“Exploitative employers, We are coming for you”

 

McStrike-logo-300x264

 

 

 

Quote of the Day:

“Our message to exploitative employers is, that we are coming for you!”

John McDonnell

 

 

London’s Leicester Square 04.10.2018

 

 

Spoonstrike

 

 

BFAWU

 

 

A Message To Chains

 

For my people in the shops and on the streets, being loud and clear to say that we care for more than just peanuts and we deserve better than the disrespect we encounter for too long…

I miss my colleagues, working with them shoulder to shoulder, so I march with them shoulder to shoulder…. This is for them… more to come ………

 

 

ball-and-chain-2624325__340

 

A Message to Chains

 

One of those mornings

when I enter the shop

waiting for my colleagues to arrive

I am extremely down that day

but I keep going

 

Setting up the coffee machine

putting the frozen croissants into the oven

answering the phone to a colleague calling sick

putting down the phone

picking up my heart

I keep going

 

My team’s starting to trickle in

one by one, tired but Pret A Faire

I’m glad to see them

we all disperse to our jobs

and later the boss arrives

but I keep going

 

Noon-time

I want to press the snooze button

No! I want to smash it!

So exhausted!

Rude and ungrateful customers

boss having a go at us

colleagues fatigued

but I keep going

 

Hours missing from my pay

getting told off for nothing

rota changed without notice

and I keep going

 

Made a mistake

nothing much

but a catastrophe for my boss

so I keep crawling

 

Feeling low after life’s blow

going to work without pay

without help, with no meaning…

being bullied…

I keep going

and I strike

I strike

I strike

 

I strike back!

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

Fast-food Workers Strike, Leicester Square, London, nationwide and in other countries 4th October 2018.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

©2017 – 2018 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Pret A Mathematics – 10 Hearings – 20 People – 17 Women – 3 Men

 

Many people in the public and mainstream media don’t want to know about my trauma with Pret A Manger. The mask that Pret wears since decades gets new make-up on with every charity and good deed they publish, no matter how many customers die or staff end their life.

 


 

UPDATE 10. March 2019

I saw a play last night by Byrony Kimmings that was the best play I’ve ever seen, and I go to many plays, concerts, events etc. since years. The only cultural “event” I’m not too keen on is cinema, but live shows, theater, concerts, fringe, West End … anything live does it for me. The “all-round” production last night that touched me, not only because it was autobiographical but unexpectedly creative, bursting with creativity and imagination turning trauma into storytelling like I’ve never experienced! I wrote a review after returning home that the standing ovation was an understatement. Rising to the ceiling and applauding on our heads wouldn’t have done it justice!

This play helped me to be even more determined now to keep telling my story of trauma, no matter who wants to hear, even block me on Twitter, look away, keep believing the bullcrap Pret presents… It’s my story and many others’… My only regret last night was that I just stumbled upon the play just yesterday morning online and it was the last night of performance! 😦

But I’m a Phoenix (too), Bitch! And I am learning to tell my story in a more lighter way for bite-sized portions to digest.

 


 

Pret uses women against women, bereaved against bereaved, staff against staff …

I went through 10 hearings in Pret A Manger.

In the 10 hearings held by 20 people (10 HR Personnel/Note-takers and 10 OPs/Group Managers) 17 of the 20 people were women, only 3 were men.

I ask if this is discrimination, lack of male staff, was I as a woman too strong for men or were women used against women! A mix of all this for sure.

Pret’s HR department under the Head of HR and the PBP who was instrumental in targeting me (and of course since been promoted), have dealt with my situation typically for a toxic HR department, catering to a CEO who does not want to get his hands dirty in the hiring and firing of staff. Instead, he “pret-ends” (sorry, can’t help the word play!) that my emailing was wrong while calling me his “late night girl”, having a laugh about bereaved and traumatized employees. Even using another bereaved employee from HQ who had the same loss of her brother. And then letting HR via a female OPs fire me while my dad was in intensive care just out of a three week coma.

There is no company that I have ever worked in or even known from friends’ workplace, that I have experienced as such toxic and corrupt company as Pret A Manger.

You heads of departments, CEO, directors … thanks for reading, maybe one day you have the courage to respond without your usual tricks and traps and dishonesty. You hurt people, you destroy lives, you are dangerous for people’s mental and physical health, no matter if staff or customers. No amount of money and position can help your conscience.

 

 

hr 17 vs 3

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post. I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California. Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2018/2019 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.

Quote of the Day #50 – Pret A Not Worth

 

pexels-photo-133021

 

 

Quote of the Day:

“Great Perks, but Not Worth The Stress … Either stop cutting hours or stop giving teams a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete.”

 

 

2018-08-18 #50 Pret A Not Worth

Coffee Specialist, London April 2018

 

Extensive list of Pret Staff Complaints from different years, locations and positions.

 

NOTE:

Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything but there may be fake reviews! Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews.

Since I compiled all these complaints, the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more targets and profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out.

As true reviews will always continue on the same lines of horrible and bullying management until this changes. Pret does annual staff questionnaires that are at times manipulated by management. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if some are leaving fake reviews.

In the meantime, click on ANY of the reviews linked to on these selected “Quotes” or the longer list of Staff Complaints, and read the same from different years, even days ago and different countries, in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay etc.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Quote of the Day #42 – Pret A Shady

 

Quote of the Day:

“Fun at times but really shady company. They worked us off the clock and would be quick to transfer even there best workers over favoritism. No stability at all…

Yep, I was never even considered for promotion as I refused to be in the “IN” group playing their games. I saw this also with many other hard working people who never reached beyond team member level, no matter how hard or well they worked. It truly is based on favouritism or when shops are desperate for leaders, they thrust in anyone available.

pexels-photo-884496

2018-08-07 Quote Pret A Shady #39

Former TM, NYC.

More Staff Complaints

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret

 

Pixabay_interview-2071228__340

 

LNG: Thank you for your time and agreeing to do an imaginary but honest and transparent interview, this has been a long time in the making and I am grateful you finally agree to give us an unprecedented look into your business, especially staff treatment, and what makes you stand out on the high street.

PAM: Oh, no problem at all. Sorry it took so long to agree to an imaginary yet open and honest interview, but we’ve been really busy with our success as you know.

LNG: Yes, well done! May I call you Pret?

PAM: Sure, we love to be on first name basis here. We are family.

LNG: Thank you, you can call me what your CEO calls me.

PAM: Great! Okay Late Night Girl, what do you want to know about our company?

LNG: My first question….

PAM: (interrupts) Oh, would you like a coffee? On the house? The first hit is always free! 😉

LNG: No, thank you, I got my own! 🙂

 

Coffee paper cups

 

 

LNG: So, my first question is, what is the secret ingredient to your success?

PAM: Well, if we stay on the first name we have a secret spelling system here, we love to work with acronyms to really emphasize that we mean business when it comes to motivating our staff. Pret is French for “ready”. So, Pret A Manger means “ready to eat”. Fast food, from already cooked and processed products that arrive daily and are then assembled in the kitchens on the premises. But it is not just food ready to eat, we want our staff to always be “ready to work” come rain come shine, in good days and in bad days, till FS do us part.

L: What’s FS?

P: That’s another meaning, “FS” is the Firing Squad, but officially they are called “HR”, meaning Human Resources, of course. Our HR department have a really great slogan to sell their mission as, “Doing the right thing naturally”, and people buy into this slogan without questioning it, as PC is too common. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? HR don’t do the dismissing themselves, no, they like others to execute this nitty-gritty muddy business. They…

L: (interrupts) What’s PC now?

P: Oh, common’?!

L: Ah, yeah, right. Sorry.

