Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Staff Deaths?

 

NOTE upfront, as people, the press, customers will ask Pret on this, they of course will not give any info. That’s why Pret needs an independent investigation like the inquest did with the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from an unlabelled product.

Amnesty International had independent investigations leading to 5 senior leaders resigning.

Two staff at Amnesty died by suicide last year which led to the investigation into a “toxic” work environment.

I may not be in the position of an investigator, but my knowledge of 10 years in Pret with my last 3 years traumatized and bullied during bereavement, I almost died by suicide and had close calls. I was completely out of my mind in shock, grief and the bullying environment of Pret. I’m just now slowly coming out of this darkness. I confront Pret on a suicide of an Assistant Manager in 2017. I may have learned about her turmoil a few months before she died.

I was also leaked an email in May 2019 that the Director of HR Andrea Wareham sent to all shops in that month, with the news that two Pret shop staff have died within a month. I was told that one died by suicide. The other staff member’s passing, the “leakers” don’t know the circumstances. This is the first time to my knowledge that Pret communicates staff deaths. I was a Team Leader and had access to Pret emails, even the death of the AM in 2017 was not communicated to us, let alone that it was a suicide. I only learned by word of mouth between shops, as this AM worked in the same area I worked in. And the two customer deaths were not communicated to us, not even to us leaders. Absolutely nothing was communicated, not even a hint to be more diligent with labelling and allergen info! Nothing!

This looks to me like Pret may have been advised by their legal team, but more likely a PR company to communicate when people have died, as this will come out anyway sooner or later since the press has a close eye on Pret and my website exposing from a behind the scenes perspective. Pret knows my website in case anyone is in doubt, I confront them on Twitter as well. And maybe they were even advised by the new owners JAB / Reimann via Chairman Peter Harf, who advised the Reimann family to research and publish their own Nazi past before anyone else does.

At least Pret may have heeded that advise if there was one. But they still don’t listen to the Staff Complaints and my speaking out. And when they lose a Tribunal case, they pay the peanuts and go back to business as usual.

Part of the email (I “smudged” out the names):

PretAMAnger_TWO_StaffDeaths_May2019

I always shudder when big companies refer to themselves as “family”. Especially those that exploit their employees behind the smiley facade. Psychology and manipulation of large corporations these days.

 

And this may be the reason a customer complained on Twitter of the unusual shortness of staff, if this is the South Terminal of Gatwick she was at. Pret shops are often short staffed, and when an emergency happens, there’s no backup. Even just 1 staff member calling sick puts enormous pressure on the rest of the team as Pret loves to staff very tightly to maximize profit and squeeze the life blood out of staff. The Job-center Tweets have increased lately on Gatwick positions. If this is the South Terminal, staff may have been upset of the death and called sick or quit as it isn’t unusual for staff to just walk out and never come back:

2019-06-03 Gatwick short staff death

Link

 

Also, Pret knowing and having been part of my trauma with the emailing, that the Director of HR brings the news of people having died via EMAIL shows that they not only don’t learn their lessons, but they don’t care! I keep saying to people to NEVER bring the news of someone’s death via email, text message, social media but only in person or via a telephone call, unless there is no other way. Pret could have had a meeting with all their General Manager (GMs) who then could have conducted team meetings in their shops or meetings with their leaders. Yes, this would take some extra time and effort, but CARE always takes effort! I write extensively about my emailing issues in “Not Quite a Beautiful Mind” and how abusive and discriminatory Pret A Manger really is.

Since the two customer deaths became public and my public writings against Pret, they may have changed and communicate people’s deaths now, yet continue to do this the quick and easy way via email!

I almost died after what I went through in Pret. Full story in below interview.

Another former Pret Assistant Manager lost his case against Pret for being overworked to the point of becoming suicidal. The judge ruled that the former Assistant Manager was too ambitious. Yet, I know Pret. I know how they overwork especially leaders, who are caring and hard working, compared to managers who just sit in the office blaming everyone around them. Shops at times have no General Managers (GMs). I have worked as a Team Leader and covered for managers when they were on holiday. I never received what they called a “step-up pay”, not even a “thank you”.

I can also relate to this AM’s claim that he was “scapegoated for failure” as this is a very typical Pret thing, to blame downwards which can also be seen in countless staff reviews I collected in the below slide show and long list linked to it. As a Team Leader I worked extremely well but was blamed constantly for the incapability and plain laziness of managers, especially when I became bereaved.

Pret cleared suicidal

Picture from the Daily Mail article.

The Daily Mail calls a 46 year old man an ambitious “young” manager. I first thought they meant a twenty-something year old ambitious young manager. 46 is not old, but close to 50 he isn’t a young man either. Even though the judge has ruled and Mr. Saad didn’t seem to have appealed, I really do think his story is valid, knowing Pret. Including having been in hospital! He was probably fed up and exhausted, not to mention having lost money in the case, but who knows what an appeal would have done.

The first comment under this Daily Mail online article also give a good insight into how big companies work their staff into exhaustion, and in Pret, I can verify that.
Quote:
»As someone who has been a manager for many years in retail and catering, I can confirm that companies totally use and abuse their managers. They make sure you sign the 48 hours opt out so that you can’t sue them for being forced to work excessive hours, usually before you are appointed, so that you feel pressured to agree, despite the fact their is no possible benefit to a salaried worker for opting out. I believe him, I bet they took complete advantage of him, expecting him to do a managers job for much less money when they had no intention of promoting him, which is wrong.«Thornbury9563

And yet in Pret, many managers are lazy and blame downwards, making the Team Leaders who care do all the hard work, while other Leaders who are “smarter” kiss up to management, getting promoted faster, exploiting hard working teams. Just the same old bullying mentality of elbows.

A little reminder that Pret was also cleared in New York where a customer sued Pret after he suffered an allergic reaction ALSO to an unlabelled sesame product, the same allergen that Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of from a London shop. Even though Pret won the case it did not give them any sense of urgency or a wake-up call to start labelling products! ONLY when customer deaths became public did Pret slowly implement labelling! Hello? No alarm bells ringing still?!

So, Pret having been cleared on above case where the AM became suicidal doesn’t mean anything to me knowing how dangerously close I also came to end my life.

A Guardian article on the toxic work environment at Amnesty International. There are many toxic issues, even in charities that people often don’t realize are happening. In the Amnesty report they found that many staff have a “martyrdom” mentality where they overwork, as they care so much. The above former Pret AM is like many Pret staff are, they overwork, want to prove they are good at their jobs but get the life-blood sucked out of them. In the above case, the judge ruled against Mr. Saad. But I know Pret. I gathered many staff complaints from various websites (incl. YouTube, Twitter, FB and other sites) and just compiled a selection in below Slideshow, not to mention my horrific story with Pret! I explain in my interview at the bottom of this page why I withdrew my Tribunal claim against Pret.

Pret also has public humiliation in place, at least during my 10 years when I worked at Pret. Emails from HQ would be send to all shops, naming and shaming shops/managers when they failed in Health and Safety scores for example. Shops could also check every Friday via a link on complaints from customers all shops received that week. So my shop could see all the complaints about other shops and all shops could see our customer complaints. I myself was targeted during already traumatic grief via email from my then line manager, who would blame me in group emails, always copying in his line manager (our area manager). When I applied for my file I read emails from the area manager to HR and back, brainstorming on how to get rid of me. It was systematic and is systemic.

 

DW Amnesty Toxic

Photo on Deutsche Welle (DW report)

The FULL independent report.

