Pret A Manger CEO Pano Christou and Kind??

Upfront to the WordPress staff who always check my blog posts when I publish a new one. I’m not sure if it is WordPress policy to pass info on to current and former company heads, in this case Pret as I got a certain “visitor” again after I wrote a crucial post. WordPress already moved me into the “adult” section where they only move porn sites to. This is censorship after I believe Pret must have reported me, but I write under free speech and don’t lie, backed up with tons of evidence.

So, if a WordPress staff serves as a “snitch” to Pret, please talk to your line manager and check if this is appropriate or WordPress policy.

Thanks.

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I don’t check Pret staff reviews anymore as much like I used to, maybe once a month. But a recent review from a shop General Manager (GM) got my attention. This GM mentioned among some negative feedback on Pret that CEO Pano Christou is “exceptionally kind”.

Part quote from the review:

“Cons: Expectation to achieve work that is physically impossible, in a timeline that, when broken down, is mathematically impossible. Intense pressure leading to breaking codes and regulations is a common occurrence, and those with stronger ethics end up working up to 100 hours/wk.

Advice to Management: Instead of only setting targets and expectations, map out how they could be achieved. Consider why most management leaves the company they love so much, due to burnout.

With that said, Pano is exceptionally kind and I’m sure he would fix all these issues with more competent direct subordinates.

Haha! 😀

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Link to review.

And this is where most workers, even managers when young go wrong and are brainwashed. It is the CHIEF, the head of the company who is the problem and who sets the tone for the company. Pano decides on pay cuts and cut workers’ pay, benefits and paid breaks so he can get a pay-rise and millions in bonus.

And why did this GM not approve of Pano and give him the green light (check mark). This GM refrained from giving an approval or disapproval. Very weird review. Confused GM? But it shows how Pano continues to charm and blind workers as well as journalists.

It is Pano who works in Pret since over 20 years, who implements and continues an abusive mystery shopper scheme and sets unrealistic targets for his bosses and shareholders to be happy.

That’s exactly the mistake many staff make, they are unhappy with how Pret are, how they are treated etc. but they don’t attribute this to the top leadership, because like former CEO Clive Schlee, current CEO Pano speaks “kindly” to staff in head office or when they do their rounds visiting shops.

And that’s exactly their game. It’s like a “bad cop / good cop” situation. It’s all a tactic, a game where the CEO separates himself from the harsh OPs (Operations/Area Managers) who are tasked to set high targets that GMs find unrealistic to reach.

CEO Pano, like Clive before him, is the “good cop” and let’s lower ranked staff be the bad cop, but all of these execs have a common goal: make as much money as possible on the backs of low-wage workers and customers.

But THE FISH STINKS FROM ITS HEAD!

In June 2017 Pret held a one or two week seminar only for leaders and managers at the prestigious Barbican Centre on customer service. I speak about this seminar extensively on my podcast in Part 01, Part 02, Part 03 and Part 04 of labeling issues and allergy trial. All episodes will open in a new window.

I speak about this seminar as it was held a year after the first customer, Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died, but NO mention whatsoever on allergens or labeling. No training or retraining. NOTHING.

All we were “taught” was how to continue to “slime” customers and love-bomb them to gain and retain them and then bring back to the shops what we “learnt” (which was nothing new). In hindsight it seemed to me that the development team came up with this seminar where we learnt nothing new to use their annual budget. When departments don’t use their annual budget, it often gets cut for the next annual period.

That seminar seemed to me like a complete waste of time and funds. It could/should have been used to invite scientists and allergy experts in light of the first customer’s death and several injured to teach us on allergens and labeling. But no, Pret went ahead with a meaningless seminar in the expensive Barbican rooms.

The title of the seminar was called “Be Kind – Be Honest – Be Generous”. A VERY typical Pret brainwash which turns out to always be the complete opposite.

I explain on my 4 part podcast episodes above that Pret are far from kind when they did NOTHING after TWO customers died and several got injured, as well as having bullied me DURING bereavement and the systemic bullying culture that exists in Pret.

And being honest? I know from own experience how dishonest Pret are and expose some of their lies on social media.

And being generous? Let’s see how generous Pret are.

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The email invite to the seminar where I got my slot to go:

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Also, calling Pret’s training center an “academy” I felt always as a joke. In my training times in head office, I rarely learnt anything and had to train myself for years in shops searching and reading up on issues myself.

Pret’s generosity

On 18. March 2020 just before the first lockdown when the whole world was still in the air about Covid, Pret made a typical PR announcement to be giving free coffees and 50% food rebates to all NHS workers every day. All they need to do is show their NHS badge and they get a free coffee and cheaper food.

Great. Everyone went crazy on Pret’s “generosity”. And as Pret are Pret, they often make these charity announcements to cover up what they’re doing in the background to staff or other dodgy things.

The very next morning 19. March 2020 I wake up to a DM of a desperate staff that CEO Pano Christou sent an email to all shops and head office with the announcement that Pret will be cutting hours, and with it pay.

DM:

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Pret used the NHS not only for PR but as a smokescreen to hide their nasty cuts to staff. very generous!

Full CEO email here: To NHS Employees. Already low-wage Pret workers basically PAID for the NHS PR stunt.

There was only ONE NHS staff who was disgusted at this after I started swamping Twitter with this:

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Further on Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity”

Again, on 1st June 2022, just before the Queen’s Platinum Jubliee I woke up to a new DM by a different Pret staff reaching out to me that Pret for the 2. time this year delayed paying staff under supposedly “payroll errors”.

I immediately emailed CEO Pano Christou but openly copying in the press including Sarah Butler from the Guardian, other journalists and BFAWU President Ian Hodson who, Sarah Butler then interviewed.

Again, Pret cleverly used an occasion, just like with the NHS freebies, where the public is distracted with the Queen’s celebrations AND knowing that on bank holiday Monday all banks are closed.

Part of the DM:

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Pret’s announcement where if staff need money they can get it but with a fee which Pret supposedly would pay:

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On Instagram a staff member announced to be sabotaging Pret now, others called sick as an indirect strike action. Food and service quality would be compromised:

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Is it “exceptionally kind” of Pano to cut pay, use the pay cuts to fund NHS freebies etc. etc.?

WAKE UP EMPLOYEES!

People may ask why Pret would delay pay on purpose, simple, CEO Pano behaves exactly like a manager in Pret does. They have weekly, monthly, but most importantly quarterly targets to reach. June was moving to the end of the 2. quarter. And pay delays with constantly managers “forgetting” to pay hours helps shops and management to reach targets and get higher bonuses.

Pret settled TWICE in New York having had to repay 4000 workers close to a million dollars each time for WAGE THEFT!

Pret was also amongst UK companies being caught to pay some staff UNDER the legally required minimum wage and were then named and shamed by the UK Government.

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Or a few years ago under Clive Schlee, customers started to boycott Pret after finding out that Pret wanted to get young people to get free labour, using the apprenticeship short-term experience to not pay them except via “free food”.

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So, after I emailed Pet’s CEO copying in Sarah Butler and the press and Sarah wrote the following article, but it got drowned out by the Jubilee celebrations.

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Link

And Sarah Butler dug a little further later after I mentioned on my blog and podcast that Pano Christou received £300K pay in 2020 but didn’t spill the beans on how much he got in 2021 and 2022 after cutting wages. Then in August 2022 she reported the following:

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Link

So, in 2021 Pano got a £100K pay-rise and £4million in bonus while cutting as much as possible from low-wage staff who carried Pret through a dangerous pandemic. In 2020 Pano already got paid more than the UK Prime Minister and about the same as US President Biden. Since 2021 Pano overtook that further.

I could go on and on and on regarding Pret’s “kindness, honesty and generosity” by posting countless staff reviews on Pret’s wage theft, pay delay, missing pay as well as my own experience. But I want to end with my all-time favourite former customer tweet which I could not have put into better words!

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Link

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

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My Upmost Respect for Bethany Eaton!

She takes responsibility while Pret blame downwards as usual.

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Let’s see some tears, hey!

But it needs to be the tears of a young blonde female.

Nothing new under the sun.

Pret will use that to say “See, not our responsibility”.

Let’s use a new business venture, a female young person to put blame on. Let’s do the usual.

You know the drill.

And it will work. Why? Because we live in a globalised situation where the trend is to suck anyone lower out of their skill, thei rights, their will.

I may not live to see the day, but I KNOW the day will come when Julian Metcalfe, Clive Schlee, Pano Christou, David Carter …

will be remembered via my blog. And as much as the media, politicians like to ignore it. All good 🙂

P.S. Pret A Manger, you have blood on your hands, also with at least one staff suicide I know of, but can’t proof. Lucky you. But I survived. Now go and keep getting off the hook.

P.P.S. keep smiling.

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

Thank you for reading/listening.


Interview:

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Denial & Tactics of a die-hard Pret Fan

Subtitle: When a Pret fan is overwhelmed.

I really don’t want to waste a blog post on this guy, but it’s important to show how some people want to be in denial, go against whistleblowers and try all sorts of “tactics” to deny that they don’t care about customer deaths and staff exploitation.

I responded to a tweet that has now been deleted by a Pret customer in Switzerland about Pret opening a new shop there. The person, who on his profile had “Journalist” as well as “Media Personality” stated, said “finally some good sandwiches”.

I replied with a tip to be cautious regarding the “good” sandwiches and posted my blog post with customer complaints on mouldy food etc. all with photo evidence. He then replied with the TYPICAL set of tweets that die-hard Pret fans do. It later turned into silly and also nasty gaslighting, lying, getting his tweets switched that I couldn’t reply anymore.

My response to his now deleted tweet with English translation underneath:

Link

The others who are tweeted in either remained silent or encouraged him to ignore me. Cancel culture as well as enabling behaviour by the book.

Mould, stale bread, rat poo, bugs, flies, hair,plastic in food with photo evidence:

Denial or Tactic #1 – Never happened to “ME”, therefore the problem doesn’t exist:

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“Never happened to me in London” – translated = therefore this problem doesn’t exist (and I don’t care that customers died, and Pret having ignoring it).

My responses are to show further evidence and sharing that in my 10 years in Pret KNOWING Pret from behind the scenes including senior leadership and CEOs, that I’ve seen a lot in Pret. I also link to the customer deaths and so on.

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My tweets can just be followed from above link.

I then tease him saying that he probably doesn’t want Pret to get bad press with all the things I link him to, to which he responds:

Link

I then apologize, which was the mistake, because since then he kept accusing me of offending or attacking him in hopes I would fall for his cheap gaslighting.

The Google translate doesn’t translate well here, I basically said “Of course (not assuming anything). Apoloogies.” etc.

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Link

Tactic #2 – This is not under Pret but under a franchise, therefore not Pret’s fault:

“The branches in Switzerland do not run directly under Pret. But as a franchise company.” = It’s not Pret that fuck up like this, but franchises! 😀

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Link

To which I explain again that 1. Pret’s name is still on franchises and Pret THEMSELVES have and continue to screw up in London, UK where Pret are head quartered. And that Pret themselves have ignored TWO customer deaths and over a dozen injuries before it got public. I worked at Pret when people died and wasn’t even told, despite my responsibility having been health & safety.

So, I link him to the two customer deaths in the news on YouTube to have a VISUAL bringing it closer to him, as he is also a father:

Tactic #3Sure it’s bad but this would never happen in Switzerland.

“yes bad Clearly. Here in Switzerland, everything is declared everywhere.” = Yes, bad, but that happened way over there in the UK, HERE in perfect Switzerland we have strict food standards.

Link

To which I pointed him AGAIN to a recent customer video from BERLIN, Germany where there are also strict food safety laws, and the video showed how stale the bread is.

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Link to tweet with video.

I also explained that mouldy food continues to happen in the UK as well as MISLABELLED products where Pret are now breaking the LAW, “Natasha’s Law”.

End of correspondence.

I already packed this tweet exchange away into the past and moved on, when he tweeted the next day a German news article about a woman having bitten into a mouldy McDonald’s product. He now deleted this tweet also, like he deleted his initial “fan” tweet about “good sandwiches” in Pret. But here are my responses to his ridiculous McD comparison.

Tactic #4 It’s not only Pret, it’s also other businesses, therefore this is “normal” in large chains:

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Link

Tactic #5Continued gaslighting accusing me of offending and attacking him in hopes I become insecure, while it is HIM that’s insecure like heck:

Just follow the links and click translate otherwise the post gets too long.

I kept asking him to give precise examples where I offended or attacked him. That didn’t come. And by then he could have just blocked me. But instead he switched his replies to me so that I couldn’t reply anymore, while he kept tweeting at me. Very nasty, cowardly and childish behaviour by an adult “journalist” and “media personality” from Switzerland.

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Tactic #6 – SEVERAL things: He deleted information, was embarrassed to behave so poorly while a journalist, then lied he never claimed to be a journo.

DELETED “Journalist” off his profile after I addressed him as a journalist having seen his claim on his profile and asked him to not take things personal. He then lied that he never claimed to have been a journalist and asks me to check his profile where he just deleted “Journalist”. I pointed out to him that I already checked it and that he deleted it off his profile. He now added it again, see screenshots.

What a creep!

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1. Journalist:

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2. The “Journalist” deleted:

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3. Then “Journalist” added again:

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Tactic #7 – Playing dumb asking if I was a bot:

This is then when he started to make all his replies to me “non-repliable” anymore (I just made up that word 😉 ), but he continued to tweet at me. I then blocked him to which he blocked as well. He said that I am an Aldi fan because I gave a metaphor on Aldi vs Lidl to explain his ridiculous comparison between McDonald’s and Pret. I explained that Pret claimed to be fresh and wholesome which McDonald’s never claimed, and that the whole world knows how bad McD is. But Pret was successful in fooling the public for decades.

He then tried to trick me with the Aldi example and then I couldn’t reply anymore. But I replied later via my other account after screenshot some of his tweets before he deleted.

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Unable to reply to his tweets:

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His behaviour is a typical bullying behaviour by the book. And he is enabled by others who pad him on the back.

Tactic #8 – Playing dumb again:

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He received tons of information about my own story as well as customer fatalities and injuries, staff exploitation etc., yet he pretends to not understand what all this was about. Then he deletes his initial tweet and the McDonald’s tweet as he was caught out being indifferent and doesn’t want to be seen as a journalist who is a big fan of Pret.

In a nutshell, this guy was shocked and impressed to have come across so much evidence in how bad Pret really are. Many people respond negatively because they feel shocked and called out to have fallen for Pret. He was so occupied with it that he tweeted the McDonald’s mould issue to me the next day where I was already finished and done with this feed.

But I always respond to anyone and then move on. And I don’t really want to waste a blog post on him, but want to show how SLICK gaslighting, lying, deleting, accusing etc. works in cancel culture.

It’s a shame, because I am more disappointed of people claiming to be journalists than the average Joe who rants on social media.

The last time I came across such a toxic, gaslighting, cowardly person with lofty claims was literally the top Pret senior leadership team. This Gerry guy cowardly switched his tweets so I can’t respond anymore, but kept tweeting at me while I couldn’t respond. Then I blocked him, which I rarely do, so that he can’t continue to tweet while I can’t respond.

I then tweeted my response to him via my other account and now write this blog post and pass this on to his journalism buddies because his and my correspondence are public.

This was TYPICAL denial, cancel culture, trying to manipulate JUST because the person did not want to look objectively at what I presented as huge evidence including customer pictures, news articles, my own experience. THE worst thing that can happen that customers died and Pret IGNORED it has NO meaning to this Gerry guy and his friends. They are bystanders, onlookers and enablers who don’t care except if this would happen to them. Very sad.

And by all means, mute or block me, but to “silence” me and then keep tweeting at me where I can’t respond is COWARDLY. And this is why I call this guy out now.

If this Gerry guy says anything “positive” about his encounter with me in the future, stay away, be cautious, he has lied and played his tricks like an insecure yes-man.

Oh, und Gerry, guck mal wer alles von Twitter weggerannt ist nachdem ich getweeted hab 😉

Du hast noch sehr, sehr viel zu lernen was Pret A Manger betrifft, und ich habe dich jetzt angespornt Pret zu helfen deren Fassade aufrecht zu halten. Ran an die Arbeit, Gerry! Put your name to Pret and STAND behind everything they do, with your name.

I chased Pret RE-founder Julian Metalfe, former Pret CEO Clive Schlee and current CEO Pano Christou off Twitter. And Julian Metcalfe is in Jeffrey Epstein’s address book. Link in the YouTube description.

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

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Lose, Loss, Lost …

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I tend to write long blog posts to cover all the basis possible. And I could write the longest blog post yet about loss, but I don’t know where this would go. I have had losses, disappointments, betrayals in my life, like we all have. It’s what makes life a bitch. But I have not known how loss can be a string of things for a long time.

I have yet to speak, either on my podcast or here on my blog, about details regarding my brother’s death. I touched on it here and there but still can’t go into it for fear it would spiral me again into the deepest darkness again. This out-of-control feeling that if there is a hell, this must be part of it, an endless falling into a dark bottomless pit.

I never knew that when you lose a close person, a family member, anyone close to you, that this is the catalyst of many other losses. I heard about it that a loss of a child breaks up a family and the parents often end up divorcing.

For anyone new to my blog or story, I learnt in January 2015 that my brother died 5 weeks prior and was already cremated when we learnt of it. To top it up, I learnt this via an EMAIL! This is how far I can go at this moment, as I can’t cope to go into detail how everything unfolded without falling into this pit again.

To top it up further, I was bullied during this traumatic period of shock and grief in and by Pret A Manger management under the watchful eye of HR and later patronised by former CEO Clive Schlee. I explain this in greater detail on my podcast “expretcast” in 3 episodes. In the audio player on the bottom of this page I didn’t go into the detail of it, but on my podcast with greater hindsight I went to town detailing how Pret targeted me since the beginning.

Links:

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 1

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 2

Pret A Manger Bullying Culture – Part 3

Three years after my brother died I almost simultaneously lost my job and my dad within months of each other. Pret fired me days after my dad came out of a three-week coma, knowing he was in intensive care. In hindsight, losing a sh!tty job at Pret is nothing to be mourned about. Pret’s head of HR David Carter made me 3 offers of money if I resign, sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to never speak about my ordeal or go to court. I declined the “offer” and was fired. Later when I withdrew my court case against Pret as my dad died, I was made a fourth offer which is normal when withdrawing a tribunal case. I also declined as I didn’t want to lose my voice to speak out what happened.

In-between all this I lost a lot of friends pretty much from the first year as in our society death and loss is still a taboo, as if this would never happen to anyone.

Three years after my dad died my mum died. She died during second lockdown in Germany while I was stuck in London. I couldn’t bury her. Another loss I can’t go into at this time as I can’t cope. I made so many videos of and with my mum when she was still living in her house as I don’t have ANY video of my brother and still regret having deleted all his voice mails from years ago. I still have this problem that I clean up my phone very fast and don’t keep much. That’s why I kept my mum’s voice mails and made videos. But I still can’t look at the videos, even though I assumed I would devour them once she dies. But I can’t look at them at the moment.

Recently a long-time friend died in the USA where I lived for a few years. I didn’t expect to be thrust into a new darkness, as I haven’t seen him since 2013, and only sporadically had email conversations with his wife in-between the years. He was a rare gem of a man who don’t come around much, and I am broken for his wife, who’s equally a gem. I’ve never met a couple like them, which the world needs more of.

I lost my mind, my mental health is screwed up. I was overweight and lost 35-40kg within a year. The first 25kg I lost in the first 6 months after the news of my brother’s death. I had to go shopping 3 or 4 times for clothes as I kept losing weight, never anticipating to “shrink” so fast. EVERYTHING I had to buy new in smaller sizes except socks and shoes.

Some say that this is a good thing that came out of the loss of my brother. Sure, in a certain way there are always “good” things that can come from trauma and loss. But the weight loss was so rapid, as I couldn’t eat, even though I had free lunch food at Pret, that it brought upon other health issues. Rapid weight loss isn’t healthy either. I am grateful I rather lost than gained weight, as my dad was the total opposite. After my brother’s death, he gained weight and comfort ate while I couldn’t even swallow. But yes, having gone back to my original weight I grew up with is a plus as I can walk up stairs without pain in my joints and shortness of breath. Or I can buy clothes again whereas while overweight rarely found what I liked in my size. But I’d rather weigh like an elephant and have my brother back.

I lost support. I lost opportunities. I am a few steps closer to understand how people can lose their homes and end up on the street due to alcohol or drug issues after a traumatic experience.

I still struggle with drinking although it has become much better.

Receiving the news of my brother’s death via email and then also being bullied in Pret by a line manager via group emails, as well as Lila Warren who was tasked to give me a disciplinary for emailing Pret so much, she then later ALSO started to communicate with me via text message and email in private for which she disciplined me in the first place. has fucked me up so much that I started to write thousands upon thousands of emails to EVERYBODY! I also struggle then when I tweet sh!t to people while drunk.

There is no excuse, I looked into getting a time-lock safe but haven’t gotten it yet. That’s completely my fault and responsibility.

I have almost lost my life in close calls to jump … and know we will all lose our lives one day.

I still want to look into researching and maybe writing about our society’s and culture’s approach to death, loss and grief. I have experienced so much sh!t in the last 7+ years that I don’t know which book to write first or if to write a series of books combining a lot of the things I went through. But I’m tired of writing.

