Life is not worth living

 

for some it is, for others it isn’t

 

 

UPDATE: 23. June 2020

I struggle with suicidal thoughts and have been for a while since my brother died and the bullying I went through at Pret A Manger.

I have good days, and I have written a lot about my trauma and loss. Depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts is like a mental cancer that I will fight.

If you are based in London and struggle with life or know someone who does, please reach out.

3 places I’d like to mention here:

Ambulant help by appointment only which I experienced from them, The Listening Place in Pimlico, London:

 

 

2. Maytree, a house in North London for people who are suicidal: Part of BBC documentary from 57:22 on.

 

3. And an actor, Joe Tranici, who recently was pointed out to me which is very helpful to know I’m not the only “crazy” person:

https://twitter.com/joetracini/status/1273649508052860928

 

 

.

#Colorblind – “Let’s change the world”

 

Al Sharpton’s eulogy has so many amazing metaphors that will have you discover things in time to come.

Let’s hope Lady Justice is colorblind!

“He died because there has not been the corrective behavior that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter if you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform you must pay for the crime you commit.”

– Al Sharpton for George Floyd memorial.

 

“Let’s change the world”

– Gianna Floyd

 

 

#BlackLivesMatter #WhiteLivesShatter

 

… yet again!

 

White police crime, racism, hate … needs to stop!

 

 

2016 Documentary on the founding of #BlackLivesMatter

2020 is just a continuation and a LOUDER cry for justice!

NOTE: This is a documentary, from 2016, (and I watched the whole piece!), there is NOT ONE MENTION of Obama in this piece.

Where was Obama when his folk got killed on the street?

The love for money and power and recognition, the safety of riches … kills people.

 

 

 

Grief is No Thief

 

I pondered a lot about Emily Dickinson’s grief poems, especially one particular phrase: “grief is a thief”.

But to me grief is not a thief.
Premature death is.

Grief is just breathing out what death breathed in.

Grief is a gift, that helps unclutter the traumatic mess I find myself in.

Grief is no thief, it gives ground to the bottomless pit I keep dropping in, even though the ground is murky and dark, slippery slopes as far and wide as your eyes can see.

I keep sinking in, swallowed by tangible mud, being pulled down and I FEEL it and the darkness and the resistance to drown, and I fight this nonsense. No sense to taking life like that.

I’m an alien in a human land. I lost my way. But I grieve.
I grieve because I’m alive.
Life is no thief. Death is.
Grief is just breathing in and out a breathless life.

Grief is a gift because it tells me I’m alive.
Death is the thief that stole life!

Grief is that gift that let’s me feel the suffocating mud. Just about.

Life IS unfair
Good people DO die
Young people DO die
Bad people DO absolutely live long and die peacefully in their sleep … where’s the thief here?!

Grief sucks, but it is just a result of life breathing out what death took in.

Yeah death, you won again.
You came and took.
You didn’t ask permission
And guess what, now I won’t answer your non-asked permission to thieve!

But one thing you can’t do, you can’t steal my grief, because that’s mine un-apologetically, you fucker!

©2020 poetrasblok.com

 


 

#793, c. 1863 Emily Dickinson

Grief is a Mouse —
And chooses the Wainscot in the Breast
For His Shy House —
And baffles quest—

Grief is a Thief — quick startled —
Pricks His Ear — report to hear
Of that Vast Dark —
That swept His Being — back—

Grief is a Juggler — boldest at the Play —
Lest if He flinch — the eye that way
Pounce on His Bruises — One — say — or Three —
Grief is a Gourmand — spare His luxury —

Best Grief is Tongueless — before He’ll tell —
Burn Him in the Public Square —
His Ashes — will
Possibly — if they refuse — How then know —
Since a Rack couldn’t coax a syllable — now.

 


 

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


Interview:

 

©2020 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, 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.

On ‘Toxic Positivity’

Another brilliant post on the subject:

https://wp.me/p3z45x-sO

What is…Toxic Positivity?

Worth a read.

https://wp.me/p8DroA-vV

Lived Bereavement

A re-blog that I want to leave uncommented. No words needed.

https://wp.me/p1OFt4-123

Self Sabotage: Living with PTSD

I re-blog this because it is important. I have been on the UK mental health waiting list for therapy for 3 years now and haven’t even been diagnosed yet. But I believe I suffer PTSD or even C-PTSD with the double trauma of my brother’s complicated death AND having been bullied in Pret.

I sabotage myself now in pain and not wanting to go on.

I’ve lost hope, and now with the worldwide trauma of the virus. I keep holding on to my mum’s survival.

Podcast:

> https://www.spreaker.com/user/geerishramgolam/self-sabotage-series-post-traumatic-stre <

Geerish, MBSR Practitioner, Yoga therapist, MED

Trapped inside your head

The podcast talks about what it is like to live with PTSD and constantly believe that something bad may happen. It also talks about coping skills one can develop to get out of the vulnerable state.

Listen to “Self Sabotage series: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” on Spreaker.

Much love,

Geerish.

View original post

Self Sabotage: Living with PTSD

I re-blog this because it is important. I have been on the UK mental health waiting list for therapy for 3 years now and haven’t even been diagnosed yet. But I believe I suffer PTSD or even C-PTSD with the double trauma of my brother’s complicated death AND having been bullied in Pret.

I sabotage myself now in pain and not wanting to go on.

I’ve lost hope, and now with the worldwide trauma of the virus. I keep holding on to my mum’s survival.

Podcast:

> https://www.spreaker.com/user/geerishramgolam/self-sabotage-series-post-traumatic-stre <

Geerish, MBSR Practitioner, Yoga therapist, MED

Trapped inside your head

The podcast talks about what it is like to live with PTSD and constantly believe that something bad may happen. It also talks about coping skills one can develop to get out of the vulnerable state.

Listen to “Self Sabotage series: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” on Spreaker.

Much love,

Geerish.

View original post

Love Bombing & Many Faces

My lashing out at people when drunk and the continued aim to not do that, apologizing, seeking professional help etc.

One person, I call XXXX, kept saying that there’s no need to apologize, it’s all healing etc.

And then, I lashed out within a group, and suddenly it wasn’t okay anymore because, the person felt their reputation was at stake but used another reason.

Double meaning, mixed messages, support only as long as they look good …

Only a few examples in private mails with the person. I sent these examples to the person and they supposedly do not read it. So, I speak out again publicly because people need to know how messed up I am, and how people play with it.

Me:

… And now, 2 years later I SCREAM online and Pret doesn’t do a thing!!!!!

And I lash out at people, in pain. …
Nov. 2019
XXXX:
It’s all good. Part of healing.
Nov. 2019

Me:

I’m sorry … I always let people down because I’m not what they think I am. …
You people who have a lot to lose, fight for yourself. …
I am still waiting for therapy abd a professional to tell me why I write this BS and lash out at people who mean well. …
Nov. 2019
XXXX:
You lash out because you are angry and hurt and speaking out helps you heal and understand what is going on with you and also helps release some of the inner stress… it’s not a bad thing, it’s a cry for help & a sign of healing… which is slow & painful and you need to allow yourself grace & heal in your own time and not scold yourself for the time it takes…
Dec. 2019

Me:

… I know most of “you” (meaning people in general) are fed up with my rants and nothing happens.
All I want is peace, but I’m struggling with the German police as well. I’m sorry …
Dec. 2019
XXXX:
You have NOTHING to be sorry for! … Hugs
Dec. 2019
(Struggling with the German police because I am still investigating why they did not find us and just cremated my brother without our knowledge and consent).

Me:

… I’m so sorry. I’m so terribly angry at the moment and letting it out on he wrong people while … I hate what I’ve become. …
I don’t want to apologize anymore. It’s pretentious I think. I am very angry at myself. The therapy waiting list has gone for 2 years now.
Dec. 2019
XXXX:
You were always going to have forward then some backward days. You’ll never know what’s going to trigger you next. It’s quite the process to heal. But you are healing. You are better than you were. And you can’t argue with me on that!
Dec. 2019

Me:

I am sorry for being such a disrespecting asshole.
I have no excuse.
Feb. 2020
You:
Nothing to be sorry about.
Feb. 2020

Me:

Please don’t say that. I appreciate your patience and kindness, but I am out of line!

etc. etc.

Here I was, lashing out at the person, apologizing, and being devastated at myself for having messed up again, and then always being told: “nothing to be sorry about” … “it’s ok” … “you are healing…” etc. etc. etc.

And once I lashed out in a group, this person suddenly called it “insults” and “venom”, because their reputation was at stake. I am really sorry I did that and disappointed them. Though, if people don’t take responsibility for their own words, and it’s always thrown back at the person who’s already in a mess, that’s very easy. People who have a lot to lose, will always put the blame 100% on the other person who’s the mess already. That’s human nature.

This is why “love bombings” and “sweet-talk” and what some call “toxic positivity” is pretentious and fake, and humiliating beyond words. It’s irresponsible and unprofessional as the person is a person of position, influence and authority. This person witnessed many times when I lashed out drunk (later deleting my Tweets in shock myself) as I copied them and others in, not ONE TIME did the person speak to me to work on this or stop this. Instead, always “nothing to be sorry about” … “you are healing” … etc.

It also reminds me of the gaslighting Pret A Manger put me through with Lila Warren, the Pret Development Manager who was tasked to sanction me. I share this in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page. Lila Warren told me in a FORMAL disciplinary meeting she held, that she also had a brother who died alone in his apartment and wasn’t found for days. Like my brother did. After extensive research with the name she gave me of her “brother”, her story is not all how she presented.

If my mum wasn’t alive I would have ended my life.

I am tired of people who play games in private, and then want to protect themselves in public. I am always suspicious when people are too positive and say nice things all of the time!

From a regular person without influence, I can understand, but not from this person. This person also never asked me any questions. Questions like, what kind of support or professional help I received to date or am still receiving, if any. What other support I may need. What the person itself could do to support etc etc. No questions. Just love-bombing and assuming I’ll be okay.

I am well worded, and this often keeps me from getting help as even mental health services think I’m okay. My medical file is long now and I want to put a stop to it.

I will keep lashing out, I cannot recover, I cannot and don’t want to have people close anymore.
To the person who wrote all these things for me to not be sorry etc.
If you read this:
I KNOW you meant well. I still and always will know you meant well. I know it when I see it!
But you are a person of position, influence and authority, even power.
You knew my trauma from the get go. I am the vulnerable person.
You need to be responsible when you communicate.
You know people from all walks of life, especially professionals, Psychologists, Police, Doctors etc. You could have asked anyone how to deal with a person like me.
You could and should have told me in private that I should work on not lashing out instead of telling me continually that I have nothing to apologize for and that I am “healing”. I felt I even was healing, but then had a huge backlash that I didn’t see coming myself. It shocked me myself.
You are used to making decisions that affect people’s lives.
You are used to be “celebrated” and have people around you who agree on everything you do. That’s not healthy.
You will be told that you did nothing wrong by the people who gather around you.
I speak out because people need to know that you cannot trust people who say big words in private, to just drop you in a group.
Maybe you need to be needed and then spread yourself too thin.
I know you care and cared! But you should know better with your immense occupational and life experience. It makes me feel in hindsight that you just use vulnerable people to fill your own void or your need to be needed.
I am truly sorry for the pain I caused. I never portrayed myself as a person who has it altogether.
You care a lot, please seek help when dealing with traumatized people in private.
Your words have weight! Please have more care and professionalism when dealing with vulnerable people. You cross boundaries when you are neither aware nor know of your responsibility in your private communications, as vulnerable people look up to you and make the mistake to trust you quicker with the influence you have. But you are just a human being who makes mistakes. But you don’t own up to it. You were irresponsible.
I will not be used again or gaslit by people of influence.
I seek peace and to forgive.

Anyone who thinks I need professional help:

My NHS Odyssey

People often tell me I need to get professional help or see a Psychiatrist. But no-one asks what odyssey I have been through in the UK NHS system for years now.

