3rd Open Letter to Pret Customers (Updated 31.12.2018)

 

hand-1571852__340

 

Since two customer deaths in Pret, with a third nearly fatal, several in hospital and continued warnings regarding labelling and cross contamination, customers seem to raise more issues via Twitter, even though these issues always existed. More customers seem to feel bolder to publicly complain about poor products and service.

Understandably.

I am writing from my experience having worked in Pret for 10 years. After 7 years I lost my brother and was bullied on top of my bereavement from my line managers and area managers (OPs) under the watchful eye of HR. I was a Team Leader and a very good one. No, I’m not floating my own boat, I just know how well I performed, know the feedback I received from colleagues, customers and Mystery Shoppers on my leadership and my teams. I had to go so low to even keep Mystery Shopper reports because one area manager was targeting me for 6 months straight while I was in my first year of bereavement and in extreme trauma, but on autopilot. Even during the darkest times I received good comments from customers, while my line manager under the guidance of this area manager (and HR) tried everything to get rid of me. Every little comment on my service when it wasn’t the best was used, every tiny mistake I found myself in the office or called out via group emails… For my protection I started collecting the positive Mystery Shopper and regular customer comments. And it helped. But it was sad to have to do this.

One card I received about 9 months after my brother died and I was in hell emotionally, but the customers didn’t know the inner state I was in, this card helped me out of dark pits at times when my managers were looking for the smallest issues. This dark time felt like I was going through an emotional war zone, being shot at from different angles, stumbling through a mine field, where I would never know when the next blow comes. And then out of the blue I received this card with £20 inside, but the customers did not know my traumatic bereavement and the added ordeal in Pret.

I read the card later after closing time in the office and just sobbed:

 

pk-customer-card-aug-2015-aldgateeast_smudged.jpg

 

 

Some excerpts from Mystery Shoppers where either I served the MS as my name was mentioned as the server, or I was the responsible Team Leader for the shift, having trained and supervised my teams when the MS visited. Every excerpt is from a different MS visit, different time/year and different shops:

 

2012-10-12 MS 2

~~~~~~~~~~

2012-10-12 MS 1

~~~~~~~~~~

MS eye contact

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Other more neutral or difficult comments:

 

MS_Cough

Quote in larger print: “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.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Mystery Shopper poor comments

 

We received a lot of good to neutral comments, and at times fair as well as unfair negative comments. But no matter how well you did, it was never good enough for the line managers. And it didn’t help me from getting more traumatized and held low by insecure “leaders” who are often not well trained, overwhelmed, don’t have people and leadership skills, and easily feel intimidated when they work with Team Members who have skills and emotional intelligence. The Mystery Shopper scores count towards the biggest chunk of the managers’ bonuses, so managers were never happy unless it was a 100% perfect score, every time. One tiny point missing and the team got a telling off in the kitchen until I drew the line and said enough is enough!

I cannot describe how discouraging it is but you just kept going until you broke and many left.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Dear Pret Customer and Mystery Shopper,

much of the issues with the quality of products, missing ingredients, low portions, cross contamination, lack of smiles from staff and rude staff even… a lot these are boiled down to labour being cut to maximize profits, staff calling sick or leaving as they can’t take it anymore, including managers throwing in the towel and leaving without notice (or were fired).

Yes, rude service is unacceptable. But from my experience as a former Team Leader (by the way I was fired just when my dad came out of a coma still in intensive care, but I share this in another post), but as a Team Leader I have had some challenging Team Members, especially Baristas who often work with an electrified temperament, as they have to get the coffees out fast. But when you treat your team with respect, support them, encourage them as well as making clear where the boundaries are, they mirror that because they feel respected.

Team Members are over stressed by team leaders and managers who often prefer to sit in the office having a chat while the teams sweat it out in the kitchen and shop floor. As a Team Leader I was out with my team helping them, encouraging them, while also working to the highest standards. But I didn’t leave them abandoned while sitting unnecessarily in the office as many “leaders” like to do.

 

During my traumatic bereavement, trying to improve work conditions I would write in to Pret repeatedly, which later turned into ill emailing which I explain extensively why this happened in this blog entry. But I’d write in to Clive Schlee, CEO if he could do what Pret calls a “Buddy Day” where staff from HQ work for 1 day per year in a Pret shop in order to get a glimpse on how stressful working in shops is. The idea is great on paper, but HQ staff mostly come in at 8 or 9am, start their “shift” with breakfast, fiddle around on their mobile phones during the shift, especially if they are higher up in their positions. Managers and Leaders kiss their butt and don’t dare to ask them to leave their phones in the locker like all the other staff are required to. The Manager and Team Members behave very well, suddenly treat all staff respectfully and calm until the HQ staff is gone. And then the usual stress continues.

I suggested to the CEO for the HQ staff to come in and start their shift at 5am ready in uniform like the rest of the team. Pret A Traviller, ready to get their hands dirty, their fingernails cracked and their backs broken, just like the regular shop staff. And I suggested for Clive Schlee to do a Buddy-Day himself, preferably in a shop where no-one knows that he is the CEO, except of course the GM knows.

Schlee likes to do his rounds in the shops and all the staff and managers get nervous and who-haa around him and his delegate, because the big boss is around. I asked myself often how much Schlee and the senior leadership enjoy staff ducking down like this, and kissing butt. I always cringed when the big bosses were around and the managers were suddenly super nice. I usually went the other way not wanting to be part in this hypocritical game. I preferred to stay with my team with whom I worked shoulder to shoulder from early morning on. What do I want with the big bosses who make their millions on our backs, walking around like celebrities! Give me a break!

 

Before and after the big bosses and “Buddies” were around the usual tone was this:
“The training should be more about encouraging people than shouting and shaming them. … it has been the most stressful job I have had in a couple of years.” (Staff Review)

 

My own story is spread throughout this website and will turn into a chronological book as it is quite complex and has involved the heart of Pret, HQ, HR, the CEO, and most disgracefully, a Development Manager who was used to manipulate and gaslight me. She was used because she supposedly had a brother who died alone in his flat and was not discovered until days later, just like my brother was. But this complex story is in several other blog posts.

But I want to share again about my former colleagues and how much they struggle and suffer under immense pressure, underpaid, “motivated” under fear management, openly or subtly threatened with their job security etc. I’ve been through it all and more, and have seen this countless times. Sure, the pay is a little more and some other perks are thrown in than in competitive companies, but that is because the work in Pret is hellish! And Pret cannot afford to pay minimum wage as staff would not stay long.

 

Some customers are quick to tweet, quick to come to conclusion, quick to judge, but have no clue how hellish it is behind the scenes, especially before opening time while the teams get the shops ready in a very short amount of time and little manpower. And not to mention the coffee and lunch rushes that are visible, and all the pressures in-between that the customers don’t see. They work like for 2 or 3 people as Pret loves to cut staff to increase profits. The pressure is on managers to make sure the targets are reached, so they can get their huge bonuses and slaps on the back in huge managers’ meetings.