I called into a BBC radio show in the early morning of Christmas Day 2019 where I briefly touched on how we in our society today handle grief and loss. Of course now since the pandemic and more wars this subject has become more “accessible”, and even on the radio I hear more and more that this theme is popping up.

In my experiences the last 7 years I have sabotaged a lot of opportunities and friendships. Apart from PTSD, I also think I do this partly out of guilt not having responded to my brother’s email which ended up being his last. Why should I have a good life while he is dead is the emotion I often felt. Sibling survivor guilt, fear of losing friends again when a tragedy hit. The friends that left me hang early on, I didn’t deserve it. But I deserve it now. I push everyone away now so I have nothing left to lose.

As I said, screwed up. And before you judge, check my podcast episode on my NHS mental health service ordeal. I asked at one point if I have some form of autism, and a brief questionaire was started by a psychologist where it was mentioned that I cover some points, but no further assessment. I gave up.

In a nutshell, one major loss is often the catalyst of a string of losses, it certainly was in my case. And where this goes from here, I’m not concerned anymore.

And again, my apologies to all and everyone I offended, hurt and upset. After such a long time, I have no excuse.

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

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org

Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Leave no mess behind

When you visit the world, take your shoes off out of respect for the environment.

When you leave, leave in such a way that no one has to clean up after you.

I hope I did that.

Never meant to hurt people. But also, never experienced such poor support.

RUN after your career, reputation, looks, money, run after it.

If you can stay alive, do that.

If you can’t, write a will. Even if you just have a diary to pass on. Write a will.

🙂

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

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Discla

Friendships & Sabotage

Podcast:


Lemon Music Studio »The Cradle Of Your Soul«
James Blake »Friends That Break Your Heart«

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

NEW: Podcast.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

my wounds are not for you to see

If you want to know the epitome of a therapist, or the epitome of a true gentleman, or the epitome of a simple human being … who still needs toilet paper … I dare to believe that there a good human beings out there.

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

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for which press articles and Pret “charity” announcements I influenced.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Spain & Ireland’s “Welcome” Message to Pret A Manger

Spain:

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Ireland:

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

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Fear Management vs Care – Pret A Manger — BBC

I wanted to call this post “Fear Management vs Courage” but I know that when you care, you won’t need courage. You only need courage if you are afraid.

If you care, if you love people and have a passion for the truth, you won’t need to bullshit anyone around you.

I know I am a “nutcase” for many. I’ve offended many people while drunk, wrote horrible tweets etc. But not always and not when I reached out to journalists early on.

From the get go, I want people to know that Sarah Butler from the Guardian ignored my “concerns”. But she now writes on things I tag her in or email her with.

This post is dedicated to 2 BBC journalists.

Vivienne Nunis and Mike Powell.

Vievienne, because she is of course a great journalist, but she is a human above anything.

Mike Powell, because he is a human, and a journalist who was ok after I emailed his editor to even just utter my blog, and indirectly my story with Pret. It takes a human to do that.

There is no “human-ness” in Pret. They kill people and exploit staff with a smile.

We live in these times where journalists are silenced with a simple whisper, a simple smile, a facade. I am disheartened that journalists in this country are silenced and soothed by simply being silent.

It’s all about getting (y)our names out there.

Journalism is extremely competitive. Twitter is filled with “investigative” journalists.

I contacted hundreds, if not thousands of journalists on various platforms since 2018.

Vivienne Nunis was one of very few to respond. And she was the only person to reluctantly meet me for an interview. And whoever she interviewed of current and former Pret staff, she found reasons to not cover the bullying environment in Pret. That’s fine. It’s a risky subject to cover.

Three years later, Mike Powell, also BBC and now freelance, contacted me after I tweeted to him. But he wanted me to provide all the research while saying that my blog won’t necessarily get mentioned. I contacted the BBC ahead of publication to explain my concern. They then mentioned it. But it should go without having to raise the issue. Sources should be mention if they wish to, without having to “beg” to get mentioned.

I contacted the BBC to make clear where his upcoming story was coming from.

They “mentioned” my blog then. The Times later jumped on the story and took a sentence from my blog but without mentioning the source of my blog, quoting me verbatim but only mentioning “a blog” and never thinking I’d find the article. The journalist of course just blamed his editor. Every journalist avoids tooth and nail to name my blog while taking info from it. You have no shame, press.

I put on my media page which press articles I directly influenced and/or got the ball rolling.

Any future leaks I get from Pret staff from now on, I will pass on to an unknown, young, starting journalist.

And then there is Ian Hodson from the union. He sent me to a women’s activist group up North London because I was bothering him too much after he contacted me to offer “help” on Twitter.

Keep your help, Ian. Go on TV, go on LBC, go and speak to Sarah Butler from the Guardian now, after you all were too proud, too embarrassed to PUBLICLY speak out from what I survived.

Sarah Butler from the Guardian only cares about a story to her name, and now Ian Hodson.

She followed my Twitter account early on in 2018. When she started following, I DMd her, but of course, no response. Clive Schlee was her follower when he was still on Twitter. I made her unfollow me.

I understand that Sarah NOW immediately writes a report as soon as she’s informed. Sarah writes on issues I tag her in or email her, but she still treats me like I don’t even exist. I have had enough people in Pret and now journalists treat me with contempt.

Like other competitive journalists, don’t ever mention expret.org, hey. Mike Powell/his editor was the only one who mentioned my blog, BUT only after I contacted the BBC. I’ve had several Times, Guardian, BBC etc. journalists follow me, but ignore me when I DMd them. I made them all unfollow again.

I am a human being who survived Pret and have immense insider knowledge I put on a silver platter. But the press in this country play dead until they can use info and then not credit the source.

And regarding unions, I now understand why Pret staff start their own union or just give up, because you “established” unions never gave a sh!t. The BFWAU left the Labour party. I don’t care about politics. Feed your ego, but leave us workers alone.

We can do it on our own.

I vote for Keir Starmer. You know why?

Longevity lasts like a pickled onion in a jar vs crowds chanting your name for a moment.

Many RT all day long. Is that it? You sit in your home to RT Tweets? Really?

We workers do not know the difference between people who care and people who just want their name out there.

And Sarah Butler, go and get your story, after you “followed” me and I contacted you then. But you never responded and remained silent, because you only want a story to you name.

You journalists need to do better.

Work hard. Never stop. And keep bullshitting the public, ignoring the elephant in the room.

You are reporting while using my work, my research and ignoring my story, my experience (except Mike Powell and his editor). Vivienne Nunis put in the most work, but it went nowhere. It’s partly my fault because I kept flipping out. But it doesn’t need to be perfect, I am not perfect. My story is complicated and I”m a mess. That’s it.

Vivienne did cover the leaked video that I made her aware of. But as usual my blog is not mentioned, like it never exists.

Link to Tweet I copied Vivienne in after I texted her about a leaked video I was sent by staff: https://twitter.com/expretDOTorg/status/1273929407707611139

Pret quickly deleted the video after Vivienne reported on it.

Go to Africa. Go to Pret’s head office. Go to the toilet. Just go you journalists.

Go, feed the pigeons. Sarah Butler is ready to report now.

Well done you all. Above all, stay human.

And again, any future leaks I get from Pret staff from now on, I will pass on to an unknown, young, starting journalist.

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

NEW: Podcast.

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger are the MOST EVIL People I have ever come across

I keep writing horrible emails to friends, foes, Pret, the press, and I’m sure Pret are happy to see me suffer. I’m sure they’d be glad if I’d kill myself. This company has destroyed my life and the lives of so many others with a big fat fake smile. And they continue to do so.

After I raised issues with shop management and HR for almost a year, being ignored and further bullied, I contacted the then CEO Clive Schlee who then started some support, like Pret paying for counseling. But that was as a show in case for court, and the bullying continued. All the “support” Pret showed after I put my complaint in writing to the former CEO, was to show for court. As the bullying continued, I was offered money if I resign, never go to court, and never speak about my ordeal with Pret. I declined and indirectly forced Pret to fire me.

I tried to resign, tried to find another job, but I couldn’t sell myself, even in a low-paid job. I was too broken down, insecure, hopeless to find even the lowest paid work. If I would have found a job, I would have resigned. Even without signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) taking “hush-money”, if I would have just resigned without signing my rights away, I could have NEVER written this blog.

Pret would have made a public statement like they did with Andrej Stopa who was fired for having started a Union. Pret would have said that they were happy with me as an employee, that they offered me help, but that I willingly chose to leave. Pret HAD TO fire me so that I can speak out. I didn’t realise this at the time. I even BEGGED in the last dismissal hearing to not fire me, my dad was just out of a three-week coma in Germany.

Even before any option of a dismissal came up I asked Pret if I can be put under the Pret Foundation, even an OPs manager later suggested I go under the PF for a while. But that never happened. Pret who claim to help homeless people, young apprentices and prison leavers have no room for long-term employees who go through tragedy. That’s why this Pret Foundation is just a PR machine and a smokescreen to hide horrible practices. I literally begged the hearing manager to not fire me! They did anyway, unknowingly forcing me to speak out publicly.

I have had to watch my parents, each on their own, deteriorate in a horrible institutional system in hospitals, rehab, nursing homes that are mostly chains under private equity. I had to struggle with everything on my own, and when help was offered, it either rarely came or it was not meant or just as a polite gesture. Or when help is offered, there is sometimes an ulterior motive and I have to figure out who means what. Or when I asked for help, I was met with a deafening silence or the words “I’m too busy”.

Or when the help is genuine, I can’t trust it, because of what Pret did to me via so many issues and people, and most vile, via Lila Tighilt Warren who claimed to have had a brother who died alone in his apartment, wasn’t found for days, like my brother was. I researched and searched if this brother existed, but found another person not the same as she described. This very horrific act Pret and Lila did, destroyed my trust in people.

The press are bystanders, watching. And what they use from my blog, experience and research, they make sure not to mention me and my ordeal. And those who wanted to report, I pushed away in my paranoia.

There ARE good people, but I can’t distinguish anymore the sheep from the wolves. And GOOD people are suffering my mistrust and outbursts because of this horrible company! No, it is I who bears responsibility for my words, writings and actions. But it takes evil people to destroy lives.

I have made the mistake to stay in Pret for 10 years, bearing under a toxic, dishonest, corrupt environment, where all that counts is making as much money and more and more and more.

And when someone asks why I don’t go to court, I did, but then withdrew when my dad died and I couldn’t afford legal aid. I have researched the British legal system of workplace related lawsuits while I filed a tribunal claim. I have read that even when former employees win their tribunal cases, the pay-out is so small, they end up in debt for the legal bill.

Pret and companies like Pret know that. They KNOW people can’t afford legal aid. They know that even pro-bono lawyers don’t want to pick up a fight in a 5-day trial for their 30% of an £8,000 payout. Too much effort for too little reward. Unlike in the USA (see Johnny Depp’s lawsuit in the UK vs the USA). Different systems.

A Cardiff bar manager choked by colleague wins tribunal. She was left paralysed in her face and won a meager £6,660 but had an £8,000+ legal bill, leaving her in debt. In the USA she would have won a 6-digits figure if not millions!

A former Pret assistant manager who got unfairly dismissed won his tribunal case getting rewarded about £8,812. Worker unfairly dismissed, says tribunal. After he lost his job, having a young child with his partner, he ended up on the streets living in his car for 2 weeks. For the tribunal it was worth a merge £8¾K. All this money probably went straight into his legal bill. Not to mention the mental strain people go through in a legal case against a large company.

When my dad died, leading me to withdraw the tribunal claim, I knew mentally it would lead to suicide going through the 5 day court hearings, even if I’d won. One day preliminary hearing, and 4 days court hearings, as the dates were already set having had 6 months to prepare with my dad in hospital, flying back and forth. I was told by free legal advice at Citizen Advice Bureau that there may be a 6th day with a second preliminary hearing as my case was so complex, having involved the top Pret leadership team. Even though I had strong evidence and Pret already hinted in their response to court that “if [I] win the case … that the reward should be low” according to some other lawsuit outcome that has set the precedent for lawsuits thereafter. But I had no support, no financial backing, no moral support and a new funeral coming up …

And before anyone says that I need therapy, first of all I have fought for therapy since over five years; 2. I have therapy now but cannot talk as there is a strict agenda to follow a rigorous program. So, please first ASK what people have had in support and therapy before giving unsolicited, patronizing advise.

In this life and society, most everywhere, it is all about money, position, what each individual can get out of whatever they can get from those already at the edge. If you are sick, disabled, bereaved, old … there is no place for you in a society that is looking for “productivity” more than those who produce. You are a disposable machine, a piece of garbage that is of no use anymore, sucked out of the life-blood by greedy corporates and anyone lacking basic human decency. The strong must become stronger and leave the vulnerable behind, as they can’t contribute to this cog-wheel of a society at a given time or forever. Survival of the fittest by the book. A repeated issue throughout time. Human nature at its worst that always becomes the norm with a new generation, until a new “uprising” and new precedent of disobedience …

Yes, I sound gloomy, but I suffer and fought hard to not only survive. I see the dark during a sunny day. And I’m sorry I am not what you thought or hoped for. Pret win again, hey.

I need people to stay away because I have nothing to offer you and I feel I won’t get better. I write horrible when drunk and hope everyone knows it is not personal, but you need to stay away.

And I will never stop saying that Pret A Manger, up to this current leadership in 2022, the same PEOPLE in head office that run the place since decades, this a core group of the top leadership and HR, are the most evil, toxic, greedy, exploitative, dishonest, incapable, unsympathetic, unethical, cowardly people I have ever had the nightmare to be dealing with.

And I remain deeply ashamed to have spent so long there and to have had any association with them.

And to friends, I don’t know what “friendship” is. It’s a myth.

Recent, select customer comments and staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter etc.

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The following to me sounds like wage theft again. Highlighted, quote:

“- Did not receive 80% of wages despite being on the furlough scheme

– All your hard work was over in a 2 minute zoom call – If you need a second job to support you, better clear it with your overlords. I know this is a standard practice but it shouldn’t be – if you want your workers to devote so many of hours of their lives to you, pay them decently so they can do more than just about afford to live

Unless you work in their offices, they do not give a s*** about you. Also the CEO doing company wide zoom meetings from the comfort of his very fancy house whilst retail workers are paid peanuts, talking about how we all need to pitch in to save the business is a joke.

Retail workers are the entire reason Pret is still standing. Those in office tend to forget that without retail staff upselling, being on the floor and handling customers, they wouldn’t have anything to sell.

I would love to know what the CEOs salary is in relation to the lowest paid retail employees an whether this has increased or changed during the pandemic – and the justification for leaving those who work their hardest at the bottom of the Pret ‘family’ foodchain on wages that do not meet the stanard of living, are not entitled to many benefits” End of quote.

Answer to the question how much CEO Pano CHristou earns? In 2020 = £300,000 PLUS millions in bonus. He does not reveal how much he made in 2021 and 2022. If he also cut is pay, he would make that public. The silence is a hint that he remains on £300K and probably more.

Pano loves to present himself as the “cabbie’s son” who started at the shop floor. But until recently, since I called him out on it, failed to mention that he started at position number 4 as an Assistant Manager because he was a manager at McDonald’s. He didn’t start as a low paid team member having to wear uniform, and in those days a silly cap, that increased the body heat in stuffy hot shops and kitchens. Pano received £500 to buy business attire; £50 every month for dry cleaning; insurance; paid sick leave from day one (that’s a big one!) compared to team members who are paid from day 3 being sick with a sick note. His quarterly bonus went into the thousands. And all the other perks, travel, fancy galas for management and so on.

Link

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Part quote: “It was just so depressing that I had to work there and thankfully don’t need to anymore. They need to consider what they do to the staff and force them to work it’s just not a good way to sort and they know that. A lot of workers are mistreated and insulted daily. The management is a huge part of that.”

Link

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Upon my question to above Instagram person who’s staff, if it’s true that Pret for the SECOND time recently didn’t pay staff on time, the answer was, quote: “That is correct, however the delay was much less noticeable as it was late by 1 day only.”

This staff doesn’t realize that even though it wasn’t that noticeable for staff, it’s still 1. unacceptable and 2. a huge deal because Pret’s work week starts Fridays and staff are paid on Thursdays. This means the “less noticeable” for staff is a big deal for Pret as their new financial week starts Fridays. They most likely had issues with shareholders wanting to present better numbers, and then “pay back” the next day starting on Friday’s new financial week.

Pret use and abuse the goodwill of workers. And this has always been the case with shop managers, they ALWAYS for years and years, every week “forgot” to pay an hour here, an hour there. Do this with a handful of shop staff every week and it all adds up, as many don’t check their hours, not noticing the “odd” hour here and there not being paid.

And Pano Christou now does THE SAME company-wide. Stealing in broad daylight, “borrowing” from the lowest paid to appease shareholders. Mafia-style in a nutshell. Pret use low-wage workers as a loan-bank. Absolutely despicable, unethical and disrespectful. And I hope financial auditors and the government get wind of this.

Link and Link

And there is no strength or courage to join a union and stand up. And Pret know that and wear the staff out so they don’t have an ounce of strength left to even entertain the thought to fight back.

Link

etc. etc. etc.

Pano Christou’s “approval” rating:

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And the legacy former CEO Clive Schlee left with:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

In the End it was Friends

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I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
In the end, it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

Well fair do’s
Nobody prepares you and nobody’s prepared
Nobody’s prepared
And they tell you, “Just you wait it kills you”
And only love can break you
More the more you care
And all and all in love is fair
But it’s not fair

I have haunted many photographs
In the background, and in the fore
And as many loves that have crossed my path

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

And I’ve pushed myself to be vulnerable
And then slept with one eye wide
All that pain and nothing gained in the end

In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
In the end it was friends
It was friends who broke my heart

– James Blake

Music video by James Blake performing Friends That Break Your Heart (Audio). © 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc. (A Republic Records / Polydor Records Release)

Animal Cruelty and Pret A Manger

When I started to write about my Pret ordeal in May 2018, I also started to do extensive research on the Internet on anything Pret related. I searched for similar experiences from staff and came across Glassdoor and Indeed, Facebook, Instagram, other blogs; searched on lawsuits, press articles, anything and everything I could find on Pret, where there are systemic issues. I also did this to back up my own experience as many people didn’t believe me. Now it is more common knowledge that Pret are NOT what they portray to the public.

But in 2018, I was a messenger who got “shot” as my message wasn’t welcome or people wanted to remain in their illusions about Pret. It was and continues to be an uphill battle.

I then came across a video called “Cruelty in Pret” which was uploaded in July 2018, is about chickens and the lack of welfare in farms. I bookmarked it like I do with most important or interesting issues.

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A short while later the video was switched from public to unlisted. I also couldn’t find the website that is listed at the end of the video nor anything on “The Humane League Campaigns” who posted the video.

I didn’t post anything on this as I couldn’t find any info and don’t post anything of which I have no evidence or a source where it came from. So I kept it on the bookmark shelf until now and passed it around social media here and there today.

I was perplexed that the video turned unlisted shortly after it was uploaded.

It could be that Pret contacted the person(s) and warned them with a lawsuit or so, and they then unlisted the video and the website never worked.

And then yesterday the Twitter’s sphere started to light up with this, quote:

“Chickens raised for meat suffer tremendously at factory farms.

Our new report examines which food companies are backtracking or failing to demonstrate action—including Pret.” End of quote.

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Link

The report can be downloaded as PDF from MercyForAnimals.org Report.

In it Pret have been caught yet again to be naughty.

Quote:

“The following companies have failed to report measurable progress toward their broiler welfare goals and have deleted their previously public policy commitments:

• BareBurger

• fresh&co

Pret A Manger

• Tender Greens

• Zoup!”

End of quote.

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I am not surprised at all that Pret deleted their policy commitments. Pret also stopped doing fair trade coffee a while ago, but still claim to have organic coffee. Pret already had to take the word “natural” off signage and packaging after being slapped by the Real Bread Company via the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

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Further more I found a website that calls out former Pret CEO Clive Schlee for supporting CAGED chickens in Asia. Schlee is on the board of directors of Dairy Farm Group, one of the largest retail companies in Asia. The website DairyFarmEggs.com writes further, quote:

»Clive and Dairy Farm have a dirty secret – A shocking series of investigations has revealed what the company wants to keep hidden: they continue to sell customers eggs from filthy, cruel battery cage egg farms with higher food safety risks.

A series of investigations at multiple Dairy Farm egg suppliers found feces and dirt caked on the bars of cages where eggs are laid. Feces piles up just inches away from eggs and from the birds themselves. Mother hens are crammed for nearly their entire lives in battery cages so small and cruel they are illegal in dozens of other countries around the world. The corpses of dead hens are left to decompose right next to hens laying eggs for human consumption.« End of quote. Link to website.

Clive Schlee also owns half of itsu and worked for several years in Asia before he became CEO of Pret, but left Pret in 2019.

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So, it makes sense that they delete their commitment to not be held accountable for not keeping their commitment yet again.

There was a Twitter storm for days, which as much as I support this, but has drowned out the issue that Pret are not paying their shop staff this week. The Guardian reported on this yesterday after I was informed by staff and passed it on to Sarah Butler from the Guardian and other journalists. Detail on this: Pret’s New PR Stunt on Payrise in Pennies UPDATED.