P: Tztz, you didn’t do your homework when preparing for this interview?! You don’t know our 6 P’s?!

L: No, no, yes, uhm, I know them all! (nods, while getting a first glimpse into the intimidation tactics) It’s just a lot to remember what you give your staff to memorize.

P: Yes, that is how brainwashing works, repeated bombardment of silly word games.

L: Sure.

P: So, where were we?

L: With HR not doing the dirty work.

 

ronald-mcdonald-you-re-fired-meme

 

P: Ah yeah, so they fire indirectly using their operational side of the business, managers who are tasked to hold hearings that are “fundamentally flawed” as one Tribunal Judge called it, they are unfair and only impartial if we need to cover ourselves.

L: Ah! So, it’s a lot to do with fear management?

P: You got it.

 

L: And how does the fear management work exactly? Talk me through a typical day in a Pret shop.

P: No problem. First of all, we don’t like to be known as a sandwich “factory”, even though we are hundreds of little sandwich factories. So, we put intensive incentives in place, pay a little bit more here, give a little more holidays there, put on elaborate parties, let the kitchens play loud and fast music to speed up their work pace and avoid them talking too much with each other wasting our precious time, no matter if they get a head ache or a tinnitus etc. etc.

In reality we have no choice but give a little here and there as the job is way too harsh, stressful and non-rewarding. So we apply psychology where we call our sandwich makers “chefs”, let them go through patronizing “graduation” so they assume they achieved something and won’t leave as easily.

 

L: Ah, clever!

P: Yes, it’s all psychology. We have slogans on our packaging saying “Lovingly made in this kitchen today”, we’re having a laugh with our staff because in this high-paced and stressful environment making something “lovingly” would only be to resign!

But our real main ingredient and the real spelling behind our acronym as already hinted early on is, Pret really is a four letter F-word spelled F E A R. It means Fire Early At Request or with the nickname of “Fret” to make it more appealing. Fear management is the main motivator for our lovely and hard working people, but we facade this in the perfect packaging of “Good Jobs for Good People”. We have a lot of good people, but after a while they get so burned out, feel devalued and dehumanized that they are not “good” anymore, and there are plenty of young people lining up for the job. We give out disciplinaries like napkins, we make sure that our staff always worry about their job security, and we don’t tolerate people being vulnerable (takes a sip from the organic coffee).

L: What do you mean by “vulnerable”?

P: Well, simply inconvenient occasions like bereavement or even mental illness of our staff. We feel that especially bereavement is “imposed” on us. That’s not nice.

L: (looking confused) So, it would be best to not be vulnerable, as staff wouldn’t be safe in their jobs?

P: That’s right.

 

L: So, if staff are bereaved, or suffer from a mental illness or disability that might affect their day-to-day work, and even if they work still really good while in bereavement, there is no policy in place to protect them from potentially being bullied by superiors?

P: Yes, something like that. We have a large HR department, larger than the IT or even food team. But it isn’t large enough yet, as one of our former employees has exhausted our HR department after being bullied during bereavement and being held low in shops. So we want to expand our HR staff to not let this happen again.

L: Wow! Must have been hard work. But at least you learned from this and won’t let the bullying happen again. That’s great.

P: No, we won’t let it happen again that anyone approaches HR with their concern about bereavement and bullying like this anymore, even though we advised that person (whom the CEO called his “late night girl”) to raise grievances, as we didn’t want to interfere with how the managers were mistreating her. As we don’t have an anti-bullying policy in place to protect the bereaved, we aim to divert to the grievance procedure as we don’t want to admit that we have a huge problem. A grievance procedure often deters the employee to raise the issue formally, as this is quite stressful to have to come up with all the evidence, not to mention becoming a target after speaking up.

For other issues like sexual orientation, pregnant women, physical disabilities, religious beliefs, equal opportunities etc. we have a strong and clear zero tolerance policy on discrimination, because there are laws in place and we would get into trouble if we’d let those groups be bullied. Sometimes we even use any of the above groups in discrimination to get rid of other inconvenient employees, the laws for the protection of the above groups really come in handy here, even if we have to tweak our reason for dismissal a little.

And our luck is that there are no laws to protect the bereaved, we can openly and even in writing express that this is “imposed” on us without any problems. We just don’t really want to bother with grief and mental issues, even while we know that we all will die, and 1 in 4 of us will at one point or another suffer from a mental health condition. Death and illness can happen to any person at any time for any reason. But we don’t want to think about it and want to just concentrate on the material world with all the money that can be made. If you work for us, your mind needs to be of steel and you better have “Metal” Health.

L: Just like a machine or a robot?

P: Exactly!

L: I see. Hm…

P: You’re catching on fast, I like that.

L: Oh, thank you, I feel honoured! *blushing*

 

flick2

 

P: So, to finish the thought, we pride ourselves in our HR department. They are super busy with all the grievances raised and disciplinaries issued, and of course the firing squad, ready to fire anytime for any and no reason (checking the phone as a text message comes in).

L: Sounds quite efficient. I’m impressed.

P: Thank you. Yes, could we speed this up a little? I have to attend to some business.

L: Sure, just finally I’d like to throw some questions out that you cannot skip, but have to answer honestly.

P: Uuuh, I’m intrigued, fire away!

 

L: Who was the first one you ever kissed?

P: Oh, I’ll never forget my first kiss! It was McDonald’s. We even got married so I can get a green card to the U.S. But we are divorced now, as I gotten my green card and dual citizenship now and won’t need McD anymore. But we are still friends.

L: Any kids?

P: Naa, we were always married more to our jobs, and our different tastes in food finally split us up! Career is more important, and as soon as I had my foot in the door to the U.S. our divorce was imminent.

L: It was a “marriage of convenience” then?

P: You got it!

L: I see. Okay, while on the subject of super mergers, what super powers would you like to have?

P: To fire all the shop staff in one go and exchange them with perfect smiley robots that are so real looking to customers unlike the current prototypes, fooling them, and so increase our profits even more. That way we won’t have to deal with staff not being as productive when they go through personal issues like bereavement or illness. We also won’t have to deal with any human being thinking for themselves. But mostly that way we can truly “man” all the tills at all times and have enough staff, almost more than customers. We could even place a human looking robot with each and every customer, raising sales going through the roof. We would also scrap the Misery Shopper, as we won’t need them anymore since we have perfect robots. Can you imagine the amount this would slice off our labour costs and bring out the maximum? (sigh, what a dream!) But it also means that we would need to rethink the HR department, maybe turning them into mechanics fixing the robots when they break. (ponder ponder)

 

L: Sorry, what did you say, the what? The “Misery” Shopper?? What’s that?

P: Did I say that??

L: Uhm, that’s what I heard.

P: Sorry, I meant the Mystery Shopper *smile*

L: Maybe I just misheard as I had a miserable coffee this morning! The competition hey. Should have gone to Pret instead!

P: Yes, that’s it, it’s all your fault! You misheard, it was your mistake, not mine! It’s one of our important Pret attributes, always blame downwards, never take responsibility. As long as we can smile, we’re fine!

 

robot-916284__340

 

L: Okay back to my questions. What time period would you like to visit, past, present or future?

P: The future, always the future as the present is a blur and the past is done with and not worth keeping fond memories of. We move on quickly, whoever can’t keep up with the pace will be left behind.

L: No regrets then, huh?

P: Hello? We are Pret we don’t regret!

L: I see. Who would you like to collaborate with in business?

P: Anyone and No one. Anyone who could pour more money into us, so that we can squeeze even more out of our workers to repay the investors. We don’t like to share the spoils except only with our HQ people and high up leaders. But if we do have a moment of generosity with our shops, it is mainly to try and keep them before they leave or our aim to win new ones (whispers: Brexit’s advancing fast now).

