HeRo Boss Pia Meier – Colleagues Donate Overtime

 

Interview:

 

 

Adam

 

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

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

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

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 

 


 

 

2 Video Reports and 1 Article with English translations:

 

 

 

Extended Interview with HR boss Pia Meier:

 

 

Donating overtime? Not possible say legal experts. Indeed possible says HR Director Pia Meier – and prevailed.

An interview
Seidel Gi Zeitung

 

 

herMoney: Mrs. Meier, as the HR Director of Seidel GmbH & Co KG you found yourself in the headlines. Are you surprised by this immense media attention?

Pia Meier: Yes, I never expected that what is so natural to me would be of great interest to so many people…

 

herMoney: “Natural” doesn’t seem natural these days. Your employees donated 3300 hours of overtime for one colleague so he can care for his son who was diagnosed with leukemia. How did this campaign come about?

Pia Meier: A colleague from the production department approached me and asked if I knew about the child of a colleague that has become gravely ill. I didn’t know about this and phoned this employee to inquire about it myself. He already used all of his annual leave and at once submitted his resignation to continue to care for his son, as his son was his priority. But for me this wasn’t an option, a resignation was completely out of the question. So I liaised with my boss and the leadership of our works committee, and we came up with a plan.

 

What did the plan look like?

Initially the company supported his family financially. And then we wrote to each of the 700 employees explaining the situation and asked if anyone would be willing to donate overtime. Within two weeks we accumulated 3300 hours in total.

 

Did all employees participate?

Yes, including the leadership who gave each 100 hours towards this campaign. This touched so many co-workers, including myself, and welded us closer together as colleagues. More or less we managed to get so many hours together that this colleague could take the better part of 1.5 years paid leave to be with his ill son – while receiving his entire salary including Christmas bonus, without fear of losing his job.

 

Does your employer support this project?

(laughs) Dr. Andreas Ritzenhoff, CEO and owner of Seidel isn’t actually a business economist, but a medical doctor. He inherited the company from his father and it was always his desire to lead the company with this approach. So we, as well as the works committee believe in and live the same values and pull together under these principles.

 

Your CEO studied medicine, you at first worked as a practice nurse and later became a multilingual secretary. It seems an unusual leadership duo…

If I was a legal professional I would not have considered such an option. Legal professionals think different, legal questions and ramifications are paramount to them. And as a legal professional I would probably have thought first of all the implications regarding taxes. Even law professors wrote to me and asked me how I managed to get away with this, as by law it isn’t allowed to transfer overtime between employees.

 

And what was your response?

That employment contracts are individual agreements. The transfer of overtime though is complicated for the tax office. We might still face some consequences regarding this, but we take this upon us for the sake of a good outcome for this colleague. On the other hand the finance secretary of the state of Hessen, Thomas Schäfer personally presented us with the „Menschen des Respekts“ (People of Respect) award on behalf of the regional government. In case his finance office embarks on penalizing us for “monetary benefits”, he would then have to explain himself!

 

pia-meier-titel-2-1

Pia Meier

 

Back to you: You have had a remarkable career. How does one go from a practice nurse and later multilingual secretary to becoming the Director of HR in a company with 700 employees?

That’s a long story. After my graduation as a multilingual secretary I worked as the assistant to the CEO. When the previous Director of HR left the company, my boss asked me if I could fill the spot temporarily to liaise with the works committee. Apparently I did my job very well. After a few months the leadership of the committee approached Dr. Ritzenhoff and suggested to promote me to be the new Director of HR.

 

Were you apprehensive to fulfill this job-role?

Of course I was. My first reaction was, “Oh goodness, how on earth can I fill these shoes”. “I am not a lawyer.” But I soon realized that this isn’t even important. Vital for this job is the interpersonal skills and the sense for people. If I do need some legal advise I would employ professionals. Heart and compassion are central in relation to working with people, you cannot buy emotional intelligence.

 

Apart from the campaign with the overtime donations, you have also helped others in unique ways. Is professional and private life inseparable for you?

Absolutely, you can’t cut off the private person from the professional. When someone has personal problems it will always affect their work. That is why I offer every employee support, but I don’t force it upon them. My colleagues know about this opportunity for help and are not shy either to approach me if they need to. For example one time two colleagues stood at my doorstep with their young child. They showed me an eviction note and were very distraught. The date of the eviction was the following day…

 


Were you able to help?

I immediately phoned the mayor of the city of Marburg whom I know is a member of the executive council of the Housing Association to plead with him to halt the eviction. And then I negotiated with the creditors. In the end we were able to reduce the debt from 25,000€ to 9,000€. Before the credit investigation office was satisfied to close the case, our company bridged the gap financially. Today these employees repay this through a borrowing rate of 3.3% interest from the bank and are paying it off in small instalments. They were able to keep their apartment and jobs.

 

Is your social activity not taken advantage of at times?

Of course you have to be careful, but it doesn’t happen. Maybe because I know our employees very well and am really interested in their well-being. But I also would not recommend for anyone to mislead me – I have a zero tolerance for dishonesty. Commitment is very important to us. Everyone deserves a chance, but if anyone plays foul they will have to leave the company.

 

You say that you take a strong interest in the well-being and life of your colleagues, do you think this is particularly a female attribute? Or to rephrase: do women lead differently than men?

Yes, I think so. Maybe it is the maternal instinct that we bring to the table. We women don’t just see the worker, but the human behind it. In recent years the number of leading women has risen. Since the foundation of the company in 1830 a woman has taken on the leadership of production now. And even in the product development and project management women are leading the departments.

 

In the global competitive market, can a company afford to be “human” in all its forms, strengths as well as weaknesses?

With all the developments and changes that are happening, we cannot remove the heart and the core of a person. And in the long-run the contest of skilled and specialist workers in the selection process will separate the wheat from the chaff. I experience again and again that skilled specialists choose to work with us, even when they would receive a higher salary in another company. If staff is not seen and respected as human beings, they will in the long-run burn out. I am absolutely convinced of that. And our approach seems to be paying off. In 2017 we had the best results to date in the history of our company.

 

Seidel Gi Zeitung2

Presentation of “People of Respect” Award, from left to right: CEO Dr. Ritzenhoff, Andreas Graf father of Julius, Finance Minister Thomas Schäfer, Head of Works Committee Kai Deuker and HR Director Pia Meier.

 

 

Pia Meier is the Director of HR since seven years and is a member of the executive leadership team of Seidel GmbH & Co KG [Inc.] ( www.seidel.de/en ). Established in 1830, the company with its 700 employees is the global leader in aluminum design products, specialising in packaging and containers for the cosmetic industry. In the spring of 2018 the personnel of Seidel was presented the “People of Respect” award from the State of Hessen for their unparalleled support towards their colleague Andreas Graf.

 

Seidel Gi Zeitung3

Andreas and Julius Graf

 

Translated from the German interview: Führen mit Herz und Verstand – Leading with heart (compassion) and mind (common sense). In other words, in an organisation with a healthy HR department and management to lead with heart/compassion in corporation with the practical mind/common sense excecuting what the heart prompts, it’s a “no-brainer” and win-win for all, employer AND employee alike. 

Translated by expret.org aka LateNightGirl.org aka poetrasblok.com

 

My additional comments: I really love the clear and strong message on their website regarding their core values and what they stand for in relation to their employees and work ethics. It is unmistakably clear what policy they have in place, and this in turn is visible in their support as well as success of their workforce.

Their leadership guidelines are like music to my ears, something I always deeply believed in and tried to implement with the teams I worked with, no matter how hard the company was I worked under. A clear stance from the company leadership is paramount for the protection, growth and success of any workplace.

I particularly love the last sentence and cannot stop tearing up when reading this: “Leadership through Perspective: Our managers are to put themselves into their colleagues’ place in order to see the situation through the employee’s eyes and instruct the employee based on this perspective. This encourages the employee to carefully re-think their impulses for the future and to modify towards the instructed approach.”

Leadership Guidelines

 


 

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

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

12 Ways of the Pret Mess

 

Poop

 

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

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

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

 

 

The 12 Ways of the Pret Mess

 

The worst way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

a Development Manager’s grief

 

The second way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The third way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s abuse

 

The fourth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The fifth way that Pret messed

with me-e once bereaved

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The sixth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The seventh way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The eighth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The ninth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s abuse

 

The tenth way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Ten Flawed Hearings

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

The eleventh way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

Eleven Unpaid Wages

Ten Flawed Hearings

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s abuse

 

The 12th way that Pret messed

with me once bereaved

12 HR Corruptions

Ten Flawed Hearings

Nine Shady Branches

Eight Favours Faking

Seven Hopes a-Slimming

Six Untrained GMs

Five Hidden Lies

Four Raising Voices

Three Months off Sick

Two bully bosses

and a Development Manager’s grief

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department

 

… and how it poisoned me. What I have survived in a workplace that only cares for profit and the rest is just PR, has traumatized me so much on top of going through personal loss already. I have not dealt with this how I wished I would have, but I had no tools and am still learning how best to deal with this. I haven’t even started to come to terms about my brother and have lost myself in darkness and fear where I couldn’t see right from left.

Even with all the distance now to Pret and a lot of thoughts in hindsight, if I wouldn’t have all this in writing I would still shake my head in disbelief as if I just came out of a long and twisted Hollywood movie.

Regular readers know the story, so this will be a repeat, sorry for this, but I am still recovering and working through it all with the help of Therapy as well as sieving through the writings, emails etc. But I want to move away from writing in metaphors. I used metaphors a lot like the “Pret A Monkey Business” post to help me cope with the blunt memory of this “experience” that had me almost killed and try to make sense what happened and why.

