Day 4: The Day Clive Schlee had a Bright Idea!

Day 4 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

Remember Pret’s £1000 announcement to all Staff?

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

Pret A Manger’s now former 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. The Reimann’s also own 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 in the audio player at the bottom of this post.

I started this blog and website 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 with Pret I added the URL LateNightGirl.org to my website in May 2018, and then mid 2018 added expret.org, as Late Night Girl doesn’t make much sense for people who don’t know my story. In short, Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl”, so I put a “dot org” behind it! All three URLs will lead to this same site. Again, I explain in detail 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!!! Before that date 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 (4. December 2019) it is still the most visited day my blog has ever received! My website gets a lot of traffic now, but nothing like the 29th May 2018!

On 28. May 2018 late in the evening I sent my blog LateNightGirl.org to the area manager. On 29. May 2018 in the morning I could literally watch the visitors and clicks increase LIVE as they happen! From that day on my stats have increased visitors, but never as much as the 29th May 2018 to this day.

BEST views ever 29May2018

And on the 29. May 2018 Clive Schlee, then CEO of Pret, 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 2018 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 is 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.

Las Vegas
Link

Weeks and months later though, staff got frustrated and confused on when the £1000 would finally be paid. And Schlee of course put responsibility downwards unto his managers, wanting staff to get away from 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.

So, here he is, making this announcement and when the going gets tough and staff complain on 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 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 (secretly censored/hidden):

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. I’m not sure if people got the message then and there. I retweeted the info a few times after that on different occasions on 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!

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

My response to Meme was 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 complain that they are discriminated against, British staff are preferred, they aren’t trained, HR is non-existent or a “joke” etc.
My hidden/shadow banned tweet visible via my Tweets & Replies:

2018-09-28 Meme People Team my response

And the ridiculous 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 before the £1000 (£800 after tax) got finally paid out to those who worked longer than 1 year at Pret:

2018-10-01 Staff Twitter £1000

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

But, basically the deal wasn’t finalized until September 2018. 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, 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 Mr. Schlee, 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 2 people immediately saw through this PR stunt among all the euphoria:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR
Link

2018-05-30 £1000 PR Union
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 morning which is very unusual as Pret excepts staff to be flexible. Sergio was NOT pushed, and yet, even though they were impressed with him, he was excellent and his products picture 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.
Even with this “generosity”, the recommendation on Glassdoor for Pret and the CEO in July 2019 (1 year after the £1000 announcement) speaks volumes. Clive Schlee “retired” with this legacy (while remaining in the background as a Non-Executive Director):

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

New CEO Pano Christou:

2019-11-19 Pano 40 vs 31

A recent review by a Manager which needs no addition:

2019-11-16 GM - Not as they present it
Link

GM slavery

Go back Pret

etc. etc.

For a detailed report on Pret’s systemic bullying environment with many reviews from the UK, Paris, USA from Workers, Managers and HQ Staff alike, please scroll down to the screenshot of Caught in the Act at Pret.

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Two Pret staff have died within a month.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?


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


Interview:


©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.

Day 2: Where have all the Homeless gone?

 

Day 2 of >>> Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

Where have all the homeless gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the homeless gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the homeless gone?
PR firms picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young man gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the apprentices gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the women gone?
Gone to Pret A Manger, every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the Leaders gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the emotions gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the workers gone?
They are all in uniform
When will they stop to smile?
When will they start to cry?

Where have all the smilers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the smilers gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the smilers gone?
Gone to graveyards some of them
Why didn’t anyone care?
Why didn’t anyone care?

Where have all the Unions gone?
Long time passing
Where have Politicians gone?
Long time ago

Where have all the Mystery Shoppers gone?
Counted the seconds every time
When will they ever learn?
What Living Wage to earn?

Where have all the Foreigners gone?
To mainland Europe everyone
When will true change begin?
Long-suffering’s coming, run!

Where have all the mourners gone?
Young GMs picked on them everyone
When will they ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Adapted/Changed text from Pete Seeger’s “Where have all the flowers gone”

 

So, what’s happening in the homeless house, Pret?

One guy advertised for it with Nicki Fisher.

Where are they now? What’s with the house of the Rising Stars?!

Or was it one of those quick fixes and cover-ups? JAB took over, Clive Schlee and Nicki Fisher skipped out.

Remember this blog entry, Pret, Mr. Schlee, Pano Christou?

Nicki Fisher went from the brutal city place to the rural country place, in the hopes to help some burnt out people? Really?

Isn’t it rather that she burnt out? JAB knocked at the door, and those of you from the old guard called it a day, hey!

What’s happening in the House for the Homeless?

2019-05-30 Nikki Fischer rural

Now there’s a proper smile!

Link

On 15. June 2019 I replied to above Tweet, mentioning that Clive Schlee is already gone. I didn’t know at the time that he would “retire”. On 01. July 2019 I tweeted to the press about Clive Schlee’s clumsiness regarding his retirement. But on the 15th June I didn’t know about his retirement. He was very quiet for weeks, and knowing him I had a hunch that he’d sneak out of Pret, Just like Nicki Fisher did. But Schlee remains in the background as a non-executive Director, still pulling the strings.

2019-06-15 Nicki Fisher Clive Schlee gone

Link

I write about Clive Schlee’s clumsiness and my Tweet to the press regarding his “retirement”: >>> Foot-in-Mouth Disease.

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The above slideshow is just a selection, longer list: —> Pret Staff Complaints

 

Brutal Nightmare

YouTube

 

Who cares to investigate staff deaths, in particular suicides?

 


 

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


Interview:

©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.

Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar

 

This year I thought I’d do something special for the Christmas season.

While Pret is busy on their Christmas menu, getting the labels mixed up, spreading themselves too thin between Vegan and Lobster, I prepared a very special “Away in Pret A Manger Ad-VENT Calendar” 2019.

Every day until the big day there will be a surprise behind the “door”, published on this page.

I guarantee it’s free of anything that may harm your eyes, but it may crush your heart if you care. It’s packed full with ingredients of experience, observation, reviews of Pret’s little helpers and other staff members’ accounts.

It’s going to be heart-wrenching with some eye-openers for new readers. Plenty of bags stuffed with a good peek behind the doors of the well polished, glittering facade.

BUT, don’t cheat! Don’t prematurely open a door of a later day like you used to do as a kid with the chocolate calendar! 😉

 

No04

 

Day 1 Hot Chocolate NOT in Santas Stocklate

Day 2 Where have all the Homeless gone?

Day 3 FREEBIES At Pret A Manger

Day 4 Pret A Manger Allergen Trial – 6th December 2019

Day 5 Rat A Manger

Day 6 The Door

Day 7 The Door

Day 8 The Door

Day 9 The Door

Day 10 The Door

Day 11 The Door

Day 12 The Door

Day 13 The Door

Day 14 The Door

Day 15 The Door

Day 16 The Door

Day 17 The Door

Day 18 The Door

Day 19 The Door

Day 20 The Door

Day 21 The Door

Day 22 The Door

Day 23 The Key

Day 24 The Kingdom

 


 

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


Interview:

©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.

