Day 24: The 3 Vice Men – Kneeling at Pret A Manger

 

Day 24 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Merry Christmas, if you can!

Let the Fools NOT be with you!

 

 

organic-coffin-natural-fools-1.jpg

 

What Managers and Corporate employees, including Head Office staff, say about Pret throughout the years and in various cities/countries (only few of many reviews and comments):

Go back Pret

Link

2012 Ex GM ExGM Ex-GM

Blogspot –  4 years after Bridgepoint took over.

Mafia

Link

HQ

HQ London 2017

HQ BulliesHQ London 2019

Managers cry

Leader Review on abusive Area Manager – Shop Managers crying in the office.

I could go and on with countless more reviews along those lines, but I want to put only one more that broke my heart. I was actually crying when I read this because it triggered so much pain I’ve been through and seen colleagues go through. For a longer, but not exhaustive list of staff reviews and complains: >>>

GM slavery

Manager review London, October 2019

Ruin

Manager Review 2014 – 6 years after Bridgepoint took over.

So, who are the 3 Vice Men?

  • Pano Christupido (Current Fool who deleted his Twitter account after my blog entry on Clive Schlee’s “retirement” in July 2019)
  • Clive Leech (Former Fool who, with full steam ahead ran the Titanic into an iceberg, but continues to present himself as CEO of Pret. Pscht! He’s in denial!)
  • David Cartel (The Fixer – he’s out and about on behalf of the CEO putting out fires and seeing to it that hardworking people get fired)

 

Pret_Dwarfs

Pano Christo (left), Clive Schlee

David Cartel

David Carter, HR Fixer

»Any damn fool can run Pret!«

Oh no, those are not my words! Those are the words of the wife of Pret A Manger’s now former CEO Clive Schlee, who “retired” in September 2019!

 

My wife always would say, ‘any damn fool can run Pret

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

The problem with companies that have fools running it is, they may endanger their clients’ and employees’ lives. God forbid customers number 1. die, number 2. the company doesn’t do anything until these fatalities become public, and 3. get away with it!

And God forbid that this company gets away with not one, but two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal allergy reaction, and numerous hospitalized …

And God forbid even further that staff struggle and suffer, some dying, even by suicide.

Of course who would think that a CEO would sneak out quietly into early retirement, remaining a non-executive Director in the background, working on fixing his reputation with some more charity work and finally reaching out to low-paid workers?

What company would have a fool running its business and ruin a lot of people’s lives?

Good thing the facade of Pret is still in tact! Let the free coffees flow to put the public back to sleep!

That’s all that counts these days. Cheap freebies people settle for.

So, »any damn fool can run Pret!«. Sure. And certainly any damn fool can ruin it!

I want to say again that Pret A Manger is NOT what they portray to the public!

 

2016 Review.jpg

Link “the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth”

 

2019 Review GM

Link Manager Review

 

Legacy of a Fool: 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

One of my many articles about and to Clive Schlee, one of which I dedicate to his farewell gift:

Foot-In-Mouth Disease at Pret A Manger

New CEO, Pano Christou about whom I write about in: Under New Management. But Clive Schlee remains in the background as Non-executive Director pulling the strings under JAB Holdings.

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

Smile Pano! Smile!

 

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

I continue to ask for independent investigations into staff suicides!

 


 

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


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


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

Day 22: Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl – Articles

 

Day 22 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl’s” Writings.

For any new reader, my full story in an interview at the bottom of this page on the audio player.

For a comprehensive list of writings about Pret A Manger, please visit:
>>> The Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

Since Clive Schlee, now former CEO of Pret labelled me his “late night girl”, I return the favour and call him Clive Leech. This label was inspired by a recent staff review, plus all the many other reviews and my experience of Pret being exploitative and sucking the life-blood out of employees. Review: >>> Leeches <<<

I said in early 2019 to a Union person that Clive Schlee will probably sneak out of Pret. And days ago I wrote to another person that he is very quiet lately and either on a Sabbatical or leaving.

