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The Pret A Manger Tränendrüse

A very clever Pret A Manger marketing strategy with the help of mainstream media.

The best translation for “Tränendrüse” I can find is “tear jerker”, but I’d rather go with “crocodile tears”. It’s a word that came to me when I pondered on the recent Pret A Manger articles in the New York Times and The Guardian regarding Pret’s dealing with the Covid 19 crisis. Mainstream media journalists play into Pret’s pocket as usual. What I found particularly interesting are the photos that were shot and used for these articles, especially in the Guardian article.

In the German when someone tries to get pity in order to gain or get advantage of something, we say “der drückt auf die Tränendrüse”, loosely translated “someone’s squeezing out tears” … or best translated: producing crocodile tears.

Pret A Manger has always been smart in their marketing strategy, giving free coffees to look generous while it’s been the main marketing strategy to get people into shops spending more money. I write about the freebie marketing in detail on my blog: Pret A Manger Free Coffees.

Another clever move has always been to give vouchers and freebies after customers complain. Pret customer service staff call this to “kill people with kindness”. That way they stop complaints going further, getting people off their backs and winning them over, plus new customers, as people do free advertisement on social media and beyond on Pret’s “kindness” and “generosity”. And also since 2018 the new endeavor to collect customer data via social media DMs and now subscriptions for future marketing.

The first “Tränendrüse” article came from The Guardian and how new CEO Pano Christou is approaching this rather “positive”, seeing Covid as a chance. Never mind hundreds of thousands having lost their lives, their loved ones, their health, their jobs, their livelihoods … The tragedy turned into a strategy for Pano Christou. A tragedy that now hit millions of people worldwide is being used by Christou as a “strategy” for business. He even takes it further and puts on a sorry, but determined face, to persuade the loyal British higher middle class customer to feel sorry for Pret and risk their own lives to “save Pret”.

By the way, the term as in Pret having become the “Symbol of the Highstreet” came from me on Twitter after some people wondered why Pret is being mentioned constantly to save the economy. Journalists took that and wrote their own articles on it. My blog has become the source for lazy journalism’s copy & paste writing. Nothing new under the sun.

Link to 29. August 2020 Tweet

Link to 31. August 2020 Tweet … and many more on Twitter before Journos took that term from September 2020 onward.

The reader can go through the Guardian and New York Times articles to scrutinize the marketing strategy here. I want to draw the attention to the photos being used for Pret’s subtle and gentle, smiley “propaganda” to get customers to spend money.

From The Guardian, photo by David Yeo:

Pano Christou sitting in the shadow in front of half empty shelves … alone … looking out somewhere into uncertainty … his Tränendrüse about to burst, yet looking with hope like a puppy trusting to get what those who hold the treats in their pockets are ready to give.

Aw! Cute puppy!

The puppy’s promise behind to his right, with the false advertisement of “endless” drinks on the monthly coffee subscription (I write about the false advertisement in detail on “Smoothie Operator“). And the intense shadow of his (seemingly) sorry self behind him with a high wall overwhelming him with the shadow of challenge-turned-opportunity … Puppy Christou looks hopeful. After all, smiling is Pret’s main marketing strategy. Smile through the crisis, smile through grief, smile through mental health issues, smile through Pret customers having died, smile through it all … and keep smiling to the bank.

Link to The Guardian article and photos by David Yeo.

Link to NY Times article and photo by Tom Jamieson.

No shadows here, just a look of getting hit by the pandemic, but determined somehow, yet disappointed and clueless what to do like a little puppy that’s still waiting for its treat and strokes. Mixed view here, left open for interpretation.

The NY Times article is titled as “Pret A Manger Will Try Anything to Survive”

Yet, what exactly is Pret doing? Anything? How is Pret turning a deadly virus into opportunity?

Sacking 3000+ people is one opportunity where Pret does anything to survive, while owners JAB in tax-haven Luxembourg via second richest secretive German family Reimann, sit on billions. Sure, they lost a few billions as well. A recent German article in the Handelsblatt dishes out the numbers.

Some more numbers in bullet points:

  • Pret A Manger front-line employee under £10 per hour, below the Living Wage, not paid for sickness the first 2-3 days depending on age and length of service no matter if having a GP sick-note.
  • JAB/Reimann 2019 worth estimated 25€ billion.
  • 2018 Pret’s annual turnover £710 million which steadily increased into 2020 before lock-down.
  • JAB/Reimann donate $11 million (~ £9.5m) to charity over Nazi past.
  • JAB/Reimann pay former CEO Clive Schlee £30 million on BONUS upon acquisition of Pret. And here it’s clear where their priorities lie. £10m in “repairs” to Jewish charity versus £30m for ONE man alone in Bonus! Well, Pret is doing ANYTHING to survive.
  • etc. etc.

.

Link to Daily Mail article.

The “few” millions Pret loses and the billions JAB loses hardly crack any teeth in their unsatisfied, hungry jaws! They can EASILY afford to keep their workers and INVEST by doing ANYTHING they can to “survive”.

Yet, Pret will not only survive, Pret will thrive again. And in order to thrive and keep accumulating millions and billions, Pret needs to cut at the bottom and “sacrifice” those who already lose everything anyway.

Hardly is JAB/Reimann nor Pret struggling. Pret even was one of THE FIRST companies to try and cut hours of low-wage workers back in March 2020 at the outset of the pandemic. What was so vile was that Pret announced the cuts a day after starting the NHS coffee freebie and 50% food rebate to NHS workers to divert away from the cuts. Pret used NHS staff two-fold, PR of course and as a smoke screen to hide how Pret really treat their own employees DURING a pandemic, let alone in general. And this was pre-lockdown and at the start of the pandemic becoming obvious to us all. I also write about this extensively in “To NHS Employees” after I was contacted by Pret employees with the news of Pano Christou’s email to all shops about the cuts. I then immediately tweeted to the press and all hell broke loose resulting in Pret to revert the cut decision for a while until the big job cuts were announced in July 2020 after I was leaked a video by a Pret staff … and so it keeps continuing with doing “anything” to survive.

Link to Tweet by an NHS worker.

Pret has also been one of THE FIRST businesses to open shops DURING lock-down and was THE ONLY business open at Stansted airport in July 2020 when ALL food outlets (apart from Boots and WH Smiths) remained closed.

Pret open at Stansted July 2020

.

Another clever strategy Pret seems to be using is to close 6 more shops now (October 2020) after the 30 shops they closed already. Now laying off 400 more employees (400 staff of 6 shops?). This puts pressure on the Tränendrüse of loyal customers who feel extra sorry for Pret now. Yet, many fail to see the strategy behind this. Pret CAN afford to stay open! Pret CAN afford to keep people employed! And mark my words (today 17. October 2020) that in a short while Pret WILL OPEN shops again. It takes just a few days for Pret to set-up a new shop! Even on Twitter the Job-center is advertising for new Barista etc. opportunities in Pret. Closing 6 shops is nothing for Pret. They will open in a heartbeat when grass has grown over this drama of pushing on the tears of customers’ purses.

Pre-pandemic, the average low-wage worker earned £8.65 an hour. If the shops did well with Mystery Shoppers, they earned an extra £1 but all still BELOW the Living Wage.

Now Pret has cut jobs, hours, benefits, bonus and even paid break. I’m sure Pano has lost count on his millions sitting in his bank account, being busy putting people out of jobs, some of whom will lose everything.

Pret always prides itself to pay a little more than the competition with the brainwashing psychology and their slogan of: “Pay people what you can afford, not what you can get away with”. And yet, Pret fails to mention that 1. staff have to work DOUBLE for it and 2. it takes YEARS to get a pay-rise in Pret! It is Pret luring low-wage workers in with a few pennies more from the start of employment, and then they have to labour for years to earn a few more peanuts. Staff chase that carrot just to be left high and dry. The backbreaking work that I have done and witnessed hardworking colleagues, is not worth the peanuts that Pret claims to be what they can afford. By the time a regular Pret worker is ready for promotion or a pay-rise, they are so exhausted and disheartened, they don’t even have the strength to look nor find a new job.