Pret did this on purpose over the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday as they know that the press and the whole of the UK are distracted with the celebrations. Usually when especially the Guardian, the BBC etc. report on anything Pret related, Twitter explodes with calls for boycotts. But of course, Pret being clever and always do their dodgy things at certain times or distract with charity announcements, there’s hardly any mention now.

Today’s main mention is the chicken cruelty issue as vegans and animal lovers come out en masse to tweet at Pret.

That’s alright. The Payment issue will resurface again.

What still surprises me though is that many people are shocked that Pret deleted their commitment. Many still say that they thought Pret was ethical, as if they lived under a rock since 2018 when the 2 customer deaths and several allergen injuries became public. Or is it that animal activists are not as much concerned about people.

Of course people can inform themselves, can stand up against wrongdoing and choose where to go, animals can’t do that. But still, people don’t realize that when a company treat their employees like rubbish waste, it will reflect back on customers and is also a no-brainer that a company like this won’t care about animal welfare.

And it is beyond me that many animal rights activists still fall for Pret who have COUNTLESS chicken products like chicken itself, eggs, mayonnaise etc. And the claim of “free range” chicken still seems to fool most. And the above report points out the suffering on free-range farms. A healthy egg and chickens are from PASTURE RAISED chickens. But that is too expensive for mass production.

And since Pret jumped on the vegan bandwagon, most vegans are excited instead of supporting vegan-ONLY food places. I’m not a vegan, but if I was, I would ONLY eat in purely vegan restaurants, cafes as I’m a little crazy as a purist!

Eating insects is a delicatessen in some countries and slowly is growing in popularity here in Europe. Once this becomes trendy, you bet Pret also will jump on that bandwagon to increase profit.

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My last Email to Pret / Pano Christou

Yesterday after I was contacted by someone regarding Pret not paying staff this week, and then emailing the press and The Guardian reporting, I wrote a last email to Pret’s CEO Pano Christou and HR.

I also want to apologize to any and all Pret staff who contacted me, whom I kept referring to unions. Several of you contacted the unions and didn’t receive any response. I am angry and very sorry to have let you down on this. I can only say, please look for a better work opportunity and leave it all behind. It feels to me that the unions are more about politics and political agendas. The membership fees may be forwarded to political parties and projects. I have so much anxiety and mistrust about any organizations.

It seems ONLY that employees themselves will reach change when we stand up, not the unions. The unions will just “come along” when we initiate action and pay them, and then they will take the credit for OUR sweat, blood and tears. I’m sorry to be so gloomy.

Thank you for your trust and reaching out. I am sorry to have let you down.

If you need any more help, please reach out to the press directly. The press reach things more and quicker than unions or myself. But you need to have evidence, always gather and keep evidence in writing etc.

The Guardian: Sarah.Butler@theguardian.com, Ben.Quinn@theguardian.com

The Mirror: Amy Sharpe who went undercover into Pret after I asked her as I was too anxious. We were in contact via Facebook: https://twitter.com/amylsharpe

BBC and freelance: contact@bbc.co.uk, Vivienne.Nunis@bbc.co.uk, Mike.Powell@bbc.co.uk

The Daily Telegraph: Janet.Eastham@telegraph.co.uk

The Scottish Left Review who published my articles TWICE early on, when no news outlet was ready to report: Gregor.Gall@glasgow.ac.uk

And Adam, the amazing podcaster from California who interviewed me when no news outlet cared/dared: https://twitter.com/1AdamParadox

My last email to Pret, to CEO Pano Christou and HR, copying in the press and staff; verbatim without correcting spelling mistakes and grammar:

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This is my last email to you Pret,

I Blind Carbon Copied (BCC) private people in, staff, friends of staff, customers who reached out to me to tell them to not be afraid to speak out and stand up.

Pret has almost destroyed my life! But I survived to tell my story! And staff contact me with info and leaks, and it is my pleasure to pass this on to the press and others.

Is it still Pret’s practice to name, blame and shame shops that don’t do well? This has always bothered me. But it’s wonderful to turn the tables!

Complaints have increased on stale and mouldy food, expired foods, critters and rat droppings in food … you can “freshly make” a sandwich with stale bread and mouldy cheese.

Not paying your staff, the LOWEST paid staff in Pret who carried you and Pret through the pandemic while you sat at home or in socially distanced shiny air conditoned HQ, demanding for shop/kitchen staff to come to work even when they have Covid. Only you know if there have been Covid sick or even deaths. You managed to keep 2 customer allergen deaths quiet, I fear any news coming out one day that staff have died of Covid while they struggled to get paid!

Customer complaints increased on the coffee-subscription, apps, deals that are not fullfilled as advertised, and all your bogus “technical issues” while receiving “digital technology leaders” award and being slimed with award after award, compliments after compliments on Linkedin where everyone is telling you how awesome you are!

Surround yourself with Yes-Men/Women, hold your seminars and keep sweet-talking about sustainability, and keep ignoring customer emails/DMs/phone calls… and let customers and staff get on with telling the real story.

It’s no surprise that the way you treat your staff, it will reflect on customers.

Your “charity” projects make me cringe everytime I hear about it. The donation devices that Pret placed NEXT to payment devices where customers in the rush and noise accidently donate £5 thinking they pay for their coffee. And then the psychology that they are embarrassed to ask for a refund from “charity”.

The £1000 announcement that Clive Schlee made late at night from 28. to 29. May 2018 after I sent the link to my blog late that night to Sannu because I know that she can’t a secret!

The NHS freebie PR stunt you did before 1st lock-down on 18. March 2020, and right the next morning sent out an email to shops and HQ to announce cuts to staff. The low-wage staff basically PAID for your NHS PR stunt!

The half-marathon you ran last year and having the audacity to ask your low-wage staff for donation to “alleviate poverty” straight after you made temporary paycuts permanent, had turned my stomach!

And now, using the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday weekend, where the press and people are distracted with the celebrations, to suddenly have a “payroll error”, and the 2nd time since recently not paying staff.

Your “charity” are a smokescreen and good for tax breaks.

To anyone who still works at Prt, if I can stand up on my own against these dwarfs who almost destroyed my life, you can stand even stronger TOGETHER with the Unions like BFAWU! Pret is more scared of you than you of them when you organise and stand up, strike, walk out, make higher demands and not let Pret trick you again with reinstating bonus that is discretionary to mystery shoppers and GMs!

I could go on and on and on, but I’ve written enough and wrote the Pret poison out of my system!

My greetings to your mentor and buddy Clive Schlee who patonised me as his “late night gitrl” while I SUFFERED with my emailing, he had a laugh and then shortly after getting me fired with my dad in intensive care, which you all knew about. And please tell him that the greatest thing I appreciate on being a woman, who is mistaken for a “girl”, on having been a low-wage “low skill” worker, is that I love it when entitled, rich, privileged, arrogant, self-assured millionaire business men underestimate me, and people like me. That’s my great joy!

Also greetings to Julian Metcalfe whom I had the pleasure to also chase off Twitter. Even if the YouTube slide is slightly out-of-date, but it still shows what’s really is behind you executives.

You can try to shut me down, I will pop up again. I do not care about the amount of followers or anything else and have backed everything up triple. It means nothing to me what you may do or how Pret report me to social media! Keep reporting. It means nothing to me! It only leads me to sprad out on other platforms.

What means the world to me is a SINGLE person to this day sending me an email or DM with words like “Wow, I just read your such-and-such, I didn’t know that about Pret. I thought Pret was so great … I will tell my friends and family and support small independent business from now on…” That is Christmas and Birthday all in one for me!

You made £300,000 in 2020 PLUS bonus. It’s interesting that you didn’t reveal how much annual pay you got in 2021 and 2022. If you had cut your pay like you did to your lowest paid workers, you would have made a big announcement like you make all the “charity” announcements.

I worked all my life in hospitality since I’m 16 years old, NOTHING has been as horrific, traumatic, unfair, disgusting as Pret in any company I worked in! Nothing! Your brainwash and fear management has followed me years after you fired me days after my dad came out of his 3-week coma!

You have it coming for you from staff, unions, more press, whistleblowers, more OPs and GMs leave reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed and elsewhere … and you deserve everything that’s coming for you within the law, within the legal frame and free speech! You deserve it!

My apologies again to journalists, staff, strangers, friends … for my drunken outbursts from the traumas I’ve been through. I stand by my mistakes even when I am ashamed of it! But I own up to it. And I work on it like we all work on our recovery.

And to Pret, it is my UTMOST PLEASURE to have put you on a map showing your TRUE colours to the public.

I am not afraid of you, in fact, I have no respect for you whatsoever! I cried tears of anger last night when I received mail about staff not getting paid, because I know the excrutiating PAIN, anxiety, existential fears they go through! All while you sit in your comfortable huge mansion laughing to the bank!

It takes a special breed to not do anything about customer deaths and injuries until it became public. I was a team leader responsible for health and safety and didn’t even know about fatalities! Shame on you! You put ME as a team leader in DANGER to potentially be at “fault” for another injury or death by not telling me, not training and retraining me on allergen, labelling etc.

It takes a special breed to keep taking from the LOWEST paid on the BOTTOM of the barrel! All while portraying to the public to be ethical and caring! I am PROUD to have cracked Pret’s facade further and further!

And I KNOW that my tears of anger and grief will turn into tears of joy!

 expret.org 🖕😎🖕

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Loss, PTSD

Life.

When I die there will be people coming out of the woodwork, former friends who knew me 20+ years, claiming to “know” me.

No they don’t. They’ve left me 6+ years ago after my brother died.

And those who claim to know me, will try to get with those who knew me years ago, but left me hanging.

There will be people who claim to be my friend or know me or have met me. Again, no. Yes they met me, but no, they don’t know me.

You may claim to live close to me, but you don’t. And you know what I mean by that. A neighbour next to me is further away than an alien from the moon.

The people who know me, are the people in the street, in the cafes, in the pubs, in their homes, in my home; people who walk like ants, organizing themselves in love and respect for one another; and who are not embarrassed to be associated with me. That’s a friend. A friend who doesn’t want anything from me but just be.

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The World is a Cruel Place, BUT

Sometimes when you’re running against the darkness, you find someone who seems to know the best path out, someone who has run that road across a terrible landscape and come out alive and better. There aren’t a lot of ways to express the depth of gratitude for the work they put in.

Even if you never come to actually know them, the fact they helped you beat the darkness makes them feel like someone on your team, like the anchor of humanity’s worst and most fucked up relay.

And when you begin to flag a little bit because it doesn’t seem like the race is ever going to end, you can look up to someone like that, someone who showed you that it’s never too late to try to outrun the lies and bullshit the darkness will tell you to get you to slow down.

And then one day you realize, it isn’t a race at all, because a race has a finish line, and this thing fucking doesn’t.

It’s just a run. A long run. Along the way, you pick up running buddies, people you admire for their toughness, people who keep you running, people you never would have expected to turn something that can be so hard into something you can enjoy.

And so when you have run so hard ahead of the darkness that every horizon looks like a sunrise, it’s almost impossible to believe that one of those people who led you out got tired.

“Wait,” you think. “They had it figured out. They showed me how to run. They showed me the sun.”

Even leaders get tired.

Over time, it might be hard to tell difference between the fatigue of running & the darkness they are running against. It might be hard to lead the way for so many people. It might, it might, it might. That’s the thing. You never know what it might.

And then they are gone.

So, what the hell are you supposed to do then? When you have finally learned how to run, how do you keep going when you lose one of the people who showed you the way? What do you do when you start to doubt “the way” is actually the way?

I guess I don’t know.

But today I guess I’d say this:

If you feel like you’re running alone, look around and you will find others running, too. They may be running differently, maybe backward, blindfolded, or in some janky way that makes them stand out against the field. Find those people and run with them for a while.

Eventually, if you just keep running, you’ll find people who are running a lot like you. Even if they don’t know you, they will understand you. And they will lead you—not to a finish line—but toward that sunlight where being tired isn’t so tiring.

And here’s something you might not expect: you might look up one day and realize someone is following you while you run. They are matching your stride and keeping your pace. They are grateful to have found YOU.

Be proud of that and use it to keep running.

It’s crushing to see one of your running buddies fall off stride and slip away. It can make you want to double back and find them. Don’t do that. It’s not how it works, or at least, it’s not how you want it to work.

Keep your stride. Steady your breath. Allow yourself to confuse the tears on your face with the sweat of your struggle.

And don’t stop or double back. Look for the other runners. They are everywhere.

We are everywhere.

(I don’t always feel great about Twitter, but the degree to which this thread resonated among friends & people I’ve never met has been very comforting and reminds me how important it can be to just admit how guy-punched something can make you feel…and how alone we *aren’t*)

And since I woke up to all kinds of inspiring messages today, I will pass this on. It’s what I remind myself when I feel like I’ve felt since hearing about Anthony Bourdain.”

— Brad Willis


Transcribed by ThreadReaderApp.com

AUDIO:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.


The Vaults – London

The Vaults graffiti place.

So, here are some pictures of mine … more to come in time.

This blog post will be updated with new pics as the graffiti changes every day.

07.05.2022

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08.05.2022

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more to come one day …

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper Scheme – AUDIO

I explain in detail about Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I call “Misery” Shopper for a reason.

Pret’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme which I plainly call abusive:

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The Wiki link to my blog that was deleted, which I explain in above audio.

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I have run out of space/time on my free podcast and am shopping around which podcast provider is the best value before I purchase.

On the podcast I cover some other Pret issues, like the allergen situation, ongoing labelling problems etc. As I ran out of free space I post the above Mystery Shopper episode here on my blog. For Timothy Noah’s “The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger” and other articles on emotional labour, as well as several examples of Mystery Shopper reports, please see my page: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Thank you for listening.

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

My NHS Mental Health Ordeal

Via anchor.fm podcast.

And here’s a therapist I could trust:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

To friends, foes and strangers

I didn’t want to publish this, but it’s part of my life.

Always take care of those closest to you, and work your way from there.

And always remember, there are more good people in this world, they just have to wake up.

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be FATAL

UPDATE 2022:

I want to add 2 things, the post underneath the line below I have converted on my Anchor.fm podcast to a voice version. It’s an automated voice, not perfect, but for those who don’t like to read long blog entries. I place the episode here as well.

And the other thing is I want to place my favourite tweet of recently after a customer responded to other customers outcry of Pret making temporary pay-cuts permanent. The below blog post/voice convertion is very important for people to understand Pret’s mentality and why it remains dangerous to eat there.

Link

The Tweet by @betty_de_brazil from 12. August 2021 reads, quote:
“A while back, I saw a Pret ad that said its staff were “passionate” about making sandwiches. This kind of bullshit talk always hides ruthless practices in my experience.” End of quote.

Unfortunately reading programs can’t read screenshots of Tweets or YouTube slides. I have to keep that in mind when doing new blog entries, to write out Tweets. I was also once told by a blind person on Twitter that their programs cannot read screenshots. So, below Twitter screenshots are not read by this automated voice conversion. Apologies to all with visual impairment, I’m learning as I go.

This episode is close to under 11 minutes long. At this time the French word “manger” isn’t pronounced the French way, but the American/English way of “Jesus in a manger”. For those who love to point out unimportant mistakes, get over it. Thanks.

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A few years ago I already dissected an article where Pret’s HR Director Andrea Wareham was interviewed. “Pret’s People Management Secrets” from HR Magazine. In this interview Andrea Wareham shares a lot about the typical Pret PR bla bla. But one sentence stands out to me which is typical Pret, but also dangerous.

Quote: »Pret famously recruits for behaviours, “personality rather than skills” as Wareham puts it, and these, she adds, are “relevant in every market”.«

When I worked at Pret it always astounded me how little many shop Managers knew of the job they were hired to do. Those staff members in lower positions who had more knowledge than some shop Managers due to experience and skill, were exploited and the Manager took credit for it.

It often bothered me how the “wrong” people got promoted and those who knew how to do the job where kept low.

In an unlisted video on YouTube (why unlisted?) new CEO Pano Christou even inadvertently gives away how poor the training in Pret is. He shares how when he did stock take for the first or second time, that he stayed until 4 o’clock the next morning! And that’s exactly how it is in Pret. The training is so poor and even Managers often are clueless that especially new staff have to stay long (unpaid!) hours to figure out how things work! Before I worked at Pret, I worked in many different food places, most of my life I worked in hospitality industry, in wine bars, restaurants, a canteen, a hotel. But never did I have to stay longer hours to figure out how things are done than in Pret! It was the most frustrating thing not being trained and not being given time to train others!

If people are trained and have skills, especially since Pano Christou was a Manager at McDonald’s before he joined Pret as an Assistant Manager, there would be NO NEED to stay until 4 o’clock the next morning to know how to do a stock take and other issues!

Pano should have known the job already, or at least picked it up quicker as he had previous Management experience. Unless he kissed his way up, like so many do. In Pret people also get promoted through the bedroom, and then more than few are incapable to do the job and rely on lower ranked staff to do all the hard work!

Pret is famous for their smiley staff, but since I write about it more extensively since 2018 it has become more common knowledge that this smiley culture is driven by weekly Mystery Shoppers. I wrote a few posts about it and made some YouTube slides as my blog is heavily censored on Facebook and Instagram where it is completely blocked. Even private messages are deleted automatically by algorithm when I link to my blog as Pret must have reported me, thus FB, Insta put me on a black list. But YouTube isn’t blocked.

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Journalist Timothy Noah wrote a brilliant article on Pret’s emotional labour (labor in US English) that Pret enforces low-wage employees to perform. “The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger“. I really recommend reading this article! And oh, how I remember the mental agony to have to smile, chat, present a happy facade, just to get a few more peanuts. And even during already traumatic bereavement I was expected to “leave my problems at home and wear a smile like I wear my uniform”! Real words of one of my Managers after we lost bonus for not smiling! Low-wage staff have to act like emotional prostitutes and acrobatic clowns to make Pret look good and as a happy place!

Noah wrote this article in 2013, a year after the first public “scandal” hit Pret when Andrej Stopa was fired for having started a trade union. Noah was one of the first, if not THE first journalist to take a closer look at Pret and write critical about the company when no-one dared to write critically. In fact, most journalists, even to this day write ecstatic positive articles about Pret.

Noah points out what former CEO Clive Schlee said about staff touching each other, quote: »”The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”«

Pret’s previous Mystery Shopper requirements even was that Pret aims to “attend to EACH customer’s NEEDS” … and aims to “connect with EVERY customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks”. The weekly Mystery Shopper is then tasked to comment on how low-wage staff smile etc. and give points accordingly.

Excerpts of the old Mystery Shopper reports before Pret changed the wording but kept the expectations via Managers:

Since I write extensively about Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme which has surprised many customers who assumed that staff give freebies out of “random acts of kindness”, while in reality staff are almost guaranteed to receive the £100 reward when giving a freebie to the Mystery Shopper, or the MS at least witnessing this “generosity”!

And Clive Schlee to me served like the Ronald McDonald of Pret. He was the friendly clown that was approachable to customers and staff alike, while in reality putting a rigorous Mystery Shopper scheme in place and manipulating staff with brainwashing slogans, and expecting touch to portray a wholesome and happy company … all to increase sales.

And yet, we all wonder how on earth can TWO customers die in Pret, a third customer narrowly surviving and at least nine more injured due to unlabelled allergen in the food. Pret IGNORED the multiple warnings to label their food, even after customers have died and got injured, Pret kept smiling and went full steam ahead doing business as usual. Pret only started slowly to implement product labelling AFTER customer deaths became public! I worked at Pret when 2 customers died and we weren’t even informed of this. Not even a HINT to be more cautious and diligent with labelling and allergen. Nothing! The emphasis was ALWAYS to drop every task, run on till, smile, serve customers fast and present a happy facade. Personality is more important in Pret than skill!

Link

If you don’t know what you’re doing and just “look” the part, but neglect life saving issues, you shouldn’t be hired or run a business! Smiling and having a bubbly personality is a plus, but without skills it’s useless for the health and safety of staff and customers alike! Clive Schlee, the Ronald McDonald of Pret has proven time and again how clueless he was:

Alicia Turrell deleted her Twitter account, so this link is gone. But to zoom in on what former CEO Clive Schlee responded to an open letter, shows how he lacked skills and knowledge on how to approach the lack of labelling that several customers pointed out, including a lawsuit BEFORE the first customer died.

Schlee’s patronizing, appalling and plain clueless response:

»Dear Alicia,
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 have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret. I am Pret’s CEO.
You also make your point about allergen information. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that. I think you are suggesting we treat allergens more seriously. Again, fair point. Is there anything else that you would specifically like [u]s to do?
With best wishes
Clive«

I am not a fan of Wetherspoons or any food/drink chain at that, and at least their staff have started standing up with Unions. But I heard an interview of founder and CEO Tim Martin recently on Desert Island Discs from 2017. He said something that positively surprised me and maybe because pub business is a different animal from cafe/restaurant business in customer service to some extend, but he mentioned something on how staff present themselves.