 


 

My blog entry on the 01. July 2019:

I tweeted to the press this morning, and of course now they have “breaking” news 😉 He since has now tweeted his announcement himself AFTER I contacted the press and they “broke” the news.

~10am Tweet before the press started waking up:

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

 


 

To Clive Schlee,

unfortunately your early retirement you chose not to announce and I had to tweet again for the press to pick this up. Sure, Pano Christou will take over, having come from McDonald’s management (nobody’s perfect!) he will continue where you left off. Pano became UK Managing Director after Andrew Walker “left”. Andrew Walker then became EAT’s CEO which is now swallowed by JAB via Pret. What a cold cold business! It may be good for the press to properly investigate on the Andrew Walker issue!

Pano will do some changes of course, but from his emails years ago, he wasn’t straight forward with me either, and I’m afraid Pret will continue business as usual with a lot of the chaos behind the scenes.

I’m sure you’ve done a lot of good things and many will sing your praises. But for me and many others this PR[et] facade and the reality behind the scenes has been a terrible “ride” and the worst, traumatic experience I have ever had in any workplace! Only my brother’s untimely death supersedes this trauma in an even greater nightmare!

I always shuddered when as a shop Team Leader, working in the office doing the ordering or whatever I had to do, when an email from HQ came in. And that email was sent out naming, blaming and shaming shops that had poor scoring in Health & Safety or other issues. This fear management, also to your low-paid workers via Mystery Shoppers, was always a terrible experience to read and witness.

And you think you can just sneak out of Pret, not taking any responsibility?

I worked in the catering industry all my life, in 3 countries. I never shied away from hard work and was self-sufficient since my teenage years. I lived and worked with integrity, principle and care. And what I received in return was humiliation, trauma, and discrimination. You need to understand that Pret A Manger under your leadership has almost destroyed my life, literally almost killed me!

I survived Pret, which I experienced as toxic, corrupt and exploitative.

You can count yourself very lucky, Mr. Schlee, that my mental health is too low to see through to court without a lawyer and my father having died in the middle of preparation for the Tribunal claim I had to withdraw!

And this is YOUR legacy, sir. And I can never write any other story-line, as much as I miss my old life of writing with encouragement and positivity, having given the benefit of the doubt to you one too many times. Those days are gone when it comes to Pret A Manger!

I’m sure by now with all my writings that you have read (you still haven’t blocked me on Twitter as you collect for a potential court case or to ruin my future further! Pano Christou blocked me and today he closed his @christoupano account!), but I’m sure by now you have learned of amazing CEOs like Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford, or Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani who revolutionize the business world. I hope you learn from them, not just for the typical Pret facade and fake smile you are so known for. But a full turn around to make a true difference in the LIVES of HUMAN BEINGS that labour and give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions!

I am proud to have declined four settlement offers in turn for silence! I have many regrets, but not this one!

Wishing you good luck?

I wish that you would for once take responsibility, sir!

I wish that you would be taken to court for what people have suffered under you!

Regards,

Your “Late Night Girl” – 01. July 2019


Clive Schlee’s Legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

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

 

LINK: TWO Pret Staff have died
1 is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

 


 

 

21. Sep. 2019
Pret A Manger has a New Fool

23. Sep. 2019
Smile, Fool!

01. Sep. 2019
Foot-in-Mouth Disease at Pret

08. July 2019
Any Damn Fool can run Pret

 


 

While the Press was fast asleep:

01. July 2019 approx. 3am post
Clive Schlee’s Legacy

 

30. June 2019
The Captain of the Ship

 

20. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?