 

head-1597565__340

 

I want to describe what to me was the greatest perversion I have experienced in Pret (or anywhere at that), twisted chain of events I have never experienced in my life anywhere. I lived and worked in three countries, traveled in more, lived and worked with countless people from all walks of life, from various countries, of different ages. I worked in several companies, mostly in the hospitality and service industry, had relationships, friendships, colleagues, bosses and had my share of betrayal and disappointments, like everyone. But I have never ever experienced the level of trauma, intrigue and viciousness that I experienced in Pret A Manger.

This is something I would expect in a law firm and certainly in politics, but a sandwich chain?? Maybe because I never experienced such dishonesty and trickery, I fell for it so easily. But I need to be kinder with myself and not keep blaming myself. Even if I would have experienced anything close to it, I was so traumatized already with the loss of my brother, which in itself was so out of this world, weird, unclear, with puzzle pieces I still have to put together.

Not having known for 5 weeks that he has died and was completely gone, already cremated without our consent in a country as efficient as Germany with its ID system. For us not being found still has me paralyzed how this could even happen. I recently found a video on YouTube where a family in the U.S. went through a similar event, losing a family member, not knowing that he died and was already cremated! I am not consoled that this happened to this family, but not feeling alone in a nightmare like this does help a little.

 

 

From the get go of my loss and all the terrible circumstances around it, I had not only no support in Pret apart from the basic stuff the company offers and then later when I contacted the CEO, but I was bullied in shop after shop as this is an issue with leadership which I also listed on one page from other current and former staff members. If a company does not have a clear policy for bereaved employees in place, like it has for pregnant women’s health and safety, a clear stand on homophobic and other discrimination issues, than managers are left to themselves. They have to figure out what to do, and most managers are overwhelmed, not trained, have no confidence which then manifests in leadership avoiding the bereaved at best and get angry at worst, or both. I went through it all.

Early on I approached HR informally to “help” them, where in reality I desperately needed help! I gave suggestions, even looked online for material and passed it on to HR, to managers and to area managers. But in my naive attempt to help them help me, I did not realize how uncomfortable the subject of death and grief is. A bereaved employee, especially if the loss is traumatic, quickly becomes an inconvenience.

Jimmy Edmonds from The Good Grief Project earlier this year shared in a Q&A in cinema where his film about grief was shown, that in Victorian times people frequently spoke about death, dying and grief. It was completely acceptable and normal to talk about death. But it was taboo to talk about sex. And today it’s the complete opposite. With the Good Grief Project they produce films, and travel to share and hear experiences of grief. They make the subject of death, dying and grief accessible in this day and age where we hide from this subject that will come to us all sooner or later. But they don’t do this in a gloomy way, I for one find it very relieving, and paradoxically lively the way they deal with this. It takes the sting out of this inevitable issue.

I wish I’d known their project early on in my own grief and in trying to find my way around the Pret maze where it felt like I was going through a war zone emotionally, and every step I took in a mine field could have been explosive, as it was many times.

I shared in several posts the different situations and bullying I went through. In a nutshell it was everything except physical and sexual violence. But I was shouted at repeatedly by different managers, as this is very common in Pret. I was avoided, not invited to leaders’ meetings, even a leader’s Christmas dinner days after my dad woke from his coma and I returned to London to earn money to visit him again, I wasn’t invited to the dinner. I wasn’t given information that I needed to do my job and when I made a mistake I was solely blamed. I was told off in front of my team as well as in group emails where the area manager was constantly copied in. It didn’t matter how I turned, it was always wrong and I felt with my back against the wall.

In all this I kept blaming myself mixed with the guilt of having let my brother down and silly things like not having replied to his last email to me five weeks before he died. The regret of not having emailed him back, and then five weeks after he died having received the news of his death via an email, all the group emails that my then line manager sent where he told me off several times or blamed me, and then later the emails I read between HR and managers about me. With all these email incidences I started to spiral into an ill emailing sprint that lasted many months.

It became so out of hand that I cried out to a line manager who just shrugged it off and even laughed with the leadership team. I brainstormed with therapist after therapist on how to stop this sickness, they couldn’t even diagnose what this is. Clive Schlee, CEO would later label me his “late night girl” to the Director of HR, due to late night emails to Pret (as well as my friends, therapists, anyone). He had a laugh two months before I was dismissed for emailing. I couldn’t stop, I went into a writing cramp again with my dad in a coma, coming to terms with another blow. I only started to come out of this writing cramp when I started this blog.

But the perversion I am speaking about really got to its peak when HR tasked a Development Manager from HQ to give me a disciplinary for the emailing. Up until then the Head of HR & Recruitment would deal a lot with my situation, after I contacted the CEO who then put the Head of HR on my case, as the bullying increased and no manager knew how to be normal, let alone empathetic. I approached HR and managers for almost a year, but was constantly sent away. One particular People Business Partner was heavily involved and already part from the beginning in my first approach to make suggestions to HR. I later raised a grievance against him after I read his emails and his involvement when I applied for my file. But of course it was a waste of time. I was just extremely out-of-sync.

I even apologized for a nervous breakdown I had two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death, where the same line manager who would tell me off in the group emails and blame me constantly, rebuked me again in front of my team, and I just broke down.

But approaching HR and any leader didn’t help, I was sweet-talked and sent away … again. And I kept apologizing even though I had nothing to apologize for but needed an apology from those who targeted me for months under the guidance of HR. This was then when I finally contacted the CEO, something by the way one can see on Twitter keeps happening where employees contact Pret openly because they don’t get help from their managers or HR.

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet2

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet3

Link

 

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

 

Link

 

And one just from yesterday:

 

2018-11-01 Homophobic Complaint1

Link

 

— & — Pret’s generic response because it’s public:

 

2018-11-02 Homophobic Complaint deleted2

 

I know, I know, I tweet a lot 😉 But the reason for this is that most people still don’t understand the turmoil and because I gave Pret the benefit of the doubt time and time again while they had a laugh and I almost killed myself! The tweeting will eventually cease.

 

But because my concerns and trauma with the managers where constantly ignored or I was sent away, I went into extensive emailing which increased when I drank as I couldn’t cope with the grief and what happened at work. Later I applied for my file as I tried to understand why this happened to me, and one email had me shocked, one of many emails that had me shocked, but this one was from an HR Advisor who was at first involved in trying to put me on performance targets that would lead to disciplinaries, and a disciplinary quickly leads to dismissal, even though I performed extremely well, especially under traumatic bereavement on autopilot. This among the other emails between HR and managers, the email bringing me the news of my brother’s death and the group emails from a line manager had me spiral into emailing, which I explain extensively in another blog entry.

In this email from the HR Advisor to the area manager, the HR person is trying to come up with a plan but wants to first liaise with the PBP who was involved from the beginning and was present in the first informal meeting where I approached HR with suggestions. The HR Advisor even writes that she thinks that my “case” is going to be “very complicated”, meaning because I am bereaved they cannot just get rid of me, at least cut me down from my leadership position, as this would be blunt discrimination and would not look good on the company.

Side note, this HR Advisor later changed direction when she heard MY side for the first time and raised my experience as a grievance against this area manager to whom she wrote that my case would be complicated. But in the grievance hearing she wasn’t present even though she said she would be, which started a whole host of confusion and deeper trauma. This email is a response from the HR person to the area manager who forwarded my email, where I asked for a meeting with my line manager and area manager as the bullying got worse. But not only were they never willing to sit down and speak openly to clear up any misunderstanding there may have been, but they were then even advised by HR to not have any meetings with me until further notice:

 

2015-08-24-complicated-case-with-plan.jpg

 

Quote for larger print: “Thanks for sending this (my email asking for a meeting) through. I have a few ideas of how to proceed but as I think this is going to be a very complicated case I’ll pick up with XXXX (the PBP involved since the beginning) tomorrow and will get back to you very soon. In the meantime, please can you and XXX (line manager) avoid having any formal/informal meeting with XXX (me) until I get back to you with a plan of how to proceed with this.”

 

This area manager who targeted me for months, using this line manager and other leaders from the area, would not meet with me, even before this HR person’s request to avoid any meeting with me. She only had one meeting where she held an “informal” meeting while taking notes that she emailed me after the meeting, and in the meeting gave me a list of things that she wasn’t happy with. But this list was completely banal and it looked very obvious that she was targeting me for the tiniest thing, whereas my colleagues made much bigger and more serious mistakes. It was ridiculous, but it traumatized me further because I felt like no matter how I turned, there was a trap laid out. And up until that time the HR Advisor only had the PBP and the area manager’s version of events, until she heard my side and then raised it as a grievance against these managers. But the grievance hearing, the first of many, was a joke, which I cover partly in other blog posts in a sarcastic way where Pret has all these “How To Cards” for every peep and poop micromanaging the staff. I just turned it around.

 

Fasting forward, after all my emailing and the continued bullying where I continued to be avoided, not given important info, not invited to meetings, my hours cut to minimum, even though I was desperate to work more as my finances were low since my brother died. I used all my savings for travel, bills etc. I became suicidal and had several close calls where I would leave work to go home but headed straight for the bridge.

HR then came up with the most perverse “plan” that I still have to get my head around. I scratched on this and wrote extensively, but more in metaphors to come to terms. Using a Development Manager to give me a disciplinary, she told me in the hearing that she also had a brother who died in his flat and was not discovered until days later. Just like my brother. Our stories are so similar that I broke and embraced the disciplinary assuming Pret now really supports me. I was so ill with the emailing and wanted to get away from this writing cramp, that I felt supported after all the pretense support since involving the CEO. I even improved and moved away from emailing for a while as I bought this trick thinking they supported me. But in reality they stepped on her and my dignity, using a bereaved employee against another bereaved employee, especially with such similar stories (if it’s true, I don’t even know anymore). Instead of getting us connected to support each other in our common grief which they could have easily done, they just used her against me. I still feel sick to my stomach even while writing this.