 

L: What is your greatest accomplishment?

P: Okay, that’s another tough one, as we have so many. But I would say… (looking up at the ceiling, tapping with the fingers on the coffee cup) I’d say it really is our HR department with that ever impressive slogan of “Doing the right thing naturally”.

L: What do you value so much that you would put your money where your mouth is, so-to-speak?

P: Again, investing in our HR department, making them bigger, even though they are already bigger than any of the other departments. We’d like them to give more disciplinaries, neglecting the bereaved and mentally ill, and fire faster. Any support that is in place, most are just Pret-ense for our own fear of the Tribunal, as we like to live up to our name.

L: Which was what again?

P: F E A R.

L: Ah yeah, that’s right.

 

L: What was the moment when you felt you’ve made it?

P: When our staff bought into fear management and unnecessary pressure.

 

robot-3486900__340

 

L: What was the scariest encounter you’ve ever had?

P: Tribunal Judges at first, but when we lose our case in court, we just pay the peanuts the Judges order us to pay in compensation and then go back to business as usual. Our most scariest encounter will always be the customers and public pressure, not to mention the Unions!

L: And the greatest?

P: All our hard working people in the shops, especially those with integrity and longevity during hard times. We really feel intimidated by them, as they show real passion which we only Pret-end to have for them. But don’t tell them, they need to think that they are not valued and their work is never good enough, so they work harder until they burn out and are exchanged with “fresh blood”. It’s like one of our main acronyms: FIFO, First In First Out or our internal acronym BPOFBI: Black Pudding Out Fresh Blood In. If they find out our tactics, it would also be the most embarrassing encounter, but that’s between us.

L: Of course! You do love your acronyms and slogans, don’t you?

P: (Smiling) It’s what makes Pret PRet!

L: Yes, Pret is next to nothing when it comes to PR.

P: That’s right, we are especially successful in this by employing former homeless people to confirm this when the pressure on us gets high to explain why we treat our staff so poorly. The CEO invites a group once a year to his private Austrian property, and that way we win them for our reputation to speak up for us should we reap criticism from the public regarding staff treatment. We also aim to not integrate them too much into regular Pret shops, but are working on having shops run entirely by former homeless people, as they won’t cope in the long-run in a regular mainstream Pret shop, with all the bullying and high stress environment. It wouldn’t look good on our PR.

 

L: Makes sense. To continue with the questions, which food item are you currently working on to be the best selling of all time, not only in Pret but in the world.

P: Well, now you want to know some secrets here, what food item our food team is working on. I can’t let you in on that one, even though I agreed to do an open and honest interview. But I will say this much: it has to do with the Hearts of our staff.

L: Interesting! Similar to dishes like Liver Mousse or Kidney Pâté, but only with Hearts? Like Hearts on a Platter? Are some Minds part of the new stew as well? Oooh, I can’t wait for the new product launch!!

P: (motions with a gesture of sealed lips)

L: What, if any, is your hidden talent?

P: Doing the wrong thing naturally.

 

People-who-are-dishonest-are-perceived-as-incompetent-

 

L: On a personal level, which instrument would you like to play?

P: Hearts and Minds.

L: You can only choose one!

P: That’s not fair! I can’t choose! *biting on the coffee lid*

L: Well, strive for perfection here, a little extra mile will go a long way.

P: Okay Minds, as Hearts are often broken already and useless therefor. The Mind still needs tuning and somewhat breaking like a wild horse that is thinking on its feet too much. We are not in the horse whispering business, we break them!

 

L: Starbucks or Caffee Nero?

P: Pret!

L: Prosciutto or Posh Cheddar?

P: Well, since we go towards more Vegan, it would be Hearts. Organic Hearts of course!

L: Of course!

L: Mystery Shopper visits or Senior Management visits.

P: (regaining posture after the Heart vs Mind decision) Senior Management visits of course, we love to see the nervousness and fear on the faces of our managers and teams when we walk into shops.

L: Makes sense, that F E A R thing again, I really get to know you now and how consistent you are, very reliable.

P: (lifting the head with pride) Thank you. Now I am almost blushing.

L: Comedy or Drama?

P: Since we have too much Drama already, I’d choose Comedy, although they both go very close together in our company.

 

stressed-woman-3309731__340

 

L: Which micromanaging rule are you most proud of and why?

P: Letting our staff sign countless training rules without having the time to really train. We just like to cover our backs.

L: Which other countries would you like to conquer for Pret?

P: The whole world of course, even jungles where the monkeys live.

 

L: While on the subject of monkeys, if you were an animal, what would you be?

P: A Pret-Bull.

L: Why?

P: We like to look intimidating to our staff, but they don’t know that barking dogs don’t bite. We only bite together in groups and when we smell fear, which brings us back to fear management.

L: All well thought out then.

P: Yes. Are you sure you don’t want that coffee? It’s free!

L: No, thank you.

 

L: Final question, what was the best advise you’ve ever received?

P: Hire fast and fire even faster. Made today, gone today.

L: Thank you.

P: Well, that was fun!

L: Yeah, wasn’t that bad, was it? It must feel good to be honest.

P: Absolutely, never thought it would feel so relieving. I’ve learned a lot about myself today. Well, unfortunately, since it is lunch time I have to get back to the pub with my OPs managers for a few pints while our good and hard working people make it happen for us.

L: Of course, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. And thank you for this imaginary but honest and open interview.

P: Any time! And let me know whenever you want that free coffee 😉

L: Thank you. But no thank you. I am on my way to interview Sainsbury’s, one of the big ones to have signed up for the Disability Confident employer scheme, I want to avoid too many toilet breaks during this important interview.

P: Disability what?

 

L: Never mind, you wouldn’t be interested in that.

P: I guess you’re right. We need to keep that fear thing going.

L: That’s what I meant. Thanks again. See you again soon. *not*

P: Yes, oh while you are with them, could you ask them if they would be keen to have a Pret shop inside their supermarkets, like Costa does with Tesco with those rather unhygienic automates? That way at least we could Pret-end again to be part of this Disability thing you talk about without really being part of it of course. 😉

L: I see what I can do… *not*

 

Late Night Girl2

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

 

THE Song for Times Like These

 

Chapman

 

Timeless as history keeps repeating itself.

 

 

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution

 

Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don’t you know
Talkin’ ’bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

Don’t you know
You better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run
Oh I said you better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run

‘Cause finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ bout a revolution
Yes, finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ bout a revolution, going on
Talkin’ bout a revolution, going on

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

 

— Tracy Chapman

 

 

PRet A Manger

 

What makes Pret being Pret? Not doing the right thing “naturally” as their slogan says. What does Pret do next to nothing that makes them unmistakably Pret?

 

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

 

I was awaiting an open retaliation or “tangible” trouble for going public with my traumatic experience in Pret, but no, I have to be disappointed again! I should have learned by now!

Pret’s done it again, the PR thing. This blog entry is for them of course a welcome contribution to their PR. I am feeling generous today and will explain why below.

Usually on Pret’s and the CEO’s Twitter there is something about a new product or a scheme like new cutlery, bottles etc. pinned to their pages, but since recently Pret’s pinned tweets are about all the good deeds Pret loves to advertise to the public, how Pret gives jobs to people who were homeless etc. So far so good.

So, the Tweet goes: Look at what lovely things we’re doing! Braaaaggg:

Btw, as an “Ex-Pret” I suggest to run from Pret before the stars fall from the sky!

Twitter Pret

 

and then:

 

Twitter Pret2

… while other staff members are unfairly dismissed and made homeless.