CEO, Clive Schlee’s special technique for these managers’ meetings, from 0:39 on, is to recognize a few out of hundreds of managers by making sure they are aware he knows them, a clever strategy to keep his managers in check, so they always feel watched, not only from the hidden camera in the offices. They are all nervous to see if they will be picked!

And that is why he has no excuse on how the shops are run by harsh managers and the teams that struggle and suffer under immense stress and mistreatment. He knows, he is aware, but he is not concerned to have a truly “happy” workforce, but only the facade of a smiley culture to have rising profits under what many experience as “Modern-day Slavery“. He also knew about two customer deaths and plenty of allergy reactions and complaints, but no concern there.

A blunt review from a former IT Analyst from HQ:

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Link

 

Managers and Leaders love to sit in the office and just come out to shout at Team Members. Sure, you will think that you are a paying customer,  and yes you deserve the best product, the best service, a safe environment and just plainly a good time. But why would you expect from others what you could and never would give yourself. Smiling for 8, 9, 12+ hours straight in a high intense, ungrateful and unrealistic environment. I wrote it in another blog post, breaking it down for the reader, that I myself easily dealt with around 800-1000+ people EVERY DAY from customers on the tills, by the fridges, on the phone, even during my break and my teams and bosses.

And customers want to believe the facade that staff are happy. And dare they not smile after having just come out of the coffee rush where they may have served around 300 people within 2 – 3 hours straight! In the heat, where the air conditioning doesn’t work well! Without being allowed to drink water behind the counter and during service! Where they have to listen with a smile, small-talk, complimenting customers while also listening to the barista behind them shouting at them to grab the coffee! Where Team Members have the task via the Mystery Shopper to have the coffee ready in a minute from the time the customer orders, serve the customer within 1 minute of them joining the queue, clear and clean tables within a minute of customers leaving their seats! Checking the toilets, checking the fridges that no items are missing for the Mystery Shopper so as not to lose bonus and get in trouble with the boss!

Team Members who often have to chase their pay as the managers often “forget” to pay them the correct amount of hours worked…

Yes, you can easily say why they do this job and should find another one. I used to think like this when I experienced bad customer service or saw unhappy faces of restaurant staff. But it isn’t that simple just because I may be in a pleasant job with a good reward at that time. Many customers look down at the Teams, because they are fast-food workers. First of all this arrogance will eventually catch up on people. Secondly, many staff members in the kitchens and shops have degrees.

I worked with a person from Finland who has a PhD, another from Spain who is a lawyer but her degree was not accepted of course as British law is different. I worked with a colleague who is from a small town in Brazil and used to be the secretary to the mayor of that town. Another Brazilian lady was a bank manager in her town. Many are artists, musicians, IT people. I myself am a writer and have published a book in 2013 etc. etc. etc.

Whatever the reason is that people work in these stressful jobs, one thing is reality, that many have to feed kids, pay bills, University or plainly need a fast job to concentrate on their real passion in life, be it art, studying, writing etc.

And even just working and going home to watch TV all night, to shrug the shoulder and say that people should just leave if it’s so hard is very ignorant and arrogant to be blunt! Because most people don’t give a toss how employees are treated until they themselves are treated like crap! My approach is for the employers to change their attitude and greed and really be fair in the light where Clive Schlee pockets £30 Million. I’ve been writing about this since May 2018, before the press got interested because of the deaths.

Staff get their peanuts and get broken. I already confronted Pret on this and will continue to confront them on a staff suicide last year. I almost ended my life, others become depressed if not suicidal and the mental, emotional and physical strain is immense.

My plea dear Pret Customer is for you to pause and think if this is really such a “happy” environment. And I only scratched the surface. Maybe one day I will go hour by hour to talk you through an average day in a shop and kitchen. But I’m sure most people don’t want to know.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Some of your Tweets, dear customers.

Most of you customers who quickly tweet publicly without having spoken to the shop staff first, don’t know how many times I at least left work, especially during bereavement being bullied and went straight to the bridge. And I know others who have become suicidal, depressed, discouraged and don’t care anymore.

 

Some Tweets from recently:

 

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

Link to Tweet

 

UPDATE 31.12.2018 Another customer who just runs to Twitter naming the staff member. I have no respect for these kinds of people anymore. They don’t even give a reason for the complaint and can’t get their spell check and hashtags right, but naming hardworking people in public. God knows what the staff member is going through…

 

2018-12-31 Customer calling staff name for rude service2

Link

 

 

02 Customer Complaint

Link

 

 

 

03 Customer Complaint

Link to Tweet

 

 

A customer who has no boundaries to call hard-working people the C-Word:

 

PretBehaviour01a

 

 

 

A customer, instead of asking shop staff if they could turn down the volume has to tweet his annoyance publicly in a tone where Pret even apologizes regardless:

 

PretBehaviour02a

 

 

 

 

04 Customer Complaint

Link

 

 

 

01 Customer Complaint

Link

 

etc.

Reasons for all these complaints:

Selected Staff Reviews

Substantial but not exhaustive List of Complaints

 


 

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.

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.

 

Jonathan Perkins – Pret’s Director of Risk-Taking & Complacency

 

UPDATE:

When I wrote the first sentence that Natasha isn’t the only fatality in Pret, I did not know that a second customer, Celia Marsh had died in December 2017. I did ask Pret on 30.09.2018 how many more there are and included it here on the 30th, but with the other fatality I meant a suicide of staff I keep confronting Pret about.

 


 

Blog Entry:

 

Natasha’s death is not the only fatality in Pret.

Pret’s Director of Risk & Compliance, or more appropriately, Risk-Taking & Complacency, having known of 9 complaints regarding sesame in products, especially the Artisan Baguette BEFORE Natasha died from it.

…walking ahead, strolling on the pavement in this VIDEO casually with his hands in his pockets as if nothing ever happened. Maybe the lady to the right behind him “ventriloquized” for him to take his hands out of his pockets for the cameras, as he briefly looked to his right, and then repositioning himself moving out of view of the camera. Nothing to worry about, because Clive Schlee does what he does best, sweet-talking Pret out of every mess! This one as well?! Certainly very impressive performance two years after Natasha’s death!

I find it also interesting that the CEO’s senior staff and lawyers stood far off on the other side of the street instead of close behind him, covering his back while he faces the public via the press. If Clive Schlee decided or was advised to face the press alone, while Mr. Perkins and legal advisors coward behind him out of view of the camera, with him later also walking alone through the mine field of the press, only he knows. But it shows what I experienced in Pret for 10 years, there is no “one for all and all for one” principle in Pret, the “family” illusion that Clive Schlee loves to portrait has always annoyed me, as the reality is Pret being a brutal and dishonest profit driven company, or a very dysfunctional family at best, breaking down as the mask is falling and the public starts to see the true face.