After the news of the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died from unlabelled allergen in a Pret product, I asked on Twitter how many more there are if Pret was able to hide this. Knowing Pret and of at least 1 suicide of the AM in 2017, with myself also almost over the edge, I asked this question before the second death of Celia Marsh became public. I was aiming mainly at staff suicides after what I survived, but little did I know there really was a second customer who died:

2018-09-30 How many more suicide pret

Link

So, I ask again, how many staff have died by suicide that is related to work conditions in Pret. Who will investigate Pret A Manger that has a toxic work environment, after I presented my story and other staff experiences as if on a silver platter to the public. Sure Pret does their own investigations, but from my experience with HR hearings, these investigations are what a Tribunal Judge once called “fundamentally flawed“. That was also my experience.

In Pret TWO customers died, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized, numerous warnings by customers to Pret on allergen labelling ignored until the deaths became public. Even a lawsuit by a man in New York, who went into anaphylactic shock after ALSO eating an unlabelled sesame product from Pret in 2016, did not wake Pret up to label their products!

Staff died, the work conditions are horrendous, and yet Clive Schlee, CEO and Pano Christou, COO (who deleted his Twitter account when I tweeted Schlee’s retirement to the Press) go full steam ahead, doing business as usual, fooling the public with sweet-talk and free coffees. And all this now under the new owners JAB / Reimann, expanding in the U.S. where Brexit is a far distance. The COO position in Pret is new since JAB purchased Pret. Pano Christou (who came from McDonald’s management before joining Pret) was before the JAB takeover Pret’s UK Managing Director, a position held before by Andrew Walker, who then became the CEO of EAT…which is now purchased by Pret (well, by JAB really!). And I always find it interesting in Pano Christou’s case who likes to keep a low profie and even has on his Twitter profile “@ Pret” not connected to “@Pret”. Don’t want to spilt hairs, but why I mention this is that Pret A Manger leadership is notorious for hiding behind a facade and not take responsibility, but blame downwards! This reflects on manager after manager, leader after leader I have worked with and so many in the below reviews complain about.

In all of this, the absolute WORST thing that can happen in a company: CUSTOMERS DIED!!! There is NOTHING worse that can happen to a company. And in Pret it happened TWICE with a third almost fatal as well… But there are no resignations, no investigations, no responsibility! UNBELIEVABLE!

Pret being a “fun” place to work? I would laugh if it wasn’t so dead serious! Pret has the most beautiful facade of any company I know, and the most toxic work environment behind that facade that I ever encountered anywhere!

Only few of the many reviews on Glassdoor

Las Vegas

Link

 

2019-06-1 Toxic no training StPanc

Link (St. Pancrass, one of the most busiest, stressful shops)

 

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

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

 

2019-06-11 First World Slavery

Link

 

2019-05-05 DON'T APPLY Team Leader

Team Leader Review

 

2019-05-08 Worst place barista Oxford

Barista Oxford Review

 

Go back

Corporate NYC Review

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

I want to enlarge this review on Head Office by a former IT Analyst. I underline this, having gotten to know some from HQ with my horrific story (interview at the bottom).

Quote:
“Some people who got lured in by company PR
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.”

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

July 2019 Glassdoor Stats
And this shows how the £1000 “carrot” was a big PR stunt and not a generous gift I’m writing about. In a nutshell: Clive Schlee made the £1000 announcement on the 29th May 2018 when he became aware of my website. I explain here in >>> The Timing of the £1000 Announcement.

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

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Slideshow can be paused

 

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

Two more groups of former Pret staff that are not as active:
@__PAMSU__ got fired for starting a Union in 2012 (VIDEO) and
I Hate Pret A Manger (preth8ers) on Facebook started in 2011

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

 

UPDATE June 2019

I remember the news on the suicides in a French company and periodically over the years checked on this.

Between 2008 and 2009 THIRTY-FIVE (35) staff died by suicide! >>> France24.com

Appreciate that there was an independent investigation into Amnesty International for 2 staff suicides. ONE work related suicide is one too many!

The French news story disappeared. And now after 10 years…

Arrow

Guardian France Telekom Suicides

Picture from the Guardian Article

Who will look into Pret?!

 

UPDATED August 2019:

For the record and found on my Tweets, I asked the following people / organizations to look into this:

@jeremycorbyn, @MayorofLondon, @SadiqKhan, @H_S_E, @CEO_HSE, @NSSN_NE, @hazardscampaign, @JonCruddas_1, @IanBFAWU, @foodgov, @MichaelGove and a lot of other private people and organizations who claim to care…

 

UPDATE October 2019:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

 


 

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.

 

Zero Nothing Nada Null 0

 

I worked in Pret A Manger when two customers died, and I cannot get over not having known. I would have struggled. I would have resigned. I don’t know what I’d done. But not business as usual!

 

Not once was I or my team informed of it.

 

0 copyright-free-38658__340

 

I was a Team Leader, a mini-manager, doing the ordering, waste management, looking after the team, health & safety, money handling, cashing up, stock-take, customer service … But there wasn’t even as much as a HINT that two customers have died within two years from allergens hidden in Pret products!

We weren’t even urged or hinted that we needed to be more diligent with the labelling or allergen information.

Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Pret kept it well hidden from us.

 

As the news keep highlighting that Natasha’s Law is getting close to becoming reality, I remember again after having posted this blog entry, that when I worked as a team leader I often checked incoming emails in the office as most communication between shops and from HQ are done via emails.

One such mail came in at times from the UK Managing Director Pano Christou who has now been promoted to COO, a position which didn’t exist in Pret until JAB took over, and who keeps a low profile. When I was in the office doing cashing up, or the ordering, or whatever I had to do as part of my leadership duties, and everytime this type of email came in my heart stopped and then pounced in a panic. The subject of the mail and the first lines read something like, “It is with great sadness that we have to bring the news …”

I received the news of my brother’s death via an ice cold, short and to the point email. In that one email I not only was informed that my brother was found dead five weeks prior to this email, but that he was cremated and completely gone! The efficient German police that has mandatory ID system for all citizens with my mum living at the same address for over 30 years claimed that next of kin could not be found … I write about this in various blog entries. But not only did this immense shock thrust me into an extreme traumatic time, but to be receiving this news via email has spiraled me into unprecedented emailing months and years later, of which I am just now recovering from.

So, these emails coming in from HQ with sad news had me fall into a terrible panic.

The email from HQ continued along those lines: “It is with great sadness that we have to bring the news that our shop in such-and-such a city/street will be closed permanently on such-and-such a date.”

Sorry, what?!!

Excuse me, what???!!!!!

My heart still pouncing, tangibly feeling blood leaving my head in the next shock that this type of wording in these emails was about a freaking shop closure?!?!?!?!!!

Of course I was relieved that this was NOT an announcement of someone from HQ or a shop having died! And I had to press against my chest for my heart to calm down again hoping my team wouldn’t call me out for customer service, as I was shaking still! But my point here is, that NOT ONE time came a message, be it via email, phone, via the weekly info/news sheet from HQ, not in Team Briefs in the shops, no extra emergency meetings, not in private from our managers… NOT ONE announcement that not just one, but TWO customers have died from Pret products! It was more important for Pret to announce in such a dramatic way that a flipping shop is closing down for whatever reason. As if anyone in the shops cared about Pret losing money from their millions, still opening on every corner constantly, while staff are underpaid, overworked, over stressed …

I get it that team members who come to work, stand at the tills, prepare sandwiches, stock up and go home without having leadership responsibilities may have not been informed. But I was a Team Leader, with the main responsibilities of Health & Safety, Customer Service, Team Engagement, Training etc. But Health & Safety (for customers and staff alike!) was the top priority in my job description! And I took that part very serious, often to the annoyance of my colleagues where I would stop them, even if they were behind their tasks, stopping them if they were working in an unsafe way for example, or the fire exits were blocked and staff rushing around, I made it priority to always have safety first and then anything else, no matter how busy is was etc.