And on the CEO Twitter the pin is about the £1000 for every employee.

This sudden generosity, where it used to take 10 years of service in Pret to receive £1K now is “thrown” at all new and long-term staff, which to me looks like Pret is desperate to recruit and retain their staff, while making others redundant in HQ. Just shifting the money a bit in the midst of this Brexit angst.

 

Twitter Clive

 

So, what’s my problem with these? No problem at all, looks all very sweet and lovely, except to say that I crinch at this hypocrisy!

And I can’t help but think also of age-discrimination. All the former homeless people in the photo seem in their 20s or no older than 30s, as well as the apprenticeship scheme with young people who are paid less per hour, means that the “investment” in them will pay out longer than taking over 40 or 50 year old former homeless people. Young people don’t know their workplace rights yet, they are easily to be brainwashed and molded into a system whereas an older person comes with a lot of life experience and a zero tolerance for bullshit.

One review from a former employee has put it in more “krass” words, that even I find a bit too strong, but the reviewer, a former Assistant Manager who has a little more insights into upper level management and tactics than I have, wrote, quote:

“now the company is just about the profit also it is run like mafia organisation where it is about who you know, the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”

I can certainly verify about the favouritism in Pret where you can work your butt off but are never promoted while an incapable and bullying team member sleeps their way through the ranks. But I just don’t have the courage to say the “M*fia” word and rather quote it, but the PR stunt is certainly a close relative to how Mafia organisations work. They “rampage” their way through a region and town, and in-between they give money to the little people and make substantial donations to charity.

Of course with the Mafia it is a mix of bribery, money laundering and “investing” in the little people, so when they need a boost in their reputation, the small folk will stand up and say what great deed this organisation has done for them! Super duper clever PR in a nutshell.

And a former IT Analyst of 8 years in Pret giving a review on HQ, quote:

“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 good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

To pin ones photo with ex-homeless staff on ones Twitter feed and try to buy current and new staff with £1000 incentives, while the atmosphere in shops show a different story, is what my problem is with this.

Now, I am really glad for these and other ex-homeless people to not only get a shot at work and a new life again, visiting the CEO’s Austrian PRoperty, and also for the apPRentices, who are all treated a little “softer” then the rest of the workforce, but if this is the only response to my public outcry, I am really disappointment. And if I was a former homeless person, I would be really ticked off in being used for a PR stunt like this.

You may say as some have that I am very passionate about my Pret-rants, or you may think that I am too angry. Yes, both true, and if you have followed my story with Pret you will know why, if you agree with my public outcry not, but you will know why.

For any new reader, in a nutshell, I worked in Pret for almost 10 years. After 7 years of service I was bereaved as my brother died and the circumstances around his death and how I received the news were extremely shocking and traumatic. But regardless how his death was or how I received the news, bereavement is bereavement, and instead of being supported, I was bullied, targeted, excluded, shouted at by line manager after line manager, tricked and trapped by Pret’s corrupt HR department and patronized by the CEO who labeled me his “late night girl”. The support that I then received was a lot to cover up their tracks and a Pret-ense in many ways.

Because the managers in shops are not trained in how to deal with a bereaved staff member, the Head of HR met with me after I contacted the CEO for help when the bullying became unbearable. At the first meeting the Head of HR asked me how meeting with him was for me on a scale of 1 – 10. Confused at this weird question but in hindsight understanding that he had the need to get his ego scratched, falsely assuming I was “star struck” in having met with a big gun. Nope, I wasn’t impressed, especially after I approached HR for almost a year with suggestions for support, hitting a brick wall! I needed to meet with and the support from my line managers who were at a loss, frustrated and angry with me, belittling and offensive, and as one bullying line manager wrote in an email to his boss that my situation was “imposed” on him.

And another time the Head of HR met with me again while I was in the middle of a 3-months sick leave, but then not knowing it would turn into 3 months, a sick leave that was kick-started by my line manager shouting at us leaders again for no apparent reason and my anxiety level couldn’t handle this anymore. In this sick-leave I had my first massive panic attack in my sleep, waking up from or with a panic attack I didn’t know one can have in ones sleep. Dragging myself to A&E at 5am in the morning thinking I’m in the middle of a heart attack and the fear of death in me.

The Head of HR met with me again then and made the first of four settlement offers if I resign and be quiet about my ordeal as well as not go to court. Of course I refused as I don’t prostitute my values, nor am I willing to suffer in and “of” silence for the rest of my life. And then he had the audacity to want a “cuddle” when we finished the meeting where we met in a Cafe Nero. Not quite the professional end of meeting I would have respected as such. He put his arms around me and I remember ducking down confused, and later thinking to myself, that he should make up his mind if he wants me to leave or if he wants to cuddle! You can’t have both, sir! But then I heard a few things about him later, and again a lot made sense.

 

 

images.washingtonpost.com

A tutorial

 

Before my brother died, I had a normal life, friends, projects, hobbies, normal problems, bills, just a plain life. Now, Pret was always hard, rude, bullying, but I was able to see through and resist the fear management style most of the time and not take the stress home too much. But when I was thrust into traumatic grief and still working really well, even making the effort to bring suggestions to Pret, I was then drenched in great fear and anxiety that bereavement and trauma brings with it as a default. But this extreme fear was intensified by the bullying culture in Pret. I was like a zombie stumbling around and still don’t know how I even survived this.

So, now where I am publishing openly about my and other people’s experience, having been scared so much by and of Pret, intimidated, confused, angered, now where I am openly confronting this bullying system of Pret, Pret does not have the “balls” so-to-speak to not only apologize, but to respond in a way that would give them a chance to “safe face” and even more, to truly make a difference for their workers as this system is hurting them, and with it Pret in the long-run.

 

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And as it is with everything in life, the truth always comes out, prolonged fear leads to anger and people eventually start to speak out, like in this unprecedented example of sexual violence in Hollywood and the outcry that was kick-started by a little hashtag #metoo that has brought and is still bringing rapists, bullies and abusers to justice. The same it is with systemic workplace bullying, a system like this cannot hide forever behind a PRet smile.

So, posting sweet little photos with former homeless people, using their stories for great PR, and advertising on the rooftops what good deed they’re doing now with the £1000 sudden generosity to each employee, I will refrain from saying what word comes to mind!

 

A former staff member, Andrej Stopa, who was fired for starting a Pret Union is a little more lucky than I to have none other then Andrea Wareham, Director of HR following him on Twitter, which might just be Pret’s way to signal to Andrej that they’re having an eye on him. Keeping him nicely tucked in as long as he doesn’t rock the boat too much.

 

 

Twitter Wareham PAMSU

 

Up until recently I was honoured to have a “Mystery Shopper” on my Twitter following. I had some followers but 1 was invisible, which gave me a good dose of confirmation that when someone has to hide their page, I might be doing something that troubles them.

Unfortunately the Mystery Shopper from my Twitter following has left, or maybe made themselves visible. And as I am customer focused, everyone is welcome!

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

The Cost of Systemic Workplace Bullying – 2

 

As I tend to not want to waste time as life is short and no-one is guaranteed another second on this earth, I went straight into the ultimate cost of systemic workplace bullying in my first post, the cost of life. Death by suicide.

In this second post I want to highlight a precursor to suicide: mental health, mental illness in all its forms.

What bullying does to mental health and how I am experiencing it in my struggle to recover is very simple.

 

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Systemic bullying sends a distorted and twisted message to the mind.

In a nutshell, if you are in a room with 10 people and 1 person is treating you disrespectfully or attacks you, while 9 people treat you kindly and respectfully, you think to yourself ‘What’s wrong with that person?’