Cheer Leader vs. Fear Leader

 

»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
Founder and CEO of employee-owned Riverford

 

THIS is how Leadership looks like that motivates its employees with respect and mutual inspiration (Employee owned company):

 

And THIS is how Fear Management looks like (Pret A Manger under Private Equity):

»Try your best not to work there … Bad management, always being ‘hounded’.«

Former Pret A Manger Staff

 


 

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


Interview:

©2019 expret.org


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Clive Schlee, please read

 

You are still presenting yourself on Twitter as the CEO of Pret, even though Pano Christou (who deleted his Twitter account after I tweeted to the press) is the new CEO now.

CEO

You continue to make the public believe that you are the CEO, and they keep tweeting to you with requests. Pret continues to maintain that it was founded in 1986 by two college friends!

You’ve let the wolves of private equity in, and handed over your employees like sheep for the slaughter!

I read a review which a GM left on Glassdoor on 31. October.

This review broke my heart!

This GM is about to lose his or her family!

2019-10-31 GM - Slavery - RVW30135565

 

An Assistant Manager lost his family already, and who knows how many more did.

Sheriff

 

In my 10 years in Pret, in over a dozen shops, I have only worked with 2 amazing Managers, who worked their freaking butts off and supported their Teams and Leaders.

Since Bridgepoint, and now even worse JAB, Managers are stretched to breaking point, losing their families, crying in the office. Really?

I appreciate that more Managers care, after all the bullying Managers bullshitting their way up. But I do NOT appreciate that they lose their families or get so unwell, they might lose their life!

You sneak out quietly, while remaining steady on Twitter?

Your staff are retiring from you, Mr. Schlee! You just haven’t accepted it yet!

While you sit in Austria enjoying your life and checking my blog from time to time?

Staff suicides not independently investigated yet?

Customer deaths already forgotten?

No, sir!

Not on my shift!

 

—>>> Customer witnessed bullying 4 days ago

 

2019-10-28 Bullying manager seen by customer3

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Pret A Manger set aside £10

 

Yep. A penny in a beggars cup ………………………………………………com

 

The deal:

Pret set aside £10 (“million”) for food allergy scandal costs, while Clive Schlee, now former CEO of Pret, pocketed £30 million on bonus alone from JAB Holdings.

Schlee remains in the background as a non-executive director, and is still featured on Twitter as the CEO on this day, 21. October 2019.

 

Schlee CEO 21 Oct 2019

 

Pano Christou, new CEO (fool) of Pret A Manger, who came from McDonald’s, deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press.

Screenshot of his deleted Twitter account. But a Canadian was so kind and generous to take over Christou’s handle (what are friends for!)

 

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

 

How much Pret cares about customers and staff alike:

 

10m

Link

 

The role of COO in Pret came only after JAB took over. Pano Christou, former UK Managing Director was to be the CEO after Schlee?

The new UK Managing Director, a woman, who’s already working hard, will never be the COO of Pret, because that role doesn’t exist anymore.

 


 

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

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

OH the Americans, I love the Americans!

 

»This isn’t a company/business it’s a shit show!«

I haven’t looked at, nor updated my blog of new reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed for a while, but just yesterday a new review on Glasdoor made my day!

I will in time try to do an extra blog post on American reviews on Pret A Manger, because Americans are very blunt with their anger, and very passionate about what’s right and wrong! I am proud of these my former colleagues!

There’s also a new review on Indeed from an U.S. staff, mentioning that Pret is constantly being sued.

What this American reviewer doesn’t realize is, that in the UK people don’t sue as easily, because the legal system is a joke here. Even if you win after having been injured so badly, you’ll get peanuts and are left with a high bill!

TWO customers DIED from Pret products, and NOTHING happens, no-one is taken to responsibility, while now former CEO Clive Schlee sneaks out the back door, passing the buck to the new CEO Pano Christou (who came from McDonald’s management) on Glassdoor already in July 2019. Yet, even though Schlee’s retirement was set for September 2019, he quickly passed the buck to Christou! #coward

And yet, Christou will continue on the same lines, exploiting low-wage workers under private equity.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-09-27 Pano 39 27

 

Yes, sure, while in the U.S. people sue for every peep and poop, and it’s a little over the top, in Europe we let companies sh!t on us, and then we rejoice when getting a free coffee!

Yesterday’s Glassdoor review that needs no more comments:

2019-09-27 Shitshow Review USA

An “Everything” employee, sounds like they worked in all areas which many hard workers do

 

2019-09-26 WOrst place always getting sued

Constantly getting sued … out of date products

 

 


 

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

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Smile, Fool!

 

Pret A Manger’s new fool can’t smile enough, it seems!

Clive Schlee, since September 2019 former CEO of Pret A Manger, has passed the buck to Pano Christou on Glassdoor in July 2019 already. Christou is the former UK Managing Director, and since JAB purchased Pret, the new role of COO was then filled by Christou. Before Chirstou took over as UK Managing Director in 2012, Andrew Walker filled this role before leaving Pret and via several companies became the CEO of EAT., which is now purchased by JAB via Pret. The official take-over of Christou as the new CEO of Pret was announced on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press about Schlee’s retirement. Christou’s take-over was announced for now September 2019, but Schlee being who he is, not taking responsibility, he let Christou take over on Glassdoor in July to avoid further poor scoring for Mr. Schlee.

Now there’s a proper smile!

2019-09-20 Schlee retirement final announcement

Link to Tweet

 

A customer pointing out the poor scoring when the first official announcement was made after I tweeted to the press:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link

So, Schlee quickly let Christou take over on Glassdoor!

July 2019 Glassdoor score:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2019-07-15 Pano Christou CEO

 

So, what’s up CEOs? Your annual internal questionnaire for staff to fill in their reviews on Pret is often tweaked by shop managers to win prices, making Pret look good. But it doesn’t work on real review sites, where bullied staff tell it like it is!

Staff dare to speak out anonymously, and more will speak out openly soon.

I am proud to inspire former and current Pret workers to speak out in any way they are ready to speak out.

And I will not give up until there are independent investigations into staff suicides!

—> Why is Pret not Investigated on Staff Suicides?

For any new reader, why am I writing this?

If you are interested, my website is filled with my and others’ story. But in a nutshell, I’ve put together into a few minutes on YouTube the emotional labour that staff are forced to work under, no matter if bereaved, depressed, sick etc.:

 

»Any damn fool can run Pret.«

— Wife of Clive Schlee, former CEO of Pret A Manger

 

Smile, Fool!

2019-09-2019 Pano 39 27

Glassdoor

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Pret A Manger has a New Fool

 

organic-coffin-natural-fools-1.jpg

 

»Any damn fool can run Pret!«

Oh no, those are not my words!

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

On the question of Pret’s success and how much of it was luck or hard work, the CEO responds:

»We had some very good following winds. My wife always would say ‘any damn fool can run Pret‘.«

I comment on this interview in “Clive Schlee: A Case Study (of the Fun Factory)”

Why would the wife of a CEO keep saying this, what’s the conversation before such a statement?