 

18. June 2019
Clive Schlee’s Soldiers – My suspicion that he would be leaving!

 

03. April 2019
The Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

16. Nov. 2018
Clive Schlee’s Crocodile Tears – His negligence on customer warnings regarding allergen labelling

 

08. Dec. 2018
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: to Clive Schlee

 

17. Feb, 2019
Pret’s Unprofessional Twitter Staff incl. Clive Schlee

 

02. Apr. 2019
Clive Schlee, Pano Christou

 

08. Aug. 2018
An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret A Manger

 

UPDATE:
01. July 2019
Clive Schlee’s “Retirement” vs. Resignation

and so on…


 

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

 


 

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


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


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

Day 9: The Need for an #antiCEOplaybook

 

Day 9 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them. But yet, the CEO’s pay goes up and up and up… and so many people are left behind. I’m here to tell you: No more! It’s not right! It’s never been right!«

– Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani

 

I’ve posted Hamdi Ulukaya’s TED Talk from which I took above quote on the “Anti-CEO Playbook“, which is worth watching for anyone who is tired of today’s profit-over-people driven global business ventures. It CAN and MUST be done differently! I’ve also written many posts on Clive Schlee’s “leadership” in Pret A Manger, like for example the Timing of the £1000 Announcement to all staff on Twitter on 29. May 2018, which came after he and Pret became aware of my blog in the night from 28th to 29th May 2018. But I want to pull some things together into one post again as I feel people still don’t get it!

I used to be your typical good citizen (and I still am!), working hard, keeping my head down, loyal come rain come shine, doing things by the book with all my shortcomings and down falls as well. I was your average employee. No, I was more. I always gave 150%. But I equally was lulled in and brainwashed by this Pret PR machine and a smiley, approachable CEO. Until they crossed so many boundaries that I, in an utter traumatized state endured. It took me distance to understand what happened to me. For any new reader, my full story is in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

Apart from what I have survived in Pret and collected in other staff reviews, it is beyond me how easily society today remains lulled in, blinded in the acceptance of how business is done today. People are comfortable with a business EVEN after 2 customers died from their products, and a third nearly fatal reaction.

I should be stopping right here in this post, as the ultimate terrible thing that can happen to any business is customers dying from that business’ product or service! And in Pret TWO customers died. Yet, after the initial outrage, everyone goes back to business, and the chaos behind the scenes continues without any consequences for that company!

 

While I worked at Pret, and even before my brother died when all the nightmare began, I always wondered why in shop after shop the management is so poor with just very few exceptions. There is a bullying environment I looked over as everyone was treated bad, except those who kissed up to leadership for quick promotion. But I tried to ignore the environment and kept going. Yet, I always knew in my heart that the “fish stinks from its head” and if a company has poor management skills across the board, it comes from the top down.

Clive Schlee’s management style is very simple: It’s a “good cop, bad cop” approach. He’s the good cop who pretends to not realize what’s going on when staff complain about the bad cop managers in their shops. But all cops have one thing in mind: profit, profit, profit and squeeze the maximum “productivity” out of employees until there’s nothing left to squeeze. And when they’re dried up and burnt out, they are discarded like broken machines! Clive Schlee is one of those leaders who doesn’t like to hire and fire, he leaves that to the firing squat called the HR department, who in turn let the Operations Team do the firing.

man-320273__340

Responsibility is handed down through the ranks to the bottom. A typical cowardliness leadership style. It’s like the captain of a ship that jumps ship first when it sinks, instead of doing the courageous and principled thing that a true Captain is supposed to do. I distinguish these two “captains” by a capital letter. A true Captain gets passengers and crew off the ship first, starting with the most vulnerable, and then as the Captain, he leaves the ship at the very end when EVERYONE is off the boat!

But in Pret A Manger the typical “leadership” style is, that the captain, the top leadership saves their skin first and blames downward, or in the words of Hamdi Ulukaya again:

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them … and so many people are left behind.«

The most recent example of this is Pano Christou. With all the press regarding the allergen deaths and my blog being a sore in Clive Schlee’s sight, the announcement of his “retirement” (he’s 60!) was made AFTER I tweeted to the press on 01. July (I explain in detail here) and the press then contacting HQ for confirmation. Pano Christou becomes the new CEO in September. But since Clive Schlee leaves a legacy of poor staff reviews on Glassdoor & Co. what does he do? He does what he does best: he passes the buck downward and let’s Pano Christou already appear in mid July on Glassdoor.