 

Jonathan Perkins gave a very poor response in the inquest which not only has many people perplex but angry:

Quote from this news report: “I accept that a number of individuals have had a negative experience, even a tragic experience, but thousands of customers and allergy sufferers shop with us safely.”

He might as well have said: ‘…a number of individuals have had a negative experience, even a tragic experience, but thousands of customers and allergy sufferers balance on the rope of potential allergic reactions without falling off‘.

Let’s just blame the law and the shops, shall we, and disgracefully Natasha herself? If you as the reader is blaming Natasha and her family, please go away from my website, buy yourself a coffee in Pret and stay lulled in from the PR(et) facade! Just click my website away, I don’t want your audience! I am not writing for you!

 

Perkins completely disregards a person’s death AND 9 previous complaints (with 1 also almost fatal) to thousands of customers who mingle their way through the dangers of allergic reactions due to lack of labeling! The lack of labeling is still happening TODAY (29.09.2018) as a friend just wrote to me having visited Pret on the weekend checking the labels.

Perkins further says after being asked what he has learned from Natasha’s death: “The father in me would want to change everything. I would give anything for this not to have happened. We try to do our best for our customers, but humans are fallible. Despite our best efforts and intentions we will get things wrong.”

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

 

This response not only angers many people including me, but it shows the core of Pret’s repeated negligence, and in my opinion plain arrogance in how they deal with many issues, not even putting on the brakes regarding life and death issues. For one, he had to admit due to Pret’s complaint logs, that he knew of the 9 previous complaints before Natasha died, but NOTHING was done! The father in him would want to change everything?? He missed a minimum of 9 opportunities to change EVERYTHING! And to excuse a death and negligence with just being human and fallible is outrageous and sickening, especially since Pret expects perfection from their shop staff and penalize employees easily for the smallest mistakes, mainly blaming downwards!! I survived being penalized and bullied even during traumatic bereavement.

Jonathan Perkins walking with his hands in his pockets, not taking responsibility, not resigning but hiding behind Clive Schlee from the camera’s view speaks volumes of Pret’s core values of “doing the right thing naturally”.

“It’s what makes Pret, Pret”!

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

Heartbroken for Natasha and her family!

 

The self-assured and patronizing response from Clive Schlee, CEO to an open letter in 2015 will also shed enough light behind the shiny PR(et) facade that gets more and more cracks by the public exposure of the fact that people, customers as well as staff, get hurt physically and mentally:

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_2

 

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_2

Link to Tweet

 

 

For him as the CEO to personally reply was supposed to impress Alicia? Well, it didn’t!

Last sentence in his response, quote: “Is there anything else that you would specifically like [u]s to do?”

Yes, RESIGN Clive Schlee!!

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Former IT Analyst’s employment review

 

 

Maybe Pret can learn from London’s Royal Festival Hall café. I used to chuckle when I ordered a coffee before a concert when I saw this sign of a “Honey NUT Tart” visibly loaded with nuts and the price tag saying: “Contains Nuts”! I thought it funny and made this photo, but now I don’t laugh anymore! Apologies to all allergy sufferers! The RAH’s diligence makes sense now! And this photo I made as far back as 2013 or 2014.

 

2014-07-21 Contains Nuts RFH

 

 

Heartbroken for Natasha’s family, who like all people who have lost loved ones due to neglect in unnecessary and avoidable deaths, say that they hope Natasha’s death will lead to change and save lives.

I join that hope, but I also hope that the top leadership of Pret resign or get dismissed and prosecuted, mainly because of the high and unattainable standards they expect of their staff, while themselves hiding behind a facade and their millions and hurting people. I myself have given Pret the benefit of the doubt one too many times while I was bullied, gaslighted, manipulated and ultimately dismissed during bereavement with my dad in intensive care, just out of a coma.

Pret does NOT care for people nor the health of customers and staff alike until caught publicly. The time has to come that the top leadership are called out to take responsibility away from the sweet-talking slogans they are so effectively known for.

To quote only part of one staff review (Clicking on “Show More” to see full review):
“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.

That makes two voices already… And since news of Natasha’s death broke, more positive reviews seem to appear in support of Schlee and Pret. It doesn’t matter how many rally around the CEO and the company, a person died, others were hospitalized and suffered scary reactions to products.

How many more have died that we don’t know about if Natasha’s death that happened in 2016 just comes to light now? How many died of food allergies or staff by suicide that is under the carpet?

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

Nothing further to say, hey!

That’s not for today… I’ve made my statement”

When is the day, Clive Schlee, when, with you being “deeply” sorry for Natasha’s death two YEARS after she died because this is public now? When is the day?

 

 

Dear Clive Schlee,

could you please stop the PR(et) machine, put on the brakes and truly live up to your slogans to do “meaningful” change? Could you please bring real change for customers’ lives as well as for staff?

Your demands and slogans towards staff to “go the extra mile”, “strive for perfection”, and the most ridiculous of all, Pret “doing the right thing naturally” will always come back to haunt you. I know neither staff nor yourself can live up to micro-managing and fear managing slogans you have had in place for too long. Changing those would be a good start.

You calling me your “late light girl” two months before I was dismissed while my dad just came out of his coma in intensive care, knowing how I suffered during bereavement under your and HR’s leadership, or the lack thereof (!), almost losing my life as well, staff suffering… and you still do business as usual!

You are no “undercover boss” who is oblivious on what’s going on in your company, you are present in Pret like no other CEO. You are very very aware of what is happening inside and outside of Pret. There is no excuse of the suffering of PEOPLE, of customers and staff alike.

Unless you truly change the slogans, the labeling and other health & safety issues, including mental health & safety not just “on paper”, starting by having enough staff on the shop floor instead of cutting labour to increase your millions, as well as having real and more than adequate training in place… until you truly live what you preach this will keep happening and the crack in your PR(et) facade will widen.

Please step out of the shoes of the likes of McDonald’s, Amazon & Co.

Pret is still small and intimate enough to make a real change that wouldn’t be just “meaningful” but life-saving as well as enhancing physical and mental health!

Please heed. Please change direction, sir, or resign and make way for a CEO who would truly care for all people’s lives (customer and staff alike), for their physical and mental health.

Sincerely,

Your Late Night Girl!

 

P.S. And dear Pret, could you please NOT task anyone to contact me, as a former team leader colleague of mine whom I used to highly respect, until I learned of his lies, called and then texted me two days ago, whereas in over three years I haven’t heard from him and him having lied in an investigation hearing that I raised because I was bullied by our then line manager. I immediately asked him to not contact me again and go back to Pret to which he replied that he contacted me “by mistake”. Of course, he did! Please, you should know by now, especially after gaslighting me via this person, that I won’t fall for your toxic and corrupt HR department’s tricks anymore. Thank you!

 

Selected Quotes of Pret Staff Complaints.

Comprehensive, but not exhaustive list of Staff Complaints.