Let the sweet-talk stop and let the women speak for a change! For real change!

Clive Wife

From a 2016 Guardian interview

On a side note, Clive Schlee here continues to say that Pret had “natural” food, even though Pret has been successfully sued for having Glyphosate in the food and having to take the word “natural” off signage and labelling. I write about this in “Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat“.

But this interview is full of @&%!… I can’t believe he keeps getting away with it, and I ask myself what does it take to face the truth away from the delusion?!

The problem with companies that have fools running it is, they may endanger their clients and employees lives. God forbid customers number 1. die, number 2. the company doesn’t do anything until these fatalities become public, and 3. get away with it!

And God forbid that this company gets away with not one, but two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal and numerous hospitalized …

And God forbid even further that staff struggle and suffer, some dying, even by suicide.

And of course who would think that a CEO would sneak out quietly into early retirement, remaining a non-executive Director in the background, working on fixing his reputation with some more charity work and finally reaching out to low-paid workers?

What company would have a fool running its business and ruining a lot of people’s lives?

Good thing the facade of Pret is still in tact! Let the free coffees flow to put the public back to sleep!

That’s all that counts these days.

So, »any damn fool can run Pret!«, and certainly any damn fool can ruin it!

Legacy of a Fool: 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

One of my many articles about and to Clive Schlee, one of which I dedicate to his farewell gift:

Foot-In-Mouth Disease at Pret A Manger

So, welcome Pano Christou about whom I write about in: Under New Management Pano Christou, Now CEO of Pret.

UPDATE: October 2019:

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

And here’s my welcome gift to Pano Christou:
(Smile Pano! Smile, fool!)

 

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LINK: TWO Pret Staff have died
1 is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret!

I continue to ask for INDEPENDENT investigations into staff suicides!

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Lila Warren, David Carter, Clive Schlee

 

Lila Warren (the lady with a typical Pret A Manger smile) is the Development Manager at Pret A Manger for more than 15 years, and branched out into her dream role as a Therapist. She’s a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Psychotherapist.

But in Pret, she was happy to be used as bereaved person to gaslight me. And she played her role well.

She either is a really good liar, or she really had a brother named Zain, who was dead in his flat for 10 days, like my brother was dead in his flat for 6 days. (Full story in below audio player).

I don’t know what this woman went through in her life to have gone down to such abyss!

I wish her well, but I will always tell people to avoid her “therapy”.

I raised a complaint with the National Hypnotherapy Society she is subscribed to and that equally have such big smiles on their front page, but they remained silent in the hopes I let go. And I did let go, because I had no strength left.

But I can only say, stay away from the National Hypnotherapy Society (Twitter) and from Lila Tighilt Warren.

Stay away from David Carter, who in my time was the Head of HR and is now promoted to UK People Director which is just another facade word for Human Resources. He is not for people, he is for money, protecting a bully company.

Stay away from Nick Davis, People Business Partner who came from Wetherspoon and who was THE main enabler in HR of the Area Manager who bullied and targeted me, using several managers and colleagues against me.

david carter nick davis

LinkedIn

Stay away from these smiley, nice looking folk who are toxic behind their facade.

Stay away from Clive Schlee, who uses vulnerable people for PR.

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ review Glassdoor

 

Las Vegas

New York review on senior leadership Glassdoor

 

Stay away from Pret A Manger that kill people and get away with it, as well as target and bully bereaved employees. Staff suicides still need to be investigated.

Lila Warren, I forgive you of course, but don’t ever cross my path, I will call you out on the rooftops “sweetheart”!

You guys “up there” tried to convert me to your level?

No, my people are on my level, and they are stronger than you. They don’t run away. You will face them, and what @__PAMSU__ started in 2012, I continue and others will soon grow to a proper confrontation with the Unions! There are more, be it the group preth8ers or all the others in the background.

What happened to me can be summed up in the following I found on Twitter. And it took the senior leadership of Pret, HR and HQ to “work” me out of the company in such a perverse way:

Bullying Summed Up Nutshell.jpg

Link

I do move on while I expose this toxic company!

Now “retired” CEO Clive Schlee, who couldn’t label food to save lives, labelled me his “late night girl”. He quickly passed the buck on Glassdoor to his predecessor Pano Christou, who came from McDonald’s management when he started at Pret. Schlee let Christou take over on Glassdoor mid July 2019, even though Schlee retires in September 2019 and remains in the background as a non-executive Director like he is in itsu.

Never take responsibility Mr. Schlee, hey? Always pass the buck!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Glassdoor results

UPDATE

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

Staff speak out mainly in anonymity:

Arrow

Arrow

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Foot-in-Mouth Disease @ Pret A Manger

Arrow

(This is an x-ray of my left middle finger after an accident at work.
I wanted to use this picture, but am still waiting for permission to use,
but maybe I will leave my finger here. More fitting for Pret!)

 

foot-in-mouth disease
n. the tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

foot-in-mouth disease
The knack of always saying the wrong thing. The expression is both a verbal play on the foot-and-mouth disease that affects livestock and on the expression “to put one’s foot in one’s mouth,” meaning to make a verbal blunder. The latter dates from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. The current cliché is much newer, dating from the mid-twentieth century.

TheFreeDictionary.com

 

At least Three Feet in One Mouth

 

I’m sure Clive Schlee, exiting (certainly not exciting!) CEO of Pret A Manger has been advised to lay low, and not spill the beans prematurely regarding internal things on Twitter & Co.

He gives himself away every opportunity he has, it seems. He certainly didn’t expect that his patronizing way in talking to me would end up with a “dot org” behind it.

For any new reader asking what happened? In short, Clive Schlee, pretending that my traumatic late night emailing to Pret was wrong (I also emailed tons of other people), he put his foot in his mouth, belittling me by introducing me to the Director of HR, Andrea Wareham in October 2017 as his “late night girl”. Two months later under his watch I was dismissed while my dad was in hospital, just out of a coma. My full story about this is in the interview audio player at the bottom of this page.

When I started this website, I started it as LateNightGirl.org, which still functions under this handle. Since then I have been writing about, and confronting Pret and Clive Schlee openly. I have “caught” them many times in their clumsiness on Twitter. And I use their “foot-in-mouth disease” to show the public how unprofessional, patronizing and non-caring they really are.

I write so blunt because I almost lost my life and witnessed too many times how Pret names and shames managers via emails to all shops when they fail. I keep asking for independent investigations into staff suicides. I also write extensively about the systemic bullying environment in Pret, something most in the public are surprised and shocked to hear about. Don’t be, if you live long enough, you will come to know that if something looks too good to be true, to better take a closer look. Two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal allergy reaction, several hospitalized and numerous warnings on allergen labels ignored, even after the deaths occurred. This should ring massive alarm bells! But here we are again, as long as it doesn’t affect us or our loved ones, we keep believing the fairy tale that is Pret A Manger, and our lives revolve around the free coffee and cookie marketing carrot.