I explained this recently to people who did the usual “you need professional help” thing.

I have now been on a 2 year waiting list, and before on another year waiting list for therapy. I went to suicidal charities where people who want to end their lives can be heard without getting locked in. But I exhausted that service now.

I was sent away twice from hospital while suicidal. After the first 1 year waiting list for NHS therapy, because I cannot afford private therapy, I finally got a place in a therapy, which would be long-term. I felt I cracked the jackpot!!! After reaching out so much and waiting so long, going to charities, my doctor, mental health clubs that have no professionals, just volunteers to occupy time etc. in December 2017 after 2 assessments I was offered a long-term therapy place!

I was told that I will have 12 weekly sessions of group therapy!

After only getting funded for 6 sessions, which were not enough to even get started on my trauma, before you get into your trauma, the sessions are over. But now I felt I won the jackpot with TWELVE sessions!!!

But the psychologist didn’t stop there, and the jackpot grew even bigger!

I was then told that after the 12 weekly group introductory sessions to this type of therapy, there would be a few weeks break and then an 18 MONTHS group AND individual sessions would follow.

I would have 18 months of weekly group sessions AND 18 months of individual weekly sessions.

TWO sessions per week, one in a group and one individual with a Therapist!!! For 18 MONTHS!!!

I couldn’t believe my luck and FINALLY felt hope to get long-term help. This was in December 2017 when I was fired, and flying back and forth to my father until he died in March 2018. Maybe it kept me going while my dad was in hospital, then out his coma and intensive care, then into rehab, and me just gotten fired. I held on to the hope of this long-term therapy which was starting in the fall of 2018.

In the fall of 2018 the group sessions started. 12 weeks of introduction to this type of therapy. 2 Therapists where holding the group therapy, one a Psychiatrist, the other a Psychologist. We were about 8 people in the group.

And then in the 6th session, 6 weeks into the introductory sessions the Psychologist, who was under the guidance of the Psychiatrist, dropped a bomb! We were “casually” told that the 18 months main group and individual therapy sessions would be video recorded!

We were told that the recordings were to help the therapists read what we were NOT saying and they would go frame-by-frame of what we were and were not saying!

Me and another guy in shock and after asking questions, got up and left the therapy.

I raised a formal complaint with the NHS that I felt tricked and that I wasted a year waiting for the group sessions to start, without being fully informed in the assessment the year before and given the chance to not go forward with this therapy. If I would have been informed at the assessment the year before, I would not have chosen to do the therapy and could have looked for alternatives. But instead, I wasted almost a year in the assumption I now finally found long-term help for the trauma I’ve been through.

We were never told in our assessments the YEAR BEFORE that we will be videoed. And then when the 12 week group intro. sessions started, the Therapists waited 6 WEEKS before they told us. It looked like they wanted to get us acquainted and “hooked” to the therapy first, in order to make it hard on us to either leave or to feel no other choice then to submit to videoing. We were NOT told that we had a choice under data protection. We could have all declined to be videoed, and the Therapists would have HAD TO go forward with the therapy WITHOUT videoing, as we had a choice under data protection laws.

But we were not told this! It was presented to us as if we had no choice, that the option was either to submit to being videoed during very personal therapy sessions, or to not be part of the therapy.

All my points in the complaint were upheld and I was told by the complaints dept. that in future they will inform people at the assessment for people to make a choice, if they want to be part of the therapy or not.

I understand in hindsight that the Psychologist was in training and the Psychiatrist was sitting mostly quiet to observe and train the Psychologist. Our video sessions would be used for training purposes. I argued in my complaint to the NHS that I felt we were used as guinea pigs for training, and that we were purposefully NOT informed beforehand, so it would be harder for us to make decisions against videoing, as we waited so long for long-term therapy funded by the NHS …

I bumped into one of the group a few months ago and was told that they video the group sessions, after whoever remained agreed to it and that the individual therapy sessions are only videoed with the individual person’s permission. Only 3 of us left and the rest agreed to videoing and some new clients were added to the group.

And I am still on a waiting list now for new therapy.

The chief Psychologist who is over this therapy and the other therapists was visibly pissed off with me when he assessed me for a new therapy, that they try to find for me. I ruined his plans and am now paying for it with overly long waiting lists. He even called me “chronically suicidal” in an email. And yet, I get no help.

I had the police called to my apartment 2 times and an ambulance once in the last 6 months, because I was ready to go. Other times I went to the police station at night to be safe because there are no hospital beds available. They just let me sit in the police station after I explain that I need to be safe. And no, I was not drunk except twice. The other times I was perfectly sober!

Some people say to me they’re sorry I fell through the cracks of the mental health system. But I did not fall through the cracks! The system is such that the Government cut funds, the health system is overloaded and you either become a guinea pig, where in turn for free therapy you have to pay with your personal data in form of videoing therapy sessions. Or if you have the private funds yourself, you can find your own specialist and therapy. As I chose not to “sell” my data via videoing, I am paying for it now.

A recent news article said that the police in the UK are dealing with more mental health related calls than with crime. The Government in the last 10 years have cut over 20.000 police men/women and cut a lot in the NHS system! Anyone who has needed help from the UK mental health service, knows what I’m talking about.

And when people then say to me that I need professional help, but don’t ASK me WHAT I have done to get help in the last 5 years …


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.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment:
Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:


©2020 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, 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.

Said a Blade of Grass

 

Khalil Gibran “Said a Blade of Grass”
Music: Domi Chansorn
“Video”: expret.org

 

 

Pret A Manger Opens Shops

 

“We are looking for volunteers who want to do the right thing and help society.”

HAHA!!! Good one Pret!

Below post I wrote on 31. March 2020 after being informed by a Pret staff about Pret wanting some staff to work in kitchens again DURING furlough under pretense of giving freebies to NHS and homeless people. In reality, apart from the typical PR stunt, Pret wants staff to be in place once the Government lifts the ban of closed businesses. And after first trying to cut hours/pay of all staff WHILE giving freebies in March, Pret now becomes “generous” to some staff.

UPDATE: 17. April 2020 on Instagram, Twitter and I’m sure on other social media channels. Critical voices about Pret opening 10 shops:

 

2020-04-17 Twitter re Pret opening 07

Link

 

2020-04-16 Instagram re Pret NHS opening9

Link

 

2020-04-16 Instagram re Pret NHS opening3

Link to critical post

2020-04-16 Instagram re Pret NHS opening4

Link to carleighsylvertiger’s post

 

2020-04-16 Instagram re Pret NHS opening8 Natalie

Link to natalie_shilling’s post

 

2020-04-16 Instagram re Pret NHS opening7

Link

 

2020-04-16 Instagram re Pret NHS opening6 Valerie

Link

2020-04-16 Instagram re Pret NHS opening5 Jeck

Link to Jeck.Disney’s post

 

2020-04-17 Twitter re Pret iopening 01

 

2020-04-17 Twitter re Pret iopening 03

Link to Tweets

 

2020-04-17 Twitter re Pret iopening 04

Link

 

2020-04-17 Twitter re Pret opening 05

Link

etc. etc. etc.


 

31. March 2020 post:

Pret is sneaking into the kitchen and being caught with the hand in the cookie jar!

Let me translate the bullshit that Pret is doing now while Boris Johnson is in quarantine (having shaken hands with corona-virus patients!)

UPFRONT:
Apart from the typical Pret A Manger PR, using NHS staff and now homeless people by wanting staff to work in Pret kitchens doing sandwiches for NHS & homeless people, Pret is VERY cheeky by wanting staff in place NOW during furlough, so when the government gives the green light for businesses to open again, Pret has already staff in place to get back to business FAST!

And after having tried to cut hours/pay by 25% DURING the first NHS freebies while the Covid-19 pandemic is in full swing, Pret NOW shows how “generous” they can be, selling this as “doing the right thing” while in reality putting their staff – who may be infected – in danger yet again! (My PLEA to NHS staff LINK)

 

Part of Daily Pret NHS PR

 

To Clive Schlee and Pano Christou,

how about YOU coming down from your arrogant, snobby, spoiled little hill, and do a “Buddy Day” for at least a week to fulfill the below “suggestions” from your Clare.

 

Part of the “Daily Pret” info from Pret HQ to staff on 30th March 2020:

My comments are in Italics below as a former Pret A Manger employee knowing this company’s bullshit inside out!

 

2020-03-30 Daily Pret

 

Page 1 of 4 – from Clare who earned her UK Managing Director position after being willing to be scrutinized by the press for Clive Schlee and then UK Managing Director, Pano Christou having ignored labelling warnings. ← Do click on these blue underlined links because they’re worth it!

Here she is, Clare, on behalf of dwarfs Clive and Pano, quote:


 

I hope you have all been keeping safe and well since I last wrote to you.
(since YOU last wrote?)

Since we closed our shops’ doors last Saturday,
(after being forced via Government orders)

I have been very proud of the work that teams all across Pret have done to continue to support those in need.
(while you use the NHS to cover up for not caring for your own workers’ needs…)

We made multiple donations of excess food and ingredients
(multiple self-idolizing and self-promotion)

to charities and over 2000 cases of smoothies and snacks to NHS staff working at over 25 different hospitals.
(yawn… the numbers… let’s talk numbers:
Pret turnover 2019 = £710 Million
Clive Schlee bonus 2018 = £30 Million
JAB Holdings / Reimann worth £28 Billion
Pret frontline staff £8.65 an hour
Any more numbers, Clive Schlee and Pano Christou?!)

In recent days, we have started to think about how we might become part of the growing efforts to help the NHS frontline staff further whilst our shops remain closed.
(In recent days – since being exposed by the Guardian via expret.org and my people the front-line Pret staff, we have started to think about how we might become part of the growing worry to keep our staff calm and away from the Unions and the press.)

We have been contacted by individuals as well as by NHS leaders and the project team for NHS Nightingale.
(aw! cute! Social Media is something else, isn’t it?)

Today, we have started work planning to open a small number of kitchens from the 6th April.
(have you now?)

These kitchens will start by producing a small range of products for delivery to NHS hospitals or staff quarters as well as enabling us to restart product donations to the homeless through our Pret Foundation charity partners.
(That’s a mouthful! [and this sounds like an addict to greed – listen up!]

Let’s take this apart:

“kitchens will start by producing” – in need labour
delivery to NHS hospitals” – in need of business in the future
“restart product donations to the homeless through our Pret Foundation charity partners” – “restart” … in need of reputation

Once open,
(once open! There you go!)

we will be able to think about extending the number of kitchens and products
(we will be able to sneak more shops in while the Government has announced closures and Boris Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19 – positive = meaning he has the virus y’all … or did he just call sick!).

and start working with 3rd party delivery partners to get Pret food to more people who need it.
(Yeah right 😀 Good one!)

I am writing today to ask whether there are any members of our Pret family who would like to volunteer to return to a shop kitchen from the end of this week in order to support this effort.
( 😀 !!! I am writing to ask Clive Schlee and Pano Christou to do a “Buddy Day” to fulfill Clare’s request. Kindly. Please. Unless you are hiking the Austrian mountains in the snow!)

If you would like to volunteer, please email us at volunteers@pret.com by midday on Wednesday 1st April so we can get a sense of numbers.

(Yeah, I might email you on April Fool’s Day!)

Once we have identified volunteers, we will be in contact as soon as possible to confirm.
(You do that, but I have to inform you that your workforce … uhm … volunteers are busy signing up for the Unions)

It goes without saying that the safety of our people remains paramount and I want to let potential volunteers know that we will be implementing new standards in our shops to support social distancing. The first day back in a shop will involve training on these new safety standards.
(Oh Clare, please do try harder than this!)

Thank you in advance to those of you that will volunteer. I hope that by exploring this initiative we can play our part in continuing to support society, something we have always taken pride in.
(Yeah! 😀 )

With love,
(Big word, Pret, big word!)