A customer pointed out the poor Glassdoor scoring on 01. July 2019 when the retirement announcement was tweeted. So, Schlee must have arranged for Christou to take over on Glassdoor before the official September handover:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link to Tweet

 

Las Vegas

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Both percentages of Schlee and now Christou are from the mid July 2019 handover on Glassdoor. The £1000 “bribe” and marketing didn’t help cover over the reality of work in Pret.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

Again, instead of owning up he quickly passes the buck to the next in line. Pano Christou having come from McDonald’s management (one of the biggest exploitative companies) and started in Pret in management, he learned under Schlee.

And this is clever as well because Christou starting from zero, once he gets let’s say the first 10 votes and 7 out of the 10 are positive, he will be at 70% approval rate in no time, making it look like he’s the great CEO. New viewers, especially those from other countries who are completely new to Pret assume Pret has great senior management in place. But he will continue under the “CEO Playbook” that Hamdi Ulukaya adequately criticizes and works on to reform, having a McDonald’s background and having been longer in Pret than Clive Schlee. He will make no difference, but will continue under the same facade. And this is very typical Pret, tweaking, tricking, covering up instead of really caring. It’s just regular millionaires who only care to advance their wealth.

A quick reminder of what Pret staff experience and mainly voice in anonymity:

 

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Assistant Manager NY 2017

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

 

2014-12-26 NY

2014 New York

 

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+ More recent reviews:

 

The above slideshows are just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

A poignant truth someone wrote on a Twitter feed. Worth reading the whole feed:

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

 – by @minmilyjung

Out of my own experience and my former colleagues’ complaints to me as their Team Leader, I was at least lucky enough to be in a position to stand up for them as their Leader, but my and their experiences topped with the way Pret dealt with the customer deaths, shows so frighteningly how reckless and dangerous this kind of “leadership” style is.

“Leadership”, that I can only put in quotation marks, that refuses to take responsibility, blames downwards, passes the buck to the next in line, and then has the audacity to remain as a non-executive Director in the background! I can only boil it down to narcissistic arrogance which shows when Clive Schlee, only thinking about himself, ignores a serious customer complaint on behalf of staff on Twitter!

Customer complaint on 29. June 2019 about hellish work conditions in a shop:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke. (A long list of customer complaints regarding overheated shops with broken air conditioning and the hellish work conditions staff are left in).

On 30. June 2019, Schlee’s response to a farewell regarding his retirement, but no official retirement announcement until I tweeted to the press on 01. July (after I tweeted this to the press I got shadow banned and then the press started “breaking” the news on Twitter). Clive Schlee’s response to Neil here came AFTER the above customer, Kirk tweeted TWICE to Schlee about broken air conditioning:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring TWO Tweets a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions! I’m sure he didn’t realize that he spilled the beans again unintentionally regarding his non-caring about the welfare of his hardworking employees!

 

In the U.S. it would hail a storm of lawsuits on Pret with one customer death being enough to sue the living daylights out of them! One customer already unsuccessfully sued Pret in New York in 2016 after having suffered an anaphylactic shock ALSO from an unlabelled Sesame product. He was devastated when he learned of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s anaphylactic shock, leading to her death from an unlabelled Sesame product ALSO in 2016! He fought in court, but lost.

This lawsuit wasn’t a hint enough for Pret to do the right thing labelling their products! And then even AFTER TWO customer deaths Pret STILL didn’t do the right thing UNTIL the deaths became public! Only THEN did SLOW change happen. I cover this and their inconsistency in “Pret’s Labelling Commitment?” with their appalling and infamous slogans.

“It’s what makes Pret, Pret”!!

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

HR department logo:

Right Thing Naturally

 

So, this is the UK, no lawsuits.

“Polite”.

Politically correct.

Sweet-talking.

Complacent, inefficient, indifferent and arbitrarily dangerous for people’s health and lives.

FoodAllergyNews

From AllergicLiving.com

And Pret is very quick to change the shop signage of their 350+ stores in the UK for Pride month, while not acting on allergen labelling on their products until customer deaths became public.