So, these HQ emails about shop closures as if someone died first of all had me angry as my email experience of my brother’s death just hit me again and again when these emails came in. But now it’s even more appalling as Pret did not see the need to inform ALL staff, and most of all not changing and acting in URGENCY on these labelling and allergen issues until this became public and people started boycotting! This still has me shake my head in disbelief and shock, and yet knowing Pret, their procrastination and negligence is not surprising! I cannot even begin to imagine what the families go through!!

If Pret would have decided not to inform us, but still immediately implemented the labelling, that would have been a different matter. They could have held meetings with all leaders to communicate that Pret would be bringing in an allergen labelling system for all products. They wouldn’t have even needed to lie and could have told us that because several customers complained about the lack of labelling which they did before and even after the deaths, Pret could have said they decided it’s time to label all products, no matter what the law says.

But nothing! Absolutely nothing!

In 2017 Pret even hired the prestigious and expensive London Barbican Centre to do several days of training for leaders on customer service (basically how to kiss customers’ butts for more money!). Yet, this instead could have been training days for leaders on allergen and implementing labelling! But no, nothing!

And thus, Pret’s claim to be doing the right thing, with their HR department taking this claim to more lofty heights by saying to be doing the right thing “naturally”, has my stomach turn even now, no matter how much I know Pret’s mentality, and I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m still gobsmacked!

And one of the main things I’ve learned from my Pret experience is, the louder someone or an organization claims something, the less this is actually happening because it’s like holding up a banner of words as the reality behind it is very, very different. It’s like putting on a lot of make-up to cover up the true face. And this is where Pret is extreme, all their slogans and bull-crap words are just a facade to cover up what’s behind it. I know, I’ve worked in it for years and survived.

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

The only allergen labelling that was implemented in around 2015 or 2016 was for charity. I cannot remember exactly when this started, but the thought behind that I understand only now, because we were never told the reason. The reason being that charity, homeless people most likely won’t have access to the Internet to check the ingredients and as they receive the food after closing time not being able to get into a shop to ask for allergen information.

 

2018-06-21 pret food labels for charity

Twitter Photo Link

 

But there is a contradicting twist in all this. In 2017 Pret started implementing a food labelling system in all Pret kitchens for the ingredients in the fridges that were opened and needed a product label with the new expiry date, once the item has been opened.

Before that, hand-written labels were used. So, for example if a tub of crayfish has a use-by-date (UBD) of let’s say 4 days from today while closed, the UBD changes to let’s 2 days once the tub was opened. Because many Team Members made mistakes as they are constantly rushing, writing the wrong UBD where the product then expired because they put a day longer, these labelling machines were implemented, where a Team Member just types in the product, the original UBD while unopened, and then the machine with all the ingredients programmed into it, calculates and prints out the correct UBD for the now opened product.

Pret was willing and able to  do that for kitchen ingredients, and yet, nothing for customers to make informed decisions if or what to purchase to safe lives. These kitchen machines were implemented in 2017!!

Machines for UBD product labels to me is not a priority as TMs could still continue to handwrite the labels as they did for years. But a labelling system for products on the shelves just didn’t seem a priority for Pret.

 

I am tired of trying to tell the public how utterly non-caring Pret A Manger is.

 

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

—> Pret a Manger hit with lawsuit

The Verdict  (he lost!)

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

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

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

Sweet-talk of the decade:

*IRONY ON*

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

*IRONY OFF*

 

If people want to enjoy their free coffees from Pret and continue to be lulled in by the shiny PR[et] facade, then go and enjoy!

The families know 100% loss all of the time.

Natasha’s Parents 0:19 mins YouTube

Tanya Ednan-Laperouse: “A young person died from eating one of their products and the fact that they did nothing, and just let things carry on exactly as they had before, is beyond believe, actually!”

Nadim Ednan-Laperouse: “It’s kind of madness, isn’t it? Really, if you think about it? What is it? It’s just nothing short of a kind of mad situation.”

 


 

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

Interview:


©2019 expret.org

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

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

Pret A Manger – Ongoing Issues Hospitalization, Mislabelling…

 

Pret A Mouse

Pret A Mouse … on the house!

 

UPDATE: October 2019

2019-10-02 Meat Toastie NOT Veggie

Link

 

Many examples of continued issues even after the customers deaths became public, and Pret’s “promise” to implement “meaningful” change are the opposite of what is listed further down below. I stopped adding in December 2018 but only added a few recent examples as this is getting too much, but the issues continue.

 

Another customer hospitalized, Pret sent flowers and a £20 voucher and did not react for a day to this Tweet until being prompted again:

 

2018-12-17 Hospitalisation voucher Crop

Link

 

Another customer was sent flowers after an allergic reaction:

2019-04-30 FLowers for allergy

This tweet is from 30. April 2019 and has been deleted. @BloomandWild (the flower service) even responded to it, but they also deleted their tweet. Makes you wonder …

 

UPDATE 23. April 2019

2019-04-23 Veggie sticker on ham buttie

Link

 

Most recent mislabelling again 03. May 2019. The ham vs. the veggie croissants, soup and hot food in general are the greatest issues with mislabelling.

2019-05-03 Ham instead of Veg croissant

03. May 2019

 

2019-04-21 Ham instead of Veg croissant

21. March 2019

 

2015 Ham instead of Veg croissant

After 29 years not eating ham…

 

I explain further below that due to a “chronic” lack of staff to maximize profits and due to immense stress on Team Members, lack of time given, lack of space, exhaustion especially on the Hot Chef who starts at 4:30/5:00am running non-stop until 2 or 3pm etc. these mistakes ALWAYS happened and continue to happen.

As a Team Leader I had to fix these issues DAILY. And this will not change unless Pret radically changes its structure, starting with a new CEO who ACTS and doesn’t sweet-talk which Clive Schlee does perfectly fooling the public with PR[et] slogans for years.

 

Undercover Report by The Sunday Mirror sparked by my blog on mixed up labels, out-of-date product, food waste and overstretched staff which I could write books about! 24.11.2018


 

New updates and additions at the bottom…

 

2018-10-15 Pork soup instead of Tuscan Bean

Link to Tweet (From experience with Pret soups, this looks like Pulled Pork to me, which also contains beans)

 

This could have been another death, hospitalization, allergic reaction… certainly an unpleasant experience for a vegetarian. Multiple warnings not taken seriously before and even after 2 customer deaths.

As I want to move away from my Pret outcry because I have said enough to give a good idea what really is going on behind the facade, but I keep seeing these complaints.

A tweet with the typical response from Pret that has me shake my head again and again, even though I shouldn’t be surprised.

A vegetarian customer got a meaty soup instead of what was labelled as a vegetarian Tuscan Bean Soup that even has the green veggie sticker on the soup cup. A meaty soup has a red sticker with the soup name, a veggie soup has a green sticker, plus the label on the Hot Cabinet with the ingredients (hopefully with full allergen info).

Pret’s response is to blame downwards as usual, making the Hot Chef (the person who is preparing all hot food) responsible. The OPs manager (operations manager = area manager) who often is quite stern, with an intimidating “bossy” attitude, visits the shop. The OPs then speaks to the General Manager (GM) or maybe even to the Hot Chef or person who prepared the soup.