Then presenter Kirsty Young asks Martin at around 26 minutes in the interview, quote: »And when you are chatting, as you are doing every week to managers and deputy managers and bar staff, do you ever say to them, “never ever say this to the customer?«

Martin replies: »No. And I also tell them, “you don’t have to smile either”.«

Kirsty Young: »You tell them they DON’T have to smile?«

Martin: »They don’t have to smile, no! We don’t go out of our way to tell them to be nice, because I think that puts too much pressure on people. I think when you go to a pub you get a beer, someone’s natural personality will emerge better if they are not under too much pressure, which of course they are under tremendous pressure anyway. Some of our best bar staff are quite grumpy

I cut out that part from the above program:

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

Another brilliant article on emotional labour I have listed in “The Dangers of Emotional Labour” is by Sophie McBain “How Emotional Labour Harms us All“.

I say it again, recruiting for (fake or even true) cheerful personality rather than skill can be fatal!

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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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.

Open Letter to a Prosecutor

Re-posting this:

Dear Kate Brunner QC,

below are some hints that Pret did not train us staff well and that former CEO Clive Schlee had no clue on what to do. I write from 10 years of front-line shop experience in Pret, most of which I was a Team Leader responsible for running shops. Sure, people think I have a vendetta against Pret and that’s why what I extensively write shouldn’t be taken seriously. That is people’s prerogative to decide. I just write.

Am I out of my mind? Sure. Am I angry? Of course. Are my social media rants off? Yes, at times, after I had one too many drinks in order to cope with trauma. But I know what I’m talking about first hand when it comes to Pret!

What I have been through is stuff for a shooting spree, but I went on a writing spree, and people can block me, look down on me, call me insane and all kinds of names, anything and everything. But I know what I have experienced and so many others I mention in my blog. So, people can continue to block me, report me, get my social media channels shut down. Be my guest.

And upfront, English is not my mother-tongue, so my grammar is a mess!

In the trial in Bristol it was said, quote from Sky News: »Food safety expert Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight told jurors Mr Rodriguez was fully trained and had acted outside of Pret A Manger’s allergen procedures.«

Well, Belinda Stuart-Moonlight is a food safety expert, but I and my former colleagues are Pret A Manger experts! And no-one wants to listen to low-wage front-line shop workers! But I’m going to say it anyway!

From my 10 years in Pret plus witnessing my colleagues in over dozen shops, I can verify that Pret’s training is extremely poor! For me it didn’t exist! If I was trained, I was given stuff to read during my break. If I was trained by a line manager, they were in such hurry, impatient and often clueless themselves. At times I myself wrote emails to HQ departments on issues to get the info directly from them because my Managers either didn’t know, or didn’t want to train me. The only reason that I was knowledgeable was because I made the effort to get information AND much of the information I knew came from previous employment in the hospitality industry, but not from Pret.

In an unlisted video on YouTube new CEO Pano Christou even inadvertently gives away how poor the training in Pret is. He shares how when he did stock take for the first or second time, that he stayed until 4 o’clock the next morning! And that’s exactly how it is in Pret. The training is so poor and even Managers often are clueless that especially new staff have to stay long (unpaid!) hours to figure out how things work! Before I worked at Pret, I worked in many different food places, most of my life I worked in hospitality industry, in wine bars, restaurants, a canteen, a hotel. But never did I have to stay longer hours to figure out how things are done than in Pret! It was the most frustrating thing not being trained and not being given time to train others!

If people are trained there IS NO NEED to stay until 4 o’clock the next morning to know how to do a stock take and other issues!!!

Pano here doesn’t realize that he’s giving away how poor the training in Pret is! Also, as a side note, WHY is the above video “unlisted” where people can only find it if they have direct link to it! Shouldn’t Pret be proud about a new CEO etc.??? Pret also prides themselves in hiring employees according to their personality!

So, Pret is full of smiley, chatty, bouncing people, but few have SKILL that a business needs to actually do the job. And those who have skills are exploited by the smiley bouncing folk who take the credit for the work skilled people do! Former CEO Clive Schlee himself was like the Ronald McDonald of Pret. He was the clown who’s main job seemed to have been to sit at the facade of Pret fooling the public on how wonderful and caring Pret is. He made himself available as this “transparent” and approachable CEO that everyone loved!

In the meantime, customers die, staff are bullied to work like machines to increase profit etc. etc. etc.

Hiring according to personality rather than skill can be fatal!

One of my passions has always been training and informing people. Even customers would comment that I had a lot of knowledge and why I wasn’t a Manager. My colleagues, many who are from other countries, always came to me when they had questions, because 1. I had a lot of knowledge on issues, partly because I worked in the catering industry most of my life even before Pret. And 2. I took my time to give them any and all info they wanted and needed as far as I knew it. But during the shifts I was always called away from training my colleagues to serve customers. Shop Managers always want the tills manned due to chronic under-staffing to increase profit and their bonuses.

My first year of being a “shift runner” running shops, I didn’t have the First Aid course. My Manager forgot or couldn’t be bothered to put me on the First Aid course which is mandatory when running shifts. I didn’t know it either until another Manager pointed it out when I changed shops. Other times I was asked to cut corners by Management, which I declined. Most of the time we were pressured to sign the yearly training records WITHOUT being trained or re-trained etc. etc.

If you were to walk into a Pret today and ask any member of staff if they are well trained, they will tell you yes! But they will tell you this out of fear! Pret staff are fear- and micromanaged via weekly Mystery Shoppers. Mystery Shoppers can also be regular customers. When I was bullied DURING bereavement in Pret, customers NEVER knew what I went through because I never told anyone except some colleagues. I remained professional and was riddled with anxiety. I’d never dare to tell a customer how it really is. I pretended to be happy, because that was our job, and Mystery Shoppers were tasked to probe and then comment on our smile and chatty attitude including eye contact … or lack thereof. My Teams would have lost bonus if I’d spill the beans and it happened to be the Mystery Shopper I’d talked to.

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 all at the till or given a smile. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

So, I buried my brother weeks before, couldn’t smile or chat, my Manager who knew about my bereavement, wouldn’t even allow me to work in the kitchen for a few days where I wouldn’t need to smile or chat. I wasn’t placed into the kitchen because I wasn’t fast enough in making sandwiches as I wasn’t used to the kitchen. And then we got comments like this from Mystery Shoppers. Do you think we would tell customers that we were not trained properly or that we are bullied? I smiled most of the time, went home after work and headed for the bridge.

But if you knew a Team Member outside of Pret, especially those who left Pret, you would hear the real story. I could give you names of current and former staff who spoke to journalists and spilled the beans on the reality, one of which is lack of training. I won’t give you their names of course, but there is a lot of communication happening behind the scenes between staff and me, between staff and journalists, and staff leaving anonymous reviews on Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter, Facebook etc.

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EDIT:

I want to add something I just shared with others on another platform. The reason I took health and safety, allergen, labelling, liquid spillage on the floor etc. so serious and always was on my colleagues’ case when they slacked about dangerous H&S issues, was not because Pret took it so serious or trained me well. It was because I myself made a mistake in another company before I worked at Pret. A customer ordered a SOYA frappe and stressed to me that it NEEDS to be soya as they have a dairy intolerance! I assured the customer that I will make it a soya. Due to the hectic stressful shift, I completely forgot to LEAVE OUT the dairy powder that is added to thicken the frappes & milk shakes. The customer left.

Half an hour later they returned with a rash on their throat! They asked me if the frappe was soya, I absolutely assured them it was, but then in shock remembered that I added the dairy powder. I was young and new to that company, never having had any training or experience with allergen. I admitted that I forgot to leave the powder out. Good thing the customer explained that it wasn’t life-threatening and they said “It’s ok, I just get a rash”. I reimbursed them and profusely apologized. The customer could have contacted HQ, but I’ve never heard anything from my Manager or HQ.

And because I had a VISUAL of their rash it gave me such a shock and wake-up call! I’ve NEVER EVER made that mistake again and MY MISTAKE accompanied me to Pret. And THAT IS WHY I was so uber careful and trained my teams and was on their cases about labelling, the allergen guide, spillage on the floor etc. It wasn’t because Pret trained me so well! In fact my colleagues and even some Managers and Leaders would make fun of me because I was so diligent with anything related to health and safety!

I used to be extremely annoying to my colleagues when it came to the fire exits! When rubbish bags piled up, or even a broom leaned against the exit doors, I would remind them again to please leave the door clear at ALL times! I said I don’t even want to see a dust corn in front of the emergency exit door! I lived in the USA for a few years and the constant news on mass shootings or a mad man going into a kindergarten stabbing little kids! I explained that a mad person could walk into the shop and start stabbing people, the exit doors need to be cleared all the freaking time! I explained that we always think this could never happen to us, or in London! That’s the WRONG thinking.

This soya-dairy experience was a scare that I will never forget, and this was MY fault! And I’m beyond grateful that the customer at the other company “just” had an intolerance, not a life-threatening allergy!

But Pret? From my experience, they were lapse! Any former colleague would tell you that I got on my colleagues’ nerves when it came to health and safety and the allergen guide, BECAUSE I myself made a horrible mistake in the other company. But it was a ONE-OFF mistake that I never repeated, no matter how busy it was!!! In fact, as I was a Team Leader having to multi-task, I listened out to my colleagues when I heard them order a soya frappe, I interrupted my customer service, no matter if I thought it may have been the Mystery Shopper, to inform my new colleague and their customer that there is DAIRY powder added, just for their information. At times the customer was ok, because they just liked Soya, other times they declined the frappe as they couldn’t have dairy, and then ordered another drink. I trained and re-trained my colleagues to ALWAYS mention that we add dairy powder when they ordered a plant-based frappe.

In Pret we couldn’t leave the dairy powder out like I could in the other company, because the dairy powder is already attached to the ice-cubes in the individually portioned blue bags. We couldn’t take it out as we sometimes didn’t have a separate only ice-cube machine. If we had a separate ice-cube machine, we could then just make a soya iced drink which wasn’t thick, but at least without the powder.

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Former CEO Clive Schlee himself inadvertently admitted that staff need more training and that Pret needed to take allergen more serious. As Schlee suffers from foot-in-mouth disease he responded to an open letter by an allergy sufferer back in 2015.

I made the following screenshot at the time when Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death became public. Alicia Turrell posted Schlee’s response to her open letter to Pret on Twitter. She closed her Twitter account now and her Tweets are gone, but I still have the screenshot. Alicia Grace Turrell is an actress and I’m sure it won’t be hard to find her and contact her for her own experience with Pret’s response. The Tweet is from 2018:

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Clive Schlee’s typical patronizing response transcribed for easier read. It’s dripping of his typical sweet-talk, “sliming” Alicia with his compliments, making sure he mentions that he, as the CEO himself, writes to her. Yet, he’s clueless on what to do, admitting that Pret did not take allergen seriously and that staff needed (better) training.

»Dear Alicia,
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 have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret. I am Pret’s CEO.
You also make your point about allergen information. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that. I think you are suggesting we treat allergens more seriously. Again, fair point. Is there anything else that you would specifically like [u]s to do?
With best wishes
Clive«

End of quote.

There is NO mention that staff are “fully” trained! In fact Schlee admits that he can’t argue with Alicia’s “fair points” and that he isn’t “exactly sure how to respond”! How can a CEO of an international food chain not be sure how to respond?! And Alicia Turrell wrote to Pret NOT to Clive Schlee, but Schlee in his typical self-assured way thought he’d impress a customer by responding HIMSELF. And Alicia Turrell was supposed to be smitten that the top chief himself replied. Well, she wasn’t! She was appalled at his response!

This correspondence was in 2015. And here is how Clive Schlee and Pret started to take allergen more seriously, and we staff received more training:

ZERO! NOTHING! NADA! NULL!

In 2016 a man in New York sued Pret after he had a reaction also to unlabelled sesame. Pret won. When the man learnt of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death, he was devastated as he hoped his lawsuit would be a wake-up call for Pret.

AllergicLiving.com article

In 2016 Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died. I worked between 2008 and end of December 2017 in Pret as a Team Leader. Part of my job description was Health and Safety. And I took that very seriously. But not only were we NOT informed of Natasha’s death (and later Celia Marsh), but there wasn’t even as much as a HINT to be more cautious and diligent with labelling and allergen. Nothing!

Natasha’s mum tells of her shock about Pret’s lack of action:

From YouTube at about 0:20

Pret went full steam ahead doing business as usual!

I write extensively about the lack of action, the lack of training and the relentless pressure and pace in which low-wage staff have to work. If they don’t work fast, they get fear managed with disciplinary and the threat of job loss. And working fast, rushing, being exhausted and depressed, they make unnecessary mistakes and continue to mislabel even now in 2021.

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I also write extensively about Pret having hired the prestigious and expensive Barbican Venue in the spring of 2017 (after Natasha’s death and the NY lawsuit) to do a one (or two week) seminar. Pret hired the Barbican to do a seminar on customer service for all Leaders and Managers to take back to their Teams to train them. I can’t remember if it was two weeks, but it was certainly one week all day every working day. This seminar was all about how to lure customers in and kiss butt to increase profit, and to gain and retain customers. There was NO mention whatsoever on allergen and labelling. Nothing whatsoever! It wasn’t even mentioned that a customer has died. That’s how Pret “fully” trains staff after a customer has died! Irony off!

This seminar was AFTER the open letter from Alicia Turrell, AFTER the man in New York sued Pret and most tragically AFTER Natasha died.

Pret could and should have put on the emergency brakes and reshuffle the theme of the seminar and could have easily spent the money on allergen experts to teach us on allergen.

Pret also started to implement labelling machines for expiry dates for the kitchen in 2017, back of house, BUT NOT machines for allergen labelling for shops and customers, front of house.

One reason I believe also why Pret wasn’t keen on doing ingredient labelling on the packaging is because Pret claimed that their food is “natural”. But after ASA and a lawsuit challenged Pret (there’s a new lawsuit on this now again in NY), Pret took the word “natural” off their signage and packaging. Pret’s food was found to contain the “nasty” chemicals that Pret claimed wasn’t there, including GMOs and Glyphosate for which the mighty Monsanto, now under Bayer, have been sued by thousands of people in the U.S., having to pay billions of dollars in compensation.

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Link

Again, I am writing as a former front-line shop employee with 10 years experience, most of which was as a Team Leader. Sure, I have a “vendetta” against Pret after what I survived. But I am deeply offended that Pret didn’t even tell us about customers having died. I learnt like everybody else via the press after the inquest into Natasha’s death. And I’m further offended that Pret didn’t put on the brakes and had urgency about labelling and allergen, training and re-training us! I and my colleagues continued to be the next potential “Roberto Rodriguez” where our words and actions could have endangered more customers and the blame would have been on us. And like Natasha’s father Nadim said that the food labelling laws “played Russian Roulette” with his daughter’s life.

Pret that boast themselves to be front runners and trail blazers in issues, ignored multiple warnings and subjected us staff to partake in the Russian Roulette. And I can absolutely understand Roberto Rodriguez having dived under and not letting solicitors find him. He was blamed, but my argument is, was he really fully trained or did he just sign the training records out of pressure? Roberto is in a pickle: he can’t admit that he wasn’t fully trained if he signed the training records without having been trained. It’s a lose-lose for staff.

I took Health and Safety extremely seriously, and I was known to take it very serious. I got on my colleagues’ nerves as I was always on their cases, including Managers, to keep fire exits clear, to keep fire extinguishers clear for easy access, to immediately take the yellow “caution wet floor” sign when there was a spillage on the floor while we were getting the mop, FIRST put the caution sign down on top of the spillage and THEN get the mop etc.

My colleagues were always annoyed with me being on their cases, as well as telling them to NOT stretch dates of expired foods etc. etc. etc. To then learn that customers have died and been injured and NOT being informed and NOT being trained or re-trained more thoroughly is so offensive to me. Pret is micromanaging and EASILY penalize staff on even the smallest issues. And yet, they failed US as staff more than we could have ever failed them!

Clare Clough, now UK Managing Director, was tasked to face the press on Pret’s lack of action, via Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ITVTonight/status/1068123662556061696

Part of the interview from November 2018:

Ranvir Singh, ITV: “How can people trust Pret when you still don’t have full allergy labelling on every item in all your stores?”

Clare Clough: “Pret takes this incredibly seriously. We immediately put allergy alert stickers on to all of our products, so that customers would have on every single product they bought from Pret, information on how to easily find the allergen information that they needed.”

Ranvir Singh: “Immediately when?”

Clare Clough: “Following the inquest.”

Ranvir Singh: “Right, so two years after Natasha’s death. … Which doesn’t sound very immediate to me.”

Clare Clough even goes on to say:

“We were already adding allergen information to the shelves where people choose the products, when we were first made aware of Natasha’s death.”

Repeat: “We were already adding allergen information to the shelves where people choose the products, when we were first made aware of Natasha’s death.”

And YET, Roberto Rodriguez LOOKED at the labelling on the shelves to see if sesame was included in 2017 and did NOT see sesame, and thus unbeknownst to him misinformed customer Isobel Colnaghi, who then suffered an allergic reaction also to sesame, narrowly surviving!

So, either Clare Clough wasn’t truthful and product labels on the fridges were not labelled, or she didn’t know that Pret did NOT label, or Pret labelled some products and missed other products like the item that Isobel Colnaghi chose.

Pret is cleared now, and the blame is stuck on Roberto Rodriguez. A low-wage foreign worker, who has to live with the blame of a customer’s allergy reaction that would have almost been the third fatal reaction to a Pret product.

Link to Tweet from 2018

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A list of my blog posts about the ongoing mislabelling, chronic under-staffing, staff reviews on lack of training, high pressure, bullying, unpaid over time, fast pace environment etc. etc.

Mislabelling: Vegetarians and Vegans Eat Meat at Pret

My detailed report on HOW MESSY and chaotic Pret’s labelling system was before they started labelling in 2019: Pret’s Labelling Commitment?

Lack of training in Pret and how staff are pressured to sign training records without being trained (I also explain this in my below audio player interview from 2018 at about 1:13:00): Roberto Rodriguez – Pret Allergen Trial

Pret hiring the Barbican for customer service training in 2017, but not for allergen or labelling: Be Kind, Honest, Generous – Pret’s Seminar on Customer Service

Pret’s Bullying Culture and High Pace: Caught in the Act at Pret

Undercover in Pret, Wrong allergy labels and wasted food: Undercover Under Pressure in Pret

»Worked Into the Ground without Empathy at Pret«

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

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret’s Ukraine Employee PR Stunt

УКРАЇНЦІ, НЕ працюйте на мережу кафе Pret A Manger!

УКРАИНЦЫ, НЕ работайте на сеть ресторанов Pret A Manger!

I will say this loud and clear, even if I make inadvertent advertising here: Pret’s £50K donation to Ukraine is peanuts and a joke after the CEO and other execs pocket millions on bonus alone and cut staff wages etc. Some shops make £50K a day, many in 2 or 3 days. It’s PENNIES for Pret!

Pret waste no time to make a big PR announcement of their “charity” to regain favour, as many customers boycott Pret due to the wage cuts, stale food, subscription scam etc. After 4 years writing on Pret, I am proud to read more and more customers who see it as NORMAL that Pret is not what they claim to be. This was different 4 years ago where most where shocked to hear what I write or didn’t believe me. I get less blocked these days!

So, now Pret jump VERY quickly at the UK government refugee scheme by announcing another PR stunt to employ Ukrainian refugees. Here it is again, 1. for PR to get customers in who fall for this, thinking Pret is so wonderful, and 2. Pret want cheap labour.

Pret A Manger was built on the backs of Eastern Europeans who work like machines! I worked with many from Romania, Poland, Lithuania etc. Without these workers Pret could NOT have expanded so fast from the mid 2000s until Brexit.

I just post some of the comments here from customers and Pret staff, some who laugh about Pret’s claim to want to offer “emotional” and financial support.

When I worked 7 years in Pret my brother died, and Pret were in a hurry to get rid of me! Another former staff of 9 years talks about similar experience on Instagram.

I can only implore the reader to not fall for Pret’s PR stunt. They need workers! They will take a few refugees and treat them really, really well putting them in easy, quieter shops (if there is such a thing as an “easy” and quiet shop).

Then they will “parade” them one day in how they saved their day! Others who are thrust in fear and bow quicker will be put in kitchens and work their butts off for minimum-wage …

Don’t be fooled that Pret care! They jump at this opportunity as Brexit has made it harder to get workers and Pret is desperate for European staff, so they “fast track” them now. Many staff have left and keep leaving and I just hope that Ukrainians don’t take any bullsh!t, especially after what they’re suffering now. When you lost everything, especially loved ones, you are super vulnerable! And Pret KNOW how to use that! If you don’t believe me I have all the paper work as proof. That’s why Pret don’t sue me, it would open a can of worms for them!

Former staff on Twitter, I asked in that feed what “legacy” work Pret is talking about!

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I know Pret very well and how they BS people, on Instagram Ukrainian people ask how they can apply, and the social media staff say that they can contact the bogus Pret Foundation trust that serves as a smokescreen to hide bad practices. On Facebook the social media team tell people to keep an eye on social media.

In other words: Pret have NO clue what to do because this is only a PR stunt with no intention to help. These mixed messages are typical for Pret, because different social media staff give different info depending on their shift. They’re not on one page because there is no plan.

Pret have NO intention whatsoever to help. It’s just their typical marketing stunt.

On Instagram Pret pass the buck to email the Pret Foundation that most likely will not respond:

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On Facebook Pret admits to not have a plan and lures people to keep checking Pret’s social media, and no update will come, because there is no plan to help:

To highlight the comments as the screenshots are small.

mehrdadology writes, quote: “Am an unemployed british citizen and pret rejected my application twice for no reason! who is going to help people like me!”