Pret Signage

@celestine__ on Twitter

Customer deaths don’t make people wake up, certainly staff complaints, staff deaths and suicides don’t wake people up. No lawsuits. No investigations. A society full of indifferent people that only cares for a free cookie. We all know that the opposite of care and love is not hate, but indifference.

I despair at this.

And perhaps it mainly takes CEOs who are also the founders of their companies to care enough to make a difference. Most CEOs these days are just “managers” who were given the rod to the flock, and thus they don’t have concerns for what they were entrusted with. They then open the door to the wolves of private equity. And the suffering gets out of control with the “managers” sneaking out the back door, when the “slaughter” gets too bloody and the managers are in danger of getting cut.

 

Times report

The Times article

 

But I want to end on a positive note, another hopeful, courageous and principled CEO, whose words are blunt but much needed, and like Hamdi Ulukaya, a Captain with a capital “C”:

»To sell my business, this thing that I created, that I poured my life, 30 years of work in; to sell it to one of those bastards (venture capitalists), it would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution. And I was never gonna do it.«

Guy Singh-Watson
Founder and CEO of employee-owned Riverford

 

A list of blog entries I wrote regarding Clive Schlee: “Late Night Girl Articles

 

Riverford and Chobani scores June/July 2019 on Glassdoor

Riverford Chobani

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

 


 

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


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


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

The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger

 

I’d like to post an article by Timothy Noah from 2013 on the “Labor of Love – The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger”. This is a great article from an outside and a customer point of view, lucky enough who’s a journalist with a discerning eye. I want to highlight a few things, but the whole article can be found on the New Republic site. I will highlight in bold what I feel is important. But really worth reading the whole article!

Quote:

»For a good long while, I let myself think that the slender platinum blonde behind the counter at Pret A Manger was in love with me. How else to explain her visible glow whenever I strolled into the shop for a sandwich or a latte? Then I realized she lit up for the next person in line, and the next. Radiance was her job.«

»Pret A Manger—a London-based chain that has spread over the past decade to the East Coast and Chicago—is at the cutting edge of what the Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls “emotional labor.” Emotional because the worker doesn’t create or even necessarily sell a product or service so much as make the customer experience a positive feeling. Labor because, as Hochschild wrote in The Managed Heart (1983), the worker must “induce or suppress [his or her own] feeling” to achieve the desired effect in others. Creepy as it sounds, emotional labor is a growing presence in this economy, coming soon to a fast-food outlet near you.« …

»Pret doesn’t merely want its employees to lend their minds and bodies; it wants their souls, too. It will not employ anyone who is “here just for the money.” Noting that one Pret worker in London got fired soon after he tried to start a union—the company maintained it was for making homophobic comments—Myerscough suggested the worker’s true offense was being unhappy enough to want to start a union, since “Pret workers aren’t supposed to be unhappy.”«

»Emotional labor is not itself new. Prostitutes have faked orgasms for millennia. With greater sincerity (one hopes), undertakers calm the grieving, nurses comfort the sick, and migrant nannies lavish on other people’s children the love they aren’t present to furnish back home. Flight attendants, in the pre-feminist era, calmed jittery flyers by being pretty, friendly, even a little bit flirtatious; this ended with deregulation in the early ’80s as airlines stopped competing on service and started competing on price.«

»In all these instances, emotional labor served (legitimately or not) identifiable emotional needs. That’s not true at Pret. Fast-food service is not one of the caring professions. The only imperatives typically addressed in a Pret shop are hunger and thirst. Why must the person who sells me a cheddar and tomato sandwich have “presence” and “create a sense of fun”? Why can’t he or she be doing it “just for the money”? I don’t expect the swiping of my credit card to be anybody’s vocation. This is, after all, the economy’s bottommost rung.«

»Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self.«

Bingo! I want to add something here, one of many customer Tweets regarding the “smiles” and “cheer leading” that has even those business people and marketing gurus fooled:

Smile

 

2014 Smile by Contract

 

2013 Mandatory Smile

etc.