On a side note, the Hot Chef has the most difficult and stressful job on the shop floor. Unlike the Barista who has the morning coffee rush, cleaning and stocking up, but then a quieter period during lunch time with lots of help, the Hot Chef never stops and goes from the morning bakery items to the lunch-time hot foods! In winter it’s the worst and intensely exhausting. Often they don’t get help except on paper, but in reality they are so stressed for time and often have tiny work benches, if at all, and if they are not organized naturally and not trained properly, they struggle a great deal. I mention the different job roles and stress factors in my Open Letter to Pret Customers.

So, the Hot Chef now gets even more stress and may not even get help, but will be blamed, no matter if the team may have been understaffed, or the Hot Chef may not have received proper training as I used to work as a HC and was thrust into it with little training and have seen this with other HCs again and again.

It is a lose-lose situation. The typical scenario is that staff are not trained properly, overworked, underpaid, stressed to the max, not helped and then blamed when things go wrong. Apart from my experience this can be seen in the countless staff complaints that I collected from other websites. A very typical Pret situation on a daily basis. Of course there are trained staff and good shops, but my 10 years in Pret mainly involved training myself, trying to help my colleagues as best as I was able to under intensely stressful circumstances.

Pret’s response to the customer who was sold the wrong soup is again typical for how Pret responds to this:

 

2018-10-27 Soup incidence

If the text is too small: Ctrl & + or direct Link to Pret’s “hilarious” response
So, the customer read the labels on the hot cabinet and the soup cup, and yet still got the wrong item and ingredients! If the customer would have been allergic to any of the ingredients in the wrong soup, having believed to have bought the correct item, scrutinized the labels, double checked everything … but still got the wrong item, this could have been another death… The Tuscan Bean soup does also look a little like this meat soup in the photo above. So, I have also seen often that customers open the lid to take a look and the similarity of the soups visually could still mislead them. And Pret responds in this indifferent way and just blames the Hot Chef who most likely is already over stressed as it is.

 

Tuscan Bean Soup

The (real) veggie Tuscan Bean Soup

 

The generic response that is so typical for Pret still amazes me. But the blaming is typical. Quote:

“The hot chef in charge failed the Pret standard for soup preparation…”

No, the Hot Chef most likely was overworked, stressed, had no help and was pressured by the GM or Team Leader to quickly get the soups out for selection so in case the Mystery Shopper comes, they won’t be marked down for missing items on the shelves. Plus, many Hot Chefs work in cramped areas without a proper work bench! Picture below.

No idea how a customer got a hold of this photo. If the customer lets Pret know which shop it is, the person who took and then leaked the photo will have an appointment with the Job-center soon. But this is a very common view I found in my 10 years in Pret. And this is then no wonder that serious mistakes keep happening: tiny work spaces especially for Hot Chefs who have the hardest job on shop level. This photo is a very familiar sight. Hot Chefs balancing act to have proper work benches. Very dehumanizing and disrespectful towards hardworking people to not give them the right space as well as time to prepare in a safe way.

Customer areas are increased to get as many customers / money in as possible; staff areas are decreased. This then creates multiple problems, not only on the mental strain of staff but customers’ lives as well:

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

The following picture of a rubbish cart is from the worst shop I’ve ever worked, not only because the bullying by my line manager and his boss was the heaviest there, but because there was NO space. There was only ONE toilet for customers AND staff alike. I had to go to the Costa next door at times as I didn’t have time to queue for the toilet! The back-room was an All-in-one room: Office, staff/changing room with lockers, Fridges and Freezers, Store room, the Hot Chef area where the soups were prepared, the Chemical room with all the cleaning materials etc., the Electrical Room and to top it all, the RUBBISH room.

Many times the rubbish was left over night after the collection already came. This photo is from September 2015 and Pret was then forced to expand the working area, decreasing the customer area as the rubbish was a health & safety issue. But this shop existed for at least 2-3 years with the rubbish included in the multi-task room.

Staff would even change their uniform in there next to the Hot Chef preparing food! It was a complete nightmare. And even when we complained about the lack of space and rubbish, Pret would NOT listen to us and only changed when prompted by health & safety people because if an EHO would have done a routine check they would have closed down that shop immediately like an EHO did when mouse droppings were found in a routine visit to a Pret shop. Pret ONLY reacts when caught!

 

Spitalfields Waste MultitaskOffice_6Sep15

 


 

I keep repeating myself that Starbucks closed 8000 shops in the USA to train staff for an afternoon after a racial incident in one of their stores. They closed for a few hours to train their staff and then even remained closed for the rest of the day after the training. This has cost Starbucks an estimated $12 Million+ for that ONE day. Starbucks did that a few years ago already in the UK to retrain staff on coffee quality.

But in Pret customers die, repeated complaints keep coming in on wrong and inadequate labelling like this soup and other products … And those are only the complaints that are public.

And Pret A Manger does business as usual. Full steam ahead! Let the slogans and generic cut and paste responses do their work. I still cannot believe that Pret is still not putting on the brakes here, and gets away with “murder” so to speak.

I wanted to move away from my Pret outcry, but these incidences which are only public, there is much more going on which is not seen, but how people are being treated, how staff suffer… and how I survived Pret, I cannot be silent.

 

Collected on “Pret Allergen Death & Customer Warnings to Pret“.

 

BEFORE Natasha’s and Ms. Marsh’s deaths became public:

05. June 2018 Quote: “Can you start labelling individual wraps?

2018-06-05 Wrong Wrap wrong label1

 

And the typical Pret “Oh gosh…” response veering away from the public into DM and just blaming “someone” for having placed item behind the wrong label. But no priority on labelling, no “meaningful” change, just full steam ahead doing business as usual. As a Team Leader I had to fix issues like this on a daily basis.

 

2018-06-05 wrong wrap

Link

I just added one “before” example, but there are countless more. Also from my own experience having worked in Pret with staff on high pace and stress, understaffed to maximize profits, running non-stop with no time to oversee careful labelling and placing items on correct shelves…

 

AFTER Natasha’s and Ms. Marsh’s deaths became public, issues continue:

 

24.10.2018 Another soup issue. In the U.S. this time:

2018-10-24 Soup incidence

Link to Tweet

 

29.10.2018 This is either the Ham Mac&Cheese or Proscioutto, but looks like the Ham Mac with a green Veggie Kale & Cauli label instead of the red Meaty sticker:

2018-10-29 Meat Mac instead of Veg

Link

 

Also 29.10.2018 response to a 26.10. complaint, after three days asking if she was okay. Pret may even be understaffed on their USA Twitter feed. A dish that contains at least enough “iron” supply for the day. The Pret A Metal-Wrap (Allergen Info: Contains metal, eat responsibly)

2018-10-29 Metal Wrap

Link

 

29.10.2018 Dairy vs Soya

2018-10-29 Dairy vs Soya

Link

 

30.10.2018 Pret’s “Plastic Pledge” (Allergen Info: Contains Plastic. Eat responsibly)

2018-10-30 Plastic Cover

Link

 

30.10.2018  Pret A Hair

2018-10-30 Hair

Link

 

01.11.2018 USA Allergen Info: “May” contain Unidentified Food Object. Eat responsibly.

2018-11-01 UFO

Link

 

22.10.2018 Wrong Soup

2018-10-22 No Tom Soup2

2018-10-22 No Tom Soup1

Link

 

 

23.10.2018 “Plastic Pledge” again

2018-10-23 Plastic

Link

 

23.10.2018 Gherkin Croissant

2018-10-23 Gherkin in Croiss

Link

 

07.11.2018 Wrong soup again

2018-11-07 Soup incidence

Link

 

08. Nov. 2018 Serious labelling issues continue

2018-11-08 Label Mess1

Link

 

08.11.2018 Omelette with Mac & Cheese label:

2018-11-08 Omelette with MacCheese label

Link

 

09. Nov. 2018 “Meaty Porridge”

2018-11-09 Meaty Porridge

Link

 

22.11.2018 Duck instead of Avo Wrap for Vegetarian

2018-11-22- Duck wrap instead of Avo

Link

 

27.11.2018 Meat instead of Vegan wrap:

2018-11-27 Meat instead of Vegan wrapLink

 

29.11.2018 Wrong soup … again

2018-11-29 Wrong soup

Link

 

29.11.2018 Pret’s “Plastic Pledge” again. Even the teeth/bite marks are visible!

2018-11-29 Prosciutto Plastc0

Link

 

17.12.2018 Wrong soup … again

2018-12-17 Wrong soup again

Link

 

21.12.2018 Cockroach in Tuna Salad still alive

2018-12-22 Cockroach in salad

Link

 

… to be continued (unfortunately)

 


 

A lawsuit filed by a customer in NYC in 2016:

A New York City man is suing Pret a Manger after he a went into anaphylactic shock. He alleges that the restaurant staff served him food containing sesame after assuring him the food was free of the allergen.

