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

 

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

 

SlaveBrick

 

Quote of the Day (highlight by me):

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

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

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

 

2018-10-18 Slave Company

Former TM review from 18. Oct. 2018

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

Pret settles overtime wage claim (NY)

 

 


 

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

 


 

 

NOTE:

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

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

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

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

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

Andrej confronting Pret on the real reason of dismissal.

 

 

Pret A Manger Staff Union on Twitter

BFAWU on Twitter

 

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

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

 

 

 

Worldwide food workers’ strikes on 04.10.2018

 

John McDonnell’s message to exploitative employers:

“We are coming for you!”

 

 

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

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

 

Quotes of the Decade – Pret A Slave

 

slave-2614959_960_720

 

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

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement

Quote from the Introduction on page 3:

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

 

We know there’s a lot to do?

 

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

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

 

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

 

Some selected Quotes:

NEW Slave’s company (18. Oct. 2018)

Modern Day Slavery (2nd Oct. 2018)

Workers are slave (June 2017)

Slave-like environment (Oct. 2017)

Felt Like A Slave (Nov. 2014)

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

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

Advice to Management

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

 

Slavery hasn’t been abolished (Oct. 2017)

Leaders treat you like a slave (May 2018)

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

 

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

Hellhole!”

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

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

 

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

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

On Andrej’s Pret Union video more comments:

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments1a

 

… and further …

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments4

 

etc. etc.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement vs Pret’s Modern Slavery Practices

 

business-1320078__340

 

 

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

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement

Quote from the Introduction on page 3:

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

 

We know there’s a lot to do?

 

Rephrased: “We have modern slavery in Pret, but we work on it once we get caught. We stay quiet until it becomes public.”

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

 

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

 

NEW Slave’s company (18. Oct. 2018)

Modern Day Slavery (2nd Oct. 2018)

Workers are slave (June 2017)

Slave-like environment (Oct. 2017)

Felt Like A Slave (Nov. 2014)

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

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

Advice to Management

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

 

Slavery hasn’t been abolished (Oct. 2017)

Leaders treat you like a slave (May 2018)

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

 

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

Hellhole!”

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

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

 

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

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

On Andrej’s Pret Union video more comments:

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments1a

 

… and further …

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments4

 

etc. etc.

 

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

 

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

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Quote of the Day #55 – Pret A Exploitation

 

Zahnrad Machine

 

Can’t help but appreciating this reviewer having some much needed humour!

 

“Why you was in the fridge for more than 45 seconds?
If you work in Pret you have to know how to deal with a lot of pressure, they will repeat 10-15 times per hour(I’m not exaggerating) to be faster at all team members, the supervisors ask motivation for everything, either if you are just fixing your pants.”

NOTE: True, this reviewer is not exaggerating, micromanagement, control, pressure non-stop.

 

Quote of the Day:

“You should probably consider buying industrial machines to make sandwiches instead of focusing on exploitation East-European employees.”

 

Nothing more to add!

 

2018-08-26 Comedy

TM from London on 16. Aug. 2018

 

 

Substantial list of Staff Complaints from various Employment Review sites and YouTube.

Concise list of chosen “Quotes of the Day” taken from the Staff Complaints to highlight the common thread of the problem in all of Pret in different countries and cities.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret

 

Pixabay_interview-2071228__340

 

LNG: Thank you for your time and agreeing to do an imaginary but honest and transparent interview, this has been a long time in the making and I am grateful you finally agree to give us an unprecedented look into your business, especially staff treatment, and what makes you stand out on the high street.

PAM: Oh, no problem at all. Sorry it took so long to agree to an imaginary yet open and honest interview, but we’ve been really busy with our success as you know.

LNG: Yes, well done! May I call you Pret?

PAM: Sure, we love to be on first name basis here. We are family.

LNG: Thank you, you can call me what your CEO calls me.

PAM: Great! Okay Late Night Girl, what do you want to know about our company?

LNG: My first question….

PAM: (interrupts) Oh, would you like a coffee? On the house? The first hit is always free! 😉

LNG: No, thank you, I got my own! 🙂

 

Coffee paper cups

 

 

LNG: So, my first question is, what is the secret ingredient to your success?

PAM: Well, if we stay on the first name we have a secret spelling system here, we love to work with acronyms to really emphasize that we mean business when it comes to motivating our staff. Pret is French for “ready”. So, Pret A Manger means “ready to eat”. Fast food, from already cooked and processed products that arrive daily and are then assembled in the kitchens on the premises. But it is not just food ready to eat, we want our staff to always be “ready to work” come rain come shine, in good days and in bad days, till FS do us part.

