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

UPDATE 29.11.2021

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

UPDATE August 2022

My brief “case study” on Julian Metcalfe, it’s not indepth as I want to highlight something specific: Julian Metcalfe’s Family Line.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Page 38:

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Link

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

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

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

His deletedTweets:

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

Please note, I changed my Twitter handle “LateNightGirlMe to @expretDOTorg, as “late night girl” doesn’t make any sense for new readers. I explain how I came to my former handle in below audio player interview.

Most of his deleted Tweets where he retweeted my Tweets here on YouTibe:

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

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


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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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

My Pret A Manger Ordeal

A “Mind Map” Courtesy of

MindMeister.com

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

On the “map”:

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

DONATIONS

I fully fund my blog and choose not to use ads

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

£10.00

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

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

Caught in the Act at Pret A Manger

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

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

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NYC


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

 

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

2019-12-24 FL review NEVER go to Pret

Link (More reviews further below in this blog post)


2018 Chaotic hellhole ambience

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

2020-01-30 Pret staff Hong Kong complaint

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

UPDATE: August 2021:

2021-08-27 Manager shocking to staff

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

2019-12-11 Trapped marked

Link

Fear of leaving

Link (Excerpt of Manager review)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAX

Link

Caught in the act!

A customer witnessed very common and regular bullying:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2

Full text:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer3

Link to Tweet

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

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

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

UPDATE: 20. Nov. 2021:

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2019-09-18 Customer witnessed bullying

Link

2019-05-05 Rude aggressive manager

Link

2020-01-02 NEW bullying GM shite

Link

2013 Pret manager smile at customer snap at staff

Link

2020-02-29 Humiliating Manager Pret USA

Link Feb. 2020

2018 Bullying staff killing customers

Link

UPDATE Feb. 2020

2020-02-10 Customer Complains about Manager rude

Link

2020-01-24 GMs steal hours HQ ordered

Link

UPDATE: Feb. 2022

2022-02-03 Manager spoke like crap to staff

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Pret settles $1m

Link

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

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

2017 Pay apprentices

The Guardian Link

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

Clive £30 million

Daily Mail

Only a few of the many reviews and complaints:

100 times Stephen Hawkins Staff Tweet missing Pay

£100 owed

Link to FULL review and how HQ played dumb!

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

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

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

2017 Always messing up pay

Link

etc. etc. etc. …

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

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

HQ Bullies

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

Another one from January 2019

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

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

2017 review on HQ from an IT Analyst on Glassdoor:

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

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


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

2020-01-05 HQ Customer Service Team review

Link

Las Vegas

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

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

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

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

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

2020-02-10 DC - Fired due to pregnancy

Link

2020-02-09 Bullying management

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

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

OPs yell Managers cry

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

17 Odd

Review by former purchasing Director, NY

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

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

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

01 Brutal Nightmare

YouTube

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

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

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

2017 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for2

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

2018-10-02 Anxiety Depression Dread

Link Depression…

2019-04-10 Depression review

Link Depression…

Dept Labor

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

0 Sued

2019-06-11 Corporate hell on earth - RVW27190460

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

Former General Manager 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM

2011-07-19 Admin Closer NY - Title

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

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

2015 PAMSU likes to see evidence of good jobs

Link

UPDATE: 25.11.2019

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

2019-11-26 leeches Indeed TL review

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

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness3

Times

The Times article and photo

Amy

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

2018-06-13 Hellhole - RVW21022161

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

2015 People Cry

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

0 Terrible Hiring Useless people cry

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

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

Brainwash

Link

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

You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 45

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

Pret Abuse


UPDATE: 31.10.2019

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

2019-10-31 GM - Slavery - RVW30135565

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

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

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

Another GM from London in August 2019:

2019-08-10 GM 5am to 8pm

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

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

2019-10-11 GM - Horrible

Link

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


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

2019-11-10 GM Horrible

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing more to add!

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

GM Horrible - not as they present it

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


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

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

2017-12-15 Lick asses Prayer

Link

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

2019-09-16 CoWOrkers bomb Company trash

Link


UPDATE July 2020

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

–> Battle v Pret A Manger & Ramos.

Pret Lawsuit RacismLink


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

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

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

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

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

The following Unions cover the food industry:

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

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

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

 

May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

Slideshow can be paused

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019-12-10 Indeed selects featured reviews now

DEFAULT view:

2019-11-22 Glassdoor Default

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

2019-11-22 Glassdoor Clear Moste Recent

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


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


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

Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illusion

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

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

Index:

Links open in a new window / tab

INTERVIEW

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


ARTICLES

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

Thank you for reading/listening.


UNRELATED TO PRET – But important

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

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


PRESS

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


UPDATE May 2019

LINK >>> TWO recent Pret staff deaths

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


£1000 FOR ALL STAFF
(£800 after tax)

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


PRET STAFF REVIEWS & COMPLAINTS

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

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

Pure Misery Go back to England - RVW15228294

Go back to UK

Link

2012-07-23 Ex GM

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

2019-03-07 Modern Slavery

Link

Las Vegas

Link

IT Analyst HQ

Link

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

June/July 2019 overall figures on Glassdoor

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Slideshow can be paused

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

NEW

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


CEO CLIVE SCHLEE RETIREMENT
NEW CEO PANO CHRISTOU

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

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

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

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

July 2019 New CEO, new start on Glassdoor


UPDATE October 2019

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26


CUSTOMER OBSERVATIONS
on Stressful Work conditions

The Pain of Working at Pret A Manger

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


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

How Companies Force Emotional Labor on Low-Wage Workers

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

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

Pret Uniform2


PRET’S MARKETING with Charity
and Former Homeless People

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust


ALLERGEN DEATHS
and Pret’s procrastination

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

Vegetarians eat Ham and Meat products – more ongoing issues

Pret’s Labelling Commitment?

Allergen Label Warnings Pret ignored before and even after customer deaths


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

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

Worst

Link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Slideshow can be paused


FREE COFFEES MARKETING

And why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card System


EXTERNAL PRESS ARTICLES

Pret A Manger and “broken windows” syndrome

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

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

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

… more to come

Robot sad crop

10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

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


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

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

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

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now

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

“Worked into the ground without empathy”

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


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

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Undercover Under Pressure in Pret

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

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

My Facebook message after Amy contacted me:

2018 Amy Sharpe Facebook message2

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

Link

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

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

Spitalfields Waste MultitaskOffice_6Sep15


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

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

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link


UPDATE Jan. 2019

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

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link by @terry_mcparlane Twitter


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

Excerpt:

Speed in Seconds

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

A positive Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

MS eye contact

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

A negative Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

Mystery Shopper poor comments

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

— or —

MS_Cough

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018-11-28 Bad Service after 3 years

Link

“Every time…”

2018-11-28 Wrong Coffee

Link

2018-11-28 No steamed milk

Link

“Oh no!…”

2018-11-29 Gingerbread Latte

Link

etc. etc.

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

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

PretBehaviour01a


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

Nothing more to add except this Link


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

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


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

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

2018-08-18 #50 Pret A Not Worth

Coffee Specialist, London April 2018

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

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

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

Full article of the Sunday Mirror

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

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

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

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

expret.org


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

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

Link


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

Interview:

Adam

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

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

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

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.


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


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

©2018 expret.org

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

©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou and Kind??

Upfront to the WordPress staff who always check my blog posts when I publish a new one. I’m not sure if it is WordPress policy to pass info on to current and former company heads, in this case Pret as I got a certain “visitor” again after I wrote a crucial post. WordPress already moved me into the “adult” section where they only move porn sites to. This is censorship after I believe Pret must have reported me, but I write under free speech and don’t lie, backed up with tons of evidence.

So, if a WordPress staff serves as a “snitch” to Pret, please talk to your line manager and check if this is appropriate or WordPress policy.

Thanks.

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I don’t check Pret staff reviews anymore as much like I used to, maybe once a month. But a recent review from a shop General Manager (GM) got my attention. This GM mentioned among some negative feedback on Pret that CEO Pano Christou is “exceptionally kind”.

Part quote from the review:

“Cons: Expectation to achieve work that is physically impossible, in a timeline that, when broken down, is mathematically impossible. Intense pressure leading to breaking codes and regulations is a common occurrence, and those with stronger ethics end up working up to 100 hours/wk.

Advice to Management: Instead of only setting targets and expectations, map out how they could be achieved. Consider why most management leaves the company they love so much, due to burnout.

With that said, Pano is exceptionally kind and I’m sure he would fix all these issues with more competent direct subordinates.

Haha! 😀

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Link to review.

And this is where most workers, even managers when young go wrong and are brainwashed. It is the CHIEF, the head of the company who is the problem and who sets the tone for the company. Pano decides on pay cuts and cut workers’ pay, benefits and paid breaks so he can get a pay-rise and millions in bonus.

And why did this GM not approve of Pano and give him the green light (check mark). This GM refrained from giving an approval or disapproval. Very weird review. Confused GM? But it shows how Pano continues to charm and blind workers as well as journalists.

It is Pano who works in Pret since over 20 years, who implements and continues an abusive mystery shopper scheme and sets unrealistic targets for his bosses and shareholders to be happy.

That’s exactly the mistake many staff make, they are unhappy with how Pret are, how they are treated etc. but they don’t attribute this to the top leadership, because like former CEO Clive Schlee, current CEO Pano speaks “kindly” to staff in head office or when they do their rounds visiting shops.

And that’s exactly their game. It’s like a “bad cop / good cop” situation. It’s all a tactic, a game where the CEO separates himself from the harsh OPs (Operations/Area Managers) who are tasked to set high targets that GMs find unrealistic to reach.

CEO Pano, like Clive before him, is the “good cop” and let’s lower ranked staff be the bad cop, but all of these execs have a common goal: make as much money as possible on the backs of low-wage workers and customers.

But THE FISH STINKS FROM ITS HEAD!

In June 2017 Pret held a one or two week seminar only for leaders and managers at the prestigious Barbican Centre on customer service. I speak about this seminar extensively on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02, Part 03 and Part 04 of labeling issues and allergy trial. All episodes will open in a new window.

