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

 

Sometimes a voice is a whisper

 

I screamed, sometimes in silence, often online, while serving Custards. Yes, custards!

Smiling, pretending happiness, hurting, keeping the 1 minute rule, diving into the bridge.

There are people who give voices to people who can’t speak.

 

Yet.

 

@AquiRosemarie @1AdamParadox @IanBFAWU @CarynWalker …

… gave me a voice, a click, a like, an RT, an ear, they never gave up on me.

That’s good enough for me.

I shook hands with @CATPOWER (remember Patti Smith’ words), ate with an artist I grew up with, and kicked the fucking butt of a company.

But I never answered my brother’s email.

I’m learning to do better next time.

Dear Opportunist,

you can make money, but money won’t make you.

 


 

I like to rewrite lyrics. There are too many heartbreak and love songs. I want to rewrite Rihanna’s “Stay” to a life song. Cat Power does a brilliant cover again:

…Round and around, and around, and around we go

Not really sure how to feel about life
Something in the way it moves
Makes me feel like I can’t leave it behind
It takes me all the way
I want to stay

Oh, the reason I hold on
Oh, ’cause I need this hole gone

Funny we’re the broken ones
But I’m not the only one who needs saving
‘Cause when you never see the light
It’s hard to know which one of us is caving

Not really sure how to feel about life
Something in the way it moves
Makes me feel like I can’t leave it behind
It takes me all the way
I want to stay, stay
I want to stay

 

(Rihanna cover Chan Marshall)

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

 

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, 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. Why are staff who earn £8.25 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 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 has a New Fool

 

organic-coffin-natural-fools-1.jpg

 

»Any damn fool can run Pret!«

Oh no, those are not my words!

Those are the words of the wife of Pret A Manger’s now former CEO Clive Schlee, who “retired” in September 2019!

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 – Felix Meyer)

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

 

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 (UPDATE 25. July 2019)

 

Before I get into the detail of the ongoing issues of broken and inadequate Air Conditioning in Pret A Manger shops for YEARS and Pret not caring about it, I want to paint a picture from the perspective of staff.

I briefly explain below that staff have cash incentives via weekly Mystery Shoppers. They can earn up to an extra £100 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.

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!!

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

 

 

2019-07-25 No AC Great Eastern

 

 

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 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.

 

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 which I think does need to be mentioned to be fair. He says that Pret would not be where they are without all the foreign workers. This raises the question again on why there are so few British workers. And Pret is reaching out now into all sorts of avenues to recruit especially young Birtish workers (cheaper workers under 21, indoctrinating them early, the investment is for longer and young folk are oblivious of their rights). But I appreciate that he acknowledges that without all the foreign workers Pret would not be where it is today! But words are cheap! Paying them the Living Wage and treating them with respect would make his appreciation more believable.

 

RISING STARS

Mario Bauer’s questions about the “Rising Stars” program at 5:37

CS: at 5:56
Pret has been involved with helping the homeles since the very early days, when we first made sandwiches in the mornings, I think Julian and Sinclair recognized they could never ever keep the sandwiches over night. So, we gave the sandwiches to the homeless. … From the day we made the sandwiches in the morning, within a couple of years of Pret starting.

So we always were generous to homeless people with food. But there’s another thing that matters to homeless people a lot, which is, what they most need is a job. Simply giving them food is not enough. So, we started to work out how we could give them a job and eventually we have developed a program which is one of the successful in the world …”

PAUSE: Did he claim to have one of the most successful project in the world of giving former homeless people a job??

CS: “… giving people who’ve been homeless, we get them recommended to us by hostels and organizations, and ex-offenders. And they come and work in Pret for 12 weeks. We give them a Zone 1 Underground pass. And we make sure they get up and we give them a buddy, and we really train them with care. And they can get careers in Pret…”

LNG:
Sounds all very good and commendable. But this one really bugs me because of the marketing and labelling people in a patronizing way “Rising Stars”. If I was a former homeless person, this would really not sit well with me. First of all, it is really great when he takes former homeless people to his Austrian property or to other places, giving them jobs, and now accommodation etc. And maybe he gives them access to his world to give them an appetite of how to drive for more profit in the hopes to become rich. But nevertheless, it is commendable. Beautiful! Yet, in comparison to how regular staff are treated, it is disheartening to say the least on how he uses them for PR!