Clare
(with sh!t in their pants)

 


 

To Clive Schlee and Pano Christou,

how about YOU coming down from your arrogant, snobby, spoiled home, and do a “Buddy Day” for a week to fulfill the above appeal?

 

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.
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 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.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment:
Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

 

©2020 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, 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.

Versus Pret A Manger

 

ET3 Response Excerpt Schlee Warren

 

Lila Warren BACP

Lila Tighilt Warren

#PretAManger

#CliveSchlee

#PanoChristou

#NickDavis

#DavidCarter

#AndreaWareham

 

This is a man’s world.

 

Ready to eat?

 

#SpotStop

 


 

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.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment:
Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

 

©2020 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, 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.

Sticks & Stones – TV on WorkplaceBullying – #SpotStop

 

In December 2019 ITV screened a 3-part miniseries on workplace bullying. This is THE best production I’ve ever seen on bullying in the workplace.

For anyone who wants to understand how subtle bullying is, how seemingly harmless it starts, how it escalates, how vicious it is, how it breaks down a person and how it damages, please watch this. All the actors portrayed their role amazingly! So, amazingly convincing it will affect you.

But if you have been bullied this may trigger you because it is so well done! It is very intense, but very important to understand, spot and stop workplace bullying.

3 x 45 minutes.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Part 3

 


 

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.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

©2020 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, 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 Merde

 

Nothing more to add … EXCEPT pointing out the spelling mistake! That reviewer wasn’t Pret perfect here!

“Oh no! Sorry about that. Could you DM us and let us know which shop this was from?”
— Pret A Merde

 

Pret A Merde

 

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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 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:

©2020 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.

Mainstream Media: Pret / McDonald’s

 

The McLibel case was one of the longest cases in British history of 2 regular people against a giant company that took nearly 10 years. These people are my heroes, not just because they won half the case, but because they went further…

 

 

This case was fought, because of the time they were in.

I saw this case in a documentary in the 2000’s. It always inspired me.

Today we fight a silent war.

With drones and clowns, shooting in silence and with smiles.

We fight behind people’s back.

We sneak around to finally win, when we arrive at the door of victory.

And when we arrive at the door of victory, we stab. And we stab hard.

Go fight, if you dare.

 


 

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:

©2020 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 6: Pret A Manger Trial

 

Day 6 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Trial starts today 6th December 2019

Via SomersetLive.co.uk

LINK: >>>Pret A Manger and Planet Coconut will go on trial after allergy death <<<

 

0 Trial

Photos: SomersetLive.co.uk

And now I understand the recent news that Pret set aside £10m for food allergy scandal. Via TheGrocer.co.uk

>>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal <<<

£10m

£10 million is quite a joke compared to the £30 million BONUS that Clive Schlee pocketed after the JAB purchase.

UPDATE Januray 2020

NEW TRIAL in another allergy case regarding unlabelled sesame, after another student, Isobel Colnaghi, allegedly suffered a reaction to a Pret product.
Trial set for 02. November 2020:

Pret NEW Trial Nov 2020

Evening Standard

 


 

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 4: The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idea!

 

Day 4 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Note: If you prefer to read with a green background, not white, please delete the amp/ in above url and reload. Linked from Twitter, for some reason it has white background and an addition to the url and comments are not visible.

Or click here: https://expret.org/2019/12/04/day-4-clive-schlee-lightbulb-moment

 

Remember Pret’s £1000 announcement to all Staff?

First of all, now former CEO Clive Schlee left a legacy behind that even a £1000 “bribe” couldn’t fix. Glassdoor and Indeed reviews by staff at the bottom of this page.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

I wrote about this already on various blog entries and made an extra post, but I want to put a visual of the timing of the announcement here, and why this is important.

Pret A Manger’s now former CEO Clive Schlee made an announcement on 29. May 2018 on Twitter, welcoming the new owners of Pret, JAB Holdings under German billionaire family Reimann. The Reimann’s also own Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread and a list of other companies. The press is full recently of Reimann’s Nazi past, but that’s another story.

For my full story with Pret please scroll down to the interview in the audio player at the bottom of this post.

I started this blog and website in May 2017 under poetrasblok.com where I posted poetry and videos I made for my brother, who died in December 2014. I had another website before, but it was loaded with advertisement, and I wanted a clean looking homepage that didn’t distract the reader with blinking, and I mean literally blinking imagery!

After my ordeal with Pret I added the URL LateNightGirl.org to my website in May 2018, and then mid 2018 added expret.org, as Late Night Girl doesn’t make much sense for people who don’t know my story. In short, Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl”, so I put a “dot org” behind it! All three URLs will lead to this same site. Again, I explain in detail at the bottom of this page.

Late on 28th May 2018 I sent a link of this blog to an area manager I worked under, whom I know cannot keep a secret. I was angry still and wrote to the area manager that she can do with it what she wants. I know she can’t keep a secret because she sent my emails on after promising she wouldn’t and is in general VERY talkative, I just sent my link to her.

On 29th May I woke up before 7am and found my website statistics skyrocketed!!! Before that date I had just a handful of visitors every day, like 5 visitors one day, then 3 visitors the next, zero visitors, 10 visitors etc. Suddenly on the 29th in the morning it went into the hundreds, and to this day (4. December 2019) it is still the most visited day my blog has ever received! My website gets a lot of traffic now, but nothing like the 29th May 2018!

2018-05-29 Stats Prets Visit

On 28. May 2018 late in the evening I sent my blog LateNightGirl.org to the area manager. On 29. May 2018 in the morning I could literally watch the visitors and clicks increase LIVE as they happen! From that day on my stats have increased visitors, but never as much as the 29th May 2018 to this day.

BEST views ever 29May2018

And on the 29. May 2018 Clive Schlee, then CEO of Pret, posted this tweet in the early hours:

2018-05-29 Clive Announcement

Link

And what do the public write? How wonderful Pret is and that the CEO is the BEST!

PR[et] at its best for sure! 😀

Now, I don’t believe that he just came up with the idea then and there to give £1000 to all staff, but I strongly believe the timing was due to him getting informed of my website late on 28th May 2018 into the 29th May, because in October 2018 staff were still waiting and going on Twitter frustrated why the bonus hasn’t been paid yet! And I know how Clive Schlee reacts when confronted with difficulties, he quickly counters with “charity” to win people over, sowing doubts that Pret ever would be harmful to people, staff as well customers.

So, I’m proud to have been part of getting all staff some extra cash, although I feel for them being fooled, as the timing of the announcement was premature and a typical panic reaction Clive Schlee does when he’s about to face difficulties or Pret is in danger of getting exposed.

A quick gesture and PR stunt was supposed to “eliminate” any doubts towards Pret, once, more people become aware of my website and exposing Pret for what they really are behind the facade. Frankly, Pret is not the ethical and caring company they portray to the public.

Las Vegas
Link

Weeks and months later though, staff got frustrated and confused on when the £1000 would finally be paid. And Schlee of course put responsibility downwards unto his managers, wanting staff to get away from public tweeting. I tweeted in his announcement feed, but got shadow banned at that time without realizing, as I didn’t know what shadow banning was then. But I did notice that my tweets weren’t visible when I was logged out. They are still there, but visible when one has the direct link.

So, here he is, making this announcement and when the going gets tough and staff complain on when the promise will “moneyfest” (sorry, couldn’t help it!) Schlee diverts to managers and the People Team (HR).
In August, 3 months after the announcement, the first staff members started raising questions, some even started a Twitter account just to confront the CEO on his promise, as staff didn’t get any info from the shops. My response at the bottom is the only one that didn’t get shadow banned (secretly censored/hidden):

2018-08-29 My response to £1000 delay

Link
Into September and October:

2018-09-01 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

2018-09-12 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

2018-09-19 Meme USA

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000
Kevin makes an important point about the timing of the announcement. What Kevin and all the others don’t know (he knows now), is WHY Clive Schlee announced it prematurely! I even posted the reason in September, but was shadow banned unbeknown to me at the time. I’m not sure if people got the message then and there. I retweeted the info a few times after that on different occasions on some of my “late night girl” shifts!

So, needless to say, “Stockholm Syndrome” is not my problem anymore, THIS is NOT my fault that he made this announcement prematurely, giving an untimely hope to all his staff! This is solely Clive Schlee’s TYPICAL panic reaction to a problem he faces!

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

My response to Meme was hidden as I must have been shadow banned at the time without knowing it. Meme in the USA doesn’t even know what the Pret “People Team” is, because in the U.S. many complain that they are discriminated against, British staff are preferred, they aren’t trained, HR is non-existent or a “joke” etc.
My hidden/shadow banned tweet visible via my Tweets & Replies:

2018-09-28 Meme People Team my response

And the ridiculous slogan of Pret’s HR department:

Right Thing Naturally

One Team Member got it right, money isn’t everything, but family is!

Typo: Hay here means “employee” not employer.

2018-09-29-hay.jpg

Last complaint in that feed before the £1000 (£800 after tax) got finally paid out to those who worked longer than 1 year at Pret:

2018-10-01 Staff Twitter £1000

I am contacted by Pret staff who were warned that if they tweet or post openly on social media with any complaints, they get a disciplinary or dismissed.

But, basically the deal wasn’t finalized until September 2018. Managers and probably HR were in the air about it. Team Members thought Managers were secretive. But knowing Pret and managers, they were not secretive, they were CLUELESS because Clive Schlee made the announcement too early. On 29th May 2018 after being informed about my blog, he jumped quick to do a PR announcement, so that when the public becomes aware of my blog, they won’t believe me, but assume that Pret is so wonderful to its staff. Good one Mr. Schlee, but not good enough, because throwing money at a problem is just temporary while not working on the root issue.

It used to take 10 years service to receive £1000 and now suddenly all staff members would receive it even new employees after one year of service. If the CEO originally planned to give all staff £1000 only he knows, but staff on Facebook have complained that the 10 year £1000 reward has been cancelled.

When I worked in Pret still in 2017 Pret already cancelled the 5 year award of £500. So, it looks to me that the plan was to slowly faze out all these awards as Pret has entered the nasty business of fast-food workers exploitation even more now with the JAB take-over.

The £1000 announcement to all staff looks to me like a farewell gesture where no other awards will be given anymore as they did before.

So, the wording of the CEO “Today is a big day for Pret” … why TODAY when the sale wasn’t finalized?! Staff still waited in October for the promised cash, which by the way is around £800 after tax is deducted!

My thought: “TODAY” was the big day when Clive Schlee and Pret got confronted with my blog as I have declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal with Pret.
And sadly only 2 people immediately saw through this PR stunt among all the euphoria:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR
Link

2018-05-30 £1000 PR Union
Link

Pret also suddenly became very selective in staff, even after the 3 months trial period being excellent in his work, this kitchen Team Member in the below link, who has a mental health issue did NOT get the job as Pret would have had to pay him £1000 after a year of service. Ben, the manager* of the Brixton shop even wrote the following to Hind from the Pret Foundation trust: (I added the bold but the manager wrote in capitals EVERY).
*The OPs manager of the Brixton shop area is called Ben:

“Please let him know that we were very impressed by his professionalism at work and always giving 100% in whatever he was doing. The quality of products he made were picture perfect EVERY time. Myself and the team would like to say a big thank you and we wish him luck in his new job and we hope he will pop by for a coffee on us whenever he is in Brixton as he will always be one of us.”

In a nutshell, Sergio was only used for PR and he is oblivious to it and does what we all do when we believe nice sounding words. Sergio was treated exceptionally well, worked only Monday to Friday in the morning which is very unusual as Pret excepts staff to be flexible. Sergio was NOT pushed, and yet, even though they were impressed with him, he was excellent and his products picture perfect EVERY time, he wasn’t even taken on in the shop! They had no work for him… hello, anyone smell a rat??