She gave me the disciplinary for my emailing but the next day entered into secret contact with me, even though HR of course knew as this was the plan, not to support me (and her) but to get rid of me as a disciplinary is the first step towards dismissal. And not only did she enter into private contact, she did solely via text message and email for which she sanctioned me in the first place! Hello??!! I don’t have to explain how confusing and distressing the following weeks and months became. To make it worse, she allowed Pret to use her personal loss and went further by manipulating me and what a Psychologist assessing me labeled as her “abusing” me. This Development Manager is a Hypnotherapist (registered under the National Hypnotherapy Society), an NLP practitioner (as several managers in Pret are) and in 2017 studied to become a Psychotherapist. Hypnotherapy and NLP can easily be used to manipulate people, and they did that well.

Early on in our secret contact, as she wasn’t allowed to be in private communication as the hearing manager (but Pret of course knew unofficially), she wanted to meet up and interview me for an Essay on anger that she wrote for her university studies. She thought it would be great to have my input as I was very angry because of how my brother died and all the mystery about it, and the added turmoil with Pret. Of course I was angry! But I declined being interviewed as I didn’t know her and didn’t want to be her guinea pig. And from the beginning all of this was confusing, but I was so traumatized, in dark grief, anxiety, confusion, I couldn’t put two and two together, like I can now in hindsight and distance.

I did file a tribunal claim but withdrew which I explain in this post. And that is one reason why Pret does not block me on Twitter, so they can use all my Tweets in court should I file a second time. I have declined four settlement offers in turn to be silent and never go to court, including going to court against the Development Manager who is protected in her job regardless what she has done and allowed them to do through her.

But most every leader, HR person, this Development Manager while not having a clear policy to protect bereaved employees against discrimination, most of them were picking and choosing what for them was “useful”. The Head of HR met with me after I contacted the CEO for help (before I realized the game they were all playing) and in the first meeting he asked me to score on a scale of 1 – 10 how it was meeting with him. Again, confused about a question like this I wasn’t impressed to meet with a “big gun” as I just wanted my line managers to be confident and normal with me, not bullying and avoiding me. I wasn’t interested in scratching his ego because he is wohooo a big gun meeting with a “plastic pistol”! And the first time he offered me a settlement, when he left he wanted a “cuddle”, and again I just thought what does he want? Does he want me to leave or does he want a cuddle?! He can’t have both!

Or an area manager who after she got to know me wanted to stay in contact even if I left Pret as she said I have so much insight into many things. And yet this area manager held a dodgy grievance hearing where I met her initially and later forwarded my emails to my line manager who also held me low.

Or the Development Manager wanting my input for her Psychotherapy studies.

Or a line manager who would not let me leave his shop because I worked so well and helped bring success to his shop, he would not let me leave even after I raised a grievance against him. I had to firmly beg to get a transfer as I couldn’t work under his manipulative ways anymore.

I was like a supermarket for them where these “leaders” just helped themselves! My confidence was completely lost with the death of my brother and what happened in Pret. Anyone who has gone through loss, especially a traumatic loss will have the ground pulled from underneath their feet. You feel like you are on an emotional free-fall and never hit the ground. Everything is insecure, existential fears, even if irrational, are magnified ten times over. One of my line managers would laugh when I had a minor panic attack in the shop. He just laughed and said “Haha, I never saw you that scared” laughing further… Sure it was his insecurity, but what the f***!!!! They used my vulnerability well and trampled on my dignity repeatedly! I even would apologize where I had nothing to apologize for. I was just on constant electricity, hyper vigilant and in a panic mode.

This is why at times I have completely wiped out my Facebook and Twitter followers, because I fell into this paranoia of fear, thinking what the heck do people want from me. Of course it is stupid and irrational, but it’s my only explanation why I act like this at times, especially when I drank something. So, that’s another thing I’m working on, but it is much better. To all who have been “kicked out” from Twitter and / or Facebook, it’s not you, it’s me! Apologies again! Of course some people I have blocked consciously as they were either trolls or disrespectful.

This perversion of this toxic HR department using a Development Manager, who isn’t even an HR personnel, who lost her brother like I lost mine in such similar circumstances, has topped everything they have done. It is beyond me how educated, elitist people, from wealthy to middle class backgrounds with university degrees and even Therapists backgrounds, can stoop so low to use and be used in such undignified ways. It is amazing. The Development Manager could and should have declined doing the disciplinary and instead offered to support me outside the sanction. But she chose to play their game, maybe out of fear, maybe she got a promotion, a pay-rise, she certainly has gotten the protection of the Head of HR. But whatever her reason, she should have been woman enough to respectfully decline and asked to not be the hearing manager as she had personal conflict.

Pret will find a way to get back at me for making this public. So be it! I neither fear them, nor have anything to lose anymore, and any job reference they will do to my disadvantage, I am not in the slightest bothered anymore. And they will come with another trick in the future, @ Pret I wholeheartedly don’t care whatsoever.

People get hurt in such traumatic and dishonest ways. I have lived long enough to know that corrupt people and companies will get their fair share of exposure sooner or later. I am not worried about that at all. Even hiding two customers deaths under the carpet and not dealing with the allergen label promptly says it all!

 

 

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

― Anne Lamott

 

 

This is my story and I take the liberty to share it with the world after having given 10 years of my life to a company that was not worth my while. The last three year in Pret where so traumatic and surreal like living in Twilight Zone! I still don’t know how I survived this and am still recovering. Pret and any company or person forgets that when you don’t support the vulnerable, be it children, the elderly, sick people or traumatized and bereaved people, when you step on them while they are already on the ground, the time will come where children grow up and the vulnerable will become strong again if they survive. And then they will share their experience and/or retaliate through court or publication, standing up with other sufferers in unity. And with Pret I believe the time will come where more people will cut through the bull-crap and say enough is enough, and overcome the fear and intimidation of these giants, who in reality are dwarfs hiding behind their inflated shadow of fear management.

 

dwarf

 

Anyone who has come in contact with me has also been at the receiving end of my irrational fears and paranoia, especially when I drank something. I fall into this extreme fear of not knowing who to trust, as what Pret has done has so messed with my head, that I feel like a human going through an alien zone trying to figure out who’s the human and who’s the alien masquerading as a human. Sounds whacked up I know, but this is how I can describe it. Pret’s HR department especially are so skilled in being nice on the front, while behind this is another motive. Maybe I was this dwarf that became a deflated giant scaring people unnecessarily!

And many of you are very kind and patient, and I will always be indebted to you for this, and in time I will “repay” you for your kindness!

Thank you for reading and if I can give anyone any advise, join a Union and trust yourself, no matter how messed up you feel or indeed are!

 


 

Update 10.11.2018

A review from a former Pret staff from NYC who puts it in brief and better words than my long posts:

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

Substantial list of staff complaints from other websites.

 


 

UPDATE March 2019 – The first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview.

Interview:

 

 

Adam

 

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

We spoke about gaslighting, “shadow banning” and censorship on social media, as well as bereavement, trauma and mental health in general. I further talked about the significant timing of Pret CEO’s announcement of the £1000 Tweet for all staff. I also talked about a regular day in Pret and how staff have to cut corners, in order to fulfill the immense workload under constant pressure.

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

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 

 

©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.

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Pret A Mathematics – 10 Hearings – 20 People – 17 Women – 3 Men

 

Many people in the public and mainstream media don’t want to know about my trauma with Pret A Manger. The mask that Pret wears since decades gets new make-up on with every charity and good deed they publish, no matter how many customers die or staff end their life.

 


 

UPDATE 10. March 2019

I saw a play last night by Byrony Kimmings that was the best play I’ve ever seen, and I go to many plays, concerts, events etc. since years. The only cultural “event” I’m not too keen on is cinema, but live shows, theater, concerts, fringe, West End … anything live does it for me. The “all-round” production last night that touched me, not only because it was autobiographical but unexpectedly creative, bursting with creativity and imagination turning trauma into storytelling like I’ve never experienced! I wrote a review after returning home that the standing ovation was an understatement. Rising to the ceiling and applauding on our heads wouldn’t have done it justice!

This play helped me to be even more determined now to keep telling my story of trauma, no matter who wants to hear, even block me on Twitter, look away, keep believing the bullcrap Pret presents… It’s my story and many others’… My only regret last night was that I just stumbled upon the play just yesterday morning online and it was the last night of performance! 😦

But I’m a Phoenix (too), Bitch! And I am learning to tell my story in a more lighter way for bite-sized portions to digest.

 


 

Pret uses women against women, bereaved against bereaved, staff against staff …

I went through 10 hearings in Pret A Manger.

In the 10 hearings held by 20 people (10 HR Personnel/Note-takers and 10 OPs/Group Managers) 17 of the 20 people were women, only 3 were men.

I ask if this is discrimination, lack of male staff, was I as a woman too strong for men or were women used against women! A mix of all this for sure.

Pret’s HR department under the Head of HR and the PBP who was instrumental in targeting me (and of course since been promoted), have dealt with my situation typically for a toxic HR department, catering to a CEO who does not want to get his hands dirty in the hiring and firing of staff. Instead, he “pret-ends” (sorry, can’t help the word play!) that my emailing was wrong while calling me his “late night girl”, having a laugh about bereaved and traumatized employees. Even using another bereaved employee from HQ who had the same loss of her brother. And then letting HR via a female OPs fire me while my dad was in intensive care just out of a three week coma.

There is no company that I have ever worked in or even known from friends’ workplace, that I have experienced as such toxic and corrupt company as Pret A Manger.

You heads of departments, CEO, directors … thanks for reading, maybe one day you have the courage to respond without your usual tricks and traps and dishonesty. You hurt people, you destroy lives, you are dangerous for people’s mental and physical health, no matter if staff or customers. No amount of money and position can help your conscience.

 

 

hr 17 vs 3

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post. I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California. Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

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THE Song for Times Like These

 

Chapman

 

Timeless as history keeps repeating itself.

 

 

Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution

 

Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don’t you know
Talkin’ ’bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Poor people gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

Don’t you know
You better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run
Oh I said you better
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run

‘Cause finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ bout a revolution
Yes, finally the tables are starting to turn
Talkin’ bout a revolution, going on
Talkin’ bout a revolution, going on

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

 

— Tracy Chapman

 

 

The Cost of Systemic Workplace Bullying – 2

 

As I tend to not want to waste time as life is short and no-one is guaranteed another second on this earth, I went straight into the ultimate cost of systemic workplace bullying in my first post, the cost of life. Death by suicide.

In this second post I want to highlight a precursor to suicide: mental health, mental illness in all its forms.

What bullying does to mental health and how I am experiencing it in my struggle to recover is very simple.

 

pexels-photo-278303

 

Systemic bullying sends a distorted and twisted message to the mind.

In a nutshell, if you are in a room with 10 people and 1 person is treating you disrespectfully or attacks you, while 9 people treat you kindly and respectfully, you think to yourself ‘What’s wrong with that person?’

If you are in a room with ten people and 1 person is treating you respectfully and kind, while 9 people treat you with contempt, disrespectfully, attack or exclude you, you think to yourself ‘What’s wrong with me?’

That is what systemic bullying does to the mind and mental health.

Systemic bullying from a group is like democracy gone wrong!

It is not always the majority that is right! It is the majority that is set up of individuals who have their own set of “values”. They have little to no values and principles that are universal and that robs them of courage, blinding them to opportunities to make a positive, and sometimes even life-saving difference.

 

pexels-photo-568021

 

One of my favourite poems by Emily Dickinson, which I interpret in my own way and a favourite poem in general, always reminds me to chose my crowd carefully:

 

The Soul selects her own Society —
Then — shuts the Door —
To her divine Majority —
Present no more —

Unmoved — she notes the Chariots — pausing —
At her low Gate —
Unmoved — an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat —

I’ve known her — from an ample nation —
Choose One —
Then — close the Valves of her attention —
Like Stone — 

 --- Emily Dickinson

 

I choose my society based on the values that I have. And if a majority chooses to bully an individual or a certain people group, then there is something wrong at the foundation of the values and principles of that majority.

If a company does not have a clear zero tolerance on workplace bullying, than I question the foundation on which this company builds their “values” on.

Mental illness is the cost of systemic bullying and is the precursor to suicide.

Is this really the legacy and the cost a company is willing to have on their record, as I believe things will always come to light sooner or later, unless it is dealt with from the root at top levels.

 

Bullying at work

 

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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.

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Quote of the Day #16 – Poor A Manger

 

Facebooks-Dislike-Button-Could-Get-a-Big-Thumbs-Down-Itself

 

I leave the quote as is without correcting the spelling just to leave it in their own words.

 

“Poor and terrible management.”

i was really looking forward to start my new job back in april this year, my first manger was ok then i had a new one start and my rotas were never correct and on many occasions i went to work to be told i wasnt working, ive just gone back to work after a holiday and after two occasions of phoning to be told i wasnt working i went into work to be told by the manger i had been sacked for not attending !!!! really disappointed and angry with the way ive been treated

Yes, if you were a customer being treated poorly you would get a massive apology and a voucher from Pret after complaining to them. The manager would get into trouble who in turn will put the team member into trouble. Sorry that you were “only” a staff member with no value to them.

And yes, I’ve been there, too. My rota was on a certain schedule, I came in at 5am just to be told that I’m either off that day or due to start at 11am as the manager just changed the rota without first of all asking me and secondly not being bothered informing me of the rota change.

You make plans for the afternoon as you assume you start at 5am just to have to struggle with the manager to get your initial 5am shift back as you made plans for the day/week.

This is typical behaviour from managers who then pressure you to cancel your private plans or look for another shop or job. It is deeply ingrained in management who are incapable and do what they want. Very poor.

 

2018-07-11 Quote Pret #16

Team Member, Crawley

 

 

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Quote of the Day #15 – Pret Annihilate Humanity

 

Breaking up the review into sections (bold high-lights by me), the whole of this review needs to be highlighted because it is more than true! As usual I leave any mistakes in to keep it in their own words.

Before you read the below review, please sit down, take a deep breath and make sure you are not eating anything that might get stuck in your throat.

 

alcohol-hangover-event-death-52507

 

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

 

You start work at 4:30 in the morning when its dark and you finish at 16:30 when its dark again in the winter and you spend your whole day in the kitchen without windows where its very very cold, 4-5 degree and you are required to wear the short sleeved uniform because they are always under staffed and you might have to run on till at any point of the day.

There is painfully loud music in the kitchen so that you dont talk with the others because this is slowing you down and you have a timer that beeps every so minutes and you have to race and assemble sandwiches as fast as you can which is like a game at first but it becomes very stressful with time and you are always late, always behind and if you somehow manage to finish for the time set the next day they give you more stuff to make in the same time. Its all about productivity.

I spend 6 months racing all day and barely spoke 3-5 words a day on my shifts if I’m not on till where you are required to have the widest fake smile on earth, highly pitched voice and again be as fast as possible, its all a race. Everywhere its very noisy and very busy and you are always behind and the stress builds up so much that me and many of my colleagues had to take pills for sleep because you hear the noise in your head when you get home after work and we had this random mental break downs where you are crying on your lunch break without any real reason, its just tears coming out of your eyes and you cant stop.

The giant corporation is making wealth from squeezing every drop of “productivity” from the employees and when people break and quit there are always more desperate poor students or immigrants willing to take their position. People work there no more than 3-6 months but there are people that are ok with being on autopilot all day and can deal with the lack of any thoughts in their head day after day after day.

There is no place for thoughts, just reflexes. You do the same stuff over and over and over as fast as possible every day and when you get home you either drink or you you act drunk because when someone asks you something you cant answer. You just stand there like a vegetable and try not to shake, humming and trying to suppress the chaotic noise in your head.

 

BINGO!!! Every dot and comma of this review is 150% spot on!!

 

So, understandably that Pret is now desperate for staff, giving £1000 to each employee as Brexit is advancing fast. £1K that would take 10 years of service to receive, they now throw out at all employees even new staff (which is peanuts for Pret) to gain and retain staff.

Lucky Pret, they fired me 5 months short of my 10 years’ service while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. But lucky me I survived to talk about my ordeal!
The above will only get worse with the new take over by JAB based in tax haven Luxembourg! At current and new Pret staff, take the money and run! Good luck!

 

pexels-photo-271171

 

Quote of the Day:

LINK >>> “You will lose everything that makes you human.” !!!

 

2018-07-12 Quote Pret #17

A long list of Pret Staff Complaints with Links to Employment Review Websites

 

 

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

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Quote of the Day #14 – Define A Manager

 

Quote of the Day: Smile while.

emoji-happy-thumbs-upSIDE Down

Quote Pret #10 Poor

 

I’d like to pick this one apart:

 

“I worked at Pret A Manger part-time (Less than a year)”

Well done for leaving early.

 

“Pros: None that I can think of.”

 

There must be one thing, just one?

 

“Cons: Too many. Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation. Honestly, does anyone working at Pret ever look happy?

Yes. I looked happy. I’ve achieved the impossible! I looked happy after my brother died. I looked so happy it made me (thr)ill(ed) beyond safety.

 

“Advice to Management: Spend a shift with employees.”

They do! It’s called ‘Buddy Day’ where an employee from head office spends one day annually in a Pret branch.

The problem is, they come in at 8 or 9am, often being late. The first thing they do is have breakfast, while the “foot-soldiers” in the kitchen and on the shop floor are producing the breakfast they think they’ve earned already, just by showing up.

When I was a Team Leader I made those HQ people change the bins, take out the rubbish and get their fingernails cracked! Sorry HQ, but you entered my world, you’d better be ready to leave it like I am on a daily basis.

If I would have been a manager, I would have demanded for them to start at 5am sharp, or whatever time the first person came in, as this differs from shop to shop. They would have been ready in full uniform to be shouted at and demanded to show some passion and interest early in the freaking morning! They would have been ready to be shouted at and accepted by a manipulated worn out team!

But hey, I decided to not be part of the management team. I aimed to be a leader, not a manager.

 

 

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Quote of the Day – McLibel

 

A spot on quote: “Most so called anti-social behaviour is actually people fighting over the crumbs that are thrown from the table. The real people who are behaving anti-social, are those who control all the resources and deprive other people of what should be shared amongst us all.”

— Helen Steel (at about 1:12:50)

That is what I always told my teams when I worked in Pret A Manger, when team members were frustrated at the stress and pressure from the managers and customers where they started to rebuke each other. I would stop them and tell them that we are working in a highly intense and stressful environment, and that we are doing extremely well. I told them that it is head office who come up with unrealistic rules to drive us to do more and more and more …. to breaking point while we in the team eat each other up. We should rebuke the top leadership at HQ for putting this on us, not giving each other more stress.

It was moments like these when I saw the team relax again, even apologizing to each other and keep going…

Now my advise would be to not just keep working, but stand up against this “anti-social” behaviour from the top down.

 

 

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Quote of the Day #11 – Pret A Squeeze

 

Some jobs are not for the faint of heart. But a job that is just in a coffee & sandwich place, sucking the life out of you because most managers are insecure, selfish, greedy, power-hungry, being placed into management positions they don’t belong in (yet). Managers who are not trained in people and leadership skills; managers who misunderstand leadership, mistaking it for being taskmasters, assuming they own the staff; managers with their agenda to cover up their own inadequacies and insecurities by suppressing and bullying staff, these managers in the long-run gain no respect.

They are mislead by upper management who fool them that their so-called “hard work” got them into management positions, while in reality it was their willingness to bow to any and all of the expectations that whatever is needed, whatever the cost, they do anything to advance up the ladder, no matter if right or wrong. Their blind obedience to wrong doing and a corrupt system gets them up the carrier ladder fast. It is easy to climb up fast, the real challenge is to keep it up “up there”.

It took me years in my naivety and giving people the benefit of the doubt to understand this, where I always asked myself frustrated why there are too many managers being harsh or indifferent, complacent, unfair… The fish stinks from its head, if the majority of “leaders” are like this, it always comes from the top, enabled and welcomed by a system put in place that takes advantage of good people for the sake of gain. Like Gandhi said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

I have experienced myself and seen managers mistreat me and staff for prolonged times, and myself and others complaining and raising grievances, but to no avail. It makes perfect sense then that even bereavement at the workplace is an inconvenience, I survived to speak about it. And yet, the moment that manager does something that might hurt the company, that the company doesn’t approve of, they very quickly find whatever even smallest thing against that manager to fire them.

A corrupt system will produce and welcome corrupt management, because this kind of system needs those kind of managers to do their bidding. If you are a person of integrity and principles, you won’t make it far in a corrupt system, unless you wiggle your way through, quietly not creating any waves. But is that integrity? How goes the saying,

 

edmundburke1-2x

 

While it is good to wiggle your way through the mine field of elbows and a cut throat mentality with tricks and traps on many a corner, it might even be smart to rise to the top and then be able to change things. This is in no way to attempt a comparison, but a simple example of Oskar Schindler, business man and member of the Nazi party, who cleverly and courageously used his position to save over a thousand Jews, by pretending he needed them for production in his factory. He just found and created jobs for them.

This is an extreme example, but every principle starts small. To just watch how employees are mistreated, held low, bullied, driven and pushed to work until breaking point, has nothing to do with integrity, but has rather more to do with cowardliness. And it worries and scares me that when governments become oppressive, it will be far easier to go along and “obey orders” in a suppressing government, when our principles are already compromised and not even present in the day-to-day workplace!

Yes, I’m being very blunt again, but I have to, because I almost lost my life while many good people just watched and kept their heads down.

 

So, what is the quote of the day?

 

Quote #11

Team Members reviews

 

WARNING: Not for the faint of heart. Watch with caution!

But this is how it felt, you worked to the point of exhaustion and fatigue WHILE being bereaved and traumatized, and it was NEVER good enough!

Overbearing managers SUCK!

 

 

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Quote of the Day #10 – Kiss A Bum

 

Quote: “Managers treat you poorly, they are racist and discriminating. If you want to get [a] promotion you have to sleep with someone and kiss manager’s bum.”

That is true, I know people who sadly went down that route, it’s an open secret. They eventually have put hidden cameras into the offices in the shops, not only because of potential theft, but because managers were getting “too close” in the office with a team member after a trading day, giving them some “personalized training” for promotion!

This is a Sandwich chain for crying out loud, not a law firm, a political party or the music and film industry. Yet, people lower themselves so much to think they have to do this. Even in the film industry or a law firm I wouldn’t go down that route, but you will understand my point! What people are willing to do, to get into leadership positions is very sad. And this they then pass on to their teams, who become like them if they don’t have strong principles and values on their own. Vicious circle, very, very sad.

 

Quote #10 4July18

A former Manager’s review

 

 

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Quote of the Day #9 – Corrupt A Manager

 

Sheryl Sandberg quote

(COO Facebook)

 

“Worst company to work for

I worked at Pret A Manger full-time (More than 10 years)

Pros: Pret was the best company 10 years ago, they were more about the people and it was best place to work

 

Cons: now the company is just about the profit also it is run like mafia organisation where it is about who you know, the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear, the way the company is going it will not last long.

 

Advice to Management: 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.”

 

 

Quote of the Day: “the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear, the way the company is going it will not last long. … be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”

 

 

Quote Pret #09aa

Assistant manager review, London

 

Featured on Pret Staff Complaints. A compilation.

 

 

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Quote of the Day #8 – Pret A Blackmail

 

Pros Here’s my list of pros during my long tenure at Pret A Manger: Co-workers, Customers, Free Food, Compensation, Mystery shopper bonus, and 2 galas Yearly!……..The C.E.O and his partners has always been Pleasant to me.

Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept.

Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union!, so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”

 

Quote of the Day: “On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union!, so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”

 

It is true that the CEO is pleasant to people, speaking informally, courteously etc. But what use is this when the majority of “leaders” and line managers are rude, disrespectful, discriminatory and bullying towards the teams they have been entrusted with. And this on a daily basis. “Leaders” who are no leaders at all. When I was a team leader I never saw the shop and the team as my property! I didn’t own them. I was entrusted with a team and a job and didn’t take that lightly. Maybe I’m just too old school, but I do believe that a leader is what is says in the word, they “lead”. They lead by example which unfortunately includes bad example. And the team member that they lead learn from this and want to climb up the leadership ladder very quick to escape from the bad leadership. Then they become leaders themselves following the bad example and just choose the easy road by loading it over their team. Very very sad.

Hardly anyone understands what true leadership means. That the Captain of the ship jumps ship as the last person, not the first! A true leader does not blame downwards, but takes responsibility, and like a Captain steers the ship away from danger and safely to its destination. A bad leader will crumble as soon as a little wind blows, not to mention a storm.

If the CEO of Pret, or of any company at that, closes his eyes to mistreatment like I have experienced to the point of becoming suicidal and what many others have shared, then what is really behind this “pleasantness”? In fact if a CEO does not change this system that he has the power to change and set the tone, than I really question the “niceness” and pleasantness of this CEO.

The CEO of Pret is very in-tuned with what is happening on the shop floor and in HQ. He is not like the “Undercover Boss” in the TV show who goes “down” to the workers undercover to see and learn where the problems are and how he can change it. Pret’s CEO regularly visits shops, speaks with the team members, and maybe that is his job, to lull the staff, making them believe that Pret is so wonderful and caring for them. Then he leaves the shops again, and the turmoil continues. He knows exactly what is going on but does not change the atmosphere and the terrible behaviour of his line managers.

That is why I am so outspoken because he isn’t sitting in a high-rise building, locked away in an office all day, holding meetings and being out of touch. Pret’s CEO is very aware of how his managers behave. He is not able to say that he doesn’t know what’s going on at the “front-lines” of the business. He knows very well and is with this even enabling and encouraging poor management and repeated mistreatment. And as the reviewer mentioned, which in my 10 years in Pret, I have also experienced that this is happening in most shops! These are not isolated incidences or black sheep, this is a system. There are exceptions where there are good managers, but they don’t hold out long as they are not “cut throat” business people, they refuse to mistreat their staff for more profit. Employees suffer. As the saying goes that “the fish stinks from its head” and many managers confirm this, of course privately. Don’t worry current GM, I wont tell on you!

It used to extremely annoy me when I saw my line manager’s hypocrisy when senior leaders walked in the door, how nice the managers suddenly were, and then when the “big guns” left again, the poor management went back to their business as usual. The majority of team members I’ve worked with have no respect for their line managers. They just have kids to feed and bills to pay, so they just keep their heads down and dare not speak up except anonymously.

To me the bottom line is, if there are multiple issues with line managers, one has to follow the thread right up to the very top and ask some questions. As a CEO, being nice and pleasant to staff is to me just a very good mask to facade the deeper problems people experience on a daily basis. It is a very clever strategy to get staff on the side of the CEO and with it the company. It is like the “good cop / bad cop” situation. The CEO is the good cop, and the line manager is the bad cop, but both cops have one goal: get as much money in as possible no matter of the cost of staff’s mental health. Just run with it. And the middle man, HR, is cleaning up the mess.

The nice CEO of Pret A Manger gave me the nickname I am writing under: Late Night Girl, after my ill emailing to Pret and others late at night. To be having a laugh about my trauma and mental illness while I had a disciplinary for it. A disciplinary which I received from a Development Manager, who supposedly lost her brother similarly to me, but then entered into (unallowed but cleverly planned) personal contact. This confused and distressed me further and increased my ill behaviour. I was subsequently unfairly dismissed three days after Christmas 2017 while my father was in intensive care, just having woken out from his three week coma.

This is how pleasant the CEO of Pret A Manger and his (quoting the reviewer) “corrupt” HR department are.

I certainly feel like a throw-away cup dumped into the bin among all the other “useless” cups that are an inconvenient for them, sick and broken. After giving their service and help this business thrive, they are of no use anymore. Pret, you don’t deserve the caliber of people who work for you, you take them for granted, they are nothing to you.

Pret and CEO, you have more than let me down. You are letting your staff down, those who give of their time, skills and energy, those who make your business happen, you let them down.

But dear Pret, what you don’t realize is, I am in the recycling process. And like a rough diamond that has been through the fire and is being painfully but carefully polished, I hate to think of it in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s accent, but “I’ll be back!” … on track and speak of my ordeal for the rest of my life, and help some people along the way!

 

Recycle Cups

 

 

Quote #8 2July18

NYC Review

 

 

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

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

 

Quote of the Day #7 – Pret A Bullied

 

Quote: “The image of the happy environment is a joke.”

 

Quote Pret #07

 

Pret Staff Comlaints

 

 

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

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

Quote of the Day #3 – Pret A Mess

 

“- Staff can be unfriendly
– Always messing up pay
– If you’re even 2mins late, ITS A BIG ISSUE! (& you will miss out on weekly bonus)
– Expect too much from you (work you like a slave)
– Everyone speaks their own languages

– Be more understand to staff needs
– Train managers regularly (especially with confidentiality)
– Employ more staff”

 

Anonymous Reviewer – Team Member

 

StaffComplain_Jan2018

 

 

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 Staff Complaints (UPDATED Jan. 2019)

 

When customers who are so impressed with Pret because they only see the outside, the facade through the PR[et] machine, they ask Pret about these complaints and then are too easily sweet-talked into believing that this is just an unfortunate exception. But the truth will always come to the surface, no matter how long it takes.