I speak about this seminar as it was held a year after the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died, but NO mention whatsoever on allergens or labeling. No training or retraining. NOTHING.

All we were “taught” was how to continue to “slime” customers and love-bomb them to gain and retain them and then bring back to the shops what we “learnt” (which was nothing new). In hindsight it seemed to me that the development team came up with this seminar where we learnt nothing new to use their annual budget. When departments don’t use their annual budget, it often gets cut for the next annual period.

That seminar seemed to me like a complete waste of time and funds. It could/should have been used to invite scientists and allergy experts in light of the first customer’s death and several injured to teach us on allergens and labeling. But no, Pret went ahead with a meaningless seminar in the expensive Barbican rooms.

The title of the seminar was called “Be Kind – Be Honest – Be Generous”. A VERY typical Pret brainwash which turns out to always be the complete opposite.

I explain on my 4 part podcast episodes above that Pret are far from kind when they did NOTHING after TWO customers died and several got injured, as well as having bullied me DURING bereavement and the systemic bullying culture that exists in Pret.

And being honest? I know from own experience how dishonest Pret are and expose some of their lies on social media.

And being generous? Let’s see how generous Pret are.

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The email invite to the seminar where I got my slot to go:

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Also, calling Pret’s training center an “academy” I felt always as a joke. In my training times in head office, I rarely learnt anything and had to train myself for years in shops searching and reading up on issues myself.

Pret’s generosity

On 18. March 2020 just before the first lockdown when the whole world was still in the air about Covid, Pret made a typical PR announcement to be giving free coffees and 50% food rebates to all NHS workers every day. All they need to do is show their NHS badge and they get a free coffee and cheaper food.

Great. Everyone went crazy on Pret’s “generosity”. And as Pret are Pret, they often make these charity announcements to cover up what they’re doing in the background to staff or other dodgy things.

The very next morning 19. March 2020 I wake up to a DM of a desperate staff that CEO Pano Christou sent an email to all shops and head office with the announcement that Pret will be cutting hours, and with it pay.

DM:

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Pret used the NHS not only for PR but as a smokescreen to hide their nasty cuts to staff. very generous!

Full CEO email here: To NHS Employees. Already low-wage Pret workers basically PAID for the NHS PR stunt.

There was only ONE NHS staff who was disgusted at this after I started swamping Twitter with this:

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Further on Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity”

Again, on 1st June 2022, just before the Queen’s Platinum Jubliee I woke up to a new DM by a different Pret staff reaching out to me that Pret for the 2. time this year delayed paying staff under supposedly “payroll errors”.

I immediately emailed CEO Pano Christou but openly copying in the press including Sarah Butler from the Guardian, other journalists and BFAWU President Ian Hodson who, Sarah Butler then interviewed.

Again, Pret cleverly used an occasion, just like with the NHS freebies, where the public is distracted with the Queen’s celebrations AND knowing that on bank holiday Monday all banks are closed.

Part of the DM:

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Pret’s announcement where if staff need money they can get it but with a fee which Pret supposedly would pay:

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On Instagram a staff member announced to be sabotaging Pret now, others called sick as an indirect strike action. Food and service quality would be compromised:

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Is it “exceptionally kind” of Pano to cut pay, use the pay cuts to fund NHS freebies etc. etc.?

WAKE UP EMPLOYEES!

People may ask why Pret would delay pay on purpose, simple, CEO Pano behaves exactly like a manager in Pret does. They have weekly, monthly, but most importantly quarterly targets to reach. June was moving to the end of the 2. quarter. And pay delays with constantly managers “forgetting” to pay hours helps shops and management to reach targets and get higher bonuses.

Pret settled TWICE in New York having had to repay 4000 workers close to a million dollars each time for WAGE THEFT!

Pret was also amongst UK companies being caught to pay some staff UNDER the legally required minimum wage and were then named and shamed by the UK Government.

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Or a few years ago under Clive Schlee, customers started to boycott Pret after finding out that Pret wanted to get young people to get free labour, using the apprenticeship short-term experience to not pay them except via “free food”.

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So, after I emailed Pet’s CEO copying in Sarah Butler and the press and Sarah wrote the following article, but it got drowned out by the Jubilee celebrations.

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Link

And Sarah Butler dug a little further later after I mentioned on my blog and podcast that Pano Christou received £300K pay in 2020 but didn’t spill the beans on how much he got in 2021 and 2022 after cutting wages. Then in August 2022 she reported the following:

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Link

So, in 2021 Pano got a £100K pay-rise and £4million in bonus while cutting as much as possible from low-wage staff who carried Pret through a dangerous pandemic. In 2020 Pano already got paid more than the UK Prime Minister and about the same as US President Biden. Since 2021 Pano overtook that further.

I could go on and on and on regarding Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity” by posting countless staff reviews on Pret’s wage theft, pay delay, missing pay as well as my own experience. But I want to end with my all-time favourite former customer tweet which I could not have put into better words!

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Link

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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

My Upmost Respect for Bethany Eaton!

She takes responsibility while Pret blame downwards as usual.

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Let’s see some tears, hey!

But it needs to be the tears of a young blonde female.

Nothing new under the sun.

Pret will use that to say “See, not our responsibility”.

Let’s use a new business venture, a female young person to put blame on. Let’s do the usual.

You know the drill.

And it will work. Why? Because we live in a globalised situation where the trend is to suck anyone lower out of their skill, thei rights, their will.

I may not live to see the day, but I KNOW the day will come when Julian Metcalfe, Clive Schlee, Pano Christou, David Carter …

will be remembered via my blog. And as much as the media, politicians like to ignore it. All good 🙂

P.S. Pret A Manger, you have blood on your hands, also with at least one staff suicide I know of, but can’t proof. Lucky you. But I survived. Now go and keep getting off the hook.

P.P.S. keep smiling.

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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:

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

Pret A Manger: We are deeply saddened by the passing of Celia Marsh

Pret A Manger: “We are deeply saddened…”

So much so that we printed a label within ONE day of Natasha’s and Celia’s deaths.

One day!

NOT!

That’s how fast we can do things! In fact, we anticipated our customers deaths that we had labels ready to go once they died.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

We are deeply saddened by the death of 42 year old mother of 5 Celia Marsh.

We are deeply saddened by the allergen injury of Isobel Colnaghi in 2017, also from unlabelled sesame in the UK who also almost died, who lost in court against us in 2021 because we successfully blamed one of our low-wage worker.

We are deeply saddened of the injury of David Matt in 2015 in New York, also from unabelled sesame, who lost in court against us in 2016 before Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died. We are deeply relieved that sesame wasn’t part of the USA allergen list compared to Canada.

We are deeply saddened by all the other allergen injuries, 21 reported that we were made aware of, before Natasha died, which we all ignored.

We are deeply relieved that former Pret CEO Clive Schlee’s open letter response to a concerned allergy sufferer is buried from the public’s eye (but don’t tell anyone that it’s on this blog).

We are deeply relieved that the UK justice system and the media are on our side.

And we are deeply able to label packaging WITHIN A DAY when a higher-up person like the Queen dies.

We’re deeply able to do that.

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The press, the justice system, and survivors keep ignoring what I expose about Pret’s negligence because I am a traumatised person having survived Pret’s systemic bullying culture. People don’t want to listen to current and former low-wage workers if they are traumatised. I am traumatised after what I survived (audio player interview at the bottom of this page).

But I keep talking and writing. And I keep saying that people will not be able to say that they never knew how bad Pret is.

I explain in detail in 4 podcast episodes how Pret were and continue to be careless with food safety, including selling moudly food increasingly. And no-one pays attention, not even the Food Standards Agency that I tagged in many times.

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For a full visual of mould and rat droppings on Pret food as well as on the ongoing mislabelling I explain in my podcast, please see pictures. These are visuals of what explain on the podcast on WHY this keeps happening:

Stale, expired, mouldy food. Pret food is NOT “freshly made”. That’s false advertising AND dangerous.

Mislabelled food and mistaken ingredients. Vegans and vegetarians eat meat at Pret. And Pret are now breaking the law, “Natasha’s Law”.

Food poisoning, hygiene issues and now also labelling issues can be reported on the government Food Standard Agency website.

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Link to report.

PODCAST:

I’m not a professional podcaster or journalist, I just speak from my gut and from memory having worked at Pret for 10 years in over 30 shops, with horrible experiences of the top leadership including CEO, HR, HQ staff and management. I have tons of evidence, including paperwork from Pret themselves. I declined Pret’s hush money and never signed the NDAs they wanted me to sign.

Podcast episodes:

Part 01 of ongoing mislabelling and why staff accidentally take wrong ingredients and mislabel.

One example from even last year, 5 years after Natasha died and 4 years after Celia Marsh died. I explain how Pret work behind the scenes and why it is SO EASY to mistake ingredients:

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It’s profit over lives by under-staffing and pushing low-wage workers to the brim. Pret only cater to the strict weekly mystery shoppers, the emotional labour scheme that Pret implemented many years ago to portray a “happy” facade while ignoring food safety issues. Lack of food safety has gotten much worse, despite customers having died. Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be Fatal.

Part 02 I highlight a weird Barbican seminar and the difference between Starbucks CEO’s and Pret CEO’s handling of crisis.

Part 03 Allergy Trial of Isobel Colnaghi in 2021, and how Pret was cleared after successfully blaming Roberto Rodriguez, a low-wage worker. I also explain how training is done in Pret, or rather how it’s NOT done and the dodgy things shops do.

Part 04 In light of the inquest into Celia Marsh’s death and how Pret had TWO types of labelling in place before customer deaths became public, BUT not the labelling that you’d expect from a multi-billion £ multinational company.

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

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

How Pret Was & Continue to be Negligent with Food Safety

I did 3 podcast episodes explaining how Pret was and continues to be careless on their food safety, even after 2 customers died, a 3. narrowly surived and over a dozen got injured. Pret ignored all that until it got public.

And dispite “Natasha’s Law” in place, Pret continue to mislabel their food and even bring food overnight, not fresh, many customer pictures of food with mould and even rat droppings on.

ALL due to extreme understaffing, high pressure, poor training etc.

I mention a particular Barbigan Centre seminar Pret held AFTER Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, the first customer died. This is significant. I also talk about the difference between Starbucks and Pret CEOs actions in times of crisis. I explain how training in Pret is REALLY done and why Pret successfully was able to blame a low wage staff for another customer injury of Isobel Colnaghi who almost became the third fatality.

I also explain my role as a team leader which is one reason why I’m still shocked in how Pret ealt with this and the money power Pret had, but didn’t use.

Of course people say that I have an axe to grind, but that is not my concern. It is people’s choice to LISTEN to what experienced current and former staff explain, especially when they deliever it with EVIDENCE.

I don’t ask people to believe me if I don’t bring evidence. But I have plenty, that’s why I link to them.

I may do an updated episode with all 3 combined in less time. This the first time I did a podcast and just spoke from the gut. But I try to redo those with notes into 1 episode and in much less time. I’m not a professional, please bear with my simple talk.

But I give a lot of info from behind the scenes.

Below, under these episodes are links to the mouldy food and mislabelling issues.

Episode 1: Pret’s Ongoing Mislabelling Issues

Episode 2: Mislabelling Issues ADDITION

Episode 3: Allergy Injury Trial of Isobel Colnaghi
(Why Pret was able to successfully blame a low-wage shop staff)

UPDATE 07.09.2022

New podcast episode in light of Celia Marsh’s Inquest.

NEW Episode 4: Ongoing Mislabelling – Celia Marsh Inquest – Pret now break the Law

The first customer who died, 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse of sesame hidden in the dough of the baguette which wasn’t labelled on the packaging nor the fridge label. Her parents’ campaigning brought “Natasha’s Law” where all food businesses must label packaged food now.

The second customer was 42 year old mother of five Celia Marsh who died in Bath from dairy traces in a vegan wrap. Isobel Colnaghi who almost died also of hidden sesame, lost her case against Pret.

So, the unsafe food practices continue, even worse now. See pictures of mouldy food via below links. And due to the ongoing mislabelling, Pret are now breaking “Natasha’s Law”. A new inquest into Celia Marsh’s death will start in October 2022.

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(Image: Universal News And Sport (Europe))

Pictures of mould, rat droppings and other things on food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh

Pictures of mislabelled food: Vegetarians & Begans Eat Meat at Pret

All this is due to ONE reason: understaffing, stressing and exploiting staff to the max. CEO Pano Christou doesn’t care. He lives in La La Land and has never been a leader, even when he was UK Managing Director and former CEO Clive Schlee’s shadow.

He enjoys the money, his mansion, working from home etc. while exhausting his staff. He cut wages, benefits, even the paid break. Most work 10 hours through without a break due t high staff turnover and unreasonable pressure.

Then Pano had the audacity TWICE this year to delay paying staff under dodgy excuses. The second time cleverly using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, knowing the public would be distracted if the press would get wind of it.

The press DID get wind of it because I was contacted by staff in despair as I write publicly and pass leaked info on to the press. I emailed CEO Pano Christou directly, openly copying in the press, including Sarah Butler from The Guardian who a day later reported on it.

She started to dig depper and also reported recently that Pano received a pay-rise and millions in bonus in 2021 after he made temporary pay cuts permanent.

So, needless to say staff are p!ssed off, they are already on the fringes of existance, carried Pret through the pandemic, risking their lives. Some got sick I was told, but were pressured to keep working or lose their jobs.

I’m still hoping there’s an undercover journalist in Pret for at least a month.

Some staff on social media announced to be sabotaging Pret now (see screenshot below). Many call sick as an internal strike action. All of this contributes to unsafe food handling, stale, expired food, mislabelling, exhausted staff etc. etc. etc.

Pret got away with 2 customer deaths and multiple injuries, so they feel invincible and the lack of food safety has gotten much, much worse iin broad daylight.

Writing to journalists and the government food safety people didn’t help yet. How many people have to die? A small independent, and especially minority business would have been shut down and the owners sent to prison if one customer had died. Pret is protected and safe in this Tory government of corrupt politicians.

Staff on Instagram in June when Pret for the 2. time delayed pay:

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

Julian Metcalfe Case Study & How I chased him off Twitter

Let’s do a little bit more digging into Julian Edward Metcalfe, founder of itsu and re-founder of Pret A Manger. This is just a brief “case study”, not a deep dive into Metcalfe’s family line as I want to highlight something specific.

And dear journalists, maybe one day you may give credit where all the research I do for free and ALWAYS credit/link to the source where I found the information, my experience and encounters with these people comes from.

Also, to British people especially journalists, I write so detailed as if I was teaching a school class because I have many American readers who are not familiar with who’s who in the Royal Family.

Julian Metcalfe is the founder of itsu and what I call the co-RE-founder of Pret A Manger. I explain below.

Julian’s father: David Patrick Metcalfe.

The Duke of Windsor (who before that was King Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle) was David Metcalfe’s godfather.

Julian’s grandfather: Edward “Fruity” Metcalfe.

Edward Metcalfe was best man to then recently abdicated King Edward VIII and American actress Wallis Simpson. This led to Queen Elizabeth’s father becoming king.

Julian’s great-grandfather: George Curzon, 1st Marquess of Kedleston.

I will mention him later from an interesting tweet.

Source: Telegraph

Quote from The Telegraph article about Julian Metcalfe’s parents:

»The couple had two sons and a daughter, but divorced in 1964; two years later Alexa died after taking what a pathologist at the time suspected was “a sleeping draught”. Their children, including Julian Metcalfe, the future founder of the Pret A Manger sandwich chain, moved back to live in great style with their father. “We had powerful people to dinner all the time,” Julian Metcalfe later recalled of his childhood

Another quote about David Metcalfe, Julian’s father which shows how Julian grew up in the highest society and privilege: »Friends celebrated (David) Metcalfe as “the last man about town with a bit of style”. At his home in Wilton Street, he was host to “everybody who is anybody”.«

And of course with all these connections to the Royal Family and high society, Julian Metcalfe has an OBE.

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Now let that melt on your tongue like a mouldy Pret sandwich: Julian Metcalfe’s FATHER was the godson of King Edward VIII, who gave up his “kingship” to be with Amercian actress and *scandal scandal* divorcee Wallis Simpson. Prince Harry repeated that, but he didn’t have much to lose.

Let’s do some brain-fnck here:

Prince William is the great-grand nephew of King Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor), giving the OBE to great-grand son of best men to King Edward VIII – or – son to godson of King Edward VIII / Duke of Windsor.

Got it?!

Oh, what a coincidence!

Katschink!

Is there any wonder that some call Pret a “British institution”?

The million dollar question is: Who is Julian Metcalfe’s godfather? Prince Philip? Or even Prince Charles if he wasn’t too young to have become godfather? Metcalfe’s Wikipedia entry is mighty quiet about all his royal connections.

In his full Q&A at the Oxford Union I noticed one thing very predominantly, Julian is constantly portraying that he fell into success by accident. He pretends to be clueless, admits that he was lazy in school and that success supposedly just keeps falling into his lap, as if he’s such a talent where everything he touches just happens to turn to gold.

In reality, I believe that from what I read in the press, his foot-in-mouth disease in his tweet exchange with me and the itsu staff reviews (see my YouTube slide further below), that he is a spoiled prat who had enough money to re-start Pret after it didn’t succeed the first time around.

I write so blunt because of how he treats his staff and his indifference to the health and life of people in general.

And I, a NOBODY chased him off Twitter simply because this prat isn’t used to getting challenged! When you read the staff reviews of him that I linked to him on Twitter and later put on my YouTube slide, it’s very visible that he must be a very aggressive, angry and patronizing person. His staff must be in sheer fear around him. He is used that everybody hushes around him or is part of his harsh environment. Most journalists kiss up to him and business people worship him. And then little me comes along, challenges him for 5 minutes and he tucks his tail between his legs and dashes off after just 2 days on Twitter!

Most of you who read this are perfectly fine with rich people, especially men, to treat HUMAN BEINGS on low wage like sh!t. But you counter me, a “nobody” when I speak out, because you are upset that YOU don’t do the same.

In his Oxford Union Q&A he keeps portraying to be falling into success by accident. One itsu staff review hints at this very strongly in a shocking review calling him “oafish”.

Click Ctrl & + to enlarge the screenshot or just read the full review via the link underneath. Ctrl & – to decrease the size again.

“Cruel founder/CEO”

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Link to Glassdoor review.

For people with visual impairment where audio reading programs cannot read screenshots, I just quote a few highlights from above review, quote:

»Toxic leadership, Favouritism, Lack of Diversity, Poor Management, Cruel CEO/Founder

JULIAN METCALFE the oafish chaotic founder who insists on being involved across all areas despite having little to no knowledge in anything apart from sales and operations. He wanders the office behaving as if he’s a cutesy naive child and then behind closed doors will overtly disrespect and bully those that work directly with him. Have noticed him being very sexist, making racist jokes in front of minority staff, and regularly shouting loudly and aggressively at managers TIL they’re in tears. (A technique which his leadership team mimic) – head office is in constant turmoil and there’s a very high staff turnover due to people leaving after breakdowns or lack of support (mainly Julian’s mistreatment) or by being discreetly fired when Julian decided he’s displeased. – schoolgirl gossiping, hostility and aggression amongst department heads.

… When you have your employees shaking with stress and fear who call the police on your c.e.o. Due to an uncomfortable environment that is probably a wise time to step in.«

End of quote.

This and other similar reviews I linked to Metcalfe on Twitter, causing him to delete his account shortly after.

A recent little video appeared on Twitter with the title “Why I h8 itsu”:

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Link

As I write on Pret and also “chased” Metcalfe off Twitter (please see YouTube player below) I get contacted now as well by itsu staff and customers. One email I received was last year:

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Quote for people with visual impairment where programs can’t read screenshots:

“Hey there! I saw your Twitter and how you faced bullying and abuse from Pret. I’ve recently been doing research into Julian’s other company Itsu as I’ve been a consumer of it for a while. However, there are massive racist notions and cultural misappropriation that I’ve found and hoping to gain support from for the company to make actual changes.
Would you be interested in seeing what I have over email or Discord or anything else?”