Link to Indeed review. of a Manager.

Staff get so worn out, they stay in Pret for years because they have no strength to move on. I write extensively about the reality of Pret A Manger behind the smiley facade in “Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger” with its systemic bullying culture that Pret top leadership were involved in my own ordeal.

So while former CEO Clive Schlee is in the background as a non-executive Director, quietly being Pano Christou’s mentor, puppy Pano pushes on the Tränendrüse with the help of big newspapers to squeeze even more pity and money out of customers who fail yet again to support the small independent businesses that really suffer to the point of losing their livelihoods.

So, you mainstream journalists from the New York Times, The Guardian and others, keep sucking up to Pret and wipe their crocodile tears. Nothing new under the sun.

God help us if we aren’t screwed enough yet, we love to get screwed some more by multinational private equity leeches.

Just a few of the countless reviews by Pret employees on various sites.

P.S Here’s a visual of Puppy Christou howling on the belly of mainstream media with a shadow and all the pity he needs. DO feel sorry for this puppy, they need money:


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.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

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.

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

.

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.

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

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.

 

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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


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.

Counselling with Lila Warren (WARNING)

 

Lila Warren, David Carter, Clive Schlee

Lila Warren (the lady with a typical Pret A Manger smile) the Development Manager at Pret A Manger for more than 15 years, and branched out into her dream role as a Therapist. She’s a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Psychotherapist.

But in Pret, she was happy to be used as bereaved person to gaslight me. And she played her role well.

She either is a really good liar, or she really had a brother named Zain, who was dead in his flat for 10 days, like my brother was dead in his flat for 6 days. (Full story in below audio player).

I don’t know what this woman went through in her life to have gone down to such abyss!

I wish her well, but I will always tell people to avoid her “therapy”.

I raised a complaint with the National Hypnotherapy Society she is subscribed to and that equally have such big smiles on their front page, but they remained silent in the hopes I let go. And I did let go, because I had no strength left.

But I can only say, stay away from the National Hypnotherapy Society (Twitter) and from Lila Tighilt Warren.

Stay away from David Carter, who in my time was the Head of HR and is now promoted to UK People Director which is just another facade word for Human Resources. He is not for people, he is for money, protecting a bully company.

Stay away from Nick Davis, People Business Partner who came from Wetherspoon and who was THE main enabler in HR of the Area Manager who bullied and targeted me, using several managers and colleagues against me.

david carter nick davis

LinkedIn

Stay away from these smiley, nice looking folk who are toxic behind their facade.

Stay away from Clive Schlee, who uses vulnerable people for PR.

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ review Glassdoor

 

Las Vegas

New York review on senior leadership Glassdoor

 

Stay away from Pret A Manger that kill people and get away with it, as well as target and bully bereaved employees. Staff suicides still need to be investigated.

Lila Warren, I forgive you of course, but don’t ever cross my path, I will call you out on the rooftops “sweetheart”!

What happened to me can be summed up in the following I found on Twitter. And it took the senior leadership of Pret, HR and HQ to “work” me out of the company in such a perverse way:

Bullying Summed Up Nutshell.jpg

Link

I do move on while I expose this toxic company!

Now “retired” CEO Clive Schlee, who couldn’t label food to save lives, labelled me his “late night girl”. He quickly passed the buck on Glassdoor to his predecessor Pano Christou, who came from McDonald’s management when he started at Pret. Schlee let Christou take over on Glassdoor mid July 2019, even though Schlee retires in September 2019 and remains in the background as a non-executive Director like he is in itsu.

Never take responsibility Mr. Schlee, hey? Always pass the buck!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Glassdoor results

UPDATE

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

Lila Warren BACP

BACP profile

 

Lila Warren Hypnotherapy Society

National Hypnotherapy Society profile

 

Staff speak out mainly in anonymity:

Arrow

Arrow

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the 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.

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

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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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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.

Pret A Manger – How Companies Force Emotional Labour on Low Wage Workers

 

Fake Smile Robin Williams

 

 

Pret Uniform2

The Pret A Smile Uniform Cupboard.

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

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

Customer Tweets:

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

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

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link

 

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

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

Link

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

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

Part of Mystery Shopper Reports

 

04 MS

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.”

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

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

 

Pret A Manger Reality behind the Smile:

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

Customer observation:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

2013 Customer being treated nice by manager then snap at staff

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

 

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

One of many such staff reviews, quote:

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

2015-09-29 Staff cry

Link

 

Emotional Labour Labor

Link

Quote from above article:

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

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

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

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

 

“I was served after 15 seconds …”

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

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

 

Ctrl & + to enlarge:

MS Mystery 15 seconds to Mars

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

 

MS Mystery Shopper VAT eat in take away

 

MS Mystery Shopper Team Member should smile cough

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

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

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

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

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

 

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

Link

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

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

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

Link

 

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

06 Other MS cough

Quote:

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

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

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

 

 

MS Mystery Shopper Miserable

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

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

 

MS Mystery Shopper Detail

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

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

 

04 MS

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

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

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

 

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

 

Not Outstanding

 

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

 

2018-07-04 Outstanding Card

Link

 

2018-01-23 Outstanding Card

Link The reason why she got the Outstanding Card and with it the extra £50, or £100 if the shop had perfect scores, is the white writing on the red background.

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

 

2018-01-25 OC

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

Customer Tweets:

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

And the psychology of “group incentive” is actually peer pressure and what a recent reviewers called “blame culture” which I totally underline. I spend a lot of time building my team member UP when they messed up the Mystery Shopper after our manager put them DOWN, because putting down is counter productive.

 

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

Link

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

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

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

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

 

 

End MS

Link

 

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

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

Link

 

Lose Everything That Makes You Human2

 

2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

Glassdoor June 2019 figures

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be pause

 

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

 

2019-04-22 NEW on TWITTER

Link

 

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

 

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

 


 

I 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.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Mind Map of my Pret A Manger Ordeal

 

 

Courtesy of

 

>>> MindMeister.com

 

 

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

On the “map”:

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

 


 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

Twittel Twittel Little Star…

 

EXAMPLE:

When you click on this Twitter linkyou will see “Tweet unavailable” BUT it IS there when I am logged into my @LateNightGirlMe account. Here’s the screenshot:

LateNightGirlMe/status/1078449508651073536

Shadowban LNG

 

2018-09-30 Pret death tweet shadowban1

My Tweet visible when I’m logged in

 

 

2018-09-30 Pret death tweet shadowban2

 

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

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

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

 

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

 


 

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

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Undercover Under Pressure in Pret

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

I declined her request as well, as I wasn’t ready for the press, and as I am still paranoid to be tricked and trapped like Pret did with the Development Manager I write extensively about in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department“. My experience in Pret is very complex and sounds like straight from a twisted Hollywood script, but I have it all in writing and confront Pret openly on Twitter, which in turn have them 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, 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.

Cowards Don’t Run Marathons

Cowards run away!

.

Pano Christou has the backing of Sinclair Beecham because Pret is at breaking point, especially after staff AND customers spoke out.

Pret will thrive again of course, but at least their reputation has reached McDonald’s levels. That’s all I hope to convey to sheep who follow charlatans.

.


.

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.

To a Friend’s House the Way is Never Long

I recently discovered a band, an album, a song that has been around a few years but is not “out there” for mainstream ears to hear.

It’s so profoundly amazing, ONE sentence, one meaning, one message, one experience, 9 words.

When my brother died and we learnt of it 5 weeks after the fucking fact that he was dead AND cremated, I slammed into hell and had to dive deep into it to learn what friendship means.

I lost friends early on, most were at a loss themselves, but that’s not my problem. Some gave me a hard time like they did Job in the Bible I don’t believe in anymore. Others wanted to cross oceans to pick me out of hell.