The Verdict … settled out of court.

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Cry Me A River – Translating Crocodile Tears

 

drip by drip, drop by dot and blabber…

The performance worthy of an Oscar, that took two years of research and practice.

 

YT

 

So touching!

 

CryMeARiver

 

 

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

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

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

—> Pret a Manger hit with lawsuit

The Verdict  (he lost!)

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

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

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

Sweet-talk of the decade:

*IRONY ON*

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

*IRONY OFF*

 

The Translation
Of the CEO’s Oscar-worthy performance

 

Clive Schlee: “I went to the Inquest…”

As if he had a choice!

 

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

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

 

CS: “And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

 

CryMeARiver

 

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

 

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

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

 

CS: “But”

But

 

CS: “… the coroner”

Oh, the coroner, huh?!

 

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

The coroner blames the law, now? Didn’t the coroner say that Pret’s labelling was inadequate? And further in this “REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS”, quote:
»Regulation 5 allows for food outlets to avoid full food labelling requirements whether they prepare a small number of items in local shops or in the case of Pret, over 200 million items for sale by preparing these items in “local kitchens”. These items prepared in “local kitchens” are in fact “assembled” in large parts from items made in factory style outlets to Pret specifications. I was left with the impression that the “local kitchens” were in fact a device to evade the spirit of the regulation.«

Yes, that about sounds like the Pret I know! And I’m glad someone finally sees that Pret products are not freshly “made” but “assembled” from ready products out of factories into many tiny “factories” sold as “lovingly made in Pret kitchens” bla.

 

 

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

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

 

So much about “preventing future deaths”!

 

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

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

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

CS: … “Probably – probably better.”

Yes, I would stutter, too if I was him!

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Pret A Menace

 

 

horizontal-1452536_960_720

 

 

What is the difference between the Takeaway managers who were sentenced to prison and Pret A Manger’s repeated deaths and injuries of customers?

 

BBC Report: (Judge’s verdict) “Neither of you actually foresaw the death of anyone. It never occurred to you that you would be responsible for the death of a young girl. Quite simply, you never gave the risk of a customer dying because of an allergy a moment’s thought.

“You must now live with the guilt of what you have done and the suffering you have caused Megan’s family and to your own families. All of this is a tragedy that could so easily have been avoided had you exercised the proper care to be expected of those who serve food to the public.”

 

How is that different to Pret that had TWO customers die (that the public knows about), a third almost fatal, several in hospital and repeated ignored warnings from customers?

  • Judge: “Neither of you actually foresaw the death of anyone.”
    – Neither did Pret, even though they received repeated warnings especially regarding sesame where a 17 year old teenager was hospitalized before Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died.
  • Judge: “It never occurred to you that you would be responsible for the death of a young girl.”
    – And yet, it may have occurred to Pret as they were warned, including Clive Schlee’s poor response to an open letter before Natasha died.
  • Judge: “Quite simply, you never gave the risk of a customer dying because of an allergy a moment’s thought.”
    Just like Pret that was warned repeatedly and even now still has issues with wrong labelling and just blames downward, while labelling every product, every night since a few years for charity.

 

 

2018-10-20 Pret charity labels2

 

BBC report: The judge said: “The Royal Spice had no systems or processes to manage allergen control. The menu contained no information about allergens. No record was kept of the ingredients used in dishes.

“In short, it appears that no one at the takeaway had any way of knowing what allergens were in the food supplied.”

 

Pret A Mess:

 

The sentencing of the two take away managers may be as an example for small businesses that often do lack in hygiene and training. I am very fortunate to not have any allergies whatsoever, but the first thing I do when I walk into a restaurant to wash my hands before the meal, I check the toilets. Whatever I find in the back gives me a good idea what I will get in the front! Food poisoning is no respecter of persons! I have walked out of restaurants many times based on the toilets. I have a zero tolerance on the lack of hygiene.

 

Jail

 

 

BBC report: “Those who fail to heed the warnings and who continue to flout food safety regulations may find the courts taking a harsher view in the future.”

horizontal-1452536_960_720money

Which takes me back to the question why Pret keeps getting away with repeated incidences? Does it really always boil down to money and is the public so lulled in to the shiny facade Pret polished for years, covering up what’s really behind it? 

BBC: The two-week trial heard there was a “litany of failings” in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept.

 

 

 

Pret A Mice and the Company’s Procrastination

 

 

 

Pest and poor hygiene issues were rampant in Pret years ago. I worked in one particular mice infested shop in around 2010/11 and asked for a transfer to a pest-free shop, as I couldn’t take working in this shop anymore. Usually mice, rats etc. come out of hiding when the shop is closed, quiet and dark. But in this particular shop that was very old before the refurbishments Pret did throughout the company, the mice were so bold they strolled along under the barista cupboard during the busy and loud morning coffee rush. As staff we saw the critters and just held our breath not knowing what to do. I requested to be transferred out from this shop.

Pret used to have internal pest control people who regularly came in to do proofing when there were issues, and we had to constantly call them, but they were unable to tackle the issue and were just fixing holes. They and we all were literally playing a cat and mouse game where the mice won. As a Team Member I even suggested to the pest control person if we couldn’t just close the shop for a few days and solve the issue head on, and I remember very very well him saying that he kept talking to Pret but they did not see any urgency to resolve this. I was appalled because it was getting worse. Once a pair of mice is in they multiply in no time.

Only after an EHO closed a Pret shop after a routine check, finding evidence of pest, did Pret react and commissioned an outside pest control company to take over. Pret went from complete apathy into complete panic mode. Managers were blamed even though there was no clear procedure and training in place as I was a leader already and received no training on pest control at the time. Some managers were fired, other managers were reduced back to assistant manager roles, even though they had no to little training. The blame was always on the shops.

After my transferal to another shop we had one mouse appear and the reaction from Pret suddenly was very very quick after the EHO’s closure. And rightly so. They employed a former EHO to help who was extremely strict and almost on OCD level pressuring us on the tiniest issues. This of course helped, but was extremely stressful compared to our call for help before and being ignored. I and colleagues were summoned to an “informal” meeting where the area manager questioned us on how we dealt with the mouse issue (while not having been trained).

Tactically he was taking notes and let me sign each note. He did that as a typical Pret fear management thing, but at one point I refused to sign if he doesn’t add that the shop I worked in previously that had the mice infestation in the same area where he himself was the area manager at the time, but didn’t act. He quickly realised that this stunt doesn’t work as we had plenty of evidence in the other shop of the amount of times we did a call out for the internal pest control people who couldn’t tackle the issue. After many months of training. and most importantly, the external pest control company doing regular checks, Pret finally got on top of the problem.