Other reviews along those lines where Metcalfe is directly mentioned as being accused to being sexist, racist, aggressive etc. I put on my YouTube slide below together with his deleted tweets that I screen-grabbed before he deleted.

I find his facial expression, tone of voice and choice of words pretty intense to put it lightly. But of course an appearance or impression doesn’t prove anything. Many people, especially in the business world fall for this and mistake this for “passion” or “being passionate”. What I see is aggression and anger. And I also noticed that half the questions he is asked, he doesn’t answer except with the same supposedly “humility” of saying that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Anyone taking a closer look? Anyone REALLY look at his words and demeanor, and see something here?

Many of these itsu staff reviews keep pointing out that he behaves like a clueless child, before then aggressively “undoing” months worth of work.

I linked some of these reviews to Metcalfe on Twitter. He must have been warned by Pret about who I am, as he then suddenly deleted some tweets and his Twitter account completely after being on there only for 2 days.

Most of his tweets I took screenshots of before he deleted it as I was gobsmacked that he even responded to me and kept retweeting my tweets. I think someone in his PR department needs to get fired, unless he doesn’t listen to them. I placed most of his deleted tweets here on YouTube:

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I use YouTube because my blog where I expose the REAL Pret A Manger from behind their happy facade, is heavily censored and completely blocked on Facebook and Instagram. But they can’t block YouTube. Pret must have reported me to social media, Twitter is regularly censoring me, but this forced me to spread out onto other sites and thus expose Pret on a much broader spectrum. Thank you very much Pret. 🙂

What’s crazy is, that after I also chased Pret CEO Pano Christou and former CEO Clive Schlee off Twitter (Pano “hides” on Linkedin where people tell him all day long how wonderful he is), I tweeted to Metcalfe that we will see how long he will last on Twitter. I had a laugh basically, not realizing he’d delete his account a day later!

Note: I changed my Twitter handle from @LateNightGirlMe to @expretDOTorg as Clive Schlee patronized me, calling me his “late night girl”. So I took that, turned it around and created my blog latenightgirl.org which will lead to expret.org. I created a Twitter handle to throw it back at him publicly. But I changed the handle as it doesn’t make much sense for new readers who are unfamiliar with my story.

But I know how this shocked Clive when he first learnt of my blog and then qucikly made the £1000 announcement to all staff to counter my writings. I write about the timing of the £1000 for all staff in The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idee.

And as my handle is changed, it is now under my new handle on Twitter itself. Also, as Metcalfe deleted his account, you don’t see his handle in the tweets anymore, only the screenshots I took at the time show it.

Excuse my strong words, but I struggle with anger after what Pret put me through:

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And if people put his deleted handle @JulianEMetcalfe into Twitter search, they will only see the replies from people to Metcalfe, but not his handle anymore.

THERE ARE TWO JEFFREYS that Julian Metcalfe doesn’t want to be connected to.

The first is the late Jeffrey Hyman, the original Pret founder, opening the first shop in 1983 Hampstead but didn’t succeed. He sold the brand, name and logo to Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham. But Pret, Julian Metcalfe, his friend and business partner former Pret CEO Clive Schlee who owns half of itsu, and current CEO Pano Christou all refuse to mention or honour Hyman.

And yet, Pret keep using Hyman’s original Pret logo/font in their head office and in at least one shop, in Victoria. I made the below photo in about 2020 or 2021 outside one of Pret’s Victoria shops when I walked by, knowing about this original Pret sign that I saw for the first time in Pret’s Victoria 75B Bressenden Place head office, and then later again in below tweet of Hyman’s first Pret shop.

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This logo was used by Hyman in 1983 when Pret was like a deli and then sold to Metcalfe and Beecham. Pret use it as a retro sign in head office and at least one shop, yet Pret and Metcalfe refuse to mention Hyman. A plaque is dedicated to Metcalfe and Beecham, but no mention whatsoever on Jeffrey Hyman.

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And maybe Pret cleverly mention the first Pret shop AND kitchen to say later that Hyman’s shop didn’t have a kitchen?

Since about 2 – 3 years Pret now have the brainwash words above shops and sometimes packaging, simply saying “London 1986”. This way, every customer who walks into a Pret shop gets brainwashed of the opening in 1986 by Julian Metcalfe and Sinclaire Beecham, instead of in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman.

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A friend of Hyman told me on Twitter that Pret employed someone to keep deleting Jeffrey Hyman and the 1983 opening of Pret from Wikipedia:

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THE OTHER JEFFREY that Metcalfe doesn’t want to be connected to is Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein who’s the convicted pedophile whom many believe was “suicided” in prison. It does not need to mean anything that Metcalfe is in Epstein’s address book, as Epstein was collecting data from many rich and influential people he met or knew. But it’s still interesting. I write about how I came to this info on Julian Metcalfe in Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book.

As I “chased” Metcalfe off Twitter, blogged about it and made this slide on YouTube showing his deleted tweets, itsu staff or people who are familiar with Metcalfe issues contact me. This is how I became aware that Metcalfe is in Epstein’s “little black book”. Again, this doesn’t mean anything, but I still find it interesting. It’s clear that the rich and famous are connected, often dating back decades into the past. Not to mention Prince Andrew’s direct friendship with Epstein and Metcalfe’s family connections with the Royal Family. They all know each other.

It’s one big happy family. This and Metcalfe’s close friendship to Clive Schlee, who is Pano Christou’s mentor, is why Pret cannot be distanced to Metcalfe when he made his ‘eugenicist’ statements to the Daily Mail and continued to rant on Twitter before deleting his account. Not to mention how Pret ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before it got public. Not to mention how awful Pret treat their staff. That’s from my own traumatic experience and what staff review on Glassdoor and Indeed, press articles etc. etc.

They’re all in the same flow of entitled greed.

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After I linked itsu staff reviews to Metcalfe on Twitter, he kept putting his foot in his mouth saying that anonymous staff reviews are biased. Well Mr. Metcalfe, this then also goes for the positive reviews. You can’t have it both ways.

One of his responses I didn’t include in my YouTube slide where I put most of his deleted Tweets. But he had the arrogance and audacity to claim that his low-wage staff “begged” for zero hour contracts. He also aims to turn shops mostly into robots and machines serving customers, eliminating labour costs to advance his net-worth £215 million personal empire.

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Does that sound like a business man who cares for his (zero hour contracted) staff and people in general?

Customers start to speak out, one very unhappy person just recently:

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Pret as well as itsu staff are also mainly “trained” via iPads on their free time during break or after work. There’s little to no training in both companies. And whatever training there is, workers have to do unpaid in their free time.

Greed is a bottomless pit.

Please note that my Twitter handle used to be @LateNightGirlMe after Clive Schlee called me his “late night girl”. So, to throw it back at hi, I took that offense and created my blog under latenightgirl.org & Twitter name. I changed it as it doesn’t make much sense for people, and to keep my blog URL visible as it’s often censored on social media platforms. I explain the “late night girl” issue in the audio interview at the very bottom of this post.

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What a clown!

He actually wrote that! As if low-wage workers who are already paid the minimum possible, have so much money to spare to afford being flexible with their time. Anyone who wants to have flexibility to work can afford it and does not need a low-paid shitty job like itsu or Pret. I’ve rarely been held for such a fool. And before anyone mentions that Pret and itsu have “happy”, smiley staff, do some research on their strict and micromanaging mystery shopper scheme.

If people just take a slight look at his business dealings, it becomes very visible that he does NOT care whatsoever about workers, labour rights, building up a healthy workforce etc. He is your “average” greedy, entitled business men, coming from privilege but pretending to be an entrepreneur having started from nothing.

His “survival of the fittest” attitude is not just evident in his ridiculous lack of being media savvy to the Daily Mail (or his PR rep was on holiday), where he was happy to sacrifice the elderly and vulnerable people to save his millions, but in an iterview with The Telegraph. The heading quotes Metcalfe: »Only the fittest will survive high street cull, warns Itsu and Pret founder Julian Metcalfe«.

I didn’t even know about the ads that Metcalfe did with women athletes he later tried to justify to me in his (now deleted) tweet after I linked staff reviews to him saying he’s a sexist. Just after he mentioned this I researched and found this ad in The Evening Standard:

Photo: Rebecca Reid in The Evening Standard.

His comment to me retweeting my tweet:

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»Women who are not trying to be men!«??? What insecure talk is that Mr. Metcalfe?

Julian’s great-grandfather which led me to reasearch a little.

George Curzon, 1st Marquess of Kedleston.

I started to dig a little deeper into Metcalfe when I saw the following tweet after Metcalfe made his lock-down comments to the Daily Mail:

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And of course I need to mention Metcalfe’s buddy Clive Schlee with whom I had shocking encounters that I explain on the audio player interview here at the bottom of this page. Metcalfe and Schlee have been friends and business partners since decades. Metcalfe gave Schlee the CEO spot in Pret.

I found an interesting lawsuit that was won by a former itsu partner who claimed he was booted out by Metcalfe and Schlee. He won his court case and received an undisclosed compensation amount, probably in exchange for signing a NDA so the amount cannot be disclosed.

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Quote from The Caterer article: »A senior chef last week won his unfair dismissal case against Julian Metcalfe, founder of both the Pret A Manger sandwich-shop chain and Itsu sushi restaurants in London.

Clive Fretwell, who had worked for 14 years at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, told a Woburn employment tribunal he had been recruited in 1988 to help develop a chain of Itsu restaurants.

He said the intention had been to give him a 2.5% founding stake in the business and an additional 10% in two years, with the possibility of “big money” if it were sold.

When a second restaurant, which opened two years later, failed to live up to expectations, Fretwell claimed he became aware that Metcalfe and Itsu co-director Clive Schlee were trying to get rid of him.

He said he was told last July that the company could not afford his salary, and he was dismissed in August.

The compensation agreed was undisclosed.«

»… trying to get rid of him« sounds very familiar to me. I wasn’t even a “partner” with a certain percentage stake in Pret, just a small fish, an underpaid and overworked team leader. But I raised big concerns and trauma on Pret’s systemic bullying culture where they tried to get rid of me as soon as I became bereaved.

