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Day 24 – The Pret A Manger Love Treatment

24 December – Day 24 of Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020

.

Merry Christmas.

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The best Christmas gift you can give this year and beyond: Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands regularly and properly.

Comfort the grieving, don’t leave them alone. Support the vulnerable.

Merry Christ-Mask-wearing-handwashing-social-distancing!

.

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The Pret Head Office and executive people are mingling on Linkedin where low-wage Pret frontline staff and most customers don’t mingle.

Most customers and staff still hang out on Twitter, but not Pret HQ staff. They feel safe on Linkedin.

If you want to complain or reach out to Pret Head Office staff, here are some of them.

I start from the bottom up:

Lila Warren

the toxic Pret HQ staff who was tasked to gaslight me.

I write about it in several posts, but asked questions to her here:

Questions to Lila Tighilt Warren

Her Linkedin profile.

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David Carter, who was put on my case after I contacted former CEO Clive Schlee. Carter thought he, as the big gun of HR, could “win” me, little shop staff over with his ego, asking me how on a scale of 1 – 10 it was meeting him. David, I never wanted to meet you. And I surely won’t meet you again!

His Linkedin profile.

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Andrea Wareham

(David Carter’s line manager)

She used to be called “Director of HR”, now another fancy re-naming:

“Chief People Officer at Pret A Manger”

(She was at the Coxton branch of Pret when former CEO Clive Schlee pointed to me, saying to her that I was his “late night girl” after my emailing and Pret taking the mick. Full story at the bottom audio player).

Her Linkedin profile.

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Pano Christou

CEO of Pret who plays “puppy” in collaboration with the press.

I explain here: “Clever Pret A Manger Marketing

His Linkedin profile.

The best way to contact Pano Christou publicly is in a Linkedin thread he posted. One example is the subscription thread.

Direct link to Pano Christou’s Linkedin thread.

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There people can go and complain because Twitter is out-dated, and Pret know it 😉

Merry Christmas!


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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.


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.

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. 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

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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.

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! 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.

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.

The Legacy of Pret A Manger

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Organic Coffins – Natural Fools

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I know my website, experience, outspokenness etc. is too much for this generation of “journalists” who copy’n’paste.

I haven’t hidden my writings under my bed like Emily Dickinson did, and after she died they went for it!

Those who copy will have their 15 minutes of fame and then be gone. That’s the beauty of it!

My agenda is to expose Pret A Manger, that they have never been the “ethical” and caring company they portray to the public.

My website is not for the 280-character Twitter generation.

My website is for those who care and struggle under millionaires who suck every drop out of less-than-£10-an-hour workers.

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Free coffees – the best marketing.

The £1000 for all staff.

What else is the legacy of Pret?

Two customers dead. Several injured.
The suicide of an Assistant Manager.
Pret’s “natural” claim that went down the drains, but most still don’t know about.
I was targeted and bullied during bereavement in the worst time of my life.

Keep going Pret, you’re doing well when it comes to numbers, money and such…

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Former CEO, current non-executive director Clive Schlee’s legacy

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Current CEO Pano Christou

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The following slides are a testimony of a front-line shop employee who worked to exhaustion for minimum wage.

And while having worked for minimum wage I lost my brother, and then I became an inconvenience for a company like Pret A Manger.

But courage has “rage” in it, and my rage has been worth it.

So, you “investigative” journalists, you “friends”, stay safe and take care.

“Video” killed the Pret A Manger.

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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.

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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.

If anyone ever claims to have known me

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they knew a shell of me for a little while, but then when my brother died and Pret bullied me, these “friends” dropped me like a hot potato in no time.

If anyone claims to have known me for years, show them the door. They just brag after the fact.

Thank y’all for your patience.

P.

The Pret A Manger Love Treatment

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Video killed the Pret A Manger

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playlist

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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.

.
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’s continued Coffee Subscription Rip-Off

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I wrote already about the YourPretBarista subscription rip-off Pret started in 2020 and the many customer complaints on the excuses why most shops don’t do the free and “endless” (for Pret expensive) frappes and smoothies. Common excuses are: they run out of ice, ice machine broken, smoothie machine broken, no apple juice, the shop doesn’t know it’s included in the subscription etc. etc.

