A Gag Order on Grief

 

I listened to a podcast on grief and how in this society death, dying and grief are taboo and people suffer in silence. In my own term I find that grief is silenced to death! It’s a blunt yet gentle podcast called Grief Out Loud.

In this particular episode “Inviting Grief Out Of The Whisper Corner – Megan Devine” the interviewee mentions that there’s such a “gag order on grief” in this culture, which I found a perfect description on how this society deals with grief and grieving people.

Full eposiode:

 

Another “loud” group, The Good Grief Project, was started by grieving couple Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds, who lost their 22 year old son Josh in a road accident on his trip in Vietnam. They interviewed other grieving parents and in making documentaries toured UK cinemas last year. In a London cinema they had a Q&A they do at the end of the screening, and Jimmy Edmonds said something striking after an audience member mentioned their struggle with loneliness in their grieving process. Jimmy said that in Victorian times it was common and completely normal to talk about death, dying and grief, but it was taboo to talk about sex, and how today it is the complete opposite.

I personally am tired of being swamped with sex images, sex talk, sex this, sex that… and THE inevitable that WILL come to ALL of us, Death, dying and grief is avoided like the pest! And when a loss finally hits us, we hang on a string fighting for life itself as we can’t cope with the onslaught of grief and shock! We were never taught about death and grief being PART of LIFE! We avoided it, we silence it to death, we treat it as if it is an evil to be shunned!

My own grief was very loud from the get go because of how my brother’s death was communicated, was unclear and was handled! Within weeks and after his funeral, flying back and forth, running errands, taking care of family, but still forced to work, I very quickly went to my doctor. I ask for help early on with referral to counseling, as I knew immediately this was too much to handle on my own or just with friends. It was too big for friends as well of course who soon withdrew. I had to hold it up for my family, remained strong until I broke. And we all went lost, each in our journey. And as I acquainted myself to loss and shock after shock, I buried my dad 3 years after my brother.

What I went through at work in Pret A Manger, I write about extensively on this blog and don’t want to go into, except to say for any new reader that I was bullied during bereavement, which I speak about in detail in the audio player at the bottom of this page and all over my website. But I don’t want to get into this too much in this blog entry here, and want to concentrate on the “gag order on grief” that Megan Devine so poignantly describes.

With everything that unfolded with my brother’s death and the added nightmare at work, my grief was 95% pure anger! I went into a mix of autopilot, functioning like a machine I was conditioned in for so long, the anger turned inward as I felt a huge burden of guilt to have let my brother down. And yet I was crying out for help in all the places from mental health institutions, friends, work, online bereavement groups … everywhere I went I mostly met a brick wall of silence or helplessness, and being passed on to another organization. The online bereavement groups frustrated me because all of them were widows who, many of them lost their partners 10, 20 years ago. But here I was having learned about my brother’s death weeks before and had to listen to widow’s experiences. With all the added stress at work, I went on an emailing-spree like a mad-man goes on a shooting-spree. No-one’s fault.

All the complications that grief and loss brings I went into head first, full force! I was like a headless chicken running around trying to make sense of what happened and all the added turmoil at work. A Twilight Zone opened up, like I was dropped in a land full of aliens and stumbled through a mental war zone, trying to figure out who my ally was. “Enemies” popped up at work. And in a fog I tried to navigate through a mine field where my presence became an inconvenience for my superiors. There was no friendly fire, no accidental shot, there was real ambush and the fight for survival in a toxic work environment.

Workplace bullying is already a hostile attack on ones dignity, but going through this during grief, I can only say that in the beginning ignorance was bliss! As I was in shock and turmoil, and even though I felt early on I was targeted, I kept going while mixing it up, blaming my turmoil on my grief.

My friends became overwhelmed and I don’t blame them. I worked in Pret surrounded by food with daily free food allowance, but lost 25kg in the first 6 months of bereavement. I was overweight but lost 35 – 40kg within a year, as I couldn’t eat and only forced myself half a baguette or one banana a day. I stood on my feet for 6 – 10 hours a day and went for walks hours after work. I couldn’t stop walking, like I was looking for my brother or trying to escape the mine field. I don’t know how I survived, but I felt “intoxicated” with adrenaline to get to the bottom of what happened and punished myself with questions of why I let my brother down!

Friends were at a loss, and all I always tried to say to people: You can’t and shan’t fix things! But please also don’t be scarce! You don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, so let’s do the unknown together… But neither of us could.

It’s just in other words how Megan Devine in above episode says:

»I feel like I’m more able to have no answers for things than I used to be. I like to believe that I’ve always been pretty good at holding space for whatever is going on for somebody, both as a friend and [professionally]. What’s different in my own grief [and others’] is, I’m okay to have no response at all other than my presence.«

In their own helplessness some blamed me, and I had to come up with my own empathy for my friends and understanding for a multi-million pound company! One thought always came to mind early on, when I tried to function as if nothing happened, I always thought in my utter loss and shock, “If in grief, comfort your friends”. But I still don’t know how to do that.

Death will come to all of us. Grief already has. And everyone grieves differently and in different times, length and depth, but whatever everyone’s coping mechanism or culture may be, grief cannot be silenced and my survival is to be loud.

 

»Unquiet Grief«

The wind does blow
today my bro

A few small drops
of rain

I’ll never have
such a brother again

In a cold grave
his ashes remain

I’d do as much
for my true blood
as any sibling may

I’ll sit and mourn
all at his thought
Forever and a day

The months and all these days
‘been rough
the dead began
to speak

Oh, who sits weeping
at the thought of me
and will not
let me sleep

It’s me my brother
who weeps at your fate
and will not let you sleep

I crave one hint
of what occurred to you
and that is all I seek

You crave one hint
of what occurred to me
the truth may be
hefty strong

If you’ve one hint from my
cold grave, sis
your time may not
be long

I ponder and wander to the
past so green
and go where we used to play

The finest mem’ry
that has ever been
is broken down to clay

My live has turned to dust
my kin
so will our hearts decay

So make yourself
content, little sis
till God calls you away

— poetrasblok.com

 

In memory of my big brother Thomas

Text: “Unquiet Grave” originated in the 1400s
Adapted “Unquiet Grief”: poetrasblok.com
Music: Kris Drever / LAU

 


 

Interview:

©2019 poetrasblok.com

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.

12 Ways of the Pret Mess

 

Poop

 

As this is (supposed to be) a time of cheer and peace and celebration, although many don’t know anymore what Christmas is about, I want to add a rather humorous take on my ordeal in Pret. I will always speak about what I have been through and how toxic it is behind the PR[et] facade. But like a semi-Advents calendar, behind each “door” is another “treat” of what I’ve been through in Pret and during this dark time.

Please support small businesses that are ruined by the big guns that don’t care for customers’ lives or staff’s welfare. Large corporations that only want to exploit PEOPLE and their pockets, packaged in good deeds and a shiny front.

Merry Christmas and a healthy good year to all readers, new and regular visitors.

 

 

The 12 Ways of the Pret Mess

 

The worst way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

a Development Manager’s grief

 

The second way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The third way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s abuse

 

The fourth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The fifth way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The sixth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The seventh way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The eighth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The ninth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s abuse

 

The tenth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Ten Flawed Hearings

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The eleventh way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Eleven Unpaid Wages

Ten Flawed Hearings

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s abuse

 

The 12th way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

12 HR Corruptions

Ten Flawed Hearings

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Pret A Manger Use Bereaved Against Bereaved

 

UPDATE March 2019 I tell my story for the first time verbally on a podcast based in California, at the bottom of this page.

 


 

Today is my brother’s (estimated) 4th year anniversary.

I feel like writing a second short blog entry today after my first post and tribute to him, a second brief post on the “perversion” of Pret A Manger’s dealings with bereaved staff. I am still in shock over this.

I want to highlight this again in light of how Pret dealt with two customer deaths, as the public for the most part is still under the impression that Pret just made a mistake like any other would. But from my trauma with Pret, I experienced them as toxic, calculated, careless and stepping on people’s dignity.

 

  • I learned of my brother’s death on Monday 12. Jan. 2015
  • He was found on 15. Dec. 2014 in his flat, estimated date of death around six days before. As the date is an estimate, the council put the date of 15.12.2014 when he was found on his grave instead of the estimated 09.12.2014. We didn’t know they’d do that and again we were NOT informed or consulted on what OUR wishes were! I wanted to let this date be changed but my mum didn’t want me to struggle with this and just leave it. So many strange things happened like sending his urn from his city to my mum’s village council via POST! I didn’t even know this was “normal” procedure in Germany! For some people, like some of my friends this isn’t a problem, but for me it is! Terrible to send the urn of a loved one via post! Shock after shock after shock!!!
  • The police was so sloppy they couldn’t be bothered to search extensively as they ruled out fowl play.
  • They cremated my brother before finding us! Only recently I found a video of a family in the USA who’s son/brother died and was cremated without finding the family. I thought these things don’t happen.
  • When I learned he died, I learned it in one loaded email that amongst other things he was completely gone!
  • I am still in thoughts and communication with people on what I can do about how all of this was dealt with.

 

  • Fasting forward through a horrific period of trauma, confusion, unclear information, horror and on top of this being bullied in Pret during this time. If anyone doubts my story, I have written evidence that could fill several books!
  • In complete trauma, on autopilot having to work and like a zombie I raised grievance after grievance not realizing that Pret’s toxic HR department was behind my ordeal at work. It was a waste of time and energy. I just stumbled through an emotional minefield in a mental war zone.
  • Because I was so instabil, in the end calling sick increasingly, Pret used a Development Manager from HQ, who worked with Pret for around 15 years at the time, to sanction me. She had a brother who also died in his flat alone and was not discovered until days later, like my brother died and wasn’t found until days later. There are some minor differences between her brother’s and my brother’s circumstances in death, but overall the major parts were like a twin story.  Her brother died roughly 5 – 6 weeks before my brother died in his home country, like my brother in our home country. But instead of introducing us for mutual support in our common grief, Pret used her to sanction me via the tool of gaslighting because I spiraled into traumatic emailing, even though she wasn’t even working in HR. I learned of my brother’s death via email, was targeted and bullied via group emails from my line managers and other emailing incidences that started an emailing sprint lasting for months.  Straight away the day after the disciplinary she and I entered into personal contact solely via text messages and emailing for which she sanctioned me! I was so out-of-sync that initially I thought Pret was supporting me through her even though I was always confused and questioned her why she was used to sanction me instead of someone else doing the disciplinary and her just having normal, non-secret contact. But in hindsight and after having ignored a friend’s warning, she was “spying” on me, on my mental state and if firing me would be a risk for them as a disciplinary is the first and pretty secure step to fire people.

I was so out of it I didn’t see the scheming in this and to this day I don’t know if she even had a brother who died like he did. If her story is NOT true, she is an extremely good liar because the way she described everything was very graphic which I could relate to because that’s how it was with my brother! But if it is true, to allow Pret to step on her as well as my dignity like that is beyond me!

Not only was this the most corrupt thing I have experienced, I have also gone through another kind of loss of having met a person with the SAME loss to just be tricked and lose that support, even though after what she allowed Pret to do via her, I would not want any connection with her again.

My traumatic grief that NO-ONE understood plus the bullying in Pret was like going through a torching desert, then reaching an oasis and someone handing you fresh cold water, and just when you reached out to drink, they snatched it away!

THIS is Pret A Manger behind their PR facade!

 

And in Pret the bereaved are still treated badly as a former employee from NYC left a review in November:

 

2018-11-01 Funeral

Link

 

To keep it short, after initial improvement of my traumatic emailing, I restarted as I was confused and further traumatized with the Development Manager’s conduct. I just became really unwell. My grief turned complicated. Her manipulating and gaslighting me was a very easy task for her as she is also a Hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner and in 2017 studied to become a Psychotherapist. She is registered under The National Hypnotherapy Society that wasn’t interested in pursuing my complaint.

I was fired three days after Christmas, days after my dad came out of his coma still in intensive care when I was summoned back from Germany to London for the dismissal hearing. Two months before I was fired Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee patronized me by calling me his “late night girl” because of emailing late at nights after work. He had a laugh while they all pretended it was so wrong, tricking and trapping me all the way. Therefore I named my website this to be a sore in his and Pret’s sight!

My dad died in March and in a new Twilight Zone I started in May 2018 to write about my ordeal after initially just having posted videos and poems for my brother. I will eventually re-blog everything for my brother and/or separate my Pret ordeal from my brother’s blog as my brother should not share a website with this corrupt and toxic company that is Pret A Manger.

I rejected 4 settlement offers if I resign and be silent about what I went through in Pret. These are the brief bullet points of my story with Pret. My story is spread throughout this website.

I know I am not dealing with this in a way I would have wished for, but I am still coming to terms and acknowledge after almost 4 years that I am actually doing extremely well under the circumstances! And I don’t care if people agree with it or not. It’s MY story, MY pain, MY loss, and MY way to try and navigate through trauma and grief. And I will eventually move away from this “ranting”, but the public is oblivious on how cold and negligent Pret is behind the facade. Unfortunately through deaths of customers becoming public and how badly Pret dealt with it do some of the public and the press slowly wake up.

 

My blog has grown with many writings of my ordeal with Pret, but to lead the reader to the main issues, please see the links below first before you get lost in all the other blog entries.

 

Some key blog entries of my story in more detail:

 

 (Links will open in a new window)

 

>>> In Memory of my big Brother Thomas. 

*25.02.1969 ~ †09.12.2014

 

Please visit my brother’s page I created today among other posts. I initially started my website and blog with videos and poems for him and will eventually turn this back for solely my brother and life in general.

He died alone in his flat, I want his memory to be known and not be alone. Pret has no place in my life even though I wasted 10 years in this company, it has almost destroyed me and postponed my grief for my brother. My brother is gone, I can’t recover him, but I will recover, tell my story and help people against workplace bullying under corrupt CEOs and toxic HR departments.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO. 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California. Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2018 expret.org

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

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

 

The Good, Bad & Ugly: To Clive Schlee

 

To the current CEO of Pret A Manger Clive Schlee,

I want to respond to your invitation to give feedback on the good the bad and the ugly. As you anticipate my responses, not blocking me so you can collect my Tweets and writings (also through automated bookmarking from my blog) in case for court and other reasons I won’t speculate upon, I continue to share for the sake of the public. I used to never do these kinds of communications. I used to always be discreet and professional giving the benefit of the doubt, communicating one to one, and not calling out wrongdoing in public.

Yet as you know, with what your management and HR department has put me through under your guidance and leadership, especially managers telling me off in front of my teams and my repeated requests to be spoken to in private regarding mistakes, I was given the poor explanation that I am being corrected for the benefit of the team so they can learn from my mistakes.

Apart from this being very poor management and a lame excuse for bullying, I do like to take the opportunity and use this leadership “style” to communicate to you openly again for the benefit of the public and other companies to learn from your “mistakes”.

As there are always new readers who do not know my story and what staff in Pret go through, here again my feedback on Pret A Manger’s work-conditions. Starting with an employee review on Pret in New York City:

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

Link to review (collected with other reviews and complaints on “Quotes of the Day“)

 

 

Pret A Manger: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

 

The Good

I used to be a very giving person, quick to forgive, patient in difficult times, very loyal come rain come shine, hard working with integrity and passion, deeply caring for my teams… and I am still these things with measure and with all the shortcomings I have. And if there is one good thing I take away from my experience in Pret, it is the lesson and freedom to say the small yet heavy word starting with “n” and ending with “o”.

Like the above review from 30. October 2018 of a former Pret employee in NYC, I can only underline this review as I have also never worked in such a toxic, abusive and bullying workplace that hides behind a smiley facade. And it took extreme trauma, being bullied during bereavement and gaslighted under a corrupt HR department to finally come to the conclusion that Pret is absolutely not what it gives itself to the public and staff.

 

From another review appropriately even titled “The good and the bad”, quote: I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth…” Link

 

The only good I took away from Pret is my freedom to say “no”, no matter if this will result in unfavourable positions, exclusion, less finances etc. It doesn’t matter. The most precious things I am left with is my integrity, my principles, my values that cannot be prostituted for money or bought for silence or crushed by incapable and poorly trained “leadership”.

No!

 

 

The Bad

Unfortunately Pret has drawn the bad out of me. Where I used to be discreet, professional and quick to forgive, I went so out-of-sync in my communication, and yet I am still learning with the support or others to not be hard on myself.

Tomorrow 09.12.2018 will be the fourth anniversary of my brother’s death, and that date is only estimated, we “adopted” that date just to have a reference. But I was not to learn for five weeks after he was found that he was dead and cremated, completely gone. All the circumstances, the mess and surroundings of it was to turn my life unto a halt while going ahead on autopilot with no choice but to keep working.

To then be bullied by Pret’s management and my aim to bring suggestions to HR and “help” a multi-million pound company improve work-conditions to have a clear policy for bereaved employees in place, was in hindsight not only a waste of time, but not my responsibility. Clive Schlee, you certainly had a good laugh on the account of my dignity and health. My grief was postponed while going through this ordeal in Pret. My grief has turned complicated as it already was. I can never be silent about what you put me through with this incapable, careless and manipulative management style.

The true employee reviews where staff are “overstretched” as undercover reporter Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror experienced; where staff are being treated in a way that a GM felt no other option than to walk out; and in my own and many other experiences where workers are stressed, pushed and bullied to breaking point even during bereavement will always rise to the surface of the facade you worked so hard on to maintain.

The slogan of “doing the right thing” and with your HR department taking it to more lofty heights by claiming to be “doing the right thing naturally” is unbelievable in its arrogance!

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks3

Link

 

Review: “This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you. … You will lose everything that makes you human.” Link

 

You try to compensate this “leadership” style by treating former homeless people (whom you patronizingly call “Rising Stars”) with kindness and more consideration, and in your own words are “careful to integrate” them into regular shops, as the work environment is brutal and may catapult them back unto the streets giving your PR a true face.

While this is a great thing to do, helping people back into work, giving them an beautiful break by flying them out to your Austrian home, or hike in the English countryside etc., I question the motive behind this kindness. Many staff in the main “population” of your workforce are treated horrendously bad. People are fired unnecessarily and unfairly, staff become depressed and suicidal. I was bullied during grief under your watch and you even being part of my ordeal calling me your “late night girl” two months before I was fired while my dad was in intensive care just out of a coma!

This contrast to your “Rising Stars” program should make anyone question the true intention of your “kindness” as I pointed out in my open letter to the Pret Foundation Trust. It is like what one reviewer compared Pret to a “Mafia” organization I posted in Pret A M*ffin. No, of course Pret is not a mafia organization, but what does a mafia organization do best? They rule in every corner of a region, give money to the city and charities, to school projects and hospitals, and of course to the police and politicians, and even the press, while getting free range and their backs covered to build their organization and destroy lives. So, I can empathize with this reviewers comparison.

 

Quote from your blog about the Rising Star program and the idea for them to run a shop entirely by former homeless people:

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

 

Clive Schlee Blog Rising Stars

 

“leaving them too exposed…”

 

for this:

 

Horrible Company Pret

Further down in the comments

 

and this:

 

2018-06-27 Horrible

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-01-12 Never Ever

Link

 

and this:

 

2017-05-29 Bad experience

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

 

and this:

 

2017-12-20 Avoid AM

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Link

 

and these:

 

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… and many more compiled on this page.

 

It doesn’t matter how many “fake” reviewers are employed for Glassdoor, Indeed and other sites. True reviews on horrible work-conditions, naming and shaming shops when they don’t do well, overworked and underpaid workers, all these reviews will always continue unless real change happens for ALL employees, not only for a few selected “Rising Stars” for PR. Regular hardworking staff are being bullied, thrown on the streets, into mental illness, depression and suicidal thoughts!

 

40 percent 63 percent CEO 8Nov18

 

 

 

The Ugly

The ugly part in my work in Pret has topped everything that I ever imagined could have happened in an already traumatic workplace experience. It has shown how toxic, disgraceful, disrespectful and scheming the leadership and HR really is.