 


 

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.

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.

 

Song of the Day #1 – “Don’t Pick a Fight

 

With A Poet”

— Madeleine Peyroux

 

bird-feather-2505307_960_720

 

I re-wrote the lyrics
— Late Night Girl

When you’re working in a chain,
where your bosses give you pain,
make you want to start a big fight,
’cause they talk as if they’re so right.
There is one thing to remember,
in case you haven’t heard:
You can sack another staff member,
but you cannot smite a word.

 

So, don’t pick a fight with a poet.
Don’t hide behind your PR.
Whether it’s wrong or it’s right,
there’s a lesson in life,
and to learn it, you need to listen up,
cause staff’s had enough of this crap.
When you treated me so poor,
I almost died but I came through,
and you want to prove me all wrong,
you think you are so strong.
You can try to make them listen.

You used to be my boss,
but the survivor is the one
who recovers from their loss.
So, don’t pick a fight with a griever.
Don’t corrupt the hearings for our gain.
Whether it is wrong or it’s right,
there’ll be a lesson tonight,
and to learn it keep turning the page,
’cause a poet knows, that ink will never age.
Over here on the screen with a Customer’s grin
making rhyme out of broken lives
cryin’ the hymn.
And memories from good times,
clicking away free coffees and treats,
congregating the world
with a keyboard and tweets.
Don’t pick a fight with a traumatized person.
Don’t raise your voice against them.
Once they have nothing to lose,
there’s only truth to choose,
and to accept it, you’ll have to return,
to the basics of kindness to win … again.

 

 

Doing the Late Night Girl Thing Naturally!

 

©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.

 

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.

 


 

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.

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, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

Pret A Manger Staff Complaints

 

When customers who are so impressed with Pret because they only see the outside, the facade through the PR[et] machine, they ask Pret about these complaints and then are too easily sweet-talked into believing that this is just an unfortunate exception. But the truth will always come to the surface, no matter how long it takes.

I have chosen to do this public because I suffered so much and almost lost my life. I do this publicly for my own protection.

I wasted close to 10 years of my life in Pret! It is my biggest regret.

 

 

If you want to skip this long intro, scroll down until the red writing, and below it click on any of the many staff complaints I linked from outside Employment Review websites.

 

This is one major reason, but not the only one why there are so many complaints: Bridgepoint Capital. With the new JAB takeover, it will get even worse unless Pret radically changes their approach to the work conditions, and a £1000 fix won’t do it in the long-run, it is just an incentive to lure new workers in and retain current staff.

In the end, when nothing worked to make me resign because my grief was in the way of Pret’s business and my suggestions to improve work conditions was an inconvenience. When nothing worked (bullying, threats, file notes…) Pret used a Development Manager from HQ who also is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, both that can be very dangerous tools in manipulating people, and they used it well. This development manager supposedly lost her brother similarly to how I lost mine and that way they used her to get to me, stepping on her as well as my dignity.

On a side note, she is governed under this therapy body who have a commitment right on their front page that I have not seen on other therapy sites: “Our accredited Register status helps to ensure the safety and protection of the public.” I find this  odd, as if they have therapists who are not working for the safety and protection of the public. This Development Manager who is also a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner certainly is not adhering to safety and protection.

I became suicidal and ill. I was tricked and trapped again and again by management and HR, and my ill emailing out of trauma, having started to drink, I was fired while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma. I declined 4 settlement offers not signing anything and survived to speak of the ordeal I went through. This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally” as their HR department, and Pret in general claims.

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

I want to “let” others speak as well, complaints from even recently on employment review websites, YouTube, Twitter and other sites in the long list below.

 

Complaints from current and former staff members and managers, you can “blindly” click on ANY link below at RANDOM and it will read the SAME in a nutshell, at different times/years, from different positions: Discrimination, horrible, biased and incapable management, overworked, not paid for overtime, favouritism shown to own country-men etc…. Pret has extremely good PR in place and is sweet-talking their way out of this or post their “good deeds” online to cover up what really goes on behind the scenes, when customers contact Pret regarding these Staff Complaints.

 


 

The first person ever to stand up publicly against Pret’s terrible work-conditions was Andrej Stopa. I am the second, and in time more people will stand up.

 

 

 

In my own way to cope with this be it sarcastically or with humour to get away from the seriousness and pain, I take a complaint from below’s list and put them daily as “Quotes of the Day” on my blog and collect them HERE, to stress the point how toxic Pret’s work environment is, and how it is hurting people hidden behind the shiny PR(et) facade.

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! And also 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 profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out. Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews. In my 10 years in Pret I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 were decent, fair and caring, not to mention hard working. The majority I worked with are immature, discriminating, bullying, insecure, complacent and oftentimes incapable due to lack of training.

True reviews will always continue be written 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.

 

One quote from a former barista in Pret NYC mentions that every shop they have worked in, it is the same story re: bad management, favouritism etc. And it really is, also in London, UK: “I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”

Another review also from NY: “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 …” And I can verify this even in London, and I have worked with more than a dozen managers! Only 2 of them were exceptional and good, but it is the sad exception even now in 2018 as my experience and the below reviews show.

On the subject of missing pay and overtime not being paid as I have experienced as well in 10 years countless times that I had to chase missing pay from managers. This was draining and a job in itself.

Pret staff in the UK and elsewhere should do the same as Pret staff in the USA have done, go to court to reclaim missing pay: Pret A Manger settles overtime wage claims of 4000 employees!

You can click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay, discrimination etc.

 


 

I did not correct any mistakes in the below reviews to keep it in their own words.

 


 

Start of the long list of staff complaints / reviews:

 

Get ready to lick so many a***es to advance
Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.

 


 

NEW 01. Nov. 2018 NY “horrible managementmanagement is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.

 


 

NEW 30. Oct. 2018 NY “Go back to the UK, PretI have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience

 


 

“Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake. … push you to be more and more quickly treat you like a robot not a human being … Dumb and bossy staff members….” Review from 27. June 2018

 


Review on YouTube towards the bottom beginning of July 2018 from RPQ who now changed the name to Branzinotito, quote:
“I used to work for Pret. What a truly brutal nightmare is was. Horrible company.”

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

Same comment, new name:

2018-07-24 RPQ now Branzinotito comment on James Hoffmann video

 


 

 

I am an ex GM. I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.” (Full review in the picture below.)

 

The “certain venture capitalist firm” this Ex-GM is talking about is Bridgepoint who set the immense target since the 2008 purchase of increasing shops by 15% per year and were set to make a seven times return on their investment in 2018. It is “deal hungry” JAB’s turn now to take the baton from Bridgepoint and squeeze even further the life out of staff. Good luck Pret employees!

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 


 

 

Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had … lots of stress … under payed … long hours/ short brakes … terrible management … really unflexible schedule.”