He shares on this website of the Mental Health Club. I know him, because I am a member of the same Mental Health Club that Pret tries to infiltrate to fish for workers and mainly use people for PR. I cover this and the trap Sergio fell into extensively in my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust.
Even with this “generosity”, the recommendation on Glassdoor for Pret and the CEO in July 2019 (1 year after the £1000 announcement) speaks volumes. Clive Schlee “retired” with this legacy (while remaining in the background as a Non-Executive Director):

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

New CEO Pano Christou:

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

A recent review by a Manager which needs no addition:

2019-11-16 GM - Not as they present it
Link

GM slavery

Go back Pret

etc. etc.

For a detailed report on Pret’s systemic bullying environment with many reviews from the UK, Paris, USA from Workers, Managers and HQ Staff alike, please scroll down to the screenshot of —> Caught in the Act at Pret.

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Two Pret staff have died within a month.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

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


Interview:

 

©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.

There is a Place for You

 

After my brother died, after we learned he was gone, dead and cremated already, just gone… and Pret being Pret, going to town trying to get rid of inconvenient, bereaved, traumatized employees…. I was holding on to Pret, to friends, to anything in sheer shock to make sense.

I lost my faith, I lost every purpose, I lost friends of course, I lost meaning, I lost my mind.

When people die a lot of things come to mind that you never thought of before. I never realized that my brother was always gone. I must have assumed because he’s my big brother with special allowances, he could stay out longer, got more pocket money, got away with bad grades etc.

After I learned he was gone for good now, I was always out, looking for him, walking and working and fighting and defending my mere existence in a company that got away with two customer deaths, staff suicides I seek investigation, having survived… No, don’t minimize me to “just” a bereaved person. Pret A Manger staff have died by suicide. And I will keep asking for independent investigation into these deaths.

I held on to a company, and to people I thought were friends.

And an old song popped up once in a while that has nothing to do with my life, but a person beyond the masses. I held on to the song as well… And I hold on to justice. And despite the song, I need to hold on.

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant moon
Or on a silver screen
With the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
You just pass me by

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant screen
Or on a silver moon
Stolen late one night
With arms held high
Screaming take me away

I could watch you 1000 timeS
Row B Seat 13
Half a ticket
In the silver light
An entire universe between

There is a place for me
Far far away
Someone else’s dream
Or in a magazine
Postered over your bed
Put your hands to your head
Screaming take me away

I could watch you 1000 times
Row B Seat 13
Half a ticket in the silver light
An entire universe between

I’m the only one around
Not a sound
Just a breath of the settling
In the flickering light.

There is a place for me
Far far away
On a distant moon
Or on a silver screen
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
In the perfect life
Where you’ll never die
You just pass me by

—  “B-13” Jump, Little Children

Orchestra Version:

 

 


 

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.

 

Tut Tut – New Review!

As I am busy in other areas of my life I will keep it short (hurray, you’ll say!) BUT… there are new rewiews and one I’d like to highlight…and it’s looong!

But again, I can underline this review.

On Indeed, Link: Disappointed

Full text (I don’t make any corrections and leave it in their own words):

Start quote:

Barista (Former Employee) – Birmingham, West Midlands13 November 2019

With previous barista/ management experience I was excited to start work at Pret. I had interview and trial shift and then was offered barista job.While on the job I understood that certain management have their
favourites giving them favours and allowing them to work less then
others.

If you had any problem with work or coworker, managers encouraged you not to speak out, but if you complained they do nothing.
They like to sweep thing under the carpet. If you complain to head
office, they will promise you support, but really do nothing about it.
Pay, they pay above minimum wage but not allowing you to accept tips. They promise you bonus which is good in quieter shops, but If you work in busy place like station, you always loose the bonus as it’s too busy to
keep shop clean and immaculate at all times. So you better of working In
quieter Pret, because you work less and get paid more.

The job itself very busy and energy consuming. You make coffee non stop, and their coffee calling system is more stressful than effective. They ask
you to remember 10 drinks at the time. After few months of bashing out
the drinks non stop I have developed triggered finger. It took five months for my finger to heal after leaving this job, but in some cases it requires a surgery to get triggered finger back to normal according to NHS. They ask baristas to be very outgoing and entertaining, to create the buzz. So if you have a quieter more introverted personality you might struggle, as you are required to put on a show all day every day, they call it Pret behaviour.

Strange thing was that Pret ask you to read and sign a lot of training programmes with their standards, but in reality staff and managers don’t follow the standards (especially the hygiene standards such as washing hands), they only follow standards when area manager is around.

Managers always messed
up with the pay, mostly underpaying you. So if you work for Pret, keep
track of the hours. You end up chasing your pay afterwards. Also keep track of the pension contribution they pay you, I had to chase them to pay all the amount they deducted from my pay. They did pay in the end months later.

Some manager crossed the line by using phrase like ’work my slaves’ and on several occasions manager was casually pinching staffs bottoms as if it was ok, but it is not ok.

Another annoying thing was that they promote use of foreign languages, so if you only speak English you might struggle, as most people speak foreign languages and they don’t care that some people feel isolated and left out, since most employees are foreign. If you mentioned that to manager, you get reply ‘Are you paranoid that they talking about you?’

Now the good things: you get paid break and free lunch. You also get paid, not always correct amount but at least get paid every week. And you getholiday pay, but then law requires them to pay you. Also you can take
all sandwiches home after finished work. Another good thing is that you
can have unlimited coffees, so if you like coffee like I do that’s a bonus.

It is almost like Pret once was a great company but then became too big to keep control and order, as they have everything on the paper, but very little in reality.

Personally I would not recommend to work for Pret to a friend. But that’s just my observation based on working in two different Pret shops.”

End Quote


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 Face Trial after Allergen Death

 

Trial set for 6th December 2019

Via SomersetLive.co.uk

LINK: >>>Pret A Manger and Planet Coconut will go on trial after allergy death <<<

0 Trial

Photos: SomersetLive.co.uk

And now I understand the recent news that Pret set aside £10m for food allergy scandal. Via TheGrocer.co.uk

>>> Pret a Manger set aside £10m for food allergy scandal costs, accounts reveal <<<

£10m

£10 million is quite a joke compared to the £30 million BONUS that Clive Schlee pocketed after the JAB purchase.

UPDATE Januray 2020

NEW TRIAL in another allergy case regarding unlabelled sesame, after another student, Isobel Colnaghi, allegedly suffered a reaction to a Pret product.
Trial set for 02. November 2020:

Pret NEW Trial Nov 2020

Evening Standard

 


 

Pano Christou – New CEO of Pret A Manger

 

I have already “introduced” the new CEO of Pret A Manger on a blog post in July 2019: Under New Management, but want to expand a little with the background of Tweets and blog entries.

First of all, the latest review on Pret’s London Head Office from a current employee at the time of reviewing on Indeed:

00 2910-10-21 HQ Bullies

Link

And a 2017 review on HQ from an IT Analyst on Glassdoor:

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

Link

Las Vegas

Link

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

2017-05-26 Pure Misery

Link

01 Brutal Nightmare

YouTube

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

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

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

2017 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for2

 

A former Manager 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

Times

The Times article and photo

Amy

Undercover report by Amy Sharpe, Sunday Mirror photo

2018-06-13 Hellhole - RVW21022161

Link

2019-10-23 Terrible Hiring Useless people

23. Oct. 2019

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

UPDATE: 28. October 2019

A very, very common occurrence in Pret by managers who bully their staff, but this time a customer witnessed this, which normally happens behind the scenes in the office, kitchen and staff rooms:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2

 

Full text:

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer3

Link to Tweet. The public is still fooled by Pret’s “ethical profile” facade.

 


 

For any new reader to my blog, at the bottom of this page is my story in an interview on a podcast based in California.

 


 

BACKGROUND

The reader may ask why I write so publicly and bluntly. Apart from having tried internally for 3 years to approach Pret, never sharing publicly what I went through and survived, Pret names, shames and blames shop managers and staff in general, when they fail or are not up to the standards Pret demands from them. Managers are called out amongst all the shops under fear management as well as upper management treating their managers and staff poorly in front of others. A recent review showed this again, and I can verify this:

00 2019-10-03 Chicago OPs yelling Managers crying

Review by a Kitchen & Shop Leader in Chicago, but in London this happens as well, and shops are called out via Head Office emails across the whole company. Sure, shops that do extremely well are also mentioned, but this is about making others jealous to work harder to be on the top and not get called out. This is fear management by the book. So, it’s time for the top senior leadership to be called out after what I’ve survived.

I wrote extensively about Clive Schlee, who since September 2019 has “retired” as CEO of Pret, while remaining in the background as a non-executive Director: → Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl – Articles

But I want to give some background on how unprofessional Pret A Manger is.

The announcement that Clive Schlee would retire in September 2019 came on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press, having read Schlee’s response to a well-wisher on Twitter the day before. The press then contacted HQ, got the confirmation and started “breaking” the news on Twitter.

Tweet to the Press early morning 01. July 2019:

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger to the press

01. July 2019

“Quiet” Tweet the day before on 30. June 2019, but no official retirement announcement:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link

Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring a Tweet a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions (below Tweets).

I responded to the above well-wisher, and later tweeted to the press, as I told someone already months ago that Schlee would sneak out the back door quietly. I wrote about it hinting that this may happen in:

Clive Schlee and Pano Christou” 02. Apr. 2019
@Cliveschlee – Your Soldiers are Tired” 18. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?” 20. June 2019
The Difference between Profit and True Wealth” 22. June 2019
You are either the Captain” 30. June blog entry, but before I saw his above Tweet to the well-wisher. This blog entry lead me to check his Twitter when I then saw the well-wisher post on Schlee’s retirement.

Clive Schlee, clumsy again and all being about himself, responded to the well-wisher’s Tweet on 30. June 2019, yet did NOT respond to a very serious health and safety issue of a customer Tweet on the 29. June 2019. The customer even tweeted twice. Schlee responded on the 01. July 2019 AFTER I wrote new blog entries about his retirement and after the press “broke” the retirement news from my Tweet.

This is Pret A Manger leadership:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke.
Customer: “It’s shocking they are not supported by decision makers.”
Don’t be shocked, that’s typical Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger!

I did an extra blog entry on the ongoing Air Conditioning issues with over-heated shops that I worked in as well. Many customers tweeted to Pret about this: Pret A Manger Staff work in Over-heated Conditions

The press then being the press, pretending to break the news with some “inside” knowledge, “broke” it after I tweeted to them. That’s why I tweet publicly and not hidden in emails or DMs.

 

CLIVE SCHLEE’S LEGACY:

… apart from two customer deaths (plus a third nearly fatal allergy reaction), several hospitalized, and all the ignored warnings, before AND after the deaths, he didn’t act until the deaths became public!

In fact, he was even clueless and seemed patronizingly proud to respond as the CEO to an open letter to Pret:

Alicia Turrell Tweet

Link

Large print of the patronizing, almost beguiling and self-absorbed, yet clueless response to the open letter:

»I am sitting in Gatwick Airport waiting to board my flight and I have been reading your discursive open letter to Pret. 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.«

And then he puffs up in the typical psychological Pret style:

»I’m Pret’s CEO.«

And Alicia Turrell is supposed to be impressed that the CEO himself responds to an open letter to Pret. Further in his response:

»You also make your point about allergen information.«

And here’s the bombshell from a CEO of a multi-million (now billion) pound company, that claims to be ethical and caring, and most ridiculously boasting arrogantly to be “doing the right thing naturally“:

»To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that. I think you are suggesting we treat allergens more seriously. Again, fair point.«

And then he ends:

»Is there anything else that you would specifically like us to do?«

End of quote.

I need to mention that I worked at Pret when TWO customers died, and not only were we as leaders NOT told about this, the “training” in Pret is always rushed and many have to train themselves in their private (unpaid) time. And we were not trained and there was no urgency after the deaths. We weren’t even informed nor hinted to be more diligent with allergen labelling and informing customers! Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s mum Tanya, tells in an ITV interview of her shock that Pret did absolutely nothing, even after her daughter’s death: YouTube: → Pret A Manger failed to change allergens policy following teenager’s death.