In the PRet CEO blog about the “Rising Stars” former homeless employment program, Schlee shares how the idea came up for these “Rising Stars” to solely work together in a Pret shop. From the manager to the kitchen sandwich makers, having all former homeless people work in one shop.

Why?

CEO Quote (I added the colour to highlight something where he’s indirectly giving himself away):

“Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

 

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

And on the 450 “Rising Stars” since the 10 years of the Pret Foundation Trust, working with former homeless people, some people finally probe deeper, also on Facebook and are just not buying it:

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff

 

“Careful to integrate”?

Might be leaving them “too exposed”?

Too exposed for what?

Clive Schlee giving himself away again. The same CEO who takes former homeless people to his Austrian PRoperty for a hike in the beautiful countryside, is the same CEO who has a highly stressful workplace with bullying managers who are drilled for targets and profit, repaying the investors since private equity took over.

2019-02-11 Critical Tweet re Homeless house

 

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

 

2019-02-09 Response to Homeless House Tweet2

Facebook comment need to load a few second to see the comment, also need to be logged into FB.

 

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This part really bugs me now:

MB at 7:20 asking where the “Rising Stars” live when they start working in Pret, if they still live on the streets.

CS: at 7:23
No, no, no, we normally get recommended. We have to choose the ‘Rising Stars’ very carefully, because they look like all the other Team Members. It’s important they blend in with the other team Members. They get selected by homeless organizations who say ‘that person has the capacity to work in Pret’ and they put them forward to us.”

LNG: This is a tricky one because on one hand I can understand that Pret wants people to “blend in” and “be like” all the others. But this uniformity shows how discriminating Pret really is. If this company truly is free of discrimination, free of judgment towards a diversity of people, why have a “chosen few” system? A “regular” homeless person has NO chance to be “selected” to be of the “special few”.

And Pret treats former homeless people with special care. Again, this is good, but it is also damaging for the regular staff who are pushed, pressured and bullied to perform in high pace for profit. This makes regular staff mentally ill, depressed, not to mention even suicidal. THIS is why I write so blunt and loud, because my own story (interview at the bottom audio player) had me almost killed in what Pret under Clive Schlee’s leadership has put me through! I could be dead now or on the streets myself.

Former Assistant Manager was unfairly dismissed and had to sleep in his car, having lost everything:

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

This happened to him, my story with Pret and many many others who were treated like sh*t and God knows how many landed on the streets, became depressed and even died by suicide!

I call them and us the “Fallen Stars” of Pret A Manger that Clive Schlee burdened like donkeys for profit!

That is why I don’t buy his “Rising Stars” scheme! I even believe that he really thinks he is doing good! I often see Mr. Schlee as living in La La Land, somewhere in a bubble where he actually really believes he’s doing so much good! Now 480 “Rising Stars” in 10 years vs. 13.000 current staff that struggle! Hello?

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Link Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

2019-04-16 Depression Toxic

Link “If you want to know what Depression is work at Pret A Manger is the best place for that…Toxic environment”

 

Annihilate Humanity 41

Link

»This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.«

»You will loose everything that makes you human.«

 

And these above reviews, among all the many other reviews, answer the question on why Pret is “careful to integrate” former homeless people into regular shops, not wanting to leave them “too exposed”. It would hurt Pret’s marketing and image to bully them the same way like they bully regular staff who then break and fall into the same problems some of the “Rising Stars” came out of! This is beyond hypocrisy, this is what the above former HQ IT Analyst wrote about Pret using people for PR.

I was bullied after 7 years in Pret when I became bereaved and continued for another 3 years in hell in a complete fog, emotional war-zone and confusion!

The conversation goes on about food waste, which is also not always done and I cover this in “Pret Food Waste” or about products and food development, Veggie Pret etc. Further in the interview Mario Bauer asks at 15:37 that the London landscape has changed with a Pret on almost every corner, and how the company will stay relevant with a shop on every corner. Schlee hesitates a little bit here, but answers by saying that the staff are Pret’s number one job as they are the ones that have the biggest impact and how Pret works to make things easy for them (uhm!) etc. He goes on about the food, communication on the packaging to customers (well, he doesn’t mean allergen labelling by the way!). Lastly, he talks about how the corner is “king” and when he gives advise to businesses he tells them to open on corners and that he would call Pret a “corner company”. Sounds all very lovely.