 

Illusion

 

For a comprehensive list of issues in Pret that I experienced, observed, researched and gathered, please visit The Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger.

 


 

So, where does Mr. Schlee put his foot in his mouth?

#One of the many opportunities he takes to spill the beans on things, is a little more hidden revelation he never expected to be caught out on. On his Pret blog on the former homeless employees, they call the “Rising Stars” they came up with the idea for the “Rising Stars” to solely run an entire shop by themselves, from the General Manager (GM) to the newest recruit. It all sounds so well, yet it is a dead give-away how the Pret Foundation is more a marketing tool than anything.

Clive Schlee writes:
“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.”

Again: “Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

Leaving them too exposed for what?

And why being careful to integrate former homeless people into regular shop teams? (Short-term homeless and mainly young people mind you!)

Too exposed for this, Mr. Schlee?

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Some people in the public aren’t impressed and take a closer look:

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff
Not impressed with only 450 “Rising Stars” having come through the program in 10 years, with 12K employees! Georgia Greenfield couldn’t be fooled either. Why so few? Because it only takes a handful of people or things to blow up a bigger picture than it actually is. It’s like advertising 5 cheap airline seats and winning hundreds of customers buying flights, as they assume many or all seats of that flight are cheap. The seats go fast and once a person goes online to book that seat, it’s gone and they find another flight just a bit more expensive.

 


 

#Two

It’s always good to have a second foot to put in one’s mouth. This one still gives me the chuckles. I wrote an extra blog post on the Timing of the £1000 announcement that Schlee made on Twitter. But in a nutshell, to this day 01. September 2019 the 29. May 2018 is the most visited day on my blog that I can see in my website statistics. Late in the evening on the 28. May 2018 I sent a link of my blog here to an Operations / Area Manager (OPs) I used to work under. I know this OPs to not keep secrets very well. Up until the 28. May 2018 my website was visited 3, 5 or even 10 times a day, sometimes even zero visitors.

I woke up on 29. May 2018 after having sent a link to the OPs late on 28. May 2018, and my website exploded into a three-digit number even before noon.

BEST views ever 29May2018

That day, early morning on 29. May 2018, Clive Schlee made the £1000 announcement for all staff on Twitter.

In October 2018 staff were still waiting for it to “moneyfest” (sorry had to!), and in August already started to get adjudicated, wondering if it was all a joke.

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

 

2018-09-19 Meme USA

 

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

 

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

 

Only few people at least saw through this PR stunt:

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR

 

2018-05-30 £1000 PR Union

 

Of course the money, which after tax came to £800, was finally paid out to staff who work(ed) longer than a year at Pret. But the announcement was made prematurely, once Clive Schlee and Pret became aware of my blog, quickly trying to win the public and staff over with a little PR carrot.

Fasting forward to July 2019, the bribe didn’t really convince staff after all, but I’m delighted to having pressed Clive Schlee’s panic button, but feel sorry for the staff who had to wait so long.

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Being careful to integrate the “Rising Stars” into regular shops makes sense as Clive Schlee and the now new CEO Pano Christou not only are aware of work conditions, but set the tone for profit and the share holders / owners. I call the staff from the regular shops who mainly dare to speak out anonymously, the “Fallen Stars”. And no former homeless person or anyone with a difficult past or mental health condition, would last long in a “regular” shop. It would give Pret a bad name if a “Rising Star” was catapulted back on the streets after having suffered what these “Fallen Stars” suffer on a daily basis and what I have survived during bereavement:

 


 

#Three

This one gives me a feeling of anger at all the fear management Pret hurls at hard working people with the anxiety I have suffered under them, and then Clive Schlee being so careless, clumsy and seemingly narcissistic in his communication. They are not as scary after all! It also gives me a sense of almost feeling sorry for him. But I have no “pity” nor empathy for this millionaire under whose “leadership” two customers died, staff suffer and suicides still need to be investigated.

On 30. June 2019 I saw a little, quiet tweet to Clive Schlee and his response:

2019-07-01 quiet retirement

 

An unassuming tweet about Schlee’s retirement, yet no official announcement made. Not thinking before he writes or speaks, Clive Schlee responds:

2019-07-01 Retirement Clive

 

On 29. June a very concerned customer tweeted to Schlee about hellish work conditions in a shop where the air conditioning was broken and still not fixed. But the CEO did not respond. He only found time and care to respond to his (still unannounced) retirement:

2019-06-30 AC

 

Early on 01. July 2019 I tweeted the news of Schlee’s retirement to the press after I wrote a blog entry on his legacy. After confirmation from HQ the press then broke the news all over. But I had to tweet to the press again as everyone was fast asleep!

2019-07-01 ExPret tweet to the press retirement

 

Only then did Clive Schlee as well as Pret make an official announcement of his retirement AND Schlee finally replied to the 29. June 2019 concern of the broken AC:

Schlee AC

(A long list of other customer tweets regarding broken air conditioning in many shops for prolonged time I listed here: Overheated Shops / Work Conditions)

Schlee’s response tweet to the well-wisher on his retirement went completely over the heads of the press, except after I tweeted them.

Also on the 01. July 2019 after I posted new blog entries on Pret’s leadership and linked to the new CEO Pano Christou’s Twitter, he deleted his Twitter account @christoupano

But weirdly that day I made a screenshot as Mr. Christou blocked me, while Pret and Schlee didn’t. I am not blocked by Pret and Schlee as they collect my Tweets for a potential court case in the future. Christou who of course is different to Schlee, will most likely steer away from having an online presence as the new CEO. Smart move!

2019-07-01-coo-pano-christou-twitter.jpg

 

Pano Block

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter DELETED

¯\_()_/¯

 


 

Having run out feet, we can always continue after taking one foot out via the PR machine, and then put it right back in again! There are more issues where Clive Schlee spilled the beans on things, but they are not as interesting to mention here…

In mid July 2019 Clive Schlee has been quickly replaced by Pano Christou on Glassdoor, to avoid further poor results, even though the announcement was that Schlee retires in September 2019. But a customer pointing out the poor results, again only to protect their own skin does Pret under Schlee respond fast! Forget labelling products to safe lives, only label when customer deaths become public, but be fast to make £1000 announcements and disappear from Glassdoor to avoid further cracks in the facade.

Too late.

And Christou, having come from McDonald’s management and learned under Schlee, he won’t put his foot in his mouth, but he will continue in the same way to maximize profit. Low-wage employees will continue to struggle and the Unions will continue to get them unionized.

 

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

 

2019-08-29 Pano 42 33

 

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Worked Into The Ground @ Pret A Manger

 

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

The Sequel – HOUNDED! 2.0

 

hounded; hounding; hounds

Definition of hound

transitive verb

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

Merriam-Webster.com

2019-06-28 NY Hounded

Link

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

 

 

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

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

 

2015-09-01 TM - WORST Job - RVW7802756

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

 

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

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

 

2012 Ex GM ExGM Ex-GM

Link Former Manager

 

2019-04-21 Harrassment

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

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

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

38 26 Header

HOUNDED! 1.0

 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Greed is a Thief

 

it’s not what Emily said

 

She said grief is a thief

and she declared it tongueless

 

I say no to this

because it’s a refusal to love those

who went before us

a little bit too early

 

They just went

without our permission

and they stole away

quietly

 

Grief is no thief

it just buries you

 

Greed is a thief!

 

Dear Thieves Schlee & Co,

 

 


 

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

Interview:

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

 

The Dangers of Non-Existent Leadership – #PretAManger

 

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them. But yet, the CEO’s 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!«

Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani

 

I’ve posted Hamdi Ulukaya’s TED Talk from which I took above quote on the “Anti-CEO Playbook“, which is worth watching for anyone who is tired of today’s profit-over-people driven global business ventures. It CAN and MUST be done differently! I’ve also written many posts on Clive Schlee’s “leadership” in Pret A Manger, like for example the Timing of the £1000 Announcement to all staff on Twitter on 29. May 2018, which came after he and Pret became aware of my blog in the night from 28th to 29th May 2018. But I want to pull some things together into one post again as I feel people still don’t get it!

I used to be your typical good citizen (and I still am!), working hard, keeping my head down, loyal come rain come shine, doing things by the book with all my shortcomings and down falls as well. I was your average employee. No, I was more. I always gave 150%. But I equally was lulled in and brainwashed by this Pret PR machine and a smiley, approachable CEO. Until they crossed so many boundaries that I, in an utter traumatized state endured. It took me distance to understand what happened to me. For any new reader, my full story is in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

Apart from what I have survived in Pret and collected in other staff reviews, it is beyond me how easily society today remains lulled in, blinded in the acceptance of how business is done today. People are comfortable with a business EVEN after 2 customers died from their products, and a third nearly fatal reaction.

I should be stopping right here in this post, as the ultimate terrible thing that can happen to any business is customers dying from that business’ product or service! And in Pret TWO customers died. Yet, after the initial outrage, everyone goes back to business, and the chaos behind the scenes continues without any consequences for that company!

 

While I worked at Pret, and even before my brother died when all the nightmare began, I always wondered why in shop after shop the management is so poor with just very few exceptions. There is a bullying environment I looked over as everyone was treated bad, except those who kissed up to leadership for quick promotion. But I tried to ignore the environment and kept going. Yet, I always knew in my heart that the “fish stinks from its head” and if a company has poor management skills across the board, it comes from the top down.

Clive Schlee’s management style is very simple: It’s a “good cop, bad cop” approach. He’s the good cop who pretends to not realize what’s going on when staff complain about the bad cop managers in their shops. But all cops have one thing in mind: profit, profit, profit and squeeze the maximum “productivity” out of employees until there’s nothing left to squeeze. And when they’re dried up and burnt out, they are discarded like broken machines! Clive Schlee is one of those leaders who doesn’t like to hire and fire, he leaves that to the firing squat called the HR department, who in turn let the Operations Team do the firing.

man-320273__340

Responsibility is handed down through the ranks to the bottom. A typical cowardliness leadership style. It’s like the captain of a ship that jumps ship first when it sinks, instead of doing the courageous and principled thing that a true Captain is supposed to do. I distinguish these two “captains” by a capital letter. A true Captain gets passengers and crew off the ship first, starting with the most vulnerable, and then as the Captain, he leaves the ship at the very end when EVERYONE is off the boat!

But in Pret A Manger the typical “leadership” style is, that the captain, the top leadership saves their skin first and blames downward, or in the words of Hamdi Ulukaya again:

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them … and so many people are left behind.«

The most recent example of this is Pano Christou. With all the press regarding the allergen deaths and my blog being a sore in Clive Schlee’s sight, the announcement of his “retirement” (he’s 60!) was made AFTER I tweeted to the press on 01. July (I explain in detail here) and the press then contacting HQ for confirmation. Pano Christou becomes the new CEO in September. But since Clive Schlee leaves a legacy of poor staff reviews on Glassdoor & Co. what does he do? He does what he does best: he passes the buck downward and let’s Pano Christou already appear in mid July on Glassdoor.

A customer pointed out the poor Glassdoor scoring on 01. July 2019 when the retirement announcement was tweeted. So, Schlee must have arranged for Christou to take over on Glassdoor before the official September handover:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link to Tweet

 

Las Vegas

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Both percentages of Schlee and now Christou are from the mid July 2019 handover on Glassdoor. The £1000 “bribe” and marketing didn’t help cover over the reality of work in Pret.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

Again, instead of owning up he quickly passes the buck to the next in line. Pano Christou having come from McDonald’s management (one of the biggest exploitative companies) and started in Pret in management, he learned under Schlee.

And this is clever as well because Christou starting from zero, once he gets let’s say the first 10 votes and 7 out of the 10 are positive, he will be at 70% approval rate in no time, making it look like he’s the great CEO. New viewers, especially those from other countries who are completely new to Pret assume Pret has great senior management in place. But he will continue under the “CEO Playbook” that Hamdi Ulukaya adequately criticizes and works on to reform, having a McDonald’s background and having been longer in Pret than Clive Schlee. He will make no difference, but will continue under the same facade. And this is very typical Pret, tweaking, tricking, covering up instead of really caring. It’s just regular millionaires who only care to advance their wealth.

A quick reminder of what Pret staff experience and mainly voice in anonymity:

 

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Assistant Manager NY 2017

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

 

2014-12-26 NY

2014 New York

 

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+ More recent reviews:

 

The above slideshows are just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

A poignant truth someone wrote on a Twitter feed. Worth reading the whole feed:

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons.
Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.«

 – by @minmilyjung

Out of my own experience and my former colleagues’ complaints to me as their Team Leader, I was at least lucky enough to be in a position to stand up for them as their Leader, but my and their experiences topped with the way Pret dealt with the customer deaths, shows so frighteningly how reckless and dangerous this kind of “leadership” style is.

“Leadership”, that I can only put in quotation marks, that refuses to take responsibility, blames downwards, passes the buck to the next in line, and then has the audacity to remain as a non-executive Director in the background! I can only boil it down to narcissistic arrogance which shows when Clive Schlee, only thinking about himself, ignores a serious customer complaint on behalf of staff on Twitter!

Customer complaint on 29. June 2019 about hellish work conditions in a shop:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke. (A long list of customer complaints regarding overheated shops with broken air conditioning and the hellish work conditions staff are left in).

On 30. June 2019, Schlee’s response to a farewell regarding his retirement, but no official retirement announcement until I tweeted to the press on 01. July (after I tweeted this to the press I got shadow banned and then the press started “breaking” the news on Twitter). Clive Schlee’s response to Neil here came AFTER the above customer, Kirk tweeted TWICE to Schlee about broken air conditioning:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring TWO Tweets a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions! I’m sure he didn’t realize that he spilled the beans again unintentionally regarding his non-caring about the welfare of his hardworking employees!

