Bullies with Wings

 

In 2016 before I openly exposed Pret A Manger, I wrote a blog entry on another website on a bullying incidence I witnessed, but couldn’t do anything about.

I re-posted it on here last year: Picking on Cannibals.

In a nutshell, I came across a bleeding pigeon on a pavement in London on the many walks I do. Around this injured pigeon were other healthy pigeons literally “picking” on the injured one. I realized naively that this is where the term “picking on someone” comes from! Dah! I chased the pigeons away, and stayed put for a while just watching over the bird on the pavement. I explain in above blog post why I couldn’t help. But I vouched that I won’t walk away again.

Today on my usual walk I took a different route than usual and found this goose standing alone under a roof. It just stood there looking at me. I’m not a bird expert, not certainly in goose, but it was odd that this fellow was just standing there alone.

When I came closer I saw it had no feathers on both wings, and under the wings were more feathers missing as well as on the neck. On the other side of the property, the front side by the main road, were other healthy fat geese and some chickens, which I always see when walking by on the road. But this time I took the other road from the back.

I took some pictures and went to the vet that I know who lives nearby. He confirmed that it looked like this goose was picked upon by the other stronger geese.

I went home, contacted the animal rescue place via email, as the phone line was closed for the day. Then I went back with bread and water, and this goose literally drank the water for 5 minutes straight! I just recorded about 3 minutes of it as I missed the first part.

But it is a metaphor of a bullying situation, and how this critter had to hide under this lonely roof, away from his “peers”, his “race”, his “brand” that had no other thing to do than to pick on this goose because it was weaker, maybe?

I sure hope it will be there tomorrow, and I sure hope the animal rescue people bother enough to come by. But the owners surely don’t care. Any animal owner or farmer who loves their animals ALWAYS know EVERY SINGLE animal in their flock, some even know ever animal by name. But for this little one to be left aside, beaten and ripped apart, means the humans who own this property and flock, don’t give a shit!

What’s the message here, apart from jumping in to help? Maybe just to take a different route from time to time on your usual walks or rides to work. You’ll never know what you’ll find at the back.

I call this goose “Pret”, because it’s a pretty little one, and it reminds of the broken wings Pret leaves on many of their workers, not realizing how much they break their own wings!

So, pray or cross your fingers that little “Pret” is still there tomorrow, and that the animal rescue people care enough to get it out of there. I don’t want to have to climb over the fence, please.

IMG-20190925-00770

 

IMG-20190925-00773

 

IMG-20190925-00776

 

IMG-20190925-00775

It’s hard to see here, but under the roof thing on the other side of this picture are the other fat geese and chickens. Little “Pret” is just hiding from them, not having access to food and water.

 

IMG-20190925-00778

 

IMG-20190925-00779

 

I put the tub inside, poured water from a bottle and the goose drank for 5 minutes straight! I just captured about 3 minutes of it! It even dunk some bread into the water which I didn’t capture, but it had a little feast today.

Turn up the volume to hear the fella drink.

All you Vegans and Veggies out there, please think about humans as well, those who left their home countries of high unemployment in hopes for a better life, but find themselves exploited yet again.

Reality behind the scenes of Pret A Manger:

And why Pret staff smile so much:

 

2019-09-30 Pano 38 26

Glassdoor.com scores for CEOs and Pret.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I 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.

The Sequel – HOUNDED! 2.0

 

2019-06-28 NY Hounded

Link

 

 


 

 

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. 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.

Hounded @ Pret A Manger

 

hounded; hounding; hounds

Definition of hound

transitive verb

1 : to pursue with or as if with hounds
2 : to drive or affect by persistent harassing

Merriam-Webster.com

 

2019-06-28 NY Hounded

June 2019 New York … »Try your best not to work there … Bad management, Always being “hounded”.«

 

Turning the tables on a multi-million £$ company!

 

2015-03-24 TM - If you want to work in a happy env - RVW6182241

Link  »Being bullied Total disregard for health and safety Being made to feel incompetent Worked into the ground without empathy«

 

Worked Into the Ground without Empathy”

— Former Pret Employee

YouTube

 

2015-09-01 TM - WORST Job - RVW7802756

Link … »I am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!«

 

2014-02-11 GM - Great Company in Risk of Ruin Bullie Out - RVW3683526

Link Former Manager: »Please get the bullies out …«

 

2012 Ex GM ExGM Ex-GM

Link Former Manager

 

2019-04-21 Harrassment

Link »Bad management, non ethical HR, slavistic management …«

 

Forced Smiles and “Happiness”
for Mystery Shopper bonus, cash incentives and fear management

YouTube

 

2019-07-28 HFC - Bullying Harrassment Regular - RVW28288697

Link … Hot Chef: »Leaders harass you when you are not finished in time but they sit in office talking.«

 

2019-04-16 Depression Toxic

Link … »if you want to know what Depression is work at Pret a Manger is the best place for that«

 

2019-07-09 TM - Aweful Vile - RVW27896448

Link »Constant bullying and harassment by the Team Leaders and staff«

 

And just a brand new review on Indeed:

2019-08-20 Does not recommend at all Finsbury Sq Bullying

Link »In my shop only for a month 6 people gave resignation. … Nobody care for you in Pret A Manger. Selfishness, bullying, harassment and lies– this is Pret A Manger. I have changed shops to see if elsewhere will be better, but unfortunately no! Same treatment same behaviour

 

etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. …… .. .

 

Glassdoor overall CEO results:

Current CEO Clive Schlee “retiring” in September 2019 quickly got his follower, new CEO Pano Christou to take over on Glassdoor to avoid further poor results. I write extensively about Pret’s CEO, how his “retirement” got communicated by him and Pret AFTER I tweeted to the press, and why the business world needs an “anti-CEO Playbook”:
CEOs and Leaderhsip (Pret A Manger)

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-09-03 Pano 41 34

 

HOUNDED! 2.0 – The Sequel

YouTube

 

HOUNDED! 1.0

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

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

 

TWO Pret staff have died.
One is said to have been a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
Arrow
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

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. 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.

how to SPOT workplace bullying — #SpotStop

 

and how to STOP it!

How to spot it, is a question many ask. I have read a lot of workplace bullying sites and organizations. And most of the time I read the same:

  • How to spot it – Good!
  • How to raise the issue with HR – Good!
  • How to find support in organizations – Good!

What I don’t read, is these organizations addressing the issue deeper as a systemic problem in global corporations, where the bullying (masqueraded as coaching for targets) is coming from the top down!

I don’t read how HR departments are toxic and puppets on the string for corporate leaders to put the workforce in line or get rid of them! I don’t like the term “workforce”, nor am I keen on Human “Resources” as working people are NOT treated as humans, but as machines.

I followed some Facebook Anti-bullying groups for a while until I saw that they made advertisement for Amazon Smile, where when a person orders something from that Amazon branch and mentions the Anti-bullying site, this site received a certain percentage. Amazon to me the largest systemic workplace bully today. What the workplace was in the industrial revolution in England more than 100 years ago, to me is Amazon today. I should write an extensive blog post about it, but it would be easier to just check YouTube, especially on undercover reports in Amazon warehouses as well as the other branches.

I also believe there are some fake Anti-bullying sites out there. Those sites have no substance, often give vague examples of real-life bullying, there’s no anger, no resolution, no urgency. And to top it, they support and receive support from Amazon.

I spare the reader of more detail and YouTube links and articles… as most don’t seem ready nor bothered about systemic workplace bullying until they themselves are affected.

I keep saying that survivors of workplace bullying need their own #MeToo movement… laws need to change and be implemented, senior executives need to be held responsible, especially when suicides and injuries are involved…

With Pret A Manger, the public for most still wants to believe the facade of Pret. Every generation has their group of onlookers and indifferent people who, when not affected turn a blind eye.

I keep it short today as I am tired of writing my fingers into a carpal tunnel on this issue …

#SpotStop

 

AntiBullying Spot Stop

LINK

 


 

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. 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.

 

A Classic Pret A Manger Bullying Experience

… by the book!

I’ve seen this review and “logged” it into the general “Pret Staff Complaints” page a while ago, that I update periodically. When I saw this first, I flew over this review initially, but never really looked at it closer as I am used to this type of account, especially from own experiences, but also countless of the other reviews. But today I stumbled on it again and took the time to really read through it thoroughly. I can only say that this review is a very typical Pret staff experience of systemic targeting and bullying. Many reviewers complain about favouritism. This person is a typical hard worker who cares a lot, and also raises issues. But once they raise issues, they become a target which I share in an interview at the bottom of this page in the audio player.

I decided to pick this one apart, like I do sometimes with long reviews and recently did with (current) CEO Clive Schlee’s interview which I simply called “Clive Schlee – A Case Study (on the fun factory)”

In Pret the Kitchen Leader (KL), or other senior kitchen staff member, has to do a daily “line check”, but for lack of time they just fill in the book with numbers and don’t actually do the line check. But a line check is where the KL chooses any product off the shop fridge, like a sandwich for example and takes it apart in the kitchen. They weigh out each ingredient if it is up to Pret standard and best quality. If ingredients are too many or too little, they are supposed to check on this batch and re-train the person who usually does this product daily. Sounds good on paper, but again for the lack of time and not being paid overtime, staff just fill in numbers in the book.

So, I take this as a metaphor and did a “line check” on Clive Schlee’s interview I linked above for the accurate “weight” of his words compared to my and many other people’s experience.

The same with the below review, I do a line check on its weight and can say already, a lot is pretty accurate in its “quality” of experience! But this review walks the reader through a typical day in Pret. And in this case, it looks to me that the reviewer worked the late shift as there is lots of cleaning and multi-tasking involved which can not be done during the morning and lunch-time rushes.

 

THE REVIEW (April 2019)

Upfront, the 23 “yes” to 0 “no” votes (as of July 2019) also speak for itself on how systemic this is in Pret!

Yes, this is a long review, but it is important as this gives a very good picture of how it is in most Prets. And anyone who writes that extensively really cares in general! I will write in-between the text underneath the screenshot. As usual I leave any mistakes in to keep it in their own words.

2019-04-18 Understaffed Review

Link

Reviewer in bold black and my comments in grey. At times I use blue to highlight something:

 

Constantly understaffed

“Worked in this company for a year.Typical day at work would be clearing tables,working on tills,coffee machine,making hot and cold food.”

Typical late shift tasks. Late shift times differ from shop to shop, but on average shifts start either at 11am until 8 or 9pm depending on opening times. Other shifts start at 2pm after the lunch rush and go till 11pm etc. All depending on closing time and how many people work on a shift. But the main crunch times in the afternoons are from 1pm till 7pm (ish).

 

This company promises you pay above minimum wage,but they will slave your for every extra penny,that they pay you.Manager constantly cutting hours,to get their bonus(managers only).So we are always understaffed.”

Nothing more to add really! But this is in every shop I’ve worked in. What “saved” me and my teams often, was that I was very organized and able to structure the teams, also helping them to finish in time. That way we had a strong team spirit, supporting each other without having to work overtime too much. But it was always a struggle for time, especially with new staff who were not given time to learn.

Another review states this clear as well: “Either stop cutting hours or stop giving teams a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete.”

Either stop cutting hours2

Link

 

“They have high standards to ask you to smile constantly and have everything perfect at all times,but by cutting hours some staff are forced to work for 3 people or so fast,that you are literally catching your breath and running a marathon from the minute you start to shift to the end of it.”

Bingo!
I wish I could put these words into a visual, a video of sorts, because it really is like a marathon. And Pret even expects and demand to “never stand still”. This is written in their “values and behaviours” booklet. They drive people to never stand still, so they look like always active! Activity looks like a lively atmosphere for customers, while in reality it is draining the staff!

 

“Constantly being dehydrated at work,because you are not allowed to keep your water bottle while working(often felt thirsty and having headaches).Sometimes didn’t even have time to go to bathroom properly.”

This is a massive problem where my Manager saw a Team Member drink water behind the counter, I was then instructed as the Team Leader by the Manager to tell the Team to not drink behind the counter or anywhere visible, except on their breaks. But with different Managers and shops I found a compromise. Teams are not allowed to leave the tills, especially during busy times. And because water is a necessity to stay hydrated I did not follow this instruction and let my Teams drink water. Sure, if they wanted to drink a Mocha or Frappe with Cream, those are luxury drinks and can be consumed later. But water needs to be available at all times, especially since shops are overheated from all the machinery and body heat.

If Team Members were not allowed to leave the till area I said that they can drink water discretely in a corner behind the counter, especially when the staff room was too far away to quickly go in to drink. If the Manager got mad, I took responsibility and demanded for the Team to be able to drink water when they needed to! It was for me either, they were allowed to go into the staff room to drink, communicating and taking turns, or they were allowed to drink behind the counter. But either way, depending on the shop size etc. I always went against this stupid rule and let them drink water, especially since Managers like to sit in the office drinking, eating, playing on their mobile phones …

Most, no ALL air conditioning in shops are not adequate and cannot cool the overheated shops in the summer. It’s hell in there!! I worked twice for months in overheated shops and was always the one ending up to raise the issue further. When my shops were out of AC we literally begged the customers who mentioned the heat, to please talk to HQ on our behalf, as Pret does not listen to staff. They simply don’t care, except for show! Three customers recently went to Twitter complaining about this as well, in the UK and the U.S.

2019-06-30 AC

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

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

2019-07-03 AC

Link

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

2019-07-05 AC

Link

 

And these 3 customers are only those who care to raise this publicly! But the problem exists in most shops with inadequate air conditioning. We took a temperature at one point and stopped looking at it when it was close to 40 degrees Celsius.

 

“And I have been used to hard work in busy places my whole life as I worked in fast paced food industry for more than 10 years.They have mystery shopper bonus,but lately it was also a fail as they will ask you allergen related question and you have to direct them to Team leader or manager so technically they will take over and you loose your chance for outstanding service bonus,which you can get if your service is excellent(100£ or 200£).”

Since the customer deaths became public – and I want to emphasize again, as many people keep saying “since the customer deaths Pret started labelling …” – NO! Since the customer deaths became public, did Pret slowly start the labelling! Up until the press published this, Pret did NOTHING whatsoever!
I’m doing a thorough “line check” here!

But since the deaths became public Pret also tasks the Mystery Shopper to ask allergen specific questions. Staff are told to pass the customer on to the Manager or if the GM isn’t available, then to the next Leader who is in charge. This reviewer then is not able to get a chance for the extra cash they can earn personally if this customer happens to be the Mystery Shopper. So, the reviewer having passed on the customer to the Manager, the reviewer then cannot serve the MS anymore, giving a free coffee and being extra special nice for a chance to get the “Outstanding Card” = extra money.

 

“The best part of this place was my colleagues,that I worked with.When I started,some of them were so experienced and working many years-I learned a lot from them.But through this one year at least 8 long term staff has left,few of them working 5 years at least because of manager,that doesn’t care about their staff,doesn’t appreciate their hard work and and if she have personal dislike,she will sack you and find reasons how to get rid of you.”

Yep, sounds familiar! Pret keeps shooting themselves in the foot by being profit-driven, making lots of money fast, but losing a lot of high caliber people while keeping those who bully and do the short cuts for quick gain! Pret, like many profit-driven companies forget who the REAL advertisers for the companies are.

 

Target1

 

“I literally can’t tell if my review is based on company overall or just this manager, …”

Oh no, you can base it on the company!! 😀

And here is where the marathon and stress is explained well:

“…but she surely has ruined my view at company,because I felt like I have been working so hard and literally multitasking to another level,where you are left on tills alone,quickly running to clear tables,wash china and trays,clean toilets,run to kitchen to make soups,come back make coffee,do the delivery,make sure you food display has proper amount of food available for sale,bake hoot food and above all the serve customers at the same time and manage to prepare to close shop,where you have to wash every table and chairs-sofas,floor,bin stations,toilets etc.(the area is huge).”

And here again I quote from the beginning of this review:

 

“They have high standards to ask you to smile constantly and have everything perfect at all times”

 

Yes, and then most Team Leaders sit in the office abusing their position and let the Team or Team Member struggle out in the shop on their own. Then when the Team Member can’t finish the ridiculous amount of tasks or loses the Mystery Shopper bonus for the WHOLE TEAM because they were swamped with work and did not SMILE while breaking their backs, they get pressured and bullied and gaslit to think they didn’t do a good enough job!

 

This is Pret A Manger in a nutshell!

 

“I have learned,how to travel in time here.Like I said I don’t mind working hard apart from that You always end up late to finish your shift,which nobody pays for and if you leave unfinished ,you will get sacked or given note of concern.”

Yep! The “Note of Concern” formerly called “File Note” is a very typical Pret manipulating tool! Staff members received this piece of paper, which is not a formal written warning or disciplinary, but a step before that to fear manage staff. And those who mostly get this Note of Concern are those who work already like donkeys and seem intimidated easily.

In my early months in Pret I worked with a Spanish guy who didn’t understand English well yet as he just arrived from Spain a few weeks prior to joining Pret. He served the Mystery Shopper, didn’t smile and lost our whole team the bonus. The bonus for the managers are paid quarterly and can be huge or little. And the Mystery Shopper reports count towards the biggest chunk of their quarterly bonus.

So, the Spanish colleague got a Note of Concern to intimidate him to smile. He left Pret a few weeks later, just never turned up for work again.

A Mystery Shopper excerpt of Pret wanting staff to smile, make eye contact and brief conversation with EVERY customer. And dare you not smile when you happen to serve the Mystery Shopper!

1 Minute Smile

 

“This lovely manager will give you note of concern for smallest things,that you do wrong,so prepare to be perfect or robot.She has also taken my bonus,when I arrived at tills 2 minutes late and never taken it from people,that she favours more for the same time of lateness.”

In my first weeks of becoming a Leader, I was threatened by a Manager that my bonus would be cut if I forget again to slide the opening sign from “closed” to “open”. It was something I forgot 3 times that week. But I was a new Leader and not trained how to check for things. These belittling and abusive behaviours by Managers is so common that you just switch into autopilot and move like a robot. And it’s true as well that even ONE minute lateness gets you a lot of drama and cut bonus!

 

“Never paid my minutes after I had to stay after my working hours,or she would go telling,that am bad staff.”

Very, very, very, very typical Pret management of manipulation, fear management and bullying! Extremely immature and poor management skills that doesn’t care about people.

 

“She lied about Christmas period holidays,when she told me no one is allowed to go on holidays,but 5 people was.Ended up few people working including me during the busiest season of the year,some of the got sick from overworking.”

Yes. Those that the Managers favour get the best holiday slots, and those who work like animals get dumped all the heavy shifts and seasons.

I’m getting triggered as I sieve through this review!! Phew!

 

“Also finally let me to get trained on coffee for coffee start specialist during Christmas season(because she had no one else to work) and literally did not provide any training,because she was to busy for that.After Christmas period ended.when I asked If I can be promoted to barista,declined-said I not good enough for that-don’t want to pay you more.”

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! Also, very typical! People are put on coffee and Hot Chef jobs for weeks and even months. They are not trained properly and then their “graduation” to the role is delayed so the Managers can delay the appropriate pay-rise for the role. Or they are promised the role of a Barista for example, get put on the coffee machines during Christmas and other holiday periods when the main Barista is gone. When the main Barista returns, the coffee maker who was promised the role is told they were not doing a good enough job!

Bottom line, they were just used to fill in for Baristas who are on holiday, because if they are not promised things, they often don’t want to step in doing extra work not paid accordingly.

Happens in nearly every shop! When I went through my Team Leader training, my Manager kept postponing my graduation day. She also promised me a certain amount of pay, but then broke to me that she cannot pay what she initially said. After a few weeks of this and her breaking her promise, I finally said that I will step down from this role as I should be a Team Leader already and receive the promised pay. And I meant it. I was in the middle of taking the green Team Leader badge off when she then said that I would graduate that day and get the promised pay.

But since then I never trusted her words again and kept my cards close to my chest.

 

“So did not train me at all and expects master coffee specialist straight away. Just felt like I have been used to patch up her Christmas period time.”

Nothing more to add to that!

 

“Finally gone to all staff,that ever had some dislike with me and promoted them to write abusive and false letters about me,because I reported Christmas understaffed period to head office.”

And this one is what I really want to highlight here, something Managers do systemically when they want to get rid of people. This is what I went through when the bullying really started, when an Area Manager (open letter to her), who was upset with me, because I couldn’t join her New Shop Opening (NSO) as a Team Leader at that time, because I was in the middle, in the first 6 months of my traumatic grief about my brother’s death! With the help of HR she pursued me for 6 months were I was moved around back and forth between shops and the bullying was the worst!

When I applied for my file the following year to understand what happened to me, I read all those lies in emails from colleagues whom I loved to work with! One particular email was from the Area Manager who was the catalyst of me getting targeted, and in that email she asked another Manager, who was also bullying, to write their thoughts about me as soon as possible! I’m not gonna go into the emails and lies here too much, but this is a very strategic foul thing people in management level do. In my case, only few people either wrote positive about me or neutral. But these emails to the bullying Area Manager were not in my file as she must have deleted them. But those people who wrote positive or neutral told me that they wrote. And I never found any email or notes from them in my file.

But this Manager I’ve worked with just a few weeks and she was very harsh, threatening us Leaders with our job security constantly. I approached her twice about her harsh tone, and only in the second time I briefly mentioned my brother and that I don’t need any extra unnecessary stress where I still come to work on time, work with high standards etc. She just listened and then later in the email the Area Manager wanted her to write about me, she was stupid enough to label me a “drama queen”.

Here I was, still working everyday with high standard, on time, hard working WHILE traumatically bereaved. And she called me a “drama queen” and that even in writing! No-one expected that I’d apply for my file, and her email was one of several emails I raised grievances based on those written statements. She did get disciplined but only because she’s a small fish in management. The higher ups I raised grievances against got off the hook!

This screenshot is the email the Area Manager wrote to the Manager. I blacked out any names and location. But when I read those emails of the Area Manager wanting colleagues and Managers to write about me, the blood in my face dropped and these terrible emails were one reason I spiraled into emailing for a prolonged time in trauma, for which the CEO Clive Schlee later labelled me his “late night girl”. And under this patronizing label I write and decided to be a sore in his and Pret’s sight!
I share this in my interview at the bottom audio player.

Area Manager email to Manager wanting a written statement about me to get rid of me. Hundreds of emails and papers I read in front of me like a fly on the wall, going from shock to shock to shock…:

Drama Queen NamesDeleted

 

“The last straw,that I have had enough,is allowing for 11 months of the service I am there taking free coffee before I start to work and suddenly I have to pay for that.Why are you allowing it and then decide to not allow it anymore? and just for me,because the favorite staff she still allows it and even to give food outside their food allowance for girlfriends,family etc”

I’m so sorry you were bullied, dear Reviewer! You went through a typical bullying scenario by the book!

 

“Because of this she has yet again got me in trouble for creating situation,where she allows something,writes a complain,that I am doing something against her will and denies ,that she have ever said,that she allowed in first place.She doesn’t care about nothing unless it’s dollar signs in her eyes.Everyone,who she feels threatened by or have different opinion about something-she will eliminate.She is a boss,not a leader.”

Yes, sounds like a typical Pret A Manger Manager.

And the last sentence cannot be said better:

“She is a boss,not a leader”

 

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

 

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

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the 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.

 

Interview of Former Pret A Manger Employee

 

Two customers recently have commented on the intense stress or the lack of management on the shop floor during busy times.

  • Most customers only complain when they have to wait more than 2 minutes to be served, while being perfectly happy to wait 10 minutes at Starbucks. This is because customers now are “spoiled”, knowing they get served within minutes, even seconds at Pret. I explain in my interview at the bottom why Pret has the 1 minute rule.
  • Most don’t understand that staff are forced to serve within 1 minute or they may lose the bonus if the Mystery Shopper wasn’t happy with the timing and service.
  • Most people do not see the stress and pain staff go through.
  • Most don’t care to know about the fear management under harsh managers and the depression staff suffer. I mentioned this to customers on Twitter who were fast to complain about the service, I told them that I was complimented many times by colleagues, customers and Mystery Shopper reports on my service, friendliness, giving coffees on the house etc. Of course I had bad days as well, but I received a lot of good feedback and yet no-one knew how many times I left my shift after work headed for the bridge, especially during bereavement and the bullying on top of it Pret put me through.

 

My story is at the bottom in an interview.

 

But only two customers that I found recently speaking out on behalf of overworked staff. Yes, customers also go on Twitter to commend staff for giving free coffees and being (seem!) happy and smiley. But no customer asks themself how anyone can smile, be happy, chatty for 8, 10, 12+ hours EVERY DAY in an intensely stressful, noisy, busy, often hot and dry environment, where they are not allowed by management to drink even water behind the counter to stay hydrated. People have NO idea how exhausting, stressful and depressing the job is. And they are expected to fake a happiness and smiles or lose bonus when the Mystery Shopper marks them down and managers threaten them with disciplinaries or job security in the office.

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

2019-04-22 NEW on TWITTER

Link

 


 

I write extensively about this in the Emotional Labour article.

 


 

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

The second Tweet is a response to the CEO’s reply to the above tweet, yet it’s not addressed to his Twitter account nor posted in the same feed as above. Not sure what that’s all about:

2019-03-19 Customer re managers

Link

 

And this customer’s observation made my day, because most people either don’t see the stress nor care how horrendous it is for staff. In this case here it’s King’s Cross, one of the most (and worst) busiest branches. I worked there for a week to help as they were always low on staff. After that week and the manager asking me if I can come again, I politely declined, there’s only so much mental and physical pain you can take.

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link There are more tears that flow behind the scenes in the kitchens, staff rooms, in the bus going home… Just 1 customer had enough eyes to see and care!

 

2015-09-29 Staff cry

Link

Yes, as a Team Leader I had to console a lot of Team Members over the years after they were shouted at by managers and/or customers, received a warning because they didn’t smile when they served the Mystery Shopper etc. I cried many times, but as a Team Leader not in front of my team, I locked myself away in the toilet or on my way home in the bus I just led the tears flow.

And in all this Pret tasks the weekly Mystery Shoppers that visit every shop to probe on the following among also probing if they are served within 1 minute, receive their hot drink within 1 minute etc.:

04 MS

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

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

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

 

Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness2

 

What staff go through behind the scenes that customers don’t see, nor care about:

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

 

man-320273__340

 

For the first time I verbally tell my story with Pret in one setting on a podcast.

Preview:

 

Full Interview:

 

Above interview is with Adam from The Adam Paradox podcast on my experience in Pret A Manger.

The main subject being workplace bullying, we also spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general and what to look out for in an interview for a new job. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

It is hard to squeeze my traumatic experience into a podcast segment, but we covered enough to get a good picture of today’s systemic stress environment for profit driven global companies.

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 


 

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.

My interview (podcast)

 

In the below link is an interview with Adam from The Adam Paradox Podcast. He interviewed me on my experience with workplace bullying and Pret.

In the 1 hour 40 minute interview we covered a lot of other issues like gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media etc.

Please visit his podcast as well as Twitter @1AdamParadox, he mainly covers workplace bullying and is very well researched and experienced in the subject.

 

 

 


 

For an overview of important blog entries of my experience in Pret A Manger, please visit My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The arrow next to each heading will lead directly to the post. Thank you for reading.

 

©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: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Whatever you do, How little you know

 

If your friend, family member, colleague, employee, acquaintance… loses someone, don’t leave them alone. You will not know what to do, and that is ok. Just don’t leave them alone, or even worse tell them it’s their fault they are so down. They are lost and don’t know what to do. They feel already the guilt of loss and being a burden.

And stay away from Pret A Manger and any company that hurt people, using them for PR while bullying those who go through tragedy. Don’t believe their facade and psychology. They can afford companies who manipulate with wordings to “hypnotize” the public for profit. And the public wants to believe the facade. I know Pret since 10 years and gave them the benefit of the doubt too much (that only is my fault). Pret does not care for people, except themselves and whoever is in their elite group who play their games. As long as you play their game, you are in their group.

Most people don’t play games and are just used, and exploited, and lied to. Pret A Manger is a very dishonest company. Support the small independent businesses, even if you have to walk, drive extra to get to them. We all enable those careless companies because we are not willing to change our habits.

They even did nothing after customers died and multiple warnings to label their products properly until it became public. If that doesn’t tell people how Pret really is, than I don’t know.

The blogger community is the best social media among all social media platforms; solid, thoughtful, creative.

I’ve given it all, I told my story, if people care to know or not is not my concern. Pret doesn’t even respond on Twitter to my open confrontation. All they do is get Twitter to “shadow ban” me. Pathetic! I passed on the written evidence to people. I’ve given it my best. Stand up for yourself and those who can’t. Look closer, if a profit-driven company looks too good to be true, look behind the facade. Businesses can afford to employ companies to write fake reviews, look at the little people who stand up against a giant. Join a Union and stand up for yourself. I was too naive and traumatized and gave Pret the benefit of the doubt too much.

But I have written it all down.

Thank you for reading. Happy 2019.

 

 

pexels-photo-212324

 

 

©2019 poetrasblok.com

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 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.

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.

Quote of the Day #61 – Pret A Slave’s Company

 

Another “slave” review now from 18. Oct. 2018 and added to the list of complaints regarding Modern-day Slavery treatment in Pret.

 

SlaveBrick

 

Quote of the Day (highlight by me):

If someone can’t finish job on time has to stay longer, for free. Common practise is to give someone job to do, just a couple of minutes before end of shift and after telling that “you couldn’t finish on time, because you are to slow”

Oh yes, this is absolutely a common practice. The amount of times I was given a job 15 minutes before my shift ended, a job that would take at least 30 – 45 minutes and longer. I changed this “habit” then, and left on the dot when my shift ended and also told my teams or individuals when they were given jobs by the line manager minutes before their shift ended, that I will pay them via the system, as I was authorized to do as part of my team leader responsibilities, for the extra time. When the manager objected, which happened many times, then I advised my TMs that they should leave on the dot. I let my team go home precisely when their shift ended.

This did not make me friends with my line- and OPs managers, but these kind of people are not my desired friends!

 

2018-10-18 Slave Company

Former TM review from 18. Oct. 2018

Pret workers should do what colleagues did in the U.S. taking Pret to court:

Pret settles overtime wage claim (NY)

 

 


 

Long but not exhaustive list of Pret Staff reviews and complaints.

 


 

 

NOTE:

If you are a current Pret Employee, especially in the shop and / or kitchen, I advise you to not waste your time trying to change work conditions, nor “fight” this internally. Before I worked in Pret I never had any problems with a company or bosses. Of course I had the usual stresses any job brings, especially the food industry, and a boss here and there would get on our nerves from time to time, but nothing like the hell and trauma I survived in Pret! Nothing came even close!

That’s why I made the mistake to give Pret the benefit of the doubt one too many times, as this was a first, and trying to figure out why this was happening to me. In my darkest time during bereavement, when I was so traumatized I couldn’t see left from right and just went on autopilot, I was even bullied on top of this! From my experience with this company, Pret A Manger, and especially their toxic HR department, I can only urge you to join a Union! Keep on writing reviews on Employment Review and other websites, but safe yourself unnecessary pain and time, and join a Union.

In fact any employee should be a member of a Union. Period.

For Pret workers and food workers in general, I can highly recommend the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ Union. The BFAWU was instrumental in the first ever McDonald’s workers’ strikes (McStrike) in the UK that already took place in the USA, but in the UK they are a vital force in organizing workers who suffer financially, physically and mentally.

But understand, that when you join a Union and Pret knows about it, that they will find anything against you to get rid of you. Andrej who founded the Pret A Manger Staff Union (PAMSU) was fired under the “pret”ense of allegedly having made homophobic remarks 10 months prior to getting dismissed.

Andrej confronting Pret on the real reason of dismissal.

 

 

Pret A Manger Staff Union on Twitter

BFAWU on Twitter

 

So, join a Union but understand that once Pret knows that you joined any Union, your days in Pret are numbered. But you won’t be alone. I am recommending the BFAWU because they are very active and supportive of all workers.

President of the BFAWU, Ian Hodson’s much needed words for employees and employers alike:

 

 

 

Worldwide food workers’ strikes on 04.10.2018

 

John McDonnell’s message to exploitative employers:

“We are coming for you!”

 

 

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.

 

Quote of the Day #60 – Pret A Modern-day Slavery

 

UPDATE:

I posted this Quote of the Day which I have been doing on and off since around May 2018, but today’s “quote” I posted a few hours before I learned today’s news of a second death from a Pret A Manger product. Even though I am not surprised at Pret’s negligence and slow reaction until this became public, I am utterly shaken at these news. Devastated and shocked!

 


 

 

 

pressure-62283_960_720

 

 

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.

 

My comment: Yes, this is very true, and the reason for this is that leaders in the shop, but especially in the kitchen under harsh management are pushing people to their limits to then be promoted themselves. A typical “kissing upwards, and kicking downwards” bullying behaviour in large companies. In Pret this is rampant as can be seen in the Staff Complaints via the link on the bottom, but Pret is next to nothing when it comes to PR and the public is lulled in to believe Pret is kind to their staff. Well …

 

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Former TM 2nd Oct. 2018

 

I also want to highlight the “Cons” in this review, quote:

“Cons

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

I can absolutely underline this statement of the mentally unhealthy environment in Pret.

 

Featured in the selected “Quotes of the Day“.

Comprehensive, but not exhaustive Pret Staff Complaints.

Why I collected these after having survived Pret.

 

 

 

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

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

 

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.

 

Open Letter to the “Misery” Shopper

 

Dear Mystery Shopper,

I hope you forgive me for calling you the “Misery” Shopper. That is how I often experienced you: merciless, unrealistic, arrogant and plainly non-caring. You gave us often very good comments, recognizing my hard working teams and with it also my hard work with my teams. Thank you for that. But many times I suffered deeply under your unfair comments, especially while going through bereavement with equally merciless bosses who only cared about their bonuses and reputation.

I can forgive you as you didn’t know what I and colleagues were going through, but my bosses knew and had no consideration nor care. The Mystery Shopper results count for the biggest chunk of management and OPs Manager’s bonuses, so this was the greatest pressure as well as torture, and the rewards were just too little for us teams. One manager said to me once when I was new in his shop that he closes his eyes to anything but the Mystery Shopper. In other words, he was happy for any mistakes or shortcomings, be it in the finances, health & safety etc. but was not willing to accept poor MS results. I just came from a branch where I was bullied for tiny things, and I responded to him that he should not close his eyes to anything! Of course that did not make me favourable towards bosses like him, but I wasn’t concerned! I had the loss of my brother on my mind.

And yet, even if Pret would have canceled the Mystery Shopper scheme, I would have worked exactly the same, as I love quality and giving customers the best service they deserve, not just because they pay money, but because I love people. Full stop!

 

 

Face off man-845847__340

 

 

You can only be a Mystery Shopper if you have never worked in retail or the food industry, so you would not empathize with the staff, but judge as a “proper” customer not understanding the pressures of the business. You are being instructed to be fair but firm, whereas I often looked at it hoping you would be firm but fair. You often choose to be firm. I have had outstanding comments throughout the years, including twice being commented on as having the best team yous have ever experienced. That was very kind for you to write, it didn’t help with my bosses, though, as it was never good enough, what we as the teams achieved. But that aside, it is about you in this open letter.

 

2012-10-12 MS 1

2012-10-12 MS 2

I and my teams received many comments like this throughout the years, but they have not helped me against the harshness of my line managers. It was never good enough. Towards the end of my employment in Pret I would even submit 4 pages of ideas on how to improve the Mystery Shopper and passed it on to my OPs manager. I had another 4 pages of ideas, but never submitted those as that OPs manager promised me as the Team Leader extra incentives if the Mystery Shopper results would improve (as if we needed improvement with almost always perfect scores!), but she never lived up to her promise. I delivered, but as usual left empty handed with broken promises. Another typical Pret “behaviour”, suck everything out of your staff and leave them stranded.

As with any other job, every Mystery Shopper is different, there are those who really take it serious at the same time have an eye on fairness. Others of you don’t really care too much, you come in and out so fast to just finish that job and within minutes you decide for the team to not get the bonus for whatever wasn’t right for you. Never mind them working and toiling since 5am or earlier with an angry manager giving them a good telling off later, because their bonus got even a bigger dip down.

Your job is to judge, no matter how long or short your visit. I hope you forgive me when I re-name you as the Misery Shopper as many times when the scores weren’t so good, even when we still had the bonus, the manager would give us a harsh telling off, because the managers and OPs rely on the scores to increase their bonus and competition in the areas. The Misery Shopper contributes most to their bonus and the ranking, that is why the teams get the most pressure from it.

It was particularly hard when I served you and your feedback was that I didn’t smile or that team members should not work while sick because I coughed during service. I am sure you are under the impression that the teams get paid when they are sick at home. But they aren’t paid sick-leave for the first 2 -3 days depending on age regardless if they have a sick note. Thus forcing them to go to work, cough, receive negative ratings for it and the manager gives them a hard time.

It’s a complete 100% lose-lose situation. If you stay at home because you are sick, you won’t get paid after your “well-being days” are used at the sole discretion of your manager. Also, your manager doesn’t like you being off sick, especially if you are a leader, like I was. They doubt your illness, I had that even while depressed and with a panic attack on sick leave, my manager didn’t believe me, but that’s another blog entry in itself.

If you do go to work because you need to pay your bills, the danger of serving you and receiving a bad report, and with it a telling off from your boss in the office, nothing is ever in your favour, no matter what you do.

 

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.

Another example of a Team Leader who complained on Twitter about being sick:

 

2018-09-13-59-staff-tweet-e1536844434384.jpg

 

 

In detail:

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet2

Link to tweet plus, I responded to Pret’s saying sorry, but my tweet has been deleted or is hidden somehow. But it is still on my Twitter as well as a screenshot in one of the “Quotes of the Day“. Pret of course keeps any of my tweets they may use later against me. That’s fine with me.

 

 

But I can more than relate to this Team Leader’s “review”. You are made to feel guilty when you call sick, because when you are off sick as a leader, the manager has to pull up their sleeves and work instead of just sitting in the office!

So, dear Misery Shopper, what exactly would be a cheerful occasion to smile? And you probably think that this is an exception and that surely if a team member goes through bereavement there would be empathy and understanding. Wrong again. Having to smile NON-STOP especially for 8 – 10 or more hours a day, in an intensely, excruciating and brutal work environment, and on top of that just having buried a loved one…

 

This is nothing short of developing either superhuman abilities or mental illness!

 

 

Pret Uniform2

 

I wrote it to the real Pret customers already, that I wished sometimes I would have been able to wear a badge like a pregnant woman does with the “Baby on Board” badge, or a disabled person with a “Please offer me a seat” badge. I would have needed a “Please bear with my grief” badge, as my manager was merciless when I didn’t smile, even during bereavement. When I did smile and this feedback was given in your report, my manager never acknowledged it either. Never a word of, “I know you are going through a terrible time with the loss of your brother, and you still come to work and even smiled, well done, I don’t know how you do it, but you are doing good, if you need anything, a little break to take a breath, just let me know.” … Nothing of the like. Just a telling off and you go home later wanting to end your life.

I would do this with my team members once I was aware of problems in their lives. I’d encourage them, offer them some extra break or if they need to disappear for a few minutes when I saw them in tears. But for some reason I did not receive this common human kindness from my line managers, except from only one I worked only for a few weeks when she then went on maternity leave.

I wonder, dear Mystery Shopper, if you would also be so harsh with a team member if you knew they had a loss in their life preventing them from smiling. Would you be as merciless as the managers?

I survived the bullying and harshness, I became ill and at times suicidal when I couldn’t take this brutal treatment anymore. And I know of others who became depressed, ill, suicidal. But I survived and live to tell my story, and I tell it so bluntly because the thought that I may be dead now, jumping of a bridge because of the turmoil I went through, my body still freezes when I think of the close call I’ve had!

 

Bullying can kill

 

You will continue to do your job trying to be fair but firm, I would just want to ask you to rather be firm but fair, or better even, kind and fair. The people in HQ who come up with these rules and penalties don’t care about the stress on the shop floor and in the kitchens. They know very well how difficult and cold it is, but it is not of their concern.

Your job is to feed back if the team smiled amongst other things you check on, no matter what hell they are going through. I hope you won’t be judged so hard when you go through tragedies.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

Ex-Employee of Pret, or as I call us “Ex-Prets” 🙂 ( <<< now that’s a real smile!)

Late Night Girl2

 

A compiled list of staff complaints from various review sites, YouTube and Twitter. Selected reviews as Quotes of the Day.

 

©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 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

 

 

 

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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 ma