Where is Clive Schlee?

 

Oh, found him!

Not!

Glassdoor’s Top CEOs for 2019 Announced.

The average score of CEOs on Glassdoor is 69%.

Pret A Manger was never average! They always aimed to be special and extreme!

Glassdoor’s Top 50 CEOs in 2019 with over 90% ratings – Revealed.

@CliveSchlee, if you are reading this, as you read my blog at times, do you still name, shame and blame your managers when they fail?

Do you let HQ still send out mass emails to every shop with the lowest scores in Health and Safety for example, where a shop failed? Giving detailed report and the name of the shop?

I know you also “brag” on staff when they succeed to make others jealous to compete I guess, a typical strategy to “motivate” the workforce. I don’t like the term “workforce” as it sounds like an assembly line of robots.

But are you still naming, shaming and blaming your managers and staff openly?

What are you going to do about staff welfare and stopping this work environment for more profit?

What are you doing about Customer deaths before they become public?

And what about Staff deaths? Suicides?

When will you take responsibility and resign?

Have you seen your Glassdoor score, Mr. Schlee?

And what are you going to do about it without employing a PR company to clean it all up?

When are you going to stop to just paint and clean the outside facade while the inside is rotten?

 

2019-06-29 45 staff 51 CEO

Glassdor stats June/July 2019

 

HQ IT Analyst

Pret Head Office Review on Glassdoor

 

and …

 

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

 

2011 I Hate Pret Fuck Pret

Facebook group @preth8ers

 

TWO Pret staff have died recently.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

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

Interview:

 

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The Truth Behind the Pret A Manger Smile

 

And the emotional, mental, physical and financial cost to staff.

 

Timothy Noah Quote Emotional Labor

 

LINK to Emotional Labour article

Upfront, Pret staff will NEVER spill the beans on why they are so cheery! They remain professional because they fall for the Pret trap like everyone. They only out themselves anonymous on review websites, YouTube etc., further below. Just very few speak out publicly. Even during the darkest period in grief and being bullied, I NEVER EVER even hinted to a customer what was going on! I was complemented on my professional service, smile, giving free coffees, and no-one knew that after my shift I went to the bridge at times.

Here is the short version in a nutshell why ALL (most) staff members EVERYWHERE in Pret are ALWAYS so smiley, cheery, friendly and helpful. No matter how busy and stressful it is.

The magic word: Mystery Shoppers

Mystery Shoppers (MS) are tasked to probe into a list of things every week in every shop, like if there is an adequate amount of selection during certain times, or if the shop incl. toilets are clean and so on. The most important thing the MS have to probe is customer service. I call them the “Misery” Shopper because many times they were so micromanaging pointing out the smallest stain on a table or a smudge on the window!

For Team Members there are two “motivating” factors for the smiley customer service:

  1. Cash incentives. Overall bonus for the whole shop team which is £1 per hour worked. So if a Team Member (TM) worked 40 hours that week, they will get an additional £40 on top of their contracted wage for that week, provided the MS report was all in the green area and then gave the bonus to the whole team. Managers’ bonuses are given quarterly. But a TM can individually also earn extra cash on top of the bonus (or even if the bonus for the whole team was lost).
    This is called an “Outstanding Card” (OC) which is £50 extra if the MS is super happy with a particular TM or even General Manager (GM), Assistant Manager (AM) etc. Meaning, if the TM “kissed butt” especially hard, gave a freebie etc. they can earn that extra cash on top of their wages and team bonus. If the report is 100% perfect scores and the MS awards an OC to a staff member, that TM earns double = £100. So, that one staff member gets their weekly wages, the weekly bonus PLUS the extra £50 or £100 cash. £50 OC (Outstanding Card) or £100 SOC (Super Outstanding Card).
    Side note: An Outstanding Card is not literally a card, it’s just a name for the extra cash award. There are no cards given, “just” the money. So, when a TM is EXTRA SPECIAL nice, it is often (not always!) that they assumed they’re serving the Mystery Shopper!
  2. Fear Management. If any TM or several of the Team messes up in any way resulting in bonus being lost for the whole team incl. GM (bonus not awarded by the MS), the angry manager will have a word with them. Depending what the bonus was lost on, this often is done in subtle or direct fear management where staff are made to fear for their job or position.