What he doesn’t tell us is, what this Times article does in: “Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it“, quote:

»Veteran private equity investor: “We buy a business, work out how many restaurants you can get away with in an area until it’s become saturated, then try to convince a new buyer that there is plenty more runway”.«

And JAB took over from Bridgepoint and now concentrates on the USA and other European cities, especially airports and train stations to “spread” the brand faster throughout the world! London’s landscape has indeed changed, but not for the better. It is cluttered with Prets that even long-time fans get tired of it, including above journalist Sathnam Sanghera. So, JAB expands out! And Mario Bauer touches on this when he says that “you own the high street and then you grow…”

I fast forward in this interview to what is important to me as a former long-time employee having suffered in Pret almost to the point of suicide. All the business bla-bla isn’t my concern here but staff issues. They briefly touch on the customers who died and again, Clive Schlee is talking too much about how it was for HIM instead of how he has failed to re-act on warnings, not to mention putting in “meaningful change” IMMEDIATELY when the deaths occurred rather than waiting until it became public years later.

I especially want to skip the private equity part when Bridgepoint came in and when the “squeeze” really started on workers. I don’t want to waste my time on this part of the greed of those business ventures, except to say that their definition of success is that Bridgepoint, and now JAB, bring in great riches. But it is for the top leadership on the backs of low-wage workers. Schlee says in the interview how staff turn-over has decreased. But how can this be, that while Pret is growing, the numbers of staff since 2016 has decreased and the chronic under-staffing, that employees as well as customers complain about on Twitter and other sites, not to mention my experience.

Speaking about “chronically” under-staffing, I speak a lot about this and may have started this term of “chronic” under-staffing. And it gives me hope to know that staff read my blog and Tweets. I know this from the feedback I get in emails and also just found today a brand new review on Glassdoor which sounds like I have written it, LOL!! But someone must have read my words and on reviews sites you cannot leave more than 1 review or vote more than once. I am happy to inspire staff to find words to their Pret experience!

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

Back to the private equity issue, the few pennies Pret pays more or the few perks they give does not cover the pain and double work people go through. One poignant review by a former GM on a blog comment in 2012 about how Bridgepoint’s 2008 entrance has hurt Pret:

2012-07-23 Ex GM2

2012 on Blogspot

Another from a GM along those lines:

Worst Mafia

2014

Assistant Manager from NY 2017:

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Link

… and so on …

Pret Factory

From an old US Pret site

That’s true, there’s no big sandwich-making machine and no big sandwich factory. There are many small, little sandwich-making human machines, working in small and cramped kitchens. The human machines are pushed and pressured to assemble items fast in factory-style conditions of fear management, loud and fast music to beat the drum of the work-pace under the facade of “fun”!

 

The interviewer now asks the CEO about his management style at 31:37, and Schlee answers that one has to be a happy and positive person. He goes on to give an example about the boss of Barclay’s and how he walks his dog every morning. His dog wags his tale and when a dog wags his tale, the other dogs wag their tales. Schlee teaches this to the managers he says, but again, how can a manager, or any staff at that be truly happy under such excrutiating stress on a daily basis! My only thought is that he is doing emotional labour and wants his staff to do the same, while in reality there is a lot of depression, alcoholism and anxiety. And I mean it when I say that I hope Clive Schlee himself is not suffering depression while performing a fake happiness, as this will catch up on even the most positive person in time.

I do understand that what happened with the deaths, as well as staff deaths and my situation including my blog, must be very hard on him. But the times of feeling empathy for a multi-millionaire who has access to any help, resource and support he can get, is over. He is a leader who has been entrusted with thousands of PEOPLE! It is his decision what he does with that responsibility. It is actually heartbreaking to watch him explain how if managers can wag their tale and be happy during the stressful times, because he knows my blog and by now has read all the reviews of people who are broken! So, I do hope Clive is okay, but at the same time I hope as well that he wakes up to his responsibility of the thousands of people he is over.

And I say again here what I said on Twitter, and the reason I say this so blunt is because of the tone in Pret shops. The way hard workers are spoken to, shouted at, discriminated etc. My own story that I survived and still don’t know how I did. One manager after I came out of a shop where I was openly bullied during the worst time in traumatic grief, and my new manager said to me alone in the office away from witnesses when I was completely out of my mind in trauma and grief; he said to me in a quiet tone when I was distraught and questioned his motive (he didn’t pay me for Christmas Eve!), he said: “I don’t want the area to feel sorry for me anymore”, meaning the other managers in the area felt sorry for him because I was thrust into his shop by HR! I write about this in “Discrimination: Mental vs. Physical“. I cannot describe the shock and humiliation I went through again and again and again and again…

And I say this again here like I said on Twitter, that I do respect Clive Schlee as a human being, but not as a leader. I have no respect for his leadership whatsoever and even feel extremely ashamed to have been fooled for so long about him when I worked in Pret!