 


 

 

My initial comments to James Hoffmann’s video and his response, which are still not released but only visible when I am logged in to my YT account. I wrote an Open Letter to James Hoffmann because my comments weren’t visible, otherwise I wouldn’t have written one. He still hasn’t responded and just briefly recognized it via Twitter, as I have a hunch that he might have contacted or has been contacted by Pret who may have sweet-talked their way out of this again, as “PR”et is very efficient for the outside facade:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1a

 

 


 

 

Unfairly dismissed Worker was unfairly dismissed, became homeless, lost his relationship, slept in his car for a few weeks. 

 

Unfairly dismissed Flawed HR Hearings and Appeal’s Hearings.

 

Dismissed for starting a Union.

 


 

 

A review regarding Pret’s Head Office from a former IT ANALYST!

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

 


 

 

A review from a former Purchasing Director in Pret NYC.

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

2017-02-28 NYC ODD A Manger

 


 

 

Quote Pret #20 Terrible Company

Quote: “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…”

This, dear New York Employee, is because like you already mentioned that there is no training in leadership and employee relations. I have had over a dozen managers, and even more managers I’ve worked with when I helped out in other branches for a few days. In my 10 years in Pret there were only 2 of them that had people and leadership skills, one of which is this wonderful person, who’s also proven that a manager can be nice, hard working and still be really successful, as she was often at the top (#1, 2 etc.) out of all the shops.
Also, Pret pays a little more than the competition and gives incentives, more holiday, bits and pieces here and there, because if they won’t give more they would have no one wanting to work in Pret as Pret is just way too stressful and hard work. To me, the hard work was not so much the issue, the issue was the UNNECESSARY bullshit = bullying and discrimination. And for Pret to dare bully me while I was going through extreme trauma with the loss of my brother and all the tricks and traps I could not clearly see until later, you bet I will speak about this openly no matter what they come up with next.

 


 

 

A former Manager’s review:

“I am an ex GM [General Manager] … I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs [Team Members] to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.”

12 Blogger dot comCROP

Source, scrolling down to the comments.

 


 

 

James Ashword video comment by Hailey Hyein Lee

From YouTube ca. February 2018

 


 

 

Perat A Manger London video comment by Budai Andrea

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by justineyouloulou

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by Logic 2000

From YouTube 2008 this was before Pret became increasingly and intensely bullying But it has always been difficult, but since the 2008 Bridgepoint takeover, it became more systemic bullying as Pret was tasked and pressured to open more and more shops fast on almost every corner in London at least. I won’t point out who, but in the video is one person I later worked with, who became a GM later (I worked with them when they were AM) and is one of the rare people/GMs being good to their TMs.

 


 

 

The idea of proper training is also rediculousMost people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough and expected to reach TM* productivity levels within the first few weeks with hardly any proper training.”

Throughout all my time in Pret I have mentioned the lack of training again and again and again and did my utmost best to train my teams even though many of my managers tried to stop me because I was investing time in my teams, but managers wanted me and teams to just be busy on the tills and in the kitchen… Training hardly exists in Pret. Development Managers are just doing their 9-5, Mon – Fri job, not being bothered if what they train is even implemented in the shops! There is a huge chasm between HQ and shops, no matter how much “PR”et is trying to convince otherwise!

 


 

 

“I’ve learned a Lot!…” “Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union! so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”


 

Pret A Manger Logo “If you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for Pret”Being made to feel incompetent. Worked into the ground without empathy. Managers treat staff like idiots. The image of the happy enviroment is a joke. It would be good for the BBC or Dispatches to go under cover and work in a shop for a week to show the world what really goes on behind the scenes.” – Welcome to the Club and my website! You are not even safe when you grief the loss of a brother!


 

“fire the HR staff”

and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate … Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR” <– (This review is as recent as 12. June 2018! I have my own extensive experience with the Pret HR dept. as the Head of HR said that I “Exhausted the HR department”. Sorry about that @ Head of HR, but as a Tribunal Judge already ruled that your hearings are “fundamentally flawed” I can more than verify this after raising grievance after grievance that were NOT conducted fairly and impartially).


 

First review 4 months before this review underneath. 

“Interesting comments. My husband now works for pret and is being treated so badly by his area manager. I am astounded that they can get away with it. It seemed like such a nice place to work but it’s like some kind of sect… ”

My response: they get away with it because it is systemic and they are trained to treat staff like this, for more and more profit.

— 4 months later: —

“Further to my previous comment [scrolling up above this review] about my husband having problems with his area manager. They stitched him up good and proper and fired him…this was done in such a way that they found a couple of things to hang him on which wouldn’t normally result in him being sacked. They clearly did all of this because he was going to put in a grievance against his area manager for bullying (he was talked out of this and thought it had all smoothed over) and then wham! The company disgusts me – how they could treat an employee with a wife and 2 small children like that I don’t know. The management of this company are pure evil.”

 


 

 

Response to above review:

“Regarding the area manager, yeah they just sit on their fat bums all day, and email on their phones or look at stupid graphs. End of the day its about increasing sales, meeting targets and reducing labour. They will always cover there own backs first, to watch there bonuses, and not care about the workers.

Alot of managers i have met, are complete arrogant snobs, that know nothing about even running a store, yet alone trying to explain things to you, they sit on there high throne, and blah blah blah things.”

 

pexels-photo-262218

 

“Please get the bullies out” “Forced to work without pay, … bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, descrimination …


 

“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” … “I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.


 

Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”

 


 

“Hellhole … you treat people like they’re useless and worthlessget down from that high horse you’re on”

 


 

“Poor … Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation.”

Poorly trained management Too much dependency on skillful employees.”

“Squandered opportunities” “Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”

“”rude behaviour at the workplace (kitchen manager shouting at everybody)”

“Pure Misery … kitchen staff is treated like slavesThe upper management is a bunch of heartless

“Overworked and Aweful Managers everyone complains how much they hate this job”

“If you want to follow the company standards, you need to have enough labor. Do not kill your employees.”

“Workers are slave Very bad management. They treat you like a slave. You have zero value for them. They don’t recognize your effort

extremely rude co workers, unprofessional management, not properly trained however expected to know what you’re doing and smile while doing it.

Would not recommend … Managers do not care about they team. Never get 2 days off in a row. Practice favoritism”

“Hell job for minimum salary.”

Bad management who talk to staff rudely, and yet don’t do their jobs properly

“even when you are having a bad day you must smile” Not just on a bad day, even during traumatic bereavement!

do not give power to irresponsible people

“Stressful and dominating … Supervisors/Team Leaders treat you like a slave”

“It’s a trap” “listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

“Head Office” “People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.

“Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics.”Favoritism with managementNo integrityA lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo.

“The brainwash is real”The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. Especially towards female staff members. A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period. Advice to Management: Get some proper training regarding real people skills.” (Absolutely true!)