Blog post: Smoothie Operator – The Pret A Manger Lie

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The coffee subscription issues continue with daily Tweets and Insta/FB posts on customers either not able to cancel before the new month starts, wrong expiration dates which forces customers to another month of subscription, or even worse they DID cancel in time but Pret keeps withdrawing money from people’s bank accounts. Pret doesn’t respond to emails or customers suddenly get cut off when they DO manage to get through etc. etc. etc. A news article covered this after I kept RT’ing and posting about the rip-off (below YouTube slide).

Most customers assume this is a one-off glitch only they experience. But few are taking the complaint further, yet no-one seems to contact a consumer watchdog to look into this further. I mainly post Twitter comments as I am heavily censored on Instagram & Facebook which are now under FB. But there are complaints on there as well as on Twitter.

One customer posted a visual of the loop where Pret sends people around in circles and he customer for once is not willing to keep being lured into DM by Pret social media staff:

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Link

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Just a few of the MANY complaints on Twitter, I didn’t even bother to screenshot Facebook and Instagram posts on this:

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One recent DM exchange between the Pret social media staff and a customer has me speechless. Pret offers “endless” coffees, even though the limit is 5 per day in 30 minute intervals. There’s already false advertisement. And here Pret is accusing a customer of fraud and after promising “endless” coffee, making an extremely rude statement that crosses boundaries: “double endless coffee isn’t a good idea for anyone”:

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Link

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… etc. etc. etc. etc. … and many, many, many more with new complaints of being sent in a loop for the One Time Code etc. Some more in below YouTube slide.

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News article: Pret a Manger coffee subscription customers hit with £20 fee despite trying to cancel during free trial

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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.

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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.


Julie & Buddy Miller #TrumpImpeachment – When you go down

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When You Go Down – written by Julie Miller – performed with and produced by Buddy Miller – Nashville, TN – Sept. 2020

Pret A Manger settles its 2nd WAGE THEFT lawsuit

This is two years ago, but the wage theft in Pret is rampant. I had to chase my money countless times, even my last pay. In the UK workers hardly go to court because the legal system is very different and the rewards very low.

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A 2019 staff review from New York, from an all-rounder employee doing different tasks as Pret chronically under-staffs to maximize profit:

Link

Another review about chasing £100 payment and HQ staff playing dumb:

Link

… and many more.

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Pret A Manger settles its second WAGE THEFT lawsuit

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Link to article

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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.

.
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.

Can we all get along? – The 1992 LA Riots

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Wednesday 29th April 1992 Los Angeles, I didn’t realize I was about to enter several days in war zone.

Four weeks into a three month trip, me and my 2 friends just moved from Santa Monica beach to Long Beach after having been invited by a family we met in a church. It was a typical American family, with 5 cute kiddies between 5 and 10+. We gladly accepted the invitation and the family was glad to get a crazy bunch of German travelers to stay with them for a few weeks. We stood out like a sore thumb in the church we visited and in the community our hosts lived in. They loved our German accents that we were embarrassed about. And we had fun hearing them pronounce our strange names.

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Santa Monica Beach view from the Motel, March 1992

What was unusual, but I didn’t know how unusual it was, not knowing the U.S. at the time, was that this family’s house was behind a closed up gate and tucked in compared to the neighbouring houses. Most houses had the typical green front yard without a fence and a few bushes. But this house had a large gate and was “locked” in. It would later serve as our refuge.

In hindsight, understanding American communities more later, with this neighbourhood more on the rough side, it was good that they had a closed up front yard where the kids could freely play without wandering off in the area or being targeted by gangs etc. No-one from the outside was able to look into the yard or the house. We had BBQs there with the family’s friends and relatives. The fencing later shielded us white girls from what was about to happen.

A brief experience here I thought worth mentioning was our first hotel straight after arriving from Germany at LAX. A shuttle driver suggested this hotel to us and I recently found out that it doesn’t exist anymore. We stayed near Inglewood in the now iconic Cockatoo Inn, that unbeknown to us was a well known hotel. Unfortunately it was shut down in 1994, just 2 years after we stayed there and remained closed for a few years. Director Quentin Tarantino filmed scenes inside in 1995 of “Jackie Brown” while the hotel was shut. It completely brought me back inside the beautiful bar/restaurant area. The Cockatoo has been demolished around 2004 and was replaced with a chain hotel that completely lost its charm.