The end of the interview is to me the most important part I want to cover on the reality versus the facade or delusion. At 38:10 I want to quote again. But before I quote, it’s funny how he says that having been in Pret a long time, and that “you have to be careful not to stay too long at these places” … at “these places”? 😉 Being so infaturated with Pret, I am sure it wasn’t quiet his choice to step down after all that happened!

CS: “As I now turned 60, I’m beginning to”

PAUSE: Beginning to? … and then he quickly changes direction!

CS:I think there are two kinds of virtues:
your resume virtues when you’re accumulating and opening shops and increasing gross profit.
And then there is your eulogy virtues, which is how people really look at you as a person. And unfortunately they won’t remember the fact that … [a company has made profit]…
They will remember how you handled things”

PAUSE: HOW you handle things!

 

9 Warnings Ignored

From Yahoo Finance / YouTube / ITV

Natasha Ednan-Laperouse mum on her shock that Pret did NOTHING even after Natasha died! >>> YouTube

Quote:

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

 

Also, Pret was sued in New York in 2016 already after a customer went into anaphylactic shock from Sesame in an unlabelled wrap! >>> Article. So, this wasn’t a first incidence of sesame.

 

CS: “How you treated people”

PAUSE: HOW you treated people!

Go back

Link

CS: “So I’m kind of moving in that direction now.”

NOW, hey!

So, he steps down, but remains as a non-executive Director. Pano Christou will take over and continue to drive the Pret machine hard for profit! Clive Schlee will concentrate on repairing his reputation as this lovely, happy CEO, ignoring all the pain and suffering that is still going on under his leadership! I still believe he needs to be taken to court on all these issues.

Clive Schlee says all the right things, but reality is very, very different, and I still cannot come to the conclusion if he is just very diluted or an ice cold business man. Or both! But one thing I am certain is, that his friendly, approachable demeanor does not fool me anymore after what I have suffered and witnessed for years.

 

The legacy of a private equity owned company:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019 figures

 

LINK: >>> Long list of staff complaints.

 

May 2019: TWO Pret Staff have died
>>> Link to Article

 


 

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.

On the Lookout for a Humane HR Department

 

Andrea Wareham, Pret’s Director of HR, who was present when CEO Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl”, has a contradicting text on her Twitter profile. It’s the typical slogan problem with Pret, they always give themselves away. And at the same time trying to cover up the true face they try to hide.

What’s wrong with this text?

It’s not a multiple choice question!

Who will spot what is wrong with this text?

“We are always on the look out for those who enjoy working hard in a fun environment.”

 

AndreaWareham_Profile

Twitter

 

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

 

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Two recent Staff Deaths?

 


 

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.

How Emotional Labour Harms us all

 

I found an article on Emotional Labour that is a must-read! This and other articles are from researchers and journalists. I add my comments to their publications from the perspective of staff having experienced what they write about.

 

Emotional Labour Statesman article

»How emotional labour harms us all«
»Workers are put at high risk of anxiety and burnout, while consumers are emboldened to behave aggressively.«

From The NewStatesman by Sophie McBain.

To read the article, readers have to register, but it’s quick and worth it!

I just want to quote a few things that I underline, having survived forced Emotional Labour in Pret A Manger even during bereavement.

Quote from article:
»According to the Office for National Statistics, 80 per cent of the UK labour force is now employed in the service economy. In London, it’s 91 per cent. These days, high street coffee shops and fast food chains compete for customers by trying to offer the quirkiest, bubbliest service«

Yes, in Pret they call it having a “buzz” and it always got on our nerves how we had to pretend to be buzzy, and with a smiling cramp “happy” bouncing around all day! Pret also likes to have LOUD music in shops saying this creates a buzz, in reality it is also annoying customers who then leave the shop quicker and don’t get comfortable. And that exactly is the plan, the reason for the loud music across the Pret business everywhere.