“Bad jobs for sometimes good people” “Advice to Management: Good luck with Brexit!” … (Well, that’s why this is happening: Pret is giving £1000 to each employee now)

“… Team Leader … Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability” True about the Mystery Shopper! But even if you do well with the Misery Shopper (yes MISERY Shopper!) as I did again and again for years, I never gotten rewarded other than the usual bonus, even during bereavement doing really well, no mention. But the moment a few points are lost, hell breaks loose!

“Managementhas no clue how to manage people

“Very demanding … Nothing you do there is appreciated “… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Advice to Management: Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.

“Not kitchen, food factory” “Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.” 

“Horrible training, too many lies” “Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Advice to Management: Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.

 

Robot sad crop

 

“Toxic, low class, unprofessional culture … upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore. … Terrible management training program” really unprofessional and have very low management skills.

“Advice to Management: Treat people like human beings“”

“Worst place..” “Advice to Management: Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”

“Worst first day experience” “Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star. …Lies about family team vibes… They don’t recruit you for your work ethic…”

“Slavery hasn’t been abolished!”

“Most of the managers are really difficult, they forgot where they come from”, please treat the people as human beings, We know the profit and your career are important but you don’t have to be rude.”

“Worst company to work for”managers are always working with fear … Advice to Management: 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.” (And I thought I was tough with my critique!)

Very hard work … No support and respect from Manager

“The worst job I’ve had in London” “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!” (Yes, I was bullied during bereavement and tricked and trapped via HR, high five!)

I have asked for several transfers to other shops due to management. Either a manager was extremely “lazy”, un-supportive, but gave the team a hard time when things didn’t go well, or another manager was like a tyrant, constantly threatening the team & individuals with & giving file notes for the smallest things. Ops Managers either aren’t aware of it, mostly being concerned with mystery shopper results for their own bonuses or not bothering about how the team is “motivated”.”

 

“You are of course right, hiring happy people is only a part of the solution. If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently).”

My response: I lost my brother and in my bereavement was NOT asked “gently” what’s up, I was bullied, targeted, tricked and trapped by Pret’s HR dept. to get me out and ultimately fired while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. So, here I am again having survived to tell my story as “gently” as possible collecting all these reviews from other sites.

 

pexels-photo-278303

 

Pret A M*ffin “…team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt

Pret A Robot “People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings

Pret A JokeYou have a limited time to do your job everyday but this time limit is a joke. they give me the next rota just the day before the week starts.

Pret A Nothingdidn’t learn nothing as i have things to give to that shop as i came with lots of experience and skills.

Red A Manager “their [managers] personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”

Pret A Unhappy If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently)”

Trap A Manger “It’s a trap! … Huge stress. Never stops.Shouting all around. … Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

Pret A Unpaid “Very unfair company”

Pret A ScreamOne of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were having fun and smile at all times.

Pret A Managerthe staff are great the guys who do the real work. The management suck

Pret A No RespetarLos managers son penosos“, “un horror!!” “desastrosa” and “todo… no tiempo libre, no respeto..”

“When the job takes over your life”

“Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. … Advise to Management: Respect your team…”

“Brainwashed sandwich making”

“Fun but stressful, not worht it”

“Busy job”

“pret a manger”

“… hot chef…” (Hot Chef in Pret shops is the hardest job!)

“barista”

“Too Much Pressure”

“Really working at Pret” (“Advice to Management: quit”)

“Team Leader”

“Sometimes long shifts due to lack of people. Advise to management: take care of workers.”

“too much work. Poor leadership

“Minimum Salary for everyday smiling”

My response: Yes, even smiling while going through trauma, dare you not smile when you just lost a loved one!

 

emoji-happy-thumbs-upSIDE Down

 

“Good but not perfect”management should do their jobs

“Never ever!” I hate all manager…”

NOTE: I don’t agree with the racism here! But the trend of complaints about management and leadership should be clear.

“Hot Chef Advice to Management: Be human. It’s not your own business.”

My response: That’s what I said once to a line manager who told us leaders that if we don’t like it in “his” shop to f*** off, I replied that he is also only employed by Pret, he does not own “his” shop!

“Brain wash, Control, Never stop…” “Cons: Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Advice to Management: Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!”

“Assistant Manager Respect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

My response: easily said when they immediately threaten with Note of Concerns, disciplinary and job security!

“…also has a motto: FIFO or Fit In or Fu*k Off. I always got the impression that Pret was actually a free-thinking company…but perhaps they are becoming too large too and need to do the conforming thing.

 

silhouette-2480321__340

 

“high rated company”

“Pret A Manger Reality”

“Ok job…” (“Atmosphere was horrible at times. … Don’t overload your staff.”)

“Good jobs for good people” (“Look after your people and figures will look after themselves.”) Amen!!

“Will be leaving soon”

“Overworked environment”

“Not much training” True! I had to train myself most of the time.

“It was fine” “… lots of micromanaging”

“Favouratism”

“Barista” another

“Team Member”

“Cliquey environment…”

“Good jobs for idiots”

“Bad experience” “Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”

“Team Leader” another TL

“TMT”

“Not for British”

“Barista” again “Advise to Management: Train your internal managers better”

“Cool”

“Not for me” “Advise to Management: Don’t be so brainwashed and scared.”

“Not the best place to work”

“Good jobs for part time” “lazy managers high demanding ops”

“Overworked, High expectations, No recognition” “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

“I regret working there (don’t go)” “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends (I was a part timer) was very rude to me , calling me stupid etc. … And I also ”love” how the company itself tries so hard to create this friendly enviroment for the employers by putting these sweet posters around etc. etc. when in reality it is very miserable and stressfull place to work for ! … People working in your company are not robots with smiles on their faces 24/7 !!!”

“Well, unfortunately my post about the harsh treatment at Pret has been removed minutes after appearing here. Censorship. Will find another way to post on the web.”

“yay oy”

“Diverse place”

“place for foreigners young people”

“Good progression tree…” “Management bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often… I would recommend joining a union”

“Team Leader” “Listen to your team” Absolutely!

Pret a Manger “leader use to shout people.”

“Very average”

“Barista-role part time … There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then?”

“Horrible Experience”

“Some of the management are rude or never show up … They always make mistakes like ‘adjust the rota’ resulting in me not being able to work …”

“Disappointing”

“Barista” another one

“My Experience” “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”

“Team Member” “Managers are pain”

“very bad team” “manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office”

“Less than 1 year…”

“No sick pay…”

“Disappointed” another

“Not a good company to work for…”

“Good first job … as foreigner” “Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties … Limited progression career if you’re not in the state of grace of the Head of your working Area … In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position.”

“too much expectations” “management is a joke. numbers are more important than people”

“Eh” “The management is terrible.”