I have chosen to do this public because I suffered so much and almost lost my life. I do this publicly for my own protection.

I wasted close to 10 years of my life in Pret! It is my biggest regret.

 

 

If you want to skip this long intro, scroll down until the red writing, and below it click on any of the many staff complaints I linked from outside Employment Review websites.

 

This is one major reason, but not the only one why there are so many complaints: Bridgepoint Capital. With the new JAB takeover, it will get even worse unless Pret radically changes their approach to the work conditions, and a £1000 fix won’t do it in the long-run, it is just an incentive to lure new workers in and retain current staff.

In the end, when nothing worked to make me resign because my grief was in the way of Pret’s business and my suggestions to improve work conditions was an inconvenience. When nothing worked (bullying, threats, file notes…) Pret used a Development Manager from HQ who also is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, both that can be very dangerous tools in manipulating people, and they used it well. This development manager supposedly lost her brother similarly to how I lost mine and that way they used her to get to me, stepping on her as well as my dignity.

On a side note, she is governed under this therapy body who have a commitment right on their front page that I have not seen on other therapy sites: “Our accredited Register status helps to ensure the safety and protection of the public.” I find this  odd, as if they have therapists who are not working for the safety and protection of the public. This Development Manager who is also a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner certainly is not adhering to safety and protection.

I became suicidal and ill. I was tricked and trapped again and again by management and HR, and my ill emailing out of trauma, having started to drink, I was fired while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma. I declined 4 settlement offers not signing anything and survived to speak of the ordeal I went through. This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally” as their HR department, and Pret in general claims.

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

I want to “let” others speak as well, complaints from even recently on employment review websites, YouTube, Twitter and other sites in the long list below.

 

Complaints from current and former staff members and managers, you can “blindly” click on ANY link below at RANDOM and it will read the SAME in a nutshell, at different times/years, from different positions: Discrimination, horrible, biased and incapable management, overworked, not paid for overtime, favouritism shown to own country-men etc…. Pret has extremely good PR in place and is sweet-talking their way out of this or post their “good deeds” online to cover up what really goes on behind the scenes, when customers contact Pret regarding these Staff Complaints.

 


 

The first person ever to stand up publicly against Pret’s terrible work-conditions was Andrej Stopa. I am the second, and in time more people will stand up.

 

 

 

In my own way to cope with this be it sarcastically or with humour to get away from the seriousness and pain, I take a complaint from below’s list and put them daily as “Quotes of the Day” on my blog and collect them HERE, to stress the point how toxic Pret’s work environment is, and how it is hurting people hidden behind the shiny PR(et) facade.

NOTE:

Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything, but there may be fake reviews! And also the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out. Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews. In my 10 years in Pret I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 were decent, fair and caring, not to mention hard working. The majority I worked with are immature, discriminating, bullying, insecure, complacent and oftentimes incapable due to lack of training.

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

 

One quote from a former barista in Pret NYC mentions that every shop they have worked in, it is the same story re: bad management, favouritism etc. And it really is, also in London, UK: “I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”

Another review also from NY: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company …” And I can verify this even in London, and I have worked with more than a dozen managers! Only 2 of them were exceptional and good, but it is the sad exception even now in 2018 as my experience and the below reviews show.

On the subject of missing pay and overtime not being paid as I have experienced as well in 10 years countless times that I had to chase missing pay from managers. This was draining and a job in itself.

Pret staff in the UK and elsewhere should do the same as Pret staff in the USA have done, go to court to reclaim missing pay: Pret A Manger settles overtime wage claims of 4000 employees!

You can click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay, discrimination etc.

 


 

I did not correct any mistakes in the below reviews to keep it in their own words.

 


 

Start of the long list of staff complaints / reviews:

 

Get ready to lick so many a***es to advance
Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.

 


 

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

 


 

NEW 30. Oct. 2018 NY “Go back to the UK, PretI have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience

 


 

“Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake. … push you to be more and more quickly treat you like a robot not a human being … Dumb and bossy staff members….” Review from 27. June 2018

 


Review on YouTube towards the bottom beginning of July 2018 from RPQ who now changed the name to Branzinotito, quote:
“I used to work for Pret. What a truly brutal nightmare is was. Horrible company.”

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

Same comment, new name:

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

 


 

 

I am an ex GM. I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.” (Full review in the picture below.)

 

The “certain venture capitalist firm” this Ex-GM is talking about is Bridgepoint who set the immense target since the 2008 purchase of increasing shops by 15% per year and were set to make a seven times return on their investment in 2018. It is “deal hungry” JAB’s turn now to take the baton from Bridgepoint and squeeze even further the life out of staff. Good luck Pret employees!

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 


 

 

Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had … lots of stress … under payed … long hours/ short brakes … terrible management … really unflexible schedule.”

 


 

 

My initial comments to James Hoffmann’s video and his response, which are still not released but only visible when I am logged in to my YT account. I wrote an Open Letter to James Hoffmann because my comments weren’t visible, otherwise I wouldn’t have written one. He still hasn’t responded and just briefly recognized it via Twitter, as I have a hunch that he might have contacted or has been contacted by Pret who may have sweet-talked their way out of this again, as “PR”et is very efficient for the outside facade:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1a

 

 


 

 

Unfairly dismissed Worker was unfairly dismissed, became homeless, lost his relationship, slept in his car for a few weeks. 

 

Unfairly dismissed Flawed HR Hearings and Appeal’s Hearings.

 

Dismissed for starting a Union.

 


 

 

A review regarding Pret’s Head Office from a former IT ANALYST!

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

 


 

 

A review from a former Purchasing Director in Pret NYC.

One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.

2017-02-28 NYC ODD A Manger

 


 

 

Quote Pret #20 Terrible Company

Quote: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company…”

This, dear New York Employee, is because like you already mentioned that there is no training in leadership and employee relations. I have had over a dozen managers, and even more managers I’ve worked with when I helped out in other branches for a few days. In my 10 years in Pret there were only 2 of them that had people and leadership skills, one of which is this wonderful person, who’s also proven that a manager can be nice, hard working and still be really successful, as she was often at the top (#1, 2 etc.) out of all the shops.
Also, Pret pays a little more than the competition and gives incentives, more holiday, bits and pieces here and there, because if they won’t give more they would have no one wanting to work in Pret as Pret is just way too stressful and hard work. To me, the hard work was not so much the issue, the issue was the UNNECESSARY bullshit = bullying and discrimination. And for Pret to dare bully me while I was going through extreme trauma with the loss of my brother and all the tricks and traps I could not clearly see until later, you bet I will speak about this openly no matter what they come up with next.

 


 

 

A former Manager’s review:

“I am an ex GM [General Manager] … I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs [Team Members] to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.”

12 Blogger dot comCROP

Source, scrolling down to the comments.

 


 

 

James Ashword video comment by Hailey Hyein Lee

From YouTube ca. February 2018

 


 

 

Perat A Manger London video comment by Budai Andrea

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by justineyouloulou

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by Logic 2000

From YouTube 2008 this was before Pret became increasingly and intensely bullying But it has always been difficult, but since the 2008 Bridgepoint takeover, it became more systemic bullying as Pret was tasked and pressured to open more and more shops fast on almost every corner in London at least. I won’t point out who, but in the video is one person I later worked with, who became a GM later (I worked with them when they were AM) and is one of the rare people/GMs being good to their TMs.

 


 

 

The idea of proper training is also rediculousMost people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough and expected to reach TM* productivity levels within the first few weeks with hardly any proper training.”

Throughout all my time in Pret I have mentioned the lack of training again and again and again and did my utmost best to train my teams even though many of my managers tried to stop me because I was investing time in my teams, but managers wanted me and teams to just be busy on the tills and in the kitchen… Training hardly exists in Pret. Development Managers are just doing their 9-5, Mon – Fri job, not being bothered if what they train is even implemented in the shops! There is a huge chasm between HQ and shops, no matter how much “PR”et is trying to convince otherwise!

 


 

 

“I’ve learned a Lot!…” “Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union! so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”


 

Pret A Manger Logo “If you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for Pret”Being made to feel incompetent. Worked into the ground without empathy. Managers treat staff like idiots. The image of the happy enviroment is a joke. It would be good for the BBC or Dispatches to go under cover and work in a shop for a week to show the world what really goes on behind the scenes.” – Welcome to the Club and my website! You are not even safe when you grief the loss of a brother!


 

“fire the HR staff”

and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate … Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR” <– (This review is as recent as 12. June 2018! I have my own extensive experience with the Pret HR dept. as the Head of HR said that I “Exhausted the HR department”. Sorry about that @ Head of HR, but as a Tribunal Judge already ruled that your hearings are “fundamentally flawed” I can more than verify this after raising grievance after grievance that were NOT conducted fairly and impartially).


 

First review 4 months before this review underneath. 

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

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

— 4 months later: —

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

 


 

 

Response to above review:

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

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

 

pexels-photo-262218

 

“Please get the bullies out” “Forced to work without pay, … bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, descrimination …


 

“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” … “I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.


 

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

 


 

“Hellhole … you treat people like they’re useless and worthlessget down from that high horse you’re on”

 


 

“Poor … Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation.”

Poorly trained management Too much dependency on skillful employees.”