In an The Independent article about the lawsuit Clive Fretwell described Metcalfe as a “strong personality”.

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Link to article.

It’s worth doing some research into Clive Fretwell who is a respected chef having learned in France and cooks “proper” cuisine.

Staff and workers help Pret (and itsu) to build their brand and ONLY if they are part of their elite group of like-minded people who are only out for profit and having a laugh on the costs of workers, are they protected. If they’re not part of their way, regardless how hard they work and help make the brand successful, they’re out. That’s why the Pret Foundation Trust is a joke, a smokescreen to hide ruthless practices behind the happy facade and a PR stunt for brownie points with the public. I had NO help from the Pret Foundation when I became bereaved and then bullied by the core people of Pret.

Not even when I specifically asked via email (in writing) to be placed under the PFT, and EVEN a longtime OPs manager asked this in writing via a disciplinary hearing.

Nopes. Nada. Instead, upon HR’s request run under David Carter, then head of HR, I was gaslit via another HQ staff and then fired days after my dad came out of a three-week coma. The more and the louder Pret, itsu and any large corporation talk about their good deeds, intentions and charity, the closer you need to take a look.

Since writing about Pret publicly for 4+ years now and all the social media posts I read and boycotts customers announced, one tweet is my alltime favourite tweet that puts down in a nutshell who Pret really are, I could not have said it in any better way:

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Link

Betty tweeted this in response to a call to boycott Pret after they made the pandemic temporary paycuts permanent, which came to no surprise to me. And Pret twice this year delayed paying staff, the 2. time using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, knowing the public would be distracted should the press get wind of it and banks are closed on bank holiday Mondays.

I was contacted by desperate staff as they know I write publicly and pass leaked info on to the press.

I immediately emailed CEO Pano Christou himself, openly copying in journalists including Sarah Butler from the Guardian who then reported on it. She also reported later, recently in August that CEO Pano Christou got a payrise and millions in bonus after cutting staff wages and benefits in 2021 during the height of the pandemic. I predicted that this would be the case back in April on my podcast.

A current Pret staff announced on Instagram that staff now sabotage Pret from within:

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And apart from the extreme under-staffing, even before the pandemic, this sabotaging as well as stressed workers leads to unsafe food practices. Mould and rat droppings on food as well as ongoing mislabelling of food.

I always say that all the slogans Pret have on their walls, all the sweet-talk, the ethical bla bla, all the “charity” Pret announce on their marketing and walls, you can be sure that 9 out of 10 times it’s the complete opposite. And the same goes for itsu. The nonsense Julian Metcalfe always says how much he cares for staff etc. while when you look at him speaking without the sound on, he looks angry, tense, and his words are “strong” to say the least. Clive Schlee is more slick, he was the Ronald McDonald clown for Pret. The smiley mascot hypnotising customers and staff with sweet-talk while having a horribly abusive mystery shopper scheme in place and naming, shaming and blaming shops publicly to the whole company when they fail.

At least Pano already removed the stupid brainwash slogan “lovingly handmade” from the packaging since I’m exposing Pret’s toxic bullying culture and unnecessary high stress. That one got the most on my nerves.

The sheer perversion of Pret’s conduct still has me speechless like it’s straight out of a twisted Hollywood script. I have no other word at the moment than to call this “perversion” what Pret did, my ordeal reaching to the top leadership. It couldn’t have gotten any higher than that. That’s why Pret don’t sue me and Julian Metcalfe upon learning who I am tuck in his tail and ran for the hills. But I have it all in writing. And when people ask why I didn’t go to court, I did, and I explain in detail in my audio interview at the bottom of this page.

I experienced and witnessed it many times as well as reading staff reviews on the favouritism that reigns in Pret while hard working people with skill are dumped like dirt, and the crooked staff take all the credit for the success skilled people bring to the company.

Further in the Telegraph article about Julian’s father David shows how frequent and used Julian was to mingle with the richest people and royalty. And there is then no surprise that he had connections to Jeffrey Epstein. Julian can’t help himself to be set apart from “normal” hard working people, using “lower classes” to advance his rich lifestyle. He doesn’t know it any other way while pretending to care.

Further quote about Julian’s father David: »In particular (David) Metcalfe had a flair for pairing New World entrepreneurs, ambassadors and tycoons with Old World aristocrats, intellectuals, royalty and social commentators. His dining table was frequented as much by dukes and royalty as it was by Detroit and Texas tycoons and politicians from across the political spectrum.«

Julian’s ex-wife is from the USA and is mentioned in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book. It always comes around full circle. These people mix and mingle with each other, and it all remains with the richest people while claiming to be a trail blazing entrepreneur starting from nothing.

And as far as I have read in my research, I have not found anywhere that Julian mentions his connections to the Royal Family via his father and grandfather. I believe he doesn’t mention it as he wants to be seen as this groundbreaking entrepreneur having started from scratch. Many entitled rich people want to be seen as “self-made” millionaires while having gotten huge starting packages, loans or gifts from family to start or restart a business.

Little side note that I don’t know enough of to get into further, but “ARK” is from a quote on reddit, »Absolute Return for Kids (ARK), is an international children’s educational charity based in the UK. ARK held fundraisers every year from 2002 to 2012. Dozens of people listed from Jeffrey Epstein’s Black Book attended these ARK Galas.«

CHILDREN’S charity and Jeffrey Epstein go together like Pret A Manger/itsu go together with Trade Unions! *Irony off*

Also note, the woman in the picture is Pippa Holt, not Metcalfe’s ex-wife Melanie. This is just what I found in connection with this ARK charity gala event.

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Current Pret CEO Pano Christou does the same, having learnt how to BS the public under Clive Schlee, portraying that he started in shops as if to say he started at the bottom. He started in shops alright, but he started as an assistant manager having come from McDonald’s management. Pret’s assistant manager role is position #4 in the shop hierachy. The lowest, #1 position is Team Member; 2. Hot Chef or Barista; 3. Team Leader (kitchen or shop) and then #4 is assistant manager before becoming the shop general manager.

He started with higher pay, £500 business attire that Pret paid for, monthly £50 to dry clean his clothes, “business” travels, management parties and galas, and all the perks that are thrown at assistant managers and higher up management.

Pano did not start at minimum-wage, wearing a Pret uniform and a silly cap with pins that could have dropped into food while staff weren’t allowed to wear jewellery or piercings. He didn’t labour for 9-12 hours in the high paced, noisy kitchen being shouted at by leaders and management. Since I point this out on my blog, he finally mentions in interviews that he started as an assistant manager instead of how he always said that he started “in shops” where people assume he was a low-paid team member.

Back to Metcalfe, many in the press and certainly business people love this success story, not wanting to hear how Metcalfe really is, as “success” often only comes when exploiting the masses and being “someone” regardless what it does to society as a whole.

Maybe Jeffrey Hyman’s friends, who occasionally mention him on Twitter at his birthday or anniversary of his death want to write a book about Hyman and make him known to the world, since Pret and Metcalfe refuse to honour, refuse to even mention him while using Hyman’s original font/sign. If you don’t want to mention or credit to the original person, at least have the integrity to not use anything the original person created as in an old font/sign.

Oh silly me! Pret/itsu and integrity?

Pret remain Pret, they lie, steal, manipulate and exploit in any way they can. Just your good ole greedy corporate, owned by in tax-haven Luxembourg based private equity firm JAB Holdings under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns with an extensive Nazi slavery past. And itsu now hooked up with Bridgepoint, Pret’s previous owners. And the real reason that Mectalfe hooked Pret up with McDonald’s was to get Pret into the U.S. market. Once in, they “divorced” their “marriage of convenience”. When I learnt about the McD and Pret collaboration, all alarm bells went on. It’s like a vegan business hooking up with a meat factory to get into a certain market. Red flag right there.

And Pret had to remove the word “natural” from all their marketing after getting slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority … but that’s another story for another day, not to mention Pret selling mouldy food with rat dropping on in 2022, while claiming to “freshly make” years after 2 csutomers died and over 20 got injured which Pret all ignored until it got public, and keep getting away with …

»And when your sun goes down, you’ll know, you’re like everybody else you know.« – Whitey

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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

Denial & Tactics of a die-hard Pret Fan

Subtitle: When a Pret fan is overwhelmed.

I really don’t want to waste a blog post on this guy, but it’s important to show how some people want to be in denial, go against whistleblowers and try all sorts of “tactics” to deny that they don’t care about customer deaths and staff exploitation.

I responded to a tweet that has now been deleted by a Pret customer in Switzerland about Pret opening a new shop there. The person, who on his profile had “Journalist” as well as “Media Personality” stated, said “finally some good sandwiches”.

I replied with a tip to be cautious regarding the “good” sandwiches and posted my blog post with customer complaints on mouldy food etc. all with photo evidence. He then replied with the TYPICAL set of tweets that die-hard Pret fans do. It later turned into silly and also nasty gaslighting, lying, getting his tweets switched that I couldn’t reply anymore.

My response to his now deleted tweet with English translation underneath:

Link

The others who are tweeted in either remained silent or encouraged him to ignore me. Cancel culture as well as enabling behaviour by the book.

Mould, stale bread, rat poo, bugs, flies, hair,plastic in food with photo evidence:

Denial or Tactic #1 – Never happened to “ME”, therefore the problem doesn’t exist:

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“Never happened to me in London” – translated = therefore this problem doesn’t exist (and I don’t care that customers died, and Pret having ignoring it).

My responses are to show further evidence and sharing that in my 10 years in Pret KNOWING Pret from behind the scenes including senior leadership and CEOs, that I’ve seen a lot in Pret. I also link to the customer deaths and so on.

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My tweets can just be followed from above link.

I then tease him saying that he probably doesn’t want Pret to get bad press with all the things I link him to, to which he responds:

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I then apologize, which was the mistake, because since then he kept accusing me of offending or attacking him in hopes I would fall for his cheap gaslighting.

The Google translate doesn’t translate well here, I basically said “Of course (not assuming anything). Apoloogies.” etc.