L: What’s FS?

P: That’s another meaning, “FS” is the Firing Squad, but officially they are called “HR”, meaning Human Resources, of course. Our HR department have a really great slogan to sell their mission as, “Doing the right thing naturally”, and people buy into this slogan without questioning it, as PC is too common. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? HR don’t do the dismissing themselves, no, they like others to execute this nitty-gritty muddy business. They…

L: (interrupts) What’s PC now?

P: Oh, common’?!

L: Ah, yeah, right. Sorry.

P: Tztz, you didn’t do your homework when preparing for this interview?! You don’t know our 6 P’s?!

L: No, no, yes, uhm, I know them all! (nods, while getting a first glimpse into the intimidation tactics) It’s just a lot to remember what you give your staff to memorize.

P: Yes, that is how brainwashing works, repeated bombardment of silly word games.

L: Sure.

P: So, where were we?

L: With HR not doing the dirty work.

 

ronald-mcdonald-you-re-fired-meme

 

P: Ah yeah, so they fire indirectly using their operational side of the business, managers who are tasked to hold hearings that are “fundamentally flawed” as one Tribunal Judge called it, they are unfair and only impartial if we need to cover ourselves.

L: Ah! So, it’s a lot to do with fear management?

P: You got it.

 

L: And how does the fear management work exactly? Talk me through a typical day in a Pret shop.

P: No problem. First of all, we don’t like to be known as a sandwich “factory”, even though we are hundreds of little sandwich factories. So, we put intensive incentives in place, pay a little bit more here, give a little more holidays there, put on elaborate parties, let the kitchens play loud and fast music to speed up their work pace and avoid them talking too much with each other wasting our precious time, no matter if they get a head ache or a tinnitus etc. etc.

In reality we have no choice but give a little here and there as the job is way too harsh, stressful and non-rewarding. So we apply psychology where we call our sandwich makers “chefs”, let them go through patronizing “graduation” so they assume they achieved something and won’t leave as easily.

 

L: Ah, clever!

P: Yes, it’s all psychology. We have slogans on our packaging saying “Lovingly made in this kitchen today”, we’re having a laugh with our staff because in this high-paced and stressful environment making something “lovingly” would only be to resign!

But our real main ingredient and the real spelling behind our acronym as already hinted early on is, Pret really is a four letter F-word spelled F E A R. It means Fire Early At Request or with the nickname of “Fret” to make it more appealing. Fear management is the main motivator for our lovely and hard working people, but we facade this in the perfect packaging of “Good Jobs for Good People”. We have a lot of good people, but after a while they get so burned out, feel devalued and dehumanized that they are not “good” anymore, and there are plenty of young people lining up for the job. We give out disciplinaries like napkins, we make sure that our staff always worry about their job security, and we don’t tolerate people being vulnerable (takes a sip from the organic coffee).

L: What do you mean by “vulnerable”?

P: Well, simply inconvenient occasions like bereavement or even mental illness of our staff. We feel that especially bereavement is “imposed” on us. That’s not nice.

L: (looking confused) So, it would be best to not be vulnerable, as staff wouldn’t be safe in their jobs?

P: That’s right.

 

L: So, if staff are bereaved, or suffer from a mental illness or disability that might affect their day-to-day work, and even if they work still really good while in bereavement, there is no policy in place to protect them from potentially being bullied by superiors?

P: Yes, something like that. We have a large HR department, larger than the IT or even food team. But it isn’t large enough yet, as one of our former employees has exhausted our HR department after being bullied during bereavement and being held low in shops. So we want to expand our HR staff to not let this happen again.

L: Wow! Must have been hard work. But at least you learned from this and won’t let the bullying happen again. That’s great.

P: No, we won’t let it happen again that anyone approaches HR with their concern about bereavement and bullying like this anymore, even though we advised that person (whom the CEO called his “late night girl”) to raise grievances, as we didn’t want to interfere with how the managers were mistreating her. As we don’t have an anti-bullying policy in place to protect the bereaved, we aim to divert to the grievance procedure as we don’t want to admit that we have a huge problem. A grievance procedure often deters the employee to raise the issue formally, as this is quite stressful to have to come up with all the evidence, not to mention becoming a target after speaking up.