 

In the U.S. it would hail a storm of lawsuits on Pret with one customer death being enough to sue the living daylights out of them! One customer already unsuccessfully sued Pret in New York in 2016 after having suffered an anaphylactic shock ALSO from an unlabelled Sesame product. He was devastated when he learned of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s anaphylactic shock, leading to her death from an unlabelled Sesame product ALSO in 2016! He fought in court, but lost.

This lawsuit wasn’t a hint enough for Pret to do the right thing labelling their products! And then even AFTER TWO customer deaths Pret STILL didn’t do the right thing UNTIL the deaths became public! Only THEN did SLOW change happen. I cover this and their inconsistency in “Pret’s Labelling Commitment?” with their appalling and infamous slogans.

“It’s what makes Pret, Pret”!!

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

HR department logo:

Right Thing Naturally

 

So, this is the UK, no lawsuits.

“Polite”.

Politically correct.

Sweet-talking.

Complacent, inefficient, indifferent and arbitrarily dangerous for people’s health and lives.

FoodAllergyNews

From AllergicLiving.com

And Pret is very quick to change the shop signage of their 350+ stores in the UK for Pride month, while not acting on allergen labelling on their products until customer deaths became public.

Pret Signage

@celestine__ on Twitter

Customer deaths don’t make people wake up, certainly staff complaints, staff deaths and suicides don’t wake people up. No lawsuits. No investigations. A society full of indifferent people that only cares for a free cookie. We all know that the opposite of care and love is not hate, but indifference.

I despair at this.

And perhaps it mainly takes CEOs who are also the founders of their companies to care enough to make a difference. Most CEOs these days are just “managers” who were given the rod to the flock, and thus they don’t have concerns for what they were entrusted with. They then open the door to the wolves of private equity. And the suffering gets out of control with the “managers” sneaking out the back door, when the “slaughter” gets too bloody and the managers are in danger of getting cut.

 

Times report

The Times article

 

But I want to end on a positive note, another hopeful, courageous and principled CEO, whose words are blunt but much needed, and like Hamdi Ulukaya, a Captain with a capital “C”:

»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
Founder and CEO of employee-owned Riverford

 

A list of blog entries I wrote regarding Clive Schlee: “Late Night Girl Articles

 

Riverford and Chobani scores June/July 2019 on Glassdoor

Riverford Chobani

 

UPDATE: October 2019

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Pano Christou now CEO of Pret A Manger

 

My message to Clive Schlee and Pano Christou upfront:

»Be careful how you treat people when you’re on your way up, you might need them on the way back down.«

 – found on Twitter profile

 

The announcement that Clive Schlee would retire in September 2019 came on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press, having read Schlee’s response to a well-wisher on Twitter. The press then contacted HQ, got the confirmation and started “breaking” the news on Twitter.

Tweet to the Press early morning 01. July 2019:

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger to the press

01. July 2019

 

Quiet Tweet the day before on 30. June 2019, but no official announcement:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring a Tweet a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions (below Tweets).

I responded to the above well-wisher, and later tweeted to the press, as I told someone already months ago that Schlee would sneak out the back door quietly. I wrote about it hinting that this may happen in:

Clive Schlee and Pano Christou” 02. Apr. 2019
@Cliveschlee – Your Soldiers are Tired” 18. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?” 20. June 2019
The Difference between Profit and True Wealth” 22. June 2019
You are either the Captain” 30. June blog entry, but before I saw his above Tweet to the well-wisher. This blog entry lead me to check his Twitter when I then saw the well-wisher post on Schlee’s retirement.

Clive Schlee all being about himself, responded to the well-wisher’s Tweet on 30. June 2019, yet did NOT respond to a very serious health and safety issue of a customer Tweet on the 29. June 2019. The customer even tweeted twice. Schlee responded on the 01. July 2019 AFTER I wrote new blog entries about his retirement and after the press “broke” the news from my Tweet.

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is Pret A Manger leadership:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke.
Customer: “It’s shocking they are not supported by decision makers.”
Don’t be shocked, that’s typical Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger!

I did an extra blog entry on the ongoing Air Conditioning issues with over-heated shops that I worked in as well. Many customers tweeted to Pret about this: “Pret A Manger Staff work in Over-heated Conditions

 

The press then being the press, pretending to break the news with some “inside” knowledge “broke” it after I tweeted to them. That’s why I tweet publicly and not “secretly” in emails.

 

So, September has come early.

BUT knowing Pret and the poor scoring Clive Schlee leaves on his exit (44% recommend working at Pret and 50% recommend Schlee) he stays as the active CEO until September, but they placed Pano Christou onto Review sites to avoid more negative scoring for the CEO.

2019-07-15 Pano Christou CEO

2 Glassdoor ratings already 15. July 2019 as on 14. July Clive Schlee was still as CEO on the Glassdoor profile. Makes you wonder what two people in the first day rated the new CEO already.

Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 when I linked to it in “Clive Schlee’s Legacy” as I had a lot of traffic on my blog after having tweeted to the press:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

Now leads to a deleted page.

So, Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted to the press and the press “breaking” the news and having visited my blog where he saw that I linked to his Twitter account.

But as Mr. Christou doesn’t have a new official Twitter account yet as CEO and Mr. Schlee still has his official Twitter account, this means Christou is NOT yet CEO, but just placed his picture on Glassdoor to avoid further negative voting for the CEO and Pret.

BUT Mr. Christou is the same and learned under Schlee. It’s just a different face to the same exploitative and bullying company. And the press is silent, because they cater to business.

UPDATE 24. September 2019

A new Twitter account under the same handle @ChristouPano has started in September 2019. Seems to be from Canada. So, someone snatched that handle, and I doubt Pret’s Pano Christou will have an official CEO account like Clive Schlee has.

 

2019-09-24 New Pano Christou different Twitter

 

Pano Christou came from McDonald’s management and started in Pret as an Assistant Manager (AM). Even though he likes to portray that he started at the bottom, sorry, I worked with many AM’s who came from other companies. They work at Pret with a Team Member (TM) uniform for a few weeks or even just days, and then go straight into AM and in a few months if they aim for it, become General Managers (GM). So, yes he started in shops, but he never was under the intense pushing, stress and low pay TMs are subjected to.

He will do things differently of course, as his personality is different where he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve or has “foot-in-mouth disease” like Clive Schlee. But he will do things the same in a profit-driven, exploitative company under the new owners who aim to topple Nestle off the throne and expand their wealth.

In my worst time in Pret in 2016 when my emailing started to increase in my trauma and at times drunk (I share my story at the bottom audio player in an interview), one email exchange with Pano Christou I remember very well, where he invited staff to contact him with any concerns, ideas etc. He responded and started his message about my email: »I must admit, beautifully written« and then went on in his email.

I remember this as odd, because only an “opponent” or someone who disagrees with you has to “admit” something. If I stand opposite an opponent that I respect, in or after a boxing match let’s say, we fought, I got caught out with not being on my best form, I may say to the opponent: ‘I must admit, good punch!’.

So, Mr. Christou, you will continue where Mr. Schlee left off, all the sweet-talk you learned under him, how to polish the facade, how to exploit low-wage workers behind that smile, but I don’t buy for a minute that Pret’s work conditions will improve nor that you will implement the Living Wage. So, we continue to work on unionizing Pret A Manger, no matter how long it takes.