I explained to mehrdadology that Pret don’t want British workers as they may ask for higher pay and they know their rights. Pret prefer even people who speak very little English, put them in the kitchen where they can’t talk due to the loud music and fast-paced work. They don’t speak English and therefore don’t know where to ask for help when they run into trouble.

The other comment, “Stop profiting from real tragedy cocksuckers”

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Some can only laugh at Pret’s claim to care:

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A customer who complains that standards are low, dirty shops etc. That’s what you get when you under-staff and exploit staff so much that they just leave.

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Yes, Pret ARE a ruthless company to work for. And the second comment I highlighted “8 years …” is a hint that Pret didn’t care about Crimea in 2014.

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A former staff of 9 years:

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Linkedin:

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Facebook:

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etc. etc. etc.

And just a small collection of the MANY staff reviews from Glassdoor, Indeed, Twitter, Facebook etc. This staff member’s advise to management is: “Burn in hell”. And an email from a staff member I received and quote here:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Pret A Manger Furnace

Customers continue to raise the issue of under-staffed shops with queues out the door. Exhausted staff who slave for minimum-wage while Pret made a big PR announcement to be raising pay to £10 (from April on) while having cut pay during the pandemic, cut benefits and paid breaks. Workers are worse off while Pret do their usual “charity” PR stunts again.

And before anyone compares and comes with the “argument” that you don’t get your breaks paid, try to work on your feet for 8, 10, 12+ hours straight every day under intense stress, noise, heat, tinnitus, angry leader, bullying manager, mystery shopper commenting that you didn’t smile, frustrated customers who complain that their coffee took 2 minutes etc. etc. etc. Try working in that environment, all while HAVING to smile or not get mystery shopper bonus. Staff should get their breaks paid again and more than a flipping living wage. I write extensively about Pret’s micromanaging, strict and plainly abusive mystery shopper scheme here: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Pret silenced a staff member’s strike announcement which rallied a lot of support from customers via the media. Let me rewind to 2020.

At the start of the pandemic, just before first lock-down, Pret did a nasty PR stunt again. Pret announced on 18. March 2020 to give free coffees and 50% rebate for NHS staff, which of course turned into a big media event with countless customers complimenting Pret on their “generosity” and ethical attitude. Well …

The very next morning on 19. March 2020 I received a desperate message from a staff member unbeknown to me, that CEO Pano Christou has sent an email to all shops early morning on 19. March to announce cuts to staff.

Pret used NHS staff for PR and as a smokescreen to hide cuts to staff. I was sent the CEO’s email by another staff member and published it here: Plea to NHS Employees.

In a nutshell, low-wage front-line Pret workers paid for the NHS freebies. Companies like Pret always take it from the lowest to do their marketing scheme for the public. I passed this on to the press immediately and went on a social media spree to inform as many NHS workers as I could find.

Only 1 NHS staff was outraged as far as I could find. I’m sure there are more. But most NHS workers loved the freebies, with nor care about Pret staff.

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In the following months Pret fired 3000 staff, cut hours, cut pay, cut benefits and stopped paid breaks while executives worked safely from home or socially distanced in air conditioned head office. And they continued to received a juice bonus package. If not, Pret would have “proudly” announced that executive pay and bonuses were cut, as Pret is always FAST to make huge PR announcements.

The same with donating £50.000 to Ukraine which is peanuts for Pret. Many shops make £50K in two days, some even in one day! In contrast to that, former CEO Clive Schlee received £30 MILLION on bonus for himself alone. We can only speculate how much all the other executives and share holders pocket, even during the pandemic!

I explain WHY and WHEN Pret always make big “charity” announcements including the interesting timing of Pret’s £1000 announcements to all staff back in 2018: Pret’s Charity Projects.

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Link to Daily Mail report.

They then made the cuts permanent which caused a huge public outcry via the media. One brave staff member made the strike announcement but was quickly silenced because Pret played a trick on them. I explain here: Pret Staff Announce Strike.

Two tweets from only today from 2 different shops within an hour from each other. And Pret always ask customers to DM with more info claiming to be “so concerned to read this” as if Pret isn’t aware of the stress THEY cause from head office. Especially on weekends shops have maximum 3 staff, if they’re lucky 4. I worked like this in different Pret shops, and that before the pandemic. But now it’s much much worse. So, Pret ask for DM to lure customer data for future marketing.

More customer complaints and staff reviews in below YouTube slides including some stern words from Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha.

I use YouTube because not everyone wants to read long blog posts and because Facebook/Instagram completely censored/blocked my website after Pret and die-hard Pret fans reported me. But they can’t block YouTube!

This customer tweet hits the nail on the head!

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Long queues and customers started to boycott:

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Staff reviews and Nadia Sawahla’s words after Pret made temporary pay-cuts permanent:

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Some of many staff reviews from before the pandemic:

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The MOST poignant staff review from a kitchen worker who also had to jump in serving customers. There is no better worded review I have ever come across regarding work at Pret:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

I was Team Leader Responsible for Health & Safety but Pret did NOT tell us of Allergen Deaths

Please click on above Spotify logo to listen to a converted voice version of below text.

I want to link to several posts I wrote from a behind the scenes perspective having worked at Pret A Manger when two customers died. The first fatality was 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse from unlabelled sesame in a baguette. The second customer was mother of 5 Celia Marsh who died of dairy traces in a vegan wrap.

It is still not clear whose responsibility Celia Marsh’s death was, if the non-dairy yogurt supplier or Pret.

I know from experience that it is super easy to hastily grab the wrong products in Pret as shops have always been under-staffed to maximize profit, and many are foreign workers who can take the wrong ingredient in a hurry. Staff are penalized if they don’t reach a certain percentage in the speed of assembling sandwiches.

I want to keep this short here and only link to the posts with certain issues I have experienced first hand. I continue to highlight that under-staffing shops is dangerous. And Pret continue to do so to maximize profit, even before the pandemic. Burnt-out staff are bound to make dangerous mistakes.

Some people say that I have a “vendetta” against Pret after what I survived as staff, and that’s why I write on all sorts of issues. My response to this is, it takes immense wrong doing for someone to speak out extensively and “whistle-blow” on wrong doing. If I was “just” a disgruntled former employee, I would have never started a blog. This is not about being disgruntled, this is about my own survival from this company and why Pret remain dangerous to people’s health.

I need to stress that I was a Team Leader of the shop floor responsible for a host of things like running the shops (opening or closing), ordering stock, counting money at the end of the day, checking temperature of cooling equipment, looking after the staff, striving that we had high scores in Mystery Shopper visits etc. etc.

A Team Leader in Pret is really like a mini-manager! they do EVERYTHING except hiring and firing. They are the true managers who run the shops. Same with kitchen Team Leaders, they run the kitchens.

But one of the responsibilities and job description of Team Leaders is health and safety. I myself took that extremely serious as I had many years experience in the hospitality industry in three countries.

I was known by colleagues to get on their nerves when I saw spillage on the floor and I stressed to first grab the yellow caution sign before getting the mop. Or the emergency exits even having the slightest item blocking it. Or the emergency calling cord that’s hanging to the floor in toilets and was tangled up. I always untangled it and re-trained everyone to keep checking that the chord is always loosely hanging on the floor easy to pull should someone be lying on the floor etc. etc.

This was not my managers training me to keep an eye on, this from my experience outside of Pret where I was TRULY trained!

I stress the Team Leader health & safety responsibility because Pret is extremely strict with many issues, but also with a lot of unimportant issues. But Pret did not only NOT tell us, especially Team Leaders, that not one, but two customers died and several got injured, there wasn’t even as much as a HINT to be more cautious with labelling and allergen. Absolutely nothing! I am still very angry about this because Pret left us basically in the Wild West that if something happened, it’s our fault because they basically didn’t break the law at the time.

A list of issues I expand on in great detail:

Be Honest, Kind, Generous – Seminar on Customer Service. I start with a seminar that Pret did at the Barbican in spring 2017, a year AFTER Natasha died. But the seminar was NOT about allergen or labelling, it was about how to lure customers further to keep coming back spending money.

Vegans and Vegetarians Eat MEat at Pret with many photos by customers. Pret shops still mislabel products even in 2022 due to under-staffed, stressed out workers having to rush. Picture in the heading is a pot of mayonnaise sold as Bircher muesli. A stressed, rushed staff took the MAYONNAISE bucket instead of the dairy yogurt bucket. EASILY done!

A staff could have grabbed the dairy yogurt instead of the non-dairy yogurt for the vegan wrap that Celia Marsh died from.

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Pret’s labelling Committment? How staff easily mistake products due to under-staffing and rushing.

Pret do not label food in Dubai and Paris in 2021 and maybe other countries where there are insufficient labelling laws. Customers complain to Pret on social media with photos. Most likely there are no laws like the UK law “Natasha’s Law” since October 2021. Should a customer die in Dubai or Paris, Pret will again blame the local laws.

Pret Hygiene Rating 2/5. Many customers complain on filthy shops and London City Airport has scored 2 out of 5 in a December 2021 EHO visit on pest and hygiene issues. Again, under-staffed shops where staff are pushed to work fast to get products out but have no time to clean. Pret has never paid overtime while giving staff purposely very little time to do the job, then forcing them to work for free. Many staff walked out of Pret now.

Photos and videos of flies, maggots, rat droppings etc. in Pret food, as well as mice and ants running around including on food etc. Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot via YouTube:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Fans & Media HOLD YOUR HORSES!

Pret’s in shambles alright. But above picture by @Ruffbinta on Twitter, where Storm Eunice knocked at Pret’s door a little too hard, is a good metaphor how Pret is a shadow of their past PR glory. Though, they’re still able to fool the public with a smiley front.

So, relax! Pret won’t go bust! Take a deeeeep breath and have some soothing camomile tea on the house. You’re just being fooled again. This is just their usual way to use the media to make people believe Pret’s crocodile tears!

In Germany they have a saying, “In der Not frisst der Teufel Fliegen”. Loosely translated, “In times of crisis, the devil eats flies”.

In other words, in unprecedented times we do things we’d NEVER EVER thought we’d do in “normal” times. We would even eat flies if it keeps us alive.

The problem here though is, Pret is NOT in trouble! They are doing the USUAL thing of using the media to keep luring customers in.

I explain this in the “Tränendüse” post from 2020 when CEO Pano Christou did a clever PR stunt using The Guardian.

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Every link I post below shows evidence of how Pret keeps tricking the public.

Pret is desperate for customers. And what BETTER way to get customers in than saying, “We are about to close down if you don’t come and wait for 15 minutes to be served by our understaffed minumim-wage workers while we refuse to pay taxes and are busy counting our money … Hey boo, come on, buy our fertilizer.”

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Link to @Karatee’s photo.

All the customers who not only boycott Pret, but vowed to never set foot inside Pret again (for lowering wages, coffee subscription issues, poor quality coffee and food, customer allergen deaths and injuries etc.), Pret wants to get back by squeezing their tears into a throw-away cup in hopes people return in droves.

Pret is back 93% pre-pandemic levels, but hey, someone needs to foot the bill for the loans Pret took out and all the lawsuits they’re hit with, including the recent settlement for FINGERPRINTING staff in Illinois agreeing to pay 800 staff a combined $677,000 (after lawyers take their share around $500 per staff)!

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LawStreetMedia.com

And at least 6 further lawsuits in the million for unpaid rents in the USA.

Give Pret 6-12 months, if not less, and they’re soaring again higher than before.

And most importantly, they still sleep well at nights.

Telegraph: “Pret scrambles to delay loan payments over ‘going concern’ warning – Coffee chain has until June to repay £66.7m after pandemic borrowing”

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Link to Telegraph article.

UPDATE: 19.02.2022

The comment section shows a lot of insight into private equity. Some people aren’t fooled by this.

Quote from Hercule Smith: “This is a non story. The PE sharks are just running their business in their normal fashion: drowning in debt to negate tax (until just before they want to refloat it, when debt will just marginally reduce). They’ll drop in more equity when they have no choice, unless they spot a chance to dump the debt via a pre-pack or similar.”

Another quote: “How do you issue a warning and say you are continuing to expand?”

Bingo! As the above person already explained about the private equity sharks, Pret received £100 million from shareholders to open 200 more shops within 3 years. This will now be doubled to £200 million. Pret also received £185 million from owners JAB Holdings in tax-haven Luxembourg as well as the support from the government during furlough etc. There is NO plan to pay debt!

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Another person wrote what I also thought yesterday, quote: “If they are struggling to pay £60m this year how on earth would they pay £600m next. As for trading at 93% od pre pandemic level I find that hard to believe.”

Exactly! Especially also with all the lawsuits and settlements, Pret have no urgency to pay any debt. I also find it hard to believe that Pret made 50 million coffees on the subscription. They claim 50 million cups on Instagram and Facebook but NOT on Twitter because more people would call Pret out on Twitter than Instagram & Facebook. And the press is more active on Twitter but not elsewhere.

Here one customer calling Pret out on their BS on IG which I posted on Twitter:

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Link to IG

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

The Love-Bombing from Pret A Manger Low-Wage Staff

I have written already extensively on Pret A Manger’s micromanaging Mystery Shopper scheme including slides on YouTube. Someone last winter linked to my blog from Wikipedia, after I wrote a lot about my experience in Pret with the Mystery Shopper scheme and I kept mentioning Timothy Noah’s excellent article, “The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger“. But the Wiki editor deleted the link again. I don’t know who put my blog on Wiki or why it was then removed.

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But after 2018, after the customer deaths became known, Wikipedia updated a lot of information they didn’t have before, like the first Pret being opened in 1983 by Jeffrey Hyman NOT in 1986 etc. Pret keep it away from the public that Jeffrey Hyman was the first to open Pret and have now even put signs on Pret shops with a simple “London 1986”.

A friend of Jeffrey Hyman alleged on Twitter that Pret employed someone to keep deleting Hyman’s info off Wikipedia!

Link

A lot of info has been taken from my blog as usual, while Wiki remains out-dated on Pret issues. But that’s for another post.

I want to highlight again Pret’s humiliating Mystery Shopper scheme, but instead of a long blog post (don’t bank on it!), I want to link to my page with certain posts and YouTube slides I’ve already published. I use YouTube and keep adding to a playlist on a variety of issues, as Facebook and Instagram completely blocked my website after Pret must have reported me. But they can’t block YouTube! ‹^› (°_°) ‹^›

The press now KNOW about Pret’s emotional labour scheme but don’t want to elaborate on it as they always like to avoid having to mention my blog from where they got the initial info from. So, I keep updating customers who are still fooled that minimum-wage workers seem happy in an unforgiving stressful, noisy, hot, straining work environment.

Many customers are grateful to learn of this, some other customers cuss me out or communicate in other passive aggressive ways that they don’t want to know about this. They are p!ssed off because I destroy their illusions that staff actually smile for bonus and £100 cash rewards and NOT because they are in love with the customer or are happy working at Pret!

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Many middle-aged people are especially annoyed when they learn of the Mystery Shopper requirements, because they love to flirt with low-wage staff (for free coffee or just because they can). Some even LOVE it that staff are exploited this way and seem to get a kick out of it. Others have expressed their “reliance” of being “emotionally” cared for by poorly paid staff, who are exploited to meet the emotional needs of customers so that these customers return again and again to spend more money.

Customers become “reliant” on the emotional attention of low-wage staff as if workers are psychologists or emotional “prostitutes”. Customers have become conditioned to get their emotional fix from hospitality workers and workers have become accustomed to sell emotions on top of food in order to top up their low pay. I still cringe at this having had to distort my feelings for extra cash and to not get fear managed when a Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile, even when I was sick. Staff are not paid the first 2 – 3 days sick leave, depending on their age, even when they have a sick note.

I had to constantly make a decision if to stay home to get well but lose money, or go to work sick and risk that my Team didn’t get the bonus because I coughed!

Mystery Shopper excerpt when I coughed and therefore couldn’t smile:

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Mystery Shopper comment: “Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.”

I was reprimanded in the office later by my boss after this report came in. I also didn’t “feel cheerful” enough to smile after I buried my brother and Pret bullied me to keep performing emotional labour and refused to place me in the kitchen. I literally begged managers to please put me in the kitchen for a day or week where I didn’t need to smile. But they often refused because I was too slow in the kitchen but very fast and efficient in the shop.

I had to suppress my grief and keep smiling. After my shift I often headed for the bridge. Well Pret, I survived to tell my story!

Important to note as well that Pret staff have 60 seconds (sometimes Pret changes it to 90 seconds) to serve a customer, also to get the coffee ready into customer’s hands, and on top of that staff are demanded to stroke people’s emotions on the go!

If a staff or the Barista takes longer than 60-90 seconds, they risk also not getting Mystery Shopper bonus as Mystery Shoppers time them to the second while expecting PERFECT coffees, smiles, chatting, eye contact …

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Link to article.

UPDATE: On my podcast I talk in detail how the Pret mystery shopper scheme works. As WordPress also censor me and now don’t allow embeds, just click on the link or copy paste into a new window: https://anchor.fm/expretdotorg/episodes/Pret-A-Mangers-Strict-Mystery-Shopper-Scheme-e1ho40a

Or check Spotify:

Many more customer comments via the below YouTube l slides.

I received many Mystery Shopper “outstanding cards” (£50 cash reward) and “super outstanding cards” (£100 rewards when the scores were perfect) and many customer compliments for my service. But inside I was burnt out and later suicidal after my brother died. Pret continued to demand that I smile. I was reprimanded by management, including an area Manager after the Mystery Shopper commented that I didn’t smile.

The Mystery Shopper didn’t know that I just buried my brother, but Pret knew. It didn’t matter. No mercy.

Since I publicly write on this, highlighting certain sentences from the Mystery Shopper reports, Pret has changed the wording to avoid criticism.

Excerpt of previous Pret Mystery Shopper questions which Pret has now changed to more general questions:

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Quote, I highlight/bold a few things:

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. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

Little but important side note, an individual Pret staff serves an average of 300-500 customers per 8 – 10 hour shift depending on the busyness of the shop and their position. Hot Chefs, Baristas, Kitchen Staff of course serve less people as they have their job roles cut out for them. Pret demands that staff bend backwards like acrobatic clowns and what I call as “emotional prostitutes” to draw customers in emotionally to spend more money.

Further:

Quote:

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole team in this shop during your visit.”

Mystery Shopper: “The team members were focused on their jobs but were not welcoming customers. This could be improved by the team members smiling at customers when they entered the shop, and making a friendly remark or small talk, where possible.”

Where possible? Maybe it wasn’t possible because Team Members were FOCUSED on their JOBS for which they were paid for. Bonus is at the discretion of Mystery Shoppers and Managers. it’s a bonus, not a required wage! Yet, in this they are bullied and fear managed THE MOST!

It’s a lose-lose for staff. They are focused on their jobs for which they were hired and paid to fulfill, and if they wouldn’t be doing their jobs, they would be penalized for not cleaning, stocking up etc. And customers love to flock to Twitter to complain that their tables weren’t wiped or there is no sugar stocked up. All the while Mystery Shoppers are demanded to probe if staff smile while bending backwards being FOCUSED on their jobs!

If they do their jobs, they are reprimanded for not smiling. If they smile and chat but then don’t have time to stock up or clean or a bit of toilet paper is on the floor etc., they are reprimanded for not doing their jobs. It does not matter AT ALL how well they work, how much they do, they are always penalized and bullied in a nutshell.

Only one of many such reviews, quote from Glassdoor review “Stressful“:

»Constantly understaffed and expected to clean the entire store and multitask like crazy because there is no one else to do it
Sometimes really hard to get the bonus because you work so hard to make the entire store presentable, clean and neat but if the mystery shopper comes during the busy lunch period when you are understaffed and have to stay on till and cannot leave it and tidy the shop floor and they then don’t give you the bonus because there was ‘toilet paper on the floor in the toilet that could have been tidied’. Or if there is a long queue until the door they complain that they were not served within a minute and a half of joining the queue which is ridiculous.«

So, now many shops have locked the toilets with “out-of-order” sign on it since months.

They go left, they’re penalized for not turning right. They turn right, they’re penalized for not turning left. They run, they’re penalized for not stopping. They stand still, they’re penalized for not moving … You get the picture! I know what I’m talking about, I survived this bullsh!t abuse!

If you, dear reader, really want to see the micromanagement and humiliation in how ONE staff made a silly mistake, resulting in the whole team not getting bonus, read THIS, especially at the bottom of the page!

But be warned, your illusions are going to really get fucked up!

And to further destroy illusions of Pret’s “generosity”, when a staff member gives a freebie, that is almost a guarantee to get the £100 cash reward from the Mystery Shopper. An example of this is at the very bottom YouTube player.

I am not a fan of chains and neither of Wetherspoons, but boss Tim Martin in his interview with Kirsty Young on Desert Island discs years ago, said something that pleasantly surprised me. I’ve put an excerpt of the interview on Soundcloud, click play:

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Pret boasts about recruiting staff for their personality rather than their skill. This sounds lovely doesn’t it! Yet, so many especially in leadership are clueless on how to do their jobs. But as long as they are like bouncing bunnies fulfilling customers’ emotional fixes, that’s all that Pret cares about.