One of my former friends lives only 5 minutes by car or 20-30 minutes by foot from me. They distanced themselves early on, or at best behaved like soldiers doing duty service. If you should read this, I forgive you and I don’t blame you anymore. But I am glad that you are not in my life anymore.

I lived in Florida for a few years and travelled the States many times. In the first year of my bereavement and what Pret put me through, there was a friend in Virginia with his family. He wanted to book a flight to London to pick me up to stay with them. I declined, because how the fuck can my friend of 20+ years living 20 minutes from me not BE with me, while a friend thousands of miles away was about to pick me up to find some rest?

When I heard this song recently for the first time, all of this came up and I want to put this here and say to you Wa. C. and your family in Virginia, thank you again for having been there, but I couldn’t take it because I could have never repaid this friendship. I still can’t.

But you have shown me that to a friend’s house the way is never long. P.

Pret A Mandemic Staff Reviews

and a video message to Pret by Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha.

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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.

99.9% Accepted Exploitation – So, 0.01% Lost in Court!

I try to keep it as short as possible, but this is THE reason why people need to ORGANIZE and stand up in unity as a group.

My heart is broken for this former Pret staff, a Kitchen Leader (KL) who made the same mistake I and so many other Pret folk do: He fought alone. But at least he FOUGHT!

Below is a link to a full Tribunal court decision, which shows that even if Judges agree that the respondent (in this case Pret who was getting sued) acted unreasonable, Judges have to do the fair thing, uphold the law, listen to other aspects and make decisions on democratic level UNLESS a law was broken.

This to me is a very sad case and a lost opportunity YET AGAIN!

Link to Judge Heath’s decision.

In a nutshell:

Former KL J-P Moussye sued Pret for “redundancy” pay after being dismissed/fired from Pret for refusing to sign the new contract of lower contracted hours. But Mr Moussy was NOT made redundant, he was fired.

This is on page 6, point 32, quote:

“As the claimant was not dismissed by reason of redundancy, he is not entitled to a redundancy payment, and I dismiss this part of his claim.”

Redundancy pay package can only be claimed when made redundant due to down-sizing a company etc. But here the deal was “you sign or get dismissed”. And dismissal is more negative than redundancy. Dismissal puts the blame on the one fired, while redundancy is not the person’s fault who got dismissed as redundancy. Therefore, no redundancy pay.

The simple choice that Pret forced upon staff was: you sign the new deal of lower contracted hours or you get fired. End of.

The court document states on page 5, point 27. quote, that “out of 4,443 staff members presented with proposed changes to their contracts of employment, all but six accepted.”

A little side note: the proposed changes happened just at the start of lock-down March 2020 when Pret boasted of around 12,000 staff. Interesting to see that less than half of employees have been “offered” this lower deal. And the question on social media always is, if the big guns, the execs also took a pay cut! Well, this number suggests no!

And another little side-note, of course Pret would thrive again. Pret has cheated customers out of expensive ice drinks on subscription, keep having “technical issues” where the QR code doesn’t work or isn’t being send for days, forcing customers to buy instore as they give Pret the benefit of the doubt etc. etc.

News three days ago that sales are soaring again due to office workers going back to the offices. 80% of sales from pre-Pandemic levels! But of course, wages remain lowered and all the other perks Pret cut.

Link to Thisismoney article

So, only 6 staff refused to take the cut and were fired. And only one of the six went to court over it.

It further states in point 29. quote (I highlight/bold):

“Whether the dismissal is fair or unfair depends on whether in the circumstances (including the size and administrative resources the employer’s undertaking) the employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in treating the reason as sufficient reason for dismissing the employee, and is to be determined in accordance with the with equity and the substantial merits of the case.”

Further on page 6, point 30. b, quote:

The fact that a large percentage of the workforce has accepted contractual changes is a material factor which the tribunal can take account of in assessing whether the dismissal fell within the band of reasonable responses …”

Further point 33, quote:

“99.9% of the workforce went along with change, which in itself is supportive of the soundness of the respondent’s business reasons for restructure.”

In a nutshell 99.9% of staff said to Pret: “Lovely dearest Pret A Manger, we absolutely love for you to fuck us over with even less hours, and with it pay, for the hard work during a live threatening pandemic! Hallelujah! We totally agree with this! Thank you SO much for exploiting us further! Big thumbs up!” 🙂

But what the Judge doesn’t realize is the fear management and brainwash and breaking of promises that Pret does. Of course the majority of low-wage, mainly foreign workers who have kids to feed or university fees to pay rather take the lousy deal, giving Pret the benefit of the doubt that the cut is temporary as promised!!!

The Judge took that willingness to get further exploited into considerations and concluded with a fair (to the Judge’s knowledge of Pret), but heart-breaking decision, point 34. quote:

“In considering whether the respondent acted reasonably or unreasonably, it is not for me to substitute my own opinion but to assess whether the respondent’s actions fell within a range of reasonable responses.”

In other words, even if Judge Heath agreed with J-P Moussy that Pret acted unreasonable, the Judge HAD TO take into account that 99.9% of staff loved getting screwed over with more exploitation!

I don’t know which number or percentage would have swayed the Judge to conclude in favour of Mr. Moussy, but imagine even just 5%, or 20% = about 1,200 staff would have objected to the new contract, or let’s dream of half, 50% = 2,000+ … the outcome would have been a very different one!

And that’s what breaks my heart, that Pret workers like ALL workers are sleeping GIANTS who don’t understand that if you ORGANIZE in numbers, you’ll chase Pret out of town in a heart beat!

And that is WHY I keep pressing people to join a flipping Union and ORGANIZE in increasing NUMBERS!!!!!!

The Judge’s job is to uphold the law. Pret has not broken any law. So, the next thing a Judge will do is take all sorts of things into consideration, and in this case the strongest issue leading to Pret winning is that 0.01% objected, resulting in less than that losing in court.

J-P Moussy probably has a huge legal bill on his neck. Is certainly depressed, hopefully his mental and physical health isn’t taking a hard nose-dive. But if you should ever read this Mr. Moussy, I for one have HUGE respect for you to have taken Pret on, even if I want to shake you for doing it alone! But I can’t shake you, because I made that mistake for too long!

But to give Pret staff and other low-wage workers hope, here a small YouTube slide on SOME of the MANY MANY customer voices on social media boycotting Pret because they learnt from ONE Guardian article after I tweeted to the press, because ONE Pret staff ask for help with a strike that never happened, as the staff must have been silenced by Pret. But they can’t silence customers and public voices!

And underneath, an Instagram rant by Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha who used her HUGE 400K+ followers platform to kick Pret’s butt, after customers learnt that Pret has made temporary pay cuts permanent:

And Nadia Sawalha’s beautiful rant on Instagram that still has me cry when I watch it. Pret staff you are NOT alone, but you need to stand up TOGETHER in a GROUP!

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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 Soul Selects Her Own Society

then shuts the Door
to her divine Majority
present no more

Unmoved she notes the Chariots pausing
at her low Gate
unmoved an Emperor be kneeling
upon her Mat

I’ve known her from an ample nation
choose One
then close the Valves of her attention
like Stone

– Emily Dickonson

c. 1862

I’ve asked NHS psychiatrists if I have Asperger, Autism … why I handle things the way I do. No response. No help. Long waiting lists.

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I worked at Pret A Manger when my Brother died, and they bullied me, involving 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.

Pret A Manger’s Health & Safety Hypocrisy

Desperate times, desperate measures.

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Facebook post, quote: “… we’re unable to donate hot food … due to its limited shelf-life.”

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Link

Link

And since over a year Pret’s been giving hot food leftover away via food donation apps, especially after I keep informing people on social media about the immense daily food waste in plastic to landfill via Pret A Manger Food Waste.

To safe face after all the criticism of food waste that customers in the UK, USA etc. have made photos of, Pret then started to even give hot food away that previously was STRICTLY NOT allowed to be given out. I was a Team Leader at Pret and got in trouble by management when I gave hot food to charity. I didn’t know at the time that we weren’t allowed, as I was trained on this.

Of course I stopped giving hot food and only gave to the charity guys who picked up food with the instruction to please consume the hot food immediately and not keep it over night.

Link

So now, what does Pret do to safe face with all the criticism, they give end of 2 hour shelf life expired hot food away. Bur now donations have turned into sales, they now can be PURCHASED via food saving apps! People now have to PAY for hot food that became cold, has been sitting on the hot shelf for at least 2 hours, probably re-heated at least 2 times which I explain in detail here: Request to Remove a Tweet. Suddenly it’s not a health and safety issue anymore.

And to make it worse, people now have to PAY for expired hot food that turned cold, may have been reheated already 2 – 3 times, which people then heat up AGAIN at home! Loss of profit due to the pandemic of course eliminates any health and safety issues *irony off*!

The marking on the porridge lid means the porridge has to be wasted at that time of that day. This porridge may be from yesterday or at least from HOURS after it was already on the hot shelf for 1.5 – 2 hours.

Pret policy as stated above was to WASTE all hot food after 1.5 or 2 hours on the shelf, depending on the product. Some products are 15. others 2 hour self-life. This is not do to expiration but due to quality.

So, since profit losses and criticism of too much food waste, Pret suddenly changes its policy and it’s supposed to be safe now?

Link

Early last year before it got clear how the pandemic would affect worldwide economies, a customer witnessed soups being thrown in the bin because it expired according to (then) Pret policy. The customer just purchased a soup and seeing that it’s basically becoming zero value within minutes, asked for her money back. Pret responded by asking which Bath shop it was, because the stressed out staff member threw the soups out IN FRONT of customers. Pret will have instructed staff to waste behind closed doors, not on the shop floor.

Link

More on Pret’s health and safety issues, please see the following links:

Pret A Manger Food is NOT Fresh

Pret Staff Tested Positive for Covid (pre-vax) and how expiry dates are “stretched”, food kept for several days and soup is now frozen to safe money on waste.

Rat A Manger & Pret A Mice – understaffed shops, overworked staff lead to lack of hygiene. Rat droppings, flied, hair, plastic, critters etc. in food.

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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.

Prexit – Pret A Manger Customers’ outpouring of love & support

»We can’t seem to find
Any peace of mind
As much as we try
There’s no way out but fight

You won’t make us stop
You won’t make us stop
You won’t make us stop the run«

– Ela Minus

AND a brilliant and heart warming 4+ minute rant on Instagram by Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha. I still cry when I watch this:
(This is the actual video, not just a picture, click play)

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Also, to see how Pret does charity, please visit:
Pret A Manger’s Charity Projects.

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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:

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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.

Find Yourself a Subject to Campaign for & do some Good!

I want to address something without having to publicly out people, as I am being met with bullsh!t lately and have no time for this.

I am being contacted by all kinds of people, by customers, journalists, former and current Pret staff etc. I appreciate the encouragement, the support (also for other Pret staff) and the interest. I also appreciate critical feedback, suggestions and so on.

I also want to apologize again and again for lashing out at people, especially good people who try to help. I have explained this on my blog and social media many times, that I am working on stopping to drink, which leads to verbally (writing) lashing out in anger and paranoia. I’m not proud of it, I sabotage myself like this, and I am still trying to find therapy and overcome the trauma and losses I still suffer. That is MY fault, MY responsibility and MY problem, not yours!

But what I don’t appreciate is when people want to tell me what I should write about or how I should construct my social media profile etc. And then when I don’t do what they want, they sulk and gaslight or ghost me.

I want to make this very clear, I am very open for critique, for suggestions, for ideas, for correction. I welcome ideas. I have been told by several Pret staff that my blog is to cluttered, too wordy, too complex. And I completely agree with that, and try to cut down on the sheer volume. I also welcome when people give ideas or critique, and would ask to point me into the direction of services or people who can help me shape my website better or make it simpler. Critique is good and welcomed, giving solutions and where I can get help is even better. And believe me, if I had the funds I’d hire a proper web developer as well as editor to do me a shiny, easily readable website. But I’ve done all this solely on my own, without know-how, support, financial help. And for this, I’ve done a hell of a job! But I do appreciate critique and suggestions.

My url expret.org came to be because a web developer explained to me that it would make more sense then my previous main url LateNightGirl.org, as people initially won’t understand the meaning, while an url with the word “pret” in it makes more sense! I am super happy to change my approach or layout or whatever suggestions may help and make sense to me.

But I am not willing to take any bullsh!t from people who try to boss me around, telling me what subjects I should write about or what emoticons to use on my Twitter profile etc. And then they sulk and play hurt puppy when I don’t “follow” their wishes! And then after initial support, when I tag people in they ask me to not tag them in anymore because they are sulking and are having a pity party because I don’t do what they want!

I asked this before, if you don’t want me to tag you in, please block me, because this is the easiest way to not get tagged in, as I tag people at times accidentally in time, having forgotten their Twitter handle after a long time etc. I don’t care about numbers and followings, I don’t care when people block me! I am not on Twitter to be friends. I am on social media for the sole purpose to expose Pret A Manger after what I survived!

Sure, it would help if I had more followers, more RTs etc. And I shoot myself in my own foot by offending people. I’m learning to be more “diplomatic” in my approach and am not proud of how I behave at times fueled by alcohol. I spent 10 years in Pret being forced to smile, pretend a happy facade or get fear managed and penalized. I do not have any smile or happiness left UNLESS I feel like it! And unfortunately I went into the other extreme and am trying to level it out again!

At the same time, I do not put weight on clicks, likes, followings etc. as these go as easily as they came. My handicap here is that I am so used to fight “giants” on my own, being betrayed, lied to, fear managed, and the worst to lose family/friends/job/money … that “compliments” or the amount of following/clicks/likes have no meaning to me! This is also one reason I push people away because I’m fucking scared everyone dies around me or what I’ve built up will be taken away again. I know how quickly we can lose people and things for no reason that I don’t put weight on amount, volume or numbers.

And those I address here, you know who you are! And I will not stoop low again to out anyone unnecessarily. But I will also say again, if you claim to be a journalist or anything you tell me, but you are not willing to get your butt off the cushion, and campaign for subjects you are keen to get public, then do not tell me what I should do! And also do not claim to be someone that you are not! It doesn’t help, it’s not honest and I always worry if what people tell me is actually true! Also, if you claim to be someone you are not, you will always have to look over your shoulder to not get caught! It takes more energy and goes no-where.

I have different Twitter accounts because I am shadow banned (censored) at times where Twitter hides my tweets and account. But people know it’s me, and it’s not illegal to have different accounts. Twitter even allows for accounts to merge. But I don’t claim to be someone that I’m not!

Many people on Twitter and other social media platforms know me! They know my name, my face after we’ve met in real life or on Zoom, they have my number etc. And that includes some journalists. Pret certainly know me and know who is behind my blog and social media handles. The reason I write anonymously in public is anxiety after what Pret has put me through. Especially after being bullied by a GROUP of “professionals”, Managers, under HR etc. during bereavement! And the worse thing that Pret has done via Lila Warren that still has me paranoid that Pret sends a “spy” again, which I describe in detail here: Questions to Lila Tighilt Warren.

This is one reason I lash out while drunk when GOOD people contact me, and I make the poor decision to drink and fall into paranoia that these good people are “spies” to “get me”. I get troll and disgusting mail/DMs at times which comes with the territory of being on social media. And being female seems to be another reason for some people to try and patronize me. So, if someone then claims to be someone they are not, you are not doing yourself a favour by getting in contact with me. I’m not having it!

And people may not believe this, but I’m actually a very private person who usually doesn’t spill my guts all over the place. This has just been a necessary stretch for me to not only expose Pret and what happened to me, but to distract myself from ruminating too much on loss and grief. Between 2015 and 2018 my blog was solely about my brother’s death. Then I turned my website around into campaigning and telling my story with Pret.