For other issues like sexual orientation, pregnant women, physical disabilities, religious beliefs, equal opportunities etc. we have a strong and clear zero tolerance policy on discrimination, because there are laws in place and we would get into trouble if we’d let those groups be bullied. Sometimes we even use any of the above groups in discrimination to get rid of other inconvenient employees, the laws for the protection of the above groups really come in handy here, even if we have to tweak our reason for dismissal a little.

And our luck is that there are no laws to protect the bereaved, we can openly and even in writing express that this is “imposed” on us without any problems. We just don’t really want to bother with grief and mental issues, even while we know that we all will die, and 1 in 4 of us will at one point or another suffer from a mental health condition. Death and illness can happen to any person at any time for any reason. But we don’t want to think about it and want to just concentrate on the material world with all the money that can be made. If you work for us, your mind needs to be of steel and you better have “Metal” Health.

L: Just like a machine or a robot?

P: Exactly!

L: I see. Hm…

P: You’re catching on fast, I like that.

L: Oh, thank you, I feel honoured! *blushing*

 

flick2

 

P: So, to finish the thought, we pride ourselves in our HR department. They are super busy with all the grievances raised and disciplinaries issued, and of course the firing squad, ready to fire anytime for any and no reason (checking the phone as a text message comes in).

L: Sounds quite efficient. I’m impressed.

P: Thank you. Yes, could we speed this up a little? I have to attend to some business.

L: Sure, just finally I’d like to throw some questions out that you cannot skip, but have to answer honestly.

P: Uuuh, I’m intrigued, fire away!

 

L: Who was the first one you ever kissed?

P: Oh, I’ll never forget my first kiss! It was McDonald’s. We even got married so I can get a green card to the U.S. But we are divorced now, as I gotten my green card and dual citizenship now and won’t need McD anymore. But we are still friends.

L: Any kids?

P: Naa, we were always married more to our jobs, and our different tastes in food finally split us up! Career is more important, and as soon as I had my foot in the door to the U.S. our divorce was imminent.

L: It was a “marriage of convenience” then?

P: You got it!

L: I see. Okay, while on the subject of super mergers, what super powers would you like to have?

P: To fire all the shop staff in one go and exchange them with perfect smiley robots that are so real looking to customers unlike the current prototypes, fooling them, and so increase our profits even more. That way we won’t have to deal with staff not being as productive when they go through personal issues like bereavement or illness. We also won’t have to deal with any human being thinking for themselves. But mostly that way we can truly “man” all the tills at all times and have enough staff, almost more than customers. We could even place a human looking robot with each and every customer, raising sales going through the roof. We would also scrap the Misery Shopper, as we won’t need them anymore since we have perfect robots. Can you imagine the amount this would slice off our labour costs and bring out the maximum? (sigh, what a dream!) But it also means that we would need to rethink the HR department, maybe turning them into mechanics fixing the robots when they break. (ponder ponder)

 

L: Sorry, what did you say, the what? The “Misery” Shopper?? What’s that?

P: Did I say that??

L: Uhm, that’s what I heard.

P: Sorry, I meant the Mystery Shopper *smile*

L: Maybe I just misheard as I had a miserable coffee this morning! The competition hey. Should have gone to Pret instead!

P: Yes, that’s it, it’s all your fault! You misheard, it was your mistake, not mine! It’s one of our important Pret attributes, always blame downwards, never take responsibility. As long as we can smile, we’re fine!

 

robot-916284__340

 

L: Okay back to my questions. What time period would you like to visit, past, present or future?

P: The future, always the future as the present is a blur and the past is done with and not worth keeping fond memories of. We move on quickly, whoever can’t keep up with the pace will be left behind.

L: No regrets then, huh?

P: Hello? We are Pret we don’t regret!

L: I see. Who would you like to collaborate with in business?

P: Anyone and No one. Anyone who could pour more money into us, so that we can squeeze even more out of our workers to repay the investors. We don’t like to share the spoils except only with our HQ people and high up leaders. But if we do have a moment of generosity with our shops, it is mainly to try and keep them before they leave or our aim to win new ones (whispers: Brexit’s advancing fast now).

 

L: What is your greatest accomplishment?

P: Okay, that’s another tough one, as we have so many. But I would say… (looking up at the ceiling, tapping with the fingers on the coffee cup) I’d say it really is our HR department with that ever impressive slogan of “Doing the right thing naturally”.

L: What do you value so much that you would put your money where your mouth is, so-to-speak?