This “cheer leading” or what other people called “mandatory smile” and “smile by contract”, apart from the Team bonus for everyone, can also bring ONE Team Member what Pret calls an “outstanding card” (OC). An OC is not literally a card, it is a cash reward of now £100 or even £200 if the overall shop scores are perfect. So, even if the shop/team lose the bonus, because the shop was dirty or there wasn’t enough selection in the fridge (the Mystery Shopper COUNTS the product lines!), even with a lost bonus for the team, ONE individual Team Member can still get £100 reward if the Mystery Shopper is blown away by their extra kindness, smiles, generosity, chatting etc. It’s basically kissing butt all day in extreme stress for extra cash.

If the bonus is lost, the person or persons responsible for the loss get fear managed, at times even threatened with their job security. Even bereaved staff will find little mercy as I share my story at the very bottom audio player in an interview.

Welcome to Pret A Manger.

Further in the article:

»And these cops require literal stroking. In other workplaces, touching a co-worker may get you fired, but at Pret you have to worry about not touching co-workers enough. “The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Yep, Clive Schlee’s manipulating approach for profit!

Further in the article:

»In the three decades since Hochschild published The Managed Heart, the emotional economy has spread like a noxious weed to dry cleaners, nail salons, even computer-repair shops. (Think of Apple’s Genius Bars—parodied by The Onion as “Friend Bars”—where employees are taught to be empathetic and use words like “feel” as much as possible.)«

»Pret shops are typically located in neighborhoods that bustle with busy professionals whom Pret fusses over like the maître d’ at Alain Ducasse. The more the rich get used to fawning service, the more the rest of us—or rather, the rest of us who can afford to buy a sandwich rather than brown-bag it from home—find we rather like it, too. Eventually everybody will have to act like a goddamned concierge. I don’t want to believe this, but I fear it may be true.«

»Why do Pret workers accept the customer’s emotional state as their personal responsibility? For some, we may presume an extremely sunny personality that has merely found a serendipitous outlet. (They are selected for this quality, after all.) But what about the rest? In England, the vast majority of Pret workers are foreign immigrants, but that seems less true here. “My only thought,” says Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown, “is that it is such a buyer’s market in the labor market—because of so many unemployed workers per job—that employers can get away with a lot of demands on their workers that ordinarily wouldn’t be possible.” In other words—shhhh!—Pret clerks love-bomb customers for the money (which isn’t bad by fast-food standards).«

Bingo!

»Now that I know Pret’s slender blonde doesn’t love me, I prefer the human contact at a D.C. lunch counter called C.F. Folks. The food is infinitely better. But I also like that the service is slower, the staff is older and grumpier, and the prevailing emotion is “Get over yourself.” Try touching someone at C.F. Folks, and you just might get slugged.«

Beautiful! 😀

»The last thing Schlee looks at, to judge from my own experience, is whether the company returns calls from the press. I phoned Pret HQ twice, twice pushing “0” for “operator,” and twice got a recording. I twice left messages saying I was on deadline with a story about Pret, and in the second message I specified that the story was critical. My call was not returned, and I’m not convinced anybody ever even heard my messages. So much for the personal touch.«

Yep! Well observed!

Timothy Noah can be found on Twitter: @TimothyNoah1

I created a list of links to articles that deal with “emotional labour” (or “labor” for American readers): >>> The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I made a YouTube slide with only a few of the many questions weekly Mystery Shoppers are tasked by Pret to test low-wage staff on. Mystery Shoppers tests staff on things like the amount of selection during certain times, cleanliness of the shop, the overall atmosphere etc. But I concentrated mainly on the smiley and service questions.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


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

Cheer Leader vs. Fear Leader

 

»To sell my business, this thing that I created, that I poured my life, 30 years of work in; to sell it to one of those bastards (venture capitalists), it would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution. And I was never gonna do it.«

Guy Singh-Watson
Founder and CEO of employee-owned Riverford

 

THIS is how Leadership looks like that motivates its employees with respect and mutual inspiration (Employee owned company):

 

And THIS is how Fear Management looks like (Pret A Manger under Private Equity):

»Try your best not to work there … Bad management, always being ‘hounded’.«

Former Pret A Manger Staff

 


 

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


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


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

Pushing Back Against Pret – Scottish Left Review

 

My second article in the Scottish Left Review. A link to my first article can be found at the bottom of this page. An update on developments in Pret A Manger and a connection between some reactions to my blog.