If you are in a room with ten people and 1 person is treating you respectfully and kind, while 9 people treat you with contempt, disrespectfully, attack or exclude you, you think to yourself ‘What’s wrong with me?’

That is what systemic bullying does to the mind and mental health.

Systemic bullying from a group is like democracy gone wrong!

It is not always the majority that is right! It is the majority that is set up of individuals who have their own set of “values”. They have little to no values and principles that are universal and that robs them of courage, blinding them to opportunities to make a positive, and sometimes even life-saving difference.

 

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One of my favourite poems by Emily Dickinson, which I interpret in my own way and a favourite poem in general, always reminds me to chose my crowd carefully:

 

The Soul selects her own Society —
Then — shuts the Door —
To her divine Majority —
Present no more —

Unmoved — she notes the Chariots — pausing —
At her low Gate —
Unmoved — an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat —

I’ve known her — from an ample nation —
Choose One —
Then — close the Valves of her attention —
Like Stone — 

 --- Emily Dickinson

 

I choose my society based on the values that I have. And if a majority chooses to bully an individual or a certain people group, then there is something wrong at the foundation of the values and principles of that majority.

If a company does not have a clear zero tolerance on workplace bullying, than I question the foundation on which this company builds their “values” on.

Mental illness is the cost of systemic bullying and is the precursor to suicide.

Is this really the legacy and the cost a company is willing to have on their record, as I believe things will always come to light sooner or later, unless it is dealt with from the root at top levels.

 

Bullying at work

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

The Cost of Systemic Workplace Bullying

 

There are always numbers floating around in the news on the economical costs for work-related illnesses caused by stress and bullying. Those numbers go into the millions and billions each year. But I want to stay away from quoting any numbers, as I don’t know for sure how high the financial cost for this is or where the media gets these statistics from. And handling abstract numbers like this doesn’t really magnify the cause and true human cost behind it. I can speak only from my experience first hand and also from my observation and conversations on how colleagues are/were treated. The cost I am concentrating on, apart from mental illness and personal financial loss, is the cost of life itself.

Workplace bullying costs lives, and on that no amount or number is adequate enough to cover the costs as a life lost cannot be recovered. Once life is gone, it is gone. Health can be regained, financial loss can be won again, but once life is gone, that’s it, point of no return. Keep your numbers, keep counting your money, and keep hiding the consequences of workplace bullying under the carpet.

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My aim is not just to raise awareness of workplace bullying, as so many do already, and to find ways to stop it as best as I can in my sphere of influence, and make companies rethink their approach and value their employees and understand true leadership. My aim is to really take a closer look at a system in this day and age that is epidemic worldwide in this globalization we find ourselves in where huge companies imitate and apply what made other companies rich or what is so commonly called “successful”.

If I look at the conflicts in the world, the big ones and the small ones, wars, unrest, uprisings, legal battles, cyber attacks, workplace inequality etc. etc. It all has a common thread running through its core: class war and the struggle for dominance. Ian Hodson, a person who represents true leadership, points this out in one of his speeches. And to me, having worked with too many poor “leaders” that I don’t even want to call leaders and just put them in “quotation marks” for the poor management they display, the problem with greed is that it is never satisfied as it is a bottomless pit where no amount is ever enough, like Mahatma Gandhi so poetically and poignantly said that “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” And paradoxically or amazingly, whichever way you want to look at it, he “landed” not only on stamps but on money as well! I wonder how many top executives, bankers, CEOs and anyone who makes their wealth on the backs of regular working people while being responsible for the misery of many an employee, will have their image imprinted on money or a stamp! Hardly any to none.

Ganhi pexels-photo-164636

The majority of people just want to live a normal, content life, work hard, pay their bills, raise their kids and see them thrive. They don’t cause any trouble, are reliable at work, care about their surroundings, but they find themselves in situations like I have found myself in and have collected here, unnecessary bulls**t that regular hard working, decent people with integrity have to deal with on a daily basis. Lives that are hurt and even destroyed by incompetence and carelessness of the top. I just about survived having come out on the other side bruised and damaged internally to speak about it. And if this happened to me even during the darkest time of my life, how many people have a similar story happen to them, but they crumbled under the mental strain and aren’t so lucky to happen to have a passion in writing and speaking out.

Because people everywhere and throughout history selfishly tend to just think from 12 to noon, not looking at the long-term effects and only in the long-run seeing the costs and consequences of bullying, but by then being way over the hill far away and gone from the consequences of their deeds. They pressure the very people who make this greedy wealth happen for them, they prefer to turn the blind eye repeatedly until they indeed become blinded to the difference of right and wrong. They twist and turn, cheat and lie so much they start to believe their own lies. They will by then have become so skilled in selling this lie to the next generation of “leaders”, who don’t have a clue what leadership means, even at its simple base of the definition. They mistake leadership with tyranny and loading it over the very workforce they should be taking care of by valuing and furthering them, if they don’t want these employees to one day turn around and bite them back in the butt! Fear management, prolonged fear in general leads to anger, and repeated mistreatment will not go “unpunished” in the long-run.

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The next generation of “leaders” will have taken up on the corrupt ways they learned and were subjected under, they continue to move in and even grow this toxic culture in the workplace and everywhere at that. It is a swim or drown situation of deciding to either become this kind of “leadership” to escape being at the receiving end of unjust treatment or stay under oppression and when the time comes, leave. Survival of the fittest at its best. This is of course in politics, schools, at home, everywhere, the struggle to dominate to not be dominated, but this is especially rampant in today’s multi-national companies that elbow their way through the high-streets with a smile and good PR.

And yes, I have received some support after almost a year of approaching the HR dept. being sent to into all directions and the support I then received came only after I contacted Pret’s CEO. A lot of the “support” was also for Pret-ense, but the core problem remained: suppressive leadership, bullying, exclusion, being shouted at, threats of job loss, tricked and trapped, not being given vital information needed to do the job, even weeks before I was dismissed with my dad in intensive care my last line manager did not invite me to the leadership Christmas dinner, it never ended. And then ultimately having been tricked and trapped again being dismissed while my dad just came out of a coma! This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally“.

It is so common with slogans like this that when an organization advertises something like this, it is a dead giveaway that it is the opposite. I had a complacent line manager once telling me what a hard worker he is, I laughed to myself thinking that, oh well, if he was such a hard worker he would be too busy working hard bringing the results than speaking about it!

So, what is the cost of workplace bullying? I survived to say that it has almost cost my life! And this is taking lives of many people everywhere in the world who didn’t have the strength to come full circle to talk about it. For anyone who survived or went through or even didn’t survive workplace bullying and unfair dismissals, and for their loved ones I speak out.

 

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What to me is very disheartening but does not come as a surprise is, that Pret’s leadership hasn’t even gotten the courage to respond to my public outcry yet. They have the “courage” to stress, suppress and mistreat staff, even while going through bereavement! But they can’t stand up to my public outcry. When they are contacted by customers about my blog, they sweet talk their way out of it as usual. Sure, they were probably instructed by their legal team to remain silent and let me rant and rave, and hopefully make mistakes which they can then use against me. Go ahead, I’m not going anywhere.

And it certainly is difficult and a sheer embarrassment for them as the top leadership has gotten involved. In Pret the common tactic to “motivate” their managers and shop teams to do better when they fail, is to name and shame them in front of the whole company. When a shop fails in a certain way like Health & Safety check-ups for example, all the shops are emailed with the poor results of that shop and where they failed, really shaming the manager. It’s a simple tactic to scare all shops to overwork for good results so Pret can show-off what a wonderful company they are. Of course they also brag on shops that bring amazing numbers and results, but it is also a tactic to make shops jealous so-to-speak, again to work even harder in this stressful environment. But I prefer a hidden agenda in praise anytime, to naming those who fail. And yet, here is Pret’s leadership being caught out failing their staff, and this is my turn to name their failings in the hopes they will improve in how they treat their staff, as this has almost cost my life and is hurting people who make Pret’s growth happen. What a shame:

  • The CEO belittling me as his “late night girl” in front of the Director of HR due to my ill late night emails which I extensively explain in my blog what happened to me; him minimizing my conduct that I tried so hard to overcome, and which to my surprise didn’t only happen to me in a workplace!
  • The Head of HR & Recruitment wanting me to stroke his ego by telling him on a scale of 1 to 10 how it was for me meeting with him, while I really needed to meet with my line managers who were at a loss… Uhm, sorry I still can’t answered that weird and self-serving question. The Head of HR missed my almost year long effort to bring suggestions on how to improve and support bereaved employees before I then finally contacted the CEO for help (stupid mistake as they were just having a laugh!)
  • Most managers who were out of their league in how to deal with me while I always gave them help and suggestions what would help me, but their refusal just made this mess worse.
  • OPs managers who were like a flag in the wind back and forth, stuck and stumbling between pleasing HR and having gotten to know me, not as this crazy person everyone was told about, but as someone who actually has a lot to share and bring to the table, even while being lost in grief and trauma… Well, they snooze, they lose!
  • A Development Manager having been used to give me a disciplinary for my emailing because she supposedly lost her brother very similarly to how I lost mine. But then her unallowed entering into solely electronic communication with me which with all the other emails gotten me dismissed while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma! Using her and her allowing for her tragedy to be used like this was a clever plan but the most disrespectful thing they have done, hoping to get to me via this “friendly fire” by stepping on bereaved people’s dignity like this. But this crossed a line and it only backfired.

This shows how incompetent and careless they are, and I cannot stop concluding how incredibly arrogant the conduct of an elite group is, that are at the top of a company. A company that was made big by regular working people, of which many of them have degrees and education from their home countries, but happen to not speak English as best yet, ending up working in Pret. Professionals with PhD’s whose degrees are not accepted in the UK and who are forced to study further to get the adequate degree as they cannot find work in their home country with what they specialize in. I worked with a colleague who back in his small Brazilian town was the secretary to the town’s mayor! I worked with a lady, also from a small Brazilian town having been a bank manager at the local bank there. I worked with talented IT people and artists, with a lawyer from Spain who has her degree in law etc. etc. These people were often patronized and treated like complete idiots, just because they didn’t speak English very well having the managers assume they can just discriminate highly intelligent and educated people who are forced to make sandwiches and coffee for some of the most snobbiest customers, just because their English isn’t quite there yet.

But back to my ordeal, what Pret did by using the Development Manager, and her allowing this was then the main push for me to go public while licking my wounds and after burying my dad, almost needing to be buried myself.

The heart of Pret gotten involved and messed up bigger than anyone on the shop floor could ever mess up. They have presented themselves as a “leadership” with their conduct and style that is trickled down, and reflected on the shop floor with shop after shop having extremely poor management with countless complaints about this.

Here is a company that is next to nothing when it comes to PR and how they present this nice facade to the public, while people internally are suffering. Yes, there are many good things in place like helping the homeless get back into work (while making other employees homeless by unfair dismissals!), the apprenticeship scheme (young people are cheaper in labour and easily fooled not having had enough experience in life yet, not knowing their rights), giving left over food each night to charities etc. And I don’t want to question the motif behind those schemes while still acknowledging that this makes excellent PR.

But the trouble with PR(et) always is that it is only one-sided. And in time the truth always comes to light. It always takes just one person to kick-start a true view of the company and stand up with the message, that this time they picked on the wrong person and especially at the wrong time! When a company as wealthy, sophisticated and rich in resources like Pret crosses a line by not even stopping to mistreat an employee who has been thrust into bereavement and trauma, and this company trying so hard to get rid of this “inconvenient” employee, even though this employee is still working extremely well under traumatic circumstances, helping the company succeed, it just shows how indifferent and plainly arrogant a company like this is for believing itself invincible.

I have been told by several people that I make them grow, well I hate to be the one making a now multi-billion company grow up!

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So, Pret will continue their PR and will find tricks and traps again in their own way how to get back at me for speaking out. And who knows what leadership changes will come in place after the JAB takeover as some people in HQ have already been made redundant. And silence might just be their tactic in the hopes this will just go away in time. No, it won’t! Important people are picking up on it, and it is time.

And this is the important thing that more and more people have become aware of how it really looks behind the scenes, and hopefully this will help that not more employees become ill and suicidal. My aim is NOT to hurt anyone, but to help that not more people are getting hurt! In the “return-to-work” interview sheet for employees who were off sick and returned to work, there is one question regarding the symptoms of the illness, one question that asks if the employee has anxiety issues related to work. There is a reason why this is asked as the main “motivating” factor in Pret is fear management and pressure resulting in bullying the very people they need to be treating well, but fail to.
I have had countless threats to my job security in my almost 10 years in Pret. I was an extremely good Team Leader and employee, I don’t say this to float my boat, because I am crap in other things, but I know how good I was at my job and received many many compliments from my teams and customers. And yet I was often in sheer fear to lose my job for no valid reason! And when this even intensified during bereavement and trauma where they still continued in this tactic, they crossed a line.

When I have a good moment I write more creatively and with a good pinch of humour and sarcasm I write things like my “IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret A Manger” to highlight the ridiculousness of their efforts to hide the work conditions and staff treatment. It is my way of having a laugh at Pret for a change after them having a laugh about me becoming ill after trauma in bereavement and bullying at work.

What happened to me and all the Staff Complaints I have compiled unto one page just shows how unprofessional and indifferent Pret is. In time more people will come out and tell their stories. I know Pret is working hard in the background on some things. I am sure as they are many and as a huge company they should be able to handle ONE person. I for my part have sent a clear message as direct and also as creative as possible, that has drawn the line where after all I have been through, giving Pret the benefit of the doubt again and again, I have decided for good to not drink anyone’s dirty water no more! The CEO is not following his own advise to deal with issues fast. I’m still waiting, and so are others.

With a Pret A Manger smile!

Strong woman smudge smiley

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post. I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California. Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2018/2019 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.

 

You’re NEVER too Small to make a Difference!

 

… just don’t stay alone for too long!

 

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+

 

We_Can_Do_It ANTS

=

 

This is a video tutorial on how true Human Resources in form of Unions organize the little folk to take on the big guns:

Pay attention to the chain they’re creating at the end. Slow motion further in the video.

 

Don’t eat while you watch this!

(The one the red arrow is pointing at, that’s me! lol)

 

Little folk like this lady has her own union in student activists and a lot of the world behind her! You go girl!

2018-07-25 Elin Ersson Student Activist2

 

 

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

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

 

Don’t mess with a Heart that Cares

 

Kindhearted kick-butt lady.

2nd Quote of the Day:
»I’m doing what I can to save a person’s life … I’m trying to change my country’s rules …So, the security is coming, I don’t know what they gonna do with me, but whatever!« — Elin Ersson

 

2018-07-25 Elin Ersson Student Activist2

 

 

 

 

 

Click anywhere on this video to start:

 

 

 

 

“A Swedish student activist has stopped the deportation of a man to Afghanistan after she mounted a protest onboard a plane. Elin Ersson refused to sit down until the man was removed from the flight. Visibly upset, and facing anger from fellow passengers, she said: ‘I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane.'”

From The Guardian’s YouTube video

Amazing how the lame attempt of a man trying to stop this hero lady from standing up, just serves as a “case study” for cowardliness.

1:08 Man to Elin Ersson: “I don’t care what you think … I don’t care… What about all those children that you, YOU are frightening!”

Emphasizing “YOU”. LOL!!! The only “courage” this man had is to rip off Elin’s phone out of her hands! My my, how will he explain his actions to his family and friends!

The man thought he’d off pull the trick using children on a young woman with guts and heart.

Always using children to try and shut down an uncomfortable mirror held up to the face of indifference. What cowardliness! Well, he bit his teeth out on a strong woman! Good on you Elin Ersson for defying cowardliness!

What’s so beautiful as well is, that Elin is not letting go and wants to exit at the back where the man who they wanted to deport is supposed to exit the plane. She says she wants to see him get off the plane!

Amazing determination as a staff member is trying to bull**** Elin when he aims to deter her from exiting at the same door the man will exit.

Staff member from 2:20, quote: “… Both you and that person (that person?) will leave the flight, okay?”

Elin: “Okay, can I go at the back to see him go down? Can I go out that side [where the man is exiting, not the opposite side where she can’t see him leave the plane]?”

If I understand it right the staff member wants her to leave at the “opposite” exit away from the view of the man exiting the plane, as the staff member is supposedly waiting to see what the procedure is. Ha Ha!

Elin persists: “I want to see him go out, can I go back [back exit]?”

Staff member stalling and trying to appeal to reason: “I understand what you want to do, but the important thing is the rules, right?” [Yeah right!]

Elin doesn’t let go: “Can I go out on that side and go down on that side [not the opposite exit as suggested by the staff member]?”

Staff member mumbling…

The Nobel Peace Prize should be taken a good look at again.

A Jewish saying from the film “Schindler’s List” that is debated where exactly this is written, but it fits Elin’s deed perfectly:

“He who saves a single life, saves the world entire.”

Hopefully they look at their plans for this man’s deportation again carefully.

Elin’s Facebook account is either deleted or on private mode. Hope she is okay and the news that she is supposedly facing jail just a media stunt! But you’re never too small or outnumbered to make a difference! You can stand alone if there is no one to back you up, but eventually they will back you up like a Turkish passenger Elin is pointing out and a football team at the back of the plane!

FULL VIDEO:

Weird, I don’t know why this video is dragged vertically so long here, but just click on the above link “FULL VIDEO” to see the normal sized version on YouTube.

»I’m doing what I can to save a person’s life … I’m trying to change my country’s rules …So, the security is coming, I don’t know what they gonna do with me, but whatever!« — Elin Ersson

 

“You always know the mark of a coward. A coward hides behind freedom. A brave person stands in front of freedom and defends it for others.” — Henry Rollins

 

 

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

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

 

Open Letter to James Hoffmann

Dear James Hoffmann,

first of all, thank you for responding to my comment on your video, unfortunately my comments and your response are hidden from the public, and I re-checked via different browsers and devises, my initial comments are not there, but it’s not important anymore. Please forgive me that I made a screenshot and am publishing it here. I do so because I suffered greatly, became ill and almost lost my life.

You seem a sensible person trying to look at business news objectively. And if I was looking from the outside in myself without my inside experience, I would even like your take on this. The problem though is, you as most people looking in from the outside seem very easily blinded by the brilliant PR that Pret is so good in.

I’d like to post your thoughts on the JAB purchase of Pret A Manger here and respond with my experience and real “insights”, having worked in Pret for close to 10 years helping with their success. I also tried to improve work conditions internally to no avail, while becoming out-of-sync after my brother died and being mistreated on top of it, making many mistakes and sliding into ill behaviour. But having spent 10 years of my life working for Pret is my biggest regret with my future unclear and my mental health in shambles.

There are many good things in Pret, but the bottom line is that the senior leadership and HR are far removed from the painful reality on the shop floor. And yet, they do know very very well how brutal it is, that’s why most staff (mainly British) are aiming for jobs in HQ, away from the “front lines” of the business. Yes, they do what they call “Buddy Days” where once a year a staff member from HQ works in a Pret shop and kitchen for a day, BUT when they do, the management and teams in the shops are well behaved like this is their dream job. When the “buddy” is gone, it’s back to business as usual. I’ve always disliked this hypocrisy. And also with the HQ staff coming in at 8 or 9am, often being late and starting their “shift” with breakfast. Whereas if I would have been the manager, I would have explained to them to start their shift at 5am sharp, or whichever time a particular shop starts the shift as this varies from shop to shop. But they would have needed to be ready in uniform on the dot! If they would have been late, I would have send them home or have a serious talk, just like shop leaders do with a new person, no mercy! Welcome to reality in a Pret shop! Now, enter the “fun”.

But unfortunately as a Team Leader the only thing I was able to do, was asking the HQ staff to do the dirty work of changing the bins, checking the toilets for cleanliness, smiling at customers non-stop, having the shop in an immaculate state at all times, stop using their mobile phones on the shop floor and putting it in the locker like the rest of the team was required to, get their fingernails dirty and cracked, and their feet hurt with their backs “broken”… I’m sure they hated my gut, but I loved and cared for my team who worked their hearts out oftentimes in pain and sometimes in tears. So, an HQ staff surely can pass a few hours a year doing just that.

Stress

I typed up a transcript on your thoughts: JAB Holdings Buys Pret A Manger and included it here word for word. Please bear with any mistakes as I am not a professional in typing transcripts, I type with 2 fingers only.

Transcript – I highlighted a few things which I am commenting on at the bottom of this open letter:

“What I wanna try today is something a little bit different, a short, sweet response to a piece of news in our industry.

Today I want to talk about JAB buying Pret A Manger, which is both interesting and incredibly, incredibly boring.

What makes it interesting? They (JAB) paid or is going to pay £1.5 Billion for Pret A Manger, which is a lot for a business that makes “only” a £100 Million in profit a year. They’re paying 15 times that, it’s a 15x multiple. Which implies there’s gonna be really, really fantastic growth coming.

Now, Pret kind of have about 500 locations, most of which are in the UK, most of which, most of that profit is actually in London. And while they’ve expanded in the U.S., that hasn’t gone quite as well as you’d think.

So, if they struggle to expand, well, why is there this huge potential?

Pret makes about £880,000,000 a year as a business, and if you work this out, this is kind of interesting: Each Pret location on average makes £1.75 million a year. Now, for the kind of business they have, where they sell questionable coffee and sad little triangles, called sandwiches, that seems like an enormous amount of money! Considering what they sell is not particularly expensive.

And this is the thing that’s interesting, this is the thing where we don’t give Pret enough credit and enough attention. Yeah, I don’t really like the product in terms of its coffee, for sure! But, they’re all about speed! Pret values their customers’ time. Perhaps in a way not many businesses do. They have a publicly stated goal of serving you within 60 seconds of you walking in the door. And I think they do a pretty good job of getting there.

And that is hugely important to an enormous number of people. That’s how they’re able to process as many people as they do. Sure, they have a lot of people on anyone time, but they’re still making good profit, they’re still making 11-12% each year in terms of Net profit. So, their business model is pretty sound. But they value people’s time.

And if you have a coffee shop and you’re looking at this deal and you’re thinking, how is that happening? Why would you buy this business? It’s because the model is actually pretty interesting. In the world of specialty we haven’t really, really valued our customers’ time. We’ve been very product focused. And as a result, I think we haven’t valued people’s time adequately. We’ve made people wait, often wait just far too long for what they’re ultimately getting. And in doing so, I think we’ve excluded a large number of people, who either value their time very highly or just aren’t willing to invest that kind of time that we ask of them. And I think if we took a little bit of that from Pret, it would allow us to access a much larger community of people who’d be interested in what we’re doing.

And right now one of the biggest challenges specialty faces is growing its audience. Right now the audience isn’t really growing but the number of Cafes is. We’re all competing for the same customers instead of finding new customers. And I think embracing a little bit of what makes Pret so incredibly valuable, a multi-billion pound company, embracing, valuing our customers’ time, will be extremely worthwhile.

So, that is a little bit of business talk for today…”

END of transcript.

——————————————————————————

Here is the screenshot of my comment and your response which I can only see when I am logged into my YouTube channel:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1

Close-up:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1a

I also pointed you to another comment further below your video from a YouTuber called RPQ who left this comment in the beginning of July 2018:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

My response to your thoughts from the transcript:

“What makes it interesting? They (JAB) paid or is going to pay £1.5 Billion for Pret A Manger, which is a lot for a business that makes “only” a £100 Million in profit a year. They’re paying 15 times that, it’s a 15x multiple. Which implies there’s gonna be really, really fantastic growth coming.”

Yes, it means that the shop and kitchen staff will be squeezed even worse now than they already are. They made and will make this growth happen at a high personal price with their mental and physical health. I have a roaring tinnitus myself still and can only reduce it by seeking quiet places. And the price I paid with my mental health you have already read on my blog here. I have no illusion anymore and know that my way to recovery will be a very long one. And just in case I won’t make it, you and many more people now will not be able to say that you didn’t know what and who made this “fantastic growth” happen!

Quote: “And this is the thing that’s interesting, this is the thing where we don’t give Pret enough credit and enough attention. Yeah, I don’t really like the product in terms of its coffee, for sure! But, they’re all about speed! Pret values their customers’ time. Perhaps in a way not many businesses do. They have a publicly stated goal of serving you within 60 seconds of you walking in the door. And I think they do a pretty good job of getting there.”

I want to give credit to my countless ex-colleagues with whom I worked shoulder to shoulder, day-in day-out, in an intensely stressful, bullying, discriminating and ungrateful work environment, all my colleagues and myself who made this success and the wealth of the few at the top happen.

Pret does not value customers’ time, Pret, as most businesses, value customers’ pockets! And it is disheartening that you and most people seem blinded by the age-old reality in business, that time is money, and the quicker you get customers in and out the store, the more money flow is happening … faster! But who makes that happen? Who pays the price? If a company has NO regard for the health and value of their staff who are human beings but driven like machines, valuable humans as much as their customers are, than I question the motif of their business.

Sure Pret pays a little more, gives more holiday, puts on elaborate parties etc. and now even giving £1000 incentive to retain and gain staff, but if Pret wouldn’t give more incentives and benefits they would hardly have anyone working for them, as the job is WAY too stressful and harsh. Even if you are bereaved, you are not safe and are tricked and trapped as you have learned my story. I used to be an enthusiastic person, working highly motivated, and I am not an old person, but I feel like I am in my 70s, ready to call it a day. My old self is gone after my brother died with the added turmoil in Pret.

Quote: “And that is hugely important to an enormous number of people. That’s how they’re able to process as many people as they do. Sure, they have a lot of people on anyone time, but they’re still making good profit, they’re still making 11-12% each year in terms of Net profit. So, their business model is pretty sound. But they value people’s time.”

Again, they value people’s money, and time IS money, as you word it perfectly: “they’re able to PROCESS as many people as they do…” Why do I have to think of cattle being lead to mass slaughter when I read the word “process”?!

Quote: “Sure, they have a lot of people on anyone time, but they’re still making good profit”

No, they don’t have “a lot of people” at anyone time, 10 years of working understaffed to maximize profits has had me never ever wanting to work fast again, not to mention not being able to work currently. You may ask, why did you stay so long? Simple, I had a life outside of Pret where I had friends and projects I was passionate about. I was healthy, strong and able to mostly leave the stress at work. My life and personal projects were overriding the stress from work. And in a nutshell I and many people are like frogs that are sitting in a pot of warm water by being lulled in by good PR and where Pret’s CEO calls the company “family”. The PR is the warm water and very slowly the heat is turned up where we don’t realize that we are being cooked alive! I certainly am well over cooked, chewy and tasteless like rubber now. And just like a used and stained Pret paper cup that is of no use anymore, I landed on a pile of rubbish! When my brother died and I was mistreated on top of it, tricked and trapped by HR, they crossed a line, and I was turning ill.

Rubbish Paper Cups2

Quote: “In the world of specialty we haven’t really, really valued our customers’ time. We’ve been very product focused. And as a result, I think we haven’t valued people’s time adequately.

Okay, here is the challenge and my plea: please could you STOP only valuing customers’ pockets and being product focus, and start valuing the staff who make all the products and who are the ones serving customers? Employees who are left behind in this cut throat greedy multi-millionaire business!

Someone please stop this modern-day slavery and stop closing your eyes to what is REALLY behind successful businesses. As a rule of thumb: if it sound too good to be true… it isn’t! Someone, somewhere is always paying the price for this business model you so admire, and it is the majority who pay for the rewards of the few on the top. And if the few only reap the rewards that the many make happen, ask yourself if you really want this kind of business model. If you are on the side of greed, this indeed is very good for you. If you are on the side of most human beings, seeking a fair share in life by contributing with an honest hard working job, this indeed is too good to be true and the cost, the bill will come later. And we all know who’s paying for it.

Quote: “And in doing so, I think we’ve excluded a large number of people, who either value their time very highly or just aren’t willing to invest that kind of time that we ask of them.”

Well, you exclude an even larger number of people who are the staff making this happen, oftentimes at their physical and mental costs.

Quote: “And right now one of the biggest challenges specialty faces is growing its audience. Right now the audience isn’t really growing but the number of Cafes is.”

Yes, unfortunately every business wants a slice of the cake, and the crumbs are dished up by those who break their backs to make that cake.

The biggest challenge is to find a way to stop the greedy ways of the few and to really make their workforce part of the success and with it really leave behind a legacy that shows that businesses can indeed go the right way. As Gandhi so poignantly said: “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

I can only say that when Pret fired me in my ill conduct out of trauma, with their HR tricks while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma, Pret fired me right into activism. My dad has died now and I would have preferred to write a blog on how amazing the company I worked for has treated me in my bereavement and trauma.

Mr. Hoffmann, could you look deeper, please, on what really is behind a successful business model?

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

 

———-

Edit, 22.07.2018: I can imagine that either you have been contacted by Pret or you contacted Pret for an explanation. I can tell you how Pret responds. Pret responds by sweet talking their way out of this and victimizing me into the corner of mental illness (which happened to me while working in Pret during mistreatment in bereavement).

They will lull you in with numbers and their annual staff questionnaire and awards, which is a flawed system because shops cheat by Pret-ending (pardon my word-game, couldn’t help it) to be team members, partaking in the questionnaire answering questions positive. I have declined doing the questionnaire and yet my shop’s result was a 100% participation, even though I didn’t participate in this voluntary questionnaire.

They will have advised you to not respond in the hopes this goes away.

If you or the public want to be lulled in by good PR that is your prerogative. But you and the public won’t be able to say in the future that you didn’t know about the tactics and work conditions in Pret.

I still suffer and at times hold on to mere life not trying to give up, and many others struggle, no matter how sweet the words of Pret’s leadership and HR will be trying to talk their way out of this.

Bullying, and especially bullying bereaved employees is unacceptable and dangerous to people’s lives. I will never be silent again.

Thank you for reading.

————-

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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