Two customer deaths and 20+ allergen injuries has not taught Pret a lesson that SKILL is life saving, with or without a smile. I write about this in: Recruiting for Personality rather than Skill can be Fatal, where I dissect HR Director Andrea Wareham’s interview on this.

Again, please also read Timothy Noah’s brilliant article from a customer and journalist point of view! And you may say, why don’t staff just get another job? Well, this question is for psychology and experienced service workers to answer in how fear management, brainwashing and inexperience with exploitation in low-wage jobs work.

And if you as a customer would ask any Pret staff if they’re happy working there, of course they will say YES with a BIG smile, because they fear you could be the Mystery Shopper! Even regular customers can be Mystery Shoppers and staff ALWAYS anticipate them walking into the shop at anytime.

I renamed the Mystery Shopper to “Misery” Shopper also because these are often people who ENJOY their power to withdraw or give bonus. I once signed up on a Mystery Shopper Forum where secret shoppers mingled and exchanged experiences of their jobs.

I explained to them our ordeal and how excruciating it is to have to love-bomb customers to get extra cash EVEN when we are bereaved, depressed, ill etc. Nine out of ten Mystery Shoppers on that forum were merciless and said that it is our jobs to smile no matter what. They absolutely enjoyed the power they had over minimum-wage staff. That’s why I dedicated my blog post on Timothy Noah’s article naming him a “hero” in my book! As a journalist he dared to take a more critical look at Pret back in 2013 when no journalist dared to critique Pret.

A thorough and extensive list on Pret’s emotional labour demands via weekly Mystery Shoppers can be found here, with links to Mystery Shopper reports, my own experience, YouTube and journalists reports: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Here I want to briefly highlight a few things again. I will now abbreviate Mystery Shopper to MS.

Since I write about Pret’s MS scheme, Pret has put some info into shops to quickly counter any critique and “admit” they do MS requirements, but they fail to explain how micromanaging and humiliating it is. Again, for thorough detail, see above “Dangers of Emotional Labour” page to the links.

After a strike announcement was made in August 2021, Pret quickly reinstated the hourly staff bonus from 50p to £1 starting in September 2021. Now Pret announced that the bonus will be £1.25 from April on when the government raises the minimum wage, forcing Pret to pay a few pennies more to LOOK generous.

I explain in detail why reinstating the bonus is a TRICK: Pret Staff Consider Strike.

In short:

Shop/kitchen hourly paid staff SOLELY rely on their weekly bonus via the weekly Mystery Shopper visits AND shop Managers moods.

Until April 2022 a staff member can earn an extra £1 per hour IF the MS is happy enough to give it. If a staff member works let’s say 60 hours that week, he/she will get £60 bonus that week if the MS is happy to give it. From April 2022 it will be £1.25 p/h. But even if the MS awards the bonus, the shop Managers have the discretion to NOT give the bonus for ANY silly reason. I explain in detail in above “Strike” post.

I and colleagues have been threatened by management that our bonus will be cut for any and all silly reason I explain in detail. Thus, Pret is using the bonus system to penalize staff and save money. Some staff have left reviews on Glassdoor and/or Indeed explaining that the bonus is used as a “weapon” or that achieving MS bonus has become extremely hard due to understaffed shops. Teams have lost bonus because there was a little toilet paper on the floor in the toilet, regardless if the shops are understaffed.

THAT IS WHY many shops have just CLOSED the toilets with an “out-of-order” sign on the door, as they don’t have staff to keep it clean and thus not get bonus.

It’s a lose-lose for shops! It does NOT matter how much they bend backwards and forwards, Pret penalize and bully them via the strict and unreasonable Mystery Shopper scheme. In hindsight after what I have survived in Pret, I really really believe that Pret executives and head office including HR literally ENJOY treating staff like this. Leadership that abuse their power over minimum-wage staff.

Managers also coerce young inexperienced Team Members to have sex in exchange for promotion. Sure, you may say, that’s a hefty allegation, but what world do you live in where your illusions get the better of you? Abuse in low-wage jobs is rife EVERYWHERE in the world. You know that! It was often an open secret what Manager got into their position via the bedroom! Sad for a sandwich shop! You expect that in law firms and politics or the music industry, but a sandwich chain? Really sad.

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Link to review on Glassdoor.

Or Luton Airport management:

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Link to review on Indeed.

Quote: “… Only sad thing was the whole sleep with a manager to get to where you want. Sadly it was the case for who was my assistant manager and main manager at the time. A lot of staff were very angry at this happening but that was not for me to dwell on. I looked past it.”

People have sex in the staff room because the shop offices have hidden cameras after Managers would have sex in the offices.

Shop Managers, Assistant Managers, Area Managers and above get their bonuses quarterly. But their bonus relies on a host of things like shop profits, waste management, labour costs, health and safety scores etc. But the biggest chunk in management bonus comes from the Mystery Shopper scores.

So, while shop/kitchen hourly paid staff solely rely on Mystery Shoppers and Managers to get their bonus, Managers and higher ups have more chances to get their bonuses. Thus, penalizing front-line, low-wage employees is much easier than Managers. This way they can control staff better while cashing in on the top levels.

Anyway, for anyone who loves to live in the real world and doesn’t mind to get their illusions destroyed, I wrote an encyclopedia on Pret’s “Misery” Shopper scheme with tons of examples and MS reports detailing the point and cash reward requirements.

So, next time a minimum-wage worker is love-bombing you, you won’t need to toss and turn at night thinking they’re in love with you. They just want to top up their crumbs that millionaire executives throw at them.

Smile For The Misery Shopper:

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After my writing on this, Pret changed the wording, but the demands remain as brutal as ever:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Sourcing New Lies (UPDATE Mar. 2022)

As Pret is raising the coffee subscription price from £20 to £25 a month, some customers announced cancelling their sub (good luck!). Some mention that they continue to NOT get any smoothies/frappes, even now in winter, no chai latte available etc. Pret of course continue to use excuses while in reality don’t want to serve any expensive items, including the complimentary cream on the sub. I write about this extensively in Pret A Manger keep adding excuses for not serving items

Also, Pret played a very clever tactical game. They raised the prices of food and other items these last few weeks, so customers quickly got the coffee subscription in hopes to safe money on raised coffee prices. Pret waited a few weeks so more customers subscribed, then now raise the sub prices. And it is common knowledge now that Pret make is hard to unsubscribe! And even when people succeed to cancel the sub, Pret continue to withdraw money from accounts. More on this below.

Between June and September 2021 Pret came up with yet another lie after multiple complaints kept coming in about lack of smoothies and frappes. Pret held people for fools, and most fell for it.

The lie was that they’re “sourcing improved equipment” but that this will take “a little while to deploy to every shop”. What Pret is NOT telling customers is that the GENERAL term of “equipment” are NOT ice machines or blenders, but the Cimbali coffee machines. Pret again leave it up to customers to interpret new improved “equipment”.

Customers keep speaking about ICE MACHINES and BLENDERS, NOT coffee machines! Pret wants to give COFFEES on the subscription NOT expensive iced drinks and chai latte etc. So a general term of “equipment” should fool the public.

Grass has grown over this and complaints continue now in WINTER 2022 Februrary that hardly any customer can find a smoothie or frappe where the demand is VERY low in the cold weather. Pret still refuse to serve it to safe money and continue to rip customers off via the subscription.

June Tweet:

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Link

The last of this generic copy & paste lie came in September 2021:

Link

It’s now February 2022.

Companies who work with Pret usually make huge announcement of equipment roll-outs. Coffee machine company Cimbali and others announced on all social media platforms that Pret has purchased new coffee machine equipment.

Interesting that there is NO announcement of ice machine or other equipment for iced drinks. 😉 The faster coffee machines are there of course to do MORE coffee for the subscription! But no iced drinks are offered. Also, what do faster more efficient coffee machines do when there is hardly any staff to man them!

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Link

So, the Pret social media staff spoke a half-truth. Pret DID roll out new “equipment”, but for coffee beans, not for ice machines or blenders, and neither for more staff to work to get the queues down.

And when complaints flood in about where the equipment is, Pret will claim that they meant the coffee machines. Thus the customer is the one looking stupid again.

UPDATE 24.03. 2022

A new lie has emerged which is so funny I almost peed myself laughing! A shop supposedly got a new blender but with only ONE jug. Well, that is impossible because in Pret we were ALWAYS required to have at least TWO separate jugs for dairy and a separate jug for non-dairy (smoothies). We even got stressed to use the appropriate lids. The dairy jug had its own lids and the smoothie jug has its own lid, EVEN when they were washed, we were required to use appropriate lid for each jug.

And Instagram is also on fire with new complaints regarding no iced drinks served.

Link

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Another lie Pret gives which is also laughable. In the summer Pret claims that due to HIGH demand, they quickly run out of iced drinks (even at 7am in the morning 😉 ). Now the lie is, in winter due to LACK of demand … 😀

I worked at Pret as a Team Leader, like a mini-manager, responsible for ordering stock every day. I worked for 10 years in 30+ shops, we NEVER EVER EVER ran out of iced drinks in WINTER! Not even in the summer. We were always instructed to have plenty in stock, which we did! It was EXTREMELY rare, even in the summer that we ran out of ONE item, then we offered another iced drink. And especially in Winter, there is NO way shops don’t order enough or ran out! Complete Bullsh!t and lies! So, Pret continue to hold customers for fools.

Tweets from just today:

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Link

Pret raise the subscription price while offering sh!t service and VERY limited products. Even the BBC report from December 2021 of 5000 customer complaints doesn’t seem to change that. Only a HEAVY fine and the masses voting with their feet will get Pret’s attention.

BBC: “Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal”

Link

Pret won’t waste any time to source new lies to every customer.

NHS nurse Tweet:

Link

Pret is indirectly pinning customers against low-wage staff, saying £1.50 from the subscription increase will go to the staff pay-rise. So, customers get mad at staff, while in reality, Pret is greedy, using the crisis to fill their pockets again. The pay-rise to £10 which will come in April, and is NOT in effect now, is a joke anyway because Pret keeps all the benefits cut, staff are still worse off.

Also, Pret is hit with numerous lawsuits ringing up into the millions, especially in the USA. A recent class action Pret has settled on fingerprinting low-wage front-line shop staff for clocking in and out. Pret agreed to pay 800 staff a combined $677.000. Everyone will get approx. $500 after the legal Teams take their slice.

And who better to foot the legal bills than customers!

More here: Pret’s Lawsuits and Settlements

Dan Price, founder and CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments who lowered his million dollar wage to $70K a year and raised all his staff wages to $70K, made a good statement:

Link

UPDATE 07.02.2022

After getting challenged on their “supplier issue” excuse (Pret read my blog) as well with chai latte since almost a year as well as matcha latte, cream etc. (all expensive items for the subscription) they now use a broad, general excuse of “operational difficulties as a result of the pandemic”. A one-size-fits-all approach that cannot be traced for truth. Clever Pret. But still, customers aren’t stupid and remain unhappy. Many silently vote with their feet.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2022-02-06-from-supplier-issues-now-to-operational-issues.jpg

Link

Pret A Manger’s Shady Practices, especially with the subscription and the difficulty to cancel the sub with Pret continuing to withdraw money AFTER people cancelled:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Prick A Manger — Pret A Manger’s Phallic Baguette

Okay, okay, I know what you think! What dirty mind do you have! But bare with me. Pun intended!

As customer complaints continue of Pret’s price hike, one customer pointed out how the baguettes have shrunk while prices have risen.

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Link

I want to point out something else here with Pret’s advertisements.

For one, Pret only use slim FEMALE hands in their advertising and mainly CAUCASIAN female hands. And the way the hands are holding a baguette or wrap has even other customers stunned.

Of course Pret will say it’s up to the customer in how to interpret Pret’s communications. When I worked at Pret and we had our training days in Head Office to become Team Leaders, we spoke about the calories in products. We were informed that the Posh Cheddar baguette had the highest calories, but that it is up to customers to decide what and how much to consume.

In other words, we say it’s healthy, while it’s loaded with salt, fats, chemicals, but you dear customer decide if you want to stuff yourself with out food. So, don’t complain later! This also happened in the lawsuit regarding Pret’s “natural” claim. Pret tried to get the lawsuit tossed out saying that paraphrased, customers should know that Pret’s food isn’t natural. I write on this in detail here at the bottom of the post: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat.

I will just put a few screenshots here, but people can check themselves what kind of ads Pret do, only using female, mainly white hands.

One customer pointed out on Instagram about the length of the baguette advertised that Pret enlarged. I worked at Pret for 10 years and NEVER seen this size baguette:

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The same ad on Facebook where a customer “omg’d” on it:

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Link

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Or an ad of a wrap:

Link

Also, a little side note, Pret is often cleverly using customer photos for their online ads. At times customers are “lucky” to get a month of free coffees for making free advertising or provide photos, other times customers have to ask for something. In reality, ads usually go for thousands of pounds especially when in print forever. But many are willing to give it freely to a multi-billion pound company making money off people’s photos and printed words.

And the monthly free coffees are of course via the subscription service that people have to sign up for! Win-win for Pret all the way! Coffees for Pret are extremely cheap. It costs Pret nearly nothing. One cup, including cup, lid, milk, labour etc. doesn’t cost more than 30-35p. Do the math on the profit margin and people easily selling out for cheap items in return for precious data (for marketing and to bind people to the brand) including intellectual property.

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Here, a customer is bold enough to ask for something for allowing Pret to use their photo, and yet after 3 weeks still hasn’t heard or received anything, while Pret collects data (home address, email) for future marketing:

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I also pointed out to Pret during Christmas time 2018 how unprofessional and CHEAP it is to use in-house staff for ads, when one photo showed quite poor, actually missing, manicure. Pret then deleted the Tweet, photo-shopped the picture and re-uploaded 11 days later. Now they seem to have gotten a better photographer, but it’s clear that the advertising people in Pret seem to be male.

Deleted Tweet from 10. Dec. 2018 which made me lose appetite:

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New Tweet from 21. Dec. 2018, photo-shopped and cropped whatever couldn’t get fixed 😀

Link

Even when zooming in on a 2021 ad for a wrap, the fingers are also look “rough” as if Pret used a kitchen staff for a free photo shoot.

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Why am I making such a fuss about it apart from being put off by poor manicure for food ads? Because Pret DEMANDS front-line, low paid shop staff to be PERFECT while under intense, unreasonable stress, and then in their highly paid marketing and digital departments at Head Office not delivering themselves!

Apart from that, I want to point out that Pret 9.9 out of 10 times use Caucasian, female hands and leave it up for interpretation what customers see in the photos.

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Lawsuits & Settlements

Below are just a few of the recent or repeated lawsuits Pret has faced and/or settled. Some lawsuits have disappeared off the news, and it may be because the plaintiffs settle out of court and signed an NDA, like the former staff lawsuit on racism. The case completely disappeared off the news.

Many customers on social media complain that Pret has raised prices to 20-24%.

Apart from getting more money of course, it is to cater to the owners JAB Holdings with seat in tax-haven Luxembourg under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns. Also serving shareholders and Pret executives, it may be that because Pret is facing settlement payments, who better to foot the bill than customers.

In the USA people sue very quick, while in the UK, even after customers died, hardly anyone is suing, and when they do, Pret keeps winning. The legal systems in the USA and the UK can’t be further apart.

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A staff member in the USA mentioned the constant lawsuits against Pret:

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There are ongoing lawsuits, at least six against Pret in the USA for unpaid rents. And even though Pret got help from the Government for employee costs during Covid, has received a cash injection from owners JAB Holdings of £185 million, have been awarded £100 million from shareholders etc. These are what Pret received. Another £87 million Pret is trying to get from the banks.

Altogether Pret received Government help and privately £285 million plus trying to get another £87 million. All the while refusing to pay bills and many customers feel cheated on the subscription service, hardly getting the items they’ve been told they’d get.

BBC report: Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal and many other issues that customers AND staff raise with Pret or the press.

The money Pret received, they don’t use to pay their rents and debt, they use it to open 200 more shops. Pret lowered wages, benefits, paid breaks of already stretched and burnt out front-line workers, then raised the wage to £10 after a lot of public pressure and a strike announcement. But the raise is still UNDER the living wage and Pret just made a big PR announcement about it! Staff are still worse off than already before.

Pret raise prices, refuse to pay the bills etc. etc. And now customers and staff foot the bill under the inflation umbrella.

Article: Pret A Manger facing millions in Lawsuits for unpaid rents.

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A few recent lawsuits, some that have been settled, others that are still ongoing or settled and plaintiffs can’t speak about it.

One of the most troubling ones, and where Pret is showing their TYPICAL naughty streak is the fingerprinting of employees in Illinois. The $677,000 settlement is really peanuts, because 800 current/former staff will get around $500+ each AFTER legal aid took their share.

Link: Pret A Manger Fingerprinting Class Action Suit Reaches Settlement

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While I’m with staff lawsuits, Pret had to repay TWICE 4000 staff for “shaving off” (rounding down), cheating staff out of pay. I write about this here: Wage Theft in Pret

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And another former staff lawsuit regarding racism in several NYC shops. This is the lawsuit that has disappeared off the public and press, unless I’m not searching right. Link: Lawsuit vs Pret A Manger on Racism with a link to the full court document.

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I can’t find any more info on this lawsuit and its outcome. I suspect that it was settled and the plaintiff Ms. Battle may have signed an NDA. Hence, we won’t hear of it anymore in the public. But it’s just my guess.

Regarding Allergen Lawsuits – So far Pret has won them ALL, unless something got settled out of court and so is not in the public knowledge.

Pret has set aside £10 million for allergen lawsuits and keep winning cases, even after two customers have died and 20+ allergen injuries Pret ignored until it all blew up in the media. Pret won because they didn’t break any law. and YET, Pret still don’t label in Paris and Dubai according to customers there. The UK now has “Natasha’s Law”, so it is LAW to label food. And which ever country outside the UK that does not have labelling laws, Pret just goes ahead and DON’T label! So far to the “meaningful change” Pret promised in 2018 when the deaths and injuries were revealed.

More here: Pret do NOT label food in Dubai, Paris

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2021-07-15-unlabelled-food-dubai1-marked.jpg

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2021-07-15-unlabelled-food-dubai2-marked.jpg

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Instead of setting ONLY aside £10 million for lawsuit settlements, Pret should continue to invest in LABELLING also outside of the UK. In the UK “Natasha’s Law” is now in effect since October 2021, but Pret AGAIN will blame laws in other countries should another customer die or get injured.

Pret set aside £10 million for food allergy scandal costs

And other lawsuits that are older or settled out of court.

One important lawsuit and challenge by the Advertising Standards Authority is on Pret’s “Natural” claim. Many people either haven’t noticed yet, or don’t know why Pret removed the word “natural” off all their signage and packaging. I explain here: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

etc. etc. etc.

One interesting lawsuit that was won against Pret RE-founder and itsu founder Julian Metcalfe where former Pret CEO Clive Schlee was involved (who owns half of itsu) is from 2002, quote from The Caterer article:

A senior chef last week won his unfair dismissal case against Julian Metcalfe, founder of both the Pret A Manger sandwich-shop chain and Itsu sushi restaurants in London.

Clive Fretwell, who had worked for 14 years at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, told a Woburn employment tribunal he had been recruited in 1988 to help develop a chain of Itsu restaurants.

He said the intention had been to give him a 2.5% founding stake in the business and an additional 10% in two years, with the possibility of ‘big money’ if it were sold. When a second restaurant, which opened two years later, failed to live up to expectations, Fretwell claimed he became aware that Metcalfe and Itsu co-director Clive Schlee were trying to get rid of him.

He said he was told last July that the company could not afford his salary, and he was dismissed in August.

The compensation agreed was undisclosed.” End of quote.

Link

And to wrap it up, Pret’s year in review 2021:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Example of Mob Bullying

Below I explain that I was reported to Twitter (screenshot below) because I wrote a blog post OUTSIDE of Twitter. I can see now that my Twitter account has been shadow banned (restricted, censored).

What Laura Elliott who rallied followers to report me, doesn’t realize is, that this happens all the time and is called “shadow banning”. It is a regular occurrence on Twitter. Many Twitter accounts are shadow banned constantly for speaking out after someone, who doesn’t like free speech, reports them. Some of course broke some rules. But restricting accounts/shadow banning is super normal on social media, especially on accounts that are whistleblowers or call out wrong doing in general (my Pret issues etc.).

In the first year when I blogged and tweeted about Pret, and CEO Clive Schlee was still on Twitter, I got shadow banned every other day! Now they stopped reporting as it is useless to silence free speech.

With the Laura Elliott situation, after Twitter initially didn’t find that I broke any rules, Laura deleted her Tweets (evidence), made her account private so that she can’t get reported and seemingly she and her followers continued to report me. And then Twitter just went ahead to shadow ban me to just have peace. 😀

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UPDATE: Twitter again reversed their decision of the shadow ban, which I explain in a Tweet (scrolling up).

Their generic mail:

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And since then the bully brigade plays Wordle to swamp tiny bully’s Twitter feed. Little do they know …

But of course they will continue to try to shut me down. A little message to tiny bullies, it doesn’t matter, even if you succeed, you will be known for your actions.

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I encourage Laura to continue to rally her yes-people to keep reporting me. It makes no difference whatsoever. Even if my account gets suspended. It makes NO difference.