 

2018-01-23 Outstanding Card

Link The reason why she got the Outstanding Card and with it the extra £50, or £100 if the shop had perfect scores, is the white writing on the red background. The Mystery Shopper rewarded this TM for this reason, quote:
“I noticed that the avocado in the remaining veggie box salads were brown and I asked if there were any fresher ones. The team member said she would ask the kitchen to make me a fresh one. She telephoned them and said if it was okay she would take the veggie box to the kitchen and they would replace the avocado for me.”

Other times a TM gives a free coffee to the Mystery Shopper but does NOT get an Outstanding Card. It is completely up to the MS what blows them away and what not.

 

And here comes the long version.

I cover mainly the “smiley” culture of Pret in: “How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low-Wage Workers“, but I want to take the reader through a typical day in Pret A Manger, and why this MS scheme is dangerous for mental health, not to mention patronizing and humiliating. This Tweet is by PAMSU (Pret A Manger Staff Union) who got fired in 2012 for starting a Union under the pretense of having made homophobic remarks ten months (!) before:

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

 

End MS

Link

 

First of all I want to start off by saying that I don’t think a Mystery Shopper scheme is a bad idea, I think it can be helpful to improve customer service where needed. The problem with Pret is, they take this to intense levels which I find abusive. The extreme “perfection” staff have to reach is done to create a picture to the public, that staff are so happy to work in Pret. In reality they are tasked to “perform” emotional labour (or “labor” for American readers!). It opens the door to abusive leadership, bullying environment forcing staff into “unnatural” behaviour they would normally not do, unless they “feel” it. And with many other abusive situations, like even domestic violence, bullying etc. people get conditioned to it, accept it as norm, but suffer internally and in silence also because it is systemic and seems acceptable. Everyone is subjected to this, so they feel they go out of line if they complain. At least that’s how I often felt, because everyone “is doing it”, it must be okay or normal to keep smiling even while bereaved. I share in my interview at the bottom of this page the horrific time I went through while already traumatized after I lost my brother.

Even journalists “get used” to abuse and accept it as the norm:

Journalists getting used to harrassment

Link

I want to share a rough timeline of activities on a day-to-day running of a Pret shop, as well as a little bit of the kitchen to paint a true picture of the immense stress staff are under on a daily basis. I was a Team Leader of the shop or also called Floor Leader (FL) and know working in the shop inside out. I can’t speak much about running a kitchen, but will briefly touch on the kitchen. The shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses that need two separate leaders. Both have their own separate challenges as well as positives.

For example in the shop staff HAVE TO smile and perform a cheery presence, while in the kitchen they can just be themselves. In the kitchen they have no windows, have to work super fast assembling products WITHOUT time to breathe until their break. In the shop there are windows to take a breath, while still having to clean, stock up etc. I often “mediated” between the teams when they were at “war” pointing fingers where the kitchen felt the shop team is lazy or the shop felt the kitchen team have it easier. I always pointed out to both teams that each team have their challenges as well as good parts, but that EVERYONE works hard and has a lot of stress, just differently.

 

Shop hierarchy:
General Manager (GM) and Assistant Manager Floor (AMF) are in plain business attire
Floor Leader (FL)

Baristas/Coffee Makers
Hot Food Chef (HFC)
Team Members (TM)

And whatever other position Pret comes up with, as they sometimes add job roles. But these are the main roles distinguished in their colours (belt, name badge) so outside teams can quickly identify who’s who.  The most important who does most of the hard work is the Team Leader. They really are the ones that run the shop, if they are good and don’t imitate most GMs who like to sit in the office, don’t help and just shout like slave masters.

Kitchen hierarchy:
Again the same General Manager (GM) but a different Assistant Manager Kitchen (AMK), plain business attire
Kitchen Leader (KL)
Team Member Trainer (TMT)
Team Members (TMs)

Kitchen TMs, the sandwich makers who are called “chefs” by Pret to make them feel better and portray to the public as if there was some real cooking going on in the kitchen! Lots of patronizing and fooling slogans like “Lovingly made in this kitchen today” bla bla…

In reality all the food comes already cooked, except the frozen bread, croissants etc. But all ingredients are ready cooked and delivered daily from factories. Hence also “Ready to Eat”. The soups come in large plastic bags and are heated in water baths. All other ingredients are like we have at home after getting the shopping from the supermarket. There’s no cooking involved, just heating up and assembling a sandwich. Even the “poached” eggs that do come raw, are just heated in sealed plastic pouches in a water bath. There are no pots and pans and stoves in Pret kitchens!

One recent staff review:

2019-06-11 Nightmare Stop Being Evil

Link Under Show more: “The food isn’t fresh, it’s shipped already cooked in plastic bags and reheated. A joke.”

