities where we have shops, and are disappointed to have fallen short of our own standards on this occasion. We are working with our waste management provider and team members to make sure this won’t happen again«

Well, what have we got here … (in chronological order)

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And while on the subject of waste, I have written extensively on Pret’s food waste issues. Pret claim to have a “fleet” of cars picking up food each night. Pret do have a car like this or several, but a “fleet” of cars is leaning out the window. I’ve seen a car once on my day off during the day driving by in Trafalgar Square. But in my 10 years in Pret, having worked in over 30+ shops, I’ve never even ONCE seen a car like this pick up food. Not once!

Pret rely on unpaid volunteers to pick up food. If no-one picks it up, it gets wasted in its packaging to landfill. The Pret Foundation car is window dressing more than anything. Of course they drive food to places, but there is no nightly pick-up, and it cannot be coincidence that in 10 years I’ve never seen this car pick up food from any of the 30+ shops I worked in.

Pret also SELL out-of-shelf life cooled down hot food via food app, again, supposedly for the Pret Foundation. Yet, before the pandemic hit Pret’s profits, they were STRICT for us to NOT give out hot food even for free to charity due to safety issues. I got told off by a manager once for handing out hot food when the charity volunteers arrives to pick up food. Now they sell it for cheap under the “charity” umbrella. When it comes to money, health and safety out the window! I write about this extensively in Pret’s Health & Safety Hypocrisy.

Pret always pretends to be so safety concerned, yet, don’t forget they ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen further allergen injuries before this became public. I speak about this on my podcast expretcast from the bottom up, Part 01 Ongoing Labelling Issues, Part 02 Ongoing … and Allergy Trial 2021. I draw especially attention to a Barbican seminar which is very important to mention.

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A former staff member also laughs about this:

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Another former staff:

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Another former staff member who got fired for starting a union:

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When customers or members of the public observe food-waste as it happens, and the below screenshots are only a fraction of what I pasted into my other post on food waste in Pret.

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Repeated food waste ignored by Pret:

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Bleach poured over food:

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Paris, France:

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Amy Sharpe from the Mirror went Undercover in Pret after I asked her to see for herself on issues:

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The above are only a few, there’s much, much more on Pret A Manger Food Waste.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Vaults – London

The Vaults graffiti place.

So, here are some pictures of mine … more to come in time.

This blog post will be updated with new pics as the graffiti changes every day.

07.05.2022

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08.05.2022

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more to come one day …

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper Scheme – AUDIO

I explain in detail about Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I call “Misery” Shopper for a reason.

Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I plainly call abusive:

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The Wiki link to my blog that was deleted, which I explain in above audio.

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I have run out of space/time on my free podcast and am shopping around which podcast provider is the best value before I purchase.

On the podcast I cover some other Pret issues, like the allergen situation, ongoing labelling problems etc. As I ran out of free space I post the above Mystery Shopper episode here on my blog. For Timothy Noah’s “The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger” and other articles on emotional labour, as well as several examples of Mystery Shopper reports, please see my page: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Thank you for listening.

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I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bull