Pest is rampant especially in a city like London. It is completely normal that a restaurant or any place will have pest issues from time to time, even when they are squeaky clean hygienically, but with a prompt and professional approach it can be tackled fast. But as usual for Pret it took a major happening, an EHO closing a shop before they reacted while ignoring staff’s and internal pest control people’s concerns.

So, Pret can do it if they want to! And do it prompt and fast! … If they want to!

Pret now has hired ex-FSA boss Tim Smith as Food Safety Adviser.

Once Pret makes up their mind and finally “re”acts after a catastrophic and public event, they employ the best of the best and the most experienced, but it takes shop closures (= loss of money), deaths and this becoming public (= reputation, loss of profit) before this giant wakes from its slumber and complacency where the blaming downwards doesn’t work anymore as the top got caught out being the ones not taking responsibility!

So Pret does a smart thing, an EHO closes down at least one shop due to pest issues, and Pret employs a former EHO because they know what to look for and how an EHO thinks. Customers die and get injured, but no concern there at all for at least two years, but only since the inquest and it becoming public, Pret does the smart thing again to get the ex-CEO from the FSA.

Both very good moves as they know exactly how to improve, the problem is, mice have to multiply NOT to the point that staff get disgusted working there and food is compromised for customers (I won’t go into detail), but only after a shop closure is Pret going into full gear. Two deaths becoming public, no not, 1 death happened and Pret put on the brakes, it had to become public with an inquest. And people get excited about Christmas sandwiches and are bribed with free cookies. Sad and scary world we live in, where people willingly prostitute their principles and values for occasional free and colourful food.

 

Pret A Monopoly

Pret has drawn the Get-out-of-jail-card and will get away with two deaths and several injuries, or at “worst” get fined, while two small fish will serve as an example to smaller businesses and the big guns get away with “murder”.

 

Monopoly

 

Other profit driven fast re-actions from Pret that only serves PR[et] in the post “Immediate PR[et] vs. Labelling Delay“.

 


 

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

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

Compensation for Life spent not for Death

 

Is it April Fool’s Day?

 

Man invoices Pret & EAT for time spent in shops (in 2009 mind you).

 


 

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.

A Chink in the Armour of a Firm

 

or as I call it a crack in the PR(et) facade!

 

With plenty of press on Pret now this one I’d like to put my salt on in-between some sentences of this article:

“It’s difficult to say when, but at some point over the last ten years Pret A Manger became ubiquitous.”

It’s very easy to say when, it was indeed 10 years ago when Bridgepoint bought Pret and set the target of opening shops at 15% per year. I can still feel it in my bones and mental health how we were driven while staff were cut to increase profit and a 7 times return for Bridgepoint’s investment and £30 million for CEO Clive Schlee.

 

“Pret’s coffee is organic, its sandwiches are handmade, its marketing is self-aware and it wants you to know that doing the right thing is “what makes Pret, Pret”.”

Handmade by human machines while “doing the right thing” ignoring numerous warnings from customers regarding allergen and labelling, bullying staff to the point of suicide including bereaved staff. It what makes Pret, Pret.

 

“There’s never a shortage of “avo” at Pret.”

And never a shortage of complaints how hard the avos are. I only copied this complaint as an example how Pret is kissing butt while a customer offends shop staff with the C-word. But there were many complaints on hard avo. Amazing also how some people’s days are “ruined” while others lose a child and a mother to Pret products. Poor pepo!

 

PretBehaviour01a

 

 

“The people at Pret are always happy, so happy that they might give you a free sandwich if they like you”

So happy. 🙂

 

“In fact, the staff at Pret are so happy that in 2013, the chain was accused of using “emotional labour” tactics – monitoring staff to ensure they retain a cheerful demeanour – on its own workforce.”

Correct. Staff are being bullied, ordered into the office when the Mystery Shopper, or as I call them the Misery Shopper, commented that the server didn’t smile. A good telling off in the office with plenty of fear management and fear for job security. Then the staff is send out and ordered to smile! Even during illness having a cold and during bereavement!

 

2014-12-01 MS cough

Mystery Shopper comment: “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.”

 

The worst telling off I experienced was when a line manager, who himself never smiled, held a sermon in the kitchen with us team and said that smiling is part of the uniform! He then finished his speech and said that if anyone wants to say anything to say it ‘now’, then and there, or otherwise we shouldn’t come to him later. I lifted my hand and mentioned that I rather want to tell him something in private as I didn’t want to confront him in front of my team as I was their team leader wanting to lead by example not embarrassing the boss in front of them. But he maintained to speak up now and that later would be no opportunity.

So, I did. I said, “So-and-so, you never smile! (when serving customers)” … At least he changed a bit, but I certainly did not make friends saying this. Neither did I care.

 

“…the list of “behaviours” staff must exhibit reportedly contains over 50 items.”

Correct. A list of brainwashing that some staff threw into the bin.

 

“Pret ran into trouble earlier this year, when the Advertising Standards Authority took issue with two ads the company had run in 2016. Pret was found to have been “misleading” in its claims that products were “good natural food”. Whilst this didn’t grab headlines, it was a chink in the armour of a firm that’s clean and ethical image has been a source of its success.”

I appreciate the writer pointing out this being the “image”. It used to be quite dirty in Pret with pest problems that turned Pret into Pret A Mice until an EHO closed a shop and Pret only RE-acted, whereas before ignored staff’s and internal pest control people’s concerns.

 

“It was an early caution, perhaps, to the crisis that has engulfed the firm in the last two weeks where two of its customers were believed to have died after allergic reactions to is products.”

Plus one assistant manager who died by suicide last year that is known of within Pret and my repeated approach to confront Pret internally on this when I still worked in Pret, and now publicly, as I almost ended my life as well during my ordeal in Pret.

 

“It follows the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who passed away in 2016 after eating a Pret baguette that did not have any allergen labelling on its packaging.”

Not only on the packaging, but the fatal Sesame Natasha died of was missing on the fridge label of the “lovingly made” PR(et) baguette that Natasha and her dad read …

 

No Sesame on Label

(Sesame info missing)

 

… while each product that is given to charities for the homeless and people in need is being labeled with allergen info since years:

 

2018-10-20 Pret charity labels2

(Products with allergen labels for charity)

 

 

“Her father accused the chain of a “complete dereliction of duty””

… as well as being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, and rightly so.

 

All in all you just got another crack in the wall

 

crack-695010_960_720

 

“Pret CEO Schlee said that the chain would “ensure meaningful change”, and will start “trialling full ingredient labelling, including allergens, on product packaging” from November.”

Trialling from November. Starbucks closed 8000 stores in the U.S. After their incidence with racial issues, training their staff. ACTION is the best PR! But Pret is going full steam ahead doing business as usual, trialling…….! A death, let alone TWO the public knows about doesn’t mean anything to this sweet-talking company. If that doesn’t tell people something of the reality behind the “doing the right thing ” with even the arrogant slogan that Pret’s HR has of “doing the right thing naturally”, then I rest my case!

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

“’We cannot begin to comprehend the pain the family have felt, and the grief they will continue to feel,’ said Schlee.”

He certainly took two years to “begin” to realize that he can’t begin to imagine and finally wrote to Natasha’s family!

 

“Was Pret too late to act? It is not legally required for stores to put allergy labels on food made on site, but the warning signs were there. According to the Times, Pret “ignored” nine cases of allergic incidents related to sesame, including six related to its “artisan baguettes”.”

More than nine!