Link to second article: Pushing back against Pret – making headway against malevolent management

2019-11-15 2nd Scottish Left Review article

Full article:

‘Late Night Girl’ reports on her continuing campaign for fairness and justice at Pret-A-Manger

As I continue to recuperate and come to terms with everything that happened in my personal life and from work since my last article (‘On the frontline: crushed by corporate capitalist culture’, Scottish Left Review, May/June 2019), a lot has happened in Pret. I continue to write blog posts about my Pret experience, other staff continue to contact me telling me of their experiences, and on Twitter customers still complain about ongoing mislabelling of food, even after two customers have died. The first customer, 15-year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, died from unlabelled allergen in a baguette, and the second person, mother of five Celia Marsh, died from dairy traces in a non-dairy product.

Apart from getting some normal and much expected criticism, I also receive a lot of public positive feedback from customers/readers on Twitter as well as encouraging messages in private. Every single day at least one person is new to my writings which still astonishes me after writing for over a year! I can also see the statistics on my website and how it has increased since last year. People are astonished and surprised to learn about Pret, as Pret has been successful in putting on a happy and ethical front for years.

I have uploaded to my website reviews of staff working at Pret that are to be found on Glassdoor, Indeed, and other social media. I have also kept an eye on Pret worldwide developments including lawsuits, in particular two over wages which Pret settled in New York, repaying 4,000 workers. This has shown that it is much harder for workers in Britain to obtain justice through the courts compared to in the US, where Pret is constantly sued by staff, customers and other organisations on various issues.

I’m also of the opinion that I’m continually disappointed by the ongoing unprofessional conduct of Pret and its leadership. On 30 June 2019, I checked casually on Pret CEO, Clive Schlee’s Twitter feed and found a tweet by a person to Schlee wishing him well on his retirement. But no official announcement had been made on this issue. Schlee responded to the well-wisher on the same day yet did not respond to two tweets by a customer on 29 June 2019 regarding hellish work conditions in a shop, where the air conditioning was broken for a prolonged time. On 1 July 2019 after I wrote a blog entry on Schlee’s ‘legacy’ given that on Glassdoor only 44% of staff recommended working at Pret and only 50% of staff endorsed him, I tweeted to the press about Schlee’s retirement. After my tweet, the first tweets started to flood in about his retirement after Pret’s HQ was contacted and confirmed the news. Also, Pret and then Schlee circulated the official announcements of his retirement set for September 2019. Within an hour a person tweeted a response to Pret that the new CEO, Pano Christou, has his work cut out for him, as Pret and Schlee have poor Glassdoor reviews.

In mid-July, Christou was placed on Glassdoor, even though Schlee’s official retirement was set for September. On 20 September 2019, Pret then tweeted a last Tweet bidding farewell to Schlee , who is still present (at the time of writing in mid-October) on Twitter as the CEO of Pret. Also on 1 July 2019, Christou deleted his Twitter account after I made a link to it on my blog entry on Schlee’s legacy. I was blocked by Christou though I am not being blocked by Pret and Schlee as I believe they both keep my Tweets for a potential court case after I withdrew my Tribunal claim  when my dad died and I went deeper into trauma and was not able to finance a lawyer.  It was notable that there were very few tweet responses, ‘likes’ and retweets for this announcement compared to the previous year.

Why, you might ask, is all of this necessary and important? It is to show how arrogant, insensitive and unprofessional the leadership of Pret appears to be when it does not even officially announce Schlee’s retirement (at 60) and while he remains as a non-executive director in the background. There is also the clumsiness of Schlee’s responding to a well-wisher before giving an official retirement announcement and the seeming indifference, portrayed in the lack of action, after two customers died and before that news became ‘public’. Overall, I believe, this story shows how when private equity takes over and with Pret expanding into having a huge high street presence, the company shows no ethical understanding of its responsibility to customers and employees alike.