 

As the shop and the kitchen are like two separate businesses in each shop, the AMF and/or FL run the shops and do the ordering for the shop, look after the Team, customers etc. The AMK and/or KL do the ingredient ordering for the kitchen, look after the Team etc.

As all Prets I’ve worked in are under-staffed to maximize profit and managers’ bonuses (incl. area managers and upwards) many TMs are pushed to multi-task. If a shop is lucky, they have 3 TMs on the tills in the mornings if there are 6-7 tills. They have 1 Barista with the GM doing coffee as well, as this is easier than customer service at the tills! GMs don’t like to work on the tills! As there aren’t enough staff, they ring the bell for one or two of the kitchen staff to then come out and help serve the queues during the morning rush. This puts an immense strain on the kitchen staff, who then get behind on their production, where they are expected to do a certain amount of products per hour. If they fail to finish in time, including cleaning etc., again they will be motivated through fear management and are bullied (subtly or openly) to work overtime, unpaid.

 

LackStaff

Link Barista 2019

 

Unpaid

Link 2018

 

Unpaid2017

Link 2017 NY

 

Unpaid2

Link 2015

 

Unpaid2014b

Link 2014

 

Unpaid2011

Link 2011 NY

“It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company itself. …Very, very sad reality of Pret. -Company culture….”

 

Unpaid2014

Link 2014 “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.”

NOTE: The “for some reason” is more systemic than this and many other TMs realize. I had to chase my money CONSTANTLY.

 

25 Staff complain in Twitter not paid HR

Link

 

03-wages2-1-e1554218697911.jpg

Link

 

Pret had to settle two class action lawsuits in NY within 4 years on wage issues. In the UK people never do a Class Action, but it would be high time for Pret staff to go to court on wage issues!

 

Wgae Lawsuit

Link

 

Customer observations:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

MS Cough

MS: “Team members should smile at customers and may not work when ill, as team member was coughing whilst serving me and was therefore not feeling cheerful enough to smile that day.”

I coughed while serving the Mystery Shopper as I had a cold. But I chose not to stay home as we were not paid the first 2 days even when we have a sick note.

 

Pret Staff Tweets:

2017 Mystery Shopper sick pay

Link

The £45 Mystery Shopper bonus she’s talking about is that she would have worked 45 hours that week. Each hour is £1 bonus, as Pret cuts the weekly bonus even when staff are sick for 1 day that week. And the rest £55 she means is the hours she lost for that 1 day. And Pret only responds to her Tweet because it’s public. In reality Pret does nothing and doesn’t care if staff are sick.

 

A recent Tweet to the CEO by a frustrated Team Member:

2019-06-05 TM bonus cut sick mystery shopper

Link

 

A typical day in Pret –
underneath the slideshow

 

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

 

A typical day in Pret

Main “Crunch” Times based on an average shop:
5AM
6AM
Between 8-10AM
Between 12 Noon-2PM
Afternoons until closing time.

I share these times from all the shops I worked at, with an average of 6 – 8 tills and a team of about 25 – 35 staff.

 

5AM start of shift. The first TMs come in and hopefully no-one called sick, as even ONE person missing puts incredible stress on the rest of the team because every team is tightly staffed.

Between 5-6AM there are around 6-8 TMs and later from 6 or 7AM onwards more people start coming in.

Kitchen TM starts preparation of slicing vegetables.

Shop TM, often the HFC but can also be the Barista, starts baking frozen croissants and baguettes. Every shop decides their own way who starts the shifts.

A Team Leader, can be KL or FL, should be starting first with Health & Safety checks, like taking the temperature of all cooling systems in case any fridge/freezer broke down over night warming the food which has to then be thrown away to avoid food poisoning. They also start checking the huge delivery of ingredients and products to make sure that nothing is missing, which then has to be re-claimed from the suppliers.

But reality in Pret is, because they like to staff very tightly, the first 3 – 6+ people from 5AM have 1 hour to get everything ready for 6AM opening time. It is extremely stressful to get everything done in time for opening, especially when the evening shift before left the shop in a bad state.

Many who are new make the mistake and start before 5AM UNPAID!! Because when they can’t finish in the unrealistically short time they’re given, the GM pushes them in pretense that they were not working well or fast enough. It’s psychology that happens in most Prets! But most of the Teams I’ve worked with are extremely hard working and work very fast, but are fooled and manipulated by managers who come in at 8 or 9 o’clock pressuring the Teams via the Team Leader or AM. And because the Team Leader wants to move up fast to escape this culture, they become bullies and only spare those that make friends with them.