 

“The lawyer for the Ednan-Laperouse family told a West London court that there was a “clear concern being repeatedly raised that artisan baguettes were causing sesame seed allergy problems, which were not properly responded to by Pret”. Pret’s compliance director said the firm responded appropriately to each individual complaint at the time.”

The Director of Risk-taking and Complacency did not respond properly.

 

“Schlee, who is reportedly set to pocket a £30m windfall when the JAB sale goes through, didn’t write to the bereaved relatives personally until this August, the family claims. Not a good look for a brand that trades on an image of wholesomeness and honesty.”

Anyone in business who claims honesty should always get a closer look!

 

“Despite being undoubtedly the biggest crisis in its history, no one expects the burgundy star to vanish from the high streets anytime soon. Its ruthless expansion under private investment is widely expected to continue stateside thanks to JAB’s experience in the American market (JAB also own Douwe Egberts coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts).”

Yes, that’s true, they will not vanish and I appreciate it being coined as “ruthless” expansion. They will just go through a year of a little nose-dive in profits and will re-emerge with more bull-crap PR. But I lived long enough to know that when people are lucky enough to be on their death-bed and able to look back on their lives and “achievements”, I don’t want to be in their skin.

 

“If the chain loses its avocado-driven charm, no number of free coffees will pep it up.”

That’s true, but also the time is coming when even Pret workers will start standing up with Unions and demand respectful treatment, apart from the poor wages and the brainwash they’re subjected under.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Quotes of the Decade – Pret A Slave

 

slave-2614959_960_720

 

I shouldn’t be surprised nor appalled at Pret’s statement regarding Modern Slavery, and this may be concentrating more on their suppliers and farmers in other countries etc. while ignoring Modern Slavery on their doorstep in shops. Pret does what they often do, spilling the beans on something that is happening while white-washing it either in small-print or out loud through PR.

After the second customer dying due to allergy, and taking a deeper look again, I leave this without any more comments, just to say that Pret does what they do well, getting caught before getting caught.

“Good jobs for good people”, the beautiful PR(et) facade needs more fixing.

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement

Quote from the Introduction on page 3:

“…  we remain steadfast in our commitment to eradicate modern slavery if and when identified in our business and supply chains. We know there’s a lot to do and we will continue to make our journey transparent, sharing our successes as well as the challenges we encounter along the way.”

 

We know there’s a lot to do?

 

Rephrased: “We have modern slavery in Pret, but we work on it once we get caught. We stay quiet until it becomes public and in the meantime make a statement in advance to cover our shiny PR(et) facade.”

Like the kid with the chocolate stained fingers behind his back from the cookie jar saying to his mum who hasn’t even noticed the missing cookies yet, “It wasn’t me, mum. I don’t know where the cookies are!”

 

I’m happy to help Pret with the “transparency” part of their statement and operations: Pret’s Staff Modern Slavery Statements and how it looks behind the facade.

 

Some selected Quotes:

NEW Slave’s company (18. Oct. 2018)

Modern Day Slavery (2nd Oct. 2018)

Workers are slave (June 2017)

Slave-like environment (Oct. 2017)

Felt Like A Slave (Nov. 2014)

Quoting further from this which appears when clicking on “Show More”, quoting including the ALL CAPS:

“DO NOT WORK THERE YOU WILL REGRET IT!! DONT LET THEM LIE TO YOU WITH THE PAY OF $10 A HOUR NOT WORTH IT
I FELT MISTREATED, FELT LIKE A SLAVE, THEY LOWERED MY SELF ESTEEM BY TELLING ME I DONT WORK HARD ENOUGH EVEN THOUGH I WAS THE FIRST ON TO FINISH.
THIS JOB SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE DEPT OF LABOR

Advice to Management

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.”

 

Slavery hasn’t been abolished (Oct. 2017)

Leaders treat you like a slave (May 2018)

For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans. (Dec. 2017)

 

A full review from June 2018 without the term “slave” or “slavery” but with very clear words on the subject:

Hellhole!”

“0 respect for employees
Too much stress, let’s face it pret, you’re a sandwich shop
Not that good wages anymore, everyone around you is raising the hourly wages, 10p is not enough
Communication sucks
Crazy standards impossible to follow
0 motivation for staff, if you treat people like they’re useless and worthless, they won’t work so well anymore
Employees are the blood of the company, not customers, not ingredients, not the shops, TREAT PEOPLE PROPERLY!!!!

Rethink your whole policies, they sucks, get down from that high horse you’re on

 

PLUS scrolling down in the comments on YouTube to Branzinotito’s comment:

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

On Andrej’s Pret Union video more comments:

 

logic 2000: “… pret is pure exploitation of foreign workers modern day slavery. systematic abuse disguised as productivity target.”

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments1a

 

… and further …

 

Saif Khan: “Pret exploits and abuse their employees. ..thats true fact…I can say after working 5 years there..”

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments4

 

etc. etc.

 

PLUS comprehensive, but not exhaustive list of Pret staff complaints and selected quotes from the list.

 

I added comments in the PDF document with more extensive thoughts on some points.

 


 

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.

 

And Another-Nine

 

2018-10-04 PineNuts IceQueen2912

 

Link

 

Other customer complaints and concerns regarding labelling issues in Pret.

 

 

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement vs Pret’s Modern Slavery Practices

 

business-1320078__340

 

 

I shouldn’t be surprised nor appalled at Pret’s statement regarding Modern Slavery, and this may be concentrating more on their suppliers and farmers etc. while ignoring Modern Slavery on their doorstep in shops. Pret does what they often do, spilling the beans on something that is happening while white-washing it either in small-print or out loud through PR.

After the second customer dying due to allergy, and taking a deeper look again, I leave this without any more comments, just to say that Pret does what they do well, getting caught before getting caught.

“Good jobs for good people”, the beautiful PR(et) facade needs more fixing.

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement

Quote from the Introduction on page 3:

“…  we remain steadfast in our commitment to eradicate modern slavery if and when identified in our business and supply chains. We know there’s a lot to do and we will continue to make our journey transparent, sharing our successes as well as the challenges we encounter along the way.”

 

We know there’s a lot to do?

 

Rephrased: “We have modern slavery in Pret, but we work on it once we get caught. We stay quiet until it becomes public.”

Like the kid with the chocolate stained fingers behind his back from the cookie jar saying to his mum who hasn’t even noticed the missing cookies yet, “It wasn’t me, mum. I don’t know where the cookies are.

 

I’m happy to help Pret with the “transparency” part of their statement and operations: Pret’s Staff Modern Slavery Statements and how it looks behind the facade.

 

NEW Slave’s company (18. Oct. 2018)

Modern Day Slavery (2nd Oct. 2018)

Workers are slave (June 2017)

Slave-like environment (Oct. 2017)

Felt Like A Slave (Nov. 2014)

Quoting further from this which appears when clicking on “Show More”, quoting including the ALL CAPS:

“DO NOT WORK THERE YOU WILL REGRET IT!! DONT LET THEM LIE TO YOU WITH THE PAY OF $10 A HOUR NOT WORTH IT
I FELT MISTREATED, FELT LIKE A SLAVE, THEY LOWERED MY SELF ESTEEM BY TELLING ME I DONT WORK HARD ENOUGH EVEN THOUGH I WAS THE FIRST ON TO FINISH.
THIS JOB SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE DEPT OF LABOR

Advice to Management

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.”

 

Slavery hasn’t been abolished (Oct. 2017)

Leaders treat you like a slave (May 2018)

For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans. (Dec. 2017)

 

A full review from June 2018 without the term “slave” or “slavery” but with very clear words on the subject:

Hellhole!”