Scene inside Cockatoo bar and restaurant

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One evening the event in the bar/restaurant was karaoke and one of my friends had a go. One man was sitting near us pretending to be Eddie Murphy. He told us to repeat after him: “I am Eddie Murphy”. I was the only one who did not repeat! He did look very similar to Murphy, and now in hindsight, maybe it was even him because I learnt recently that this iconic hotel had politicians, actors, even members of the Mafia stay. So, it might have even been Eddie Murphy. A website dedicated to to this hotel keeps its memory alive with former staff and guests posts: CockatooInn.com

CockatooInn.com published part of my story on their site with the photos I submitted. Great way to collect former guests’ experiences of the hotel: Visiting the Cockatoo during the 1992 LA Riots. Thank you for the feature.

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Cockatoo Inn, April 1992

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Cockatoo Inn entrance (the boy is the son of one of my friends)

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Visiting another church, West Angeles Church, we assumed it’s a normal Sunday service where a Caucasian blonde preacher held a sermon in the predominantly black congregation. But I didn’t understand why several serious looking guys in black suits stood to the left and right side on and off stage, which I’ve never seen in any church before. The friend who invited us to this church turned to us and said that if he succeeds, we can say that we saw the president. The blonde “preacher” was Bill Clinton who spoke in this church. We only realized later that this was a political rally rather than a normal Sunday service.

West Angeles Church of God in Christ, March 1992

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Soon after we moved to Long Beach, I started to develop horrendous tooth aches that lasted all night. I took several pain killers that didn’t help. I had tooth aches already while still in Germany, but as they didn’t last, I didn’t pay much attention to it. But this time, the pain increased and persisted. I was given advise where to go for examination. On the 28th April 1992 I took the bus for about one and a half hours to a hospital. Like so many things in a different country, this was new to me, because in Germany we go to the dentist, not to a hospital for dental issues. But I was grateful that we took out travel insurance and were covered.

Another unusual experience was that I had to wait 5 hours before I was seen. But since everything was new, TVs everywhere, I had plenty to watch and new impressions to take in. I got a medical ID card and after the X-ray I was told that a wisdom tooth needed to be pulled. The doctors decided that it would be good to pull all the wisdom teeth while they’d be at it. But I needed to take some antibiotics for a few days before they could pull the teeth. So, I left hospital again, not realizing that I needed to pick up the pills in that very hospital! I went back “home” to Long Beach, assuming I just go to a pharmacy with the prescription, and was again explained by our host that I needed to return to the hospital for the pills.

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So, on Wed. 29.04.1992 I went back with the bus on another 1.5 hour journey to collect the pills from hospital. I waited again, around an hour or so this time in the lobby of the hospital.

I was watching the TV in the large lobby where about another dozen people where waiting and scattered throughout the lobby. Again, intrigued that they showed real court cases which was new to me as well, it was obvious that something important was happening as everybody was glued to the TV that live-streamed a court session. I watched on not knowing what this was about. I kept hearing “…. not guilty” … ” not guilty…” … “not guilty” …

The non-guilty verdicts where of 4 white LA police officers who brutally beat a black man they stopped. A person from his house or balcony was filming it with his camcorder. Now, this was 1991 when the beatings happened, it’s not like today where it has become normal to film incidences everywhere, the very recent one of George Floyd who was brutally murdered while the world looked on!

It was a break through in 1991 when a man just started to film the beating of Rodney King. People were hopeful that THIS TIME the jury and court will serve justice. But, no. Not guilty, not guilty, not guilty …

A commotion started to happen in the hospital lobby waiting area, and one after the other, people started leaving the hospital, looking upset. Some people mumbled something under their breath, others visibly angry, throwing their arms up in the air. What I didn’t pay attention to nor understood the significance at the time, was that all those who were leaving were African Americans while all the Caucasian patients remained seated or standing in the lobby. I was completely green and oblivious on what was happening. Later after I received my pills, I was on the bus back home and was perplexed why a black man kept staring at me. Still not realizing what was going on.

In hindsight I think ignorance was bliss because my demeanor was completely neutral, innocent, looking out the window minding my own business. If I had known then and there what was going on and that there was imminent “tension” coming up, my body language and facial expression would have been one of caution, fear, mistrust, nervousness, alert etc.