“Squandered opportunities” “Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”

“”rude behaviour at the workplace (kitchen manager shouting at everybody)”

“Pure Misery … kitchen staff is treated like slavesThe upper management is a bunch of heartless

“Overworked and Aweful Managers everyone complains how much they hate this job”

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

“Workers are slave Very bad management. They treat you like a slave. You have zero value for them. They don’t recognize your effort

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

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

“Hell job for minimum salary.”

Bad management who talk to staff rudely, and yet don’t do their jobs properly

“even when you are having a bad day you must smile” Not just on a bad day, even during traumatic bereavement!

do not give power to irresponsible people

“Stressful and dominating … Supervisors/Team Leaders treat you like a slave”

“It’s a trap” “listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

“Head Office” “People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.

“Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics.”Favoritism with managementNo integrityA lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo.

“The brainwash is real”The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. Especially towards female staff members. A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period. Advice to Management: Get some proper training regarding real people skills.” (Absolutely true!)

“Bad jobs for sometimes good people” “Advice to Management: Good luck with Brexit!” … (Well, that’s why this is happening: Pret is giving £1000 to each employee now)

“… Team Leader … Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability” True about the Mystery Shopper! But even if you do well with the Misery Shopper (yes MISERY Shopper!) as I did again and again for years, I never gotten rewarded other than the usual bonus, even during bereavement doing really well, no mention. But the moment a few points are lost, hell breaks loose!

“Managementhas no clue how to manage people

“Very demanding … Nothing you do there is appreciated “… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Advice to Management: Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.

“Not kitchen, food factory” “Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.” 

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

 

Robot sad crop

 

“Toxic, low class, unprofessional culture … upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore. … Terrible management training program” really unprofessional and have very low management skills.

“Advice to Management: Treat people like human beings“”

“Worst place..” “Advice to Management: Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”

“Worst first day experience” “Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star. …Lies about family team vibes… They don’t recruit you for your work ethic…”

“Slavery hasn’t been abolished!”

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

“Worst company to work for”managers are always working with fear … Advice to Management: 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.” (And I thought I was tough with my critique!)

Very hard work … No support and respect from Manager

“The worst job I’ve had in London” “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!” (Yes, I was bullied during bereavement and tricked and trapped via HR, high five!)

I have asked for several transfers to other shops due to management. Either a manager was extremely “lazy”, un-supportive, but gave the team a hard time when things didn’t go well, or another manager was like a tyrant, constantly threatening the team & individuals with & giving file notes for the smallest things. Ops Managers either aren’t aware of it, mostly being concerned with mystery shopper results for their own bonuses or not bothering about how the team is “motivated”.”

 

“You are of course right, hiring happy people is only a part of the solution. If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently).”

My response: I lost my brother and in my bereavement was NOT asked “gently” what’s up, I was bullied, targeted, tricked and trapped by Pret’s HR dept. to get me out and ultimately fired while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. So, here I am again having survived to tell my story as “gently” as possible collecting all these reviews from other sites.

 

pexels-photo-278303

 

Pret A M*ffin “…team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt

Pret A Robot “People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings

Pret A JokeYou have a limited time to do your job everyday but this time limit is a joke. they give me the next rota just the day before the week starts.

Pret A Nothingdidn’t learn nothing as i have things to give to that shop as i came with lots of experience and skills.

Red A Manager “their [managers] personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”

Pret A Unhappy If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently)”

Trap A Manger “It’s a trap! … Huge stress. Never stops.Shouting all around. … Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

Pret A Unpaid “Very unfair company”

Pret A ScreamOne of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were having fun and smile at all times.

Pret A Managerthe staff are great the guys who do the real work. The management suck

Pret A No RespetarLos managers son penosos“, “un horror!!” “desastrosa” and “todo… no tiempo libre, no respeto..”

“When the job takes over your life”

“Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. … Advise to Management: Respect your team…”

“Brainwashed sandwich making”

“Fun but stressful, not worht it”

“Busy job”

“pret a manger”

“… hot chef…” (Hot Chef in Pret shops is the hardest job!)

“barista”

“Too Much Pressure”

“Really working at Pret” (“Advice to Management: quit”)

“Team Leader”

“Sometimes long shifts due to lack of people. Advise to management: take care of workers.”

“too much work. Poor leadership

“Minimum Salary for everyday smiling”

My response: Yes, even smiling while going through trauma, dare you not smile when you just lost a loved one!

 

emoji-happy-thumbs-upSIDE Down

 

“Good but not perfect”management should do their jobs

“Never ever!” I hate all manager…”

NOTE: I don’t agree with the racism here! But the trend of complaints about management and leadership should be clear.

“Hot Chef Advice to Management: Be human. It’s not your own business.”

My response: That’s what I said once to a line manager who told us leaders that if we don’t like it in “his” shop to f*** off, I replied that he is also only employed by Pret, he does not own “his” shop!

“Brain wash, Control, Never stop…” “Cons: Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Advice to Management: Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!”

“Assistant Manager Respect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

My response: easily said when they immediately threaten with Note of Concerns, disciplinary and job security!

“…also has a motto: FIFO or Fit In or Fu*k Off. I always got the impression that Pret was actually a free-thinking company…but perhaps they are becoming too large too and need to do the conforming thing.

 

silhouette-2480321__340

 

“high rated company”

“Pret A Manger Reality”

“Ok job…” (“Atmosphere was horrible at times. … Don’t overload your staff.”)

“Good jobs for good people” (“Look after your people and figures will look after themselves.”) Amen!!

“Will be leaving soon”

“Overworked environment”

“Not much training” True! I had to train myself most of the time.

“It was fine” “… lots of micromanaging”

“Favouratism”

“Barista” another

“Team Member”

“Cliquey environment…”

“Good jobs for idiots”

“Bad experience” “Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”

“Team Leader” another TL

“TMT”

“Not for British”

“Barista” again “Advise to Management: Train your internal managers better”

“Cool”

“Not for me” “Advise to Management: Don’t be so brainwashed and scared.”

“Not the best place to work”

“Good jobs for part time” “lazy managers high demanding ops”

“Overworked, High expectations, No recognition” “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

“I regret working there (don’t go)” “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends (I was a part timer) was very rude to me , calling me stupid etc. … And I also ”love” how the company itself tries so hard to create this friendly enviroment for the employers by putting these sweet posters around etc. etc. when in reality it is very miserable and stressfull place to work for ! … People working in your company are not robots with smiles on their faces 24/7 !!!”

“Well, unfortunately my post about the harsh treatment at Pret has been removed minutes after appearing here. Censorship. Will find another way to post on the web.”

“yay oy”

“Diverse place”

“place for foreigners young people”

“Good progression tree…” “Management bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often… I would recommend joining a union”

“Team Leader” “Listen to your team” Absolutely!

Pret a Manger “leader use to shout people.”

“Very average”

“Barista-role part time … There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then?”

“Horrible Experience”

“Some of the management are rude or never show up … They always make mistakes like ‘adjust the rota’ resulting in me not being able to work …”

“Disappointing”

“Barista” another one

“My Experience” “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”

“Team Member” “Managers are pain”

“very bad team” “manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office”

“Less than 1 year…”

“No sick pay…”

“Disappointed” another

“Not a good company to work for…”

“Good first job … as foreigner” “Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties … Limited progression career if you’re not in the state of grace of the Head of your working Area … In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position.”

“too much expectations” “management is a joke. numbers are more important than people”

“Eh” “The management is terrible.”

“Demanding. Can be fun” “High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance”

“horrible management, super biased” “super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like even if they don’t know them. … make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell”

“Horrible experience” “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff. – Immature workers – Slave-like environment – Biased behavior – Too strict on simple task. Advice to Management: Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”

“Team Member” “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly shopper. You’ll be running from the basement to the first floor, between tons of customers, and up to the second … ”

 

————————————————————————————————-

 

The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. In fairness to Pret, I left 8 years ago; so this may have improved since but in my experience the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”

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

 

————————————————————————————————-

 

unskilled managers, racism, bad pay, they take advantage of staff”

“Great company, but will take advantage” “Rude young team members and too many managers in 1 store. Advice to Management: Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians” – My speech for 10 years!

“Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed”

“Team Member” “Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership … Lack of leadership … Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs”

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

“Takes advantage of your kindness”

“cashier / hot chef” “Some managers are very anal! The customer is more important then workers. Advice to Management: Listen to your employers suggestions!!” – (I think they meant “employees”)

“Advice to Management: Be kinder to your employees they are not slaves.”

“The management plays favorites more often than not”

“Great things preacherd, not always practiced” ” If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”

“Pret Graveyard shift” “Terrible hours and poor management and training some people…”

“over worked” “hours are constantly changing … team members are constantly training themselfs”

“management talks to you with little respect.”

“Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. … Paperwork is excessive at times. Advice to Management: Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”

“team member” “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others. Advice to Management: think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team”

“just terrible”Discriminatory management. Unprofessional atmosphere … Abusive staff. Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”

“working at pret”Lack of accountability … poor management.” (Absolutely!!!)

“Long hours, unrealistic expectations…”Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours. Advice to Management: Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution

“Terrible experience…” “Cons: Pretty much everything is a con: -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule.”

“Spoiled, selfish upper management…” “upper management thinks they are better than everyone else. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them. Advice to Management:get over yourselves.”

I will shorten the comments now as this is never ending… Links can just be clicked and read….

Horrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave. 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.”

DISCRIMINATION of [in] PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”

Retrain management

Horible management

They expect perfection

Politics

They hire if you don’t know the language
(That’s true, because that way you won’ t be able to complain or know your rights).

Horrible management … expecting perfection

Biased management

Listen to your employees, some have great potential that needs to be channeled not blocked

Heavy workload, borderline demeaning, discrimination.

Hard hard working culture, to much pressure to be working 100% every sec.

Careless

most of your employees don’t look forward to working there because you are staring them down every second

Poor senior leadership due to lack of experience and diversity. Promotion and staff recognition based on personal favourites

Management is very incompetent. It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations

Interior is very clumsy, depressing sometime.