“Demanding. Can be fun” “High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance”

“horrible management, super biased” “super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like even if they don’t know them. … make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell”

“Horrible experience” “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff. – Immature workers – Slave-like environment – Biased behavior – Too strict on simple task. Advice to Management: Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”

“Team Member” “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly shopper. You’ll be running from the basement to the first floor, between tons of customers, and up to the second … ”

 

————————————————————————————————-

 

The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. In fairness to Pret, I left 8 years ago; so this may have improved since but in my experience the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”

My response to this review: This person left in 2008 out of frustration, I started in Pret in 2008 and can only say in all fairness to Pret, that it gotten worse.

 

————————————————————————————————-

 

unskilled managers, racism, bad pay, they take advantage of staff”

“Great company, but will take advantage” “Rude young team members and too many managers in 1 store. Advice to Management: Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians” – My speech for 10 years!

“Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed”

“Team Member” “Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership … Lack of leadership … Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs”

“General Manager” “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones. Advice to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”

“Takes advantage of your kindness”

“cashier / hot chef” “Some managers are very anal! The customer is more important then workers. Advice to Management: Listen to your employers suggestions!!” – (I think they meant “employees”)

“Advice to Management: Be kinder to your employees they are not slaves.”

“The management plays favorites more often than not”

“Great things preacherd, not always practiced” ” If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”

“Pret Graveyard shift” “Terrible hours and poor management and training some people…”

“over worked” “hours are constantly changing … team members are constantly training themselfs”

“management talks to you with little respect.”

“Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. … Paperwork is excessive at times. Advice to Management: Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”

“team member” “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others. Advice to Management: think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team”

“just terrible”Discriminatory management. Unprofessional atmosphere … Abusive staff. Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”

“working at pret”Lack of accountability … poor management.” (Absolutely!!!)

“Long hours, unrealistic expectations…”Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours. Advice to Management: Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution

“Terrible experience…” “Cons: Pretty much everything is a con: -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule.”

“Spoiled, selfish upper management…” “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.”

I will shorten the comments now as this is never ending… Links can just be clicked and read….

Horrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave. Fix Your Attitude care about your employees dont over do the staff be reasonable be fair try everybody equally and so on such a bad experience.”

DISCRIMINATION of [in] PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”

Retrain management

Horible management

They expect perfection

Politics

They hire if you don’t know the language
(That’s true, because that way you won’ t be able to complain or know your rights).

Horrible management … expecting perfection

Biased management

Listen to your employees, some have great potential that needs to be channeled not blocked

Heavy workload, borderline demeaning, discrimination.

Hard hard working culture, to much pressure to be working 100% every sec.

Careless

most of your employees don’t look forward to working there because you are staring them down every second

Poor senior leadership due to lack of experience and diversity. Promotion and staff recognition based on personal favourites

Management is very incompetent. It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations

Interior is very clumsy, depressing sometime.

 

Other review site “Indeed”

Avoid working there

Terrible

Unorganized management

Good benefits, poor management

You will lose everything that makes you human

Very little positive feedback

Rude lower management

Could be more human

Kitchen managers tend to pressure employees excessively

You get to know many different people but nobody really stands for the job.

Very stressful

Everything revolves around achieving the weekly bonus

Poor and terribel mangement

to meet MS standards you have to cheat, ops manager should spend some time with team members (No, they are too busy sitting in the pub during lunch time rush and flying to Dubai to party “their” hard work)

Forced happiness (even during traumatic bereavement!)

When they don’t need you, they make so many displinary needed for you left the job.

Bad Management

I assume this is a complaint with the 1 star 😉

Very disappointed … they never praised me

What the head office ask to us is more than 100% perfomance.

The culture overall was a very rude tone

unfortunate tradition on keeping a dynasty of friends in power while others that don’t make it into the friendly circle will perish.

manager was very rude to another member of staff in front of the rest of us which was very unprofessional

The management of the company seems to have no principle based.

Pret is now too productive and cost minimising company. Labour cost is the key, then customer satisfaction.

many Shop Manager they were very rude and unprofessional

Good company but bad management … You have thousand of standards to respect, but it’s impossible to finish on time NO, when the majority of managers are bad management, then it is a bad company! “The fish stinks from its head” as the saying goes.

Apply there, work for few months and run away a soon as you can.Managment and somemembers of staff were extremely rude and patronising, was often a lot of eye rolling and sighs (Bullying environment)

Crazy management , promoting people from their homeland only . overworking staffs

Harsh Environment. HR problems, employee is treated really badly

I felt like I was being patronised the entire time I was there.

Excessive control. Stress.

Little training was just pushed at the deep end as soon as I started the job

Micromanagement, too many rules

Not fun at all due to management approach

Robots

Fake people, cheat

for every shop the job was done by, let say 20 people. now it is done by 10

Managers treats you like poorly. they are racist and discriminating. if you want to get promotion you have to sleep with someone and kiss manager bum.

Management is trying to squeeze you like a lemon, there is no time to catch a breath, no weekends off, not even 2 days off together.

 

———————————————————————–

 

My own review with a former Senior Manager’s response to my review.

 

———————————————————————–

….. and so on.

———————————————————————–

In an Imaginary but Honest Interview with Pret I made up the acronym of what Pret stands for: PRET is a four letter F-Word spelled F E A R which stands for: Fire Early At Request. Or one can say Fret.

@Pret, at any company, please treat your people right, as a team leader I have shown you that when you treat your team right, you will still be successful and the money comes in and the team feels truly respected. You don’t want people like me who raise the standard while still treating the team good. I was too loud for you, and yet, if you would have protected me in the darkest time instead of continuing to put me under suppressive management, I would be writing a completely different blog now.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

 

I take back what I wrote at the end of this “video” that Pret has a “good” heart after what I’ve been through and the customers’ deaths, but I leave the “video” as a reminder of Pret’s “legacy” with what I went through and the above list of staff complaints.

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

“This is my Letter to the World,

That never wrote to me,–
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me”

— Emily Dickinson

 

Dear World,

if you read through this weird and crazy blog and website, I am still in the period of “peace before the storm”, as a powerful company will try one last time to crush me.

I wish I could say that I am healed and moved on, and my blog here isn’t as much with “tender majesty” as I would have hoped to write. But the pain and trauma I still go through seems too grave to recover from. I had often had two choices for my life, I either end my life or openly write down my story, or both.

But I have abandoned the thought of suicide, as this would not help anyone. Half my family is gone, I don’t need to put more grief on whoever is left. And my friends who helped and supported me as best as they could, I couldn’t do that to them. That wouldn’t be fair on them. And I decided no matter what they do to me, no matter how huge the pain and panic attacks and hopelessness, my life is in God’s hands and I want to learn to let him judge and have the final word. I’m not there yet, but my suicidal days are over.

And anyone who struggles or knows someone who struggles with suicidal thoughts and lives in or around London, check out this amazing charity that was started by 2 Samaritans: The Listening Place, their non-judgemental and patient approach takes the sting out of this taboo subject. And also Maytree. Add your own from your own city and don’t struggle or let others struggle alone.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

Logo Late Night Girl NO grief

 

 

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.

 

 

Pret is Recruiting

 

… and £1000 is the carrot.