Laura Elliott aka @TinyWriterLaura has rallied to bullying and grossly lied about me which I explain in my first blog post (below).

I have come up against a multi-billion pound company that I’m writing about. If she really feels so “harassed” because of disability like they claim, she is free to go to court and take all her followers with her as witnesses. She can then have the chance to tell court about her disability and where she felt that I harassed her.

I don’t know what happened to her, why she is so angry. But I am not interested in someone who rallies a mob to bully. I write about my own traumas very openly here, it’s very easy to see. I don’t make vague claims without explaining or evidence.

I have ONE regret, that I gave this bully too much space on my blog, but it is important to write this to show how “mob bullying” and gaslighting can be spotted. It takes tiny, insecure, cowardly people to gather a mob against someone, explained below.


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I already expanded on a very long blog post on the mob bullying I experienced on Twitter two days ago. I want to highlight an article that is much more poignant than I could ever write (I tend to write long texts!). But the article is EXACTLY what I wrote about in my experience.

Someone wants to be in the right, and when they can’t be in the right they elicit their followers (a mob), and in my case to report me to Twitter to get shut down. I say it again, I don’t care if I’m shut down, it’s just online stuff, Twitter goes rampant with quickly shadow banning or suspending accounts. It means nothing! I will always continue to write and speak out, no matter how much anyone wants to silence me.

People go against freedom of speech and freedom of expression while themselves publicly targeting others or simply speak their minds.

And I just had a thought pop up; I’ve lost everything, my family, the closest ones and the most important things in my life I have lost. And if you’ve lost everything, anything else you may “lose” doesn’t matter.

If you lose everything, you can’t lose anything! I may use that as a quote somewhere. And you can’t lose your voice! Be it in writing, speaking, using music, art etc. You can’t lose your voice. So, keep speaking, writing, blogging, singing, painting … keep speaking.

I wrote extensively about my experience with a disability journalist Laura Elliot, @TinyWriterLaura who rallied followers to report me to Twitter. They then proceeded to claim she is harassed as a “disabled” person.

I won’t repeat everything here to keep it short, but the details and screenshots are in this post: A Classical Gaslighting Scenario by the Book.

I came across a quote that puts it in a nutshell in much less words than I am able to write, but this is EXACTLY what’s going on.

Quote: “One reason for mob bullying is to get the target to perform the desired behavior….which is to leave. If the target leaves, the mob feels empowered and turns their attention on to someone else”

“… and turns their attention to someone else.”

Link to quote on Twitter.

They make themselves the victims, claiming they are being harassed and sought out. And whoever doesn’t agree with them is “evil”, called names, shut down. And many people just go away in silence. But not me! I will be not be bullied, they can report every day if they want, I’m not scared or intimidated by tiny characters who gather a mob because they can’t stand on their own! I survived too much, especially in Pret to be taken for a ride by cowards like this.

This is also what I wrote in above blog post about this being visible from this “mob” when someone doesn’t agree with them, they are labelled evil and other names. I posted an example of this by another person who called Laura out on this:

People who bully and want others to “bow to their whims” are generally very insecure. That’s why they call for followers to gather and report or whatever they scheme against one person or a small group of people.

They attack and then claim to be harassed. Disability is used etc.

When they succeed, they pat each other’s back “well done, good on you for not letting others harass you”… kind-of-talk. They claim to be harassed on their disability etc. There have also been open lies and from what I experienced in Pret and was able to proof it via grievance hearings, the leader and the mob are pathological liars. They literally come up with stuff. I also mention this in my long post with screenshots of Laura’s deleted Tweets.

I really feel sorry for them, because in the long-run they will run into problems where they get so entangled, they can’t see reality from imagination anymore.

I want to avoid writing another hugely long post and just link to an excellent article on this, with a quote that I experienced two days ago: “Mobbing typically starts with one individual, a leader of sorts, who then solicits secondary individuals to assist …”

Boom! Classic again.

An even PUBLIC call was made to followers to report me to Twitter to get shut down. Someone tagged me in after I was blocked, hence not followed any more Tweets. And others DMd/mailed me. Her account has been privatized after Tweets have been deleted. Basically evidence has been deleted. But I have all the screenshots before they got deleted.

Being tagged in and private messaged by people I never engaged with. Maybe this was done to get me back involved into the “conversation”, as I was already done.

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Shadow banning (censorship) happens very frequently on Twitter. And when I’m shadow banned, that doesn’t matter. Many accounts on social media are shadow banned when one tiny person reports. It has become very normal. It is a good sign because it shows when people are speaking out and “rocking the boat”.

Great article on “mob bullying”: Steps to Prevent Mobbing

Also, I want to recommend an amazing 3-part series on systemic workplace bullying that ITV put on in December 2019. The full episodes I link here to YouTube.

There are so many “mob bullying” scenarios that also shows pathological lying, targeting, sabotaging etc. which is different from what I described above. But it’s a really good drama series on how targeted mob bullying works. In this case the LEADER is bullied by his team because the company is making people redundant and the group is after the Team Leader’s position.

The actors, ALL of them are not only scarily good in portraying this, but I was so glad that they did a series on this, as workplace bullying is hardly covered in film, TV and theater. I hope they do a squeal or more on this subject, as workplace bullying is a pandemic on its own!

Trigger warning: If you’ve survived bullying of any kind, and especially workplace bullying, there are several things that can trigger or distress you! I myself was only triggered in the sense that I cried through almost all 3 parts of it, as I recognized so many things. But I was also still fresh in bereavement after my dad died. It was a mix of things. So, please be careful and just bookmark for later view when having breaks.

ITV’s “Sticks and Stones

Part 1 YouTube

Part 2 YouTube

Part 3 YouTube

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

When Life is too Hard that you keep up your Guard … Pret A Manger

Let’s have some FUN!

Yes, I can be light hearted and join some “fun” from time to time. But I can’t keep it just at a wishy-washy la la land situation. Fun here can be interpreted as wished!

A few “fun” things I tried to fling into the atmosphere from serious issues regarding Pret A Manger.

The Molly Goodfellow Pret Thread

Pret Poets Society

PRostitution in PRet

What does an Angel of Light look like?

The Pret A Manger Anthem

Former Pret CEO Clive Schlee is now Prohibited from entering a Pret

THE OLD pret a MANger AND THE SEA

How to Chase 3 Multi-millionaire Businessmen off Twitter

The Pret Love Treatment

Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot

Pret A Merde

Pret A Migraine

WOWing Pret Customers (Area managers sometimes give a staff member £10 or £20 when they see staff “wowing” at work incl. wowing customers. This is to manipulate other staff to do more. I still wow customers 😉 )

Happy Being-Awkward Day

Escape From Pret – The Inedible True Story

Pret’s Bang-Bang Rip-off Wrap

Pret’s Diverse and Reliable Soup Rota

Organic Coffins Natural Fools – Pret has a new fool

An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret

Pret Foundation Trust and Pret’s FALLEN STARS Program!

The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idee (The £1000 Announcement)

Pret set aside £10.

Pret and “Broken Window Syndrome”

The 12 Days of Christmas … uhm, the 12 ways of Pret’s Mess!

Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendars 2019, 2020, 2021

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UNRELATED-ish TO PRET:

Ruin a Band Name by Removing 1 Letter

Ruin a Band Name with 1 Letter (removing OR adding OR exchanging a letter)

Ruin a Company with 1 CEO

Writing Challenges and Fun Stuff

Nothing more to come, because I’m done.

©2022 expret.org

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


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger MISINFORMED the Press?

I received an email by a current Pret staff last night. This staff has given a “fake” email that doesn’t work, so I can’t respond to it. Some staff write with their true name and email, others with pseudonym but still a real email, and others want to completely be anonymous, which is fine. But if any current Pret staff read this, could you confirm if this is true or not? The full email verbatim, quote:

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Comment: »Hey! I am a Pret employee and I have been reading on the news that Pret will increase our salaries and benefits. This is true. However all the news I’ve read doesn’t make clear that those changes will be in place only from April!!
Even The Times says that this is our second pay increase in four months which is not true.
I believe those newspapers were misinformed on purpose.
It is ridiculous to announce a pay rise two months and half in advance!!!«

End of quote.

If this is true that Pret misinformed the press, then it truly is merely a PR stunt to lure workers in and make Pret look good again in the public eye because many customers boycott Pret after staff wages were cut to minimum-wage. And Pret is desperate for staff! The press played messenger again, like I mention in below post in my take on the pay-rise and why this is a joke: Pret’s new PR Stunt – payrise in Pennies.


UPDATE 30. April 2022:

I want to elaborate on some numbers in regards to pay.

  • CEO Pano Christou 2020 pay: £300,000 (more than UK Prime Minister) Source: The Times April 2022. Source: The Times.
  • UK PM pay: £161,401 Source: Politics.co.uk.
  • USA President pay 2021: $378,333 (2022 conversion rate £300,897). Source: Yahoo news.

Now, it’s interesting that CEO Pano Christou spilled the beans on his 2020 pay, but NOT on his 2021 and 2022 annual wage, let alone how many millions on bonus he got. Former CEO Clive Schlee pocketed £30 million on bonus alone. Source: Daily Mail.

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I think Pano doesn’t give details on his 2021 and 2022 pay because Pano, Pret, former CEO Clive Schlee etc. are always QUICK to make charity or any “good-doing” announcements for the public. Pano, Pret cut staff hours and then wages during the pandemic. They did that in a very nasty way. I write about this extensively on To NHS Staff.

But in a nutshell, on 18. March 2020, just before first lock-down, Pret made a typical PR announcement to be giving free coffees and 50% rebate on food to NHS workers. The public and press went ballistic with praise as usual. The very next morning on 19. March 2020 I wake up to a DM from a Pret staff, whom I don’t know, that Pano has just sent a mass email to all shops and HQ to announce cuts to hours and with it pay. This is the very next day, early in the morning (probably sent late on 18. March 2020) Pano announced cuts to staff hours.

I was later contacted by other staff who sent me his email which I posted in above blog post which I addressed “To NHS Staff”. Pret did their usual nasty thing, doing PR announcements and even worse, using NHS staff as a smokescreen to hide cuts to own staff. I say it again what I said about this before, low-wage Pret staff basically paid for the NHS freebies and this PR stunt.

In above NHS blog post I posted a few customer comments on this. But this NHS worker was one of the very few who spoke out on behalf of Pret workers, most NHS staff enjoyed the freebies and didn’t give a toss who actually paid for it. It’s the same with all the free coffees, Pret don’t pay for it, they raise coffee prices to cover the cost. Same with the “free” plant-based milks, the week that Pret made vegan milks “free” was the same week they raised the coffee prices. You ALWAYS pay, one way or another, and most customers fall for it. The TImes made that clear as well: “Milking it: Pret a Manger’s dairy lovers pay for vegan surcharge“.

But to take from already low paid employees to give as a PR stunt to NHS staff takes a special breed of business people. Many call this “normal” business, no there’s nothing normal about that. In our society we’ve just been brainwashed to believe this is normal and good.

That’s why I emphasis some rare gems who speak out, like this NHS worker:

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Link

Link

After cutting contracted 35 hours to maximum 28 hours and managers contracted hours from 42.5 to 35 hours, Pret then also later made pay-cuts. Pret “asked” staff to TEMPORARILY get less pay, as if they had a choice. Many were fired, those who didn’t want to sign the new contract were let go. And then in 2021 Pret announced the pay-cuts to remain permanent. Staff were now on less contracted hours, while still working overtime for free, a very common thing in Pret, and also had their pay decreased to the national minimum pay of £8.91.

If Pano would have also taken a pay-cut during the pandemic, he would have announced his 2021 and 2022 pay to boast about his “charity“. But he only revealed his 2020 pay.

When the public got wind of the pay-cut, many customers on social media started to call Pret out and many not just boycott Pret, but vowed to never set foot inside Pret again. Hello independents became the mantra. Even “celebrities” like Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha started speaking out. Mrs. Sawalha has over 500K followers on Instagram and more followers on Twitter than Pret UK and Pret USA combined. Her words alone has lost Pret a lot of customers and staff turnover remains high.

Pret silenced a staff strike announcement in 2021 with a trick after The Guardan reported on the strike announcement. I explain hat trick Pret used, here: Pret Staff consider Strike.

Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret and some of the many staff reviews can be found in below YouTube video.

Back to some numbers:

UK minimum wage for over 22 year olds before April 2022 was £8.91, less for under 22 and even less for under 18 year olds.

UK minimum wage for over 22 year olds since April 2022 now is £9.50, less for under 22 and even less under 18 year olds. Needless to say that Pret love to employ under-aged workers and older experienced staff have to make up in unpaid overtime for the lack of skill and work experience young people come with.

In early 2022 when Pret learnt about the government minimum wage increase coming in April 2022, Pret made their typical PR announcement again on their website, not on Twitter because I and many others call them out on their bullsh!t on Twitter. Pret had the audacity to announce that they are having the highest payrise in their 36 year history to £10 and more. Source: Pret.com
But Pret did not mention that this will come in April 2022 and Pret lied again, it’s not £10 an hour, it’s £9.75 as found on job recruiting sites. Link on Twitter from 7. April 2022 AFTER the government raised the minimum wage to £9.50 and Pret claimed to have the biggest pay-rise to over £10.

Here the potential worker even has limited public transport:
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Pret have always paid a few pennies more, up to 25p, than the competition to appear generous and lure low-wage workers in. But staff have to work double and triple for it, and don’t get a payrise or promotion in many years. Even when staff go into a new higher role like barista, team leader etc. shop managers procrastinate the training, procrastinate the promotion, and with it procrastinate the higher pay.

MANY many staff members work in higher positions without the higher pay. I myself have been tricked by a manager who delayed my “graduation” to not pay me. She also broke a promise to give me the highest pay. When I confronted her and announced I’d be leaving if she doesn’t keep her promise, which she made with an old school handshake, she immediately promoted me and increased my pay to the promised highest rate. But then, she and her boss, the operations manager (OPs) transferred our kitchen assistant manager to another shop and we had no assistant manager anymore, and my work load increased. They basically retaliated by giving me part of the assistant manager’s job.

Pret staff over 22 years old starting pay £9.75 LINK

Pret is heavily into wage theft. I had to chase unpaid hours for years in every single shop I worked in. It was “normal” for me to have my separate spreadsheet, noting down how many hours I worked and how much I was paid. It is very normal for shop managers to take an hour here, and hour there, 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there from many staff members. It all adds up at the end.

Pret settled class action lawsuits TWICE in New York having had to repay 4000 workes combined almost $1 million each time. I write on this in Pret A Manger Wage Theft.


It is also very common that Pret does not pay the last week pay when staff leave. They did that to me, but I only noticed months after I left Pret because of the payout I received when Pret fired me, I didn’t notice that the last week is missing, also as my dad died at the time etc. My mind was occupied again from yet another blow. Some former staff mention the missing pay issues on review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed.

Link to Glassdoor review.

Little side note, there’s a reason why Pret and even CEO Pano Christou have such low ratings. Former CEO Clive Schlee already left with a “legacy” and even before he “retired” in September 2019, he let Pano Christou already take over Glassdoor representation in July 2019 to avoid further “landslide” ratings.

When Schlee’s “retirement” was announced in June 2019 (while he remained in the background as Non-Executive Director until mid 2021, a customer on Twitter pointed out the poor ratings and reviews on Glassdoor.

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Link

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And days before Pano took over on Glassdoor:

Schlee’s “retirement” was in September 2019.

Since mid July 2019, typical Pret “leadership”, blame downwards, let lower ranks take over in critical times:

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So, if £9.75 or even if £10 is the highest pay-rise in 36 years, then it shows you how ridiculous and stingy Pret are, yet they are so used that the public falls for their bullsh!t, and employees are brainwashed and fear managed to look for better alternatives.

Journalists should go to Pret shops and ask staff directly. They may not get an answer as staff are instructed to refer journalists to Pret and not speak with them. But staff are frustrated and some may speak to the press nevertheless.

And here again a reminder on the public outcry last year after a strike was announced and Pret cutting pay to minimum-wage. Customers not only boycott, but many vowed to never set foot inside Pret again!

Two YouTube slides/videos within a playlist. I use YouTube because Facebook and Instagram have completely blocked my website after Pret must have reported me. So, I’m “forced” to reach out on other platforms. Just let the player continue after the first slide with all the customer boycotts, to the next video that will start automatically with Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret. Nadia basically highlighted – I paraphrase – how staff have carried Pret through the pandemic and as a thank you Pret cut pay down to minimum, as well as cutting benefits etc.

And Nadia Sawalha having half a million followers on Instagram and more followers on Twitter than Pret UK & Pret USA have combined, Pret surely is desperate to do a PR stunt to fool the public AND potential employees again with the help of mainstream media:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret’s new PR stunt: Raising Wages in PENNIES calling it “Biggest” Ever Raise in 36 Years

PLEASE SCROLL TO 01. June 2022 UPDATE!
Pret are doing an ILLEGAL thing of NOT paying their staff today! For the second time!!!

Please also see my post on Pret’s WAGE THEFT and the class action lawsuits in the USA Pret settled TWICE within 4 years: Wage Theft in Pret.

Also upfront as a point of reference, Pret SILENCED a strike action that was announced by Twitter person @at_pret last year. Pret did that with a nasty TRICK! Explained here: Pret Staff Consder Strike Action (and how Pret silenced it fast). I never heard anything further from @at_pret even after they asked me and others for help.

Please also see an update from 08.06.2022 at the bottom.

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Here we are again, Pret with the help of mainstream media doing their usual PR stunt. Headlines saying that Pret raises wages the second time in months … or this being the biggest ever raise in Pret’s 36 year history … or calling it a pay “boost” … etc.

And upfront as a little side-note, it is telling that Pret made this announcement on their website and NOT anywhere on social media, but let the press announce it. Pret has recently deleted former staff comments and made commenting on their “We’re hiring” posts unavailable. So, they don’t make staff announcements anymore on social media, but use the press for it as Pret wouldn’t be able to keep up with deleting all those staff comments! Why? Here’s why with screenshots of deleted staff comments: Pret “Last Minute” Staff Shortages?

Calling 50p or even 90p etc. the “biggest ever” raise in 36 years is very telling how 1. greedy Pret is and 2. how easily fooled the public is with the help of mainstream media! And even Unions fall for this, assuming “victory” where there is none! Pret only always raised pay a few pennies when the government raised the minimum-wage. On their own, Pret did not raise wages, that’s why they may be calling these peanuts the biggest ever in 36 years. Quite a joke!

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UPDATE late night 01. June 2022

Pret A Manger’s “payroll error” cough cough … So, it really seems that Pret are in financial trouble, with the loans, lawsuits, debt etc. But again, taking it from the lowest paid employees, well keep sleeping well at nights Pano. You think you get away with this? Staff and friends of staff ALWAYS contact me when you do sh!t like this again!

Just recently I changed my Twitter profile text. And more than ever, it may become reality.

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For the 2nd time Pret is not paying their front-line low wage shop staff. So much to the “biggest” pay-rise in their 36 year (39 year > Jeffrey Hyman) history (PR stunt).

Private DM from staff:

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For people with visual impairment whose programs cannot read screenshots, part of the DM I received from a person on 01. June 2022 says, quote, “For the second time in around 2/3 months pret has failed to make weekly payments to their workers. The failures of prets payroll team today will leave workers unpaid for 5 days. … They have set up a support portal which is only available on Saturday, still leaving two days without pay.” End of quote.

The DM includes screenshots of Pret’s email to shops, not included HQ staff like they usually do, which means, this might only apply to the lowest paid staff on the front-line shops and kitchens.

The person further writes, quote: “This is literally devastating for workers who not only have bills to pay for but also may have plans over the bank holiday, and also with banks shut are unable to set overdrafts etc” End of quote.

And Pret do this AGAIN in a very sneaky way like they did with the NHS PR stunt in 2020. Pret do this during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend when all the press and everybody are distracted with the Queen. By the time anyone notices or responds, Pret already made money and delayed pay to please shareholders and JAB. Low-wage workers suffer YET again for Pret’s crooked greed!

Brief recap from 2020 just before first lock-down: Pret announced on 18. March 2020 freebies and 50% rebated to all NHS staff. The very next morning on 19. March, I received a DM from a Pret staff writing that CEO Pano Christou sent a mass email to all shops AND head office, announcing cuts to staff. I write about this here where I published Pano’s email: To NHS Staff.

Pret used NHS workers as PR and as a smokescreen to distract from the cuts. The same he does now again during the Queen’s Jubilee. The press are busy and distracted. Disgusting @&%!….

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Yesterday’s message, NOTE: Payment will be made on BANK HOLIDAY Monday!!! On a bank holiday? Pay can never be made on a bank holiday or Christmas/Easter holiday etc. Pret STEAL and LIE in broad daylight!

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UPDATE 22.06.2022

Quote from Propel Info who only report on sales and positive things of Pret, never of critical issues: “The return of London’s bankers to offices last week following school holidays and the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday pushed sales at Pret A Manger in the capital’s financial districts close to a pandemic high.”

Sure, the numbers are up because Pret took pay from the staff over the Jubilee weekend, these crooks.

Link

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So, here’s the deal: Pret shop staff are NOT paid, and if they need money, there’s a fee which Pret are supposedly paying. We don’t know where to reach the government department, but this time a lawsuit is mounting.

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etc. etc. etc.