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Tactic #2 – This is not under Pret but under a franchise, therefore not Pret’s fault:

“The branches in Switzerland do not run directly under Pret. But as a franchise company.” = It’s not Pret that fuck up like this, but franchises! 😀

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To which I explain again that 1. Pret’s name is still on franchises and Pret THEMSELVES have and continue to screw up in London, UK where Pret are head quartered. And that Pret themselves have ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before it got public. I worked at Pret when people died and wasn’t even told, despite my responsibility having been health & safety.

So, I link him to the two customer deaths in the news on YouTube to have a VISUAL bringing it closer to him, as he is also a father:

Tactic #3Sure it’s bad but this would never happen in Switzerland.

“yes bad Clearly. Here in Switzerland, everything is declared everywhere.” = Yes, bad, but that happened way over there in the UK, HERE in perfect Switzerland we have strict food standards.

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To which I pointed him AGAIN to a recent customer video from BERLIN, Germany where there are also strict food safety laws, and the video showed how stale the bread is.

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Link to tweet with video.

I also explained that mouldy food continues to happen in the UK as well as MISLABELLED products where Pret are now breaking the LAW, “Natasha’s Law”.

End of correspondence.

I already packed this tweet exchange away into the past and moved on, when he tweeted the next day a German news article about a woman having bitten into a mouldy McDonald’s product. He now deleted this tweet also, like he deleted his initial “fan” tweet about “good sandwiches” in Pret. But here are my responses to his ridiculous McD comparison.

Tactic #4 It’s not only Pret, it’s also other businesses, therefore this is “normal” in large chains:

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Tactic #5Continued gaslighting accusing me of offending and attacking him in hopes I become insecure, while it is HIM that’s insecure like heck:

Just follow the links and click translate otherwise the post gets too long.

I kept asking him to give precise examples where I offended or attacked him. That didn’t come. And by then he could have just blocked me. But instead he switched his replies to me so that I couldn’t reply anymore, while he kept tweeting at me. Very nasty, cowardly and childish behaviour by an adult “journalist” and “media personality” from Switzerland.

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Tactic #6 – SEVERAL things: He deleted information, was embarrassed to behave so poorly while a journalist, then lied he never claimed to be a journo.

DELETED “Journalist” off his profile after I addressed him as a journalist having seen his claim on his profile and asked him to not take things personal. He then lied that he never claimed to have been a journalist and asks me to check his profile where he just deleted “Journalist”. I pointed out to him that I already checked it and that he deleted it off his profile. He now added it again, see screenshots.

What a creep!

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1. Journalist:

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2. The “Journalist” deleted:

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3. Then “Journalist” added again:

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Tactic #7 – Playing dumb asking if I was a bot:

This is then when he started to make all his replies to me “non-repliable” anymore (I just made up that word 😉 ), but he continued to tweet at me. I then blocked him to which he blocked as well. He said that I am an Aldi fan because I gave a metaphor on Aldi vs Lidl to explain his ridiculous comparison between McDonald’s and Pret. I explained that Pret claimed to be fresh and wholesome which McDonald’s never claimed, and that the whole world knows how bad McD is. But Pret was successful in fooling the public for decades.

He then tried to trick me with the Aldi example and then I couldn’t reply anymore. But I replied later via my other account after screenshot some of his tweets before he deleted.

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Unable to reply to his tweets:

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His behaviour is a typical bullying behaviour by the book. And he is enabled by others who pad him on the back.

Tactic #8 – Playing dumb again:

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He received tons of information about my own story as well as customer fatalities and injuries, staff exploitation etc., yet he pretends to not understand what all this was about. Then he deletes his initial tweet and the McDonald’s tweet as he was caught out being indifferent and doesn’t want to be seen as a journalist who is a big fan of Pret.

In a nutshell, this guy was shocked and impressed to have come across so much evidence in how bad Pret really are. Many people respond negatively because they feel shocked and called out to have fallen for Pret. He was so occupied with it that he tweeted the McDonald’s mould issue to me the next day where I was already finished and done with this feed.

But I always respond to anyone and then move on. And I don’t really want to waste a blog post on him, but want to show how SLICK gaslighting, lying, deleting, accusing etc. works in cancel culture.

It’s a shame, because I am more disappointed of people claiming to be journalists than the average Joe who rants on social media.

The last time I came across such a toxic, gaslighting, cowardly person with lofty claims was literally the top Pret senior leadership team. This Gerry guy cowardly switched his tweets so I can’t respond anymore, but kept tweeting at me while I couldn’t respond. Then I blocked him, which I rarely do, so that he can’t continue to tweet while I can’t respond.

I then tweeted my response to him via my other account and now write this blog post and pass this on to his journalism buddies because his and my correspondence are public.

This was TYPICAL denial, cancel culture, trying to manipulate JUST because the person did not want to look objectively at what I presented as huge evidence including customer pictures, news articles, my own experience. THE worst thing that can happen that customers died and Pret IGNORED it has NO meaning to this Gerry guy and his friends. They are bystanders, onlookers and enablers who don’t care except if this would happen to them. Very sad.

And by all means, mute or block me, but to “silence” me and then keep tweeting at me where I can’t respond is COWARDLY. And this is why I call this guy out now.

If this Gerry guy says anything “positive” about his encounter with me in the future, stay away, be cautious, he has lied and played his tricks like an insecure yes-man.

Oh, und Gerry, guck mal wer alles von Twitter weggerannt ist nachdem ich getweeted hab 😉

Du hast noch sehr, sehr viel zu lernen was Pret A Manger betrifft, und ich habe dich jetzt angespornt Pret zu helfen deren Fassade aufrecht zu halten. Ran an die Arbeit, Gerry! Put your name to Pret and STAND behind everything they do, with your name.

I chased Pret RE-founder Julian Metalfe, former Pret CEO Clive Schlee and current CEO Pano Christou off Twitter. And Julian Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book. Link in the YouTube description.

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

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

Lose, Loss, Lost …

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I tend to write long blog posts to cover all the basis possible. And I could write the longest blog post yet about loss, but I don’t know where this would go. I have had losses, disappointments, betrayals in my life, like we all have. It’s what makes life a bitch. But I have not known how loss can be a string of things for a long time.

I have yet to speak, either on my podcast or here on my blog, about details regarding my brother’s death. I touched on it here and there but still can’t go into it for fear it would spiral me again into the deepest darkness again. This out-of-control feeling that if there is a hell, this must be part of it, an endless falling into a dark bottomless pit.

I never knew that when you lose a close person, a family member, anyone close to you, that this is the catalyst of many other losses. I heard about it that a loss of a child breaks up a family and the parents often end up divorcing.

For anyone new to my blog or story, I learnt in January 2015 that my brother died 5 weeks prior and was already cremated when we learnt of it. To top it up, I learnt this via an EMAIL! This is how far I can go at this moment, as I can’t cope to go into detail how everything unfolded without falling into this pit again.

To top it up further, I was bullied during this traumatic period of shock and grief in and by Pret A Manger management under the watchful eye of HR and later patronised by former CEO Clive Schlee. I explain this in greater detail on my podcast “expretcast” in 3 episodes. In the audio player on the bottom of this page I didn’t go into the detail of it, but on my podcast with greater hindsight I went to town detailing how Pret targeted me since the beginning.

Links:

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 1

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 2

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 3

Three years after my brother died I almost simultaneously lost my job and my dad within months of each other. Pret fired me days after my dad came out of a three-week coma, knowing he was in intensive care. In hindsight, losing a sh!tty job at Pret is nothing to be mourned about. Pret’s head of HR David Carter made me 3 offers of money if I resign, sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to never speak about my ordeal or go to court. I declined the “offer” and was fired. Later when I withdrew my court case against Pret as my dad died, I was made a fourth offer which is normal when withdrawing a tribunal case. I also declined as I didn’t want to lose my voice to speak out what happened.

In-between all this I lost a lot of friends pretty much from the first year as in our society death and loss is still a taboo, as if this would never happen to anyone.

Three years after my dad died my mum died. She died during second lockdown in Germany while I was stuck in London. I couldn’t bury her. Another loss I can’t go into at this time as I can’t cope. I made so many videos of and with my mum when she was still living in her house as I don’t have ANY video of my brother and still regret having deleted all his voice mails from years ago. I still have this problem that I clean up my phone very fast and don’t keep much. That’s why I kept my mum’s voice mails and made videos. But I still can’t look at the videos, even though I assumed I would devour them once she dies. But I can’t look at them at the moment.

Recently a long-time friend died in the USA where I lived for a few years. I didn’t expect to be thrust into a new darkness, as I haven’t seen him since 2013, and only sporadically had email conversations with his wife in-between the years. He was a rare gem of a man who don’t come around much, and I am broken for his wife, who’s equally a gem. I’ve never met a couple like them, which the world needs more of.

I lost my mind, my mental health is screwed up. I was overweight and lost 35-40kg within a year. The first 25kg I lost in the first 6 months after the news of my brother’s death. I had to go shopping 3 or 4 times for clothes as I kept losing weight, never anticipating to “shrink” so fast. EVERYTHING I had to buy new in smaller sizes except socks and shoes.

Some say that this is a good thing that came out of the loss of my brother. Sure, in a certain way there are always “good” things that can come from trauma and loss. But the weight loss was so rapid, as I couldn’t eat, even though I had free lunch food at Pret, that it brought upon other health issues. Rapid weight loss isn’t healthy either. I am grateful I rather lost than gained weight, as my dad was the total opposite. After my brother’s death, he gained weight and comfort ate while I couldn’t even swallow. But yes, having gone back to my original weight I grew up with is a plus as I can walk up stairs without pain in my joints and shortness of breath. Or I can buy clothes again whereas while overweight rarely found what I liked in my size. But I’d rather weigh like an elephant and have my brother back.

I lost support. I lost opportunities. I am a few steps closer to understand how people can lose their homes and end up on the street due to alcohol or drug issues after a traumatic experience.

I still struggle with drinking although it has become much better.

Receiving the news of my brother’s death via email and then also being bullied in Pret by a line manager via group emails, as well as Lila Warren who was tasked to give me a disciplinary for emailing Pret so much, she then later ALSO started to communicate with me via text message and email in private for which she disciplined me in the first place. has fucked me up so much that I started to write thousands upon thousands of emails to EVERYBODY! I also struggle then when I tweet sh!t to people while drunk.

There is no excuse, I looked into getting a time-lock safe but haven’t gotten it yet. That’s completely my fault and responsibility.

I have almost lost my life in close calls to jump … and know we will all lose our lives one day.

I still want to look into researching and maybe writing about our society’s and culture’s approach to death, loss and grief. I have experienced so much sh!t in the last 7+ years that I don’t know which book to write first or if to write a series of books combining a lot of the things I went through. But I’m tired of writing.

I called into a BBC radio show in the early morning of Christmas Day 2019 where I briefly touched on how we in our society today handle grief and loss. Of course now since the pandemic and more wars this subject has become more “accessible”, and even on the radio I hear more and more that this theme is popping up.

In my experiences the last 7 years I have sabotaged a lot of opportunities and friendships. Apart from PTSD, I also think I do this partly out of guilt not having responded to my brother’s email which ended up being his last. Why should I have a good life while he is dead is the emotion I often felt. Sibling survivor guilt, fear of losing friends again when a tragedy hit. The friends that left me hang early on, I didn’t deserve it. But I deserve it now. I push everyone away now so I have nothing left to lose.

As I said, screwed up. And before you judge, check my podcast episode on my NHS mental health service ordeal. I asked at one point if I have some form of autism, and a brief questionaire was started by a psychologist where it was mentioned that I cover some points, but no further assessment. I gave up.

In a nutshell, one major loss is often the catalyst of a string of losses, it certainly was in my case. And where this goes from here, I’m not concerned anymore.

And again, my apologies to all and everyone I offended, hurt and upset. After such a long time, I have no excuse.

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org

Interview:

.

.

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

Pret A Manger – “Corporate Mafia Company”

I start my post with the following concern:

As if Pret A Manger need more customers to die and get injured.

5 years after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died and 4 years after Celia Marsh died:

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Link

I explain on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02 and Allergy Trial as part 3 why Pret was and continues to NOT care. Please pay attention to a particular Barbican Centre seminar I mention.

From the bottome up: Part 01, Part 02, Allergy Trial 03

More customers and the public have and still are realizing now how bad Pret really are. I refer to Pret as plural, not singular (Pret are vs Pret is), because there is a core group of people behind this company who detached themselves from the suffering of shops and workers. And this detachment affects customers.

A recent Facebook comment in July 2022 to one of Pret’s posts says it all:

Link

For people and audio reading programs who can’t read screenshots, a person commented to Pret, quote: »So glad you haven’t managed to pollute the Middle East with your corporate mafia company.« End of quote.

Pret is also increasingly getting bad press since more journalists seem to wake up now instead of doing free advertising for Pret with all the “slimey” articles. I talk about it on my podcast episode: Pret CEO Pano Christou’s 2021 pay-rise & millions in bonus after cutting staff pay.

When I first started writing publicly about Pret in May 2018, even before the two customer deaths became public later that year, I discovered Glassdoor and Indeed review websites that I didn’t even know about while working in Pret. I couldn’t believe my eyes in how blunt and angry some reviewers wrote about Pret because I experienced the same, if not worse.

I became obsessed and sieved through Glassdoor, Indeed and the Internet in general, on a search for others who know Pret as a toxic company that fooled the public for decades with a caring and ethical facade, while the total opposite is the case.

My all-time favourite former customer tweet that needs no further explanation:

Link to @betty_de_brazil’s tweet where she responded to customers’ call to boycott Pret after Pret made temporary pay cuts permanent.

In 2018 there was hardly any critique from customers. But I became obsessed with staff reviews and wrote a DAILY “Quote of the Day” with a chosen review I found. I expanded on the reviews, explaining what the reviewer means. I now stopped since 2019, and rarely check reviews anymore as I’ve made my point now!

But a few reviews I found from recently which I want to put here, as work conditions have worsened to an unbelievable level of carelessness by Pret and current CEO Pano Christou. Pret delayed paying staff TWICE this year under bogus excuses, the second time during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend knowing that the public would be distracted and banks closed on bank holiday Monday.

One staff on Instagram in early June 2022 after Pret delayed paying them announced to sabotage Pret by reducing food and service quality.

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The result of this AND of hugely understaffed and stressed shops becomes more and more visible. This mouldy sandwich was posted just two days ago:

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And many more complaints.

Food quality has decreased a great deal already during the pandemic with customers flocking to social media posting photos of mouldy sandwiches, even rat dropping on a baguette. Reports on food poisoning has also increased. The latest even from today 01. August 2022. I posted more photos on Pret food is not fresh. Check the dates of the posts.

Not only are shop managers pressured to cut labour, sending staff home when there’s a hint of a quiet time, leaving whoever is left to work in shops completely overstretched and exhausted. In the meantime CEO Pano Christou cut their pay so he and shareholders can get a raise and millions in bonus. So, staff morale is low. Workers cut corners to try and resist the slavery-type bullying to work harder and faster for less. Working overtime without pay has also been a big thing in Pret even before Covid. Wage theft is also huge in Pret from own experience and also from two class action lawsuits Pret settled in New York, repaying 4000 workers. I write about this in Wage Theft in Pret. But in the UK the legal system is different and often in favour of companies rather than poor workers.

I will post some recent review at the bottom of this page and want to just as briefly as possible (yeah right!) explain Pret’s mentality.

From my interactions with current CEO Pano Christou and what I read in his emails to shops when he was UK Managing Director under then CEO Clive Schlee, I perceived Pano NOT as a leader. Pano came from McDonald’s management, and for a while until I kept pointing it out on social media, has always said to the press that he started on the shop floor. This of course gives the impression to the public that he started at the bottom. But far from it! So, I keep calling out Pret’s bullsh!t.

While he started in shops alright, he actually started in position number 4 as an assistant manager (AM) with higher pay, more bonus, more perks, paid travel to fancy places with other management, quarter briefs with galas, free fancy food and booze etc. etc. One of the perks he got that all staff who move into management get, even assistant manager roles, is £500 from Pret to go shopping for business attire which they can keep. And then assistant managers and shop general managers (GMs) get £50 EVERY month for the dry cleaners. This may have changed since the pandemic, but I’m talking about the “rich” years in Pret. I write extensively about these perks and the difference of assistant management to team members in Pano Christou’s Rags to Riches Story.

Since I kept pointing this out, he now at least says that he started as an AM.

Pano was for years Clive Schlee’s shadow. All I saw of him in my 10 years in Pret was when he accompanied Clive to shops, silently standing next to or behind Clive. And the only correspondence I saw was when Pano kept writing weekly or monthly emails to shops in how much money Pret made, especially when Pret reached a new million pound mark. And he also wrote emails to shops to announce when a shop closed.

Those emails where the most ridiculous emails I’ve read from anyone in Pret’s leadership teams. Especially when I was bereaved and traumatized. I was a team leader and would sit in the office in the afternoon to do the ordering of stock or cash up tills when I saw an email from Pano come in starting with the words: »Dear shops … it is with great sadness that I have to announce …«

Reading just the first few words, panic overcame me and my heart stopped thinking, “who died?!” And then the sentence continued: »it is with great sadness that I have to announce that (such-and-such a) shop is closing down due to (whatever) reason …«

I had these mixed emotions of anger and complete ridiculous shock that he spoke about the closure of a shop as if someone died, and as if we low-wage overworked staff even cared! Of course part of my panic was also because I received the news of my brother’s death via an email! So, I was constantly on the edge about emails and bad news. But I didn’t give a toss if Pret made another million mark or closed a shop because we were treated like dirt and bullied. I didn’t care if shops closed or how much money Pret made. I had NOTHING from this except manager after manager and OPs managers cheating me out of hours, money and break promises.

On 01. July 2019 Pano Christou, who was then still the Chief Operations Officer, closed his Twitter account after I tweeted Clive Schlee’s retirement to the press, also pointing to Pano’s Twitter account. And Pano was the only Pret executive who blocked me. His former Twitter handle has been taken on by another Pano Christou from Canada a few months later.

The COO role by the way didn’t exist before and after as it was just a stepping stone for Pano to go from UK Managing Director (2018) to CEO (2019).

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Pano has his head in the sand with the current issues, despite increasing complaints on mouldy food, bad press, more staff speaking out etc. It’s like he feels invincible after Pret got away with so much, especially TWO customers having died and dozen plus injured.

Clive Schlee was more “attentive” to reputation issues. He bullsh!tted the public and staff as well, but he was more active in bullsh!tting everyone, while Pano put his head in the sand, “hides” on Linkedin and enjoys other business people kissing his butt all day long, telling him how awesome he is in Linkedin’s typical toxic positivity way. Pret also has a lot of favour and support by some journalists like Harry Wallop from the “independent” newspaper The Guardian, which I explain in above podcast episode I linked to.

Pano is used that Pret keep getting out of trouble, no matter how bad it gets. He is either delusional or really doesn’t care, but he certainly is not a leader.

Clive left with this legacy from staff:

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A customer on Twitter pointed out that Pano upon becoming CEO in September 2019 has work cut out for him. Pret then let Pano take over the Glassdoor CEO spot in July 2019 despite him becoming CEO in September 2019. Clive didn’t want any more poor scores I guess.

In August 2022 Pano continues the trend with staff:

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Staff review and also email me saying work conditions have become beyond bearable. I know how hard it is to work at Pret. It was already horrific in my time, long before the pandemic. But I can’t even imagine how it is now! And this is not to be excused with Brexit or Covid.