I arrived home and my friends with some of our host’s family were sitting in front of the TV. The first pictures I saw was from a helicopter’s view. It became engraved in my mind because it was the first “point of contact” of making sense to a reality, an image of what happened to Rodney King before and the non-guilty verdicts that sparked the riots. Slowly and with explanation of our hosts, we started to understand what was unfolding via TV in the city.

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When I saw this live on TV and slowly started to understand what was going on, I remembered the man in the bus staring at me … The riots haven’t started yet, at least not where I was traveling from the UCLA Medical Center back to Long Beach. It took me a few days to grasp that I was lucky? Or blessed? Certainly completely oblivious on what it was that I saw on TV streamed from the court room … and what it was about … and what was about to happen for the next 5 to 6 days.

I can’t even write down in detail everything, because I pushed it away now for a long time. My friends and I were guests of an African American family who protected us, who literally ordered us to not go out to the shops after curfew without them. They assured us that as long as either or both of them were with us, that we were protected. These hosts and new friends suddenly became our protection, our “body guards”, our angels. I still feel ambivalent about it because here is my race, my pale colour hurting again and again and again and again … anyone of darker skin. And here we were with them protecting us, feeding us, giving us water, a roof!

The huge closed-up fence to the street and surrounding most of the front property was like a fortress, perfect in this time, compared to neighbours who had open yards.

Helicopters by day and all night. Curfew from 6pm to 6am and gun shots, even automatic weapons during the night. Boom, boom, boom, boom ratttatttaatttaaatttaa boom boom ratta ratttatttattattta boom boom boom boom …

The warning was: if you are out during curfew, you WILL get shot, either by police, gangs, shop owners protecting their livelihood and as the days went on, the military. I loved the fence, and strangely I was never afraid one bit. Again, for one, because of our hosts, they were super calm, and also because I was young and came from a protected country? Completely naive about any danger, even while seeing and hearing a war outside.

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Our hosts, our angels, our refuge and friends

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But I also was young and had a naive believe in a god, who I felt protected us. Well, I don’t believe that anymore, because why didn’t he protect Rodney King and all the people who suffer yet again under white police brutality. And the corrupt police getting off again and again. So, it’s ok, have your belief, live and let live, it’s all ok.

The rest of our stay with this lovely family is a blur to me. I left Long Beach with less teeth and a mind full of questions and experiences. Only through some photos and the many long letters that I wrote to my mum and brother, can I roughly reconstruct our journey.

One of us friends returned to Germany soon after. I and the other friend remained. We moved on to Culver City, West Hollywood, met further people, slept in a car, in motels, drew from what we saved up, stayed with people who invited us, then back to Santa Monica … all the while digesting what happened in a city that lives off drama and fairy tales.

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I walked through a street once, days after the riots, where almost every house left and right was burnt to the ground. I never took pictures of the devastation because I had such respect and felt invasive and dishonoring. I don’t know, I’m weird like that! I would not make a good journalist, certainly not a good photo journo. I regret that now. I only took photos of Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach, Malibu, Hollywood and places like that, and all the beautiful people we’ve met along our criss-crossing LA.

Around June, we returned to Germany, still in daze …

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LAX June 1992, another friend seeing us off back to Germany

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»I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along?«

— Rodney King (1965 – 2012)

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1992 Los Angeles Riots, Wikipedia.

Two of the four police men were later convicted in a 2nd lawsuit for violating the civil rights of Rodney King and received short prison sentences.

Sadly, Rodney King passed away far too young in 2012 from accidental drowning in his pool, having struggled with alcohol and drug use. He still suffered nightmares 20 years after the racist police violence. He relived it in this 2011 interview. He forgave the police, which is beyond me. Forgiving such a crime where the insult went further by the cops getting off the hook, and King suffering for the rest of his life … I have huge respect for his courage.

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©2021 poetrasblok.com

Day 23 – The Necessity of Love and Care

That is, the care for human life, beyond any opinion or political persuasion – certainly not indifference!

Julian Metcalfe went on Twitter to try and fix a “situation” he did to Pret. Ooops.

But he was pulled out too early. Unfortunately. Nevermind.

Pret lives what Metcalfe spilled the beans on. But being thick as thieves means you gotta fix it. No?

But fixing it meant, you messed it up further. And the press remains silent as usual, because they can’t claim to be the author or interviewer. Shame.

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There was a frantic meeting, phone calls, some emails, in-person mild “conversations” … and off they went. Business as usual.

Metcalfe has a heart. His heart beats for his fellow opportunistic, greedy, capitalist, panicked, spoiled prats … .com

If you can spot the connection between the following connections … you made it, just about. Because these people got off the hook again.

The Necessity

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The Cost

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The Price

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… Love and care down the drains.

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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.

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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.

Day 21 – The Mollie Goodfellow Pret-Thread

Apart from this being a creative thread by a Pret fan, lover, believer … from a person who only knows Pret from the outside, I post this person’s thread here, because she had all the reasons to block me. But she didn’t. I write from the inside, having massively hijacked her thread. But she didn’t block me, unless she baited my response like many do these days.

I should actually block her
for pretending to not care
Pret A Manger
😉

But that’s what I call a respecter of free speech, who is secure enough in themself to let a post just be!

Most people, especially those with a white-on-blue Twitter “tick”, would have blocked me.

That’s why I “engrave” her fun and creative thread in this year’s Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020, 21 December, Day 21.

Mollie Goodfellow, thanks for being secure enough to let me and some others rant without censoring, and sorry for having hijacked your thread! Most people still want to live in LaLa-Land about Pret! And other people, who are people too, suffer under that smiley facade.

Merry Christ-Mask-wearing-handwashing-social-distancing!

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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.

.
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.

Day 20 – »Pret don’t care about anyone«

20 December – Day 20 of Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020

Over time I have received many emails, DMs, text messages from current and former Pret A Manger staff. I have never felt like putting them unto my blog out of respect for privacy. But this recent one I thought maybe I should start making an own blog entry on what current and former employees write to me.

I will not post any comments without permission of course, and will always keep them anonymous. This recent email I just asked this current staff if I can post, and they said yes.

Their message is word-for-word and doesn’t need any more explanation.

To the person who wrote this to me and to all the others, thank you for your courage and trust. And thank you for letting me publish this. I will only publish the initial/first mail/DM, nothing thereafter.

Join a Union and leave reviews on Glassdoor AND Indeed like I already wrote to you in the emails/DMs.

Merry Christ-Mask-wearing-handwashing-social-distancing!

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The email:

»Hi, I work for Pret right now and honestly everything you say is 100%. If I didn’t need my job so bad right now I would tell them all to go fuck themselves!

No bonus, unpaid breaks. Everyone is like a workhorse… even a 28 hour contract working 48-60 hours because not enough staff.

People are now just working their 28 hours and leaving, no one stays over anymore the people are waking up!

The exploitation is unreal! Calling people from other shops all over to help! Sweating all day, customers are rude because service is slow.

To make matters worse they add the subscription which states on their website over 18, we have kids coming as young as 8 ordering coffees smoothies and frappes!

Pret don’t care about anyone in this company, everyone is replaceable. It makes me so sick to work for them but at this moment I do not really have a choice!

Keep doing what you do! Fuck them! I really hope they sink In this pandemic! This horrible corporate cog of the biggest scandals wheel.«

– Current Pret Employee

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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.

.
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.

Day 19 – Clive Schlee’s Crocodile Tears

19 December – Day 19 of Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020

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Clive Schlee’s performance worthy of an Oscar, that took two years of practice.

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YT

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So touching!

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CryMeARiver

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In 2015 Clive Schlee was CLUELESS what to do and patronizing as usual. Only ONE of several customer complaints and warnings before AND even after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death: 

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2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

In 2016, which no one in the UK media seemed to have noticed nor researched, a man in New York sued Pret quote: “after he a went into anaphylactic shock. He alleges that the restaurant staff served him food containing sesame after assuring him the food was free of the allergen.”

—> Pret a Manger hit with lawsuit

The Verdict  (he lost!)

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I tweeted about this HERE and mention that from the witness account in the verdict document the supplier of the wrap that contains sesame did NOT need to include sesame in the ingredient as in the U.S. it isn’t law, but in Canada it has to be included. So, the supplier acted responsibly and added it anyway even though by law he did NOT need to, but he included it in case the product was purchased from outside the USA, like Canada for example. Yet, Pret could not be bothered and after this lawsuit and then even after Natasha’s death still did NOTHING!

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s mum tells of her shock:

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Link

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I was a Team Leader, responsible for health and safety, but not only were I, were we NOT told about TWO customers having died, there wasn’t even as much as a HINT to be more cautious and diligent with labelling and allergen. I write extensively about a seminar Pret did AFTER Natasha died, but this seminar was NOT about labelling or allergen.

Witness statement from the supplier from the verdict document, Page 5 (FDA = Food and Drugs Administration):
“We list and perhaps by FDA regulations, we are asked to list or call out any of the ingredients that could be classified as an allergin [sic]. Wheat and soy are classified as allergins in the U.S. In Canada sesame would be included as we really don’t know wh~re stores are, so we put what might be outside this country or at least the border country.”

So, the supplier has sesame included, even though by U.S. law he didn’t need to. And Pret did not list, even though they had the info from the supplier ingredient list on the product.

Sweet-talk of the decade:

IRONY ON

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

IRONY OFF

The Translation Of former CEO’s Oscar-worthy performance

Clive Schlee: “I went to the Inquest…”

As if he had a choice to not go!

CS: “and I saw the impact that Natasha’s death had on the family.”

He went, saw and came to the conclusion after two years since Natasha died, that her premature death, which happened on his watch, destroyed a family!

CS: “And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

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CryMeARiver

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And the Pret Academy Award in a leading role for the performance that took two years to perfect goes to…

Clive Schlee: “So, on a personal level I’m devastated.”

Is he, now? After two years ignoring repeated warnings before and even after Natasha’s death.

CS: “But”

But

CS: “… the coroner”

Oh, the coroner, huh?!

CS: “the coroner asked for a change in the law…”

The coroner blames the law, now? Didn’t the coroner say that Pret’s labelling was inadequate? And further in this “REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS”, quote: »Regulation 5 allows for food outlets to avoid full food labelling requirements whether they prepare a small number of items in local shops or in the case of Pret, over 200 million items for sale by preparing these items in “local kitchens”. These items prepared in “local kitchens” are in fact “assembled” in large parts from items made in factory style outlets to Pret specifications. I was left with the impression that the “local kitchens” were in fact a device to evade the spirit of the regulationYes, that about sounds like the Pret I know! And I’m glad someone finally sees that Pret products are not freshly “made” but “assembled” from ready products out of factories into many tiny “factories” sold as “lovingly made in Pret kitchens” bla.

CS: … “the family asked for a change in the law.”

Wow! Dragging the family on his side while Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse said this in response: … He’s not acting fast enough. (Well, he’s ‘acting’ alright) “I would say to anyone with serious allergies or is concerned about allergies … don’t buy a sandwich or go to Pret A Manger, because they’re still holding your life at risk right now!” — Nadim Ednan-Laperouse

So much about “preventing future deaths”!

CS: “And I’m now making changes in PRET that will make that change in the law happen more quickly.”

I must say Clive Schlee has got some balls or deeply lacks the sense of responsibility, to still be in the blaming game Pret-ending to be a “leader” who brings the change after being clueless on what to do!

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

CS: … “Probably – probably better.”

Yep, I would have stuttered, too, if I was him!

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PretDoingRightThingHaHa

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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. Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2020 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.

Day 17 – PRostitution at Pret A Manger

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17 December – Day 17 of Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020

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PRotesting Giants – PRotecting Clients – PReserving Reliance

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dollar sign_only_poic

Granted, a PRovocative title! But here’s a crash-course on the PR[et] stunt and how companies PRostitute themselves.

»To sell my business, this thing that I created, that I poured 30 years of work into, to sell it to one of those bastards [venture capitalists] would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution.«Guy Singh–Watson

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PRet’s

PRactices in

PRocrastinating

PRoper labelling when

PResented with concerns to

PRotect people and

PReventing

PRemature deaths from

PRepared

PRoducts, taking

PRecedence by being

PReoccupied in

PRioritizing and

PReferring

PRosperity, while being

PRetentious, but not

PRoactive,

PRactical,

PRagmatic,

PRimarily

PRofessional,

PRincipled and with

PRide

PRoviding all ingredients by

PRinting labels to

PReserve and

PRolong life … is so out of

PRoportion!

The PRefabricated

PRemeditated and

PRedictable

PRopaganda,

PRoclaiming

PRomising and

PRofessing that “nothing is more important right now” after an Inquest

PRobing into a death, public

PRostests and

PRessure from the

PRess is typical for the

PR[et] machine with

PRofits over

PRivate lives

PRoving their negligence.

PRoblem remains: no

PRocecution, no

PRison sentence, and no

PRoposed new leadership

Pret A Manger

PRovokes anger,

PRevails and regains

PRominence by hiring and

PRomoting

PR firm

Headland, Tovera Consulting and former FSA Chief Tim Smith to fix the mess and repaint the facade, like colouring a rotten egg after having ignored multiple warnings.

PRecious lives paid the

PRice, financially

PReyed and

PRowled upon by greedy

PRicks!

If Public Relation is not for the sake of both, the company AND the public; if a company cannot relate to families having lost loved ones, due to the company’s negligence, going full steam ahead with business as usual, then Public Ramifications won’t fix lost Reputation.

PRaying for the families, especially this Christmas time.

P.S. Mind intellectual PRoperty.

©2020 expret.org

Word PR.Isolated on white background.3d rendered illustration.

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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.

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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.

Day 16 – David Carter Pret HR

16 December – Day 16 of Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020

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I’m sure I’ve just woken a sleeping giant with my last 2 posts. But the good thing about woken sleeping giants is, they are too lazy. That is Pret A Manger.

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I could share a lot about my meetings with David Carter, then Head of Pret’s HR, now “People Director” of Pret (just another fancy word for a department that has as its sole purpose to sieve out “trouble makers” and kiss up to a company).

For you readers who don’t know Pret’s top leadership, you will not understand below confrontation I did to David Carter. He was put on my case after I emailed Clive Schlee.

The two videos below are about Pret’s culture.

LinkednIn is the chosen platform for Pano Christou, David Carter & Co as Twitter is for those who are “too low” for the snobs posting on LinkedIn.

Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I linked to his Twitter account when I tweeted to the press about Clive Schlee’s “retirement” (a soft way of saying he got sacked or at least he resigned!). Clive Schlee’s account was deleted in July 2020.

David Carter wrote ONE LinekedIn post, and I happen to take this window to respond.

I wrote THREE posts, but one got deleted. The post about Julian Metcalfe’s words recently (video below) remains, but the post about Pret has been deleted, but I have screenshots.

So, Pret keeps the post about Metcalfe’s disaster words, but Pret got my post/video on Pret itself deleted. Well, there you go, they just threw Metcalfe under the bus for making detrimental statements hurting Pret! The business world is brutal indeed! No forgiveness.

Carter’s post is about the apprenticeship program where Pret uses former – mainly young and short-term – homeless people for PR, while the main workforce suffers. I posted to him because a few days ago he visited my LinkedIn profile.

For those who are not on LinkedIn, if someone looks at/visits your profile, you will see it unless they privatized their account. Because my account is blacklisted, I won’t see their profile pictures.

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With the account I posted, I cannot see his profile photo. But without being logged in I can see his photo. That’s why there seems to be inconsistency.

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My P.S. response which got deleted:

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UPDATE 16.12.2020

So, there was a LinkedIn email today informing me that they censored … uhm, I mean that I went against some community standard shit! Of course I did! After all, LinkedIn ain’t Twitter where CEOs run away from confrontation!

Part of the above hidden/deleted post with a new post under it that I just wrote:

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New Post, yet to be censored: (Sidenote: suddenly David Carter unblocked me. What’s the game here Mr. Carter?)

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My, my, I haven’t been “professional”! Here’s my take on Pret’s “PRofessionality“. <—

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In my first post to him I posted the YouTube slide about Julian Metcalfe:

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The second post was about Pret customers gobsmacked on the reality of Pret, but that LinedIn post got deleted:

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After the second post, he blocked me.

I want to mention here as well, that Pret via Carter, paid for some therapy counselling AFTER I contacted Clive Schlee about the bullying I went through. Before that, I approached Pret for about a year for help, not realizing that their toxic culture is systemic. For a year I didn’t get help. Only when I contacted then CEO Clive Schlee, die Pret pay for some counselling to pretend that they supported me.

But my daily work in shops continued with bullying, no information given, excluded from meetings, my pay wasn’t the amount of hours worked, shouted at, blamed for Manager’s mistakes etc. etc. etc.

And David Carter made 3 offers of settlements if I resign from Pret and never speak about my ordeal nor go to court. The fourth settlement offer came via ACAS when I withdrew my Tribunal claim against Pret, because my dad died at the time of preparing.


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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.

.
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.

Day 15 – Rat A Manger & Pret A Mice

15 December – Day 15 of Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020

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One rat sighting on 6th September 2019 in a Soho Pret Branch has everyone on their chairs, not realizing this is just a visual of a bigger problem.

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Rat

Daily Mail Video Link

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Rat dropping baked into Pret baguette!

November 2020:

2020-11-13 Rat dropping in baguette

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As well as a fly baked into a Pret cookie:

2020-11-03 Fly baked into cookie

Link

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September 2020

 

Link

 

These are just videos and photos some people took and posted. The problem is much bigger!

I worked in mice infested Pret shops and asked to be transferred to a clean shop, as Pret didn’t tackle the problem UNTIL an EHO closed down a shop due to pest infestation.

Pret only reacts when their pockets are squeezed.

Pret Mouse (2)

This picture is from a shop I worked at where a mouse built their house inside a Bloomer bread loaf. In one shop where Pret kept ignoring our plea to close down to clean up the place, the mice were so bold, they didn’t just come out at night when it’s dark and quiet, no, they strolled along under the coffee counter even during the busy and noisy coffee rush! It was ridiculous and like a Tom & Jerry clip how blunt the mice were. They were taking the Micky Mouse! I asked for a transfer.

I learned a lot about mice then. Their favourite Pret products are: seeded bloomer bread (above picture) which Pret uses for Toasties, but they settle for the Granary bread as well.
Seeded High Fiber muffin, but they don’t touch the Blueberry muffin, so, dear customer you can still enjoy.
Popcorn. Oh, do mice love popcorn!!! The amount of opened, nibbled on popcorn bags we had to waste I can’t count! Some customers even put a popcorn bag on the counter saying “Oh, this is already open!” And we staff blushed and apologized for this mishap, knowing exactly “who” was responsible for opening it! I wanted to SCREAM to the customer:
“WE HAVE MICE BUT PRET ISN’T DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!!!!!”

So, as usual, it took an Environmental Health Officer from the Government to do a routine check, and close down a shop having found mice droppings all over the place.

If you ever pass by a Pret shop and they are closed in the middle of the morning or day with a sign saying something like, “For technical/internal reasons/issues…closed…” Then take a good look inside, and if you see the team frantically cleaning and moving furniture around, you may have gotten yourself a little pest issue in there.

And since the EHO closed a shop in 2011/12, Pret then FINALLY got an outside Pest Control company to do checks once there is a sighting of droppings or pests. But it took a shop closure. Before, I had more mice as colleagues than humans in two shops!

A Manager review from London in 2014 about mice droppings (poo) and advising people not to eat at Pret. This is AFTER an EHO closed down a Pret shop 2+ years before. Pret is never on top of their game, they always just play catch-up when it’s too late. The manager here points out the SPEED that is always at the center of work.

Pest Review

Link

A review from January 2019: “dirty place”

Dirty

Link

Another one from the U.S.

dirty2

Link

And a very recent review on poor hygiene due to time pressure:

Poor Hygiene

Link

I’ve put a video slide together on YouTube about the speed and time pressure staff are subjected to for £8.25 an hour. The weekly Mystery Shopper is tasked to probe staff on speed, smiles, eye contact, chit chat. Staff have to serve within 1 minute to get as much customer flow = £££ through the shops. If even just ONE staff member fails on any of the tasks they’re tested on they risk losing bonus for the WHOLE team and then get fear managed. I explain on YouTube WHY this is a problem, especially for health and safety of staff’s mental health and customers lives.

Smile for the “Misery” Shopper:

 

November 2019 – SEVEN mice where counted running around. And if nothing is done they multiple fast!

2019-11-07 Mice filmed in Pret TrafSq

Photo via The Mirror / video by David Nassim on Mirror.co.uk

This video where the mice run around openly because the shop is closed, but the shop where the mice strolled along under the coffee counter during busy coffee rush, it looked like this, just that the mice where more walking along the wall, not through the middle of the shop between customers:

(Forgive the language in the video…no I don’t mean the F & Sh word, I mean how he pronounces “Pret A Manger”! 😀 )