Pano Christou, what you are doing is ILLEGAL!

Shop staff are paid every Thursday, and Pret cleverly use the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday to delay pay! I am beyond disgusted! There is no such thing as “payroll error” in advance, and then for the 2nd time! Pano, you got £300,000 in 2020, but haven’t spilled the beans on how much you got paid in 2021 and now in 2022, PLUS millions in bonus!

I have emailed Pano Christou and copied in journalists. The person who DM’d me, I have passed on emails of journalists to them and will get financial standards body and the government involved now!

STOP STEALING from low-wage workers!

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UPDATE 02. June 2022, after emailing journalists, including Sarah Butler from the Guardian: “Pret workers short-changed as ‘payroll error’ delays jubilee wages”

Link

Photograph: Neil Hall/EPA

A payroll employee calls Pret out on their bullsh!t, of course it’s inexcusable, because it’s a lie and an excuse in the first place. Pret should get investigated by financial authorities and the government.

Link

I emailed CEO Pano Christou copying in Sarah Butler and others, which resulted in above The Guardian article. I sent one last email to Pano Christou yesterday and published it here: My Last Email to Pret / Pano Christou.

For people who come to my blog for the first time, I write so openly and bluntly after having been bullied and targeted DURING bereavement in Pret. Pret offered me hush money, but I declined and never signed the NDAs offered. My full story at the bottom audio player and links.

UPDATE 03. June 2022 Staff begin to sabotage Pret which means customers will also suffer. Instagram message, quote from one person:

“This is outrageous, it’s a bank holiday week-end and your team members are working instead of enjoying themselves and you didn’t even pay them. You should not allow to have these technical issues as you push your staff to not do any mistake. And is not even the first time.” End of quote.

Response by a Pret worker I highlighted some words, quote:

“Don’t worry. We already drastically reduced food and service quality (since we work for free) and we will make sure Pret doesn’t make as much money as they think they will this bank holiday weekend. They told us 12 hours before payday that there is no money, on 1st of June when everybody has rent/mortgage to pay. They left us with no money to provide for our families. We tried to contact the head office regarding the issue but all of them were already gone enjoying early bank holiday. Lots of people already took sick-leave as a strike action leaving those in the shops understaffed (food availability will be affected). Thank you for your support. I advise to come back next week if you’re our customer to avoid disappointment. @pret you forgot to pay us because of public bank holiday. That’s the real reason, you simply forgot but you’re trying to hide it under an “error” excuse. You deserve to be publicly shamed.”

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Off the bat, Pret of course are not paying £10 an hour. They pay £9.75, 25p above from April 2022 on minimum wage. And in this job ad, there’s even limited public transport. Staff have to figure out how to get to work.

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This Tweet is from 7th April 2022 when the new UK minimum-wage of £9.50 came into effect: Link

With the rising costs of food, utility bills etc. Pret staff are not only NOT better off than before, they’re WORSE off! Pret already made pay cuts during the pandemic down to minimum-wage, as well as cutting benefits, paid breaks and other perks. Raising the pay back to a little over minimum-wage is where staff were before, yet workers are still worse off than before! No more paid breaks. Staff rebates down from 50% to 25%. And other perks and benefits that remain cut.

And before you office workers complain that you don’t get your breaks paid, you should work just 1 hour in any Pret shop! You will run out within minutes, kissing the pavement!

So, what’s this new Pret hype all about that most fall for again?

A pay rise in pennies that’s a little over minimum-wage, like they had before Pret cut wages to minimum. Yet, wages are still below the Living Wage and Pret keeps the “temporary” benefits cut and other perks they cut during the pandemic, while putting more work on staff who work for 3 people each!

The bonus from £1 to £1.25 is also a joke because bonus is at the discretion of extremely strict, micromanaging weekly Mystery Shoppers AND shop management. Bonus can be refused for any and all reasons, no matter how small! Staff reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed have mentioned that the bonus is used as a “weapon“.

Or another review where shops are extremely under-staffed and workers have NO CHANCE to do everything as they have no staff, and the Mystery Shopper cuts the bonus because there was a little toilet paper on the floor in the toilet! Quote from Glassdoor review “Stressful“:

»Constantly understaffed and expected to clean the entire store and multitask like crazy because there is no one else to do it
Sometimes really hard to get the bonus because you work so hard to make the entire store presentable, clean and neat but if the mystery shopper comes during the busy lunch period when you are understaffed and have to stay on till and cannot leave it and tidy the shop floor and they then don’t give you the bonus because there was ‘toilet paper on the floor in the toilet that could have been tidied’. Or if there is a long queue until the door they complain that they were not served within a minute and a half of joining the queue which is ridiculous.«

And these are just 2 of the many reviews on Mystery Shopper bonus issues. And from my own experience, I and my colleagues have been threatened with not getting bonus for the silliest reasons. Current Pret staff who recently wrote to me said that their shops hardly get bonus anymore due to the utter chaos and mess in their under-staffed shops! I know from experience that it was already hard before the pandemic, but I don’t even want to think how staff suffer now, physically, mentally and financially. All the while Pret boast again, having a laugh on the cost of their hard-working employees.

I write about the extremely strict, micromanaging and humiliating Mystery Shopper scheme where ONE staff did not ask a SPECIFIC question, resulting in the whole shop team to not get bonus.

If you don’t read anything I write, PLEASE READ the following Mystery Shopper report via the link, and tell me if reinstating and even raising the bonus isn’t a PR trick by Pret: Pret Staff don’t look Happy.

But not only a little toilet paper on the floor is the issue now, many customers complain about dirty shops. London City Airport has received a hygiene rating of 2 in December after an EHO visit. Detail here.

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The bonus system is a tool to manipulate and fear manage staff. Low-wage shop and kitchen staff ONLY rely on the bonus via the weekly Mystery Shoppers AND shop managers random mood swings.

Shop and area Managers (OPs – Operations Managers) get their bonuses quarterly and their bonuses rely on a host of things like shop profits, waste management, labour costs etc., and the biggest chunk is the Mystery Shopper scores. But shop/kitchen staff only get or lose bonus from Mystery Shopper visits and Managers’ moods.

Hence, Pret reinstating the bonus back in September 2021 after a staff member announced a strike action because Pret cut bonus from £1 to 50p, is a TRICK. I explain in detail here: Pret Staff Consider Strike Action.

The psychology is simple: Pret cut wages to minimum-wage DURING the most dangerous times in recent world history. Pret also cut benefits and other perks. Then Pret raises the wage again to a little over minimum-wage the way it was BEFORE, while keeping benefits cut and staff doing much more work. And thus, they continue to sell ice-cubes to Eskimos in winter time.

And unfortunately staff, most of the public and the press fell for it! Even Unions celebrate! Shame on y’all!

Link

Pret did NOT raise the wages now in pennies because of the strike announcement back in August 2021.

Pret now raised a few pennies as psychology for low-wage workers and the public because many Pret staff walked out, shops closed (also due to rent issues and lawsuits on unpaid rents etc.), many customers announced boycotts and some vowed to never set foot inside Pret again, Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret, bad press etc.

All these led to Pret playing another trick by raising the wages a few pennies above minimum wage, but still under the Living Wage.

And all y’all are fooled again! Shame!

And as a visual reminder again, former CEO Clive Schlee pocketing £30million in BONUS for himself alone! Do a rough calculation how much pay PLUS bonus current CEO Pano Christou, all the other execs and the shareholders get! And then tell me again that the pay “boost” and investment of £9.2million for 8000 front-line staff who carried Pret through the pandemic on wage cuts risking their lives, is generous!

Link

Pret’s owners JAB Holdings with seat in tax-haven Luxembourg under the second richest family in Germany, the Reimanns, must have given the green light to Pano Christou to throw a few crumbs at workers to appease the public and burnt-out staff. Front-line workers are so burnt out, they have no strength to even look for a better job. Morale is low, hope is gone, so a few pennies are supposed to fool them again! And it will.

»You can’t run a business on goodwill when the goodwill dries up.«
– Pret Staff Review on Glassdoor.

And remember the NHS smokescreen in March 2020 just before first lock-down? Here’s a reminder!

On 18. March 2020 Pret VERY quickly acted to the possibilities of a lock-down and announced free coffees and 50% rebates on food for NHS workers. The press and the public went ballistic with praise.

The very next morning on 19. March 2020, I wake up to a Twitter DM by a Pret staff who in despair wrote that shops have just received an email by CEO Pano Christou in the morning, announcing cuts to staff hours, and with it to pay. Other Pret staff started to send me the CEO email from that morning which I then published on my blog, as my website is the “channel” so-to-speak between Pret staff and the public/press.

I tweeted this to the press and all over, and Pret retracted for a few months until grass grew over it, but then started making cuts left right and center. But only to front-line Pret staff.

NHS workers were used twofold, 1. as a PR stunt for the public as well as NHS staff, and 2. as a smokescreen to hide cuts to staff. I write about the timing of this announcement and posted the full CEO email to shops here: To NHS Employees.

It is safe to say that millionaire Pret execs, who safely worked from home or socially distanced in air conditioned head office, TOOK from their low-wage front-line workers to pay for the NHS freebie PR stunt. And you all applauded!

And here is how Pret continually get caught doing Wage Theft.

Also, if anyone wants to take a peek behind the scenes on WHY Pret always makes BIG and noisy “charity” announcements: Pret’s Charity Projects.

So, dear mainstream media, you can continue to ignore my writings, my own experience and firsthand knowledge of Pret. You can continue to support this gaslighting system that claims to not be able to afford at the LEAST a living wage and PROPER benefits, to keep on enriching entitled prats who s*it on those who made them rich! You can continue to ignore Pret staff experiences and keep their voices silenced. You can continue to suck up to Pret because it’s not YOU who has to feed children on slave wages, after getting burnt out day-in, day-out until there’s nothing left to even find hope that this short life can be good for hard-working, honest people, who are stepped upon because their work is called “low-skill” to justify poverty wages …!

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That’s why very few people make it on my blog and YouTube posts, who are not as easily served up with Pret’s PR bullcrap!

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UPDATE: 08.06.2022

Someone posted on Linkedin about an auction for the Pret Foundation. Pret really seem desperate for money, using their “charity” smokescreen to get money.

Link

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

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Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Hygiene Rating

I’ve been writing on Pret’s hygiene and pest issues since I started my blog from own experience as well as what customers post on social media.

I’ve tweeted @foodgov on Twitter many times regarding pest issues, stale/expired food etc. I am surprised though that Pret at an airport did so poorly.

When I worked at Pret, an internal health and safety staff from head office made an unannounced visit to a Pret shop, and when this shop did poorly they call it a “black visit”. This means that shop had multiple issues of poor hygiene, expired foods, pest etc.

When this happens, Pret then names and shames that shop throughout the whole company for the rest of us to shudder in fear to do better. I never liked this calling out of shops, managers and staff, for the main reason that Pret do NOT give shops enough staff or PAID time to do things properly. Managers have not been trained properly on pest issues until a shop was shut down by an EHO at around 2011-ish. THEN only did Pret get a professional pest control company on board whereas before only had internal staff to deal with it.

I write about this in below link “Rat A Manger …” where I worked in a mice infested shop and we BEGGED head office for us to close the shop over the weekend to get on top of this! But no, nothing was done until an EHO closed down a shop after finding pest issues. Then Pret started firing and penalizing Managers who weren’t trained in the first place!

Plus, staff have always been overworked, even before the pandemic. Pret schedules staff rotas so tightly that staff have no chance whatsoever to finish all the tasks, especially the cleaning in the time given. Pret pretends that staff aren’t working hard enough, while in reality they work their @rses off! Managers then manipulate and fear manage staff to work overtime for free!

But because I was/am very organized by nature, I often managed to finish tasks with my colleagues on time, even early. And after this constant aim to manipulate us to work even harder for free, I drew the line and clocked off by the minute and as a Team Leader let my colleagues go home at the DOT of our scheduled finish time.

Whatever task couldn’t be completed, we left undone, as long as we did the most important things first, like cleaning, health and safety checks and repairs etc. Anything unimportant we left for the end, finished it, or we didn’t finish it and went home. Enough was enough! As long as we worked hard and did our utmost best, I refused to be threatened or manipulated to do even more for free. My Managers had no choice but respect this, because most of the time we DID finish everything and they KNEW my and my colleagues’ work ethics. They had NOTHING to get us with, even though they tried!

So, my question to regular customers is: You witness shops being so immensely busy, overcrowded, understaffed, two people behind the counter if they’re lucky, one person on the coffee, queue to the door, day in day out! And now during the pandemic and much more staff shortages, staff sick, staff walking out … shops close unannounced and without explanation or with dodgy “technical issues” notices.

Do you think that the food you eat is really FRESH?

Do you think that minimum-wage burnt out staff have time nor care to wash their hands in-between products (vegetable to meat products, allergen, gluten-free etc.)? Especially now during the pandemic in even more understaffed shops?

Do you really think that Pret has high quality products after being fed these slogans for decades?

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London City Airport’s hygiene rating is just the tip of the iceberg!

And if an airport shop can rate so poorly, a shop that is within a shopping unit on a property run by third parties, not independently as a shop on its own on the high street, are you kidding yourself that all the other shops are doing better?

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When I walk by a business that has a rating of 4, I always ask myself “What was the ONE point they lost the rating for?” I am not a competitive person in sports, or creative things etc. I do my thing, and when people are better or more successful in whatever they do, that’s great. I don’t care about that. Everyone has talents, makes effort, does hard work. But when it comes to hygiene ratings, I expect 5 out of 5 and won’t enter the business with a rating of 4! When it comes to hygiene and health & safety, I have zero tolerance to the slightest issue that is easily preventable!

The first thing I do when entering a restaurant, I go to the toilet, partly to wash my hands before eating, but also to see how the toilets are. I have walked out of businesses before even sitting down at a table, just by the looks of the toilets. End of.

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Link to part of the report which in this case was pest issue.

Quote:

»Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building (including having appropriate layout, ventilation, hand washing facilities and pest control) to enable good food hygiene« Improvement necessary. End of quote.

Usually when pest issues are found, the EHO who did the visit closes the shop until it is free of any pest. When an internal Pret HQ health and safety staff had a “black visit”, the shop has 4 weeks to improve. Often the shop Manager, even Assistant Managers and Team Leaders will be moved to other shops or send on “holiday” or get fired, depending on the situation and/or how close/friendly the Manager is to the OPs/area Manager. It’s all about making friends in Pret unfortunately. I was never good at making friends. I just wanted to do my job and go home.

Back in 2015 six+ months after my brother died and an area Manager targeted me for months on end with the help of other Managers, I was sent to a shop that had a “black visit” to help fix the mess. I was known for my strict hygiene and safety record, doing things by the book. But it was my darkest time in 2015 and 2016, with my brother’s death and the intense bullying issues that started shortly after I lost my brother.

Other Team Leaders and an Assistant Manager from other shops were also sent to that shop, as the whole shop leadership team was sent on holiday or fired. We had 4 weeks to fix the shop. What I didn’t know at the time is that I was sent there to FAIL! And I did fail in a few things, which was NORMAL because that shop was a f@cking mess and we were in front of a mountain of issues trying to figure out where to start!

All eyes were on that shop! Everyday “important” people from head office visited, health and safety staff came by, the pressure to improve daily was very high. And frankly, it was very unfair on us who came from other shops to fix a mess we didn’t create! They had no mercy! This area Manager who targeted me to get rid of me used the SMALLEST issue to get me a written warning etc. with the help of another area Manager and Managers.

Last year I called out another area Manager on Linkedin and Twitter who helped her to target me. This area Manager who’s shop had the black visit (she doesn’t work at Pret anymore after 20+ years, but still interacts with Pret on Linkedin), helped target me and then had the audacity to “like” my pinned Tweet about former CEO Clive Schlee. I asked her many times, for months to unlike my Tweet as I did not want her on my time line.

She was a SENIOR OPs Manager with 18+ years experience at the time. She could have EASILY supported me instead of supporting the bully-area Manager to target me. I still did my job exceptionally well, even during traumatic bereavement. I was KNOWN for my work. I was TOLD and confirmed via Mystery Shopper reports etc.

She could have stepped in, having seen my track record at work. But she helped the bully instead to get me a “note of concern”, a first step in the direction of a disciplinary and then dismissal. The smallest things I made a mistake in I was targeted with, penalized and threatened. All during the darkest time in bereavement! It was an emotional war zone I found myself in! How I survived this, I do not know! At the time “ignorance was bliss” and I kept giving Pret the benefit of the doubt, until the evidence mounted! I saw with my own eyes after applying for my file, how Pret with HR and Managers SCHEMED against me! It was there, in black and white on paper!

Bereaved, ill, even disabled staff have no room in busy Pret shops. Time is money, and whoever crumbles under the weight of personal tragedy will be sieved out fast.

If Pret would have supported me from day one, like they boast about their Pret Foundation Trust to be helping vulnerable people, I would be writing a completely different blog now!

And the little help they did provide was ONLY after I contacted former CEO Clive Schlee in WRITING, so as to cover their tracks! But the bullying continued, it just shifted in more subtle ways.

Pret’s Foundation Trust charity project is PR and a smoke screen. Longtime staff have no chance when they become bereaved or ill! They need to go ASAP!

I even suggested to Pret in writing to put me under someone in the Pret Foundation Trust until I recuperated, another OPs Manager I worked with briefly, also suggested this to Pret, also in writing! But Pret refused!

So, this experienced area Manager helping the bully and then liking my pinned Tweet? Really?? Nah!

She ignored my request to “unlike” the Tweet again and again! Only when I requested this again under current CEO Pano Christou’s Linkedin mention, did she unlike it, then blocked me and then LIED publicly to never have liked it. Well, thanks for confirming what a toxic b**** you are!

Typical Pret leadership!

She then lied publicly on Linkedin after I asked again for her to “unlike” under a post that mentions former CEO Clive Schlee and current CEO Pano Christou. I then got booted out of that feed and my post got hidden/deleted by Linkedin after someone reported me. That’s why I take screenshots. But this is VERY typical Pret A Manger leadership, they like stuff in secret while pretending to be with/for Pret in the open.

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Really?!

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But regarding Pret’s hygiene and pest issues, and the 2 rating in City Airport, dear customer, you see the tip of the iceberg here!

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My post on pest issues in Pret: Rat A Manger & Pret A Maggot

My post on expired NON-fresh food: Pret Food is NOT Fresh

YouTube video and slide for those who don’t want to read long blog posts:

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

Please also see the MEDIA page for more.

.
Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

.

.

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.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 unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Racial Profiling in Pret A Manger

My second post of the year is for a lady who has raised the issue of racial profiling in a Pret shop in Manhatten, NY. She contacted Pret, and after a few times did get a response, but then keeps getting ignored again since months.

Of course, at this point it’s an allegation, but no-one who makes up stories would pursue this for months. And from experience having worked at Pret, I know for a fact that there is racism in Pret, also toward staff. I mention this because some come with the bullcrap “argument” that these are only allegations and no proof. I can only implore journalists again to go undercover into Pret and see for themselves!

I send her a link to CEO Pano Christou’s Linkedin post on Facebook, she posted on Linkedin as well now (see below). But so far no response again.

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Link

Pano Christou closed his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press about Clive Schlee’s “retirement” and also mentioned Pano’s Twitter account. He then promptly deleted it and now “hides” on Linkedin where people tell each other sweet little nothings all day, and how awesome Pano is, while Pret shops lie in shambles!

Journalists read my blog, so I offered her to put her concerns on my blog. Her message to Pano on Linkedin which they still leave in, usually they delete critical posts:

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Link

For larger print, quote:

»On August 30, 2021 I was racially profiled in one of your locations in Manhattan New York 47th & 6th street. I went through the proper channels and emailed customer service. As of this date December 23,2021 I have not gotten a phone call or any type of gesture apologizing. I have been in contact with someone but nothing has been done. I emailed them yesterday and my email came back blocked so I use two other emails address and they came back blocked. The first Rep was Elle Reference #10091595. I don’t want to discuss in details what happened on the platform but if I have to I will. You can check into this matter and get back with me ASAP.«

And having worked at Pret for 10 years and visited Pret’s London Head Offices many times, I rarely saw Black, Indian/Asian staff working there. Most are Caucasian British, German, French with very few exceptions. The same with OPs/area and shop managers.

UPDATE

February 2022

Pret’s response via Facebook (Shanee sent this to me). Pret AGAIN claims to have some technical difficulty, pretending they didn’t get the message.

I ask again like I did in my other post about Pret’s ongoing “technical issues” while having received a “digital technology leaders award”:

Pret A ‘Manager’ Received Digital Technology Award (for screwing up their digital technology so much!). In the post I linked to some of the many customer complaints that they can’t use their subscription and Pret claiming “technical issues”.

Question: How can a multi-billion £$ company have THAT MANY technical issues for so long?

Anwser: they don’t have technical issues, they’re just lying again!

Pret’s response on Facebook while continuing to ignore the complaint onracial profiling AGAIN. Shanee has the her emails as proof she sent it:

“Hi Shanee, We’re sorry to hear that your original message has not yet been resolved. We’ve asked our team to see if they’ve received your emails so they can get back to you as soon as possible. We’re also currently working to resolve a tech issue that sends an “undeliverable” message even when the emails are delivered. This is likely what happened when you tried to email our team this