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

Right Thing Naturally

 

I write extensively about Clive Schlee’s clumsy responses in Foot-in-mouth Disease at Pret A Manger.

His legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

On the bottom 5% compared to other company CEOs:

CLive Schlee ratings scores bottom 5%

 

Clive Schlee ratings scores bottom 4th out of 5

Link

So, the £1000 PR bribe for staff didn’t fool the staff after all. I write about the timing of Schlee’s £1000-Announcement which came on the day when Schlee and Pret became aware of my blog: Timing of £1000 Announcement.

In mid July 2019 Pano Christou’s “clean” start on Glassdoor came after a person pointed out the poor Glassdoor scores to Pret’s Tweet of Schlee’s retirement:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link

Christou was put on Glassdoor in mid July, even though Schlee’s official retirement was set for September 2019, which was then also tweeted as a final farewell on 20. September 2019.

YET, Schlee remains on Twitter as the CEO of Pret as I write this on 27. October 2019:

2019-10-27 Schlee still CEO

@Cliveschlee‘s Twitter

Pano Christou has been with Pret longer than Clive Schlee, and apart from doing a few things differently, the staff exploitation and low pay will continue. He is no different to Schlee. It’s just a different face on the same profit driven company, now under JAB Holdings that competes with Nestlé for the top spot.

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

Pano Christou deleted his @ChristouPano Twitter account on 01. July 2019 when I linked to it in “Clive Schlee’s Legacy“, as I had a lot of traffic on my website after having tweeted to the press, and I know that Pret periodically checks my blog and then reacts on Twitter. Christou also blocked me, while Pret and Schlee don’t block me, probably for a potential court case, should I raise a claim again. I explain in my interview at the bottom why I withdrew my Tribunal claim against Pret:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

 

Pano Block


Christou’s handle then lead to a deleted page on 01. July 2019:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter DELETED

 

Since mid September 2019 a new Twitter account under the same handle @ChristouPano started. Seems to be from Canada. Someone snatched that handle, and I doubt Pret’s Pano Christou will have an official CEO account like Clive Schlee has.

2019-09-24 New Pano Christou different Twitter

 

So, Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after my blog entry on Schlee and tweeting to the press. The press then “breaking” the news, I’m certain he visited my blog that day where he saw that I linked to his Twitter account.

Mr. Christou doesn’t have a new official Twitter account as CEO, and Mr. Schlee still has his official Twitter account as CEO of Pret. This, I think is not because he’s clumsy here, I believe this is because many people don’t know that Pret has a new CEO, and knowing Pano, he will stay away from social media and always prefers to stay in the background. His former Twitter account even stated COO “@ Pret” not “@Pret”, as if to distance himself somewhat. Clive Schlee keeps his CEO status on Twitter probably so that when people tweet to him in the assumption he’s still the CEO, he can then pass on to Christou or Pret can respond. Clive doesn’t always check his own emails either and has communicated before that when he needed a break, someone trusted is checking his mail. So, I won’t be surprised if Pano is actually checking Schlee’s account as he can do, being the CEO now. It’s just that they keep fooling the public and don’t play with open cards, as usual.

 

PRET A MANGER HAS A NEW FOOL

Pano Christou came from McDonald’s management and started in Pret as an Assistant Manager (AM). Even though he likes to portray that he started at the bottom. Sorry, I worked with many AM’s who came from other companies, it’s not for long that they stay at the bottom. AMs work at Pret with a Team Member (TM) uniform for a few weeks or even just days, and then go straight into AM, and in a few months if they aim for it, become General Managers (GM). So, yes he started in shops, but he never was under the intense stress and low pay TMs are subjected to.

He will do things differently of course, as his personality is different, where he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve or has “foot-in-mouth disease” like Clive Schlee has. But he will be the same in a profit-driven, exploitative company under the new owners, the German Reimann family via JAB Holdings, that aim to topple Nestlé off the throne and expand their wealth.

Christou became UK Managing Director after Andrew Walker left the position and went to other companies, later becoming the CEO of sandwich chain and biggest competition, EAT. until he left in August 2019 when JAB / Pret purchased EAT.

When JAB bought Pret in late 2018, Christou became the COO of Pret, a role that didn’t exist before JAB took over. This already indicated that it was only a question of time before Christou would be CEO of Pret.

When he finally became CEO officially in September 2019, but to avoid further bad scoring for Schlee, already was placed on Glassdoor in mid July, a new UK Managing Director, Clare Clough (former Director of Food and Coffee) was announced mid September, yet no new COO. Clare Clough was also the person who was tasked to face the press in an interview on ITV. She was caught off-guard (at 1:08 minutes into the video) on the fact that if Pret would have taken allergen labelling seriously 3 – 4 years ago, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse would still be alive.

Alicia Turrell who wrote the open letter to Pret with Schlee replying makes a good point again on why Clive Schlee wasn’t interviewed:

2018-11-30 Alicia Turrell on Clare Clough woman allergen

Link

I mention this as well because Clare Clough seems to be more courageous and effective compared to Pano Christou, when he was the UK Managing Director. Clough has already been more visible from the get go as a UK MD compared to Christou.

 

PANO’S STYLE

It seems that the COO role was just an interim position for Christou to step up to the CEO role. No new announcement has been made on a new COO.

When I worked at Pret, I was a Team Leader for most of the 10 years I worked there. I had access to internal Pret emails, and the main thing I saw Pano doing, apart from being the shadow of Schlee, was sending out emails that seemed to have been like death announcements. He also wrote mainly in the internal Pret magazine for staff and did other email announcements.

I received the news of my brother’s death via a short and sharp email, which among other emailing issues from work, has thrust me into an emailing spree (from my private email account at home, never from Pret’s email accounts, just to clarify that). I talk about this in below audio interview. But when I was a Team Leader and checked the emails in the office, doing the ordering, communicating with other shops and area managers etc. email would come in at times from Pano. These emails started something like, “It’s with great sadness that I have to announce…”

Every time a mail like this started, my heart dropped and I thought, who on earth has died?!

He then went on to write something like, “It’s with great sadness that I have to announce the closure of one of our shops in such-and-such a street/town…”.

Sorry, what?!!!

I remember still being shaken and wobbly reading this, then getting upset! He wrote in such dramatic way about a freaking shop closure as if someone died! None of us low-paid staff cared if Pret lost a few thousand pounds from their millions! Even all the numbers and profits Christou shared, when Pret broke another record of having taken a certain amount of millions per week, we staff plainly didn’t care. Our pay check remained the same for years, we didn’t get a pay-rise except what the Government raised. And the £10 for all staff received for this “achievement” that Pret handed out, or later even worse, ordering a cake per shop for all shops, felt more like an insult than a reward. I remember one colleague saying about the cakes, that it would be better to get nothing than to be served up with a cheap sugar cake for all our hard work. Cakes often ended up hardly eaten, stale in the fridge.

So, Pano Christou will not be on social media, especially with my public confrontation. He will have learned from Clive Schlee’s clumsy social media presence, and avoid being public as much as he can. He will communicate internally and continue to present this shiny PR[et] facade to lure in workers with a slightly higher pay and other incentives. But he will keep them at that level and brainwash them like Pret does best.

But staff will always speak bluntly in anonymity, how reality is behind the facade. And the Unions will continue to unionize employees, and others will start speaking out openly.

 

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

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

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

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

 

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

 

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret 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 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.

Secrets to Great Customer Service

 

Note: If you prefer to read on a green background, not white, please delete amp/ in above url and reload. Linked from Twitter, for some reason it has white background and the additional amp/ to the url and comments won’t be visible. On green background comments at the very bottom will be visible compared to the white background page.

Or click here: https://expret.org/2019/10/12/secrets-of-good-customer-service

 

How to guarantee a return to the business with vibrant, consistent service and a generous approach.

As recommendations of Pret A Manger customer service has increased lately which look like recruited Tweet, with praise for the great staff who with smiles, helpfulness and generosity are impressing customers, after I spilled the beans on why staff are so “happy”, I want to put into one blog entry the secrets for this. There has been an increase of Tweets about the “great” and smiley staff in Prets, calling them by name etc. These are obviously RECRUITED Tweets as I have been exposing Pret A Manger on their bullying culture and the forced happiness.

Anyone can research and see that these Tweets started increasingly around mid October 2019 with 2 – 5 Tweets like these daily. How much did Pret pay those recruits? A free coffee? A £5/$5 gift card? Pret has no courage to respond to me, so they do their typical tricks to continue to fool the public.

UPDATE November 2019 / February 2020

And here’s the proof that Pret recruited people to tweet! 😉

November 2019 and February 2020

With the collections I do of staff reviews, of course Pret stole the idea to collect their own customer reviews. YET, Pret keeps missing to have genuine staff reviews on Twitter as they don’t want me to confront recruited staff Tweets.

Why are staff who earn £8.65 an hour, always seemingly so “happy”, chatty and smiley in a highly intense, noisy, hot and stressful work environment for 8 – 10 hours daily?

In short: Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management.

I put a YouTube slide together with some of the questions weekly Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked by Pret to test staff on in every shop. In the slide I concentrate on the smiley service.

UPDATE: 28. October 2019

A customer witnessed a bullying incident that usually happens behind closed doors! In this post, scroll down to the screenshots of reviews and Tweets on what many staff experience behind the scenes:

Link: → “Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret A Manger

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer2


When the MS visit has been successful, all the staff in the shop receive their weekly bonus, which is £1 extra per hour worked that week. BUT, those who are sick that week, even just for one day, and those who come to work late, will not receive the bonus. Many Managers use this for fear management. If a Manager doesn’t like a particular Team Member, and that TM is late even just 5 minutes while usually being on time mostly, the boss cuts their bonus. No mercy. I worked with colleagues who even got their bonus cut when they came to work unshaven. Or I myself was threatened with a bonus cut when I forgot something banal. So, if a staff member received bonus and worked 40 hours that week, they get an extra £40 on top of their wages.

Additionally, if an individual staff member, including the manager do “outstanding” service and impress the MS, for example by giving free coffees or other items, this individual employee can get an extra £100 or even £200 if all the scores are perfect.

I write extensively about the free coffee “myth” in Pret and why many customers never get a free coffee in years, while others receive free items weekly, some even daily:

—>>> Free Coffees in Pret A Manger

Managers receive their bonuses each quarter on a variety of issues like profit, how much/little waste they have, how much they managed to save on labour, cutting hours (Pret under-staffs throughout the board to maximize profit and Manager’s bonus), routine health and safety checks etc.

A Tweet from a customer just today:

2019-10-16 Understaffed

Link

And a few days ago:

2019-10-12 Understaffed

Link

There’s more, but I want to keep it as short as possible.

A recent of the many staff reviews on chronically understaffed shops:

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

But the biggest chunk of Managers, upper Managers and regional Leaders bonuses is the Mystery Shopper results. That’s why staff are stressed intensely about this.

I had one Manager take me aside as I was the Team Leader and say to me: “I close my eyes to everything, but not the Mystery Shopper”. Meaning, if I made mistakes or even did dodgy things with health and safety, the cashing up, the Team etc. he would close his eyes and not get me in trouble. But if the Mystery Shopper results were poor, I would get in trouble, as part of Team Leader’s responsibility is to “engage” the Team to always smile etc. Like a cheer-leader. The above YouTube slide shows this clearly.

Not floating my own boat, but I had most of the time excellent MS results and still even kept the MS reports for my protection as one Area Manager targeted me alleging I didn’t engage the Team, while Mystery Shopper after Mystery Shopper and even regular customers said otherwise and constantly commended my Teams. Quite sad that I had to keep those reports for my protection. But for me, even if Pret would have scrapped the Mystery Shopper scheme, I would have still worked the way I worked as I love people and customers pay a lot of money for products.