  • Skimming customers out of money in many ways like via the coffee subscription, apps, deals that Pret don’t honour under bogus “technical issues”;
    Placing donation devices very closely next to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidentally donate £5 to Pret’s “charity” (charity = tax breaks and brownie points with the public);
    Not serving complimentary items any more,
    Decreased product size
    etc. etc.
  • Under-staffing (has always been done, but is much, much worse now)
  • Resulting in longer queues and frustrated customers who let it out on the low-wage workers who are at breaking point while Pano Christou smiles to the bank
  • More work while still expecting the same and higher standards, and expecting high financial results
  • Ongoing bullying
  • Ongoing wage theft, delayed pay, cutting hours, not paying hours worked for
  • Leadership non-existent
  • HR don’t care (that’s a no-brainer after what I’ve been through)
  • Poor food and hygiene standards (mouldy food, pest issues, dirty shops etc.) due to lack of staff and
  • Low morale
  • It’s each to their own to survive
  • And so on …

I say it again, Pano Christou is NOT a leader. He is stuck in the old Pret way that has shown him that Pret get away with ANY- and EVERYTHING.

After what I survived in Pret with direct contact to the top leadership, Clive Schlee, HR, HQ personnel, Pret’s lies, cheats, theft etc. I FIRMLY believe Pret, as in the core group of Pret’s leadership team like Pano Christou, Andrea Wareham and David Carter from HR and a handful of others who worked there many years for high pay, they are a clique of overpaid executives who run Pret like an organization which to me does indeed resemble like a mafia organization that a person on Facebook pointed out to Pret.

It’s all about the few at the top getting the biggest cut of the cake while abandoning the “slaves” on the front-lines who make all this happen but break at the end of the day. And it shows a great deal of the arrogance of Pano and the executive team to KNOW about all the suffering and appalling food safety issues from social media posts and news articles, but continue to drain employees AND customers.

A really good tweet just from today that made my day knowing that more and more people are aware of how abusive Pret are:

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Some recent staff reviews I find noteworthy to mention here.

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Link to Indeed review.

Link to Glassdoor review.

This is review is worth quoting in full:

»

Title: Company of hell

Pros
Company from hell where lying is the key to their marketing strategy.

Cons
Managers shout at us, cleanliness is non-existent, no recycling, expired food in the fridges, stress all the time.

Advice to Management
Shut down your modern slave factories where you rely on green washing to attract consumers! You are not a healthy company!«

End of quote. I underline every single word 150 million percent! And I cannot explain how many times I have literally cried when I was contacted by staff in despair telling me that Pret delayed pay again, or do cuts here and there, how broken down workers are who are still forced to pretend a happiness or not get mystery shopper bonus. And whatever else they write.

I have many regrets in life, have made many mistakes, but it is safe to say that is it hands down by miles my biggest regret having worked in this horrible company!

For more reviews, please just scroll through Glassdoor and Indeed yourself and also check my front home page.

To end this long blog post, I post again here what made my day when Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha had some stern words for Pret and called on her 500K+ Instagram followers to boycott Pret. I still tear up when I watch this as not many celebrities would speak out on behalf of low-wage workers.

Unfortunately her words fell on deaf ears with Pret. After this video keep playing to see how I chased itsu founder and Pret RE-founder Julian Metcalfe and Pret executives off Twitter. An anonymous person sent me the info that Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book after the person saw my YouTube slide with Metcalfe’s deleted tweets, which I screen grabbed before he deleted. Metcalfe kept retweeting my tweets, but someone from Pret must have warned him who I am, he then deleted his tweets and Twitter account, but not before I screenshot most of it.

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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

Leave no mess behind

When you visit the world, take your shoes off out of respect for the environment.

When you leave, leave in such a way that no one has to clean up after you.

I hope I did that.

Never meant to hurt people. But also, never experienced such poor support.

RUN after your career, reputation, looks, money, run after it.

If you can stay alive, do that.

If you can’t, write a will. Even if you just have a diary to pass on. Write a will.

🙂

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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

Journalist Sarah Butler from The Guardian & My Blog

When I started writing publicly about Pret on my website and also Twitter, Facebook etc. Sarah Butler from the Guardian started following me on Twitter early on.

I’ve already emailed many journalists before I was on Twitter, but hardly anyone responded. When Sarah started following I was of course gobsmacked that a journalist seemed interested in my story with Pret. I sent her a DM, but she never replied. After a few weeks I “kicked” her off my following.

I had many journalists follow since, and of course in my drunken stupor kicked most off.

The only journalists that either replied or initiated contacting me and then investigated further were BBC journos Vivienne Nunis and Mike Powell. Mike was very interested in telling my story and mentioning my blog, which he did in his report on Pret’s lack of iced drinks on the coffee subscription.

Vivienne also reported on a Pret issue, a leaked video that I was sent via DM of a zoom call with Pret CEO Pano Christou. I passed it on to Vivienne, she reported, but didn’t mention my blog. I understand that this is often due to the editor not wanting to mention.

After Mike reported on the coffee subscription, mentioning my blog, other major news outlets reported as well, but never mentioned my blog. A Times article even quoted from my blog, but without crediting back to me. The journalist probably didn’t anticipate me finding his article with my quote. Journalists blame their editor, and here with silly excuses:

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Link

Other journalists via emails confirmed that it’s not right to NOT credit the source when quoting. One theatre and arts reviewer even agreed publicly that they should have credited to my blog:

Link

And some other journalists who got inspiration from my blog, but never bothering to mention the source.

Yes, of course I have manic episodes when drunk, but with Sarah Butler this wasn’t the case initially. In fact Sarah would comment rather positive towards Pret, especially in 2018/19 when former Pret CEO Clive Schlee was still in Pret and on Twitter. Schlee also followed Butler on Twitter. It seems to me that people often follow someone to “influence” them. As Sarah states on her Twitter profile that she writes on “ethical” business, she must have been fooled like most of the public, including many journalists, that Pret is an ethical business.

This was Pret’s and Clive Schlee’s main marketing tool to fool the public. But now, the facade has gotten much more cracks and Sarah is taking a closer look. But again, no mention of my blog.

The only time she responded to me was when I publicly asked in frustration if the claim of the Guardian to be “independent” investigative was here in 2019. Please note, I changed my Twitter handle from @LateNightGirlMe to @expretDOTorg:

Link

So, Sarah was introduced to Union president Ian Hodson, as she started interviewing him when staff issues became public after I either tagged her in or emailed her.

I could write on and on and on, but just to say that it is disheartening that journalists love to peek from my blog or social media, but hardly anyone likes to credit back to me. And no, I don’t solely put the blame on my drunken rants.

I will never forget that Mike Powell was willing to mention me. I DID mess it up and it’s the way it is. But I will always be grateful to Adam from the Adam Paradox podcast, Gergor Gall from the Scottish Left review (links at the very bottom here) and Mike Powell from the BBC for mentioning my blog.

I’m also grateful to Vivienne for investigating THE MOST on Pret issues and for her immense patience with me.

My drunken outbursts are not right and no excuse. I just want to explain what’s going on when I feel frustrated. I’ve been “robbed” so-to-speak of so many things, especially in Pret. Constant promises were broken. And when people just take and take and take and take … I can’t take it anymore.

I’m sorry to everyone for my horrible emails, tweets etc.

Please always have courage and care to credit to sources and mention who/what inspired you to write your article. It shouldn’t be me to “press” journalists and their editors to mention my blog as the source of your report. And it shouldn’t be me to do all the research so that journalists can just write articles to their name on my “back” and labour.

My experience with Pret has messed me up big time. And if I have to bend a journalist’s arm to credit back to me, something’s not right! End of. That’s the main reason I’ve kicked most journalists, even high profile journos, off my following. I’m tired of journalists just sitting there on my following, waiting for a story to drop in their laps! No, you need to put in the work and stop wanting me to feed you, where you then get the rewards to your name on the back of my research and insight.

Please have integrity and care.

Thanks for reading.

Latest podcast episode on Sarah Butler’s writing and my podcast:

If the podcast player doesn’t work, please click on link below.

Link

My prediction which Sarah Butler looked into in above episode:

Link

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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

Pret A Manger CEO Payrise & Millions in Bonus After CUTTING staff pay

Two podcast episodes on my “forecast” in April that Pret’s CEO Pano Christou most likely either got the same pay from 2020 (£300K) or higher, plus the millions in bonus. And today’s episode after yesterday’s Guardian article.

The CEO didn’t spill the beans in April’s Times article what he got paid in 2021 and what he will get in 2022 because if he got the same or less, he would have announced it like Pret always announce their “charity” quickly. He only shared what his pay was in 2020.

Yesterday the news emerged that Pano Christou got a 27% payrise (£400K) and £4.2 million in bonus after cutting low-wage staff’s pay, benefits, paid breaks and other perks.

And before any office worker complains that you don’t get paid breaks, well, work for 8, 10, 12+ hours in excruciating heat, noise, stress, rude customers, mystery shopper fear management, bullying managers etc. and then we can talk again. Until then, keep sitting on your butt and browse through Linkedin.

Today’s podcast episode (may have to click on link underneath if WordPress refuses to post the player here):

Link

And on Pret’s Wage Theft, please click here.

My April 2022 podcast episode predicting that Pano either got the same or higher pay after cutting staff wages:

Link

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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

Friendships & Sabotage

Podcast:


Lemon Music Studio »The Cradle Of Your Soul«
James Blake »Friends That Break Your Heart«

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

NEW: Podcast.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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

Pret A Manger’s “Propaganda”?

Let me explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

04. July 2022

Link

Also 04. July 2022

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

Link

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

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

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

-> Pret’s “charity” projects.

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

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

30. June 2022

Link

Februrary 2022

From the Daily Telegraph, quote:

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

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

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

Link

Link

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

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

BBC: Pret customers complain over drinks subscription deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link

Link

Link

Next, part quote:

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

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Link

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

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Link

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

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

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Link

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

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

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

NEW: Podcast.

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

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

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

I feel sorry for Workers in India when Pret opens there

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

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

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

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UPDATE July 2022

A Guardian article recently reported on Pret CEO Pano Christou’s pay-rise and £4 million bonus in 2021 after he cut staff wages.

I speak about it on my blog and predicted back in April 2022 that I believe Christou either got the same pay or higher after cutting wages.

As the embedded players are just 30 second previews, please click on the blue links:

July 2022 episode:

April 2022 episode:


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

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

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

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

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Link to tweets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Link to Daily Mail article.

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

My response:

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

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

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

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

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

Video on YouTube:

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

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

My response on the financial support for coffee farmers:

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

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

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

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

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And many, many, many more.

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

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

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