“0 respect for employees
Too much stress, let’s face it pret, you’re a sandwich shop
Not that good wages anymore, everyone around you is raising the hourly wages, 10p is not enough
Communication sucks
Crazy standards impossible to follow
0 motivation for staff, if you treat people like they’re useless and worthless, they won’t work so well anymore
Employees are the blood of the company, not customers, not ingredients, not the shops, TREAT PEOPLE PROPERLY!!!!

Rethink your whole policies, they sucks, get down from that high horse you’re on

 

PLUS scrolling down in the comments to Branzinotito’s comment:

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

On Andrej’s Pret Union video more comments:

logic 2000: “… pret is pure exploitation of foreign workers modern day slavery. systematic abuse disguised as productivity target.”

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments1a

 

… and further …

 

Saif Khan: Pret exploits and abuse their employees. ..thats true fact…I can say after working 5 years there..”

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments4

 

etc. etc.

 

PLUS comprehensive, but not exhaustive list of Pret staff complaints and selected quotes from the list.

 

I added comments in the PDF document with more extensive thoughts on some points.

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Lucky Pret: The Difference between the USA & the UK

 

justice-2071539_960_720

 

 

The difference between the USA and the UK is not only the legal system, but the hunger for justice, even if that “justice” in the U.S. is known for being so ridiculous:

 

Suing Pret for “air” in the States, while Natasha was dying in the air and Pret in the UK is getting away with murder.

 

 

 

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.

 

And Another-one

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

Clive Schlee’s appalling response, apart from the patronizing and self-assured tone: “I must say you do have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret. I am Pret’s CEO.” … and she’s supposed to be impressed that the CEO responded to an open letter addressed to Pret, while not having a clue what to do:

“You also make your point about the allergen information. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that …”

 

I still shake my head when reading this, and I read this many times now in disbelief!

 

A “collection” of warnings Pret ignored.

 

The Definition of Bullying

 

Bullying can kill

 

When my brother died I went into extreme darkness, shock and trauma, and at the same time straight into autopilot. Apart from all the errands I had to run and things I had to do, I kept working because I had no choice. I lost all my savings for all the bills that came up, flights, living costs etc. I was forced to keep working.

During that time the bullying in Pret did not stop, it even gotten worse where they tried to cut me out of my leadership position. One incidence I just came back from a two week holiday in warm Florida and Virginia having visited with friends, one of whom I share my birthday with, and our combined friends gave us a trip on a boat to watch dolphins further out on the ocean. I didn’t enjoy the holiday as I usually do, but I relaxed and enjoyed my friends. In hindsight this was the darkest time, the whole year and the following was, but this time even while the sun was beaming and my friends were so lovely, it was so dark for me.

My guard was somewhat down, just having returned from a warm climate, warm in weather and in people, to then returning to the cold early December weather in London. When I returned to work my then line manager was tense and as usual would tell me off in front of my team. As an employee to be told off repeatedly in front of your colleagues is already wrong and hard enough, but as a team leader being told off again in front of my team I couldn’t bear anymore.

After just starting work again, with my guard down and this having been two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death, I couldn’t take the telling off anymore and I just broke down right then and their in front of everyone. I cried and shouted uncontrollably, tried to take my jacket and pushed a tall colleague a little to the side who was just standing behind me. Shocked at him standing there, because I didn’t realize someone was behind me, I just pushed him out of shock, crying, trying to grab my jacket to leave the shop.

The line manager kept telling me to get out on the shop floor to serve customers. I was extremely in shock, afraid I would lose my job if I take my jacket and leave. The guy I pushed (not purposely, but in shock) just said to me “Don’t push me!” When he said that I just wept and repeatedly said “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

NO ONE tried to calm me down or console me, absolutely no one!

The line manager flung the office door to the shop floor open and with a delegating pointing finger towards the shop floor ordered me out. In tears and immense shock I served customers, and not even customers asked me what happened. My colleagues outside did, who didn’t witness what happened in the office. They asked what’s going on, but I couldn’t tell them.

I raised a grievance, which at first HR didn’t want to do. I then contacted the CEO and only then did they conduct a hearing. The hearing manager in a nutshell rejected everything, rejected that it was bullying and even flipped it around putting the blame on me for being aggressive (breakdown!!)! Shock after shock after shock after shock after shock….

I appealed the outcome and in a 4.5 hour appeal’s hearing the hearing manager and HR note taker played dumb and pretended (Pret-ended!) to not understand what my problem is. The hearing manager in fact than asked me another shocking question:

“What is your definition of bullying?”

I remember just starring at her… Did she really just asked me that??!

To make it short, the appeal was partially substantiated, but not that it was bullying, but only that the line manager after I broke down did not show “compassion”. I understand only in hindsight that they tried to avoid admitting that bullying of a bereaved employee not only happened, but kept continuing. In fact I was put into the role of the bully then because I became loud and in tears crying out irrationally.

In hindsight I would answer the question of what my definition of bullying is, with the question of what this OPs manager’s definition of bullshit is?!

As you read you would ask why on earth I didn’t go to Tribunal then. I cannot explain this, I cannot explain the irrational fear I was in, the intense trauma and fog. I entered into self-blame which was perfect for Pret, because I suffered from sibling survivor guilt. I felt, and still feel somewhat that I let my brother down. Why did I survive my big brother?! What have I done to deserve to live!?

In later grievance appeal’s hearing I raised against an HR People Business Partner who kept sending me away when I asked for support, I explained the background of my turmoil up until my communications with this PBP, when I came to the point about being rebuked again, breaking down and in my broken down state being send out to do customer service, the hearing manager asked me if my GP can verify that I had a breakdown! I cannot explain the Twilight Zone I was in with incident after incident of systemic bullying in a work environment.

So, the bullying felt more like I was just imagining wrong doing because I already am suffering on the inside, lost over 35kg (while having free food around me every day!), couldn’t eat, was in physical pain, tinnitus, a complete and utter mess inside. I gave everybody the benefit of a doubt, except myself. How sick I have become and how wrong I was to let them step all over me, but I was in a different world, traumatized and on autopilot.

I became suicidal and had several close calls and am moving on to tell my story, no matter what they’ll throw at me!

So, to the OPs manager who did the appeal’s hearing asking me my definition of bullying, and to Pret, I have a question: Would the below count as definition of bullying?

 

Quote of the Day Pret #4

(New York)

 

This one maybe?

Quote Pret #22 Racist

(NYC)

 

Or this one?

Quote Pret #23 Racism

 

How about this!

Quote Pret #21 Just Terrible

(Chicago)

 

This?

Quote Pret #09a Hellhole

Quote Pret #09b Hellhole

 

 

Quote Pret #15 Harsh

(London)

 

 

Quote Pret #19 Avoid

 

Quote Pret #20 Terrible Company

 

(NYC)

 

Quote Pret #11 Squandered Opportunities

 

Quote Pret #25 Brainwash

 

For the sake of my wrist trying to avoid carpal tunnel, a long but not exhaustive list can be found here:

Pret A Manger Staff Complaints

Would the above answer your question dear OPs manager? If you don’t think that bullying a bereaved employee and in their trauma send them out to do customer service, in a company that prides itself in customer service does not look like bullying to you, then I really feel for your lack of emotional intelligence and you conspiring with a toxic HR department like this!

 

The Cost of Systemic Workplace Bullying

The Cost of Systemic Workplace Bullying – 2

Workplace Bullying Costs Lives

Workplace Bullying Costs Lives – 2

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement vs. Pret’s Modern Slavery Practices

Pret A Manger Staff Complaints ~~~ & ~~~ Selected Quotes

How I became a Late Night Girl

 

 

Late Night Girl2

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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