I could tell you the estimated date of a man who died in his flat alone and was not discovered until days later when his corpse was already disintegrated to the degree that it wasn’t recommended to view his remains.

I could tell you about a woman who had to learn days later in another country that her brother has died, not knowing at the time what he died of.

I could tell you about a staff member who kept working in Pret, on autopilot, traumatized and trying to come to terms of the untimely loss of a loved one.

I could tell you about that employee and the details of the death, family circumstances, upbringing etc.

I could tell you about this person, but I won’t because this won’t be my story. This is the story of your Development Manager whose dignity you stepped upon by using her to sanction me for my emailing. She then entered into emailing and text messaging, even though she sanctioned me for it. We entered into personal communication because our brothers’ deaths were like a twin story.

But the ugly and frankly perverse part in this is, that she was not asked to get in contact with me for mutual support in our common grief. No, her tragedy was used against my tragedy for your toxic, corrupt and disregarding leadership style to avoid truly caring for your employees.

Unfortunately her conduct was equally abusive as she is also a Hypnotherapist under this governing body and she wanted to use my experience in grief for her psychology studies. And maybe she felt without a choice, with her back against the wall to please HR, maybe out of fear to not be treated favourably or have a career. I don’t know. But it was her choice and problem, and it is not my concern to figure out her motives for playing along with this disgraceful scheme.

I write extensively about this in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department“.

 

The offense upon offense, grief upon grief, loss upon loss I have experienced since my brother died I am still coming to terms with. To be introduced to a colleague who has such a similar loss, to only be tricked and trapped is beyond me. The opportunity Pret A Manger has had, was not only lost, but it was kicked with disregard to truly make an impact that would have led me to write incredibly positive reports, instead of putting a crack into your facade, no amount of trips with the “Rising Stars” will keep your white washed facade in tact.

Your new bosses have now employed the specialists company Headland to help you in how to conduct in public affairs where your previous PR just doesn’t cut it anymore. They were added to help properly communicate without putting the foot in the mouth with sweet-talk and patronizing labels! Yet, what Pret really needs is not another firm to show them how to best keep the facade polished while it is rotten behind it, what Pret truly needs is real leadership that doesn’t have slogans but true ethics and care in place. True leadership that take responsibility, away from all the blaming game Pret is so entrenched in.

The crack in the facade will be fixed again, but there will always be new cracks appearing where the stench of staff mistreatment, toxic work-conditions, a corrupt HR department will ooze out unless the core, the heart of the business is truly changed from the top down.

 

I cannot bring my brother back, and I certainly will never work in a toxic company again, but I can keep taking my life back and live the freedom to share what happened to me and how many others are struggling to the point of suicide. And I am proud of what I was able to contribute, even while you, Clive Schlee won’t ever admit this. You don’t need to.

 

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ― Anne Lamott

 

When I made this “video” below earlier this year, I was still in a mental storm of trauma, loss, guilt to have let my brother down, guilt to have been a “burden” to a multi-million pound company still giving the benefit of the doubt and blaming myself. When I made this “video” I just buried my dad around that time and still coming to terms about my brother.

I wrote in grief and blaming myself, where I shouldn’t have. Pret leadership, you are the ones that have all the resources and manpower to support staff that worked for you so long. And I wrote at the end of this video, “I know you have a good heart”, but I take that back, Pret and Clive Schlee because there is no good in the center, at the top leadership levels that allow and enable such pain and disrespect towards hardworking people as well as in the dealings with customers deaths.

Pret needs a heart transplant with a truly good heart at the center of the company to not just aim for profits at the loss of so many. And yet I doubt JAB Holdings will have their heart in the right place. It’s just another profit driven business based in tax-haven Luxembourg and some journalists have woken up.

But I decided to leave my wrong conclusions without deleting the video as you need to be reminded what could have been written from a bereaved former employee who survived your company unlike some others.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO. 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California. Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

The Falling Stars Program

 

… helped many lose their feet and self-confidence, even bravely speaking to friends to lend them money, knocking on doors to find jobs and homes, talking about their experience being bullied in Pret, manipulated and fired during bereavement. And some becoming suicidal with one AMK ending her life in 2017.

 

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

 

 

Nothing against Sabina, she has her story, but she has been pampered in Pret for PR[et]. Sabina doesn’t know the many people who suffer, get fired, become suicidal, even dying. I don’t blame her. She’ll be fine.

Andrea Wareham spoke at the House of Lords on behalf of Pret as well, but JAB now axed her from the director’s board. Says a lot.

 

Pret A Manger, Clive Schlee, Niki I am NOT impressed at all whatsoever with your slick videos, politics, manipulation PR…

 

You hurt people to the point of suicide. You discriminate against the bereaved. You are a business.

PLEASE, please BE a BUSINESS without giving charity a bad name!

 

Learn more about Pret’s falling stars program if you even care.

And Pret, maybe learn from this lady, but I know you won’t because you are too “big”  for that.

 

Sheryl Sandberg quote

 

— & —

 

Get down from that high horse you’re on !

 

humiliation

 

do better Pret

 

Sheryl Sandberg on bereavement at work and how her boss, Mark Zuckerberg not just “accommodated” her bereavement, but wanted her to be there. Respect, Mr. Zuckerberg, he sucks in other places like data protection stuff, but he got my heart on staff welfare!

Shame Pret, you missed so many opportunities. Too many.

 

Clive Schlee, having taken your patronizing, disrespectful label of late night girl as a website, I used to respect you, I still do, like I respect any person on the street, but I am not impressed with you at all. Not one bit.

You do not know what traumatic loss means. And I don’t wish it on anyone.

Good luck with JAB.

 

 

Digging Out an Older Blog Entry

 

As Anti-Bullying week has come to an end last Friday I remembered an older blog entry I made. I wrote the below post in May 2016 on another blog site where I mainly posted poems for/about my brother and just scratched on what I went through in Pret, without naming Pret at the time as I do now on this site. But when I was going through the mixed horror of my brother’s death added with the bullying in Pret, this particular time was like a transition period where my trauma worsened, but I didn’t realize it then.

At that time I rather felt that everything in Pret would settle for me and I could concentrate on coming to terms about my brother’s death. I always felt that my situation wasn’t dealt with properly, but I didn’t realize how much I was played and manipulated via dodgy grievance hearings. One area manager who was very slick held a grievance appeals hearing against a line manager who openly bullied me (shouting, blaming, excluding etc.) under the main catalyst who was his boss and the guidance of HR.

In the hearing she held she asked me what my “definition of bullying is”. At that time I was utterly distraught and fell for this trap to think I wasn’t bullied. In hindsight I’d answer this “question” with a question of what her definition of bullshit is! It was also the time when I applied for and received my file, but at the time I just briefly looked through it vaguely until months later when I meticulously sieved through every word on every page and went into deeper turmoil that I explain in “Not Quite a Beautiful Mind“.

Now, looking back, having been in deep darkness, confused, traumatized, holding on and trying to escape through writing, I am grateful to have given Pret the benefit of the doubt so much to be able to say, what a corrupt and toxic company behind a friendly facade and under the current leadership of Clive Schlee and HR Pret A Manger is.

 


 

May 2016 Blog post (I added the links from the old blog entry):

 

Definition of Bullying

 

Once on a school trip to the seaside of Western France, six of us girls planned to share a room in the youth hostel we were booked in. On the first night after dinner and having settled in, I found myself alone with one of the girls in the big room, while the other four girls spontaneously moved out again and into a vacant 4-bedded room together.

It didn’t take me long to understand what was happening. The girl who was “stuck” with me (or I with her) in the 6-bedded room was the typical person to not have been cool enough to share a room with. There was even talk about her already back home at a school-BBQ before the trip and how they would give her the trip of her life. She was typically uncool, by the book at that time; ginger hair, thick glasses, long front teeth, not wearing the trendiest clothes… The perfect uncool kid to be “avoided with” or not be around.

She (I’ll give her the name “Ginger”) was someone who didn’t fit into the norm, nothing more, nothing less. The usual stuff. I didn’t fit in either, not for “temperature” reasons, but because I was in a sphere of my own.

So, we just had more space and more peace. I didn’t like the situation because I wasn’t invited  by the four “cool” girls, but I didn’t mind either because I never liked this kind of group dynamic. Nothing against groups as long as they are inclusive, accepting, supportive, more than just tolerant/tolerating. But tolerance would have been the bare minimum anyone could ask for if individuals in a group have neither strength nor courage for anything beyond that.

“The soul selects her own society, then shuts the door to divine majority. Present no more.”

— Emily Dickinson
Not having been particularly “cool” myself, and not really bothered if I was or not, I didn’t care to impress a group or be intimidated by a “mob” of freezers. I tend to select my own society.

 

The first of the five or six mornings we were there, I woke up turning around in my bed towards the door. From the sun beams that were shining through the windows, I could see something shimmering on the floor in front of the bed of my room mate. I got up, went to see what it was and saw it was a puddle of fluid, it was obvious from the stench that it was urine left there close to Ginger’s bed, with her still asleep. If she would have had to get up at night for the toilet, she most certainly would have stepped into it.

I pondered over this “pond” and was just perplexed on how it got there or worse, why someone would do this and how we both didn’t wake up noticing this invasion of our dignity. We cleaned it up later, pretending something weird spilled here somehow. I don’t know, I didn’t know what to think or say. Whatever we were thinking, not sure. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t get a teacher immediately and clean it up before she woke up. Maybe I was too perplexed, offended, embarrassed… Hopefully she thought I was the target or us both together; wishful thinking on my part. She was just always very quiet. I will never know if or what she realized was going on.

I didn’t know what to do, if I should go to a teacher or ask around why someone would do this. But going to a teacher or trying to find out who the “donor” of this mess was, might have just encouraged more of this. So I left it, assuming it was a one-off, never having seen any “pranks” like this on previous school trips.

As the days of the trip went on, we took a bus ride through the region. I was sitting in the back of the bus, one or two rows in front of the group of girls, now joined by the boys, and overheard them speak about how they want to cut Ginger’s hair at night. I remember freezing in my seat and feeling my blood disappear from my head with a tingling sensation in my face, going into panic-mode. I had two seats to myself since the bus was roughly half filled, as not the whole class went on this trip but just about two dozen of us. Everyone, except for the group and some couples, would sit generously in two seats, getting a little privacy away from the shared rooms in the hostel.
My thoughts started racing on what to do, since the “pee” situation I knew they would go through with whatever they planned. They must have felt secure that I was just a dumb bystander who’s “job” it was to console Ginger in the aftermath of whatever would happen to her. As if it was some kind of calling in life for her to be bullied and my calling was to just stroke her head, comforting her, oh well poor poor Ginger, c’est la vie.

My heart and my mind went into overdrive with the dilemma of not wanting to get into trouble with the cool crew, but also not wanting to allow something disgusting like this to happen to a girl, who’s only fault it was to not fit in.

Society-selecting time again!

 

Later that day before dinner time at the hostel, I couldn’t think straight, never mentioning any of this to Ginger or anyone. I was nervous before the meal, heart pouncing, thoughts pacing back and forth when I decided to speak up. I approached the room where the group always huddled together, prayed under my breath, knocked on the door and was invited in. I went straight to the ring leader girl and said sharply (with my limbs like jelly and my heart beating to my throat!) “If anything happens to Ginger, you will be the first to regret it!”. She looked perplexed, starring at me and then around the room, and laughing with the group asked if I was insane or what!? I repeated the sentence and just left the room shaking inside. I went straight to the room of one of the teachers, telling the whole story to just get this sorted. I guess some would call me a “Drama Queen”, but bullying is not just a drama, it’s a cowardly disgrace and a shame.
The next day Ginger had her birthday, and the majority of the kids congratulated her, even if half-hearted by most, including some of the cool, “strong” and marvelous group. Nothing ever happened to the uncool girl anymore. And on the eve of our return back home, Ginger and I sat outside for a smoke while there was an improvised “Disco” going on inside for our last night of the trip.

To this day it’s just a guess if Ginger knew what was going on, or if she repressed the situation to just avoid the pain of it. We never spoke about it and she never seemed at a shock, just rather quiet and speaking about nothing really. Deep down I felt of course she knows. But my pretense might have matched hers equally, just so we can make that day. We just had a good smoke and a meaningless chat, but worth our while.

Nothing further happened as the teachers had an eye on it now, after my shivering confrontation with the group’s leader. But I meant what I said, even while shaking inside my boots. And I rather took the risk of being bullied myself, suffering the consequences, than having to watch in silence how a person is being targeted just because she didn’t fit in to whatever the majority felt was the(ir) norm, or to release the burden of their own meaningless existence.

Even with the threat of any more nightly “adventures” in our room, I slept well at nights. I’d rather be bullied or be with those who are, then being cozy with a bully.

I wondered at times throughout the years, and even now, what has become of Ginger. While writing this experience down, I looked up a digitalized photo of her with some of the bullies on the France trip. I do hope this wallflower became a bouquet, no matter if it fits into anyone’s perception of cool or beauty, but whom those bullies would not recognize today, because they are too busy and messed up in their own journey to fit in.

I never thought I would write this story down and after having scanned over a thousand photos recently into my computer from all the years of my life, even before I was born, then shredding the majority of it to get rid of clutter in my flat. I never scanned in the photos of the bullies, except when “Ginger” was on them, but just threw them away without digitalizing them. Don’t know if I’d regret it one day since even the bad stuff is part of our lives, but I have no room for those bullies on my computer. No more “beds” available.

 

Depression & Support pexels-photo-551594

 

I have not been bullied as a kid, except the typical teasing we all go through. But I cannot remember ever having been bullied as a kid in school. But I never would have imagined that I would be bullied as an adult.

What was my weakness? The thought that our lives are final on this earth? The inconvenience of my grief? That I didn’t “function” at times as expected? That I didn’t kiss anyone’s association or agenda? That I looked strong, but in reality was completely broken while on autopilot? That I spoiled someone’s perception of strength? That I reminded them of their own mortality and weakness?

In hindsight, please, someone tell me?

All I know is that I have been bullied! No more formal grievances needed. If the catalyst, the main bully is in leadership above you, you have no chance unless you have the strength to see it through. I’m sorry my brother’s death got in their way. He won’t do that again!

 

Sometimes people are bullied not because they are uncool in the perception of a mob, but because they may come across too strong. Anything that does not fit into the “norm” of the (insecure) majority might just be the perfect target. I don’t know. People in a group, in a mob do things that they would never do when alone. But unfortunately 1 single person, who is in the position of power or leadership, can influence a group who wants to please their leader/boss, and pull the carpet from under someone else’s feet.

It takes only 1 person, 1 leader to influence their sub-ordinance to either pull that carpet or provide a safe place for an individual or minority. Everything stands and falls with leadership. If a leader won’t allow bullying to happen, it won’t! If a leader closes their eyes, or worse, is the main catalyst of bullying, then God help us.

I understood this in my late teens/early 20s already, that’s why I went straight to the leader to make clear that she is responsible to set the tone of the group. But I was too scared and got backup by the teacher, the higher “leader” of the group. If telling on others is what it takes, then that’s what it takes.

It is horrendously easy to be within a group siding against one person, than to stand up within that group, reaching out against the decision of the majority and their leader for the protection and support of that one person. If we realize it or not, we constantly “select our own society”, depending on how strong we feel towards moral issues, health, justice, principles. We constantly make our choices and will choose until our last day. I have chosen wrong and right many times myself in different situations, but if I make up my mind that one person or a minority needs to be protected, especially while going through tragedy, than I hope my mind is made up regardless of the consequences. And after a while, if I manage to make it through in one piece, I sleep well at nights.

 

this question might really be asking how to avoid being made corporately responsible for those who are in the group they themself represent.

It is beyond me that a powerful group of professionals still try to protect each other without realizing how “small” I am and how simple I am reached without trickery. If we “manage” by fear, that’s all we do: fear!

All I hoped for was just for someone to not be afraid of me, for someone to just have a coffee with me asking how my day was and complain about the weather or whatever. The way my former boss “Cat” did briefly before leaving too soon. I am nobody, just broken, scared, loud, angry, nothing more to be afraid of, and nothing less to be stepped upon. I would have wished for some protection. But better late than never.

 

Now, I like to leave each day on a positive note. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with depression, other times I’m exhausted from the day, another time just chilled and content. I don’t dare to aim for happiness, I’m not there yet. But I don’t want to end a day on a negative note. And yet I still do it so often.

A dear friend recently said to me, “Forgiveness is a powerful thing”, something I did not want to hear, but know she is right. To “for – give”, to give away an experience, a painful event, letting go, is liberating. Even if or because it takes time and pain; falling, getting up, falling again, getting up again… as if I haven’t got enough pain to work through already. But bitterness won’t be the thing I will fall asleep with. And the only shimmering puddle I will wake up to is the dew of a new day, with new chances to look out for those who need a new society to lend them a hand to heal.

 

One thing I often did early on after my brother died, was to walk for hours through London, especially through the busy tourist areas I would usually avoid. There I sought and saw happy faces, little kids eating ice cream and being jolly, and when they cried it was because they didn’t get their ice cream right then and there. Very valid tears for a child; I envied the reason for their tears. And after five minutes the only thing that was crying was the melting ice cream dripping down on their chin, and life was sweet again.

There were glimpses of life in the midst of loss and blackness. I sought the smiles of kids, or the naïve curiosity of tourists, or the clumsy effort of new lovers… All I did was starring at life as it kept moving on and passing by me. There was life in the midst of trauma. At least I was an observer of it, like watching a movie passively, just “existing” without living the scenes I watched, looking for meaning, never mind a happy end. There’s none.

The Trafalgar and the Leicester Square areas and the Southbank have been my home away from home in the early weeks and months of making sense of my brother’s passing. I miss him. And I keep looking for him in my walks.

 

Life is good I want to enjoy it when it comes around.

The smile of a child; the glance of a lover; a little dog licking your face not caring if you’re happy or sad, just caring that you’re there; the courage of your boss; the neighbour’s lending hand; the shoulder of a friend …

May 2016

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

 

UPDATED November 2018 – Undercover report sparked by my blog (at the bottom of this post).

UPDATE March 2019 – For the first time I share my story verbally on a podcast based in California.

 

NOTE: I am shadow banned all the time on Twitter and Facebook on Pret’s behalf to avoid bad press for them. I mainly get shadow banned when I tweet to the press. Please google what shadow banning means (in a nutshell: secret censoring). I also talk about it extensively in the interview. Also, at times it says on a Tweet “Tweet unavailable”, but always click on the link, because it IS available! And always click on “Show more replies” where Twitter hides posts from the public, as with this Tweet: LINK to TWEET at the bottom, click on the link as supposedly “This Tweet is unavailable”. But tweets are always there and are visible via direct links.

 


 

Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

 

To whom it may concern at the PFT,

I want to start this open letter with one of your former assistant managers who became homeless after being unfairly dismissed. And he is just one who is public. How many more underpaid and for overtime unpaid employees went from the kitchen and shops to the streets? Only you know … I certainly almost did!

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

 

And as your “labelling commitment” has been placed again under the carpet and replaced by, what I find a patronizing slogan, to call former homeless people “Rising Stars” is to me again typical for Pret and the facade of your company.

 

2018-09-21 PFT

Tweet

 

The Pret staff on the left in the photo with the white shirt, Hind, has been to my shop several times when one particular FL was difficult for the whole team and I was going through trauma. The FL was later transferred to another shop. But Hind in the photo came to my shop several times, and was obviously briefed about what I was going through at the time with my personal loss and the grievances that were raised due to the bullying I went through in a previous shop. She came to speak with the FL who was challenging for the team.

But not one time did she speak to me, not even hello or bye. Nothing! I didn’t know who she was, but it was clear that she was involved with the apprentices as she came by also for catch-ups with a young apprentice.

 

This post links to a member of the Mosaic Clubhouse in Brixton who worked for 3 months under your Rising Star scheme. But he wasn’t taken on after three months and explains that his experience was positive. Quote: “I was very slow and so they didn’t offer me a continuation of job after the three months trial. … In the end the experience was very good and worthy. ”

It was positive for him as he was treated differently, not shouted at; placed in a branch that Pret knows can be used as an example compared to the usual atmosphere in shops; he worked steady and stable morning hours, Monday to Friday with weekends off etc. Ben, the manager of the Brixton shop wrote this to Hind:
“Please let him know that we were very impressed by his professionalism at work and always giving 100% in whatever he was doing. The quality of products he made were picture perfect EVERY time. Myself and the team would like to say a big thank you and we wish him luck in his new job and we hope he will pop by for a coffee on us whenever he is in Brixton as he will always be one of us.”

So, his sandwiches were picture perfect (a requirement in Pret) EVERY time, and yet he wasn’t employed beyond the three months trial period. He isn’t even completely clear why he didn’t get the job beyond his trial period, quote: “For what I understood I did my job very well but I was very slow and so they didn’t offer me a continuation of job after the three months trial.” He was not even taken in the shop front on the tills or any other place in the business, regardless of his 100% professional attitude AND picture perfect sandwiches! It urges the question if “slow” people, even while working with 100% excellence but with mental health conditions have a chance in Pret! Sergio certainly was treated really well but to me it looks like it was a show for him to give the positive report. If he would have stayed on, he would have eventually seen and be treated differently as Pret demands a high pace and a smiley front at all times.

One staff review makes this paradox and contradiction very clear. The expectation is to make picture perfect products, but super fast. Yet, Team Members are confused and frustrated because they want to work well, do their jobs with care and passion, but are pushed and pressed for speed: They expect you to follow six key points of production and have passion in making items. When you follow this they then moan that you are to slow and need to hurry up as everyone in a Pret kitchen says choppy choppy which is the worst thing because it only makes you less motivated.

LINK: Modern-day Slavery

 

And from experience I know how quick managers are to letting staff go, as a Team Leader I had the lucky position to be able many times to save a Team Member’s job when I learned that the manager wanted to let them go. I would put in a word for them asking for them to be under my wing in the shop. Fortunately at times managers listened and the TM bloomed in the shop where they struggled in the kitchen, or they did better in the kitchen after having struggled in the shop.

Sergio was treated differently, he worked Monday to Friday with the weekends off which is very unusual, unless you are a parent and stand up for your rights in regards to flexible working hours protected by law. But every staff member that I worked with, including myself, HAD TO be flexible and work on weekend, except if they really fought it through to be off on weekends. Even getting rotating shifts every other weekend off was often a struggle as managers are not disciplined in the rota setting and just want staff to be available non-stop.

I have a feeling that he would have eventually realized a different Pret than he experienced and there was no room for him there, no matter how well he worked. Not fast enough despite his excellent working ethics. It was a perfect way for Pret to show a front for him to share how wonderful Pret is. And then they add insult to injury by calling him “one of our own”. His contract was discontinued after his trial period, and yet they call him of their own. A typical “sweet-talk” in Pret of how they fool people into believing Pret cares, while not caring in reality, except when people play their games and for PR. And he certainly receives free coffees as a customer to keep him sharing “happy” moments with Pret.

Thus Pret indirectly, with sweet-talk and free products (and probably a big donation for Mosaic Clubhouse) shows that there is NO room for people with mental or physical disabilities in shops, as they cannot keep up the horrendous pace in shops. There is no room for people who suffer or struggle in any way that would hinder Pret to pressure them into high productivity. Pret being “careful to integrate” former homeless people into shops as Clive Schlee worded it, as they won’t last under the burden of management. Regular staff are bullied and pressured that after a while they break and either leave or get fired, putting them into mental health issues. 

I keep linking to the staff complaints that I collected unto one page, as this shows again and again how pressured and stressful it is and if staff are not fast enough, they don’t have much of a chance. One example that I know only too well about messed up pays and other issues I am sure Sergio did not experience as Pret was careful to treat him different for PR:

 

StaffComplain_Jan2018

Link

 

Also, Sergio didn’t get taken on after the 3 months trial as Pret would have had to pay him the £1000 that the CEO promised via Twitter. This would be paid after already one year of service.

And Pret announced that they will bring a report on the Rising Stars soon, and of course as I have confronted them with my “Fallen Stars” post, knowing Pret they like to counter this with slick videos and interview those who have had a great experience being invited to the CEO’s PRivate PRoperty in Austria and other places. As they are not pressured like the mainstream staff to cover up how horrible working there is. I responded with a Tweet myself, even though this is silly.

 

Being involved with the PFT and working with former homeless people, who have their story and reason why they were homeless, looks good from the outside and I’m sure a lot is meant well and fun. Oftentimes homeless people have lost someone, couldn’t cope with the trauma, and through various events ended up on the street. At the time I worked in Pret 7+ years and was bereaved and on top of that I was bullied during this horrific time. OPs managers who did the grievance hearings pretended that I wasn’t bullied. Grievances were not substantiated and in the appeals were partially substantiated, but just for tiny unimportant issues to keep up appearances. I was denied that I was bullied, and yet your lawyers mentioned that I was bullied in their reply to the Tribunal.

Everyone who knows my blog knows the story, and I will not go into further detail again. As a Team Leader I performed very well, helped bring success to every single shop I worked in, and then having lost my brother and on top of it being bullied from line managers under the watchful eye and guidance of HR. I approached HR early on since May 2015, but they ignored my efforts to bring suggestions in how to support bereaved employees, and just “sweet-talked” while behind the scenes pulling the strings as I could see in my file later.

And yet, all this time there was the Pret Foundation Trust that helps former homeless people back into work.

In a recent Tweet your PFT Director speaks about how she is supportive of people with mental health issues, and yet I was bereaved, bullied, became ill and you had no concerns whatsoever about staff whose “stars” are starting to fall right in front of you! I also keep confronting Pret on a suicide of an AMK last year. Of course you would want this under the carpet as well. But the person in the photo even came to my shop several times, but never ever even gave as little as a hello or good bye, let alone “How are you, my name is so-and-so I work with PFT and we care for people with mental health issues, bereavement and help them find back into work…”

To see how former (mainly young) homeless people are being used for PR while regular staff suffer in bereavement, a bullying work environment, and become an inconvenience, turns my stomach!

 

One of the rare persons on Facebook was thinking further than just from 12 to noon and asked Pret underneath their Promo video about the Christmas Ads on the “Rising Stars” program, quote:

this is great, but 450 in 10 years in really not much given pret have 12k staff this year alone? why so few?

Link (to be able to read, need to be logged into FB)

Screenshot in case her comment will be deleted, as mine disappear regularly:

why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12k staff

 

 

why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12k staff

 

And UPDATE 02.01.2018

 

2019-01-02 re rising stars too few2

Link

 

In the 10 years since the Rising Stars program exists, out of 12K employees only 450 came through the program. It does not take much to use people for PR, that is all I can say, dear Pret Foundation Trust. And the public falls for it, and only very few take a closer look.

 

I wrote extensively in “Pret Being Careful to Integrate” why Pret is careful to integrate former homeless people into regular shops, and that the idea came for them to run an entire shop by themselves. Clive Schlee wrote in his blog, quote: “People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.””

And this is the big give away that Clive Schlee is very very aware and as the CEO indeed the leading force behind how shop staff are treated. I explain in my blog entry as to why they would be “too exposed” and therefore great care is being taken to not integrate them into regular shops. They would be too exposed to the harsh treatment of managers who are tasked by this same CEO for targets and profits. Rarely does a GM step back from that for the sake of the teams:

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

4 years after Bridgepoint took over

 

Or a former Assistant Manager’s review:

 

AM

Dec 2017

 

So, in order for the Mosaic Clubhouse member to not see the reality, he was not taken on as he was too slow, not even taken on in the shop as he would see reality after a while and that wouldn’t be good for PR[et]!

 

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

13. June 2018

 

2018-07-24 RPQ now Branzinotito comment on James Hoffmann video

YouTube

 

“Pressure, humiliation, unpaid work”

2018-10-21 #61 Slaves Company

18. Oct. 2018

 

 

“Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work”

2018-10-02 Modern Day Slavery

02. Oct. 2018

 

 

“You will lose everything that makes you human”

2018-07-12 Quote Pret #17

05. March 2018

 

 

“I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment.”

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

30. Oct. 2018

 

… and many more along those lines!

 

And just one of the press reports where journalists are starting to wake up. Everything this article says I could have told him years and months ago incl. the class suit by staff in the U.S. on unpaid wages! Once the public started to see how appalling Pret’s senior leadership dealt with two customer deaths and kept it quiet until it became public, only then does the press wake up to how it really is behind the facade. And at least plenty of people, Unions etc. have an eye on you now! Don’t be fooled by the few followers I have. I keep it low on purpose! And I know you have people keeping an eye on my posts and automated bookmarking systems are used to register every blog post I publish. Be my guest!

 

Times report

 

Link to the article where the reader needs to register to read, but I gave my two cents to it in “Sliced Pret“. Sathnam Sanghera woke up so clearly that he even liked a Tweet I posted, one of many on his article that I linked to on Twitter:

 

2018-11-09 Times Report Like2

Link

 

So, you bet your former homeless people would be too exposed and you want to be careful to integrate them into regular shops as they may not last long like the above Mosaic Clubhouse member, who despite being such a good asset didn’t get the job! You let “Rising Stars” work together in one shop incl. management, make it easier on them and thus you show to the public what a lovely company you are, while your regular shop staff are suffering greatly. Instead of making it easier across the company, you create clusters of shops for PR. Again, my stomach turns.

The Head of HR and Recruitment who was tasked to speak with me once I contacted the CEO after being bullied and sent away by your toxic HR department for almost a year, he could have very easily placed me in another area of the business or introduced me to the PFT to help me recuperate from my trauma. But the plan was to place and keep me under suppressive management in the hopes I resign. Thus this whole PFT is not just hypocritical, it’s a scheme for marketing.

Well I didn’t. I rejected 4 settlement offers that were peanuts anyway if I resign. You don’t understand that a person who becomes bereaved has no interest in money nor do you realize that to mess with a bereaved person, you don’t know what you are getting yourself into! I wouldn’t budge because I have strong principles and values that cannot be polluted with money. Money comes and goes, but I don’t prostitute my values and convictions.

I kept going and then your company fired me while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma. You used your Development Manager who supposedly also lost her brother and didn’t know for days that he was dead like my brother. You stepped on her and my dignity by using her personal tragedy against mine to sanction me, instead of supporting me and her in our common grief. How perverse and corrupt does it get, Pret?!

I buried my dad a few months after losing my job, but I never told him that I was fired. In and out of dementia and being clear at times, surprised to see me again so soon, where I just left him a week before. I lied to him and said that my company gave me extra time off to be with him, while in reality I was fired three days after Christmas 2017, no job in sight, my father just out of a coma, money running out, a complete breakdown and suicidal. My dad was pleased that I seemed to work for such a great company. And thus I have the opportunity now to tell the public what a careless and corrupt company Pret A Manger is, that just likes to cater to PR.

It hurts me for people who continue to suffer under this greed-ridden corporate bully, disguised behind sweet-talk and fake smiles. And as a former IT Analyst reviewed the company and Head Office:

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

19. Dec. 2018

 

Even the £1000 announcement to all staff came in the night from 28th to 29th May 2018 when Pret became aware of my blog here. Quick PR RE-action, while not being bothered at all that customers died until this also became public.

I’ve written many times on Twitter and here in my blog that it is my biggest regret to have wasted 10 years of my life on a company that wasn’t worth my while at all. I struggled so much but kept giving Pret the benefit of the doubt while deeply traumatized and becoming ill. I never worked in such a hurtful place and had to learn my lesson hard.

You use former homeless people for your PR, giving them patronizing labels of “Rising Stars”, which is your CEO’s “trademark” suffering from “foot-in-mouth disease” to give people patronizing and disrespectful labels, like calling me his “late night girl” while pretending that my emails were wrong. Yes, take disadvantaged people to Austria and all over the world, I would even donate to that, treat them well, but to not soften the approach to all staff across the board, some of whose lives have been and are being destroyed by your company, THAT is my disgust of your lies, tricks and exploitation of hard working people. Once they become bereaved, unwell mentally they become an inconvenience for you.

And my experience that Pret never cared for bereaved staff, have absolutely nothing in place to protect and support them, and worse even bully bereaved staff that I have survived under a discriminating HR department. It is still going on and will not change unless the law here also changes and protects bereaved employees from bullying and toxic management and companies.

 

The bereaved keep getting penalized in Pret:

2018-11-01 Funeral

01. Nov. 2018

 

 

Fired

Link

 

 

To end this “letter” that you don’t care about anyway, Pret you step on people, including from HQ. I regret not having reached out to the AMK I was told about who later ended her life. And someday, someone, somewhere will pick this and other things up again.

I am a member of the Mosaic Clubhouse that you try to insinuate fishing for staff as Brexit is close. I am seriously considering cancelling my membership at the Clubhouse. I cannot be in a mental health facility that just cares for support from toxic companies who put people in mental ill-health in the first place.

I am proud to have made many Unions and other important people aware of you, and more and more people as well as your staff will rise and tell their story.

My tribute to the “Fallen Stars” who were trampled upon, some who became homeless, and God knows how many more suicides are under the carpet, when Pret can hide two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized… how many staff found no way out then to go over the edge, as I almost did as well.

Pret, you are dangerous to people’s lives and health!

And more people will disobey.

 

A message to exploitative companies, “We’re coming for you!” – John McDonnell

 

 

 

 

FallenStars

 

 

Pret Staff Complaints Selected Quotes

 

 

Sparked by my blog Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover in Pret. I added some comments to her findings in more detail from my 10 years in Pret in “Undercover Under Pressure“.

 

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

 

 

Other example on the “Rising Stars” Tweet where my Tweets are hidden from the public:

 

Tweet visible to me only while logged in:

shadowban risingstars visible

 

 

My Tweet NOT visible to the public when I’m logged out:

 

shadowban risingstars not visible

 

Link

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

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

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. 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 also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote a recent article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

2. Quote of the Day #63 – Penalize A Funeral

 

colorful-candles-3768442__340

 

The second quote also from NY crushes me, as I have been through this and it almost ended my life. My regular readers know my story, but for new readers the below review of a former NY employee from days ago does not surprise me, even while I tear up when reading this review as it brings back traumatic memories. I was bullied during bereavement, and even while completely traumatized I was still trying to bring suggestions via HR for Pret to have support for bereaved employees in place. But unbeknown to me at the time, and in a complete fogged up state on autopilot, my approaching HR put a target on my back, which I write on my blog extensively.

As I tried to come to terms about my brother’s death and on top of that the turmoil at work, I applied for my file as I wanted to understand what was happening and why? I didn’t realize when I applied for my file under the Data Protection Act 1998, that this also involved emails between HR and managers about me. I assumed my employee file just involved regular notes that a line manager might have made about employees, to pass information on to another line manager when the employee gets transferred or promoted. I had a very difficult manager before my brother died, who would even sabotage me when I tried to transfer away from her shop. I had this thought that she may have written something detrimental about me that made the following managers dis-favourable towards me.

But that wasn’t the case and what I was confronted with, apart from the sheer size of approximately over 1000 pages, which included many repeats, were emails between HR and managers who were stumbling around without clear direction, no steady leadership, no policy on how to support bereaved employees. One email that struck me was from a People Business Partner (PBP) who responded to an email from an HR advisor who was the note taker of my first grievance appeal’s hearing against a line manager who bullied me openly. The HR advisor brought my concerns forward and the PBP even agreed that Pret could improve on supporting bereaved employees. This and other emails often were written to just have a paper trail of supposedly being supportive, anything else was communicated on the phone or in person.

But this HR advisor was the most professional HR person I have come across in Pret. In the hearing she was completely quiet and just took the notes, but I could see in her face that she cared when I described my turmoil with the line manager who bullied me. She cared enough to pass my concerns on to this PBP and in all her dealings with me after the hearing I felt she was extremely professional and cared. I learned later that she left Pret, and I was crushed that all the good people seemed to be leaving. Of course people move on, but with the top leadership of HR I constantly felt with my back against the wall and like in a Twilight Zone.

The email, I added the pink description on who’s who and underlined in yellow:

 

 

2015-10-22 Chris Walsh & Laura re SUPPORT

 

This PBP (#2) several months later was the note taker of an appeal’s hearing I raised against another PBP (#1) who was in the background advising the area manager who targeted me. I raised the grievance based on the evidence of the emails from my file. Of course raising a grievance against anyone from HR, especially a PBP is a waste of time, but I was just out-of-sync trying to go through the right channels to not only improve my situation, but that of all employees. In the appeal’s hearing I confronted this PBP (#2) about the above email, where he agreed that Pret could improve on supporting employees who suffer loss, but he then said that in hindsight he could have made a mistake! For the sake of his colleague PBP (#1), he changed his mind and the game continued… I wrote an open letter to him as well, which was a waste of time as well of course, but this needs to be in the open.

 

Today’s 2nd quote of the day from a former NY employee makes it clear to me again that Pret not only doesn’t learn its lessons, but Pret does not care whatsoever about employees, unless it serves PR. And even while I am not surprised anymore, this review has me in tears and my heart racing from remembering my ordeal.

I confronted Clive Schlee, CEO again on this with a tweet where he tweeted about plastic issues another Twitter person raised. But the CEO then deleted his tweet minutes after I tweeted. I know I tweet a lot, but people suffer and become suicidal and Pret under the leadership of Clive Schlee does business as usual and goes full steam ahead.

The time of the Tweet is American time, not UK.

 

2018-11-04 Clive deleted his Tweet

Link

 

 

The NY review quote:

“management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral people who were stealing still work there but call out & youre fired”

 

 

2018-11-01 Funeral

01. Nov. 2018 NY

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

1. Quote of the Day #62 – Pret A Noxious

 

I decided to do two “quotes of the day” today as they are both from New York within days of each other.

 

 

dirty-water5

 

Full review as Quote of the Day:

 

Go back to the UK, Pret
I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience, HR was mostly a joke, ‘leaders’ displayed zero initiative in mentorship of their teams, roles were unclear and the company had tunnel vision on decision making based on the opinion of one or two people who paid little attention to local market data.

 

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

30. Oct. 2018 NY

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

 

 

 

My Brother

 

His name is Thomas, he isn’t with us anymore, but his name is still Thomas, that will never change.

 

When I started this website and blog I started it as poetrasblok.com, which still runs under this name as well as now also under LateNightGirl.org

Initially I only wrote about my brother as only poetrasblok with poems and videos I made for him and posted on this site. But after my ordeal with Pret A Manger, having also lost my father in March 2018 as well, I started to add the latenightgirl URL to write about my traumatic experience in Pret and show another side behind the PR[et] facade that almost ended my life.

Even while I dislike having my brother’s memory share one website with my Pret ordeal, I will eventually turn this site back to re-upload some of the poems and videos, and solely write about my brother as well as life in general. As this site has become quite large I periodically hide post entries that don’t seem important at a certain time, so that readers won’t be cluttered with too many blog entries to sieve through, and are lead to posts faster that I find important to share.

I currently don’t have the finances to start a second website for solely my Pret experience, and don’t have the strength to work on two website simultaneously at the moment. But in time I will separate the two sites, as my brother deserves his own space and website in his memory, and not share space with this toxic, greedy and dishonest company that is Pret A Manger.

At times my writings seem angry or bitter to the reader, that may be, but I am not apologizing for it. I almost lost my life in Pret after having worked with integrity, care and skill for almost 10 years. And all that happened to me was that my brother died, and I then became an inconvenience to Pret. My writing helps me overcome this trauma, and at the same time expose this company for what they really are.

 

Why I became a “late night girl”

 

In memory of my brother.

 

 

animated-candle-gif-29

 

Looking for a song for siblings loss. Tom Rosenthal’s for now is the best general grief song I can find.

»It’s OK«  Tom Rosenthal

 

14 TK crop

Thomas K. *25.02.1969 – 09.12.2014

 

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Doing the PR[et] Thing Naturally

 

My 10 years in Pret A Manger which has always been stressful, trying to figure out why it felt so toxic and negative in this company, and this long road in hardship at work has taught me to not give Pret the benefit of the doubt anymore, as I did too many times. The last three years have been extremely traumatic after I lost my brother and on top of this being bullied in Pret, which I explain extensively on this blog and which will turn into a chronological book, as the story is very complex. But it was important for me to put the story out in creative writing as best as it comes out, and to do it publicly as I was in these last years balancing on the edge of life. Even if life ends prematurely due to illness, accident, while my suicidal thoughts will be left behind, I want the public to know what happened to me in Pret, and not take my ordeal to the grave, apart from what my friends know and witnessed through my distress. I also collected numerous staff reviews on the bullying culture in Pret and listed them onto one page for easy access to each review.

When people learn of my experience, the question comes up if I went to court against Pret. I explain that I did and then withdrew for these reasons in this blog entry.

The other question that comes up is why on earth I stayed so long in this environment that almost killed me. I scratch on this in several blog posts but will write an extra blog entry on this in more detail. Watch this space.

Many people who read my story don’t know what to do with it, let alone what to say. Understandably. My writings sound angry at times, and they are, but I am not the “monster” that people may view me from afar with my loud and public outcry. I am actually a very peaceful person who loves and cares deeply about people, even if this doesn’t look like it. This probably was one reason why I struggled so long in Pret and approached them internally, even in ill emailing out of trauma and a drunken stupor later on. But my integrity and my honest, even if weird approach was to my disadvantage. And yet integrity and honesty is what I am proud of, it didn’t make me rich, but it makes me sleep at nights.

I don’t have a nice front to show you, I don’t plaster my life with a nice facade while rotten inside. I show you ‘my’ back first (this website picture is not me of course). For 10 years I was forced to smile in Pret, even during traumatic bereavement. There was no mercy from my line managers. The Mystery Shopper, who is sent weekly to each store with the assignment to let the shops know if the Team Member smiled, made eye-contact, made some small-talk even during extreme busy times, is the main contributor to the “friendly” hell that I and all shop staff went and go through. Of course I would have loved to wear a badge one can apply for to use the public transport in London. A badge like pregnant women or people with a disability wear that says, “Baby on board” or “Please offer me a seat”, as the pregnancy or disability is not always or immediately visible to assist the person who may be in pain or uncomfortable in general.

 

 

BabyBoard    tfl-please-offer-me-a-seat-badge-and-card

 

 

In my trauma and bereavement I wish I could have worn a badge that said, “Please offer me a smile for a change” or “Abnormal load on board” or “In grief, please be kind” or “Please help me I want to die” …

I collected a list of Staff Complaints from external Employment Review sites as well as YouTube, Twitter and other websites. I did an extra category on the forced happiness and another on the fake smiles that Team Members are tasked to perform. And customers are so impressed with the service, not knowing what is the driving “force” behind the happiness con. The amount of times I and team members were summoned into the office or kitchen, away from the customers, and then told off when we didn’t smile.

I had a good telling off in the office after the Mystery Shopper (I call them Misery Shopper) commented that I should stay home when sick as I couldn’t smile because I was coughing. Mystery Shoppers either don’t know or don’t care that weekly paid staff are not paid sick-leave the first 2 or 3 days (depending which age) when sick, no matter if they have a sick note from the GP. Sure, there are what Pret calls “well-being days” depending how long you worked in Pret and other times at the discretion of the GM, but for things like having a cold or illnesses that take 2 or 3 days to recover, you have to make a choice if you want to stay in bed to recover and lose income, or drag yourself to work and then be told off for not smiling because you coughed!

Excerpt of the Mystery Shopper’s comment after I served the MS and coughed:

 

2014-12-01 MS cough

Quote in larger print: “Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful to smile that day.”

 

It was also impossible to “feel cheerful” when my boss was constantly telling me off for the smallest issues and then ordered me to go out to the shop floor and smile. It was even more impossible to “feel cheerful” when I just buried my brother and there was no mercy from my superiors nor from HR. And the line manager who warned me verbally in the office after the above comment on my coughing, countless times being told off, never once asked “how are you, are you ok?” And I did it, I smiled again and again and again and again and again and again…, and received many compliments from customers as well as Mystery Shoppers, while neither of them knew what turmoil and trauma was raging inside me. No customer would have guessed that I left work after my shift and walked towards a bridge, wrestling with life.

 

I even received a thank you card with a £20 note inside from a customer pair whom I served in a shop where I helped out for a week. This card I received WHILE in the middle of the darkest time, it was about 8 or 9 months after the news of my brother’s death AND the middle of being bullied by my superiors. I didn’t let it show and have to say as well that these two customers, who sat in that shop every day working on their laptops as they were graphic designers, were extremely pleasant. They made my job very very easy and cheered me up the best I was able to relax during trauma. They were a fantastic distraction and kind people. In my ten years in Pret, these two people come to mind immediately when I think of a nice customer experience. This exchange was brief but very organic.

We chatted every day as they sat in the shop for hours using the Wifi for their work. And they spent quite some money everyday, buying food and coffee, work some hours, buying some sweets and another coffee, work more hours, buying another drink etc. Every day they spent a good amount, not like some students on a budged who would buy the cheapest item just to use the free Wifi for hours. On my last day for that week I told them that it was my last day and where my usual shop is so that they won’t be surprised why I wasn’t there anymore as we had lots of conversations and laughs in-between.

They never knew my loss and the added turmoil I went through in Pret. As sad as it is, but this card was my life-line for a while. I put it on my desk at home to remind me that my service wasn’t as bad as my superiors tried to make me believe. I knew how good I was at my job and with my teams, with all my mistakes, flaws and shortcomings as well. But when you go through loss AND bullying on top of it, you lose the floor underneath your feet and all, absolutely all self-esteem and self-confidence disappears. So, as sad as it is, but this simple card heaved me out of a black hole many a times, and I wish I had a way to let the customer know what a small gesture like this did to me, I didn’t care for the money, but his words were life to me as I became increasingly suicidal! When they learned that it was my last day, he briefly left the shop, returned and gave me this card. Later in the office when reading this after closing time, I broke down and sobbed:

 

PK Customer Card Aug 2015 AldgateEast_smudged

 

It is an extremely rare occasion for customers to go out of their way to acknowledge staff like this. I’ve seen customers giving gifts to my colleagues as well throughout the years, but it is extremely rare and mostly happens around Christmas time.

 

And with the Mystery Shoppers, I kept these MS comments because of that same area manager who targeted me during the darkest time, saying that I didn’t engage my teams, and yet countless MS comments as well as regular customers said otherwise:

 

2012-10-12 MS 1

 

Another year, different MS:

2012-10-12 MS 2

 

These two and much more MS reports were my protection as my name was on them, and even if my name wasn’t mentioned, I was on the shift the days of these and other comments as the responsible Team Leader running the shifts. Again, it is sad that I had to keep those for my protection against bullying superiors who tried to look for the smallest issue to get rid of (for them) inconvenient staff.

Of course there is some true smiling going on as well, especially within the teams who often work very well together, trying to protect each other from the line managers who tend to kiss upward and kick downward. But the job in Pret involves having to smile no matter what, or as one of my GMs (General Manager) once told us off in the kitchen saying that, “Your smile is part of your uniform” while he never smiled when serving customers.

 

Pret Uniform2

The Pret A Mask Staff Uniform Cupboard

 

This is the reality behind the smiles of team members where even during bereavement, depression, illness and a personality that may not be naturally cheerful, you have to smile. You either develop superhuman capabilities or mental illness. And I’m sure you’ll figure which one of the two is more likely. Anyone would know that no-one can smile and be happy for 8 hours straight, let alone in a high stress, fast-paced, brutal work environment; LET ALONE during bereavement and mental strain! But the public loves to buy this facade, because it is so easy to be lulled in. So easy.

 

And just when I finished the majority text of this draft today, I see this Tweet from a customer who is appalled at the poor service and lack of smile, even naming the Team Member, and Pret of course in a generic cut & paste response will pass this on to the GM in that shop. And Adil S. will find himself in the office today or tomorrow depending on when he is in the shop. The GM or even AM will most likely not ask Adil how he is doing, if he has any problems or issues, if everything okay? Adil might have just buried a loved-one and his boss is even aware of this, or certainly he might have just been in the middle or just finished an extremely busy coffee morning, or he might have just come out of the office where his line manager had a go at him. And there certainly is no guarantee that he will find any mercy or empathy from his boss after this Tweet below where he is named publicly!

The customer does not give a second’s thought on why Adil was rushing and not smiling and not giving the customer a “warm feeling” and “naturally smiling” to ALL customers. And why should he, he paid a lot of money for cheap coffee. The customer will most likely also respond to my comment angrily, as my pointing out that Adil, or any staff member at that, might be going through hell. It may burst his bubble and that it may be too much to give a warm feeling to a staff member who cannot share what may be going on in his life.

Many customers do recognize how intensely busy it is during a Pret morning coffee rush. It is called a coffee “rush” for a reason. On an average busy morning, especially when the GM cut staff, I myself alone served approximately 25 – 30 people in a 15 minute period which was visible in the system for later scrutiny by managers. This means on an average I served between 80 – 100 customers within an hour during extreme busyness.

If any reader here is a regular customer in Pret and thinks I am exaggerating, do an experiment, go to any Pret, especially the really busy ones and go when you know the busiest time is in the morning or lunch time, as this varies a little bit from shop to shop. Sit close to the till area where you can easily observe the Team Members. Take a stop watch, pick the fastest Team Member and time them within a 15 minute period. It will be hard to concentrate only on one Team Member, but give it a go. Count how many customers (transactions) this TM serves in that time. And I specifically mean the busy morning coffee rush and / or the busy lunch time rush, not the more quieter afternoons and evenings or the quieter time after the morning and before the lunch rush.

One can do the math throughout the day including the busy lunch “rush”. But from the log on the system, I often did around 500 – 600 transactions (1 transaction with the minimum of 1 customer, but often serving more than 1 person per transaction, serving a family or friends, but the number showed as per transaction, not per customer) in a 6, 8 or 10+ hour shift. Every day!

PLUS all the customers that you spoke to that weren’t logged as transactions via the till system, people who approached you by the fridges with a question. PLUS customers who called in on the phone with a query. PLUS customers who knew you were staff even when you were on your break and with your Pret uniform covered up, customers still approached you with a question during your break……. and dare you decline to help them during your break, being worn out, exhausted after busy breakfast and lunch rushes!! How quickly do customers tweet to Pret about any and every peep that bothers them. It’s safe to say that I myself alone was dealing with around 1000+ people EACH DAY plus my team and bosses…………..

And you are required to smile for EACH and EVERY customer. The Mystery Shopper will make sure you do, while also making sure you keep eye contact AND have a little conversation! In all this you are expected to be natural, not robotic.

Forget the “aim” to “connect”, if you don’t smile you get into trouble. One comment here from the MS on a colleague who was a very hard working Team Leader herself in her service, but I have had similar comments on my service like this as well. And no matter how hard you worked or how good your service was before and after you happened to serve the MS, reading those comments discouraged you further, not to mention your boss telling you off later:

 

Mystery Shopper poor comments

Quote: “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 engage[d] and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

 

I know that this team leader also had 500-600 transactions each day on top of her leadership responsibilities as we were always looking at our till reports if we were too slow or even too fast. Total nightmare and the most ungrateful, unrewarding and dehumanizing job. Autopilot happens and it turns into mental illness.

 

Yes, customers pay a lot of money, they deserve the minimum of a decent service, as in fact every paying customer, as well as the homeless person does who asks for a free Tea which happens all the time. Every person deserves respect and the best service possible. But again, the bullying environment in Pret, cutting staff to maximize profit, overworking and stressing staff to breaking point … no one wants to know about this. It’s all about “me, myself and I”. No thought of my fellow man and woman. Let’s just name, shame and blame them publicly, right?

I know of one suicide of a staff member, I almost ended my life as well, as my regular readers know my story by now. Others have repeatedly reviewed on the stress, depression, anxiety etc. working in Pret, and I cannot help thinking of how many more may have ended their lives or became suicidal, even after they left Pret or got fired and broke.

So, I keep my fingers crossed for Adil, and hope the feedback he receives will be constructive, not pulling him down further as GMs don’t like the “shame” of feedback like this from HQ via a public Tweet. I certainly know how it is to get pulled down in the office by my bosses because of a Tweet, or customers writing in because their day got ruined for whatever reason…

 

Today’s Tweet from a customer to Pret:

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile2

Link to Tweet

 

And who is the best in this smile and friendliness? Of course Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret. What Ronald McDonald is to lure kids to McDonald’s, Schlee is to Pret. His job is to present (and Pret-end) this happiness and friendliness, and portray to the public that Pret is a lovely place that provides “good jobs for good people”. And he paints this facade extremely well.

But he doesn’t stop there, he goes the “extra mile” and takes the poorest of the poor, the most vulnerable and broken ones, homeless people (mainly young people) off the street, offers them jobs, flies them out to Austria where he has property, hikes with them and then making nice photos to show what a great company Pret is, and how well he and Pret cares for staff.

 

Some free PR on the house:

 

2018-10-20 Careful 2 Integrate Homeless1

 

 

How easy it is, as a millionaire business man to take the most vulnerable people, shower them with good deeds and an overdose of luxury, and then post this on his blog and on Twitter. And the public goes ‘Aaaawww isn’t that lovely’.

In the meantime staff across the board in Pret shops and kitchens are bullied, overworked, underpaid, have to work overtime without pay. And when they complain they are being threatened with their job security; disciplinaries are handed out like napkins, hardworking and loyal staff being unfairly dismissed and put on the streets, fear management is thriving, staff becoming suicidal etc. etc. Selected quotes from the long list of staff complaints, as well as my traumatic experience that I survived.

That is why Schlee writes on his blog of the idea for the Rising Stars (well sounding slogans) to run a shop by themselves, as solely former homeless from the manager down to the kitchen and shop staff and that Pret is “careful to integrate” them into shops. I write about why Pret is careful to integrate them in this blog entry more extensively.

But in a nutshell, for people who were homeless, vulnerable, have mental challenges and traumas to overcome, for them to work in the mainstream shops could catapult them right back on the streets as the work environment in shops and kitchens is brutal. So, when these Rising Stars run shops entirely with solely former homeless people on staff, they would be treated not as harsh as mainstream shops with high targets and unrealistic expectations. These Rising Stars would get an easier ride.

Thus, the well oiled PR[et] machine puts on its famous smile and portrays to the public what a lovely company they are. And yet, reality looks very different as I share my traumatic survival of Pret and all the staff reviews I collected unto one page. I keep referencing back and forth with links so that the reader doesn’t need to take just my word for it and because many people are new readers. This is so appalling because instead of making it easier across the company, treating ALL people with respect and kindness, and in this way still be really successful, the Rising Stars are treated softer, while the mainstream shops continue to suffer, and who knows how many ended up on the streets after they broke.

The CEO is very aware of how it is in shops, as he also visits shops regularly. One approach also is that shops are named, shamed and blamed when things go wrong like poor Health & Safety results. Of course shops are also named when they do extremely well as an incentive to make shops jealous to compete and raise the profit. But the atmosphere is hellish and I was able to take it for a long time while I had a “normal” life, not taking this home too much. But when my life got turned upside down when my brother died, this became a roller coaster that I don’t know how I survived this.

 

Only some of the many collected “reviews” on Pret’s work conditions:

 

This person keeps appearing on several YouTube comments regarding Pret (like I do on Twitter). One comment from YouTube scrolling down in the comments:

 

2018-07-24 RPQ now Branzinotito comment on James Hoffmann video

 

 

 

Ex-GM:

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 

 

 

Cons: “Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work”

 

2018-10-02 Modern Day Slavery

 

 

A very blunt but true review:

 

2018-07-12 Quote Pret #17

 

… Compiled with more reviews along those lines collected on the usual page I created.

 

The way Pret and the CEO dealt with two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, ignored numerous complaints and warnings regarding allergen and the lack of labelling, that only once the deaths became public and people started to boycott Pret, some even saying they will never shop there again, only then does Pret start slowly to trial labelling each product. And yet, each item has been labeled with full allergen guide for the homeless each night since years. The main characteristic in Pret is to make shop staff and customers responsible to figure out what is in the products. The homeless and  / or people in need cannot check after closing time nor do many have access to the Internet to check for allergen information online. So, staff and customers while in the shops are made responsible to search for ingredient and allergen information. A typical Pret “behaviour” to blame downwards should things go wrong.

 

2018-10-20 Pret charity labels2

 

 

I am all for taking homeless people off the streets, please do. Please help people back into jobs and get accommodation. But please, while you are doing this, also include homeless people who are in their 40s and 50s and not just in their 20s where your investment may pay off longer! There is too much discrimination going on, and even while older people are not as easily molded and brainwashed anymore, as they have a zero-tolerance on bullshit with their life experience, your reputation would get a better shine in the long-run. And yes, take them to Austria, Stonehenge, Hawaii or to the freaking moon if you can, but to take the most vulnerable for PR while regular shop staff are suffering, is the greatest hypocrisy and self-serving thing! If I was a former homeless person, I would be ticked off being used for PR[et] like this.

The catering and hospitality industry is already stressful as it is, but the unnecessary stress is what makes this so terrible and the PR facade so ugly, once the reality behind this facade comes to light.

 

Former IT-Analyst’s December 2017 review of HQ and Top Leadership:

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

 

My story at least I will tell again and again because it took 10 years of my life to come to a point to not give Pret, and indeed any company with double-standards, the benefit of the doubt anymore. I have to say though that I never experienced this turmoil in any company until I came to Pret. Maybe this is why it took me so long and such a traumatic journey to finally conclude that Pret was not worth my while.

 

I want to end on a positive note this time. I was at a gig yesterday of one of my favourite artists whose music has gotten me through a lot of dark times. I used her song “The Greatest” on a ‘video’ I did for my brother shortly after I learned that he died, and which I posted at the bottom of this page for him. My website here, which started and also still goes under poetrasblok.com, used to be all about my brother with a lot of poems I wrote and videos I made in my trauma, until the LateNightGirl.org thing took over. I will eventually turn it back into my sole tribute page for my brother and re-upload all the poems and videos that I posted before, as well as now also for my father who died in March this year.

But I had a little chat with this artist two days ago at a signing she did at Rough Trade East, London. I am not a fan of getting an autograph as this doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t ask for autographs, even though I met some artists that I love. Artists scribbling their name for a stranger on something doesn’t mean anything to me. But a small conversation, as little as 2 minutes means the world to me.

But as this was specifically a signing, it would have been a little bit odd not to take some of her albums for signing. Exchanging words was more important from human to human than any autograph could have been written into stone. Yesterday in the Roundhouse the thing she said at the end resonates so much with me. It wraps up my wasted years in Pret and my aim to not waste my short life on brutal and self-serving people or companies:

 

“Take care of yourself and those who love you. We spent sometimes our entire life taking care of those who don’t really even give the tiniest little shit about us. Make sure you take care of yourself and those who love you.”

Cat Power

 

Thanks, Chan! I will!

Chin up!

 

Roundhouse, London 23. Oct. 2018

 

 

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

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

 

Questions to Pret A Manger

 

Since Twitter is limited in the amount of words that can be used and on Facebook Pret tends to delete my comments, I’d just like to expand my questions here and just link to it.

I used to get told off and “corrected” from line managers in front of colleagues, one GM in particular would repeatedly do this, to which I kept asking to please give me feedback in person not in front of my team. This particular GM would say that he “feed-backs” me in front of the team for their benefit, so that they learn from my mistakes. Apart from this being complete nonsense, incapable management and plain wrong, I understood his bullying mentality and insecurity.

And I am sure Pret is not keen on answering my questions, certainly not directly, I’d like to take this “example” be it poor as it is, and do the same thing. For the sake of the public, so they learn from your mistakes, I’d like to ask you publicly again a few questions.

After I was bullied during bereavement in all its forms, shouted at, excluded from leader’s meetings as well as a leaders Christmas dinner (when my dad just woke from his coma and I returned to work and was put on late shifts to cover for them to have their dinner), information withheld that I needed in order to do my job, held low in jobs where I could not grow and thrive, hours cut to zero during Christmas time even though I was on a 35 hour contract needing money to visit my dad again, hours not paid that I had to chase, the patronizing approach from Clive Schlee, CEO who labelled me his “late night girl”, the lies and dodgy grievance hearings, after all this bullying under the guidance of HR and the Head of HR & Recruitment, after all this mistreatment you tasked one of your Development Managers to sanction me supposedly because of my emailing, for which your CEO labelled me his “late night girl” two months before you dismissed me.

Your Development Manager, who also is a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner (as several of your leaders are) and in 2017 studied to become a Psychotherapist, was put on my case because she had a brother who died in his flat and was not discovered after days later, just like my brother died and was in his flat for days before his corpse was found.

She was put into contact with me, not so we could support each other in our common grief, but so that I would be able to receive the disciplinary as I would be more receptive since we have the same loss. This which I already put forward to your Director of HR, I called “perversion” for lack of a better word. I had to learn later that this was gaslight in its most primitive form.

Your Development Manger, who is governed under this therapy body, then entered into personal communication with me right from the next day onward which was secret, even though you all knew about it of course. This confused me further. Not only did she enter into unallowed contact, but she solely communicated with me via text messages and email, for which she sanctioned me in the first place!

Fasting forward a few months, I of course got dismissed (with my dad in intensive care just out of a coma) while she is safe in her job as she served HR well. She even at times sounded like the Head of HR, saying things only the Head of HR knew and vice versa.

Now my question is, as I am not sure anymore what to believe because there were so many lies from you from the top down, did she really have a brother who died very similar to how my brother died and the delay in her learning about his passing, like in my case as well?

If she did have a brother and all she told me about him and the situation, why did you step on her dignity by using her against me, instead of for me and her being able to have open, not in secret, support in our grief. Her brother (supposedly) died 2 months before my brother died, in his flat, alone, for days undiscovered… like a twin story. And yet your core value of “doing the right thing naturally” … NATURALLY … I still have to let that word melt on my tongue… is such a disgrace and arrogance I have rarely come across.

If she did not have a brother and made up this story to really fuel the gaslight, than she is a bad person.

But if she did have a brother and everything she told me was like it was, than she is even worse than a bad person, because she should and could have declined the task of sanctioning me to protect her as well as my dignity.

I certainly would have declined and offered instead to be available for support and open contact with respect and integrity.

What this also particularly bad is how manipulative she was. Right from the start of our secret contact she wanted to meet me to interview me for an assignment she was writing for university as she was studying to be a Psychotherapist. She was writing an essay on anger and wanted my input as I was very angry with everything surrounding my brother’s death and being bullied on top of it.

I declined being interviewed as I didn’t know her, no matter how similar our losses were, but I also didn’t want to feel like a guinea pig for someone’s projects and from the get go I was confused about her role. A friend even warned me that Pret may be using her to “spy” on me to see how best to fire me. But I was so blinded from grief and all that happened at work that I fell for this trap that sounded too good to be true that someone with such an identical loss could be even in the same company.

She later declined showing me her essay as I was interested what her take on anger was. Her reasons for not showing it to me was supposedly because she wanted to protect the volunteers who participated in the interviews. And yet, an essay or book is usually written with changed names and even if the first names were real, I wouldn’t know anyone anyway. So, from all the lies and manipulations I reckon she used my story anyway against my permission.

My aim since May 2015, when I approached HR informally to make suggestions on how to support bereaved staff not only put a target on my back. I would enter further and further into troubled waters from superiors in the years to come, but Pret’s non-existent bereavement support program involves using one bereaved employee against another in the most disgraceful way! Perhaps they bribed the Development Manager either with immunity if any future disciplinary against her would come up, or she got that promotion she had an eye on for some time, as she worked in Pret’s HQ since over 15 years. She certainly got the personal protection from the Head of HR who would manipulate and tweak my situation on several occasions, leaving me like a lamb up for slaughter under incapable management. Only she knows why she not only allowed HR to use her, and even went further to take advantage of my story in her university studies.

 

And that is what makes Pret, Pret:

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

… and HR takes this to even more lofty heights:

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

PR, slogans, lies, dishonesty, tricks and traps, disrespect of dignity, lack of integrity behind a facade…

So, those are my questions regarding the Development Manager, did she really have a brother whose story in death was so similar to my brother’s, and if so why did you step on her and my dignity as well as her allowing this.

As you know you got away with it from reaching court as I cannot deal with this mentally without a lawyer and having buried my dad in March. I finally completely broke down. But I can write and ask and expose and share…

 

The other question that keeps burning in my heart which I already addressed you while working in Pret, was the incident one of your People Business Partners told me in an appeals hearing where I raised a grievance against another PBP, which of course was a waste of time, but at least I gave it my best. The PBP in the hearing told me about an assistant manager who was bereaved and mistreated on top of this at work and raised grievances, just like I was. He had the audacity to not only compare me with her, but judging her as well as me to be bitter, because we raised grievances.

I later emailed him as I was speechless in the hearing when he told me this, and wrote that she is not bitter, but in a lot of pain as I could relate to that. I deeply regret not having tried to get in contact with her to support her. But you know, Pret, I was so traumatized, not ready to give any help or assistance to anyone, I was so lost myself, whereas you have all the money, resource and manpower including your Development Manager who is a therapist… I had no strength nor mental capacity to help.

And my question again that I raised before, is this AM the same AM who a few months later ended her life in suicide?

 

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

 

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

Dear Pret, you take former homeless staff hiking, at times your CEO is taking them to his home in Austria and this serves your PR very well as one of your former IT Analyst’s reviewed your Head Office. And yet you put people on the streets through unfair dismissals. I certainly also could have ended up on the streets and was on my way downhill. You drive hardworking staff to suicidal thoughts maybe even successfully, you bully them during bereavement and then try to get rid of them with all kinds of tricks and traps under the umbrella of “doing the right thing… naturally”.

My public outcry, no matter how creative I write to try to heal, my ordeal with your company remains traumatic and it will never go away, no matter what you try next. And having a former team leader colleague of mine whom I used to highly respect and work well together, for him to call and then text me a few weeks ago, after not having heard from him for three years doesn’t work. He lied during an investigation in favour of a line manager who bullied me. He never expected that I’d read his lies later on after I applied for my file. I immediately told him to not contact me again. Your trick-box should have been exhausted by now.

I know you are collecting and waiting for me to do the “right” wrong thing for you to take action and certainly keep my public outcry should this reach court, and I wholeheartedly tell you that I neither care nor am afraid of you. Your systemic disregard for decent and hardworking people with integrity, your lack of compassion for people who give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions, your PR that gotten more cracks in its facade after your appalling dealings with two deaths becoming public… your carelessness will not be hidden forever, no matter how many hikes you take and use former homeless people for PR and step on even their dignity.

These questions remain, and the truth will always come to light… how many more have died, be it customers from allergen reactions or staff by suicide, some even after having left Pret so that no connections can be made. And how many more keep suffering, slide into depression and suicidal thoughts, as the true staff reviews reveal on the same lines of mistreatment again and again?

The truth will always come out, no matter how long it takes.

Kind regards,

Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl

 

 

 

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

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

Quotes of the Decade – Pret A Slave

 

slave-2614959_960_720

 

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

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement

Quote from the Introduction on page 3:

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

 

We know there’s a lot to do?

 

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

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

 

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

 

Some selected Quotes:

NEW Slave’s company (18. Oct. 2018)

Modern Day Slavery (2nd Oct. 2018)

Workers are slave (June 2017)

Slave-like environment (Oct. 2017)

Felt Like A Slave (Nov. 2014)

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

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

Advice to Management

Fix Your Attitude care about your employees dont over do the staff be reasonable be fair try everybody equally and so on such a bad experience.”

 

Slavery hasn’t been abolished (Oct. 2017)

Leaders treat you like a slave (May 2018)

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

 

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

Hellhole!”

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

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

 

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

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

On Andrej’s Pret Union video more comments:

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments1a

 

… and further …

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments4

 

etc. etc.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

The Question if I filed a Court Claim against Pret A Manger

 

judge-1587300__340

 

 

The more people learn about my story with Pret the more the question comes up if I went to court against Pret.

Yes I did. But I withdrew.

If you are a new reader to my ordeal with Pret A Manger, you will be confused and overwhelmed as my story is very complex and long. Those who have been following since the beginning when I started to publish on my blog in May 2018 have a good picture on what I went through.

This will eventually turn into a chronological book of events.

But to briefly answer the repeated and valid question if I sued Pret or if not, then why not, which I was just asked today again on Facebook, I decided to write this in a blog and just link to it.

When I was dismissed after being bullied, manipulated, gaslighted, held low, lied to by Pret’s toxic HR department, and continuously patronized by Pret’s CEO, Clive Schlee, who is not willing to label products for allergen information but was willing to label me his “late night girl” after the ordeal I went through… when I was dismissed three days after Christmas 2017 with my dad in intensive care just woken out of a coma, I filed a Tribunal claim as soon as I was able to in February 2018 as you have 3 months minus 1 day to file a claim.

In the meantime I was flying back and forth again between London and Germany to be with my dad (who was in hospital since 10.11.2017) as best I could on his bed side and then later in rehab. In the middle of all this I started to prepare for the Tribunal claim which would have happened in September 2018 with the first preliminary hearing in April 2018.

But I had no legal aid as I cannot afford lawyer fees. I scrapped all legal information together as best as I could, going from Citizen Advise Bureau to other free legal advisors to online researching back and forth, while also flying back and forth between London and my father’s bed side.

 

For people in the USA to understand, the legal system in the UK or in Europe in general is very different to the USA. Since 2015 on and off I contacted various law firms including pro-Bono, no-win no-fee firms, I even had a lawyer for a while who advised me for free. But I had to find out later again that he only wanted to make a quick buck by settling with Pret and get his 30%+ fee from the settlement. He didn’t really advise me properly anyway and even gave me some false advise at times which I later found out when I continued to do my “homework” researching online. I rejected four settlement offers from Pret, three while still working in Pret, and the fourth one via negotiating with the ACAS conciliator while withdrawing the Tribunal claim I raised and then closed. I dropped the “charitable” lawyer as soon as I found he was just looking for fast money himself.

In the USA lawyers would line up like vultures wanting to sue Pret on my behalf as the compensation can be ridiculously huge. In the UK the compensation would have maybe be maximum £10.000, maybe even more and mostly around £8000.

One former assistant manager who became homeless after being unfairly dismissed from Pret has gotten under £10K.

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

But 33% for the lawyer is peanuts for them to go all the way through with days and days of preliminary and then the main hearings. The free lawyer I had for a while also kept saying to me that it takes months before the hearings take place. In the UK they don’t bother for this “little” amount, while the Millions that can be won in the USA has lawyers drooling for cases like mine.

My father then died in March this year, and again I found myself crumbled under the weight of what life has thrown at me since I learned of my brother’s death in January 2015 (but he died in December 2014) and all I went through in Pret. Autopilot kicked in again, but I couldn’t cope anymore. Enough is enough. I want to die, but I want to live. I need a break.

 

1971-07-14 WK PK2 crop

WK 1939 – 2018

 

I withdrew my claim against Pret as my father died in the middle of preparing for the court case with scraps of legal advise I stumbled through, and my mental health taking another nose dive beyond basement level. But I did my homework and asked the Tribunal for the right to file a second claim later should I decide to file again. And I was granted this request.

If I will raise a second claim or if the time limit will be over, I don’t want to talk about.

But this is the reason why I withdrew my case, as it is so complex which involved the heart of Pret, the CEO, HQ, Head of HR, a Development Manager who was used to gaslight me etc. etc. etc. Unwillingly and unprecedented I poked into the heart of Pret, and for me to go all the way through to court without a lawyer going all the way with me would be suicide, as I cannot handle even small stress mentally at this time.

So, lucky for Pret I withdrew, but lucky for me I didn’t sign my rights away for peanuts. And even if Pret had offered me a huge amount, I don’t prostitute my values nor sign my rights away for life. So, I published now.

 

What happened to Natasha Ednan-Laperouse and her family has utterly devastated and shaken me. I wrote it before I have learned of her death, that having worked in Pret is my biggest regret in life. And now having learned of her tragedy, I am deeply ashamed to have ever given my time, effort and skill to this company, and having tried to improve work conditions from within while extremely traumatized myself. A company’s facade that does not care for people’s lives and health will get more and more cracks in time, with a glimpse behind the scenes of their carelessness.

 

Ednan-Laperouse

 

My heart and prayers go out to Natasha’s family and friends; her brother Alex, her mum and dad Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse.

 

I hope in time more people will come forward, especially on the issue of suicide in Pret as well as work conditions, bullying and customer injuries. On work conditions this former employee was the first to go public, I am the second and in time I hope more will follow. And I hope Natasha’s family pursue Pret in court as they have the finances for legal aid and the public behind them now with many warnings Pret ignored.

Thank you for reading and please open your eyes to Pret and take a closer look behind the facade, as indeed take a closer look at ANY company or organization that looks too good to be true in this profit driven society today.

If you don’t take anything away from my publications, ask yourself if anyone can really smile and be “happy” for 8+ hours DAILY in an intensely high stressed work environment out of true “happiness” or if there is anything else behind this!

 

And my question to Pret A Manger remains: If an assistant manager died by suicide in 2017, I almost did as well after my turmoil at work, and now Natasha’s death in 2016 is revealed, HOW MANY MORE people died and/or suffered hospitalization, depression, mental health issues, physical and mental injuries in relation to Pret.

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

Link to Tweet

 

The only way I cope is to write, and to write creatively of my ordeal. I said it to Pret while I still worked there that it is a mistake to mistreat someone who suffered loss and is a writer, as that person has nothing to lose anymore. And as Madeleine Peyroux wrote so poignantly in her song “Don’t Pick A Fight With A Poet”, Pret in their arrogance and feeling invincible, #toobigtofail, again did not heed yet another warning.

 

Some blog entries that give a good glance behind the shiny PR(et) facade:

Selected “Quotes of the Day” from substantial, but not exhaustive list of Pret Staff Complaints.

How I became a late night girl as “labelled” by Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee.

Pret A Mask

An Open Letter to the Director HR.

And finally, I take the sentence back at the end of this “video” that Pret has a good heart. I take that back. The good heart in Pret is the hard-working teams I had the privilege to look after. But I leave this “video” as a reminder and a sore in Pret’s sight of my passion, care and love for people, having tried to improve work conditions while myself being traumatized and mistreated by the top leadership of Pret, leaders in HR and HQ!

 

 


 

As my blog has grown into a maze of writings, I created a “Mind Map”, an overview to the most important blog entries for the reader not to get cluttered with posts. To understand the main issues that I have survived, please visit My Ordeal with Pret A Manger overview, click on the arrow next to each heading that you choose which will lead directly to posts back onto this blog. Thank you for reading.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

Jonathan Perkins – Pret’s Director of Risk-Taking & Complacency

 

UPDATE:

When I wrote the first sentence that Natasha isn’t the only fatality in Pret, I did not know that a second customer, Celia Marsh had died in December 2017. I did ask Pret on 30.09.2018 how many more there are and included it here on the 30th, but with the other fatality I meant a suicide of staff I keep confronting Pret about.

 


 

Blog Entry:

 

Natasha’s death is not the only fatality in Pret.

Pret’s Director of Risk & Compliance, or more appropriately, Risk-Taking & Complacency, having known of 9 complaints regarding sesame in products, especially the Artisan Baguette BEFORE Natasha died from it.

…walking ahead, strolling on the pavement in this VIDEO casually with his hands in his pockets as if nothing ever happened. Maybe the lady to the right behind him “ventriloquized” for him to take his hands out of his pockets for the cameras, as he briefly looked to his right, and then repositioning himself moving out of view of the camera. Nothing to worry about, because Clive Schlee does what he does best, sweet-talking Pret out of every mess! This one as well?! Certainly very impressive performance two years after Natasha’s death!

I find it also interesting that the CEO’s senior staff and lawyers stood far off on the other side of the street instead of close behind him, covering his back while he faces the public via the press. If Clive Schlee decided or was advised to face the press alone, while Mr. Perkins and legal advisors coward behind him out of view of the camera, with him later also walking alone through the mine field of the press, only he knows. But it shows what I experienced in Pret for 10 years, there is no “one for all and all for one” principle in Pret, the “family” illusion that Clive Schlee loves to portrait has always annoyed me, as the reality is Pret being a brutal and dishonest profit driven company, or a very dysfunctional family at best, breaking down as the mask is falling and the public starts to see the true face.

 

Jonathan Perkins gave a very poor response in the inquest which not only has many people perplex but angry:

Quote from this news report: “I accept that a number of individuals have had a negative experience, even a tragic experience, but thousands of customers and allergy sufferers shop with us safely.”

He might as well have said: ‘…a number of individuals have had a negative experience, even a tragic experience, but thousands of customers and allergy sufferers balance on the rope of potential allergic reactions without falling off‘.

Let’s just blame the law and the shops, shall we, and disgracefully Natasha herself? If you as the reader is blaming Natasha and her family, please go away from my website, buy yourself a coffee in Pret and stay lulled in from the PR(et) facade! Just click my website away, I don’t want your audience! I am not writing for you!

 

Perkins completely disregards a person’s death AND 9 previous complaints (with 1 also almost fatal) to thousands of customers who mingle their way through the dangers of allergic reactions due to lack of labeling! The lack of labeling is still happening TODAY (29.09.2018) as a friend just wrote to me having visited Pret on the weekend checking the labels.

Perkins further says after being asked what he has learned from Natasha’s death: “The father in me would want to change everything. I would give anything for this not to have happened. We try to do our best for our customers, but humans are fallible. Despite our best efforts and intentions we will get things wrong.”

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

 

This response not only angers many people including me, but it shows the core of Pret’s repeated negligence, and in my opinion plain arrogance in how they deal with many issues, not even putting on the brakes regarding life and death issues. For one, he had to admit due to Pret’s complaint logs, that he knew of the 9 previous complaints before Natasha died, but NOTHING was done! The father in him would want to change everything?? He missed a minimum of 9 opportunities to change EVERYTHING! And to excuse a death and negligence with just being human and fallible is outrageous and sickening, especially since Pret expects perfection from their shop staff and penalize employees easily for the smallest mistakes, mainly blaming downwards!! I survived being penalized and bullied even during traumatic bereavement.

Jonathan Perkins walking with his hands in his pockets, not taking responsibility, not resigning but hiding behind Clive Schlee from the camera’s view speaks volumes of Pret’s core values of “doing the right thing naturally”.

“It’s what makes Pret, Pret”!

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

Heartbroken for Natasha and her family!

 

The self-assured and patronizing response from Clive Schlee, CEO to an open letter in 2015 will also shed enough light behind the shiny PR(et) facade that gets more and more cracks by the public exposure of the fact that people, customers as well as staff, get hurt physically and mentally:

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_2

 

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_2

Link to Tweet

 

 

For him as the CEO to personally reply was supposed to impress Alicia? Well, it didn’t!

Last sentence in his response, quote: “Is there anything else that you would specifically like [u]s to do?”

Yes, RESIGN Clive Schlee!!

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Former IT Analyst’s employment review

 

 

Maybe Pret can learn from London’s Royal Festival Hall café. I used to chuckle when I ordered a coffee before a concert when I saw this sign of a “Honey NUT Tart” visibly loaded with nuts and the price tag saying: “Contains Nuts”! I thought it funny and made this photo, but now I don’t laugh anymore! Apologies to all allergy sufferers! The RAH’s diligence makes sense now! And this photo I made as far back as 2013 or 2014.

 

2014-07-21 Contains Nuts RFH

 

 

Heartbroken for Natasha’s family, who like all people who have lost loved ones due to neglect in unnecessary and avoidable deaths, say that they hope Natasha’s death will lead to change and save lives.

I join that hope, but I also hope that the top leadership of Pret resign or get dismissed and prosecuted, mainly because of the high and unattainable standards they expect of their staff, while themselves hiding behind a facade and their millions and hurting people. I myself have given Pret the benefit of the doubt one too many times while I was bullied, gaslighted, manipulated and ultimately dismissed during bereavement with my dad in intensive care, just out of a coma.

Pret does NOT care for people nor the health of customers and staff alike until caught publicly. The time has to come that the top leadership are called out to take responsibility away from the sweet-talking slogans they are so effectively known for.

To quote only part of one staff review (Clicking on “Show More” to see full review):
“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.

That makes two voices already… And since news of Natasha’s death broke, more positive reviews seem to appear in support of Schlee and Pret. It doesn’t matter how many rally around the CEO and the company, a person died, others were hospitalized and suffered scary reactions to products.

How many more have died that we don’t know about if Natasha’s death that happened in 2016 just comes to light now? How many died of food allergies or staff by suicide that is under the carpet?

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

Nothing further to say, hey!

That’s not for today… I’ve made my statement”

When is the day, Clive Schlee, when, with you being “deeply” sorry for Natasha’s death two YEARS after she died because this is public now? When is the day?

 

 

Dear Clive Schlee,

could you please stop the PR(et) machine, put on the brakes and truly live up to your slogans to do “meaningful” change? Could you please bring real change for customers’ lives as well as for staff?

Your demands and slogans towards staff to “go the extra mile”, “strive for perfection”, and the most ridiculous of all, Pret “doing the right thing naturally” will always come back to haunt you. I know neither staff nor yourself can live up to micro-managing and fear managing slogans you have had in place for too long. Changing those would be a good start.

You calling me your “late light girl” two months before I was dismissed while my dad just came out of his coma in intensive care, knowing how I suffered during bereavement under your and HR’s leadership, or the lack thereof (!), almost losing my life as well, staff suffering… and you still do business as usual!

You are no “undercover boss” who is oblivious on what’s going on in your company, you are present in Pret like no other CEO. You are very very aware of what is happening inside and outside of Pret. There is no excuse of the suffering of PEOPLE, of customers and staff alike.

Unless you truly change the slogans, the labeling and other health & safety issues, including mental health & safety not just “on paper”, starting by having enough staff on the shop floor instead of cutting labour to increase your millions, as well as having real and more than adequate training in place… until you truly live what you preach this will keep happening and the crack in your PR(et) facade will widen.

Please step out of the shoes of the likes of McDonald’s, Amazon & Co.

Pret is still small and intimate enough to make a real change that wouldn’t be just “meaningful” but life-saving as well as enhancing physical and mental health!

Please heed. Please change direction, sir, or resign and make way for a CEO who would truly care for all people’s lives (customer and staff alike), for their physical and mental health.

Sincerely,

Your Late Night Girl!

 

P.S. And dear Pret, could you please NOT task anyone to contact me, as a former team leader colleague of mine whom I used to highly respect, until I learned of his lies, called and then texted me two days ago, whereas in over three years I haven’t heard from him and him having lied in an investigation hearing that I raised because I was bullied by our then line manager. I immediately asked him to not contact me again and go back to Pret to which he replied that he contacted me “by mistake”. Of course, he did! Please, you should know by now, especially after gaslighting me via this person, that I won’t fall for your toxic and corrupt HR department’s tricks anymore. Thank you!

 

Selected Quotes of Pret Staff Complaints.

Comprehensive, but not exhaustive list of Staff Complaints.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Before they mute my response to Pret’s CEO regarding Death…

 

Not good enough, Pret!! Not good enough!

Some of my tweets have been muted lately since the news broke of the girl who died (in 2016 already) from a Pret baguette due to allergy.

Before my response is deleted or muted again, here it is again.

Pret has absolutely NO excuse for this!

What I wrote in the tweet regarding “going the extra mile”, “striving for perfection”, “doing the right thing naturally”….

These are slogans, suggestions, requests and demands Pret has in place for staff. These always bothered me because Pret is not living up to their own demands.

Shortly after my brother’s death and mistreatment in the middle of grief, my suggestions since May 2015 to Pret’s HR department regarding staff treatment, especially of the bereaved have not only been ignored, but I have been bullied on top of it. Only when I involved Clive Schlee, CEO (who later labeled me his “late night girl”) did some support start, but a lot of it was to cover Pret’s own back. A lot was “Pret-entious”!

The bullying which became more subtle later on in the middle of my already traumatic bereavement have made me mentally ill with my emailing, which I extensively explain in other blog entries and how my ordeal started.

I still may be too naïve to have hopes that Pret TRULY can change direction if they put their priorities right. But I firmly believe Pret’s toxic and corrupt HR department needs a serious re-vamping in new leadership, as well as a new CEO who doesn’t just sweet-talk their way out of a disaster or tragedy when Pret gets caught “doing the wrong thing naturally”!

My response to Pret’s CEO as it may be deleted or muted like it was done with some of the other tweets:

 

2018-09-28 MY Response 2 Clive BBC2

 

Link to Tweet

 

Dear Clive Schlee and Pret,

I still have hopes that you change direction regarding work conditions, true customer care, quality of training staff to assist customers… away from your well oiled PR(et) machine and truly live up to your slogans. Not just for customers, but also  for staff, as we all are human beings, sir, not staff as work-machines and robots or customers as piggy banks for your millions.

For the sake of many who suffered to the point of even becoming suicidal, as well as for the public, that is becoming aware of the negligence in Pret which is not an isolated incidence.

Selected Quotes from staff complaints.

Sincerely,

Your Late Night Girl

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Pret Quotes of the Month – September 2018

 

Depression pexels-photo-246804

 

 

Key words in the quotes:

“GET REALISTIC and stop punishing your hard working teams.

Calm down and take a step back – proper communication is key, over-reacting doesn’t help anyone nor does assigning blame before even fixing a problem.

The manager is so rude. They treat their employees as slaves. It would be good if they educate their staff to treat workers (fair, well, good, better?), they are aggressive and badly educated.

… not worth if you have a manager who shouts at you every five minutes.

Managers are very bossy and unprofessional, a bit of exploiting. Be honest and kind.

Attitude of the manager towards the employees. No understanding to empathy.” …

 

Yep, no understanding to empathy. I survived being bullied during bereavement which was already immensely traumatic how I lost my brother. I was then manipulated, gaslighted, exploited and taken advantage of in my work and aim to better work conditions. To top it, I was then fired while my dad just came out of his coma in intensive care, still hooked on the breathing machine and tubes. I was dismissed two onths after Clive Schlee, CEO labeled me his “late night girl” (late night emails to Pret, friends, counselors out of trauma often drunk) further stepping on my dignity.

I wrote it somewhere else already that Pret with their shiny facade and well oiled PR(et) machine can meet me in the middle of their sugar coated look. Pret can do the PR and I do the ET. They do Public Relations and I Establish Truth with the quotes of the Review websites, YouTube etc. and my own traumatic experience.

 

 

2018-09-01 Do not apply

 

 

 

2018-09-05 Calm down

 

 

2018-09-10 Aggressive

 

2018-09-10 Aggressive2

 

 

2018-09-14 Exploit

 

 

2018-09-21 Managers Attitude

 

 

Collected Staff Complaints from various Employment Review sites, YouTube, Twitter etc.

 

Selected Quotes from the Staff Complaints list.

 

 

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

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

 

A Question on Suicide in Pret & a £1000 Announcement

 

I am aware that this is a “handful”, but bear with the below and please look deeper to know what really is going on behind some announcements.

 

I write so “blunt” because I almost lost my life.

 

Pret is recruiting, and £1000 is the carrot. Pret minus Bridgepoint + the German JAB Holding Company based in Luxembourg = Pret has arrived in tax haven!

Pret’s leadership became aware of my blog and website here on the 28th into the 29th May 2018. The CEO of Pret tweeted the below at night on the 29. May, probably as a reaction to my blog? As I don’t believe in coincidence anymore and as Pret is mainly reacting to issues when confronted.

I almost lost my life working in Pret, having been bullied during bereavement and with all the tricks, traps and gaslighting the toxic HR department dealt me with. I wasted my sweat, blood and tears for close to 10 years in this company, making the mistake to try and improve work conditions while being completely traumatised in grief and mistreatment. Having worked in Pret is my biggest regret in life.

 

An assistant manager died by suicide in 2017 after I was told by HR of an AM who was also bereaved and mistreated at work like I was. I almost ended my life as well. And Natasha having died in 2016, but we only learn about this two years later… HOW MANY MORE ARE THERE?!

 

——————————————————

UPDATE

07. Oct. 2018: Pret a Manger investigates second death linked to sandwich

——————————————————

 

Pret’s slogan of “Doing the right thing naturally” is just another of the many slogans to crank up the PR(et) machine. But in reality, this is what Pret does “naturally” behind the shiny facade: Pret Staff Complaints collected from various Employment Review websites, YouTube and Twitter, as well as my own traumatic experience.

 

 

 

The CEO working the PR(et) machine after my blog was revealed to him:

 

 

12K vs 20K

 

It used to take 10 years of service in Pret to receive £1000. If Pret is giving all their staff £1000 it means they are desperate to recruit or desperate to counter my public outcry regarding staff treatment.

The CEO pockets £30 million, and then giving £1000 (from the sale, not his £30 mil!) to each employee as Brexit is at the door and many, especially Eastern European workers return to their home countries or move on to other opportunities. Several of my ex-colleagues already told me of their plans to return home. Usually Pret gives cheap cakes to their shops when another financial milestone was reached, over-sugared cakes that end up half-eaten and stale in the shop fridges. But this generosity means Brexit is advancing fast and my publication is a sore in their sight. New recruits are needed and the facade needs another polishing shine.
Also, to announce the £1000 ahead of the deal being finalized, as usually rewards are given after a deal or a milestone has been reached not before, is nothing short of interesting.

 

On 12th September 2018 and beyond the shops are still waiting for this announcement from three months prior to become reality:

 

 

2018-09-16 my response to £1000 29May announcement

 

 

A month before that someone already inquired about it:

 

 

2018-09-16 my response to £1000 29May announcement2

 

 

UPDATES:

 

2018-09-30 1000

 

 

2018-09-30 1000 JAB

 

 

Well, I’m delighted to have been part in Pret’s CEO making this premature announcement on 29th May when he became aware of my public outcry regarding my ordeal and staff treatment in general. The JAB deal will go through and the money will flow, but the work conditions will get worse as there is now much much more money in the purchase involved. How many more people, customers and staff alike will pay the price for this greed @ Clive Schlee, how many more that we don’t even know about?

 

When the bullying started, or rather continued during grief adding to my trauma, I became ill. There were no appraisals where I could learn where I was strong or where I can improve, never a reward, no feedback, absolutely nothing. Only targeting, bullying and manipulation were standard. One later GM’s tactic was to hold me low while I was going through the worst time, being vulnerable, having had the floor underneath my feet ripped away. This kind of “leadership” is common in Pret. This GM, who didn’t want “the area to feel sorry for him anymore” because I was thrust into his shop in the middle of trauma, grievance hearings and under shock, was one of the worst management experiences I worked with because it was very subtle bullying hard to put ones finger on until it was too late.

I became ill and wrote countless emails which I explain in detail here. One of my last line managers just laughed about it with the leadership team, the CEO labeled me his “late night girl” to the Director of HR, the Head of HR tried 4 times to pay me out (peanuts) if I resign, and the peak came when the gaslight really took on full swing as described below…
There is no protection against the discrimination of the bereaved and mentally ill in Pret A Manger.

 

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

Link to Tweet

 

 

Wasting 10 years of my life in a company that is only profit and target driven with extreme good PR in place and a smiling, approachable CEO who is fully aware of what’s going on in his company as he visits the shop floor regularly, Pret-ending everything is jolly good while lulling in the public and staff. Grievance hearing after grievance hearing that I raised in my traumatic state were conducted in tricky ways, not impartial.

For three years I approached HR and managers with suggestions and ideas on how to improve support for bereaved staff. I had a target on my back from the moment I approached HR informally to bring suggestions in May 2015. I was naive, fooled and in the darkest time of my life. Unbeknown to me at the time, it was the beginning of the end for me. It is no wonder that hardly anyone approaches HR in this systemic and toxic work environment in society today.

 

Pret has become like the majority of multinational corporations mistreating their workforce, especially in the fast-food industry. One former Assistant Manager “pleads” with Pret to return to the basics, a General Manager pleads to “Please get the bullies out and revive Pret to its former glory” and poignantly says of Pret being “a great company in risk of ruin”. But I think these concerns and pleas may be too late as once a company licks blood of the Millions and Billions that are made, it’s like an addiction that is hard to beat. And now with the JAB takeover, it’s a point of no return.

Being bullied during bereavement and all the mistreatment from superiors towards workers, Pret is moving more and more towards the jungle and swamp of Amazon that is notorious for their brutal bullying tactics. The only difference is that Pret is excellent in PR and still relatively small in this corporate world of greed, lulling the public and staff in with sweet-talk. And in-between they throw in a £1000 carrot for each employee to polish up their facade.

Word PR.Isolated on white background.3d rendered illustration.

The most disgraceful thing they have done was to “introduce” me to a development manager who supposedly had a similar loss with her brother, but our introduction was not to support me (or her), it was for her to give me a disciplinary for all my emailing (electronic communication) and then entering into secret solely electronic communication (text and email), confusing and frustrating me further that my ill emailing behaviour intensified again. This was gaslighting in a nutshell.

I was then dismissed just 5 months short of my 10 years service where I also would have received £1000, the development manager of course is safe in her job as she served them well. Pret went all the way in “doing the right thing naturally” again by firing me three days after Christmas 2017 while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma! Again, the toxic HR department “doing the right thing naturally” two months after Clive Schlee labeled me his “late night girl”, patronizing me in his typical self-assured arrogance.

 

On 02. Oct. 2018 staff are still waiting for the bonus. And my Tweets have since been deleted by Twitter, also called “shadow banned”.

 

1000 announcement still waiting 2018-10-02b

Link

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

 

When you read that all staff now receive £1000, whereas before it would take 10 years to receive £1K it shows how desperate Pret is to gain and retain staff. I was never after money and have declined 4 offers of settlement, not only because of the peanuts they offered. Not even a million pounds would have done it, because I don’t prostitute my values or sign away my rights for money, no matter the amount.

 

@Pret, too many people suffer, become depressed, even suicidal that someone needs to stand up and tell their story! Does Pret, does Clive Schlee really believe that a £1000 and all the sweet-talk will hold up this facade in the long-run? Staff will take the money, but the truth cannot be bought, held under and sugar-coated forever.

 

I was ONE, you were and are many, you have all the resources, sophistication (bottom page), manpower, money and whatever you can come up with. You still refuse to acknowledge how out of proportion this was and is. No amount of money could have fixed this.

To be entrenched in this system that you probably don’t even realize how wrong so much of how you, as a GROUP of influential professionals have acted towards ONE single person, and indeed everyone on the “front-lines” of the business, who are the ones making you all this wealth. Sure, you seem desperate to recruit now being suddenly so generous to all staff. Don’t turn too socialistic now, though, it doesn’t come across as genuine!

Do you know the hope I felt when I met a person of similar loss, as my grief became so complicated, and still is? And then to just find out after a while that this was yet another trick!? Again? Gaslighting at its best. If Pret truly takes inventory of their conscience, they would have to face that this absolutely crossed the line! They stepped one too many times on my dignity. And that one nailed it!

I survived to speak about it openly and I will never be silent, no matter what you come up with out of your trick-box from a corrupt and discriminating HR department.

It would be good to heed this reviewer’s advice to management from June 2018: Fire the HR staff because a £1000 quick fix won’t do it, the reviews from Pret staff on Employment Review websites and other online platforms will continue on these lines and crack the PR(et) machine until Pret truly lives up to its slogans and words. The annual staff questionnaire Pret holds won’t help as they are tweaked at times by shop management. The truth will always come to light sooner or later.

And maybe, just maybe instead of firing all the hardworking people who work with integrity and commitment in the high stress environment, the top leadership with its top HR leaders may need to get a dose of their own medicine, and get fired for a change to really turn this company into what they claim it to be.

 

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Song of the Day #1 – “Don’t Pick a Fight

 

With A Poet”

— Madeleine Peyroux

 

bird-feather-2505307_960_720

 

I re-wrote the lyrics
— Late Night Girl

When you’re working in a chain,
where your bosses give you pain,
make you want to start a big fight,
’cause they talk as if they’re so right.
There is one thing to remember,
in case you haven’t heard:
You can sack another staff member,
but you cannot smite a word.

 

So, don’t pick a fight with a poet.
Don’t hide behind your PR.
Whether it’s wrong or it’s right,
there’s a lesson in life,
and to learn it, you need to listen up,
cause staff’s had enough of this crap.
When you treated me so poor,
I almost died but I came through,
and you want to prove me all wrong,
you think you are so strong.
You can try to make them listen.

You used to be my boss,
but the survivor is the one
who recovers from their loss.
So, don’t pick a fight with a griever.
Don’t corrupt the hearings for our gain.
Whether it is wrong or it’s right,
there’ll be a lesson tonight,
and to learn it keep turning the page,
’cause a poet knows, that ink will never age.
Over here on the screen with a Customer’s grin
making rhyme out of broken lives
cryin’ the hymn.
And memories from good times,
clicking away free coffees and treats,
congregating the world
with a keyboard and tweets.
Don’t pick a fight with a traumatized person.
Don’t raise your voice against them.
Once they have nothing to lose,
there’s only truth to choose,
and to accept it, you’ll have to return,
to the basics of kindness to win … again.

 

 

Doing the Late Night Girl Thing Naturally!

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Quote of the Day #59 – Pret A Anger

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet2

 

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet3

 

2nd July 2018 Leader Tweet NOTE: This tweet is visible but not the initial Tweet from Pret’s CEO, except when I am logged in to my Twitter as many of my tweets are “shadow banned” (Please google shadow banning – secret censorship).

 

Quote of the day:

 

“!!!! … !!!!! … !!!!!!!! … !!!”

 

— and —

 

“…go work with fever 40 degree because nobody can cover me as leader made me undervalued I was very depressed !!!!the management give to me a lot pressure complaints about because I was calling sick I asked help but nobody help me out to change shop… I have infection of my livers because expired dates food is not been checked properly dates nobody following standards… I’m surrendered because I chose health and my mental well-being…”

 

Translating this very common problem in Pret:

She is overworked, not appreciated, over pressured and can’t even take off sick because there is no leader to cover her. Management is either swamped themselves or don’t care as both situations I have experienced time and time again and many others complain about in what I compiled onto one page from different Employment Review websites and YouTube.

There is no time to do one of the most important things, which is to check for any items that went out of date. I have experienced this countless times, I did the date checks, then my boss came to work and started having a go at me for why I haven’t done anther job… If you do the other job, the boss has a go at you for why you didn’t do the date check! So, after a long time of bullshit like this, I prioritized with what the most important health and safety issue is and this was my argument when I was rebuked again.I said this many times, even while working in Pret when my colleagues were frustrated about the harsh leadership, I likened what Pret is doing with the metaphor of binding the feet of the employees and then demand for them to run! No matter which direction you stumbled, it was always wrong!

There is no proper training, no proper leadership, standards are low and this Team Leader is trying her utmost best to keep up standards and try to work as best under the circumstances. She finally decided to “surrender” (give up, quit) by tweeting this, maybe leaving Pret, maybe she was placed in a better shop so she won’t openly complain anymore.

One hint of this trend throughout the company is in this staff review, of cutting staff to maximize profits, but then the health and safety of staff and customers are compromised. Quote, “Either stop cutting hours or stop giving teams a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete.”

My experience with the bullying during my loss and trauma in 2015 came to its peak, which I describe extensively in another blog entry about how I was bullied and gaslighted which I named Pret A Manipulate. I was one of those Team Leaders as well, like this Leader in the Tweet here, who took my job very serious. In the shop where my ordeal was the most painful and scariest, there were no morning date checks done, only evening checks. So, when an item was found out of date, the evening Leader was penalized even though the standard was to do a morning date check, but that standard was not followed. I always stressed this to my Leader colleagues to do the morning date checks, and not just tick off the box in the daily date check list lying that the checks were done. They always said that there was no time, and I stressed again that we need to find the time as this is one of the most crucial tasks for health and safety reasons.

One evening I did miss to take out 1 (ONE!) Lemon Cheese Cake that would expire by the end of that day. I saw it in my evening checks that I did hours before closing time. I even circled it on the date check sheet for me to remember to later take it off the fridge and waste it, so it won’t be on the shelf the next day out of date. I even remembered that I checked again when we closed the shop at closing time, but I didn’t see it anymore. I assumed we sold it and I was delighted not to have to waste food and money, as this is a more expensive item to waste.

But the area manager who targeted me for months for little things did one of her checks the next day, which was my day off (interesting she did the check on my day off!) and she found that ONE Lemon Cheese Cake. Long story short, she tried to penalize me, wanting to put me on targets etc. while in reality a colleague of mine left multiple items out of date in the fridges and was known for his poor working conduct by all colleagues. At one point he left about 40 – 50 items that were out of date in the fridges in ONE night, which I then found on my next morning shift and during the checks couldn’t believe how many items I had to pull off the shelves! Also, as there were no morning date checks, which is standard, but in that shop no-one except me was doing the morning double check, I was still the one she wanted to put on performance targets! I realized very quickly that she was targeting me.

But it backfired on her when I found the 40 – 50 items a few days later, communicating this to her and asking her for a meeting to speak about why I am being treated so harsh for little mistakes while I worked my butt off DURING the darkest time of my life having lost my brother. From then on she tried to get rid of me, shifting me around shops and using other managers to target me further. I realized very quickly that ANYTHING, the smallest thing can be used against a person if someone is out to target them. From this time onward the rota was adjusted to include the standard morning date checks!

 

Anger.jpg

 

This among the many other mistreatment I share on my blog, made me so paranoid, mentally ill, and I still now suffer from panic attacks. For a regular person who isn’t going through trauma or bereavement this would be already a nightmare to deal with, but I was in the middle of dark grief and had to also be dealing with poor, terrible management like this. I felt like I was stumbling through a war zone in a mine field, being shot at from different sides trying to desperately get out this mess!

I almost ended my life and this is why I write so passionately about my Pret experience, because people become mentally and/or physically unwell at best and suicidal at worst.

In a drunken stupor I write my anger in Tweets and on my blog at times, trying to still come to terms, and I am not proud of it, but I will never ever be silent about what I have been through in the middle of grief and trauma, which was then added by repeated mistreatment, manipulation, gaslighting in Pret A Manger.

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Darkness, Trauma, Work without Pay

 

always_smile

 

There is a British company that named itself “Ready To Eat”, or better known for its foreign branding term: Pret A Manger.

British food is not known to be the most culinary experience one can lick their fingers to, especially in the 1980s. So, a French name had to help to draw to its “cuisine”.

Many PR(et) slogans later the facade keeps shining, as the slogans are so many and offensive to their hard working people.

Over three years ago on 12. January 2015 I learned through an ice cold email that my brother has been found dead in his flat on 15. December 2014. He lay in his apartment for approximately 6 days before the neighbours smelled the odour of his corpse.

Police supposedly tried to find next of kin, but weren’t successful in the efficient country of Germany! They then just cremated my brother and all the other nightmare things they have done. They did NO autopsy, finding no clear cause of death. The city council sent his urn from his city via the POSTAL SERVICE to the city council in the town where my mum lives. They destroyed his belongings that had no value and sold the things that had value because he was in debt…

I could look at this as if this was a twisted Hollywood script that no producer wants to finance. But if that nightmare wasn’t enough I had to go into Alice Wonderlandish-nightmare…

UPDATE: Only recently I stumbled on a YouTube video where a similar thing happened to an American family. Son/brother died unbeknown to them and was cremated without their consent. I am still in search of legal advise myself how to proceed even while friends say I should let it go … But I am torn and not sure how I can cope mentally without much support to investigate myself further, without just putting my own puzzle together and if the police can be made responsible …

 

From the get go I was an inconvenience in Pret for which I worked 7 years at the time, 10 years altogether. The first 5 months during bereavement I was put on mainly late shifts which kept me from seeing friends during a nightmare I cannot describe!

I was then transferred at my request to a shop to have rotating shifts, but there the bullying really started.

In May 2015 I approached Pret’s HR department informally to make suggestions on how to support bereaved employees. What I didn’t realize then was that I put a bulls eye target on my back, as the People Business Partner who was present at the meeting, was involved in targeting me later on. I only understand now that People Business Partners are there for business, nothing else.

 

What staff really think.

 

I am tired to explain what went on for three years. Really really tired.
@Pret, your silence won’t help you.

I started my website initially as poetrasblok.com which is still running under this name and was solely for my brother. But the trauma I have been through in Pret and being patronized and labelled by Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret as his “late night girl” made me decide to speak openly about what I’ve been through.

My site will eventually turn back again on my brother, my father who died in March, my family, friends and passions I have with writing and music. But for now, as the public is lulled in by the PR[et] facade and I almost lost my life in Pret, after being bullied during the worst time of my life. I cannot be silent.

 


 

UPDATE 15.10.2018

A staff member confronted Pret on Twitter openly, this is only one example happen to become public and the cut & paste response from the Pret-Tweet employee (probably HR). I gave my own responses and suggested for him to join a Union. I know exactly how it is when managers “forget” to pay you, happened so frequently, at times putting me into rent arrears and other stressful situations having to raise this with HR which in turn put a target on my back with the line manager. No matter how you turned, you were at the losing end. And Clive Schlee is counting his £30 Million + and the £1000 “Pay Rise” for all staff that they are still waiting for is exactly what it is, PR.

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks3

 

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

 

Link to Tweet

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

How I became a Late Night Girl

 

Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret A Manger stepped on my dignity, patronizing me by calling me his “late night girl” two months before Pret fired me while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma. Why he labeled me this I explain on my blog here in detail. I adopted this “label” to be a sore in Pret’s sight, in hopes they will never do to employees again what they’ve done to me.

 

18-tk-ca-2012.jpg

 

On 12. January 2015 I woke up and checked my email while still in bed blurry-eyed. Bed, the most vulnerable and safe place to be in. I had late shift that week and thought I quickly check my mail before turning around to sleep some more and later go to work.

I found myself making the fastest jump out of bed I’ve ever made, but that jump felt like slow motion, as if I got stuck in mid air and my room was moving by me in an eerie pace. The light painted wall became fogged up like someone just poured a dust-like grey powder over it. When I landed on my feet, I felt like a deformed cartoon character out of a Tom & Jerry fighting scene, who got whacked over the head and entered into another world. But it was more like a shotgun hole in my gut, something ripped life out of my system and left a huge crater behind.

My bedroom wasn’t my bedroom anymore, my apartment wasn’t my apartment anymore, my mind wasn’t my mind anymore. It was just like it feels when you return from a two or three week trip to a different country and culture, returning home and your place has a different feel to it, a stale atmosphere because you’ve gotten used to a different place, food, impressions, language.

Of course your apartment or house is still the same, it’s just you who has to readjust to the familiar and safe place you know so well and fill it with life again. But for me it was like I’ve come “home” to hell. It was the beginning of a very long and dark time in that world, which I am still standing in with one foot, while the other foot is trying to venture out to find green pastures.

In a 6 or 7 sentence email the sender went down a quick and short route to inform me that my brother has been found dead in his flat on the 15. December 2014. Next of kin could not be found in time (in a country as efficient as Germany!). Cause of death not clear, no autopsy, he lay dead for an estimated 6 days plus/minus before he was found, and then they just cremated him before finding us!

[After I flew over the next day to personally – not over the phone! – bring my mum the death of her son she gave life to, we arranged for his urn to be brought over from the city where he lived in. To our utter disbelief they sent his urn via post to the city’s council where my mum lives, so we can bury whatever was left of my brother close to my mum. Another German procedure I didn’t know was even done like this, sending an urn via post?!]

Furthermore I was advised to reject the inheritance as his estate was highly in debt, which also meant I learned later that I could not retrieve any of his belongings and was informed later that any belongings with no financial value has been destroyed…

The email ended with some other instructions. Kind regards.

My phone became like a curse in my hand that I could not understand that this was a phone I was holding, just starring at it, reading an electronic mail giving me a message of death.

I died that day.

 

 

 

07 TP crop

 

When Machines Bring You Death

 

A Plea!

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Workplace Bullying Costs Lives 2

 

falling-2245869__340

 

I shared this already here, but can never stop sharing this.

Workplace bullying is epidemic today, especially since companies are growing so large and fast the emphasis is on maximizing profits as much as possible on the “backs” of employees.

Due to what to me is simple greed and the unquenchable hunger for power to control people, there is lack of training in people- and leadership skills, no clear zero tolerance on discrimination and bullying, no real principle to value people and truly equip and encourage them to thrive in their work.

I feel like this is a modern day type of slavery where masses of employees are under the control of few people who have but one thing in mind: maximize profit and obtain power over people. It sounds like a bad conspiracy film, but I have experienced this as it is systemic and destructive.

My story reflects easily in all these staff complaints! I can verify those countless reviews. Even during bereavement I wasn’t safe. I became ill, doing crazy things like emailing non-stop for which I was laughed at, the CEO calling me his “late night girl” minimizing this illness and having a laugh where I was then fired while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma! I turned this illness now into my blog and want to shed a light behind the shiny facade of the PR(et) machine. Before turning so crazy with the emailing, I approached HR in May 2015 at the beginning of my loss, unbeknown to me that by informally approaching HR to bring suggestions on how to support the bereaved employee, I put a target on my back and entered a 3 year ordeal I never thought could happen. I have almost lost my life, and that is why I can never be silent.

 

Brief Quotes:

Please get the bullies out… Now your people work in fear…..its time to listen!”

Worst company to work for … managers are always working with fear … be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”

the WORST job I have had in London … l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!”

Stressful. It’s like a china factory. … leader use to shout people.”

Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake.

etc. etc. etc. Comprehensive, but not exhaustive list of staff complaints here.

 

I am often called a “tough cookie”, holding out and hanging on in difficult situations, but when I was bullied even during bereavement which postponed my grief for my brother, it crossed a line so much that should not have been crossed.

I regret having wasted 10 years of my life in a company, even trying to help them during the darkest time WHILE being so mistreated and turning ill. I also regret having made this video, trying to reach out to a multi-million pound company who doesn’t care. I still care, I care for all my former colleagues who are still there suffering, not being able to find another job, having to feed their kids and pay the bills.

I hope one day this company will have a change of heart and put their money where their PR(et) mouth is, stop the sweet-talk and really do what they Pret-end to be doing. Sometimes it needs a complete change in the leadership, a leadership that has a clear zero tolerance of bullying in place. But I feel hopeless that this will happen, because too much money is involved and once people “lick blood” and get the taste of running with the big boys, it is like an addiction of wealth how the fantastic comedian Sarah Silverman has put it so well. People like Bill Gates and his wife have been distributing their wealth to projects for the poorest of the poor for some time now. They also encourage other million-billionaires to join their venture, and many do. I salute those people. Nothing against rich people, be rich, make as much money as you can, BUT DO NOT mistreat those who make this wealth for you!

I regret having made this video, but I will leave it up in the hopes that some big gun will soften their heart for those workers who helped them to their wealth in the first place. When I made this video, I was preparing and ready to end my life. But you are not worth it Pret! You never even deserved my labour, skill, time and integrity. I lost 10 years of my life working in Pret. It is my biggest regret in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bullying can kill

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

A bully is strong???

 

A wonderful campaign to change the definition of bully in the dictionary!

Current definition in several dictionaries:
bully1 n. (pl.bullies) Those who use strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.

Campaign to change the wording to:
bully1 n. (pl.bullies) A person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.

The online Oxford dictionary has changed this.

 

From AntiBullyingPro: Young People Who Are Being Bullied No Longer Defined As ‘Weak’

 

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

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

 

Broke

 

Old_New_InvertedColours

8yrs    |    35yrs

 

In memory of my big brother Thomas 25.02.1969 ~ 09.12.2014 whose death has not been investigated properly by a lousy, indifferent police department; whose day of death could only be estimated; whose 3 cats survived in his flat while he lay dead for approx. 6 days before he was found; whose corpse they just cremated without our consent; whose passing we didn’t know for 5 weeks; and whose death I was delayed to grieve in peace while working in a bullying company in Pret A Manger under a toxic and corrupt leadership, surviving a hostile work environment.

 

I still dance like this…

 

 

Broke

Ft. Poem: Emily Dickinson “To know just how He suffered would be dear”
Ft. Music: Dark Dark Dark “Something For Myself”

 

To know just how He suffered – would be dear
I want to hold you
To know if any Human eyes were near
what happened to you?


To whom He could entrust His wavering gaze
couldn’t find a way out of this endless maze?

Until it settle broad – on Paradise
my lights went out

 

To know if He was patient – part content
I’m a mess, you know

Was Dying as He thought – or different
can we rewind and find the switch?

Was it a pleasant Day to die
what day was it?

And did the Sunshine face his way
what hour of the day?

 

What was His furthest mind – Of Home or God
something you always sought

Or what the Distant say
I was here, not there

At news that He ceased Human Nature
at news
I ceased

Such a Day
such a day 

 

And Wishes – Had He Any
wish ! was there

Just His Sigh – Accented
breathless shocks unanswered

Had been legible – to Me
too blind to see

And was He Confident until
no one could

Ill fluttered out – in Everlasting Well
find the everlasting will

And if He spoke – What name was Best
that belongs to you

What last
belongs to you

What One broke off with
our hearts broke

At the Drowsiest
no knock on the door

Was He afraid – or tranquil
a fighter still

Might He know
one showed

How Conscious Consciousness – could grow
you knew more than I

Till Love that was – and Love too best to be
missed you

Meet – and the Junction be Eternity
why am I still this side of it?

(So, I dance like this
for me …

Cats
don’t pull me in
let me breathe
don’t like to be)

 

Text: »To Know Just How He Suffered—Would Be Dear« Emily Dickinson, 1863 + »Broke« poetrasblok.com, 2015

Music: “something for myself” Dark Dark Dark, 2011

 

Emily Dickinson handwriting To know just how

Emily Dickinson’s handwriting »To Know Just How He Suffered—Would Be Dear«, 1863

 

©2015/2018 poetrasblok.com 

 

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

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

 

Quote of the Day #48 – Pret A Mouthful!

 

10-Signs-of-A-Difficult-Boss-and-How-To-Deal-With-It-8

 

This is a review from February 2018 of a multi-tasking TM who covers for Barista, Hot Chef, probably also kitchen as many of those “multi-taskers” are thrown into all kinds of jobs to cover after managers cut staff all over the place to maximize profit. So, this person knows what they’re talking about.

Several Quotes of the Day:

“Considering it’s a coffee shop, you are not allowed to drink in view of the customers. At lunchtimes you are not allowed to leave the till between 12-2pm so end up with a dry mouth and feeling fatigued. You can sneak a drink sometimes behind a wall, but if you’re caught by the manager you get a telling off.

Additional NOTE: I always let my team drink water behind the counter if they weren’t allowed to leave the counter area. Behind the coffee counter with air conditioning often not working properly the air is dry and overheated. Excruciating and inhumane to work like this dehydrated.

 

Living in London you will hardly have enough to live off of. Even with bonus, the wage is not realistic considering the cost of living in the city and the amount of work you have to do at Pret.

The mystery shoppers are very picky and you can lose your bonus for simply being too engrossed in the task you’re dealing with. E.g. restocking a fridge and not stopping and turning to say hi, how are they etc.

Additional NOTE: Again, inhumane.

 

Also when you’re short staffed you may not be able to constantly check the shop floor, and you will get marked down for uncleanliness and again lose your bonus. Very unrealistic expectations

 

You will never get time to 100% finish a task because customers come first. A good policy, but not so good when you’re restocking drinks and a leader will make you go to the till because they can’t be bothered to serve themselves. Amongst other scenarios.

Additional NOTE: Poor management for which Pret is known for.

 

Clash with management. Sometimes your manager will tell you to do something, and then the assistant manager will tell you to do something else or question why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s annoying and stressful at times when you feel like you’ve done something wrong but it’s what you’ve been told to do!! Have to split yourself into a million pieces.

Additional NOTE: Again, poor management for which Pret is known for.

 

Being a Barista can be highly stressful at busy times and some customers are not forgiving/highly impatient which adds to the stress factor. Flustered team members add to the chaos.

 

Quick turnaround of staff. Some shops are constantly losing and gaining new staff so it can be stressful trying to deal with peoples mistakes. We’ve all been there, but it just makes the day a lot harder when you have 3 or 4 new staff on the tills shouting the wrong drinks etc.

Additional NOTE: Again, poor management, solely profit driven, no care for staff and customers.

 

Managers tend to cut hours…

 

Weekly rota that usually gets given to you a day before the new working week starts, so you generally can’t plan things because you don’t know what shift you’re on.

Additional NOTE: Rotas that should be ready on display two weeks in advance. I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 GMs managed to have the rota ready according to standard two weeks in advance and communicated well if they needed to change the schedule a little. Most managers are at a loss of how to do the rota and do the rota on time.

 

You tend to get stuck on certain shifts for weeks on end so make sure you voice your opinion if you don’t want to close for the 6th week in a row.

Additional NOTE: In the first months of my bereavement my then GM put me on 5 months late shift which isolated me from vital support from friends as I got home around 10pm. I voiced my complain but to no avail. This is when my ordeal of the bullying during grief started!

 

The positions are hardly worth it for the pay you get. Better off being a team member if you don’t see Pret as a long term career prospect.

 

Raise the wages. For the money pret spends on waste or joy of pret budget, some could be put towards a £1 pay rise for staff (not including bonus).” 

Additional NOTE: That’s not going to happen unless a lot of people leave Pret.

 

2018-08-16-48-pret-a-mouthful.jpg

February 2018 review of an All-rounder in London.

 

Extensive list of Pret Staff Complaints from different years, locations and positions.

 

NOTE:

Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything but there may be fake reviews! Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews.

Since I compiled all these complaints, the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more targets and profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out.

As true reviews will always continue on the same lines of horrible and bullying management until this changes. Pret does annual staff questionnaires that are at times manipulated by management. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if some are leaving fake reviews.

In the meantime, click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same from different years, even days ago and different countries, in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay etc.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

 

I am Tired

 

Tired to convince even close friends

who hide under a protective blanket

of indifference to suffering

that some things are just

plainly wrong and unacceptable

Since January 2015

my life is nothing but loss

The last 3+ years my life

is like sand running through my fingers

I have become like an outcast

I am not a desired guest at

Christmas dinners

or birthday parties

or walks in the park

On 12. January 2015 I learned

via a cold email

that my brother was found dead

in his flat

on 15. December 2014

I learned in one email

that they couldn’t find next of kin

that they cremated him

that his flat has been emptied

that he had debt

that his belongings that had no value

were destroyed

We received a box with paperwork

photos, ID cards, letters…

memories

A Box

An Urn

A Hell

Everything else,

every fibre of my brother

Gone

I went to work

to the funeral

to my family

on my shock

on my anger

on my loss

on trying to understand

how an efficient German system

can mess up like this?

I worked hard to find answers

I went to work in Pret A Manger

that worked hard in return

to get rid of me

tricking and trapping me

from beginning to end

I became an inconvenience

that needed to be discarded

like a broken machine

Since January 2015

I lost my brother in December

I lost friends

I lost my mind

I lost my job

I buried my dad

I am losing my mum to dementia

I have lost my mental health

I have lost trust in systems

any system

I have lost faith in workplaces

with their slick slogans and PR

mistreating their workers

for gain

fooling the public

for gain

again

I have lost faith in words

that are not backed with deeds

I have lost confidence in leadership

that should not be called “leadership”

but mis-leadership!

“leaders” who don’t understand what

it means to lead,

but who follow their own

selfish gain

Leaders who are captains

of ships but jump ship

first when it sinks

leaving a multitude

of passengers to

fend for themselves

I have lost confidence in the police

who don’t care to investigate properly

I have lost hope in “charity”

that is just big business

using poor people

and little children

to raise money

And politicians?

Don’t get me started!

I am tired of people

being overwhelmed with

my story

I am tired of those

blaming me for not

copying well

I am tired of excuses

that this society

can’t handle grief

and loss

I am tired that professionals

can’t deal with ONE person

right in front of them

I lost the sun

but I know it shines

I lost my taste for life

but I know I live

I lost the fear of my

friends’ anger

whose silent appeal,

that I lost my way

my person,

deafens me

I may be mentally out-of-sync

but I have a voice

that needs to be heard

I may have postponed

my ability to quickly

forgive

but I have a message

that is still not known

And if no one else speaks out

I still have a beating heart

willing to volunteer

I have lost fear

of bullying

by a company who prides

itself in smiles and

customer service

on the backs of hardworking

people of integrity

I am not paralyzed anymore

under fear management

I am not intimidated

by powerful people

whose only “courage” it is

to step on those

who are already broken

on the ground

I am tired

but I will never be silent again

nor give up

nor believe the voices of

indifference and complacency

that this is just the norm

This is NOT the norm

this is WRONG!

 

— Late Night Girl

 

In memory of my brother, Thomas whose death I was robbed to grieve in peace and timely manner.

 

Hand Sunflowers pexels-photo-1287103

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

When His Ash was Still Warm

 

I must have been asleep
or working in the heated environment
of Pret A Manger
where there is no break from
customers
or bullying managers

My brother’s ashes must have just
come out of the furnace
when I had lunch, maybe?
Or was I at a concert?

I know that I was at a gig of
Piers Faccini on the 8th Dec. 2014
in London
a day before my brother
supposedly died + – a day or so
in Germany

I got a letter from court
two days ago
from the court in the city
where my family lives
reminding me after their
initial letter from April
to inform them
of my brother’s address
to be informed
of my dad’s last will
that he made 30 years ago
when we were kids

And I’m still thinking
why I am so fooled to believe
in a German system of efficiency
and registry

And I want to burn my German ID card
as it is of no use to find next of kin
should I just be burned after leaving

I decided not to answer the court
that wasted their postage on me
because they are the Law
they are a court
that need to get up and
investigate properly

My brother’s ashes are cold now
and I have come accustomed to
the tough soil
after 3+ years
that I was burning in grief
after I heard the news
and desperately trying
to unburn him
while being chased
and shoved around
abandoned
and torched with scorn
left on the wayside
at Pret A Manger

And I have nothing to give
not even a thought

My mind is empty
of any thought

 

 
©2018 poetrasblok.com 

 

 

Bild010_Neg.Nr.11

 

 

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

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

 

PRet A Manger

 

What makes Pret being Pret? Not doing the right thing “naturally” as their slogan says. What does Pret do next to nothing that makes them unmistakably Pret?

 

Word PR.Isolated on white background.3d rendered illustration.

 

I was awaiting an open retaliation or “tangible” trouble for going public with my traumatic experience in Pret, but no, I have to be disappointed again! I should have learned by now!

Pret’s done it again, the PR thing. This blog entry is for them of course a welcome contribution to their PR. I am feeling generous today and will explain why below.

Usually on Pret’s and the CEO’s Twitter there is something about a new product or a scheme like new cutlery, bottles etc. pinned to their pages, but since recently Pret’s pinned tweets are about all the good deeds Pret loves to advertise to the public, how Pret gives jobs to people who were homeless etc. So far so good.

So, the Tweet goes: Look at what lovely things we’re doing! Braaaaggg:

Btw, as an “Ex-Pret” I suggest to run from Pret before the stars fall from the sky!

Twitter Pret

 

and then:

 

Twitter Pret2

… while other staff members are unfairly dismissed and made homeless.

And on the CEO Twitter the pin is about the £1000 for every employee.

This sudden generosity, where it used to take 10 years of service in Pret to receive £1K now is “thrown” at all new and long-term staff, which to me looks like Pret is desperate to recruit and retain their staff, while making others redundant in HQ. Just shifting the money a bit in the midst of this Brexit angst.

 

Twitter Clive

 

So, what’s my problem with these? No problem at all, looks all very sweet and lovely, except to say that I crinch at this hypocrisy!

And I can’t help but think also of age-discrimination. All the former homeless people in the photo seem in their 20s or no older than 30s, as well as the apprenticeship scheme with young people who are paid less per hour, means that the “investment” in them will pay out longer than taking over 40 or 50 year old former homeless people. Young people don’t know their workplace rights yet, they are easily to be brainwashed and molded into a system whereas an older person comes with a lot of life experience and a zero tolerance for bullshit.

One review from a former employee has put it in more “krass” words, that even I find a bit too strong, but the reviewer, a former Assistant Manager who has a little more insights into upper level management and tactics than I have, wrote, quote:

“now the company is just about the profit also it is run like mafia organisation where it is about who you know, the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”

I can certainly verify about the favouritism in Pret where you can work your butt off but are never promoted while an incapable and bullying team member sleeps their way through the ranks. But I just don’t have the courage to say the “M*fia” word and rather quote it, but the PR stunt is certainly a close relative to how Mafia organisations work. They “rampage” their way through a region and town, and in-between they give money to the little people and make substantial donations to charity.

Of course with the Mafia it is a mix of bribery, money laundering and “investing” in the little people, so when they need a boost in their reputation, the small folk will stand up and say what great deed this organisation has done for them! Super duper clever PR in a nutshell.

And a former IT Analyst of 8 years in Pret giving a review on HQ, quote:

“Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

To pin ones photo with ex-homeless staff on ones Twitter feed and try to buy current and new staff with £1000 incentives, while the atmosphere in shops show a different story, is what my problem is with this.

Now, I am really glad for these and other ex-homeless people to not only get a shot at work and a new life again, visiting the CEO’s Austrian PRoperty, and also for the apPRentices, who are all treated a little “softer” then the rest of the workforce, but if this is the only response to my public outcry, I am really disappointment. And if I was a former homeless person, I would be really ticked off in being used for a PR stunt like this.

You may say as some have that I am very passionate about my Pret-rants, or you may think that I am too angry. Yes, both true, and if you have followed my story with Pret you will know why, if you agree with my public outcry not, but you will know why.

For any new reader, in a nutshell, I worked in Pret for almost 10 years. After 7 years of service I was bereaved as my brother died and the circumstances around his death and how I received the news were extremely shocking and traumatic. But regardless how his death was or how I received the news, bereavement is bereavement, and instead of being supported, I was bullied, targeted, excluded, shouted at by line manager after line manager, tricked and trapped by Pret’s corrupt HR department and patronized by the CEO who labeled me his “late night girl”. The support that I then received was a lot to cover up their tracks and a Pret-ense in many ways.

Because the managers in shops are not trained in how to deal with a bereaved staff member, the Head of HR met with me after I contacted the CEO for help when the bullying became unbearable. At the first meeting the Head of HR asked me how meeting with him was for me on a scale of 1 – 10. Confused at this weird question but in hindsight understanding that he had the need to get his ego scratched, falsely assuming I was “star struck” in having met with a big gun. Nope, I wasn’t impressed, especially after I approached HR for almost a year with suggestions for support, hitting a brick wall! I needed to meet with and the support from my line managers who were at a loss, frustrated and angry with me, belittling and offensive, and as one bullying line manager wrote in an email to his boss that my situation was “imposed” on him.

And another time the Head of HR met with me again while I was in the middle of a 3-months sick leave, but then not knowing it would turn into 3 months, a sick leave that was kick-started by my line manager shouting at us leaders again for no apparent reason and my anxiety level couldn’t handle this anymore. In this sick-leave I had my first massive panic attack in my sleep, waking up from or with a panic attack I didn’t know one can have in ones sleep. Dragging myself to A&E at 5am in the morning thinking I’m in the middle of a heart attack and the fear of death in me.

The Head of HR met with me again then and made the first of four settlement offers if I resign and be quiet about my ordeal as well as not go to court. Of course I refused as I don’t prostitute my values, nor am I willing to suffer in and “of” silence for the rest of my life. And then he had the audacity to want a “cuddle” when we finished the meeting where we met in a Cafe Nero. Not quite the professional end of meeting I would have respected as such. He put his arms around me and I remember ducking down confused, and later thinking to myself, that he should make up his mind if he wants me to leave or if he wants to cuddle! You can’t have both, sir! But then I heard a few things about him later, and again a lot made sense.

 

 

images.washingtonpost.com

A tutorial

 

Before my brother died, I had a normal life, friends, projects, hobbies, normal problems, bills, just a plain life. Now, Pret was always hard, rude, bullying, but I was able to see through and resist the fear management style most of the time and not take the stress home too much. But when I was thrust into traumatic grief and still working really well, even making the effort to bring suggestions to Pret, I was then drenched in great fear and anxiety that bereavement and trauma brings with it as a default. But this extreme fear was intensified by the bullying culture in Pret. I was like a zombie stumbling around and still don’t know how I even survived this.

So, now where I am publishing openly about my and other people’s experience, having been scared so much by and of Pret, intimidated, confused, angered, now where I am openly confronting this bullying system of Pret, Pret does not have the “balls” so-to-speak to not only apologize, but to respond in a way that would give them a chance to “safe face” and even more, to truly make a difference for their workers as this system is hurting them, and with it Pret in the long-run.

 

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

 

And as it is with everything in life, the truth always comes out, prolonged fear leads to anger and people eventually start to speak out, like in this unprecedented example of sexual violence in Hollywood and the outcry that was kick-started by a little hashtag #metoo that has brought and is still bringing rapists, bullies and abusers to justice. The same it is with systemic workplace bullying, a system like this cannot hide forever behind a PRet smile.

So, posting sweet little photos with former homeless people, using their stories for great PR, and advertising on the rooftops what good deed they’re doing now with the £1000 sudden generosity to each employee, I will refrain from saying what word comes to mind!

 

A former staff member, Andrej Stopa, who was fired for starting a Pret Union is a little more lucky than I to have none other then Andrea Wareham, Director of HR following him on Twitter, which might just be Pret’s way to signal to Andrej that they’re having an eye on him. Keeping him nicely tucked in as long as he doesn’t rock the boat too much.

 

 

Twitter Wareham PAMSU

 

Up until recently I was honoured to have a “Mystery Shopper” on my Twitter following. I had some followers but 1 was invisible, which gave me a good dose of confirmation that when someone has to hide their page, I might be doing something that troubles them.

Unfortunately the Mystery Shopper from my Twitter following has left, or maybe made themselves visible. And as I am customer focused, everyone is welcome!

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Quote of the Day #23 – Pret A Smile

 

Fake Smile Robin Williams

 

Just like a Pret A Manger Smile.

There is always a story behind a smile, and oftentimes it’s not what we expect.

 

Several different reviews regarding the forced “Happiness” and smiles that Pret A Manger demands from its low-paid (under the living wage) workers.

There are several article on the “emotional labour” forced on employees to maximize profit. I did a separate blog entry on >>> Emotional Labour. I was bullied during already traumatic bereavement which I share extensively on this blog and a recent interview, also mentioning the Mystery Shopper rules to get extra money or be threatened with job security. Interview found at the bottom of this page.

 

Several reviews regarding the forced happiness under fear management.

“extremely rude co workers, unprofessional management, not properly trained however expected to know what you’re doing and smile while doing it

Minimum salary for everyday smiling … We have to be smiling a being polite to a bunch of unpolite people.”

This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you. … you are required to have the widest fake smile on earth

 

The Mystery Shopper’s task is to feedback if staff smile, give eye contact, make conversation, and all that in an intensely stressful work environment for 6, 8, 10+ hours straight ALL THE TIME, EVERY DAY. No matter if sick, coughing, bereaved, depressed… No mercy. If staff don’t smile, aren’t overly friendly, they risk losing the bonus for ALL the team which has the purpose for peer-pressure and creates a bullying environment, not to mention the boss whose potential big bonus is lost, as Mystery Shopper results and points count towards the biggest chunk of manager’s bonus. And the customers are fooled thinking Pret staff are so happy!

The Pret A Manger Staff Union (PAMSU) has posted a song from YouTube and pleads to end the Mystery Shopper. By the way, I retweeted his tweet but it is NOT visible on his tweet as Twitter shadow bans me and secretly cuts off connections between my and PAMSU accounts. To no avail, because PAMSU knows my website. My response tweet is before the ban, but my RT was after the last ban (29. – 31.12.2018) on 02.01.2019, and still it doesn’t show on his tweet, but on mine.

 

2018-05-09 pamsu endthemysteryshopper

Link

 

Different Mystery Shoppers Excerpts:

 

MS eye contact

Quote: “The staff member who served me made good eye contact and greeted me with a friendly smile while remaining focused and efficient…”

 

Mystery Shopper poor comments

Quote: “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 engage[d] and positive…”

 

2014-12-01 MS cough

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

I didn’t feel cheerful to smile as well after the telling off from my line manager afterwards. You got told off in the office because you didn’t smile, and while the boss is telling you off (who by the way does not smile themselves, just as a side-note!) and then the non-smiling boss orders you to smile! You go out extremely humiliated, discouraged, with low motivation, and yet forced to smile if you don’t want to find yourself penalized or losing your job.

 

Speed in Seconds

Task to serve within 1 minute ALWAYS with a smile, eye contact and conversation.

 

I was smiling for customer service days after I carried the urn of my big brother in my arms to his grave. I smiled and smiled and smiled and died while smiling, and when I didn’t smile, I got told off while my boss knew about my brother.

I was complimented countless times by customers and received good reports from Mystery Shopper, and after my shift went to the bridge … How I survived this, especially during extreme trauma under fear managemet, I can only attribute this to being on autopilot and so fogged up in my mind that I just moved on like a robot trying to come to terms and breaking down later at home. And I didn’t want to put any more grief on my mother.

You need to be a machine to qualify for a Pret A Manger smile or all you’re left with is mental illness. But if you want to be a human and keep your sanity, work somewhere else. Maybe even make your own lunch from home, would save you over £1000 a year if you usually eat out every day.

The Pret staff get pressure and trouble from ALL sides. From the line managers, from customers, from Mystery Shoppers AND from Twitter/FB users who have an expectation as if they just entered the Ritz, even naming low-paid, hardworking, exhausted staff members publicly! But because people have kids to feed they put up with a lot of abuse.

 

UPDATED: January 2019

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

Link

 

2018-12-31 Customer calling staff name for rude service2

Link

 

A plea to customers at Pret and at any business, if you are served by a sales assistant, waiter, customer service representative and they don’t always smile, even while giving professional service, please pause for a moment before you quickly jump to conclusions or complain to the boss or head office. Maybe even ask that staff member how their day is going or complement them on their service. You never know what that will do for them. Yes, they are paid to do a job, but they are human beings for crying out loud! Most of my customers didn’t care and I’m sure they have their own story and turmoil.

But the trend today is to force staff to smile to maximize profit, no matter how high the emotional and mental cost of staff. Because I almost lost my life and approached Pret A Manger internally for three years hitting a brick wall, that is why I write so bluntly and openly. People suffer to the point of suicide, and we need a change.

 

Featured on Pret Staff Complaints. A compilation.

Open Letter to the Mystery Shopper.

 

02 Annahilates Humanity12

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Amy Sharpe from The Sunday Mirror went undercover after reading my blog and she touches briefly on the intense stress staff are under:

>> Undercover Under Pressure in Pret

 

For the first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview. Underneath the interview section are selected reviews from current and former Pret Staff.

 

 

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

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

 

Quote of the Day #22 – Pret A HaRsh

 

 

aggressive_leader_by_night_wolf122-d56onnm

HR problems, employee is treated really badly, due to the constant lack of people, current employees are forced to do the duties of so called ‘specialist’ position, yet they are paid inappropriately to the responsibilities.

Former Team Member, London

I worked many times as a Team Leader doing Manager’s work while the managers were on holiday and did not get what they call a “Step Up Pay”. I didn’t even receive a thank you for doing well these two weeks while the boss was away. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Pret in a nutshell.

2018-07-18 #22 HR problems

Compiled Pret Staff Complaints from outside Employment Review websites

 

 

 

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

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

 

Workplace Bullying Costs Lives

 

not only money!

 

Regarding my trauma and Pret Staff Complaints.

 

The following is the best video lesson on workplace bullying out there, at least that I know of.

If you can spare 12 mins to watch this, it may help detect workplace bullying (and any bullying at that) earlier, as this is often very subtle. And please pass this on, it may even make a person who bullies or those who witness it rethink their actions.

One quote from the video: “Bullying is a form of violence.”

… costs lives

At around 4:55 min, quote: “… Employers just get more creative avoiding the issue, forcing targets down formal grievance procedures, rather than taking the matter in hand. Organizations committed to stamping out bullying are proactive, they don’t make the injured party drive the process.” This is exactly what I went through, being diverted to raise grievance after grievance in a toxic environment that I had no chance to tackle the problem. In my anger and being sarcastic to cope with this I wrote my own “how to’s” on grievance hearings and how to conduct them fairly and truly impartial.

If you feel bullied or if you witness someone being bullied, please get help. Do not be silent, don’t look away, and don’t take part in the bullying. Don’t be intimidated by being enticed to join the bullies, even if this means you will get yourself into trouble. You won’t stay in trouble forever and in the long-run you will gain true friends, true supporters and will be able to sleep at night. When people play with unfair cards and you join an unfair game, you will be dealt with unfair cards in time to come by the same people you supported.

Or take it the other way around: when you stand by and support a vulnerable person who’s being mistreated, one day that vulnerable person may become strong again, maybe even influential. And maybe your paths cross again, imagine how this person who has become strong again and maybe even influential, may remember you. I for myself remember those who helped me more than those who mistreated me. We should never forget that life is an up and down. People will not always be at the top or at the bottom. Life is not a straight line but a journey through valleys, mountains, on water, through the desert, in an oasis…

The last thing I would want to have is an encounter with a person who used to be vulnerable, was bullied during their darkest time and I just stood there watching or even worse being part of a mob. I would not want to meet that person again, especially when they regained their strength back. I am not talking about revenge or bitterness, I am talking about missed opportunities to make a positive impact in someone’s life.

Stand by the one who is being bullied and then you are already two. Maybe a third person joins you and the target, and then you would be three… and before you know it you have outgrown the mob and brought to light what is actually happening. Point the light on it, raise the volume up, but don’t look away!

As the narrator of this video says right at the beginning, “[bullying] thrives in silence”, as does all wrong doing!

In my worst time, two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death I was bullied so extensively that I still can’t understand how I went through this. I still suffer and am paranoid that people are “out to get me”.

Whatever you do to get help, do NOT stay alone! Take it from me, you will have no chance, no matter how right you are or how the facts and evidence is on your side, a “mob” of people, especially people in high positions who have the power and resources will back each other, lie, continue to bully in more subtle ways. Keep gathering evidence, even if just writing events and conversations down in a journal. But do not stay alone!

I wasted three years during an already extremely traumatizing time of bereavement, being bullied and trying to change the work environment, playing with open cards, naively giving them the benefit of the doubt, and in my trauma even blamed myself. And they conveniently turned it around transforming me from the victim to the villain at times.

I became very angry and ill, not dealing well with this nightmare. I lashed out, helplessly, cried out for help, started to drink which is another building site I’m working on, raised grievance after grievance that where conducted in a flawed way, was tricked and trapped again and again.

I will eventually turn my “rants” into a softer tone again, but for now this is how I write because I almost lost my life.

pexels-photo-339814

 

 

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

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

 

The Definition of Bullying

 

Bullying can kill

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What is your definition of bullying?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Quote of the Day Pret #4

(New York)

 

This one maybe?

Quote Pret #22 Racist

(NYC)

 

Or this one?

Quote Pret #23 Racism

 

How about this!

Quote Pret #21 Just Terrible

(Chicago)

 

This?

Quote Pret #09a Hellhole