And before you assume that I didn’t get mental health help or legal aid, ASK first what I’ve been through and do your homework on my story before making assumptions and judgements!

I have been to hell and back more than once and I was never too proud to ask for help! I don’t just write a blog the size of this website on a subject to just kill time! You don’t write a blog that I do without having been through hell! I have suffered to the point of suicide and still am just surviving! I pay money for my blog, I don’t get any money, I don’t even take donations! I could easily put a donation PayPal button on my blog and start asking for money! But I don’t want to do that. No-one can accuse me of monetizing anything, even though I deserve to be fuck!ng rich after the immense work I’ve put into my website!

I EARNED my blog! I EARNED my experience and horror with what Pret has put me through! I made MANY mistakes, hurt and offended MANY people. I have lost everybody and everything except the roof over my head! But I EARNED what I write about, I suffered through this, I keep suffering and pay the consequences for anything I say, do or write that hurts people or myself!

So, if YOU want to expose an issue, wrong doing or even just do a fun thing to cheer people up, then please do that. But do not tell me what I should or should not do, and then want to “punish” me through manipulation, gaslighting, ghosting etc. I have zero tolerance for bullsh!t like this. And if you claim to be a BBC, Times, Telegraph or any big name reporter, and I find out that you’re not, I will out you publicly!

And I say it again to any person who is hurt because of Pret or ANY person/group: BE YOURSELF! Don’t be someone that you are not! Be as open or as anonymous as you want to be, but be yourself. OWN your story! You EARNED it! You suffered through it! It’s YOUR story!

I didn’t chase three multi-millionaire businessmen off Twitter without having a story to tell that has almost destroyed my life and that scares them!

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Do as little or as much as you can and want to do. Start a blog, or a YouTube channel, or a podcast, or a band, or political party, or a Union, paint a picture, sing a song, cook a meal, talk about mental health or healthy food, rescue animals, pick up waste to recycle … whatever you want to raise awareness of, go for it! However small or big it may be. Go for it! Don’t ever underestimate ONE voice! Don’t let people tell you that you don’t have enough followers or clicks and likes to make an impact! It means nothing in the long run if it doesn’t change a thing or if it doesn’t give you some sort of satisfaction or peace or whatever.

I KNOW the fear, anxiety, paranoia of getting hurt. It took me YEARS to stand up and lose fear! I am not scared of Pret. I spent years being scared of these coward millionaires who sh!t on hard working people! Ten years of being fear managed, exploited, taken for granted and then even bullied during the worst time of my life, I have no fake smile left anymore! And I have no tolerance for fear management, manipulation or any other crap that tries to hold me down. Those days are over!

So, if you don’t want to be tagged in, please just block me because I am not on social media to make friends. My sole purpose is to write about Pret and my experience. My true social – and friendship circle is in real life, not on social media.

And my apologies again for having lashed out at anyone! I’m working on it every day. I’ve come a long way, and have a long way to go.

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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.

Pret A Manger’s Charity Projects

When Pret find themselves in a pickle, a crisis, being exposed etc. they do what they do best: polish up the facade by doing a charity thing.

A small list of charity runs I know of in connection to something deeper that Pret tries to hide or overcome.

I start with my favourite PR stunt that came directly after Pret was informed of my website. Each link explains in detail with screenshots of issues.

Pret’s £1000 announcement to all staff in May 2018 after finding out about my blog.

The coffee freebie and 50% off food for NHS workers, just before first lock-down, while the very next day cutting staff hours, pay. Pret using NHS staff for PR and as a smoke screen to hide staff cuts. Full CEO email in above link.

CEO Pano Christou doing a half-marathon for the Pret Foundation Trust AND asking low-wage staff for donations of whom he made cuts to. Pret trying to get money at every turn under the “charity” umbrella.

Will be updated as more “charity” activity is revealed that looks fishy in connection with other issues.

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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 “Difference” between Pret’s Kitchen & Shop

I would like to explain something to Pret front-line workers.

I am ecstatic about @at_pret‘s planning to strike and am super proud of their courage! If the strike goes forward or whatever the outcome may be is another topic. And of course I hope the strike goes forward and staff ask for and get MUCH MORE, especially the London Living Wage.

But I like to put some balance into an issue that I had to balance out many times when I was a Team Leader at Pret in many of the shops I worked at.

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I was a Team Leader of the shop floor and also worked in the kitchen to learn the products and helped out many times. I ALWAYS was gobsmacked and had a high respect for Kitchen Team Leaders, because I could never do what they do! I ran the shops as a shop Floor Leader (FL) and even though it was extremely stressful, the job was EASY for me!

One General Manager (GM) said to me once that I run the shop with my eyes closed! It came easy to me! What did NOT come easy was all the bullsh!t and bullying from the top! One GM tried to coax me into becoming a Kitchen Team Leader (KL) if I wanted to move up to be an Assistant Manager. But I declined because running the kitchen is a nightmare!!! And I also loved working with customers and appreciate daylight!

There are many Pret staff who prefer to work in the kitchen as they don’t like contact with customers. And that’s fair enough!

But at times when the shop staff had a go at the kitchen staff and visa verca, I quickly jumped in to balance out the conflict.

Kitchen staff often think that shop staff are lazy because at times after the busy coffee rush and before the busy lunch rush, one or two staff stand by the till and seemingly look like they’re not doing anything!

But shop staff are always pressured by management to STAY at the till and DON’T MOVE! Because staff are pushed to drop everything as soon as a customer approaches the till! Staff are pushed to serve FAST to get customers in and out fast, as this means fast money flow.

I don’t want to get too much into this and want to avoid writing a LONG post again, but I often explained to the Team that we ALL work HARD and each team just has a different kind of stress!

I explained to those who never worked on the shop floor, what kind of stress shop staff suffer. And then I explained to shop staff what kind of stress kitchen folk suffer, and they started to appreciate each others’ work and helped each other more. And thus we all realised that it is much easier to work TOGETHER than to fight each other!

Kitchen staff have to work FAST like machines WITHOUT ever stopping! But kitchen staff don’t have to SMILE and pretend to be happy every second of every day on the shop floor and kiss butt of customers who have a go at them because their latte is cold!

Kitchen staff have LOUD and FAST music, NOT for fun like Pret claims, but so they don’t talk and work fast. Fast and loud music serves as a beating drum for the work pace! Your head explodes with that stress!

Same in the shop, the music has to always be loud so that customers don’t linger around too long! But kitchen staff at least can choose their own music and even switch it off if they want to. Although management and KL will switch it on again! I was told off by an area Manager once because I kept turning the volume down in the shop after my head was exploding and I had a concert of Tinnitus bugging me every day. Also, customers kept complaining, but Pret wants the music LOUD! In the kitchen at least staff have some control of the music system.

Shop staff have to listen to the same songs day in day out for months until head office changes the playlist!

If you are ill, depressed, bereaved and you work in the kitchen, you can do your bench in the corner of the kitchen, don’t have to speak with or look at anyone. You can even have a quite cry and wipe your tears on your shoulder!

If you are ill, depressed, bereaved and you work in the shop you are NOT allowed to have a sad face and MUST pretend to be happy and smile at all times! You MUST suppress the tears while being bugged by a customer who’s taking 5 minutes to get out pennies to pay for the £2.85 and tries to get rid of change. …

I know the public doesn’t believe this, unless you have worked or know someone who’s worked at Pret. But I had countless times when I went into the toilet when the shop was quiet, burst out in tears, splashed water on my face, dried up, waved wind into my eyes for my red eyes to settle back, went back on the shop floor, smiled and my customers never knew how suicidal I was. Especially after I buried my brother. At times I BEGGED my Manager to put me in the kitchen to work for a day when I was very down. I couldn’t afford to take unpaid leave if my holiday was already taken, and wasn’t paid for the first two days off sick, even if I’d had a GP sick note.

Most of the time my GM refused me to work in the kitchen because I wasn’t used to the pace and would have slowed down the production and the whole kitchen Team. Other times I begged to be the coffee maker for the morning so I don’t have to face customers and smile all the time. Again, refused because unlike in the kitchen, I was very efficient with fast service and looking after the shop. Even during extremely busy lunchtime, the shop side was immaculate at all times when I ran the shifts. So my Managers never wanted me in the kitchen or on coffee. If I was at any other position, coffee, kitchen it meant my GM or AM would have to look after the shop instead of sitting in the office checking Facebook! This is REALITY in Pret with many Managers!

It is ALWAYS about Pret, about Managers not wanting to work but dump all the burden on those who already work like machines. And I say it again, that I survived this especially during bereavement I still don’t understand!

This has screwed me up so deeply that now I REFUSE to smile or even be friendly if I don’t feel like it. And much worse, I lash out in a drunken stupor at GOOD people because I get paranoid they’re out “to get me” … You can judge me if you like, but this is reality.

Since @at_pret made the strike announcement and the Guardian took it to another level, social media is exploding with customers boycotting and even vowing to never set foot inside a Pret again! Reddit even has several former Pret staff speak out! I will STOP myself from posting ALL the reddit posts, but one I want to highlight and say that I also had to countless times console a colleague who cried in the staff room because our boss told them off, or a customer had a go at them …

Link to reddit comment from 12.08.2021

Quote:

»I can see no one in the comments worked for Pret. That place is a hell to work for, you always end up doing the job of 3-4 people, they have high standards, you are scolded if you don’t smile, and so on. It’s hell, I have never seen so many people crying during and after their shift. You are paid pennies compared to your workload. I can keep going, but it’s just not worth it and now they even cut the paid break, which was the only incentive to stay there. I am glad I left.«

One of many staff reviews along those line, this one is from 2015:

Link

Quote: “A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period …”

I could go on and on on with the different stress points in both areas, but I only want to emphasise that BOTH, kitchen and shop Team work bloody HARD, each with their own stress levels!

Sure, kitchen staff have very little opportunity to get the individual outstanding card awards! Shop staff have much more chances to get an outstanding card. But the outstanding card is an INDIVIDUAL reward, while the bonus is for the whole Team.

When someone kept having a go at the kitchen Team I said to them that they should work in the kitchen for one week and then after a week they come back to the shop floor and KISS the ground! And visa versa said the same to a kitchen staff to work a week in the shop!

I always stressed to kitchen and shop staff that we are ONE TEAM not two Teams, ONE team! And division and stress between staff is EXACTLY what Pret and low-wage companies love! It distracts from the REAL issues of exploitation by millionaires, who throw crumbs at the bottom to fight over!

I saw a bunch of pigeons fighting over crumbs once and realised then where the term “picking on each other” comes from!

I speak about this in my interview on a podcast, fast forward to 1:22:20 via Soundcloud.

@at_pret kitchen staff, if you’re reading this, please understand that the shop Team have AS MUCH stress, it’s just a different kind of load, but shop staff work AS HARD as kitchen staff and kitchen staff work AS HARD as shop staff. NO-ONE works harder, and NO-ONE has it easier! It’s just a different kind of stress!

My favourite review I came across is from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in to help out in the shop on the till. And trust me, as a Floor Leader I often helped out in the kitchen or asked a shop staff who wasn’t busy to help out in the kitchen as much as kitchen staff also helped us in the shop.

It’s ONE Team! ALL work hard!

My favourite review that still has me cry at times as it triggers the pain that follows you home! I gave it an extra YouTube slide because the public NEEDS to understand how Pret staff suffer!

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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, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou is having a LAUGH 🤬

Pano Christou making a MOCKERY of staff!

And even though my post here makes indirect advertisement for Pret, I want the public to see how utterly, utterly careless, patronizing and disrespectful Pret is towards their staff!

Is he delusional or just outright, unashamedly disgusting to staff?

As all social media platforms are on fire with customers not only boycotting Pret, but many having vowed to never set foot inside Pret again, and some staff find courage to speak out over Pret’s exploitation, cutting pay etc.

What does CEO Pano Christou do?

He does what Pret does best: he announces his self-loathing “charity”.

He wants to run a half marathon to raise money for the Pret Foundation Trust to, quote: “alleviate poverty, hunger and homelessness” … and then he’s asking the staff of whom he just cut wages, benefits etc. to donate to his cause @%!*&% 🤬🤬🤬

I have so many curse words on my tongue but don’t want to degrade myself further! He is spitting on his staff with his charitable pretends! F****** 🤮

They’re trying to get money at EVERY corner including donations from staff.

But this goes exactly along the lines of what Pret did to staff in March 2020 when Pret did the NHS freebie PR stunt. On 18. March 2020 just before first lock-down but at the intensity of the pandemic where it was clear how contagious Covid 19 is, Pret announced coffee freebies and 50% rebate on food for NHS workers. The very next day “charitable” Pano Christou sent an email to all shops and HQ to announce “temporary” cuts to staff. NHS workers were used twofold, as a PR stunt and a smokescreen to divert from cuts to own staff.

I was contacted by several Pret staff on the morning of the email and was sent his email. Full email: (My plea) To NHS Employees. The audacity to use the pandemic to justify cuts and at the same time TAKE AWAY from low-wage staff. In my eyes, Pret staff basically PAID for the NHS freebies. And it was disheartening to read that most NHS staff didn’t care except for their own pocket. Just very few NHS staff spoke out, one very strongly:

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Link

Since the Guardian article by Sarah Butler came out yesterday and a social media storm erupted of customers showing LOVE and solidarity to Pret staff, I’ve spent most of my day tweeting with tears streaming down my face! The overwhelming support from the public I didn’t expect. There’s always some support, but there’s always more silence than voices. But yesterday and still today customers speaking out is like a much needed rain in a drought, and I haven’t cried tears of joy in a long time. And this in contrast to just few voices of NHS staff who mainly seemed to care about getting a freebie while Pret staff bled for it!

So Pano does the usual Pret thing, floating HIS boat on his charitable ventures while sh!tting on staff! His marathon message he sent to all staff, one of whom sent it to me. Also very economical for Pano, instead of joining and paying for the gym or doing a boring morning run on his own, he goes for a public exercise and gets money for it!

And mind you, this message has been sent to me by a low-wage front-line SHOP staff, NOT HQ staff! Pret wants £8.91 p/h staff to donate to his “charity” act! Yeah Pano, I wish you luck! You’ll need more of it now than you ever thought!

Pret staff and the Unions should take the picket-line across the route where Pano will run! And the banner at the goal should have a strong message from staff and the Union on it!

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ADDITION 14.08.2021

After pondering on Pano’s charity stunt, it seems to me that Pano is losing it and is clueless on how to act. Going on a charity marathon thing is a coping mechanism he does from long days gone by. When Pret found itself in deep water on any issue, their strategy was always to do some quick charity stunt reaction. But Pano hasn’t realized that this old coping mechanism doesn’t work anymore. It’s out-dated, it’s INAPPROPRIATE and it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with current issues of the pandemic nor staff shortage!

I wrote in May that I have a feeling that Pano will soon be replaced as a CEO. Staff never really saw him as a leader who’d make an impact. He was Clive Schlee’s shadow for years but never really brought anything new or inventive to the table. He just learnt how to sweet-talk like a parrot!

My prediction from May 2021:

“The Pano Christou Index”

And in the early hours of 29. March 2018 former CEO Clive Schlee made the £1000 announcement to all staff (£800 after tax) after he found out late at night on 28. March about my blog. I give a visual of the evidence here:

“The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idee” (Idee is not a typo, I explain in the post!)

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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, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Staff consider to STRIKE

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On 10th August 2021 I woke up to a wonderful Tweet:

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Link

I went on a Twitter race to tweet the press, Unions and others in general.

This morning another lovely start into the day:

Link to Guardian article

Of course this article took the strike announcement to another level and a social media storm erupted as usual, with caring customers announcing to stop buying at Pret. And this comes days after the UK government named and shamed Pret amongst 190 other companies for paying under the minimum-wage: Pret ‘named and shamed’ in government minimum wage list.

Just hours after the Guardian piece, Pret made what Sky news called a “U-Turn” and reinstated the £1 per hour bonus. BUT, this is a joke and a trick! The bonus is not guaranteed and I will briefly explain here below why this is a joke!

Link to The Guardian

First of all, yes of course it’s not law to have to pay breaks and most retail business don’t pay breaks! But why do we settle for a SYSTEM? Why not get this changed? Fast-food workers, especially Pret staff work like machines! It was already horrible to work before the pandemic! Pret always boast that they pay a little more then the competition. But 1. staff have to work triple the amount for it and 2. they don’t get a pay-rise in YEARS except on what the Government raises.

Some people get it to not accept certain “normal” things:

Link

And now, Pret ALSO pays the national minimum wage of £8.91, and with all these cuts staff get more work, many have left, who knows if there are Covid infections or even deaths. Pret was able to hide TWO allergen deaths under the carpet and a 3rd narrowly survived and more injured until an Inquest into the first fatality forced the news out.

The reason why the bonus being fully back from 50p to £1 per hour is that this is just another one of Pret’s tricks!

The bonus is not a guarantee whereas a living wage, paid breaks etc. are a guarantee. Pret has an extremely micromanaging, dehumanizing, humiliating Mystery Shopper scheme in place. I’ve written on this several times and have done some YouTube slides with real Pret Mystery Shopper (MS) reports because my blog is heavily censored on Facebook, Instagram, even here on WordPress. My blog is blocked on those sites and Facebook algorithm even deletes my PRIVATE messages when I link to my blog! But FB, Insta etc. can’t block YouTube, Twitter etc.

The MS has immense power to make or break shop bonus. Every week they visit and any little thing that p!sses the MS off can cost the whole shop the bonus. Pret Managers also have discretion to NOT give bonus for ANY silly reason. The MS is used as a tool to bully and fear manage staff!

If the Manager doesn’t like a staff member and that staff comes in ONE minute late, boom, the Manager withdraws the bonus.

The staff who got the ball rolling on the planned strikes confirms this:

Link

If you work 60 hours per week because Pret has always been under-staffed, but now since the pandemic it’s much worse, you get exhausted, sick, Covid is still around etc. and if you are sick even just for ONE day, you get your whole week’s bonus cut. If you work 60 hours and the MS visit is successful, you get £60 on top of your wages (£1 per hour). £60 is a LOT of money for underpaid staff who, some of them are on benefits to pay their rent. If you worked all week for 52 hours, and on your last day of that week you call sick missing 8 hours to make it to 60, you lose the whole week’s effort of £52 of the previous 52 hours you DID already work!

Many times I myself worked while I was sick because I had to make a decision if to stay at home and get well, but lose money, or work while sick risking further health issues AND potentially losing my whole Team the MS bonus. One MS I unknowingly served pointed this out when I was coughing while serving them and I was not able to smile. My Manager had me in the office after we received the report.

Ctrl & + to enlarge screenshot.

Quote:

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served
you at the till.”

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

Fathermucker, I was also not “cheerful” enough after I buried my brother and my boss told us to leave our problems at home and wear a smile like we wear our uniforms! If an undercover journalist would go into Pret to experience the Mystery Shopper hell. I renamed it to “Misery” Shopper. And dear MS, next time PAY staff to stay home and get well!

One staff member confronted former CEO Clive Schlee on this and called it “stealing”. The staff might have been warned by Pret as they since deleted their Tweet. Also, Clive Schlee’s Twitter account has been deleted in July 2020, so all that’s left are replies to him and many of the screenshots I have from his Tweets.

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And a recent Facebook DM with a former Pret staff who points this out as well, how working 70 hours per week is harmful for mental health, but also physically. I have permission to post this:

So, working like a donkey WILL make people sick! More from this FB exchange here: Pret Staff Tested Positive for Covid.

And other issues with the bonus being weaponized against staff, I worked with a colleague who came to work from his holiday with a little beard. I’m not sure if this is still the case, but in my time when a guy wanted to grow a beard, he had to let Pret know in advance. Pret had this in WRITING in our staff manuals, that’s why I know about it as I had to read stuff as a Leader. To this day I still don’t understand why they had to let Pret know because in the kitchen men with beards wear beard nets as well as hair nets! But he came from holiday with a beard and our Manager cut his bonus!

I got threatened that my bonus will get cut if I keep forgetting to slide the plastic opening sign to “open” in the morning. Pret don’t have these stupid red sliding signs anymore, but in my time when I was new as a Leader I kept forgetting, partly because no-one trained me on “Managing by Walking Around” (MBWA).

Anything can be used by management to not pay bonus. And knowing Pret, they may retaliate against staff for announcing a strike by making the Mystery Shopper harder and/or hint to Managers to cut bonus at any turn possible!

One recent review on Glassdoor by a Team Leader puts this in simple terms: “Bonus is used as weapon”:

Link

We staff always were suspicious as well that when Pret threw these elaborate huge summer and Christmas parties that each cost at least £10.000 and more, VERY OFTEN straight after the parties that week, many shops lost bonus! We couldn’t proof that Pret was behind this, but I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. And it was like clockwork, we staff always laughed and made bets if we get bonus the week after a party.

The same with overheated shops! I worked in 2 different shops, both for months without adequate air conditioning and broken ACs. Shops and at times kitchens if all ACs broke, were 40+ degrees! Every Mystery Shopper, every week NEVER even mentioned this! We were expected to keep smiling and performing at highest standards. We lost bonus if we couldn’t smile etc.

I write in detail and walk people through how working in 40 degrees is like and put many customer Tweets who complained to Pret over overheated shops: Pret A Manger Overheated Shops.

After I started my blog here I registered once on a Mystery Shopper forum about 2 years ago. People were sharing their experiences. There was no-one who was a Pret MS, but I explained from staff perspective how horrible it is for us. And 9 out of 10 MS on that forum were brutal with me! They said that this is our job and that we are expected to fulfill what the company wanted, no matter what. They said even after I explained that I was bullied DURING bereavement and expected to smile! I was shocked at their response! Many Mystery Shoppers seem arrogant and entitled, this is visible in their comments. And to become a MS, you are not allowed to have retail work experience. I believe that is because companies don’t want the MS to have empathy but be like a brutal customer who ONLY spends money when their butts are kissed!

I could go on and on, but I’m trying to learn to write shorter texts. Reinstating the £1 bonus is not good enough and as the only option is a bad deal because bonuses are not a guarantee. Knowing Pret from my own horrific experience, I truly believe it’s a trick of Pret, and staff should NOT settle for it.

As social media is on fire, even former Pret staff on reddit spill the beans on the reality of Pret:

Link

The following reddit comment I will quote here to enlarge it! These guys speak TRUTH!

“No, I’ve been working in hospitality for years. I’ve never seen anything like Pret, the amount of emotional abuse is unacceptable. But hey, people need to see you smile while they’re buying an effing sandwich…”

Link

Low-wage stop staff depend ONLY on the Mystery Shopper to get their peanut bonus of £1 per hour. But Managers and higher up Managers have their quarterly bonus GUARANTEED!

Low-wage front-line staff get the bonus paid weekly, if you worked 40 hours, you get £40 extra. But the bonus relies solely on the Mystery Shopper results, whereas shop Assistant Managers (the position CEO Pano Christou started), Managers and higher ups get their bonus quarterly and the Mystery Shopper is just one part of it. It’s the biggest part, but even if they have low scores, they still get their bonus every quarter!

Little side note again, I write about Pano Christou’s “Rags to Riches” story and explain that he started at position number 4 in the shop NOT at the bottom. He loves to tell the public that he started “in shops”. Sure he did, but he started as an Assistant Manager with a ton of benefits including £500 to buy business attire, monthly £50 for the dry cleaner, health insurance, sick pay from day one, a LOAN to buy an annual travel pass that costs only for 10 months (2 months free travel), elaborate executive parties, travels for Team building, higher pay, bigger bonus and a bunch of other perks along the way. He just loves to fool everyone how he started at the “bottom”! Give me a break!

Staff, as well as customers, have Pret at their balls now and should keep squeezing! DON’T let go! This is a momentum and an opportunity that doesn’t come around often!

They have the press AND the public AND former/current staff AND the Unions now with open eyes on this! DON’T LET GO!

Two slides I’ve done so far and may add more if staff send me updates with new Mystery Shopper reports. But once you look at the detail, you get the idea how dehumanizing Pret’s MS report is. Pret has downgraded from 32 questions to a little over 20 questions, but it’s still horrible for staff who have to act like acrobatic clowns to just get more crumbs that Pret throws at them.

Slide 1 are excerpts from different MS reports from different shops I worked in and different years. Slide 2 is from one shop in 2019. Pret changed some wordings a little since I extensively write about the Mystery Shopper and may have forced Pret even to mention the MS on shop walls. I renamed it to “Misery” Shopper!

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And most of the 32 MS questions from 2019. I have a report from 2020 but had no chance to work it into my blog or YT:

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Also, regarding cuts and exploitation, please see the following posts that show how Pret exploits staff since YEARS including wage theft, lawsuits, using NHS workers for PR etc.

Wage Theft in Pret

To NHS Employees

The Difference between Kitchen and Shop work (The strike announcement says that kitchen staff are the hard workers, but I explain that ALL staff work hard).

UPDATE: Please see how Pano Christou is further ripping low-wage staff off by trying to get money for “charity”: CEO Pano Christou is Having a Laugh!

And lastly, if customers and staff really want to reach the top executives after being ignored on Twitter, FB, Insta etc., it’s best to post to CEO Pano Christou directly on Linkedin. He deleted his Twitter account in 2019 after I tweeted Clive Schlee’s “retirement” to the press and also linked to Pano’s Twitter.

Pano Christou on Linkedin.

I recently adopted a song as 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: 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, 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.

Bosse Did It Again

After being blown away from a song of his 3 years ago > I fell in Love with a Song, he did it again!

Translation below …

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Rough translation, not a perfect translation, but the core of it:

SUNNYSIDE

Where the sun kisses the city

and your face, too

When you slept like you used to sleep

and you won’t miss a thing

You survive in the park

and you realize the grass is green

and someone hands you a beer

and endorphins release fear

And you sing out of tune on your way home

whistling a song in the dark

Then you’re on the sunnyside again

from there you just float

because you’re letting go and forgive

and you’re going out again

then you’re on the sunnyside again

From then on everything just falls into place

because you’re letting go and heal

and finally thrive again

Where your rough edges disappear

and melt at every turn


Where you don’t look back

Self-worth, Self-love

Where your light-footed walk is back

as well as your sneaky laugh

there, where you need eyes and deeds, say, what should we all do?

And you sing out of tune when we go about the neighbourhood together

whistling a song into the dark

Then you’re on the sunnyside again

from there you just float

because you’re letting go and forgive

and you’re going out again

then you’re on the sunnyside again

From then on everything just falls into place

because you’re letting go and heal

and finally thrive again


You look exhausted, but it’s over

you see how the first light shines on your ruins

You faced it, you haven’t hidden anything, you’ve cried till you dried

through deepest tunnels and grief and gravel towards sunnyside

towards sunnyside

– Bosse

Translation expret.org

WordPress CENSORS under the umbrella of “Mature Content”

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So, here I am minding my own business, writing my posts on Pret and doing other things in life, when I was informed that my blog cannot be found on WordPress.com READER when a WordPress user is signed in and searching for “Pret A Manger”.

And I’m sorry, I’m a better writer than a drawer, apologies! I do understand that the red dick that I drew looks more like a cactus with a sun burn that has lost its “spikes”, but I never claimed to be an artisté! I’m just exposing Pret and have pulled down their pants, revealing their tinie tiny dicks! And now I’m censored for it …

Censorship is nothing new under the sun, it’s happening throughout the Internet since the stone ages of the Internet. It’s subtle, it’s sneaky, it’s disgusting!

I contacted WordPress, and this is their reply today.

Viewer discretion advised and disclaimer: Please go to the toilet before you read the following otherwise you may wet yourself laughing!

Click ctrl & + (ctrl & plus) to enlarge the dick uhm pic:

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WordPress replies with the following:

In text:

“Your site has been classified as mature. For more information about this, please see the following guide:
https://wordpress.com/support/mature-content

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I just did a quicky, sorry a quick search on 3 words: Vagina, Penis and Dick.

And the following came out … no pun intended of course.

I leave it to investigative journalists to dig in to WordPress.com’s censorship in the name of “adult content”.

And Pret A Manger, good one, you have just help WordPress lose a longtime customer! Well done!

My blog was already censored months before I posted the following:
Pret A Vagina

And after I was informed of WordPress censorship, I did a search on just 3 words:

Vagina:
https://vvveritas.com

Penis:
https://reviewpeenlargementbiblepenissupersizer.wordpress.com

Dick:
http://www.drdicksexadvice.com

Now, which part of my blog is mature content porky pie?

Looking forward to moving my website over to another web provider!

Dear WordPress, I’m sure you don’t need my business as you pride yourself in being the most used web-provider out there. I should have known better and choose the little guy web provider. I pay for 1 main URL and 2 further URL’s. I was planning to upgrade, but not only will I NOT upgrade, I will move my website over to another web provider who doesn’t suck up to Pret A Manger’s tiny dick!

But most importantly, I have already passed on your censorship to investigative journalists, also Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and all who don’t give a sh!t about WordPress. WordPress, please come, come, come, come up with another excuse to censor blogs on behalf of coward companies, than in the name of “adult content” you father suckers!

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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, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

How much does it take?

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Andrej (PAMSU) tweeted for 6 years after he was fired for having started a Trade Union.

Once I came along on Twitter in 2018, he stopped tweeting. I get it that he was tired. But I don’t appreciate that he never replied to my email, Facebook messaging, and even lied to a journalist. Not good Andrej.

I understand that this is AGAIN about a FEMALE speaking out, and you males shutting down.

I don’t need you.

Facebook group “I Hate Pret” posted in 2011 and then a few years after that. And then stopped.

I myself wrote an Encyclopedia on Pret in 3 years that journalists pretend to not care about, while drooling over it, trying to figure out how not to plagiarize.

So, when journalists come across my story and website, they do one of the following depending on the person:

  • They pretend to not care and ghost (while checking out your website)
  • They REPLY that they are interested, trying to lure you in to share more than they can handle
  • They really don’t care, and in that case, they have other projects worth investigating. But the main thing is, you will know a bullshitter miles away.

When I stared to write publicly on Pret, I wanted to write down my story and die. I wanted the public to know that there are Pret staff who suffer and why they died.

The public and journalists are catching up now. But in the end they don’t care.

I contacted hundreds of journalists.

Most continue to play-pretend to not care.

You won’t be remembered in my book.

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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, 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.

Naughty, Naughty Pret! Not paying staff … AGAIN!

I’m actually surprised that this Tory Government has investigated, and now names and shames companies for not paying staff. I am so disheartened with the Tory Govt. for how they squeezed the UK for years, especially the NHS, and mishandled the pandemic. So, the publication of this list of companies is a pleasant surprise!

Our usual suspect of course is Pret A Manger. And as usual, many people are surprised, especially business people. But why? Business people should know best how companies cheat to get and keep money!

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Pret has been stealing wages for years and settled TWO class action suits in the USA having had to repay 4000 workers close to a combined $1 million. In