P: Again, investing in our HR department, making them bigger, even though they are already bigger than any of the other departments. We’d like them to give more disciplinaries, neglecting the bereaved and mentally ill, and fire faster. Any support that is in place, most are just Pret-ense for our own fear of the Tribunal, as we like to live up to our name.

L: Which was what again?

P: F E A R.

L: Ah yeah, that’s right.

 

L: What was the moment when you felt you’ve made it?

P: When our staff bought into fear management and unnecessary pressure.

 

robot-3486900__340

 

L: What was the scariest encounter you’ve ever had?

P: Tribunal Judges at first, but when we lose our case in court, we just pay the peanuts the Judges order us to pay in compensation and then go back to business as usual. Our most scariest encounter will always be the customers and public pressure, not to mention the Unions!

L: And the greatest?

P: All our hard working people in the shops, especially those with integrity and longevity during hard times. We really feel intimidated by them, as they show real passion which we only Pret-end to have for them. But don’t tell them, they need to think that they are not valued and their work is never good enough, so they work harder until they burn out and are exchanged with “fresh blood”. It’s like one of our main acronyms: FIFO, First In First Out or our internal acronym BPOFBI: Black Pudding Out Fresh Blood In. If they find out our tactics, it would also be the most embarrassing encounter, but that’s between us.

L: Of course! You do love your acronyms and slogans, don’t you?

P: (Smiling) It’s what makes Pret PRet!

L: Yes, Pret is next to nothing when it comes to PR.

P: That’s right, we are especially successful in this by employing former homeless people to confirm this when the pressure on us gets high to explain why we treat our staff so poorly. The CEO invites a group once a year to his private Austrian property, and that way we win them for our reputation to speak up for us should we reap criticism from the public regarding staff treatment. We also aim to not integrate them too much into regular Pret shops, but are working on having shops run entirely by former homeless people, as they won’t cope in the long-run in a regular mainstream Pret shop, with all the bullying and high stress environment. It wouldn’t look good on our PR.

 

L: Makes sense. To continue with the questions, which food item are you currently working on to be the best selling of all time, not only in Pret but in the world.

P: Well, now you want to know some secrets here, what food item our food team is working on. I can’t let you in on that one, even though I agreed to do an open and honest interview. But I will say this much: it has to do with the Hearts of our staff.

L: Interesting! Similar to dishes like Liver Mousse or Kidney Pâté, but only with Hearts? Like Hearts on a Platter? Are some Minds part of the new stew as well? Oooh, I can’t wait for the new product launch!!

P: (motions with a gesture of sealed lips)

L: What, if any, is your hidden talent?

P: Doing the wrong thing naturally.

 

People-who-are-dishonest-are-perceived-as-incompetent-

 

L: On a personal level, which instrument would you like to play?

P: Hearts and Minds.

L: You can only choose one!

P: That’s not fair! I can’t choose! *biting on the coffee lid*

L: Well, strive for perfection here, a little extra mile will go a long way.

P: Okay Minds, as Hearts are often broken already and useless therefor. The Mind still needs tuning and somewhat breaking like a wild horse that is thinking on its feet too much. We are not in the horse whispering business, we break them!

 

L: Starbucks or Caffee Nero?

P: Pret!

L: Prosciutto or Posh Cheddar?

P: Well, since we go towards more Vegan, it would be Hearts. Organic Hearts of course!

L: Of course!

L: Mystery Shopper visits or Senior Management visits.

P: (regaining posture after the Heart vs Mind decision) Senior Management visits of course, we love to see the nervousness and fear on the faces of our managers and teams when we walk into shops.

L: Makes sense, that F E A R thing again, I really get to know you now and how consistent you are, very reliable.

P: (lifting the head with pride) Thank you. Now I am almost blushing.

L: Comedy or Drama?

P: Since we have too much Drama already, I’d choose Comedy, although they both go very close together in our company.

 

stressed-woman-3309731__340

 

L: Which micromanaging rule are you most proud of and why?

P: Letting our staff sign countless training rules without having the time to really train. We just like to cover our backs.

L: Which other countries would you like to conquer for Pret?

P: The whole world of course, even jungles where the monkeys live.

 

L: While on the subject of monkeys, if you were an animal, what would you be?

P: A Pret-Bull.

L: Why?

P: We like to look intimidating to our staff, but they don’t know that barking dogs don’t bite. We only bite together in groups and when we smell fear, which brings us back to fear management.

L: All well thought out then.

P: Yes. Are you sure you don’t want that coffee? It’s free!

L: No, thank you.