This then brings in more customers and the money flow is faster than when customers linger in a quieter, cozy atmosphere. I got in trouble many times by managers for putting the volume down after customers and staff complained, and my head was exploding! Bottom line is, the music is loud on purpose, this creates an uneasy atmosphere and “chases” customers out faster, making room for new customers and so on. My observation often was that those who sit the longest in Pret are students on laptops with earplugs in their ears to study or play games or were chatting. Younger people often have a greater tolerance, even desire, for noise and distraction.

So, buzz? Fun? Think again! It’s always about money! And reality is, we had headaches and tinnitus from the noise and stress! We had to be like cheerleaders, pushing each other to smile yet again, after just coming out of the intense busy morning coffee rush. It felt like, no it was, suppressing your true emotions (exhaustion, fatigue, depression, grief…) like perverting your inner core.

 

Emotional Labour Labor

Quote from above article:

“… in The New Republic, Timothy Noah observes that the sandwich shop chain Pret A Manger aggressively monitors its employees’ displays of enthusiasm. If any worker at any particular store seems insufficiently pleased to see their customers, he and all of his coworkers could suffer the consequences. Pret CEO Clive Schlee even monitors whether his employees are making enough affectionate physical contact with each other.” Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

MS Cough

Mystery Shopper excerpt: “Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.” (Staff are not paid for sick leave for the first 2 days, even with a sick-note!)

One customer even observed this cheer-leading and enjoyed it, while not realizing that staff pushed each other to not lose Mystery Shopper bonus and with it get penalized and fear managed. I write extensively about this in “The Truth Behind the Pret A Manger Smile” and talk readers through a typical day in Pret.

2009 Cheerleaders Smile

Link

Quote from article:
»In a 2015 article for the journal Organizational Behaviour a group of psychologists presented the “modest proposal” that employers should abandon emotional labour requirements at work and instead focus on reforms that promote genuine well-being. The authors, led by Alicia Grandey, an expert in emotional labour based at Pennsylvania State University, wrote that “emotional labour violates basic human rights for decent work”.«

This quote gives me hope that more and more people, be it researchers, journalists, teachers … raise this issue that warps the inner core of a person:

»emotional labour violates basic human rights for decent work«

! ! !

Quote from article:
»Research has shown that workers in jobs that demand emotional labour are at high risk of anxiety and burnout…«

Yes, and Pret even puts one question in the “return to work” interview sheet when a staff member starts work again after sick leave. The question they ask is, if the employee suffered anxiety due to work. I have never seen a question like this in any previous employment, and I have worked in the catering industry and customer service all my life. At Pret I suffered anxiety, but I never ticked the box because I thought they ask this to “sieve” out staff and replace them with “fresh blood”! I thought if I tick this, even though I have anxiety issues due to work and the bullying environment, they would find a way to get rid of me. (And they did get rid of me later, my full story in the interview player at the bottom of this page.)

Some of the many staff reviews shows this as well (more in the slideshow, also at the bottom of this page):

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Link “Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

2019-04-16 Depression Toxic

Link “If you want to know what Depression is work at Pret A Manger is the best place for that…Toxic environment”

One of the most poignant Pret staff reviews, where a former staff member went out of their way after giving everything they had, now almost writing a book, describing the inhumane work environment, fake smiles, having to take pills and drink to cope. They mainly share about the kitchen, but also doing customer service. Nothing needs to be added to this review, every dot and comma I underline! This person certainly cares a lot, and those people are many in Pret, but Pret doesn’t care for them, they lost immense quality and caliber of people that Pret really doesn’t deserve, and these people don’t deserve Pret and what this reviewer describes. Pret can be summed up in this one review.

It is like a film or a book that’s starts:
»This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.«

And ends:
»You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 41

Link

Another recent review from a Hot Chef (the hardest job on the shop floor) mentions, quote, I started taking antidepressants and having to see a therapist because of this job. The stress and mental anguish is definitely not worth it. May 2019 review on Indeed

Or another review from April 2019, quote, Physically, emotionally and spiritually draining. I would never recommend any young person to work there. Like seriously mate, DONT DO IT! You will get sick like i did and lose valuable months of your young life. Team Member on Indeed

A Glassdoor review, quote, I’m mentally sick of Pret A Manger and then I have to change to many things on my life” Glassdoor Feb. 2019

 

The above reviews mirror another research paper on “Emotional Labor and Alcohol Use

EMotional Labor Alcohol

Paul Spector

 

UPDATE July 2019

Clive Schlee leaves Pret with this overall score mid July and Pano Christou starts before the September handover, probably to avoid more negative scoring. But Christou won’t be different towards low-paid and demanding work conditions, having been longer in Pret than Schlee:

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

Glassdoor July 2019 overall rating.