I did not “push” my colleagues to smile, be friendly etc. I encouraged my Teams, I asked them how they were, I gave them extra breaks if they were exhausted, sick or depressed, I supported them and cared about them. And that reflected on their service and in interacting with each others and the customers. But the general tone in Pret is to “force” staff to smile, at times threatening them with disciplinary and even job loss. I’ve seen, heard and witnessed it all and had to console many many times Team Members crying in the staff room or on their way home.

Only two of the many Mystery Shopper comments below. The MS commented on both individual Staff Members and all the Teams as a whole in our service.

Excerpts from two different Mystery Shopper and shops/team: (Ctrl & + to zoom in)

MS Best Team

 

MS Best

So, shops are tested on if they have a certain amount of selection set for a certain time of the business times, are tested on cleanliness, how the overall atmosphere of the shop is, if the service doesn’t take longer than 1 (one) minute etc.etc. etc.

But the most important thing that shops are tested on is customer service. Are individual and all staff smiling, seem happy, chatty etc. The above YouTube slide goes into detail on this. Pret does not care how staff feel, if they are bereaved, depressed etc. I was traumatically bereaved and was bullied and targeted when the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile. I did smile most of the time and have that in black and white (sad to say!), but there is no mercy, no empathy as profits are more important.

An excellent article about this I found and commented on: “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” is about the increasing competition in the service industry and how low-wage workers are forced to perform emotional labour and a big hype to create the impression they are so happy in the company.

https://poetrasblok.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/emotional-labour-statesman-article.jpg?w=755&h=421

 

So, people seem to have been “recruited”, even on the Pret USA Twitter feed, to tweet about the smiley and great staff calling them by name and the shop. All these Tweets sound similar and seem to have been organized. It’s also easy to see that they are recruited because hardly anyone responds to my Tweets, so they know about my writings 😀 . But my response is important as new readers find these Tweets who don’t know about Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme.

These “recruited” Tweets have massively increased since the beginning of October 2019 like I’ve never seen before, since I read Pret Tweets from 2018. These customer Tweets started at about the second week of October 2019, after I increasingly blog and tweet about the Mystery Shopper in Pret. It’s also clear they have been recruited as hardly anyone responds to my Tweets about the Emotional Labour and Mystery Shopper incentives, meaning these people who tweet know about me and my writings.

Also, knowing Pret and how they “respond” indirectly to my writings, they will NOW (compared to before) pass on these Tweets to the shops, so that staff think Pret cares. Pret has lost lots of staff, of course many apply for jobs, but my blog and others is a sore in Pret’s sight. So, the idea is now to encourage staff, which is good, but work conditions remain the same while staff continue to get brain-washed.

Of course it is better that customers go on Twitter & Co to commend staff (many wordings are similar 😀 … come on people, at least make an effort and get more creative!), than to complain about low-wage workers publicly, who in turn cannot defend themselves as they are unaware that they were just negatively called out, even by name on Twitter.

Yet, I respond as a former Team Leader having survived this abuse and fear management, that the reason why staff, some of whom are depressed, even suicidal, seem so happy, is the reality of Mystery Shopper cash incentives and fear management. People need their jobs, have kids to raise and Uni tuition to pay. And the staff reviews on Glassdoor and Co including YouTube, Twitter etc. give a grim reality how depressing it is to work like this.

One such review is THE most poignant report on behind the scenes in Pret. It’s from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in to do customer service with fake smiles, as shops are always understaffed.

The review is the one that starts with the large red letters in below slide show:
“This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.”
and ends:
“You will lose everything that makes you human.”

Direct Link to the Indeed review.

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

So, dear Pret Customer, if you have been recruited to leave recommendations of Pret staff or not, only you know, but I am writing to make people aware of WHY low-paid employees in a high intense, stressful work environment, with often bullying managers (NEW incident caught by customer), smile so much against their true emotions. I was recommended many many times by customers and Mystery Shoppers on my professional, friendly, generous and smiley service. But no-one knew that at times I left my shift headed for the bridge. My story is in the below audio player in an interview on a podcast based in California. 

There’s a reason why CEO Clive Schlee “retired” with such poor scores on Glassdoor & Co and the general Pret staff scores, as staff dare to speak out anonymous more than on the often rigged annual Pret questionnaires.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

A collection of writings on Emotional Labour with links to articles:
The Dangers of Emotional Labour

I continue to ask for independent investigation into Pret 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 speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment:
Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by
The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

 

©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 has a New Fool

 

Prat

 

»Any damn fool can run Pret!«

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! (while remaining as a non-executive director in the background pulling the strings and babysitting the new CEO).

On the question of Pret’s success and how much of it was luck or hard work, the CEO responds:

»We had some very good following winds. My wife always would say ‘any damn fool can run Pret‘.«

I comment on this interview in “Clive Schlee: A Case Study (of the Fun Factory)”

Why would the wife of a CEO keep saying this, what’s the conversation before such a statement?

Let the sweet-talk stop and let the women speak for a change! For real change!

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

On a side note, Clive Schlee here continues to say that Pret had “natural” food, even though Pret has been successfully sued for having Glyphosate in the food and having to take the word “natural” off signage and labelling. I write about this in “Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat“.

But this interview is full of @&%!… I can’t believe he keeps getting away with it, and I ask myself what does it take to face the truth away from the delusion?!

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 and numerous hospitalized …

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

And 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 ruining 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.

So, »any damn fool can run Pret!«, and certainly any damn fool can ruin it!

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

So, welcome Pano Christou about whom I write about in: Under New Management Pano Christou, Now CEO of Pret.

UPDATE: October 2019:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

And here’s my welcome gift to Pano Christou:
(Smile Pano! Smile, fool!)

 

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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!

I continue to ask for INDEPENDENT investigations into staff suicides!

 


 

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.

#RuinABandNameWithOneLetter

 

My collection in one place.

The rules are simple: Ruin a band name with one letter (1 letter added, taken off or exchanged).

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Pret Shop Boys

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Lad Gaga

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Tuna Turner

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Con Jovi

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Iggy Poop

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Beastie Buys

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Hack Williams

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Annie Lennonx

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Boy Dylan

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Moan Baez

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Kanye Vest

Link (sorry Stormzy!)

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Taylor Shift

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Wall Smith

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Van Haven

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Guns R Roses 2

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Kate Rush

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Boys III Men

Link

 

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Dolly Pardon

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter ZZ Stop

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter Price and the Revolotuin

Link

 

2019-08-02 RuinBandNameWith1Letter R Cell-y

Link

 

#RuinACompanyWithOneCEO

 

 


 

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.

 

Death without Knowledge – Cremation without Consent

 

I never expected to be carrying my big brother, his ashes in my arms to his grave. Not this early, not this soon. If at all in my 70s, but not mid-life. I never imagined not knowing for 5 weeks that he was dead! I never dreamed that they would not make enough effort to find us, my mum who lives just 70km away from my brother’s city, living at the same address for 30 years with a German ID system in place!

I still speak with the police and hear the same excuses.

I still am numb to know how to cope or survive.

It’s still a nightmare I want to wake up from.

My pain is 95% anger and I can’t recover.

 

I found video on YouTube where this happened to a family in the U.S.

 

 

It happened to a family in the U.S. similar as it happened to us in Germany. Different circumstances, but two same things: someone died and was cremated without finding the family first!I wonder how the family is now? What they managed to find out or reach.

Germany is known for its efficiency and thoroughness has shocked and devastated me! Carelessness, indifference and sloppy police work know no boundaries! I have lost faith in this “efficient” system.

My brother died and was found in his flat, approximate date of death six days before he was found. Police didn’t do their work properly to find us, then cremated my brother without our consent. We didn’t know for five weeks that he was dead and gone… completely gone…

A year or so later I was told by a customer who used to be a police detective after I asked him for advice, that when the police doesn’t find anything suspicious they close the case fast to avoid paper work! Of course if one of their own was found dead, they would move mountains to find the cause and family!

When I speak to the German police now, either silence or pushing responsibility away. I don’t feel I can ever recover and remain on autopilot. There is no life. And I let my brother down.

 

 

 


 

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

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

 

 

 

Once Upon A Long Time Ago

 

Further in the Past

(from: Noch früher mal – Text & Music: Felix Meyer – translation: poetrasblok.com)

The gate opens, it shines, it sparkles and
A man dressed in white appears – they say he’s innocent
A corpulent blonde angel stretches out its hand in peace
And some noise abounds, but in their own sphere

Yes, it betrays itself into its deepest dreams
And can’t accept its own outward love
It despairs again in its own grief
And can’t believe to ever succeed

In the land where sunflowers shine
And old weeping willows weep
Stories are told of forget-me-nots
If they really existed long time ago

And if his fate was known by someone
But all this may never come to light
Never come to light

She says her life is like a box of chocolates:
Not unwrapped yet, but already devoured
They claim that the box is still filled
But once it’s your turn, it’s already empty

Whenever it fits, she likes to compare eyeballs to light-bulbs
Olympia is a friend she always wanted to have
To tell her what her father and TV always say,
That all that counts is love

When sunflowers shine
And weeping willows quietly weep
Then it’s summer and we forget easily
That someone’s standing next to us
Who realizes that nothing’s working anymore
And nothing comes to light at the end of the day

If someone really lived here long time ago
And if his fate found empathy
We can only speculate, but no-one knows for sure
No-one knows

– Translation of “Noch früher mal” from Felix Meyer by poetrasblok.com

 

Original German:

Noch früher mal

Das Tor geht auf, es glänzt, es blinkt und es erscheinen
Ein Herr in Weiß – es heißt, dass er unschuldig sei
Ein dicker blonder Engel, der freundlich die Hand reicht
Und ein paar Fanfaren, doch die sind fast schon einerlei

Ja sie belügt sich gern bis tief in ihre Träume
Und kann dann selber nicht mal glauben, wenn sie liebt
Verzweifelt regelmäßig an ihrer Verzweiflung
Und kann’s nicht fassen, wenn’s was zu gewinnen gibt

In dem Land, wo Sonnenblumen scheinen
Und alte Trauerweiden weinen
Erzählt man die Geschichte vom Vergissmeinnicht
Ob es wirklich früher mal gelebt hat
Und ob sein Leid jemandem Leid tat
Das alles kommt wohl heut bestimmt nicht mehr ans Licht
Nicht mehr ans Licht

Sie sagt, ihr Leben sei genau wie die Pralinen:
Kaum offen, machen sich die Alten drüber her
Behaupten schmatzend, dass das immer noch halb voll sei
Doch wenn man endlich dran kommt, ist die Schachtel leer

Wenn’s passt, vergleicht sie gern Augäpfel mit Glühbirnen
Dann ist Olympia die Freundin, die ihr fehlt
Um ihr zu sagen, dass es Quatsch ist, wenn ihr Vater
Und auch das Fernsehen sagt, dass nur die Liebe zählt

Wenn bei uns Sonnenblumen scheinen
Und Trauerweiden leise weinen
Dann ist es Sommer und dabei vergisst man schlicht
Dass neben einem oft mal jemand steht
Der merkt, dass so nichts weitergeht
Und trotzdem kommt am Ende nichts ans Licht

Ob hier wirklich noch früher mal wer gelebt hat
Und ob sein Leid jemandem Leid tat
Kann man sich denken, aber wissen tut man’s nicht
Wissen tut man es nicht

– Felix Meyer

 

Change

 

I’ve seen these lists of a 1000 films to see and dishes to eat before you die.

I’ve done a lot of them, but there is always that one more thing to do.

I’d love to see Tracy Chapman, Bobby McFerrin, P!NK, Julie Miller, some friends and family, and stuff …

There’s always things to see and do 🙂

And change

 

 

 

Pret A Manger Staff work in Over-Heated conditions

 

Note: If you prefer to read with a green background, not white, please delete the amp/ in above url and reload. Linked from Twitter, for some reason it has white background and an addition to the url.

 

Before I get into the detail of the ongoing issues of broken and inadequate Air Conditioning in Pret A Manger shops for YEARS with open doors, and Pret not caring about it, I want to paint a picture from the perspective of staff. I want to explain to new readers WHY Pret staff EVERYWHERE smile so much, are friendly, helpful, give freebies EVEN during excruciating 40 degrees heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. In short: Mystery Shopper cash incentives and if they fail, fear management. And as low-wage workers have kids to feed or uni tuition to pay, they feel stuck, exhausted, fear managed, not realizing they should join a Union and should strike.

I want to also mention that Mystery Shoppers just do their job and go down a list of questions they are suppose to test staff on. BUT I also want to mention that Mystery Shoppers don’t care either, because I worked for prolonged times in various shops in 40 degree heat, and NOT ONE Mystery Shopper made a comment on it, compared to regular customers who witnessed this for days and weeks.

I briefly explain below that staff have cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. They can earn up to an extra £200 individually ON TOP of their wages AND team bonus, if the Mystery Shopper is extra impressed with the individual Team Member’s service. If any staff member loses the bonus for the whole team because their service isn’t with a smile or whatever else the Mystery Shopper (I call them “Misery” Shopper) isn’t happy with, that Team Member and the Team get fear managed, because the MS bonus scheme counts towards the biggest chunk of Manager’s and upper Management bonuses.

Below Tweet regarding “group incentive” in reality is peer pressure and fear management, so everyONE is ALWAYS on their toes at all times. And customers are fooled, thinking staff are so happy in Pret and Pret is such a great company bla, bla… But staff who only dare to complain on review sites anonymously know better and let off their anger against Pret.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive marked

 

2013 Low Wage Exploitation Smile marked

 

2013 Authentically happy smile low paid

This above Tweet is from 2013, now in 2019 the hourly wage is £8.25 – 8.65, but staff have to work double for it and constantly smile etc.

 

2013 Continous weird smile

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

etc. etc. etc.

One of many Mystery Shopper report excerpt:
Staff have to serve customers within 1 min of a person joining the queue and serve the coffee/drink within 1 minute of the customer having made the payment. Staff have to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. THAT is why they are still on this robotic autopilot even in 40ºC+ heat. I know, I’ve work in these conditions, brain-washed, fear managed, even during bereavement!

Mystery Shopper excerpt: (Click Ctrl and + to enlarge)

04 MS

 

What customers experience as heat and 35-40ºC, for staff behind the counter it’s 45-50ºC.

Dear customer, imagine yourself BEHIND the counter for an 8-10 hour shift! Look at this picture from brummie_photography on Instagram from a Birmingham shop. This shop at least is very airy, looks like a station or airports are like this. But most Prets have low ceiling, cramped areas, no air-flow. If the air conditioning then is broken or inadequate, it’s literally HELL in there!

I count about 11-12 Team Members (TMs) behind the counter (and worked like this myself):

Pret Sardines

brummie_photography on Instagram

 

Behind that counter of about 10 Sq Meters space there are:

  • In the shop the fridges (called Langars in Pret) blow out hot air from the back
  • Behind the counter and behind Team Members 2 – 3 coffee machines with heat and hot water/coffee
  • To the left or right or behind TMs 1 – 2 hot toastie machines
  • In most shops 1 – 2 hot ovens that are at the counter area (not like here in an extra room)
  • In front of TMs are the black hot croissant plates under the glass counter (I often switched it off in the summer!)
  • From above beaming bright lights on the low ceiling burning on their heads. Years ago staff members even had to wear caps no matter how hot. In Pret USA shops they still wear caps!
  • Large windows without any marquee for sun protection
  • Open doors so that shops don’t look closed from the outside when people walk by. This has been changed recently after environmentalists increasingly raised the issues regarding waste of energy. Unfortunately the same environmentalists don’t seem to bother about the staff burning in the heat!
  • And from ALL AROUND hot body heat from colleagues who stand next to each other like sardines in a can! I felt my colleagues’ body heat left and right! Bad breath, sweaty smelly air, not allowed to drink water behind the counter or shop floor during work or use mints/peppermint gum!
  • And in many shops TMs are NOT allowed to drink water behind the counter for *irony on* “health and safety reasons” *irony off*. And are not allowed to go to the staff room to drink during the coffee and lunch time rush! I always broke that rule and went against manager’s instructions and let my team drink WATER!!

 

What for customers is excruciating in a few minutes, these low-paid workers endure ALL DAY every day. One TM in 2011 when I worked in one terrible shop like this, got pneumonia as she was going in and out of the walk-in fridge switching temperature between under 5 degree Celsius in the fridge and 35 – 40 degrees in the shop and kitchen.

Not to mention that the fridges are warm with food and drink stored in them. I had to throw out many times £100s worth of food and drink after having taken temperatures of food and juices, much to the dismay of my bosses! But I didn’t care about the money. As a Team Leader, Health & Safety was not only part of my job description, it was my top priority! I didn’t even eat my free meal allowances in Pret during my breaks when the food was warm! Why would I subject paying customers to that, getting them food poisoning!!

My complaining and raising the issue never got me far in a Pret career, and neither did I care!

With most shops having low ceiling, loud music, rude customers, the 1 minute Mystery Shopper rule, a stressed and often bullying manager or team leader… Welcome to the REALITY of Pret A Manger!

Annihilate Humanity 41

>>> Anonymous Staff review on Indeed

 

Apart from the hellish work conditions for staff, this also affects the food. A customer complained regarding food poisoning from a New York Pret and noticed that the shop was warm:

 

2019-06-25 AC warm wrap

June 2019 NY

 


 

Customer Complaints on Twitter

(those who bother complaining, the problem is much bigger)

 

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St1

Link 25. July 2018

 

I link to a blog entry at the bottom on WHY staff smile ALL THE TIME come rain come shine!

I worked twice in shops with 40 degrees heat for weeks and months raising the issue. I was told if I speak to HQ my career is over. The manager who told me this and didn’t know how to make this issue urgent left Pret soon after. But we begged customers to speak to Pret on our behalf.

Below is a list of only a few customer Tweets, not everyone comments publicly. But this problem with inadequate little air cons in every Pret shop persists. Staff are surrounded by hot machines, body heat, beaming lights from above, ovens, toastie machines, hot plates where the croissants are on, large windows where the sun beams in … And the staff are still expected to do Emotional Labour, smile and pretend to be cheery so they don’t lose the Mystery Shopper bonus when they visit once a week.

I was often very disheartened that the weekly Mystery Shopper didn’t even mention the heat.

I worked at Pret for 10 years and this is an endless problem Pret knows about, but doesn’t fix unless customers go online, or staff persist. Staff became sick, one even with pneumonia because of the morning delivery check going inside the walk-in fridge back and forth between 30 degrees heat and then 3-5 degrees cold. That’s when I drew the line and asked for a transferal, not realizing many shops have this issue.

My traumatic story with Pret in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

I will say it loud and clear again to any new reader who does not know my and other staff story and blog: Pret A Manger does NOT care for their low-paid workers! They do NOT care!!!

Please take the time and really listen and look! Pret has been very successful with presenting an image of an “ethical” company! But having ignored customer warnings on allergen labels EVEN after two customers died, should ring massive alarm bells! But the public is lulled in again and want to believe the Pret fairy tale.

And Pret responds often with “oh dear” … “oh gosh” … “oh no” … “we are concerned to hear this” … bullshit, fooling the public as if this was a one-off. I really appreciate the anger and concern customers show for staff who suffer in this hell, while the millionaire senior leaders and Twitter staff sit in air-conditioned Head Office! Thank you for speaking up on behalf of low-paid workers!

3 of the most recent customer Tweets from days ago on the air conditioning problems in Pret. I didn’t go further beyond 2016, and even found one from 2013 … But this is forever going on!

2019-06-30 AC

1st Tweet — & — 2nd Tweet where Clive Schlee took a day to even respond, while on the day of the complaint he responded to another Tweet of someone wishing him farewell for his retirement (before the press got wind of it when I tweeted the press)! But the CEO was not concerned about the AC issue, even after 2 customer tweets!

Second customer Tweet 03. July, and Pret has NOT responded yet (06. July)!

2019-07-03 AC

Link

Third customer 05. July, and again NO response from Pret at the time of me writing this blog entry:

2019-07-05 AC

05. July 2019

 

UPDATE 25. July 2019

2019-07-25 No AC Bicester

Bicester still having issues as expected and Pret keeps sweet-talking
1st Tweet — and  — 2nd Tweet

 

Dan Brown raised this issue 3 weeks ago. 05th July Tweet (also screenshot above).

 

Also 25. July 2015, Great Eastern Street:

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

Link to Tweet and Pret sweet-talking again

 

23. July 2019 London Bridge again

2019-07-23 No AC

1st Tweet2nd Tweet3rd Tweet

 

2019-06-19 AC Bath Southgate

19. June 2019 Bath

 

2019-07-17 AC air con USA

UPDATE: 17. July 2018 NY, USA

 

2018-06-19 AC 240 Hi Holb

19. June 2018

 

2018-07-07 AC Hammersmith2

07. July 2018 Hammersmith

 

2018-07-23 AC Luton

23. July 2018 Luton – No answer from Pret

 

2018-07-23 AC Queen St

Also 23. July 2018 Queen St.

 

2018-07-24 AC Strand

24. July 2018 Strand

 

This Tweet is from the first Tweet above from the 25. July 2018. Two more from the 25th underneath:

2018-07-25 AC Cannon St2

 

2018-07-25 AC Queen St

25. July 2018 Queen St again

 

2018-07-25 AC Whitehall

25. July 2018 Whitehall. Pret here lets Teams have extra break instead of putting on the BRAKES to stop the work in these hellish conditions!

 

2018-07-26 AC Euston

26. July 2018 Euston. Pret slimey and patronizing response they always do when someone with an official Twitter account tweets: “Oh they’re all stars aren’t they?”

 

2018-07-26 AC More London

26. July 2018 again More London

 

2018-07-27 AC Milton Keynes

27. July 2018 Milton Keynes

 

This customer’s concern is brilliant.
I want to post the whole feed as she does not let go!
Well done and thank you @kerriewils!

 

2018-08-07 AC01 Victoria St 95

07. Aug. 2018 Pret’s “oh no” BS …

 

2018-08-07 AC02 Victoria St 95

 

DON’T be disappointed, this is NORMAL in Pret!!!

 

2018-08-07 AC03 to 07 Victoria St 95

 

2018-08-07 AC08 Victoria St 95

Thank You!!!

 

2019-08-10 AC South Ken

10. Aug. 2018 South Ken. This is August, and the Pret Twitter staff is taking the mick!

 

2017-12-10 AC Kings Cross

10. Dec. 2017 Someone registered a Twitter account especially to raise this issue. Cold in winter, hot in summer.

 

2017-08-06 AC Tower Hill

06. Aug. 2017 Tower Hill

 

2017-06-01 AC Westfield

01. June 2017 Westfield – Since AGES

I love this follow-up Tweet, and yet it’s very sad that Pret only listens to customers and let staff boil in hell! I can say again to any reader, please believe me when I say that Pret does NOT care for staff except when it is for PR or when they get caught!

2017-06-01 AC Westfield2

 

2016-09-13 AC Adwych Strand

13. Sep. 2016 Adwych / 182 Strand. This is one of the two shops I worked in where the AC was broken for MONTHS. That was in 2011!!!

 

2013 AC slower work

2013 And the staff still working FAST as Pret demand the 1 minute time of service via the Mystery Shopper!

… and so on …

These days Pret keeps the doors closed, but ONLY because of the Extinction Rebellion revolution. Pret only goes with pressure from the masses and what is “trend”. If staff suffer in the heat, doesn’t matter to them. The reason why Pret usually like the doors open, winter and summer is so that the shops don’t look closed from the outside, meaning customers walk by oblivious that it’s open. And it’s true, I walked by shops that seemed to be closed, because the door was closed and it looked darker inside. So, to avoid losing money, Pret likes to keep the door open, except lately since the waste of energy and environmental activists being on Pret’s case. But concerned for staff? Don’t believe a bit of it!