 

Other review site “Indeed”

Avoid working there

Terrible

Unorganized management

Good benefits, poor management

You will lose everything that makes you human

Very little positive feedback

Rude lower management

Could be more human

Kitchen managers tend to pressure employees excessively

You get to know many different people but nobody really stands for the job.

Very stressful

Everything revolves around achieving the weekly bonus

Poor and terribel mangement

to meet MS standards you have to cheat, ops manager should spend some time with team members (No, they are too busy sitting in the pub during lunch time rush and flying to Dubai to party “their” hard work)

Forced happiness (even during traumatic bereavement!)

When they don’t need you, they make so many displinary needed for you left the job.

Bad Management

I assume this is a complaint with the 1 star 😉

Very disappointed … they never praised me

What the head office ask to us is more than 100% perfomance.

The culture overall was a very rude tone

unfortunate tradition on keeping a dynasty of friends in power while others that don’t make it into the friendly circle will perish.

manager was very rude to another member of staff in front of the rest of us which was very unprofessional

The management of the company seems to have no principle based.

Pret is now too productive and cost minimising company. Labour cost is the key, then customer satisfaction.

many Shop Manager they were very rude and unprofessional

Good company but bad management … You have thousand of standards to respect, but it’s impossible to finish on time NO, when the majority of managers are bad management, then it is a bad company! “The fish stinks from its head” as the saying goes.

Apply there, work for few months and run away a soon as you can.Managment and somemembers of staff were extremely rude and patronising, was often a lot of eye rolling and sighs (Bullying environment)

Crazy management , promoting people from their homeland only . overworking staffs

Harsh Environment. HR problems, employee is treated really badly

I felt like I was being patronised the entire time I was there.

Excessive control. Stress.

Little training was just pushed at the deep end as soon as I started the job

Micromanagement, too many rules

Not fun at all due to management approach

Robots

Fake people, cheat

for every shop the job was done by, let say 20 people. now it is done by 10

Managers treats you like poorly. they are racist and discriminating. if you want to get promotion you have to sleep with someone and kiss manager bum.

Management is trying to squeeze you like a lemon, there is no time to catch a breath, no weekends off, not even 2 days off together.

 

———————————————————————–

 

My own review with a former Senior Manager’s response to my review.

 

———————————————————————–

 

….. and so on.

 

———————————————————————–

In an Imaginary but Honest Interview with Pret I made up the acronym of what Pret stands for: PRET is a four letter F-Word spelled F E A R which stands for: Fire Early At Request. Or one can say Fret.

@Pret, at any company, please treat your people right, as a team leader I have shown you that when you treat your team right, you will still be successful and the money comes in and the team feels truly respected. You don’t want people like me who raise the standard while still treating the team good. I was too loud for you, and yet, if you would have protected me in the darkest time instead of continuing to put me under suppressive management, I would be writing a completely different blog now.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

 

I take back what I wrote at the end of this “video” that Pret has a “good” heart after what I’ve been through and the customers’ deaths, but I leave the “video” as a reminder of Pret’s “legacy” with what I went through and the above list of staff complaints.

 

 

 

 

 

Late Night Girl2

 

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, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

How To Exhaust The HR Department

And How To Do Impartial Grievance Hearings:

 

Grievance Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the grievance hearing raised against a colleague from his immediate neighbouring area, as this will compromise a truly impartial investigation and decision.
  • Don’t have the hearing manager patronize and hold the person raising the grievance for an idiot, by asking if 40 or 50 out-of-date items were left by an MOD over night, while the grievance raiser left only 1 item out and was about to get penalized for it by the manager who targeted her. You may look more absurd in the long run for a poor try like this.
  • Don’t remove the HR advisor from the hearing process, who raised the grievance in the first place on behalf of the bereaved and bullied employee, giving hope to that traumatized staff member. Doing so would cause the crushing of hope again, starting a series of events that could have been avoided early on if everything was conducted fairly, impartially and respectfully.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Appeal’s Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the appeal’s hearing who is not only a known colleague, but a close friend of the first grievance hearing manager. As it would be difficult going against the decision of a friend, this will compromise a truly impartial investigation and decision.
  • Don’t speak to the colleague the grievance is raised against before you hear all the allegations raised first, as you won’t be impartial and would have already pre-judged the case more or less.
  • Don’t instruct the person who raised the grievance to go to the person the grievance is against, to inform them what was spoken about in the appeal’s hearing to prepare the one who grieved the employee that the grievance is about to be partially substantiated against them. Be a manager of integrity and courage, and do that job yourself, not sending the grievance raiser like a sheep to the wolf, if you don’t have the stamina to do that yourself!

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

————————————————————————————

 

Grievance Hearing 2.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager doing the hearing who was already involved in the case by having been copied in on emails sent to managers and HR previously.
  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing, who has no problem whatsoever that a bereaved and traumatized team leader is repeatedly rebuked by her line manager in front of the team, the team leader then having a nervous breakdown two days before the first anniversary of the death of her brother, and being further bullied by having to do customer service while in the middle of that breakdown in tears. If you as the hearing manager have no problems with this, you should not only not be the hearing manager, you should resign and rethink your ethical values and emotional intelligence.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Appeal’s Hearing 2.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager doing the hearing who has also already been informed prior to the hearing of being asked to sit down informally to calm down the bereaved and traumatized employee who kept losing her mind. Even if you are one of the more empathetic hearing managers compared to the others, you would still not be impartial.
  • Don’t be double-faced by saying that it is okay to email but then behind the scenes sending on the emails to HR who later penalized the person for having sent the emails.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

————————————————————————————

 

Grievance Hearing 3.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager doing the hearing who already finds answers and reasons of misbehaviour before having fully heard and investigated the case.
  • Don’t let the hearing manager just substantiate bits and pieces to silence the grievance raiser, while the people business partner the grievance is against, is waiting outside in plain view pretending to be on the phone, winking at the HR advisor accompanying the grievance raiser out of the hearing.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Grievance Appeal 3.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who is brand new to the company having to prove herself in her trial period, after another hearing manager who was indeed not impartial as having been informed throughout, was removed from the process upon request by the grievance raiser.
  • Don’t have that hearing manager who is a head of a department have a laugh during a very serious hearing process.
  • Don’t have a note taker who compares the traumatized bereaved with another traumatized bereaved employee, judging both as being “bitter” because they keep raising grievances due to mistreatment during bereavement. Not taking their issues serious may hurt their lives irrevocably.
  • Don’t have that note taker say, that in hindsight he made a mistake by agreeing that the company can indeed improve on the supporting of the bereaved employee.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

————————————————————————————

 

Disciplinary Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who has personal conflict due to very similar bereavement.
  • Don’t have that hearing manager enter into secret and solely electronic communication after giving a disciplinary for electronic communication.
  • Don’t have that hearing manager take personal advantage of the vulnerable and traumatised grievance raiser, by abusing their position in using tools of Hypnotherapy and NLP for their own studies, and personal as well as occupational advantages.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Appeal’s Hearing 0.0

No Appeal raised due to naivety and plain stupidity of having believed to be truly supported by the company now.

Dont’s:

  • Traumatized Bereaved Grievance Raiser, don’t trust an HR department and company who repeatedly hold flawed hearings.

Do’s:

  • Do regret not having raised an appeal and gone to court early on due to repeated lack of impartiality and “fundamentally flawed” hearings.
  • Do learn from this that if this happens again to raise a grievance against the hearing manager abusing their position for personal gain.

————————————————————————————

 

Grievance Hearing 5.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager and HR advisor hold the hearing where you have to start the formal procedure as they kept starring at you, not knowing how to start.
  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who is at first empathetic, even sharing personal information in an informal moment, confirming that the grievance raiser has “been wronged” and then later be completely the opposite, as HR is really behind the decisions.
  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who does not investigate and interviews witnesses named.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

No Appeal raised as it was useless and ridiculous to keep going on in this flawed system. But one gets the point!

————————————————————————————

 

Dismissal Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing to patronize the grievance raiser by being the OPs manager of the manager the grievance raiser loved to work with. Another clever “retaliation” by HR choosing “impartial” hearing managers.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Dismissal Appeal 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who just sits there purposefully not saying anything to avoid to truly investigate impartially by asking questions.
  • Don’t have a note taker who is so slow in taking notes, not attentive enough to follow what is being said, unless there is no other note taker anymore, due to the grievance raiser having exhausted the largest department of the company.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

———————————————————————————— .

 

How To’s and Tips for a Formal Hearing:

Dont’s:

  • Don’t discriminate by just using mainly women to hold the hearings (17 women/3 men).

Do’s

  • Be truly equal opportunity by giving male managers a chance to hold a hearing for / against a female employee. Unless, of course, the challenge is too grave for them.
  • Do rethink your HR department and if the methods of hearings are so steeped in dishonesty and trickery, that it is hard to break that habit and open new windows to bring in fresh air and clean a toxic environment.
  • Do remember that you are dealing with people, with human beings who go through personal and professional issues that can make them ill and even take their lives. Do remember the name and mission of your department: Human Resources.

Sincerely,

Your HR Department Exhaust-er

 

File2016

The “Ex-Files”!

 

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.

 

How To Card – Bereavement at Work

How to support the bereaved employee at work, especially Pret A Manger:

1. ACAS Guide

2. Don’t bully the bereaved as they may commit suicide, or lose their mental health, or campaign and publish for the rest of their life about you. Not to mention court if they have the strength.

3. Don’t use one employee against another when both have a similar bereavement in their lives, as this is very disrespectful, distasteful and adds to the grief. And it really shows what a company is made of and their tactics used.

Late Night Girl shift

Late Night Girl2

 

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.