I write so “blunt” because I almost lost my life.

Pret minus Bridgepoint + the German JAB Holding Company + Luxembourg = No tax.

Pret has arrived in tax haven!

Forget VAT Eat in or Take Away.

As a side-note at the start, Pret became aware of my blog and website here late on the 28th to the 29th May. The CEO of Pret tweeted the below at night on the 29. May probably as a reaction to my blog? Maybe not. As I don’t believe in coincidence anymore I see tricks and traps on many a corner.

I almost lost my life working in Pret, having been bullied during bereavement and with all the tricks and traps HR dealt me with. I wasted my sweat, blood and tears for close to 10 years in this company. It is my biggest regret in life.

Pret’s slogan is “Doing the right thing naturally”. But THIS is what Pret does “naturally” behind their shiny facade: Pret Staff Complaints on various Employment Review websites and YouTube and my traumatic experience.

 

The CEO working the PR(et) machine:

 

12K vs 20K

 

It used to take 10 years of service in Pret to receive £1000. If Pret is giving all their staff £1000 it means they are desperate to recruit.

The CEO pockets £30 million, giving £1000 to each employee as Brexit is at the door and many, especially Eastern European workers return to their home countries or move on to other opportunities. Several of my ex-colleagues already told me of their plans to return home. Usually Pret gives cheap cakes to their shops when another financial milestone was reached, tasteless and over-sugared cakes that end up half-eaten, stale in the shop fridges. But this generosity means Brexit is advancing fast, new recruits are needed and my blog is a sore in their sight. Also, to announce the £1000 ahead of the deal being finalized, as usually rewards are given after a deal or a milestone has been reached, not before is nothing short of interesting.

 

When I was a Team Leader I raised standards in every shop I worked, encouraging my teams, not bullying them, helping shops to more success but never receiving any rewards. When the bullying started, or rather increased during grief adding to my trauma, I became ill. There were no appraisals where I could learn where I was strong or where I can improve, never a reward, no feedback, absolutely nothing. Only targeting, bullying and manipulation was standard. One later GM’s tactic was to hold me low while I was going through the worst time, being vulnerable. This kind of “leadership” is common in Pret. This GM, who didn’t want “the area to feel sorry for him anymore” because I was thrust in his shop in the middle of trauma, grievance hearings and under shock.

Wasting 10 years of my life on a company who are only profit and target oriented with extreme good PR in place and a smiling, approachable CEO who is fully aware of what’s going on in his company as he visits the shop floor regularly, Pret-ending everything is jolly good while fooling the public and staff.  When my brother died I was bullied and targeted on top of my traumatic bereavement by several superiors under the watchful eye of HR. Grievance hearing after grievance hearing that I raised in my traumatic state were conducted in tricky ways, not impartial.

For three years I approached HR and managers with suggestions and ideas on how to improve support for bereaved staff. I had a target on my back from the moment I approached HR informally to bring suggestions in May 2015. I was so naive. Unbeknown to me at the time, it was the beginning of the end for me. It is no wonder that hardly anyone approaches HR in this systemic and toxic work environment in society today.

Pret has become like the majority of multinational corporations mistreating their workforce. Being bullied during bereavement and all the mistreatment from superiors towards workers, Pret is moving more and more towards the jungle and swamp of  Amazon that is notorious for their brutal bullying tactics. The only difference is that Pret is excellent in PR and still relatively small in this corporate world of greed, lulling the public and staff in with sweet-talk.

In-between they throw in a £1000 carrot for each employee making them look like a lovely company to work for. Let’s look deeper!

I became ill and wrote countless emails which I explain in detail here. One of my last line managers just laughed about it with the leadership team, the CEO labeled me his “late night girl” to the Director of HR, the Head of HR tried 4 times to pay me out (peanuts) if I resign and the peak came when the gaslight really took on full swing as described below… There is no protection against the discrimination of the bereaved and mentally ill in Pret A Manger.

But the worst thing they’ve done was to “introduce” me to a development manager who supposedly had a similar loss with her brother, but our introduction was not to support me (or her), it was for her to give me a disciplinary for all my emailing (electronic communication) and then entering into secret solely electronic communication (text and email), confusing and frustrating me further that my ill emailing behaviour intensified again. This was gaslighting in a nutshell.

I was then unfairly dismissed just 5 months short of my 10 year’s service where I also would have received £1000, the development manager of course is safe in her job as she served them well. Pret went all the way in “doing the right thing naturally” again by firing me three days after Christmas 2017 while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma! Again, “doing the right thing naturally”.

When you read that all staff now receive £1000, whereas before it would take 10 years to receive £1K it shows how desperate Pret is to gain and retain staff. I was never after money and have declined 4 offers of settlement, not only because of the peanuts they offered, not even a million pounds would have done it, but I don’t prostitute my values or sign my rights away for money.

@Pret, too many people suffer, become depressed, even suicidal that someone needs to stand up and tell their story!

I was ONE, you were and are many, you have all the resources, sophistication (bottom page), manpower, money and whatever you can come up with. You still refuse to acknowledge how out of proportion this was and is. No amount of money could have fixed this.

To be entrenched in this system that you probably don’t even realize how wrong so much of how you, as a GROUP of influential professionals have acted towards ONE single person, and indeed everyone on the “front-lines” of the business, who are the ones making you all this wealth. Sure, you seem desperate to recruit now being suddenly so generous to all staff. Don’t turn too socialistic now, though, it doesn’t come across genuine!

Do you know the hope I felt when I met a person of similar loss, as my grief became so complicated, and still is? And then to just find out after a while that this was yet another trick!? Again?!! I think I have written enough for anyone to understand, if they truly take inventory of their conscience, that this absolutely crossed the line! You stepped one too many times on my dignity. And that one nailed it!

My anger I have to overcome again and hope to not get bitter and stuck. And that I still, or rather am again angry after the whirlwind of my father’s illness and death, being fired right in the middle of it. I am someone who usually goes out of my way to brag on people, encourage them and let everyone know how amazing they are. The story might have gone like: “I was bereaved traumatically and Pret really helped me”. But this I will never be able to write, and some of the support you gave AFTER I involved the CEO, that was for show and the Tribunal just to cover your backs. This missed opportunity from Pret is forever lost on your end. You did not deserve my work, my skills, my talents and my passion. You did not deserve it at all. And I certainly did not “deserve” you. I survived to speak about it openly and I will never be silent, no matter what you come up with out of your trick-box from a corrupt and discriminating HR department.

It would be good to heed this reviewers advice to management from June 2018: Fire the HR staff because a £1000 quick fix won’t do it, the reviews from Pret staff on Employment Review websites and other online platforms will continue on these lines and crack the PR(et) machine until Pret truly lives up to its slogans and words. The annual staff questionnaire Pret holds won’t help as they are tweaked at times by shop management. The truth will always come to light sooner or later.

 

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

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.