I can recommend to everyone to register with The Stateman and read the full article. Take a closer look into Pret or any company at that, where you see staff smile ALWAYS, EVERY TIME in high stress, noisy environment. Ask yourself if low-paid workers really are happy or WHY do they smile so much under intense stress?!

Some customers’ Tweets on this can speak for itself. But it is disheartening how most are fascinated by the “mandatory” smiles by “contract”, which is enforced via weekly Mystery Shoppers in cash incentives and fear management. I explain in detail in the “The Truth behind the Pret Smile” and “Emotional Labour” articles.
Just few people look deeper:

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

2013 Low Wage Exploitation Smile

Link

 

2013 Continous weird smile

Link

 

2013 Authentically happy smile low paid

Link (It’s £8.65 now obviously 6 years after this Tweet)

 

2012 Doesnt matter which Pret always smile

Link

 

2014 Smile by Contract

Link

 

2013 Mandatory Smile

Link

 

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link

 

Mystery Shopper report excerpt:

04 MS

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.”

Mystery Shopper: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile …”

Line Manager to the person having served the MS: “I need to see you in the office!”

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

Pret Uniform2

The Pret A Smile Uniform Cupboard.

Take your pick Team Member, any of those will do.

 

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

 

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, mine would be #3 and it would be in connection to Pret!

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

The Difference between Profit and True Wealth

 

A must-see for anyone who cares about people over profits.

The anti-CEO playbook | Hamdi Ulukaya

TED / YouTube intro:

»Profit, money, shareholders: these are the priorities of most companies today. But at what cost? In an appeal to corporate leaders worldwide, Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya calls for an end to the business playbook of the past — and shares his vision for a new, “anti-CEO playbook” that prioritizes people over profits. “This is the difference between profit and true wealth,” he says.«

YouTube

One quote I want to highlight, literally having survived a profit-driven company:

“I kept wondering what is this all about? Corporate America says it’s about profits. Business says it’s about money. The CEO Playbook says it’s about shareholders. And so much is sacrificed for it, factories, communities, jobs. But not by CEOs. CEOs have their employees suffer for them. But yet, the CEOs pay goes up and up and up… and so many people are left behind. I’m here to tell you: No more! It’s not right! It’s never been right! It’s time to admit, that the playbook that guided businesses and CEOs for the last forty years is broken.”

There’s hope with CEOs like Hamdi Ulukaya and Guy Singh-Watson from employee-owned Riverford… Times they are a-changin’… again!

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

 

TWO Pret staff died recently, one is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

LINK >>> When will Pret A Manger be independently investigated on staff deaths?!

Pret Staff Reviews and Complaints:

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

 


 

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.

 

The BEST Description of Systemic Workplace Bullying

… under HR and Senior Leadership.

I have spent over a year writing my hands into a carpal tunnel (not really, just using a metaphor!) on what I’ve been through in Pret A Manger. I described how systemic and toxic Pret’s bullying is behind the smiley facade!

I can wrap up my whole experience and website in this one text I came across on Twitter:

 

Describtion Systemic Bullying

From Twitter @scwb_now

 

Nothing more to add, except …

 

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

 

LINK > Two Staff have died recently within a month
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret!

 

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile and a Typical Day in Pret

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

 

 

@Cliveschlee – Your Soldiers are tired

 

Soldiers

Link

 

Soldiers Military Cult

Link

 

Please don’t just go away to some new company, sneaking out of there.

Please don’t.

Own up to the mess you left behind, having demanded so much of your staff! Not to mention customer deaths and the lack of action until it became public. THIS is YOUR legacy, Clive Schlee!

man-320273__340

 

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2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

Glassdoor June 2019

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

@preth8ers group on Facebook

 

LINK > Two Staff have died recently within a month
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

 

The Truth behind the Pret A Manger Smile and a Typical Day in Pret

Long List of Pret Staff Complaints

 


 

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.

Pret A Marley Shot the Sheriff & Plenty of Deputies

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies

 

Sheriff

Sheriff Bajo, former Pret Assistant Manager and father of a young child was unfairly dismissed and ended up sleeping in his car.

 

The light, humorous tone of this blog entry is to continue a serious issue in Pret A Manger including recent staff deaths.

 

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

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

@preth8ers on Facebook

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic