The Difference between Profit and True Wealth

 

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

The anti-CEO playbook | Hamdi Ulukaya

TED / YouTube intro:

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

YouTube

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 


 

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.

 

On the Frontlines of Pret A Manger

 

With JAB / Reimann’s takeover of Pret, they are exploding from here on, purchasing sandwich chain rival EAT. with the plans to bow to public demand, turning the 90+ EAT. stores into Veggie Prets. The work environment of Pret will spill over to EAT.

EAT. as an imitation and the most serious competition to Pret is known by Pret staff as being more relaxed and less strict. EAT. has always been a sore in Pret’s sight, so one can imagine the triumph they must feel (all on workers’ backs!). Many Pret staff that I also worked with, especially leaders, left Pret and went to EAT. after they couldn’t handle the harshness of Pret anymore. They said that they rather get paid less and have less stress.

I’m sure current EAT. staff will be taken on more or less. Andrew Walker, CEO of EAT. used to be Pret’s UK Managing Director and has his story of why and how he left Pret …

 

2019-05-22 EAT

Photo: eat.co.uk

After the initial rumor mid May 2019 before the confirmation days later, the slogans are already out there quickly, as Pret A Manger means ready to eat, Twitter is full with “Ready to Eat EAT.” and “Pret swallowing EAT.” posts.

My concern remains regarding employees as I have survived Pret on another matter (my podcast interview at the bottom of this post). Perfect timing that my experience with Pret was also published in the May/June 2019 edition of The Scottish Left Review at the same time the rumors of the EAT. purchase circulated on Twitter.

 

2019-05-22 Preat A Merger

Link

How the leadership structure will be changed with Andrew Walker CEO of EAT and Clive Schlee, Pret’s CEO and their past “issues”, time will tell. But both companies in mid to end of May 2019 aren’t the highest scores from staff reviews on Glassdoor as well as Indeed and other sites. A little over half of EAT. staff and less than half of Pret staff recommend working for their companies on Glassdoor.

 

2019-05-22 EAT Percentage Reviews

versus

2019-05-22 45 staff 55 Clive

Regarding staff reviews of Pret, the below Slideshow at the bottom should make it clear why less than half recommend working at Pret.

 

The Scottish Left Review, a monthly left wing magazine published my story in their May/June 2019 edition.

I copy the full article here with link to the publication. I submitted the text which was slightly edited for grammar as English is my second language. But the text has been written by myself with information given to the magazine on the Pret Union and the I-Hate-Pret-A-Mangerpreth8ers” Facebook group.

 

Full text:

 

On the frontline: crushed by corporate capitalist culture 
Fighting-Back-Logo

 

Late Night Girl’ tells of the bullying behaviour at work she suffered and how she is fighting back.

My story with Pret-A-Manger is very complex and long. Only in hindsight, do I think I understand the extent of what I’ve been through and how systemic the problem of workplace bullying in profit driven companies can be.

I have always worked in the food industry in three different countries. I have worked in a hotel, wine bar, canteen and various restaurants and cafe chains but I have never experienced the stress and discrimination I went through in Pret. Only now, when I have contact with unions (like the BFAWU) and activists, do I realise that this is a growing problem as a result of capitalist globalisation and the accompanying intensification of competition.

Before I worked in Pret, I was an assistant manager (AM) in Caffe Nero. Nero was a lot of stress, but nothing like Pret, and the atmosphere with colleagues and managers was relaxed. I left Nero as Pret paid better. Even as a new team member, I got paid more than as an AM in Nero. I would not have left Nero if the wage was not so poor. Little did I realise that the reason Pret pays a little more than its competitors is because the work is so intense, incredibly stressful and with a bullying environment under poorly trained management.

But I’m used to hard work and don’t shy away from it. I started in Pret in 2008 just when Bridgepoint, the private equity investor, purchased Pret and put forward the target to open on every street corner (in London specifically). That meant a lot of managers were needed, but there was not the effort to really train them, and most have neither people nor leadership skills.

But again, I gave Pret the benefit of the doubt, thinking in time when I moved on or rose upwards in position that it would become easier. I never expected this bullying environment – which at first I denied was happening as it happened in every shop I worked but it continued and even intensified when I was bereaved.

I was a team leader of the shop floor – there is a separate leadership in the kitchen – from around 2011 onwards. Team leaders do the real work, whereas managers tend to sit in the office, come in late, leave early, look important, go to meetings etc. Team leaders are blamed a lot while not being supported.

My story really starts to become horrendous when my brother died. This in itself was the most traumatic event in my life and I never expected to be treated so badly with the seeming intention to have me leave my employment as bereaved employees seem quickly to become something of an inconvenience in Pret, and often in many other companies.

My brother died in December 2014 in his flat and was not found for approximately six days when neighbours smelt the strong odour of his corpse. My brother was self-employed – after having gone back to studies, he started his own business as an environmental advisor on green energy to companies. He travelled throughout Germany where I’m from, so it was not unusual that neighbours didn’t see him much.

We didn’t know for five weeks that my brother died, and to make it even worse, the police did not investigate properly, not finding us and after a few weeks just cremated him. I have written extensively about this on my blog (https://expret.org/). Here, I summarise what I went through in Pret.

I travelled back and forth between London and Germany for the funeral, running errands, investigating what happened, brought my mum with me to London as I had to continue to work. I spent all my savings with all the costs and was forced to return to work.

I had basic support from Pret as staff receive a few days ‘compassionate leave’. But that was all. I was never sat down and told what support I may need, and was also put on late shifts which kept me from vital support from friends as I worked when they were off and they worked when I was off. Initially, I didn’t mind and didn’t even notice, as I couldn’t sleep until the morning anyway as I was tormented with shock and grief. I kept going to work to keep me occupied and distracted as best as possible.

I approached human resources (HR) informally to make a suggestion on how to support bereaved employees. But unbeknown to me at the time, I believe this inadvertently put a ‘target on my back’ and my superiors, I think with the guidance of HR, started pursuing me with little issues where I made mistakes (but my mistakes were even less than those of my colleagues).

One of several Mystery Shopper (MS) requirements is that staff have to smile, be friendly and show happiness all the time. Only recently have I learnt that this is called ‘emotional labour’ that is forced upon low-wage workers and I have since written about it. Also, in Pret, staff have one minute to serve customers, one minute to serve the hot drink from the time of payment, are tested to see if they give eye-contact, make some polite remarks etc. The MS even times the service to the second. I give a few examples with excerpts of MS comments on my website.

If teams fail in any or several points, the whole team loses its bonus. The bonus system is the biggest chunk towards managers’ remuneration. So, managers are extra strict when staff fail. I was traumatically bereaved: I even begged sometimes to be sent into the kitchen, away from the shop floor as I was tearing up at times and didn’t want to be seen by customers. I couldn’t afford to go home as I had had to spend all my savings. But I was denied this with the reason that I’m not used to the kitchen and would be slow. Everything in Pret has to be done fast. ‘Time is money’, customer circulation in and out of shops has to flow fast, meaning the money flows fast.

After I approached HR informally, I also requested a transfer to a shop where I would have rotating shift patterns, as my then general manager refused to give me rotating shifts as the evenings weren’t as busy and the MS visited very rarely in the evenings. I was warned when I didn’t smile by an area manager, and was summoned into the office on my day off because I made some minor mistakes. I was sent to another area and shop that had lots of problems, and in hindsight, I believe, I was sent there to set me up for failure.

I quickly became paranoid and felt I was targeted. And, I think I was right because months later I applied for my employee file which included emails between HR and managers who were brainstorming all the time what to do with me. I was constantly put under pressure in the hope I would resign. But I didn’t. I even declined four settlement offers if I’d resign and never speak about my ordeal or go to court. Three offers were made internally and the fourth was via the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) when I withdrew my Tribunal claim as my dad just died in the middle of preparing for the case. I could not afford a lawyer and was unable to fight this on my own.

I have collected other staff reviews from employment review websites, YouTube, Twitter etc and I have learnt the hard way that, without a union, there is no hope of raising issues of systemic workplace bullying. Many people were shocked and disbelieving when I mentioned how Pret really is behind its well-polished PR facade. Only the unions, activists and some from the press have believed me.

The targeting I went through was everything apart from sexual and physical violence – the typical bullying, both open and subtle. I was shouted at and, when this didn’t work, I was excluded from leaders’ meetings, was not given important information I needed to do my job, and was sent to difficult shops to receive a disciplinary for failing even in little things. Pret, it seems to me, works mainly with fear management.

The more perverse thing Pret did was with emails after I became ill. I believe I was targeted in group emails from my boss, in the emails I read between HR and managers etc. I spiralled into ‘ill emailing’. I received a disciplinary for the emailing but Pret used a Development Manager who told me she had also lost her brother in similar circumstances to my brother. She went into personal text messages and emailing with me because of our common grief. But this confused me further and, only in hindsight, does it now seem that I was being set up to get fired. I believe I was ‘gaslighted’ and then fired while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma. CEO Clive Schlee labelled me his ‘late night girl’ due to my late night emails to everyone which then lead to my firing. I adopted that label to be a sore in his and Pret’s eyes. I confront Pret openly on Twitter and Facebook about this.

Because I have never experienced anything like this in any workplace, I was so traumatized with my brother’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, I became so out-of-sync giving Pret the benefit of the doubt again and again and putting blame on myself and what psychologists call ‘Sibling Survivor Guilt’. I even apologised for a nervous breakdown after a line manager rebuked me repeatedly in front of my team. For an overview of my trauma with Pret, I have created a ‘Mind Map’ linking each title to a blog entry as my blog has grown: https://www.mindmeister.com/1194255218/my-pret-a-manger-ordeal

‘Late Night Girl’ also tweets at https://twitter.com/LateNightGirlMe and she was recently interviewed on a podcast based in California where she tells her story in more detail (see front page of her website: expret.org).

• The editor adds:
There is a facebook group, started in 2011, called ‘I Hate Pret A Manger’. And, a now former employee, Andrej Stopa, helped start the Pret A Manger Staff Union (PAMSU). He was reportedly fired in 2012 under the pretence of him allegedly having made homophobic remarks. See also the case of Rodrigo (in boxed graphic), another fired union activist. Unfortunately, both groups are not very active now. Unions like the BFAWU and UNITE are continuing to try to unionise Pret. For more on the employment practices of Pret, see The Guardian and The Independent.


 

Full text on its own.

Full Magazine with text on pages 21/22.

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection of comments and reviews taken from review sites, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other sites. The list goes on in —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here >
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. 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.

Patronizer

 

The reason why Pret and Clive Schlee don’t block me, is partly for any potential court case. They collect Tweets like they collected emails. They’ve let me write emails and then pretended it was wrong, while in the meantime having a laugh.

The newly appointed COO (a position that didn’t exist until JAB took over) Pano Christou, who likes to keep a low profile typical for Pret management, he blocked me.

The head of training or whatever her position is these days, blocked me…

Nikki Fisher from the Pret Foundation Trust blocked me …

…. and others from Pret.

But Pret itself and Clive Schlee don’t block me, because they collect my Tweets for court as well as sabotaging any future employment.

Pret has been sued successfully many times and ordered to pay whatever amount. And then they just went back to business as usual, not giving a sugar-pie on treating their employees with respect.

One Tribunal Judge called Pret’s HR grievance hearing AND appeal’s hearing “fundamentally flawed” (check-marks top right).

Pano Christou, now COO who came from McDonald’s and a manager in Pret at the time of the Tribunal decision was (and still is) part of this flawed system.

For Pano Christou and others from Pret to block me means, they are not bothered. But for Pret and Clive Schlee to NOT block means, they collect for any potential court case as their name is out there.

Pano Christou doesn’t even put Pret’s Twitter properly, he writes on his Twitter: “Chief Operating Officer @ Pret”

He writes @ Pret not @Pret avoiding linking straight to Pret’s Twitter.

Low key, hey?

Pano, you don’t want to be visibly affiliated to Pret? Ok.

Hey “leaders” some bottom line management training?

The captain of the ship jumps last, not first.

Like many reviews from current and former Pret staff said, Pret A Manger is a good company, a good concept, a great idea… but Clive Schlee sold out and turned his “sheep” over to wolves. And Clive, that’s on your house.

Key issues:

I worked at Pret, was bereaved and then became an inconvenience for Pret.

Pret is an unprofessional company that got away with bullshit for decades (including two customer deaths and one staff suicide that I know of, with myself almost quitting as well).

Life is short but worth living.

 

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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.

 

 

 

Questions to Journalists

 

2019-03-28 Swiss journo advertises for Pret crop

LinkA Journalist turned Jobcenter case worker, recruiting for Pret.

 

Dear Journalists,

I just want to throw out a few questions to any journo, be it that you are independent, mainstream, at the beginning of your career testing the waters, or as a hobby writer, blogger, radio host etc. Twitter is full of “writers” of course, but my question is to the serious writers and show hosts who dig deeper than just the copy & paste journalism that we’re swamped with! And yes, I’d love a response and a dialogue, but I understand that most remain just observers from a save distance.

Of course I must be naïve to assume that journalists are neutral, just reporting news to the public. I often lose hope if there are more journos who particularly would expose the truth, lifting the carpet on issues which in turn makes it hard for them to get published to the masses. I can relate, even though I’m not a journalist or an established writer. Most jump on the bandwagon once a story breaks and everyone then copy & pastes. This happened with the recent JAB/Reimann Nazi story that supposedly broke from the German BILD at the end of March 2019. And yet, the Daily Mail published this already in September 2018.

Sathnam Sanghera wrote a good article in The Times after the customer deaths became public when he started to take a closer look. And yet, everything he wrote about, except the part on how investment and private equity works, I already publicly wrote about since May 2018.

I don’t have a clue on how private equity and business works, but I know how Pret works. And I have dangerously felt the impact of, what CEO and farmer Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford calls, those “bastards”. His clear and passionate words, as a multi-million pound employee-owned business is music to my ears: “To sell my business … to one of those bastards (venture capitalists) would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution!”

Having worked at Pret for 10 years and further researching extensively after my ordeal with the “firm”, trying to understand why Pret is the way it is, a lot makes sense now. I narrowly escaped the spiral of suicidal thoughts after my ordeal with Pret while already under a cloud of trauma. So, please understand why I am so loud against this company and their PR[et] machine.

@Sathnam‘s article with my thoughts and experience on it, I renamed: When a Star became Sliced Pret.

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went 100 steps further, going undercover into Pret for a few days after having read my blog and I suggested to go undercover. My huge respect to her! I wish she would have gone for at least a month, covering all of the business, morning shifts, kitchen etc. But it was a good start, and I won’t complain as I can write books on Pret from my 10 years “inside” and Amy covered a lot from the little time spent in a shop.

 

Amy Undercover

“… and staff who are hugely overstretched.”

 

She worked only in the late shift on the shop floor. But to really get the Pret blow, anyone should work longer, as staff are often treated better in the beginning and the evening shifts, until Pret starts pushing them hard after the little training they received, if at all trained. I wrote my thoughts on it as well in Undercover Under Pressure, and I still remember vividly how I felt when I found her article on Twitter after she was very silent about going under, and rightly so. Not to be sentimental here, but I literally teared up when I saw her article!

And then there are some other articles on Pret which many journalists and some bloggers keep referring to and copying from. But I lived through it.

MSNBC article on the Emotional Labour in Pret, Starbucks & Co.

Class Action suits, one on deceptive packaging which was settled out of court recently. I cover this extensively from Twitter posts on Class Action vs Pret where Pret even deleted a Tweet after I posted this.

Class action suits of workers in the U.S. regarding unpaid wages and illegal practices Pret used.

The Guardian on “The brilliant Pret A Manger marketing con we want to fall for”

… and many other early articles I leave to the reader to do their home-work searching for.

I recently wrote a post on the free coffee give-away and marketing Pret is excellent in and why Pret doesn’t do a Loyalty Card system. The psychology behind not doing a Loyalty Card is my interpretation and not something we have been told, but anyone who understands marketing just a little bit might get the idea behind all the freebies.

But in the free coffees post I concentrate on Journalists who tweet making advertisement for Pret.

So, my questions to Journalists are: what is your motivation for a story? What makes for neutral journalism, if that even exists? Is money, reputation and statistics as a journalist and writer really the driving force behind articles and tweets?

Of course asking so bluntly won’t get me anywhere. But I’m a writer, too, even if I never get established. I just have “established experience” and write about it now. And I certainly am not neutral when it comes to Pret A Manger.

 

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Longer list on above slideshow Staff Complaints.

 

Teaser to the 1 hour 42 minute interview:

 

Full interview:

 

 


 

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.

©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.

 

 

Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

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

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

For my full story with Pret please scroll down to the interview and the “Mind Map” that gives an overview of my ordeal with Pret.

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

After my ordeal in Pret I added the URL LateNightGirl.org to my website and recently added expret.org as Late Night Girl doesn’t make much sense for people who don’t know my story. All three URLs will lead to this same site. Again, the full story and overview at the bottom of this page.

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

On 29th May I woke up before 7am and found my website statistics skyrocketed!! Where before I had just a handful of visitors every day, like 5 visitors one day, then 3 visitors the next, zero visitors, 10 visitors etc. Suddenly on the 29th in the morning it went into the hundreds, and to this day (3. April 2019) is still the most visited day my blog has ever received!

I have lots of visitors now, but nothing has reached the 29th May 2018 stats yet!

On 28. May 2018 late in the evening I sent my blog LateNightGirl.org to the area manager.

29. May 2018 in the morning I could literally watch the visitors and clicks increase LIVE as they visited and clicked! From that day on my stats had increased visitors, but never as much as the 29th May to this day.

 

BEST views ever 29May2018

 

And on the 29. May 2018 Clive Schlee CEO of Pret, who labeled me his “late night girl” posted this tweet in the early hours:

 

2018-05-29 Clive Announcement

Link

 

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

PR[et] at its best for sure! 😀

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

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

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

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

Only one of my tweets is visible to the public, my response to Clive Schlee trying to divert responsibility downwards. My other tweets in the feed are hidden from the public but visible in my Tweets & Replies feed.

So, here he is, making this announcement and when the going gets tough and staff complain when the promise will “moneyfest” (sorry, couldn’t help it!) Schlee diverts to managers and the people team (HR).

In August, 3 months after the announcement, the first staff members started raising questions, some even started a Twitter account then just to confront the CEO on his promise as staff didn’t get any info from the shops. My response at the bottom is the only one that didn’t get shadow banned:

 

2018-08-29 My response to £1000 delay

Link

 

Into September and October:

 

2018-09-01 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-12 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

 

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

 

2018-09-19 Meme USA

 

 

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000

 

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

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

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

 

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

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team my response

 

 

And the appalling slogan of Pret’s HR department:

Right Thing Naturally

 

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

Typo: Hay here means “employee” not employer.

2018-09-29-hay.jpg

 

Last complaint in that feed:

 

2018-10-01 Staff Twitter £1000

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

My thought: “TODAY” was the big day when Clive Schlee and Pret got confronted with my blog as I have declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal with Pret.

 

And sadly only ONE customer immediately sees through this PR stunt among all the euphoria:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR

Link

 

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

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

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

He shares on this website of the Mental Health Club. I know him, because I am a member of the same Mental Health Club that Pret tries to infiltrate to fish for workers and mainly use people for PR. I cover this and the trap Sergio fell into extensively in my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust.

 

UPDATE: Even with this “generosity”, the recommendation on Glassdoor for Pret and the CEO in June 2019 (1 year after the £1000 announcement) speaks volumes:

2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

 

 


Long List of Pret Staff Complaints
with my interview at the top.


 

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UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here >
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. 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.

Pret A Manger Slideshow

 

02 Annahilates Humanity12

 

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

 

 

Adam

 

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

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. 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.

 


 

Long List of Pret Staff Complaints and Reviews from diferent positions, countries, years…

 


 

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

The Great Pret-ender (Genius of the Crowd)

 

There’s a clown whose job it is to keep everyone happy and buying stuff.

Usually clowns are there to make people laugh, but some clowns are having a laugh on the account of those who make these clowns great wealth under poverty wages.

Best example of patronizing hard-working people:

 

“I’m very conscious about how hard our staff work – how cheerful they are and how motivated they are when buttering the bread – all that is very important and you simply can’t afford to alienate your staff. Under no circumstances will we risk that – we haven’t cut any of our bonuses.”

Link

 

 

PAMSU Clive Alienate Staff

Link

 

 

ronald-mcdonald-you-re-fired-meme

 

 

2018-10-13 Clive Schlee Clown Tweet

Link

 

 

“I’m very conscious about how hard our staff work” 

Or

I am very aware that “our” staff work their butts off for nothing while being bullied, exploited and my job is to smile, be approachable for PR and to sound like I appreciate them. With a smile and sweet-talk I exploit them and received £30 Million from the JAB purchase. Thank you hard-working slaves. I am very conscious about how hard you work, I certainly celebrate with my fellow slave masters in Dubai, Las Vegas, Austria, New York … Thank you. Keep working and being fooled by my slogans. 

 

“how cheerful they are and how motivated they are when buttering the bread”

Anyone seeing the cynicism, disrespect and patronizing approach here?

“how cheerful and motivated when buttering the bread”. 

 

Uhm, hello? Mr. Schlee, are you ok?

 

Brutal Nightmare

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR crop2

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

Just three of the many Pret staff reviews and complaints collected.

 

Here is an outcome, a quick reaction leading to a PRETENSE that I am particularly proud of having been part of:

 

BEST views ever 29May2018

I sent a link to my blog here in the late evening of 28th May 2018 to an Operations Manager (OPs) via Facebook. This OPs I know cannot keep a secret. I’ve sent a link before to some Pret employees, but these employees have integrity, are empathetic, and probably thought to protect me they won’t send my website on to Pret’s leadership. I never asked anyone to send on, as I want people to decide themselves what to do with all the info I write.

But on 28th of May I was fed up to be writing without Pret being aware of it. So, I sent a link to this OPs who cannot keep a secret! 😀

And when I woke up on 29th May 2018 and checked my website’s statistics, the number of visitors and clicks were already through the roof even before 8am! My stats went from a few visitors and clicks on most days to a three digit number over night! I could even see LIVE as the numbers increased click by click!

I now have lots of visitors every day, even when “shadow banned” on Twitter and Facebook, but the 29th of May is still the most visited day so far, to this day (17.02.2019)!

Now, hands up if you believe in coincidence? I don’t! I know how fast Pret reacts to quickly counter any bad press and the fear of being exposed. The shiny PR[et] facade needs a quick polish!

Check the date (and time!) of this Tweet by Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee:

 

2018-05-29 £1000 Announcement

Link

 

And team members went on Twitter even in October asking where the money is! Staff have been told if they go on social media with critical Tweets, they will receive a disciplinary and are threatened with their job security.

 

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

 

My tweet here is hidden as Pret let’s Twitter shadow ban my account where I expose Pret.

 

1000 announcement still waiting 2018-10-02b

Link

 

This is just one of many examples of the pretense of Pret A Manger. But I’m delighted to be rattling the cage enough for Pret to be a little more generous, even if just for pretense.

 

Thinking about my ordeal in Pret A Manger and the pretense of this company that has almost cost me my life, a poem by Charles Bukowski comes to mind, on how the majority of “average” people really don’t care, and in fact dangerously are harmful. Indifference and selfishness is the biggest problem I believe. One of my favourite musicians, Whitey put Bukowski’s poem into a simple but brilliant piece of music, read by Charles Bukowski himself:

 

 


 

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

 

For an overview of important blog entries regarding 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, 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: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

The Great Pret-ender (Genius of the Crowd)

 

There’s a clown whose job it is to keep everyone happy and buying stuff.

Usually clowns are there to make people laugh, but some clowns are having a laugh on the account of those who make these clowns great wealth under poverty wages.

Best example of patronizing hard-working people:

 

“I’m very conscious about how hard our staff work – how cheerful they are and how motivated they are when buttering the bread – all that is very important and you simply can’t afford to alienate your staff. Under no circumstances will we risk that – we haven’t cut any of our bonuses.” Link

 

 

PAMSU Clive Alienate Staff

Link

 

 

ronald-mcdonald-you-re-fired-meme

 

 

2018-10-13 Clive Schlee Clown Tweet

Link

 

 

“I’m very conscious about how hard our staff work” 

Or

I am very aware that “our” staff work their butt off for nothing while being bullied, exploited and my job is to sound like I appreciate them.

 

“how cheerful they are and how motivated they are when buttering the bread”

Anyone seeing the cynicism, disrespect and patronizing approach here?

“how cheerful and motivated when buttering the bread”. 

 

Uhm, hello? Mr. Schlee, are you ok?

 

Brutal Nightmare

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR crop2

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

These are just three of the many Pret staff reviews and complaints collected, but to keep this post short I only add the above three. A longer list via above link.

 

Here is an outcome, a quick reaction leading to a PRETENSE that I am particularly proud of having been part of:

 

BEST views ever 29May2018

I sent a link to my blog here in the late evening of 28th May 2018 to an Operations Manager (OPs) via Facebook. This OPs I know cannot keep a secret. I’ve sent a link before to some Pret employees, but these employees have integrity, are empathetic, and probably thought to protect me they won’t send my website on to Pret’s leadership. I never asked anyone to send on, as I want people to decide themselves what to do with all the info I write.

But on 28th of May I was fed up to be writing without Pret being aware of it. So, I sent a link to this OPs who cannot keep a secret! 😀

And when I woke up on 29th May 2018 and checked my website’s statistics, the number of visitors and clicks were already through the roof even before 8am! My stats went from a few visitors and clicks on most days to a three digit number over night! I could even see LIVE as the numbers increased click by click!

I logged out and logged off, went back to sleep and thought to let my website with all its writings do the work.

I now have lots of visitors every day, even when “shadow banned” on Twitter and Facebook, but the 29th of May is still the most visited and clicked day so far, even to this day (17.02.2019)!

Now, hands up if you believe in coincidence? I don’t! I know how fast Pret reacts to quickly counter any bad press and the fear of being exposed. The shiny PR[et] facade needs a quick polish!

Check the date (and time!) of this Tweet by Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee:

 

2018-05-29 £1000 Announcement

Link

 

And team members went to Twitter even still in October asking where the money is! Mr. Schlee did a premature announcement. I’m sure the £1000 (£12 Million altogether after 3 months trial period for new staff is successful) was NOT because of my blog, but knowing the CEO I would bet that the timing was due to him and the leadership having become aware of my blog the night into 29th May.

Staff now have been told that if they go on social media with critical Tweets, they will receive a disciplinary and are threatened with their job security.

 

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

 

My tweet here is hidden as Pret let’s Twitter shadow ban my account where I expose Pret. But via a direct link from my Tweets & Replies, it’s still there. And JamieeTheGreat must have deleted his tweet above my post, as staff got warned to not speak out publicly with critique, but he left his tweet to another of mine where I repeat about Pret having become aware of my blog, as I play with words: “Pre(t)mature”. I renamed my Twitter and this screenshot is new, hence it looks different, but it’s me. 😉

 

2019-05-29 £1000 Jamiee

Link

 

I do have to say that this is a rare occasion of “Schadenfreude” I enjoyed. I normally don’t get so cheeky, but I enjoyed the Team Member who on pins and needles gave the CEO a little bit of a head ache! 😀

 

1000 announcement still waiting 2018-10-02b

Link

 

This is just one of many examples of the pretense of Pret A Manger. But I’m delighted to be rattling the cage enough for Pret to be a little more generous, even if just for pretense.

 

Thinking about my ordeal in Pret A Manger and the pretense of this company that has almost cost me my life, a poem by Charles Bukowski comes to mind, on how the majority of “average” people really don’t care, and in fact dangerously are harmful. Indifference and selfishness is the biggest problem I believe. One of my favourite musicians, Whitey put Bukowski’s poem into a simple, but brilliant piece of music. If I’m not mistaken, Bukowski himself is reading his poem here:

 

 


 

For an overview of important blog entries regarding Pret, 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 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: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

The Best thing that happened to Pret A Manger

 

… is CEO Clive Schlee in terms of PR, marketing and presenting a well polished facade. But the CEO is not the best thing that happened to staff. Him being approachable and friendly is acting while staff suffer and are being fooled. I am a former Pret employee of 10 years and have survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement under Pret’s leadership. My interview on a podcast at the bottom of this page.

No matter how many customers died, a third nearly fatal allergy reaction, several hospitalized and multiple ignored warnings: the CEO will fix every mess with an approachable smile.

Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl” and I survived his “friendliness” to publicly speak about my ordeal and many other staff complaints I collected onto one page: Selected Quotes and long List of Reviews and comments on the web.

How easy it is to take a few former homeless people who are vulnerable and easy to be manipulated, taking them to Schlee’s PRivate PRoperty in Austria for a hike, or going to Stone Hedge and now giving them accommodation and a low paid job, separating them from regular shops, as quoting Schlee they don’t want to keep them “too exposed” being slow to “integrate” them into regular shops.

In the meantime regular shops are harsh places with poorly trained bullying managers who are tasked to reach high target and profit, so that Mr. Schlee can pocket his £30 Million. So, what does he compensate this poor treatment of staff with?

Yep, good deeds via charity.

I posted several blog entries on the facade that Clive Schlee like the Ronald McDonald Clown does for McDonald’s, Clive does for Pret. Clive is the good cop, shop management are the bad cops, but all have one goal, squeeze as much “productivity” out of staff to maximize profit. And in all this throw in some good works and lots of free coffees for customers (that are paid by raised prices) and the public is hypnotized and lulled in to sleep.

With all things in life where we want to believe a facade and are shocked beyond believe when the quiet neighbour next door who was always so involved in the community turns out to not be what everyone around him believed. The truth always comes to light about a company, person, system, ideology…

 

Illusion

 

Some blog posts I wrote regarding Clive Schlee:

 

Cry Me A River – Translating Crocodile TearsClive Schlee not acting on customer deaths until this became public.

The “Fallen Stars” of Pret – Regular staff have a different story behind the scenes. Yes, there are good shops and good managers as well, but I worked in over a dozen shops and have only worked with 2 maximum 3 managers who were good and “normal”. The majority is terrible management.

The Great Pret-ender (Genius of the Crowd)

Pret Poets Society Explaining the different job roles in Pret shops and reviews from those.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Another writing to Clive Schlee

 

… and some other indirect posts on the overall atmosphere behind the Pret facade.

 

2018-01-07 I Hate Pret Facebook Page2

Facebook group since 2011 that Facebook hides on behalf of paying companies like Pret

 

 

2018-05-09 PAMSU EndTheMysteryShopper

Former Pret staff who was fired for starting a Union

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Former IT Analyst having worked in HQ

 

17 Odd

Former Purchasing Director NYC

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Former Corporate Employee NYC

 

 

2018-10-15 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

 

Brutal Nightmare

YouTube comment towards the bottom

 

10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

A comment from a customer in Chicago who knew a deceased Pret employee

 

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

 


 

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

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:

 

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be pause

 

… 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.

Cry Me A River – Translating Crocodile Tears

 

drip by drip, drop by dot and blabber…

The performance worthy of an Oscar, that took two years of research and practice.

 

YT

 

So touching!

 

CryMeARiver

 

 

In 2015 Clive Schlee was CLUELESS what to do and patronizing as usual. Only ONE of several customer complaints and warnings before AND even after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death: 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

In 2016 which no one in the UK media seemed to have noticed nor researched a man in New York sued Pret quote: “after he a went into anaphylactic shock. He alleges that the restaurant staff served him food containing sesame after assuring him the food was free of the allergen.

—> Pret a Manger hit with lawsuit

The Verdict  (he lost!)

I tweeted about this HERE and mention that from the witness account in the verdict document the supplier of the wrap that contains sesame did NOT need to include sesame in the ingredient as in the U.S. it isn’t law, but in Canada it has to be included. So, the supplier acted responsibly and added it anyway even though by law he did NOT need to, but he included it in case the product was purchased from outside the USA, like Canada for example. Yet, Pret could not be bothered and after this lawsuit and then even after Natasha’s death still did NOTHING!

Witness statement from the supplier from the verdict document, Page 5 (FDA = Food and Drugs Administration):
“We list and perhaps by FDA regulations, we are asked to list or call out any of the ingredients that could be classified as an allergin [sic]. Wheat and soy are classified as allergins in the U.S. In Canada sesame would be included as we really don’t know wh~re stores are, so we put what might be outside this country or at least the border country.”

So, the supplier has sesame included, even though by U.S. law he didn’t need to. And Pret did not list, even though they had the info from the supplier ingredient list on the product.

Sweet-talk of the decade:

*IRONY ON*

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

*IRONY OFF*

 

The Translation
Of the CEO’s Oscar-worthy performance

 

Clive Schlee: “I went to the Inquest…”

As if he had a choice!

 

CS: “and I saw the impact that Natasha’s death had on the family.”

He went, saw and came to the conclusion after two years since Natasha died, that her premature death, which happened on his watch, destroyed a family!

 

CS: “And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

 

CryMeARiver

 

And the Pret Academy Award in a leading role, for the performance that took two years to perfect goes to…

 

CS: “So, on a personal level I’m devastated.”

Is he, now? After two years ignoring repeated warnings before and even after Natasha’s death.

 

CS: “But”

But

 

CS: “… the coroner”

Oh, the coroner, huh?!

 

CS: “the coroner asked for a change in the law…”

The coroner blames the law, now? Didn’t the coroner say that Pret’s labelling was inadequate? And further in this “REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS”, quote:
»Regulation 5 allows for food outlets to avoid full food labelling requirements whether they prepare a small number of items in local shops or in the case of Pret, over 200 million items for sale by preparing these items in “local kitchens”. These items prepared in “local kitchens” are in fact “assembled” in large parts from items made in factory style outlets to Pret specifications. I was left with the impression that the “local kitchens” were in fact a device to evade the spirit of the regulation.«

Yes, that about sounds like the Pret I know! And I’m glad someone finally sees that Pret products are not freshly “made” but “assembled” from ready products out of factories into many tiny “factories” sold as “lovingly made in Pret kitchens” bla.

 

 

CS: … “the family asked for a change in the law.”

Wow! Dragging the family on his side while Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse said this in response: …He’s not acting fast enough. (Well, he’s ‘acting’ alright) “I would say to anyone with serious allergies or is concerned about allergies … don’t buy a sandwich or go to Pret A Manger, because they’re still holding your life at risk right now!” — Nadim Ednan-Laperouse

 

So much about “preventing future deaths”!

 

CS: “And I’m now making changes in PRET that will make that change in the law happen more quickly.”

I must say Clive Schlee has got some balls or deeply lacks the sense of responsibility, to still be in the blaming game Pret-ending to be a “leader” who brings the change after being clueless on what to do!

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

 

CS: … “Probably – probably better.”

Yes, I would stutter, too if I was him!

 

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

 

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

 

That is a very good point, something I didn’t even think of! In 2016 according to Clive Schlee’s annual report, Pret had 20K staff. Within 2 years 8000 employees left Pret? Regardless, in 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

 

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

 

 


 

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

Fallen Stars – On the House! Would you like some Sweet-talk with that?

 

FallenStars

 

 

After my “IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret” in the summer, I’d like to add to that an “IMAGINARY but (equally) Honest Project in Pret”:

 

The Fallen Stars of Pret A Manger which is their true “labelling commitment”

 

… or how about some nutty fruitcakes with “natural” labels like this? I certainly survived a near fatal reaction to these:

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

Freshly prepared in kitchens where they handle allergens … so eat responsibly as it is solely your and shop staff’s responsibility to find out what is in the products.

Just a few of the fun games with the colourful labels. It’s also called “Pret A Guess The Product”. The winner gets a cheap coffee on the house with the wrong milk of course.

 

2018-10-29 Dairy vs Soya

 

 

Rules: none, you just get fired or killed at your own fault.

Playing Fields:

The Hot Chef’s playing field where they “play” so fast under immense pressure in tiny work spaces that it turns into fun having to figure out which surprise is in a soup cup… After all, they love to play Russian Roulette.

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

 

The Customer’s Playing Field

2018-11-09 Meaty Porridge

 

2018-10-23 Gherkin in Croiss

 

 

2018-10-24 Soup incidence

 

 

2018-10-29 Meat Mac instead of Veg

 

 

The winner is ALWAYS the customer risking their lives and health. And the “Fallen Stars” just disappear as quickly as they came, if the blaming game on them is successful.

 

To concentrate on the project, this is about the Fallen Stars that they don’t like to advertise, like they do with the “Rising Stars” that really help PR[et]. They don’t want to integrate former homeless people into shop teams as the harsh work environment would turn them also into Fallen Stars (again!).

But for the sake of the ever so Pret-onizing labelling commitment (by the way, CEO Clive Schlee labeled me his “late night girl” after the trauma Pret put me through… but that story is spread like butter on my website and can fill a dozen books).

CAUTION: There is nothing gluten free, dairy free, nut free on my side, just the blank ingredients loaded with calories of the reality on how I survived Pret A Manger. Read responsibly.

 

So, who are the “Fallen Stars”?

Here are the winners, who after they won their spot on the streets, go to places where Pret never tread before:

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies!

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

 

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

 

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

 

2018-10-21 #61 Slaves Company

 

2018-11-01 Funeral

 

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

 

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

 

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

 

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

And many, many, many more of the wonderful Fallen Stars who “really matter”, those struggling Poets who tell it like it is, the true Captains some who were thrown over board, each with their own genre, shortened in Quotes of the Day.

 

 

And Pret’s “Plastic Pledge” will be the next project that will be covered. Watch this space!

 

 

2018-10-30 Plastic Cover

 

 

 

©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 A Manager – Bad A Manager

 

I want to shorten some reviews here from the “Pret Poets Society” post to only link to Assistant Managers, General Managers and HQ Staff reviews.

The poor management style that so many Team Members complain about in Pret is enabled from the very top senior leadership and HR, who know exactly how their leaders are. If there is no clear leadership strategy in place, a zero tolerance on bullying and when a large part of Managers are poorly trained, discriminating and especially profit driven, than it becomes very clear that the fish stinks from its head. No company’s top boss can close their eyes and play innocent.

CEO Clive Schlee prides himself on how well he knows his people in this video, and that is why he has no excuse on how the Team Members, as well as Managers are treated! He is not able to say that he doesn’t know as he also visits shops regularly and makes himself approachable to TMs, who often complain directly to him or via his Twitter, risking getting fired for publicly outing their distress. But he does not change the terrible culture as the money keeps pouring in and he pockets £30 Million from the JAB take-over.

 

 

Because Pret’s CEO presents himself as this approachable top boss which impresses many, especially young shop based staff, it is like Clive Schlee plays the “good cop” while Managers are the “bad cop”. But both have one goal, make as much money as possible that they can squeeze out of their workers.

 

 

When I was going through the darkest, most hellish time in grief and on top being bullied by superiors, I was continuously being placed under bullying managers who supposedly cared. When the shouting didn’t work, they turned their bullying more subtle, by withholding information that I needed as a leader, not inviting me to leaders’ meetings and even Christmas dinner, holding me low with menial tasks, giving me the minimum hours even though I asked for more hours etc. In my traumatic state it took me many months to realize that this was on purpose. Clive Schlee and HR know their managers and placed me accordingly in hopes I would resign, as I was offered four settlements if I resign. There was no care nor interest to have me under empathetic or skilled leadership.

This leadership style is then continued, trickling down through the ranks. So, TMs try to rise up the ladder to escape the horrendous pressure and stress, because they see how managers and even Team Leaders sit in the office. And the incentive of managers getting huge bonuses paid while stressing their staff.

I have seen it countless times how good TMs who were very passionate, kind and hard working changed and got corrupted, once they started moving into management levels and attached themselves to this crowd of “leaders”.

 

I never wanted to be a manager even though I applied for Assistant Manager roles, but only to escape the bullying culture in shops. I was often asked through the years by many TMs why I wasn’t a manager, as I worked professionally, with skill and knowledge, and many customers often approached me with a query thinking that I was the manager until I pointed them to the plain clothes GM or AM. But I answered the question of why I was not a manager, very simple because I could not do what managers are pressured to do, cut hours and squeeze everything out of teams to maximize profit. And my TMs agreed and understood, as I was always helping my teams, encouraging them, supporting them, even when I was hectic myself at times.

 

 

goldfish-carassius-fish-golden-45910

I am glad to not be under such toxic “leadership” anymore!

 

 

The worst management often are Managers who come from the outside, from other places like Costa or Nero. They then start straight away as Assistant Managers for a few weeks before being “graduated” as GMs. They work a few weeks or months in the kitchen and do various jobs, but this does not help as they have not been at the very bottom level as a Team Member. But even Managers who started as TMs often turn very sour as I worked with two GMs who were some of the most difficult Managers I had.

The different job roles and how to progress on the ladder I cover in detail in the Pret Poets Society post. But as a short cut briefly:

The hierarchic order to rise up

  • Starting as TM
  • then HFC, Barista or TMT (or any other new job role Pret comes up with)
  • then as FL or KL
  • then as AMF or AMK
  • and finally on shop level as the GM.
  • Beyond this and outside of the shop it goes into area management levels / Operations Manager (OPs).

 

There are two types of Assistant Managers, as the shop in itself is like a business, and so is the kitchen. In larger busy shops there is the Assistant Manager for the shop floor (AMF), and the Assistant Manager for the kitchen (AMK). Smaller, less busy shops don’t have an AMF and sometimes not even an AMK to save on payroll costs. But this burdens down the Team Leaders as GMs often don’t care, are incapable to even do the ordering. When I returned from holiday many times, the shop stock room was a complete mess, over-ordered or missing stock because the GM filled in for my role and couldn’t do the ordering properly. Initially this was very shocking but also seems the norm. But when I as the Team Leader made a mistake on the ordering, there was immediate trouble from the Manager. No mercy while they themselves couldn’t even do the ordering.

Regarding the Operations Managers (OPs) for the areas, I am not concerned with them whose job it is to pressure the shop GMs, to pressure the FLs/KLs, to pressure the Teams. The typical pyramid of hierarchy trickling down with this “leadership” of fear management to reach higher “productivity” and profit. OPs like to sit in the pub during lunch time, visit some shops here and there to intimidate the hard working teams. They fly out to Dubai or if in the USA to Las Vegas, and throw their parties and receive their immense bonuses. So, I am not concerned with OPs managers who mostly don’t give a toss.

 

 

The following Reviews are just those who outed themselves as Assistant Manager, GM, HQ staff and who give an insight into upper and senior management from OPs to HQ.

 

 


 

The Reviews / Complaints

Leaving all mistakes in the reviews to keep it in their own words
and starting with the most recent reviews.

In each job role I highlight a few reviews that really hit the nail on the head.

 


 

 

AMF / AMK

 

20. Dec. 2017 LondonAvoid working thereToo much pressure working there , company expects you to do all your job within the time you are schedule but it is impossible , you will end up working hours for free, no work life balance at all , they have he mistery shipper but it is all a fake thing you can not control , the standards are so high the only thing it will drive is you stress everyday . Don’t work there . Cons: Extra hours not paid”

02. Aug. 2017 Manchester, EnglandRespect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

26. May 2017 NYCPure Misery – The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives. Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

11. Dec. 2013 NYC “Promotions bases on politics, inconsistency In polices , long hours”

09. Oct 2012 London “Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. Respect your team, be patient and keep cool under pressure. Be fair to your team members.”

 


Highlighted Review:

19. Nov. 2014 LondonWorst company to work forPret was the best company 10 years ago, they were more about the people and it was beat place to work. now the company is just about the profit also it is run like mafia organisation where it is about who you know, the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear, the way the company is going it will not last long.
Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”

 

 




 

GM

 

07. Juny 2018 A former Senior Manager’s response to my review:

 

GM response to LNG

 

 

03. Feb. 2018High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Mar. 2017Pret A Manger Reality – Long hours, inexperience Operation Managers.
Companhy values have been lost along do way, bonus scheme not very fair.
Pay raises no fair either,
You don’t get reward for results and work ethic, just if you have a close relationship with your Operation Manager, you are the new hot of the month.
Listen to your people more closely, massive turnover on Pret Managers at the moment and everyone just ignoring the reality, huge unhappiness amoung the managers.

Create and fair and competive process for development.

Opportunity Network for Pret employees, just another flawless (meant flawed) tool at pret, most of the vacancies have people already for them, they want to create an illusion you can develop yourself.

Focus on team members it’s essential, but managers dictated the success on your shops, and drive passion to the team.

HR doesn’t protect the managers.

PIP, pret Partners only people, whom have friends already in, not related if you can contribute to the company, just based on relationships.”

(NOTE: HR doesn’t protect anyone unless it suits Pret’s business.)


 

15. Nov. 2016 NYCToxic, low class, unprofessional culture – Racist, non-inclusive environment that upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore.” (NOTE: worth reading this review in full!)

 


Highlighted Review:

25. May 2016 USA  “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones.
Advise to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”


Highlighted Review:

31. Oct. 2015 NYCHorrible training, too many lies. Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.”


 

20. Apr. 2015 Chicago, IL “Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics. Favoritism with managementHiring is based on looks – All push with no supportNo integrity  – A lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo Your employees will respect you if you offer genuine support. It is all about what your shop looks like when the CEO is in town. Stop favoriting managers, no one respects you for it.”

 

01. Feb. 2014 “Great company in risk of ruin! Please get the bullies out and revive Pret to its former glory. Used to be the most amazing company to work for, a job to be proud of. Now your people work in fear…..its time to listen!

 

 

Scrolling to the 23 July 2012 at 12:53 comment, 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret and set the high target of 15% p/a to open all over the place in London specifically.

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 




 

 

HQ London or Offices in other countries

 

19. Dec. 2017 London Former IT Analyst: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

 

28. Feb. 2017 NYC Former Purchasing Director: “One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.

 

 


 

 

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 Poets Society

 

Once I was a Team Leader
a customer feeder
a mental health pleader
for better work conditions

Then I became a help needer
a broken-hearted bleeder
fighting against the greeder
for better work conditions

But now I am just a reader
writing against the cheaters
in-between the tweeters
for better work conditions

©2018 poetrasblok.com

 

 

Clive Deer in the Headlights

 

Clive Schlee, I am glad that you are not my captain anymore!

 

 

Okay, a rather silly “poem” and start into a host of serious concerns from current and former Pret Employees. But in a more humorous and creative way, I decided to clean up the cluttered “Pret Staff Complaints” that has become like “poetry” to me, confirming the terrible work environment throughout the company, even beyond borders, that I survived. A “Club” of people hidden behind the PR[et] facade in the Pret-entious “Happy Factory”, who in their own distress can only out themselves anonymously in public via Employment Review sites and other online platforms. And even when they complain openly on Twitter, they risk their jobs as to publicly post online is not allowed in Pret since recent times. But when they do, they already tried to go via the appropriate channels without success, as the below Tweet so painfully shows.

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

Link

 

I aim to categorize reviews into each job role for an easier overview. As I used to be a Team Leader of the shop floor, also called Floor Leader (FL) and had my team’s welfare in mind, I start the categories from the bottom up in positions. I start the links to the reviews with team members, including those who did not specify their job role and continue through the “ranks” up until HQ reviews. The different job roles will be clearly marked and separated as well as briefly explained.

Yes, to some readers my repeated writing about Pret seems obsessive, and maybe it is, but after knowing my story for one I am not apologizing for being out-of-sync like this. And as I read through these staff complaints again, it becomes clear again how systemic and carefully thought out this is from the top leadership of Pret down to the shop floor, as the fish stinks from its head. Working on this again helps me understand what happened to me and why, as I still go through traumatic experience, anxiety, triggers etc.

My hope is that more staff become bold and speak out without fear, and especially join a Union. I was not in a Union as I never had problems at work anywhere until working in Pret. Having been bullied during bereavement and all the toxic things that happened, I was like a lamb amongst wolves, up for “slaughter”. I had to learn my lesson very hard, and will never work anywhere again without being in a Union!

But my public writing has gotten me in touch with a lot of amazing people in the background, from Union leaders to the press, former and current Pret employees and others. And I can only stress for anyone no matter where you work, join a Union even if your company is the best company, things change with time, new leadership, a bully boss entering the scene, company taking different direction, getting sold etc. Don’t stay alone. I had to learn this lesson very hard as I never had issues before I worked in Pret. And I gave Pret the benefit of the doubt way too long almost losing my life. But the time of being generous towards manipulative and exploitative employers and others is over. I survived to write about my ordeal as well as others, and it is my time to not hold back anymore.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Brief explanation on each role:

 

Team Member (TM) or Team Member Star (TM*) which just means a TM “graduated” after a few weeks to be a TM*, as Pret has a lot of complex procedures and patronizing graduations in place that is supposed to make TMs feel like they achieved something. That way they stay longer after having gone through many micromanaging levels that are actually completely unnecessary. But it’s very clever psychology.

TMs/TM*s have a burgundy belt and a white name badge. General Managers (GMs) and Assistant Managers (AMs) don’t wear uniform but their own chosen business clothes, initially paid for by Pret when they become AMs/GMs.

In order to rise through the ranks to eventually become Assistant Managers, General Managers and beyond, TMs have to go through the channels of becoming a Barista via being a Coffee Maker (Assistant to Baristas) with a black belt, shirt and name badge or a Hot Chef also called Hot Food Chef (HFC) with a red belt and name badge, or any other job role Pret creates. Of course this is a good idea, but the “graduation” process can often take way too long, as managers tend to procrastinate giving the appropriate pay-rise for each position, so they drag out the graduation process where the TM isn’t even trained properly while still doing that positions job for longer than required, still on TM pay.

One staff member makes this clear in a review and I myself had to draw the line when my then line manager kept postponing my graduation as a Team Leader, I said that I would quit if I am not graduated ASAP, which then happened that day when I drew the line. Part of the review which is very very common in Pret:

 

had me working as a barista for two years would not give me training so they do not have to pay me correctly

 

There used to be the job role of the Shift Runner, but that was discontinued, because Shift Runners weren’t as responsible as Team Leaders had to be. And Shift Runners were paid less than Leaders, so they didn’t care as much and the Team Leaders had to pick up the pieces.

On a side note, the HFC is the hardest job on Team Member level on the shop floor. They are often not well trained, thrust into the job, over worked and they never stop, whereas the Barista has the coffee rush in the morning for about 2 hours and a quieter lunch time on the coffee machines. The Hot Chef goes from stress level to stress level throughout their whole shift. It’s a back breaking job.

 

In the kitchen to climb through the ranks, a TM must become a Team Member Trainer (TMT) with the blue belt and name badge.

Only after they went through any or even all of these positions (as there is often a lack of the job role after staff leave) they can move further to become a Team Leader with a green belt and name badge.

 

There are two types of Team Leaders as well as two types of Assistant Managers, as the shop is like a separate business in itself, and so is the kitchen.

There is the Team Leader for the shop floor, also called Floor Leader (FL) and the Team Leader for the kitchen or also called Kitchen Leader (KL). But both wear green belts and name badges. Speaking as a former FL, knowing the responsibilities and having worked with many leaders, it becomes quickly clear if a leader is genuinely a good leader or if they take advantage of the role and teams, which unfortunately is the norm in Pret.

Team Leaders are often at polar opposites, rarely anything in between, they are either very hard working to breaking point where they deeply care, or they like to follow the example of bad management and sit in the office, shout at the team and rise up fast through favouritism, by equally flawed managers. Unfortunately the latter is the case in most shops. But rarely is there anything in between. And teams will know very quickly which “extreme” a Team Leader belongs to.

 

In larger busy shops there are two kind of Assistant Managers, for the shop floor (AMF) and for the kitchen (AMK). Smaller, less busy shops don’t have an AMF and sometimes not even an AMK to save on payroll costs, burdening down the Team Leaders as GMs often don’t care, are incapable to even do the ordering. When I returned from holiday many times the shop stock room was a complete mess, over-ordered or missing stock because the GM filled in for my role and couldn’t do the ordering properly. Initially this was very shocking but also seems the norm.

 

The FL and KL are the workers that really put in the hard work. They are like mini managers who do almost everything except hiring, firing and the rota. They do the ordering, often set the production, are responsible for health and safety and look after the team. They are overworked, underpaid and mostly blamed when things go wrong. Their job is so hard and they often don’t have help from the AMs and GMs, as most Managers like to “look” busy and important, but love to sit in the office, kiss up to senior management and kick down on staff. That’s why many Team Leaders are in a hurry to get promoted away from this stress.

 

One of the very rare customer comments on behalf of TMs:

 

Pret Staff Cry

 

Link

 

This poor management style in Pret is enabled from the very top senior leadership in HQ, who know exactly how their leaders are. CEO Clive Schlee himself brags about how well he knows his managers in this video, and that is why he has no excuse on how the team members are treated! He is not able to say that he doesn’t know as he also visits shops regularly and makes himself approachable to TMs, who often complain directly to him or via his Twitter, risking getting fired for publicly outing their distress. But he does not change the terrible culture as the money keeps pouring in and he pockets £30 Million from the JAB take-over.

When I was going through the darkest, most hellish time in grief and on top being bullied by superiors, I was continuously being placed under bullying managers who supposedly cared. When the shouting didn’t work, they turned their bullying more subtle, by withholding information that I needed as a leader, not inviting me to leaders’ meetings and even Christmas dinner, holding me low with menial tasks, giving me the minimum hours even though I asked for more hours etc. In my traumatic state it took me many months to realize that this was on purpose. Clive Schlee and HR know their managers and placed me accordingly in hopes I would resign, as I was offered four settlements if I resign. There was no care nor interest to have me under empathetic or skilled leadership, or indeed away from the stressful shop atmosphere.

When I complaint to the CEO directly after not getting anywhere with managers and HR for almost a year, the Head of HR and Recruitment dealt with my situation a few times. He could have easily placed me in a quieter job anywhere in the company or under the Pret Foundation Trust, until I recuperated from my trauma. But he kept me with suppressing “leaders”, and only after much distance can I see how calculated this was.

 

This leadership style is then continued, trickling down through the ranks. So, TMs try to rise up the ladder to escape the horrendous pressure and stress, because they see how managers and even Team Leaders sit in the office. And the incentive of managers getting huge bonuses paid while stressing their staff.

I have seen countless times how good TMs who were very passionate, kind and hard working changed and got corrupted once they started growing into management levels, and attached themselves to this crowd of “leaders”.

I never wanted to be a manager even though I applied for Assistant Manager roles, but only to escape the bullying culture in shops. I was often asked through the years by many TMs why I wasn’t a manager, as I worked professionally, with skill and knowledge, and many customers often approached me with a query thinking that I was the manager until I pointed them to the plain clothes GM or AM. But I answered the question of why I was not a manager, very simple because I could not do what managers are pressured to do, cut hours and squeeze everything out of teams to maximize profit. And my TMs agreed and understood, as I was always helping my teams, encouraging them, supporting them, even when I was hectic myself at times.

 

So, this is the hierarchic order to rise up:

  • Starting as TM
  • then HFC, Barista or TMT (or any other new job role Pret comes up with)
  • then as FL or KL
  • then as AMF or AMK
  • and finally on shop level as the GM.
  • Beyond this and outside of the shop it goes into area management levels / Operations Manager (OPs).

But I am not concerned with those whose job it is to pressure the shop GMs to pressure the FLs/KLs to pressure the Teams, trickling down this hierarchy of fear management to reach higher “productivity” and profit which many of the below reviews mention as “modern day slavery”. OPs like to sit in the pub during lunch time, visit some shops here and there to intimidate the hard working teams. They fly out to Dubai or if in the USA to Las Vegas, and throw their parties and receive their immense bonuses. So, I am not concerned with OPs managers who most of them don’t give a toss.

Even though I want to start from the bottom up with TM reviews, I want to kick off with one former GMs review that makes it very clear how the “happy factory” really works. I really respect this person, as this is extremely rare that a GM leaves for the sake of the teams and their own integrity:

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Scrolling to the 23 July 2012 at 12:53 comment, 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret and set the high target of 15% p/a to open all over the place in London specifically.

 

 


 

The Reviews / Complaints

Leaving all mistakes in the reviews to keep it in their own words
and starting with the most recent reviews.

In each job role I highlight a few reviews that really hit the nail on the head.

 


 

 

TM/TM* or unspecified and mixed job roles

 

30. Oct. 2018 NYCGo back to the UK, PretI 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…

 

 

July 2018 Review on YouTube towards the bottom from Branzinotito: 

Horrible Company Pret

 

08. Feb. 2019 Facebook comment on Pret’s House for the Homeless and PR. Need to be logged in to read, but here’s a screenshot:

2019-02-08 Facebook good post

 

 

January 2019 From YouTube: “Horrible place to be , pret a manger looks brilliant to the outsider but poor workers are inslaved … they work hard and they always on edge and being told to be fake and be extra nice and sweet

23. Jan. 2019 Office: “Poor management resulting in poor decisions. Office culture is working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever and constant office politics.”

27. June 2018 LondonI have worked there just 2 weeks and left. Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake.

25. June 2018 LondonBad management and not taking care about peopledo not give power to irresponsible people

13. June 2018Hellhole – … you treat people like they’re useless and worthless … get down from that high horse you’re on.”

21. May 2018 LondonPeople will dominate you until you feel like resigning the job.
Supervisors/Team Leaders treat you like a slave.”

15. May 2018you are not seen as human – even when you are having a bad day you must smile – fake atmosphere They treat you like a smiling robot slave that has no life outside of pret. People have come in for a coffee and a sandwich, not a 5 star Michelin restaurant experience, if thats what your going for pay your staff better.”

18. Apr. 2018 “lack of good organisation – management is a joke – numbers are more important than people”

13. Mar. 2018The management is terrible. Thassit.”

21. Jan. 2018 LondonWe have to be smiling a being polite to a bunch of unpolite people. At least give us the London Minimum Wage”

19. Jan, 2018 “too much work, poor leadership

12. Jan. 2018 LondonNever ever! I like Pret just because of people – colleges and because of free food, on the other hand most of the customers was rude and absolutely not thankful for service. I hate all managers,what work for Pret

03. Jan. 2018 Cheltenham, England “Management should do their job and not less”

23. Dec. 2017high rated company – low salary, too much pressure”

10. Dec. 2017super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like… horrible training and won’t listen to employees – Advise to Management: make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell

25. Oct. 2017 London “Will be leaving soon – Always messing up pay
– If you’re even 2mins late, ITS A BIG ISSUE! (& you will miss out on weekly bonus)
Expect too much from you (work you like a slave)
– Everyone speaks their own languages
Be more understand to staff needs
– Train managers regularly (especially with confidentiality)
– Employ more staff”

 


Highlighted Review:

18. Oct. 2017 London “Overworked environment – Cons: Many of them. People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings so all the company values presented in academy are just crap. Whats more they promote you for more advanced roles without paying you for that. So you become a barista or a hot chef and they delay sending you for a training to save money.
tart treating people like people.”


 

10. Oct. 2017 London “rude behaviour at the workplace (kitchen manager shouting at everybody) … The training should be more about encouraging people than about shouting and shaming them.”

06. Oct. 2017 NYC “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff.
– Immature workers
Slave-like environment
– Biased behavior
– Too strict on simple task
Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”

 


Highlighted Review:

03. Oct. 2017 NYC “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly (Mystery) shopper.
Welcome your employees, request a bigger staff
Also, managers shouldn’t be rude. If someone knocks on your door, answer politely and return the courtesy. Don’t leave your new team member working extra hours since the schedule wasn’t fully explained to them.”

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Sep. 2017 “Not kitchen, food factory – Sometimes the leaders forget that the team members are persons, not machines. Some leaders are lacking politeness, consistency and character. Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.”


 

11. Sep. 2017 NYC “Squandered opportunities – Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”

 


Highlighted Review:

06. Sep. 2017 Birmingham, England “Not sticking to contracted hours- giving you more when it suits them and giving u less when it suits them
Not sticking to actual job roles
You are a full time cleaner part time what you actually applied for
putting rotas up literally days before
changing rotas without informing you
had me working as a barista for two years would not give me training so they do not have to pay me correctly
Advise to Management: quit


 

28. Aug. 2017 “extremely rude co workers, unprofessional management, not properly trained however expected to know what you’re doing and smile while doing it.”

14. Aug. 2017 Edinburghmanagement have no clue how to manage people. train management team to reduce turnover.”

02. Aug. 2017 LondonSlavery for non British people. Good luck with Brexit!”

 


Highlighted Review:

23. July 2017 “The environment was very stressful as you’d imagine, however it always felt like you’re doing something wrong, even when you are trying your hardest. I didn’t feel I received enough training and when I asked for some more training I was told there’s no time at the moment for that, which made it even more difficult for me to be a better employee.
Working in a high demand environment like Pret can be difficult, this on it’s own will motivate the workers, there’s no need for added stress and pressure from the management.”


 

22. July 2017 LondonStrong favouritism – Only comfortable place to work if you belong to certain races – Should practice fair treatment to all staff… team leaders who all happened to be from the same country they came from… Team leaders act like they owe the shop and do and eat whatever they like and telling team member a list of food that not included in staff free food – Management should swap team leaders and managers to other branches

22. July 2017 London “Boring, lots of micromanaging, fairly low pay

15. Juni 2017 NYCVery bad management. They treat you like a slave. You have zero value for them. They don’t recognize your effort. They thread us and show the door if we don’t work very fast. I wonder what kind of manager training they give that manager treats people like crap.” (Little side note from me: There is no to little training, even an OPs who was one of the rare nice OPs, confirmed this once to me when I asked the OPs, as I tried desperately to understand why management in Pret is so appalling throughout the board!)

29. May 2017 “Bad experience – Manager was rude, short tempered and enjoyed shouting at employees. Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”

28. May 2017 “Cliquey environment… Horrible staff, didn’t care about anyone who wasn’t from the same cultural background and extremely dismissive management who were rude and unhelpful. ”

27. May 2017 “Bad managers… Learning to communicate politely is important.”

 


Highlighted Review:

23. May 2016 NYC

Pros: Hmmmm hard one. I would say free food. If it wasn’t for the 20 word min I wouldn’t have said anything else
Cons: Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership
Lack of leadership

Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs


 

07. May 2017 London “Management doesn’t listen or care. High staff turnover. You get paid very little for what you are expected to do. Invest more in team building and ensure proper training. Have proper career advancevent opportunities.”

 


Highlighted Review:

25. Apr. 2017Not for British people or young people. Very strict at some stores. Big divide between team leaders/managers and team members. Managers just want their massive bonus will work too like a slave. Relax it’s coffee and sandwichs”

(No it’s not coffee and sandwiches, it’s massive bonuses and huge profits)


 

17. Apr. 2017unskilled managers, racism, bad pay, they take advantage of staff

21. Mar. 2017 Londonlazy managers high demanding ops – Advise to management: take good care of the team”

10. Mar. 2017 LondonDon’t be so brainwashed and scared

10. Mar 2017 “Stress at work … poor management … Stress people less”

04. Feb. 2017Highly defensive personalities amongst management and very difficult to collaborate in order to improve and develop. I would advise more training for people in positions of responsibility.”

12. Jan. 2017strict hierarchy, …team leaders are bossing and frustrated – take it easy”

10. Oct. 2016 LondonIt’s a Trap – Huge stress. Never stops. Brute customers… Shouting all around. listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

10. Oct. 2016Stressful. It’s like a china factory. They ring a bell to tell you when they want you to clean or to go to the till, leader use to shout people.”

29. Sep. 2016Poorly trained management. Too much dependency on skillful employees.”

 


Highlighted Review:

26. Sep. 2016 LondonWorst first day experience – Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star – Cons: Management don’t speak one bit of English – Staff in the kitchen don’t speak English – It’s really hard to communicate – Lies about family team vibes – They don’t recruit you for your work ethic – Ethnic and racial issues (if you don’t believe me go to few stores ask who’s a white or black British in the team)
Hire British people
Practice English at work rather than using your language
And stop listening to your fella country boys or girls of their stupid feed back…


 

09. Sep. 2016 “Our manager sets up the rota. The only full-time person that is allowed to have a day off on weekends is her, that’s it. Very, very unfair. Weekend is the worst period of the week when we have loads of customers and complaints that we have to deal with.

01. Sep. 2016 “If youre young and look young (im 17) they will be difficult with youre last payment
They always make mistakes like ‘adjust the rota’ resulting in me not being able to work
They dont tell you what you’re entitled to food wise
Some of the management are rude or never show up
The team leaders make younger employees do the worst jobs

09. Aug. 2016 “There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then? You just have to learn as you go from your colleagues”

23. Mar. 2016Years – Takes advantage of your kindness

07. Mar. 2016 UKI just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truthI want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE.

03. Jan. 2016 USASlave work, they ask for a lot of work for a little bit of pay… food isn’t actually natural Be kinder to your employees they are not slaves

22. Dec. 2015 LondonThe other team members are really nice and welcomingManagers are a pain

11. Nov. 2015 Londonthey need slaves for work and they are very bad – manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office

16. Oct. 2015 “Bad management who talk to staff rudely, and yet don’t do their jobs properly”

 


Highlighted Review:

04. Dec. 2015 LondonBrainwash, Control, Never stop, Last time shift – Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!


 

15. Oct. 2015 NYC “Great Things Preached, Not Always Practiced – Relies too heavily on UK influence, and has difficulty adjusting to American tastes and culture. If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”

11. Oct. 2015 NYC “Sandwich artist – Terrible hours and poor management and training some people are complete jerks to the new people the expect you to know how everything is made in less than a week of starting the job” (Sandwich “artist”? Pret’s American slogans… LOL)

01. Sep. 2015 London “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!”

26. July 2015 London “Nothing you do there is appreciated… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.”

23. June 2015 Part-timer: “management talks to you with little respect.”

 


Highlighted Review:

20. June 2015 NYC “Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. Sometimes they want you to do more then your job description. Paperwork is excessive at times. Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”


 

28. May 2015 “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others – think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team and the shop to be successful, or fail in profits and likeability

24. Mar. 2015 LondonIf you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for Pret Early hours – Being bullied – Total disregard for health and safety – Being made to feel incompetentWorked into the ground without empathy

18. Mar. 2015 “Lack of accountability … Poor management

04. Mar. 2015Hell job for minimum salary.”

26. Dec. 2014Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had – Pretty much everything is a con -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes –terrible management -really unflexible schedule

25. Dec. 2015 “Long hours, unrealistic expectations, high pay – Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours – Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution

 


Highlighted Review:

07. Jan. 2015 NYCSpoiled, selfish upper management has ruined it for the rest. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them.
get over yourselves.”


 

26. Dec. 2014Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had –Cons: Pretty much everything is a con -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule”

 

15. Dec. 2014 London “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends was very rude to me, calling me stupid … There is a a HUGE pressure on having a BUZZ in the shop, which made me feel like a clown and also in my opinion made very fake atmosphere in the shop.

03. Dec. 2014Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

11. Nov. 2014 NYCHorrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave

31. Oct. 2014 London “not a good culture. every manager dictates his values to the team.”

13. Oct. 2014 LondonAbuse of power most part of the timesIncorrect wadges, my management doesn’t know what is a calculator or how to read a rota correctly – Pret does rules for itself but it doesn’t mean that you have the right to don’t follow the ones made from doctors or the state, management in my shop has a lack of professionalism.

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Oct. 2014 “There’s too much pressure.They overwork their staff with little compensation.Any bad move and you lose the bonus, and the work in the kitchen is incredibly difficult and they stay past their schedule but they don’t get anything for it.Pret used to be about having a happy staff and happy costumers, now it’s just about the money. They keep feeding people this image of “happiness, good times, best place in the world!!” that when you really start working there you become very surprised and disappointed.I quit my job just after 3 weeks because I was feeling physically sick and they gave me insane shifts to do without my permission.
If you see that people are overworked and they can’t keep up with the standards, hire more staff!And there are too many irrational rules to follow.When the staff says that something is “unfair” or “impossible to do” don’t just say “that’s how things work at Pret”.”


 

31. Aug. 2014 NYCthe management dont really care about employees and all the things they have to do to make them happy
they are always on your back about things that is usually their fault
benefits suck..take about half your paycheck
follow way too many standards
get retrained

01. Aug. 2014 London “Too much pressure… Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties… In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position

 


Highlighted Review:

30. July 2013Brainwashed sandwich makingThe company is trying to brainwash you, they expect you to give up your life and be ready for Pret 24/7; they want to use you.
There are a lot of favouritism, which leads to promoting incompetent people to more senior roles.
The salary system is completely unfair; people who work for the company for 5,6,7,etc. years get the same salary as a someone who just started a few months ago.
The management expects you to do the workload of 2 or 3 people, including doing their job sometimes.
It’s not the NASA, just a sandwich shop, where human beings work, not robots.”


 

07. July 2014 NYC “long shifts, a lots of heavy lifting and horrible managment

24. Apr. 2014Great perks that come with a price – They expect perfection
– High stress levels when understaffed … – Very little to no leniency on rules”

 


Highlighted Review:

18. Dec. 2013They will hire you even if you do not know the language Your thoughts are worthless, you are there to keep up with the work. If you want to promote you better be ready to not have a personal life years…..55hours a week to show you are worthy.”
(NOTE: Hiring people who don’t know English is so they won’t know their rights nor where to complain to)


 

08. Oct. 2013 NYCPret was a stressful and busy job that seeks perfection and expects you to actually be perfect

 

22. Sep. 2013

“Good place to work…at first

 

29. March 2013 NYC “Heavy workload, borderline demeaning, discrimination. Maybe a bit more respect towards your employees?”

02. Oct. 2012 “hard hard working culture, to much pressure to be working 100% every sec. make it easy”

20. Apr. 2012 LondonThe moral is terrible and … being overworked. The idea of proper training is also rediculousMost people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough

16. Aug. 2011Carelessunderstaffed. and unfair decisions made by management. most of your employees don’t look forward to working there because you are staring them down every second. they make one little mistake that doesn’t affect the restaurant what so ever and act like it’s the biggest deal ever. happy employees make happy customers.”

21. July 2011Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”

19. July 2011 NYCManagement is very incompetent. It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you.” (The full review says everything!)

 


Highlighted Review:

04. July 2011Poor senior leadership due to lack of experience … Promotion and staff recognition based on personal favourites rather than competence and experience. Quite clicky. Favouritism at the top has to stop and start to recognise talent at middle management. Like the social hierarchy, this sphere of the staff population seems to be the ones who get screwed over the most, often talented individuals are overlooked for promotion.”


 

~~~~~~~~~~

20. Apr. 2011 A woman’s review on her husband who worked in Pret:

“Interesting comments. My husband now works for pret and is being treated so badly by his area manager. I am astounded that they can get away with it. It seemed like such a nice place to work but it’s like some kind of sect… ”

My response: they get away with it because it is systemic and they are trained to treat staff like this, for more and more profit.

— 4 months later: —

“Further to my previous comment  about my husband having problems with his area manager. They stitched him up good and proper and fired him…this was done in such a way that they found a couple of things to hang him on which wouldn’t normally result in him being sacked. They clearly did all of this because he was going to put in a grievance against his area manager for bullying (he was talked out of this and thought it had all smoothed over) and then wham! The company disgusts me – how they could treat an employee with a wife and 2 small children like that I don’t know. The management of this company are pure evil.”

Response to above review:

“Regarding the area manager, yeah they just sit on their fat bums all day, and email on their phones or look at stupid graphs. End of the day its about increasing sales, meeting targets and reducing labour. They will always cover there own backs first, to watch there bonuses, and not care about the workers.

A lot of managers i have met, are complete arrogant snobs, that know nothing about even running a store, yet alone trying to explain things to you, they sit on there high throne, and blah blah blah things.”

~~~~~~~~~~

 

08. Jan 2011 “DISCRIMINATION in PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”

 


2008 Review that shows it has always been like this in Pret!

 

Highlighted Review:

05. Sep. 2008 “I’m an ex-Pret employee so have direct experience of this engagement. I can vouch for the truth in Sam’s comments. The happy people philosophy was one I always adopted when recruiting new people and it made a difference to the way that we worked.
The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”

NOTE: My response to this review, the person left in 2008 out of frustration, I started in Pret in May 2008 and can only say in all fairness to Pret, that it’s gotten worse.


 

2017 A customer comment in Chicago on a deceased Pret Staff, Dante and Pret in general:

“I knew Dante. He was an extremely nice person. That being said, Pret is a horrible company to work for.”

Chicago Pret horrible company to work for2

 

 




 

HFC

 

11. Mar. 2018 London “Hot Chef – setting up the hot food production, dealing with sales and wastage as well as taking many responsabilities. Pressure and plenty of targets.”

 


Highlighted Review:

21. Jan. 2018 London “Really hard work with Really bad management, it’s same in all shops, people think that a job there is a challenge making bad to the other colegue. Hot chef position has lots of stress, pressure – Be human. It’s not your own business.” (Bingo!)


 

31. Oct. 2016 LondonWorst place – The team is nice, some team leaders are stupid and rude…! Management lives in another world. Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”

22. Feb. 2016 NYCSome managers are very anal! Listen to your employers suggestions!!”

 




 

Barista / Coffee Maker

30. Jan. 2019 “Busy and stressful environment whit no support from management. Forget about contracted hours! You will be doing overtime most of the time, as there is a lack of staff nearly in every Pret

01. Nov. 2018 NYC “horrible management – management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.

12. June 2018 NYCNothing but aggravation and a discriminating HRfire the HR staff you have now and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate”

22. May 2018 Royal Tunbridge Wells, EnglandPoor – Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation. ”

 

Feb. 2018 London (scrolling down)

James Ashword video comment by Hailey Hyein Lee

 

Same Video:
Perat A Manger London video comment by Budai Andrea

 

Same Video:
Perat A Manger London video comment by Logic 2000

 

05. Dec. 2017 LondonDear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen. For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.

 

12. July 2017 “Over worked and Aweful Mangers – *everyone complains how much they hate this job *managers dont care about standards (manager was too lazy … (he’s mostly in his office so he gets paid to sit and do nothing because he has his leaders do majority of his work)

12. July 2017 “If you want to follow the company standards, you need to have enough labor. Do not kill your employees.”

24. June 2017 LondonPoor management, really short breaks, work longer hours, not equal distribution of tasks for cleaning/closing shop.”

19. Dec. 2016 Edinburgh “Would not recommend … Managers do not care about they team. Never get 2 days off in a row. Practice favoritism”

13. Mar. 2016 “Hard work all the time and high pressure – More people-orientated management needed in the shop”

16. Nov. 2015 NYC “Act a little more like management and a little less like the employees. I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”

 


Highlighted Review:

16. Nov. 2015 NYCThe management plays favorites more often than not. Also, if you are overweight, older, or unattractive you can forget about even getting past the interview stage (exception often made for relatives of said favorites or management). Key roles and shift leaders must have open availability, which makes it impossible to have other employment. Overtime isn’t allowed often, and managers often send employees home early if it looks like that 40 hour mark will be passed.
Act a little more like management and a little less like the employees. I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”


 

 


Highlighted Review

29. Sep. 2015 LondonThe Brainwash is real. Better salary than McDonalds or Costa as long as you keep your fake smile up. – Staff with more experience cuts corners on Sanitary rules because otherwise it is impossible to finish your batch on time.
– The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. … (A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period). Get some proper training regarding real people skills.


 

12. May 2015 Chicago, ILjust terribleDiscriminatory management
Unprofessional atmosphere
Osha standards not met
Very Low pay
Abusive staff
Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”

 

 




 

TMT

 

20. June 2018 LondonNot for sensitive peopleVery stressfull environment (especially at back of house) Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed

 


Highlighted Review:

13. Apr. 2018 London “Fun, but stressful and not worth itUnattainable goals
Very short breaks / irregular – Poor management and under-trained
Pret A Manger has cut down on staff so theres more a lot more of things to do and not enough staff to do everything, so employees are being worked harder.
Management do not have sympathy or care for employees. Managers only focus on their goals and tasks.


 

27. Apr. 2017Work like robot, disorganisation… Listen more to your employees’ needs”

08. Sep. 2016 “Lots of pressure, and work colleagues shouting at you. Starting the shift at 5am. I haven’t got paid. There’re too many opportunities in London so don’t end up working here. They should take care a bit more of their employers.”

 


Highlighted Review:

20. May 2016 LondonClear talking is just marketing: if they have a bad opinion about you, forget any clear feedback.
A lot of pressure. The workload can be very challenging especially compared with the wage.
With a bossy manager your life might become really hard and sickening.
The coffee calling system is messy during busy hours, I stopped thinking to step up as a barista because of that.
I do not give any advice to management, they are always right of course.”


 

20. Jan. 2016 London “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”

01. Feb. 2015 London “This company pays better than most other coffee and sandwich chains, but it expects you to do a lot in return. You are supposed to be happy and smile at all times.”

12. June 2013 Washington, DC “Listen to your employees, some have great potential that needs to be channeled not blocked

07. Dec. 2010 “Very hard work – No support and respect from Manager

 




 

FL / KL

 


Highlighted Review:

06. Feb. 2018 London “- huge pressure especially on the higher positions
working overhours without being paid, no breaks (happened to me only while working on the Team Leader position)
lack of recognition from your own manager elimitates the opportunity of growth (basically only your own manager can push you up on the career ladder and the reasons for promotions really often seems to be based on personal preferences)”
Definetely have a deeper insght into the progression situation within the shops. You lose lts of amazing people just because they stay unrecognized due to personal preferences of manager.


 

29. Nov. 2017 LondonLook after your people and figures will look after themselves.

17. Oct. 2017 London “Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability. …managers that come externally, as most of the time, their personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”

14. Oct. 2017Slavery hasn’t been abolished. Early starts, rude staff. kitchen leaders are disrespectful. Improve how staff are treated.”

31. Jan. 2017Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians

13. Nov. 2016 LondonManagement bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often The £1 bonus is often used as a threat to keep people in line
I would recommend joining a union
Team Members deserve london living wage from a company that has the means to supply it.”

02. Nov. 2016Promotion can be down to who you know not what you know.”

06. Aug. 2016 LondonMost of the managers are really difficult, they forgot where they come from, please treat the people as human beings, We know the profit and your career are important but you don’t have to be rude.”

19. Mar. 2016 “Bad management – Rotas never placed in advance – Treat people like human beings”

 


Highlighted Review:

08. Sep 2015 NYC Shift Leader: “hours are constantly changing
pay doesn’t match time sheet
a lot of call outs
team members are constantly training themselfs
train team members longer make sure they are avail to handle the rush”


 

15. Nov. 2014 NYC Shift Runner: “Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. I strongly suggest a Labor Union!, so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”

27. June 2013 Kingston upon Thames, England “Tends to get very stressfull during busy periods with lots of pressure from the management … sometimes late payment of the over time, working 8days in a row according the rota, calls to come to work on your day off … it would be great if employees wont be treated only as a work force that helps make money” (Side-note, this Team Leader sounds like one of the hard working ones who cares a lot and is always called and overworked.)

 




 

AMF / AMK

 

20. Dec. 2017 LondonAvoid working thereToo much pressure working there , company expects you to do all your job within the time you are schedule but it is impossible , you will end up working hours for free, no work life balance at all , they have he mistery shipper but it is all a fake thing you can not control , the standards are so high the only thing it will drive is you stress everyday . Don’t work there . Cons: Extra hours not paid”

02. Aug. 2017 Manchester, EnglandRespect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

26. May 2017 NYCPure Misery – The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives. Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

11. Dec. 2013 NYC “Promotions bases on politics, inconsistency In polices , long hours”

09. Oct 2012 London “Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. Respect your team, be patient and keep cool under pressure. Be fair to your team members.”

 


Highlighted Review:

19. Nov. 2014 LondonWorst company to work forPret was the best company 10 years ago, they were more about the people and it was beat place to work. now the company is just about the profit also it is run like mafia organisation where it is about who you know, the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear, the way the company is going it will not last long.
Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”


 

 




 

GM

 

07. Juny 2018 A former Senior Manager’s response to my review:

 

GM response to LNG

 

 

03. Feb. 2018High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Mar. 2017Pret A Manger Reality – Long hours, inexperience Operation Managers.
Companhy values have been lost along do way, bonus scheme not very fair.
Pay raises no fair either,
You don’t get reward for results and work ethic, just if you have a close relationship with your Operation Manager, you are the new hot of the month.
Listen to your people more closely, massive turnover on Pret Managers at the moment and everyone just ignoring the reality, huge unhappiness amoung the managers.

Create and fair and competive process for development.

Opportunity Network for Pret employees, just another flawless (meant flawed) tool at pret, most of the vacancies have people already for them, they want to create an illusion you can develop yourself.

Focus on team members it’s essential, but managers dictated the success on your shops, and drive passion to the team.

HR doesn’t protect the managers.

PIP, pret Partners only people, whom have friends already in, not related if you can contribute to the company, just based on relationships.”

(NOTE: HR doesn’t protect anyone unless it suits Pret’s business.)


 

15. Nov. 2016 NYCToxic, low class, unprofessional culture – Racist, non-inclusive environment that upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore.” (NOTE: worth reading this review in full!)

 


Highlighted Review:

25. May 2016 USA  “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones.
Advise to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”


Highlighted Review:

31. Oct. 2015 NYCHorrible training, too many lies. Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.”


 

20. Apr. 2015 Chicago, IL “Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics. Favoritism with managementHiring is based on looks – All push with no supportNo integrity  – A lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo Your employees will respect you if you offer genuine support. It is all about what your shop looks like when the CEO is in town. Stop favoriting managers, no one respects you for it.”

 

01. Feb. 2014 “Great company in risk of ruin! Please get the bullies out and revive Pret to its former glory. Used to be the most amazing company to work for, a job to be proud of. Now your people work in fear…..its time to listen!

 

23. July 2012 “I am an ex GM (10 years service) I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.”

 




 

HQ London or Offices in other countries

 

19. Dec. 2017 London Former IT Analyst: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

28. Feb. 2017 NYC Former Purchasing Director: “One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.

 


 

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