I can only speculate on why Schlee finally stepped down. But it is hard not to think that the poor handling of customer deaths, my blog confronting Pret and Schlee, the negative staff reviews that I collated and posted, and the various lawsuits have not somehow tipped the scales against him.

After what Pret put me through in bullying and gaslighting me, I still struggle with anger and post-traumatic behaviour so that I have difficulties trusting people when I am contacted by former and current Pret staff and others. I have written the most comprehensive website on Pret-A-Manger from a behind the scenes look on various subjects on which the company  falls short. The disappointment and anger I feel is heightened by that fact that Pret is neither responding to me nor confronting me legally after all the fear management, threats, bullying, tricks and traps they put me through.

This shows what impact one very active and dedicated person on social media can have. If this was to be replicated many times over, I believe that ‘impact’ could turn into ‘influence’. Pret certainly will not change from the inside and from the top for the better by its own volition. The hope is that this outside pressure and Pret being the perfect example of striving for ever increasing profits backfiring in the long run will create a ‘perfect storm’. Sure, Schlee, Christou and the other top leaders will have rich retirements and enjoy the fruits of the low-wage workers’ labour they employed. But the legacy they leave behind is not something I would want to swap for – and not for any amount of money.

‘Late Night Girl’ also tweets at https://twitter.com/LateNightGirlMe and has a website at https://expret.org.
One of her most recent blog posts look at the quote of Clive Schlee’s wife where she said that ‘any god damn fool can run Pret’ (https://expret.org/2019/09/21/pret-a-manger-has-a-new-fool/)


I posted the Tweets (screenshots and links) that I mentioned in above article in a blogpost, so that people don’t just take my word for it:

Foot in Mouth Disease at Pret A Manger

 


 

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

Interview:
©2019 expret.org
Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Smile, Fool!

 

Pret A Manger’s new fool can’t smile enough, it seems!

Clive Schlee, since September 2019 former CEO of Pret A Manger, has passed the buck to Pano Christou on Glassdoor in July 2019 already. Christou is the former UK Managing Director, and since JAB purchased Pret, the new role of COO was then filled by Christou. Before Chirstou took over as UK Managing Director in 2012, Andrew Walker filled this role before leaving Pret and via several companies became the CEO of EAT., which is now purchased by JAB via Pret. The official take-over of Christou as the new CEO of Pret was announced on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press about Schlee’s retirement. Christou’s take-over was announced for now September 2019, but Schlee being who he is, not taking responsibility, he let Christou take over on Glassdoor in July to avoid further poor scoring for Mr. Schlee.

Now there’s a proper smile!

2019-09-20 Schlee retirement final announcement

Link to Tweet

 

A customer pointing out the poor scoring when the first official announcement was made after I tweeted to the press:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link

So, Schlee quickly let Christou take over on Glassdoor!

July 2019 Glassdoor score:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-07-15 Pano Christou CEO

 

So, what’s up CEOs? Your annual internal questionnaire for staff to fill in their reviews on Pret is often tweaked by shop managers to win prices, making Pret look good. But it doesn’t work on real review sites, where bullied staff tell it like it is!

Staff dare to speak out anonymously, and more will speak out openly soon.

I am proud to inspire former and current Pret workers to speak out in any way they are ready to speak out.

And I will not give up until there are independent investigations into staff suicides!

—> Why is Pret not Investigated on Staff Suicides?

For any new reader, why am I writing this?

If you are interested, my website is filled with my and others’ story. But in a nutshell, I’ve put together into a few minutes on YouTube the emotional labour that staff are forced to work under, no matter if bereaved, depressed, sick etc.:

 

»Any damn fool can run Pret.«

— Wife of Clive Schlee, former CEO of Pret A Manger

 

Smile, Fool!

2019-09-2019 Pano 39 27

Glassdoor

NOTE: If the slide show does not run automatically, please delete amp/ from above URL and reload in order to view.

May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

 

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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