So, thank you to all customers and maybe next time, start a mass petition for Pret to act FAST!! Because this is an ongoing issue and Pret has the public fooled and staff feel stuck, because they are not paid sick days the first two days!

Employees remain professional because they have to in case the Mystery Shopper comes and all the Team loses the bonus. I write about this in “How Emotional Labour Harms us all” and “The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and why staff really keep smiling even during the most excruciating heat and work conditions.

Staff speak out, even if only anonymous on review websites (below).

Target1

 

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Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 

Link: >>> Two Pret Staff have DIED recently
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
I survived. If I would have gone over the edge, to my current knowledge, mine would be #3 and it would be in connection to Pret!

 


 

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


Interview:

 

©2020 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, 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.

Clive Schlee: A Case Study of the Fun Factory

 

Even though putting this interview between Clive Schlee and Mario Bauer on here, I am indirectly making advertisement for Pret, and Clive Schlee and Pret like to peek here once in a while, but I want to do a reality check on this conversation from 02.07.2019.

He and Pret have announced on Monday 01.07.2019 (after I tweeted to the press and the press “broke” the news) his “retirement”, but remaining as a non-executive Director.

I find this interesting in many ways. First, when JAB took over Pret they reshuffled the top team pretty quick, including axing co-founder (or “re-founder”) of Pret Sinclair Beecham and HR Director Andrea Wareham.

Quote: “Filings show that CFO Mr Jones, former chairman Larry Billett, HR director Andrea Wareham, co-founder Sinclair Beecham and US president Joanne Brett had all been terminated as directors from parent company PAM Group Limited.” – Daily Mail

Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham re-founded Pret again in 1986 after a short run of the original Pret which was founded in 1983 by Jeffery Hyman. Funny enough, up until the two customer deaths became public, the Wikipedia entry on Pret never showed this info regarding the 1983 start. Julian  Metcalfe is also founder of Asian style fast-food chain itsu and “Metcalfe’s Food Company, in partnership with Clive Schlee.” – Wikipedia

So, JAB axing Sinclair Beecham, yet keeping Clive Schlee on board is interesting. For one, I’m sure it is to “safe face” and not let Schlee look defeated, after the poor re-action on the terrible and unnecessary deaths that happened. But also, knowing how Schlee works, he is the perfect “mascot” for Pret. I always experienced him more like the Ronald McDonald of Pret A Manger, who’s job it is with an endless smile and friendly approachable front, to keep the workforce happy slaving on low wages and the public happy with colourful, fancy food and freebies.

Pano Christou, who came from McDonald’s as a Manager having started in Pret straight away as an Assistant Manager, has a more serious approach to things. He at least blocked me and now deleted his Twitter account. He will be dealing with issues more directly and swifter, but he will do the same business of a profit-driven company.

And that’s where Schlee now will continue his “clown” role, to not only represent Pret as this oh so happy and friendly brand, but to redeem himself with more and more charitable work. This can be seen in the below interview that I’ll be taking apart like a Pret A Manger “line check”, picking ingredients apart, weighing out each item for its “correctness” and if it’s up to standard (truth).

 

THE INTERVIEW (my comments below)

From Teddy Talks interview by Mario Bauer

Upfront, I doubt Clive Schlee will have a TED Talk anytime soon, but for a Teddy Talks it’s insightful enough.

Key points and my comments on just the things important to mention, not the whole interview. As Mario Bauer’s first language is not English, I will leave grammatical issues, or mistakes in general, in the transcript. I prefer to leave people’s sentences the way they are when I quote them, out of respect and to keep it in their own words like I do with all the staff reviews I collected.

 

PEOPLE CULTURE

Mario Bauer: at 2:44
“For me the most fascinating thing about Pret is the People Culture. Because what you built over the years, when I talk to Head Hunters, they say you don’t even need to call somebody on Senior level or OPs Manager level, to kind of steal them from Pret. You cannot steal people from Pret, there’s a very high loyalty to you, to your management, to the brand. How do you build that loyalty, how Pret became the people company. Because at the end of the day it’s a sandwich store, how do you make it a people company?”

Clive Schlee: at 3:16
“I think at the very early days, Julian and Sinclair recognized that to get people to get up so early in the morning, and work and make sandwiches in difficult conditions, something had to be special. And they inherently sensed that giving people a future, and giving them friendship and making a sense of family, was going to be very attractive and much more important than money. Money had to be good, but those three F’s: future, friendships and family, that was the beginning of Pret’s culture, which I hope stayed throughout, I always tried to encourage those three.
As a result of that, people get very loyal to Pret, and as you say, it’s difficult to head hunt them away, which we like that very much.”

My comments as Clive Schlee’s patronizing and disrespectful labelling as: “Late Night Girl”
First of all, Mario Bauer asked this question regarding senior people and OPs managers who are difficult to head hunt away from Pret. The reason why they are so difficult to steal away is the immense amount of money senior leaders earn! On top of all the nick-knacks, they fly out to Dubai or if in the U.S. to Las Vegas, throw parties, even sit in pubs during lunch time, while the shop staff slave away and are pressured to work harder for profit and managers’ bonuses! But Mr. Schlee here talks about the shop people as he remains desperate for workers!

On a shop staff level, many people leave easily. I know several colleagues, especially leaders, who left Pret and went to EAT, the competition that is now purchased by JAB via Pret. EAT was set up very similarly and is always seen as the closest imitation of Pret. Andrew Walker, EAT’s CEO used to be Pret’s UK Managing Director before he left Pret, a role which was then taken by Pano Christou. Pano became COO of Pret when JAB took over. There was no COO role in Pret before JAB. Much of EAT’s production did come from large factories, and when they ran out of products in the afternoon, there wasn’t a high pressure to keep making sandwiches. Staff were paid less, but the work was easier, according to those that went there and told me later.

Secondly, I appreciate that Mr. Schlee acknowledges that making sandwiches in Pret is done in “difficult conditions”. Thank you for that acknowledgement!

Thirdly, the three FF’s. Uh-oh, where do I start!? This one I keep brief as the friendship and “family” culture will entangle itself as you read on! I can only say that Pret has either a big fat lying facade when it comes to the “family” environment, or Pret is a very dysfunctional family! But to me I experienced the first to be the case. Only one of many staff reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

INTERNAL PROMOTION

MB: at 3:58
“You have an internal promotional system, university…”

PAUSE: If I understood that he said “university”, I think he means the Pret Academy where staff are trained. Pret doesn’t have a university! Let’s not fly too high here! In the UK, and especially in Pret, there is a lot of psychology used and slogans to sound sophisticated. The Pret Academy is just a place near HQ where leaders are trained. But the results of this “training” can be seen in the appalling way many Managers behave on the day-to-day running of the shops. Not to mention that one of the Trainers is a Development Manager who was used to gaslight me. I share this extensively in my interview at the bottom of this page in the audio-player.

MB:
“You have an internal promotional system, university … there’s a lot of people I met over the years … and you always hear the stories ‘I started as a cashier, I worked myself up to a district manager’ (OPs). What’s the structure / system behind it?”

CS: at 4:18
“There’s a very disciplined system behind our academy. And every step, there’s an increased pay-rate and a series of quiz. And you climb up and up and up. There are many chances to climb and that’s very important to Pret. And then we give the lessons and the practical experience so that people can move from being a Team Member Trainer to be a Team Leader to be Assistant Manager …”

LNG:
Sounds wonderful on paper, but reality is far, far from this! Maybe this was like this before the mid 2000s. But I have not been trained properly and most of my colleagues neither. Only if you were willing to make friends with management were you moved up quickly and somewhat trained. The countless staff reviews in the below slideshow indicate this problem as well.

Yes, there is a strict hierarchy and a complex system where people are micromanaged with small details that burn them out! The really important things they are not trained in: people skills, leadership skills, SKILLS in general!! Pret loves to recruit according to people’s “personality” rather than skill to portray this “happy family” business to the outside. So, you have a lot of happy bunnies bouncing around, burdening down workers who are the ones getting the job done, under intense pressure and low wages while the bunnies claim the credit for it!

Also, the internal promotion system Pret boasts about has always puzzled me! When I started in Pret I was “head hunted” by a former Caffe Nero Manager who got me into his shop. I have worked in several companies where staff were ALWAYS promoted from within! Schlee here says that it must be a world record that in Pret 40% are promoted from within! Sorry?

But what is the saddest thing about the promotion system in Pret is that with some Managers it is an open secret that they got into their position because they became a little “too close” to their boss or even a senior leader from HQ! Their career was paved in the bedroom. This is really sad, because you expect this in a law firm, in Hollywood and certainly in politics, but a sandwich chain? It’s ridiculous and staff often had no respect for management like this behind their backs.

Again, one of many reviews also on this. A recent one from NY:

Promotion

Link

And a very poignant review by a former General Manager, London.
Quote: “”As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”

GM internal promotion

Link

Head Office Review:

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

So, Pret makes such a big deal again out of something, selling ice cubes to Eskimos! The same is true with the free food allowance for staff. EVERY restaurant or cafe business gives free lunch and coffee allowance! Yet, Pret makes it sound like they are the only ones doing this! Sure, the 50% rebate for staff when purchasing items outside of work is very generous, hands down. Many companies either give 10% or like Caffe Nero, we had to pay full price when buying in our private time, which is really unacceptable, to be honest. Same with Iceland. I stood in line behind an Iceland staff member who bought a can of coke for his break, and he paid full price! I asked him about it and they confirmed that they are paying full price. So, Pret is very generous on this front.

 

MB: at 4:52
“So, basically I know when I do a good job and when I follow the plan, you already set out in two years I’ll be in that position, I’ll make that-and-that money, so people can plan with that.”

CS: at 5:00
“They can see a chart showing them how to climb up.”

LNG:
That’s true, there is a chart, in fact it’s a silly chart with colourful little cartoons on it, like in Kindergarten, showing how to climb the “ladder”. And that’s about it! How people REALLY climb the ladder often is not like Mario Bauer says, by “doing a good job” and follow some “plan”. No, it’s again by making friends with management, including doing all the dodgy things and short cuts many managers stop doing once they move into management. Because the higher you climb, the more you have to lose. So, they pass all the dirty work down to the Team Leaders. And if the Leaders get caught, they are easier and cheaper to replace. Simple.

It’s like wanting to join a gang, you have to prove yourself, not by doing the right and honourable thing, but by doing some scary dare to prove they are the same as the gang and mean business going all the way, whatever it takes! Many managers in Pret are very insecure, immature, often not trained properly, fluster about when the heat is on. And the worst thing that I find even “incurable” is, many are lazy! I have learned in my many years of work in different companies, that a lot of attitude can be changed and re-trained, but laziness isn’t one of them!

So, when someone comes along who has skill, they will be burdened down with all the hard work that management takes credit AND big bonus for. And if the hard worker has integrity, they will never ever be able to join the “gang”, as they are like a mirror to managers who don’t like secure people with skill reflecting their shortcomings. I’ve seen too many good people leave Pret or even worse, go backwards from a Team Leader back to a Barista or even an Assistant Manager went all the way back to being Team Member. I’ve never seen employees in ANY company I’ve worked before go backwards! They either climb up, stay at the position, or leave the company.

I had this thought many times in my Pret struggle, but going backwards was never an option for me. It was either: go up, stay put, or go out. But you never go backwards within the company. It might be one of my crazy ticks. But that’s how I always felt.

In 5:04 the question of how many people work for Pret, the CEO answers with over 13.000 in all the different countries. When the £1000 announcement was made a year ago, which I write about the timing of it in connection to my blog. Also, after tax the £1000 really was about £800.

Clive Schlee gives some appreciation to all the foreign workers in 5:18 w