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

… apart from two customer deaths (third nearly fatal) he didn’t act on until it became public and all the ignored warnings before AND after deaths!

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

 

Clive Schlee’s Legacy” — & — “Late Night Girl Article on Clive Schlee

Las Vegas

Link

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

London HQ Review

UPDATE 22. July 2019 Pano Christou’s “clean” start on Glassdoor. He’s been with Pret longer than Clive Schlee, and apart from doing a few things differently, when it comes to staff exploitation and low pay etc. he is not different than Schlee, just a different face on the profit driven company now under JAB that competes with Nestle for the top spot:

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

UPDATE 19. September 2019, Pano Christou might need to do some “real” work instead of bullsh!tting staff and the public alike. My tip to Pano, check the #antiCEOplaybook

2019-09-19 Pano 40 29

 

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

 

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

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

#FirstWorldProblem

 

#CliveSchlee #ChristouPano #PretAManger #Pret #VeggiePret #1983 #1986 #JulianMetcalfe #SinclairBeecham #Bridgepoint #JAB #JABHoldings #Reimann #PeterHarf #RaiseTheWage #LivingWage #Exploitation #WorkplaceBullying

One person to be mentioned in the Pret A Manger saga: Jeffrey Hyman

Why is his name not blue underlined anywhere on any site?

Why is his name and history not mentioned @Pret?

 

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

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Clive Schlee: A Case Study of the Fun Factory

 

Even though putting this interview between Clive Schlee and Mario Bauer on here, I am indirectly making advertisement for Pret, and Clive Schlee and Pret like to peek here once in a while, but I want to do a reality check on this conversation from 02.07.2019.

He and Pret have announced on Monday 01.07.2019 (after I tweeted to the press and the press “broke” the news) his “retirement”, but remaining as a non-executive Director.

I find this interesting in many ways. First, when JAB took over Pret they reshuffled the top team pretty quick, including axing co-founder (or “re-founder”) of Pret Sinclair Beecham and HR Director Andrea Wareham.

Quote: “Filings show that CFO Mr Jones, former chairman Larry Billett, HR director Andrea Wareham, co-founder Sinclair Beecham and US president Joanne Brett had all been terminated as directors from parent company PAM Group Limited.” – Daily Mail

Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham re-founded Pret again in 1986 after a short run of the original Pret which was founded in 1983 by Jeffery Hyman. Funny enough, up until the two customer deaths became public, the Wikipedia entry on Pret never showed this info regarding the 1983 start. Julian  Metcalfe is also founder of Asian style fast-food chain itsu and “Metcalfe’s Food Company, in partnership with Clive Schlee.” – Wikipedia

So, JAB axing Sinclair Beecham, yet keeping Clive Schlee on board is interesting. For one, I’m sure it is to “safe face” and not let Schlee look defeated, after the poor re-action on the terrible and unnecessary deaths that happened. But also, knowing how Schlee works, he is the perfect “mascot” for Pret. I always experienced him more like the Ronald McDonald of Pret A Manger, who’s job it is with an endless smile and friendly approachable front, to keep the workforce happy slaving on low wages and the public happy with colourful, fancy food and freebies.

Pano Christou, who came from McDonald’s as a Manager having started in Pret straight away as an Assistant Manager, has a more serious approach to things. He at least blocked me and now deleted his Twitter account. He will be dealing with issues more directly and swifter, but he will do the same business of a profit-driven company.

And that’s where Schlee now will continue his “clown” role, to not only represent Pret as this oh so happy and friendly brand, but to redeem himself with more and more charitable work. This can be seen in the below interview that I’ll be taking apart like a Pret A Manger “line check”, picking ingredients apart, weighing out each item for its “correctness” and if it’s up to standard (truth).

 

THE INTERVIEW (my comments below)

From Teddy Talks interview by Mario Bauer

Upfront, I doubt Clive Schlee will have a TED Talk anytime soon, but for a Teddy Talks it’s insightful enough.

Key points and my comments on just the things important to mention, not the whole interview. As Mario Bauer’s first language is not English, I will leave grammatical issues, or mistakes in general, in the transcript. I prefer to leave people’s sentences the way they are when I quote them, out of respect and to keep it in their own words like I do with all the staff reviews I collected.

 

PEOPLE CULTURE

Mario Bauer: at 2:44
“For me the most fascinating thing about Pret is the People Culture. Because what you built over the years, when I talk to Head Hunters, they say you don’t even need to call somebody on Senior level or OPs Manager level, to kind of steal them from Pret. You cannot steal people from Pret, there’s a very high loyalty to you, to your management, to the brand. How do you build that loyalty, how Pret became the people company. Because at the end of the day it’s a sandwich store, how do you make it a people company?”

Clive Schlee: at 3:16
“I think at the very early days, Julian and Sinclair recognized that to get people to get up so early in the morning, and work and make sandwiches in difficult conditions, something had to be special. And they inherently sensed that giving people a future, and giving them friendship and making a sense of family, was going to be very attractive and much more important than money. Money had to be good, but those three F’s: future, friendships and family, that was the beginning of Pret’s culture, which I hope stayed throughout, I always tried to encourage those three.
As a result of that, people get very loyal to Pret, and as you say, it’s difficult to head hunt them away, which we like that very much.”

My comments as Clive Schlee’s patronizing and disrespectful labelling as: “Late Night Girl”
First of all, Mario Bauer asked this question regarding senior people and OPs managers who are difficult to head hunt away from Pret. The reason why they are so difficult to steal away is the immense amount of money senior leaders earn! On top of all the nick-knacks, they fly out to Dubai or if in the U.S. to Las Vegas, throw parties, even sit in pubs during lunch time, while the shop staff slave away and are pressured to work harder for profit and managers’ bonuses! But Mr. Schlee here talks about the shop people as he remains desperate for workers!

On a shop staff level, many people leave easily. I know several colleagues, especially leaders, who left Pret and went to EAT, the competition that is now purchased by JAB via Pret. EAT was set up very similarly and is always seen as the closest imitation of Pret. Andrew Walker, EAT’s CEO used to be Pret’s UK Managing Director before he left Pret, a role which was then taken by Pano Christou. Pano became COO of Pret when JAB took over. There was no COO role in Pret before JAB. Much of EAT’s production did come from large factories, and when they ran out of products in the afternoon, there wasn’t a high pressure to keep making sandwiches. Staff were paid less, but the work was easier, according to those that went there and told me later.

Secondly, I appreciate that Mr. Schlee acknowledges that making sandwiches in Pret is done in “difficult conditions”. Thank you for that acknowledgement!