 

L: Final question, what was the best advise you’ve ever received?

P: Hire fast and fire even faster. Made today, gone today.

L: Thank you.

P: Well, that was fun!

L: Yeah, wasn’t that bad, was it? It must feel good to be honest.

P: Absolutely, never thought it would feel so relieving. I’ve learned a lot about myself today. Well, unfortunately, since it is lunch time I have to get back to the pub with my OPs managers for a few pints while our good and hard working people make it happen for us.

L: Of course, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. And thank you for this imaginary but honest and open interview.

P: Any time! And let me know whenever you want that free coffee 😉

L: Thank you. But no thank you. I am on my way to interview Sainsbury’s, one of the big ones to have signed up for the Disability Confident employer scheme, I want to avoid too many toilet breaks during this important interview.

P: Disability what?

 

L: Never mind, you wouldn’t be interested in that.

P: I guess you’re right. We need to keep that fear thing going.

L: That’s what I meant. Thanks again. See you again soon. *not*

P: Yes, oh while you are with them, could you ask them if they would be keen to have a Pret shop inside their supermarkets, like Costa does with Tesco with those rather unhygienic automates? That way at least we could Pret-end again to be part of this Disability thing you talk about without really being part of it of course. 😉

L: I see what I can do… *not*

 

Late Night Girl2

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

 

PRet A Manger

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter Pret

 

and then:

 

Twitter Pret2

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

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

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

 

Twitter Clive

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

images.washingtonpost.com

A tutorial

 

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

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

 

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

Twitter Wareham PAMSU

 

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

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

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

McStrike & Pret A Grève

… or what would be the French term for “strike”. Pret employees most likely won’t strike because they are being bribed now with £1000 while still experiencing extremely stressful work situations on a daily basis.

I have been boycotting McDonald’s for years, in fact I only ate there two, no more than three times and only because friends wanted to go. I just joined for my friend’s sake, but I always regretted it to have wasted my money there. Apart from the terrible food which shouldn’t be called “food”, the main reason I refuse to go to McD’s (for life) has always been the way they treat their staff. I can forgive a bad dish once in a while, but I cannot accept how poorly staff are treated and it is always something I pay attention to when I am eating out in a restaurant. How is the supervisor or owner of the restaurant treating their staff.

FastFoodStrikes_Clown

In Germany a few years back there was a huge scandal on staff mistreatment at Lidl, where Lidl would spy on their staff with hidden cameras, bullied them, unfairly sacked or pressured them. Many news and undercover reports brought this to light. I boycotted Lidl for over a year in London, even though London’s Lidl didn’t seem affected by this. But since the news reports things have improved in Lidl and I started to shop there again.

It is relatively new and about time that fast-food workers go on strike, with Unions across the globe taking a closer look at the giants who exploit employees on every corner. I have no words except that even while Pret gives a little more here and there to staff, the experience is the same, apart from the bullying, I always felt devalued, patronized, discriminated and was held low. I was more the outspoken type of employee, so it was very clear that I was to be held low and would never grow through the ranks, nor did I want to.

I showed interest to see what my line managers would say, and it was always very patronizing, one OPs said to me as I was known for having highly organized teams and shops, saying, “Just make sure the shop looks immaculate.” That was when I knew I would not be going far in Pret. But even if I had the chance, I still could not have done it, as to grow up the ladder as a manager you would have to cut hours and take as much as possible from staff who are the backbone of the business. I can never do that.

And it is the same everywhere. Even when a company starts off well, the temptation of the potential of sick amounts of money is just too grave to resist getting corrupted. Very sad. But I sleep well at nights, and will never be remembered for a dishonest person taking advantage of people. I will be known for all the ill behaviour and craziness from my trauma, but not for being corrupt and discriminating. And that is enough for me.

 

Fast-Food-Strike-PlannedPLUS-Pret

 

And like these employees who went down the right route of raising grievances, doing everything according to procedure, they were ignored. I was tricked and trapped by the HR dept. It’s just the same story, just masked differently.

 

First UK McStrike

 

The only way are Unions. If you are not in a Union yet, join one, without it you have no chance. I had to learn this the hard way. Big corporations do not understand fair-play, open cards and integrity, they laugh at it. Take it from me, in my illness I received the nickname “late night girl” from Pret’s CEO who just had a laugh about my illness.

 

 

Ian Hodson, President of Baker’s Food Allied Workers Union

 

Andrej Stopa – Pret A Manger Staff Union

 

 

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

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