Thirdly, the three FF’s. Uh-oh, where do I start!? This one I keep brief as the friendship and “family” culture will entangle itself as you read on! I can only say that Pret has either a big fat lying facade when it comes to the “family” environment, or Pret is a very dysfunctional family! But to me I experienced the first to be the case. Only one of many staff reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

INTERNAL PROMOTION

MB: at 3:58
“You have an internal promotional system, university…”

PAUSE: If I understood that he said “university”, I think he means the Pret Academy where staff are trained. Pret doesn’t have a university! Let’s not fly too high here! In the UK, and especially In Pret, there is a lot of psychology used and slogans to sound sophisticated. The Pret Academy is just a place near HQ where leaders are trained. But the results of this “training” can be seen in the appalling way many Managers behave on the day-to-day running of the shops. Not to mention that one of the Trainers is a Development Manager who was used to gaslight me. I share this extensively in my interview at the bottom of this page in the audio-player.

MB:
“You have an internal promotional system, university … there’s a lot of people I met over the years … and you always hear the stories ‘I started as a cashier, I worked myself up to a district manager’ (OPs). What’s the structure / system behind it?”

CS: at 4:18
“There’s a very disciplined system behind our academy. And every step, there’s an increased pay-rate and a series of quiz. And you climb up and up and up. There are many chances to climb and that’s very important to Pret. And then we give the lessons and the practical experience so that people can move from being a Team Member Trainer to be a Team Leader to be Assistant Manager …”

LNG:
Sounds wonderful on paper, but reality is far, far from this! Maybe this was like this before the mid 2000s. But I have not been trained properly and most of my colleagues neither. Only if you were willing to make friends with management were you moved up quickly and somewhat trained. The countless staff reviews in the below slideshow indicate this problem as well.

Yes, there is a strict hierarchy and a complex system where people are micromanaged with small details that burn them out! The really important things they are not trained in: people skills, leadership skills, SKILLS in general!! Pret loves to recruit according to people’s “personality” rather than skill to portray this “happy family” business to the outside. So, you have a lot of happy bunnies bouncing around, burdening down workers who are the ones getting the job done, under intense pressure and low wages while the bunnies claim the credit for it!

Also, the internal promotion system Pret boasts about has always puzzled me! When I started in Pret I was “head hunted” by a former Caffe Nero Manager who got me into his shop. I have worked in several companies where staff were ALWAYS promoted from within! Schlee here says that it must be a world record that in Pret 40% are promoted from within! Sorry?

But what is the saddest thing about the promotion system in Pret is that with some Managers it is an open secret that they got into their position because they became a little “too close” to their boss or even a senior leader from HQ! Their career was paved in the bedroom. This is really sad, because you expect this in a law firm, in Hollywood and certainly in politics, but a sandwich chain? It’s ridiculous and staff often had no respect for management like this behind their backs.

Again, one of many reviews also on this. A recent one from NY:

Promotion

Link

And a very poignant review by a former General Manager, London.
Quote: “”As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”

GM internal promotion

Link

Head Office Review:

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

So, Pret makes such a big deal again out of something, selling ice cubes to Eskimos! The same is true with the free food allowance for staff. EVERY restaurant or cafe business gives free lunch and coffee allowance! Yet, Pret makes it sound like they are the only ones doing this! Sure, the 50% rebate for staff when purchasing items outside of work is very generous, hands down. Many companies either give 10% or like Caffe Nero, we had to pay full price when buying in our private time, which is really unacceptable, to be honest. Same with Iceland. I stood in line behind an Iceland staff member who bought a can of coke for his break, and he paid full price! I asked him about it and they confirmed that they are paying full price. So, Pret is very generous on this front.

 

MB: at 4:52
“So, basically I know when I do a good job and when I follow the plan, you already set out in two years I’ll be in that position, I’ll make that-and-that money, so people can plan with that.”

CS: at 5:00
“They can see a chart showing them how to climb up.”

LNG:
That’s true, there is a chart, in fact it’s a silly chart with colourful little cartoons on it, like in Kindergarten, showing how to climb the “ladder”. And that’s about it! How people REALLY climb the ladder often is not like Mario Bauer says, by “doing a good job” and follow some “plan”. No, it’s again by making friends with management, including doing all the dodgy things and short cuts many managers stop doing once they move into management. Because the higher you climb, the more you have to lose. So, they pass all the dirty work down to the Team Leaders. And if the Leaders get caught, they are easier and cheaper to replace. Simple.

It’s like wanting to join a gang, you have to prove yourself, not by doing the right and honourable thing, but by doing some scary dare to prove they are the same as the gang and mean business going all the way, whatever it takes! Many managers in Pret are very insecure, immature, often not trained properly, fluster about when the heat is on. And the worst thing that I find even “incurable” is, many are lazy! I have learned in my many years of work in different companies, that a lot of attitude can be changed and re-trained, but laziness isn’t one of them!

So, when someone comes along who has skill, they will be burdened down with all the hard work that management takes credit AND big bonus for. And if the hard worker has integrity, they will never ever be able to join the “gang”, as they are like a mirror to managers who don’t like secure people with skill reflecting their shortcomings. I’ve seen too many good people leave Pret or even worse, go backwards from a Team Leader back to a Barista or even an Assistant Manager went all the way back to being Team Member. I’ve never seen employees in ANY company I’ve worked before go backwards! They either climb up, stay at the position, or leave the company.

I had this thought many times in my Pret struggle, but going backwards was never an option for me. It was either: go up, stay put, or go out. But you never go backwards within the company. It might be one of my crazy ticks. But that’s how I always felt.

In 5:04 the question of how many people work for Pret, the CEO answers with over 13.000 in all the different countries. When the £1000 announcement was made a year ago, which I write about the timing of it in connection to my blog. Also, after tax the £1000 really was about £800.

Clive Schlee gives some appreciation to all the foreign workers in 5:18 which I think does need to be mentioned to be fair. He says that Pret would not be where they are without all the foreign workers. This raises the question again on why there are so few British workers. And Pret is reaching out now into all sorts of avenues to recruit especially young Birtish workers (cheaper workers under 21, indoctrinating them early, the investment is for longer and young folk are oblivious of their rights). But I appreciate that he acknowledges that without all the foreign workers Pret would not be where it is today! But words are cheap! Paying them the Living Wage and treating them with respect would make his appreciation more believable.

 

RISING STARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

 

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

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

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff

 

“Careful to integrate”?

Might be leaving them “too exposed”?

Too exposed for what?

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

2019-02-11 Critical Tweet re Homeless house

 

Review IT Analyst HQ

Link

 

2019-02-09 Response to Homeless House Tweet2

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

 

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This part really bugs me now:

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

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

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

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

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

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

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

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

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

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Link Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

2019-04-16 Depression Toxic

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

 

Annihilate Humanity 41

Link

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

»You will loose everything that makes you human.«

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019-07-02 Toxic chronically understaffed

Link

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

2012-07-23 Ex GM2

2012 on Blogspot

Another from a GM along those lines:

Worst Mafia

2014

Assistant Manager from NY 2017:

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Link

… and so on …

Pret Factory

From an old US Pret site

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PAUSE: HOW you handle things!

 

9 Warnings Ignored

From Yahoo Finance / YouTube / ITV

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

Quote:

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

 

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

 

CS: “How you treated people”

PAUSE: HOW you treated people!