Most shops have the HFC who starts all the baking and also preps the coffee machines, brings the milk out etc. Depending on how the evening Team left the shop, this often is a nightmare when the previous shift didn’t close properly, didn’t stock up etc.

At times this is due to lack of staff etc. But often it is simply due to laziness, where the evening Team Leader sits in the office all night, while the 2 people outside slave away without support! As a FL it was important to me to not do that, but to support my Team and we mostly finished in time leaving an immaculate shop for the morning Team. The next shift then had a clean and easier start. But many shops don’t care for the next shift, which in turn comes back to them when they take over from the morning team who retaliate to the evening Team… vicious circle and it adds to the stress that’s already there.

But I always changed that behaviour in every shop I worked in. This created a relaxed atmosphere where the teams started to work together instead of against each other, because they realized that this actually became much easier to work in support of each other instead of a cliquish environment.

 

6AM opening the doors

Again, if the Team had a good start and nothing went wrong, no delays etc. the shop can be open smoothly and customers can be served in a relaxed way.

 

Between 7:30-ish and 9-ish depending on the shop and which area they are in, the shop then becomes humongously busy with the coffee rush. But still there are only 2-3 TMs on the till if they are lucky and 1, maximum 2 Baristas. This forces the HFC to interrupt their hard, hot and sweaty work, to constantly having to jump in to “bust” the queues as the Teams have 1 minute to serve each customer which the MS probes them to the second!

A Mystery Shopper report excerpt (I added the blue writing and yellow marking):

07 15 seconds

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Where you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?”
MS: “I was served very quicly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.”

Pret: “We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time?”
MS: “I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.”

And yet, the MS gave 4 out 5 points on each question as if 15 seconds wasn’t good enough. The point system is important mainly for managers. The more points the more bonus. So, even when the Team gets the bonus, but the points are not as high, GMs still stress and pressure the Teams because the manager’s quarterly bonus depends also on the point score. Managers are rewarded their bonus based on all the different results: profit, waste, labour, cleanliness etc.

But the Mystery Shopper reports and bonus system counts towards the largest chunk of managers’ bonuses! One GM was happy with his Team to cheat on everything, but the Mystery Shopper results. As a Team Leader new in his shop, he took me aside and said to me, “I close my eyes to everything, but not to the Mystery Shopper.” In other words, if I as a Team Leader failed to engage my Team and this resulted in poor MS results I’d get in big trouble. But on other things, even Health & Safety issues, he would have closed his eyes. … I’m not going to elaborate what my response was, but I communicated that he shouldn’t close his eyes to anything. I said that also because I was penalized for the smallest things in a previous shop. So, I made sure I covered all my basis and not let a greedy GM sabotage my job.

The MS being the biggest contributor of Managers’ bonuses creates even more stress because the Team get the message, “It is NEVER good enough what you achieve”. And I have countless example of how managers stressed us even when we got the bonus and even when someone got the OC. It’s never good enough unless it’s 100% perfect EVERY time. And even then, one slip, one mistake and all hell breaks loose!

This is the reason why so many customers complain on Twitter with half empty cups of cappuccinos, or a milky Americano where they asked for a black one. Because staff are so robotic, fast and on autopilot.

Only one of countless Tweets with photos like this:

2019-02-11 Stingy coffee

This is St. Pancras, one of the most busiest shops in Pret!

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover into Pret (after having read my blog I’m proud to say!!) and writes about a conversation she had with a Barista during coffee rush. Quote (I added the bold):

“Undercover reporter Amy Sharpe worked inside the scandal-hit chain and discovered a potentially fatal blunder with labelling and staff who are hugely over-stretched. …

I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags.

I shout orders to a barista while dashing to a beeping toastie machine to retrieve a baguette.

I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.

All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.

One barista tells me the cramped service area is a “nightmare”.

He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad. You’ve got to focus, stay calm.”

When the bonus is lost, the boss will give the Team or the individual a good telling off. At times directly and loud, other times subtle manipulation threatening with the job security.

 

I survived this during bereavement! There was no mercy!

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link by @terry_mcparlane Twitter of a typical cramped Barista working area.

 

 

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

 

A Mystery Shopper tweet:

2017 A Mystery Shopper tweeted

Link

 

2015 About Mystery Shopper

Link

 

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive

Link

The psychology of “group incentive” is actually peer pressure and what a recent reviewer called “blame culture” which I totally underline. I spent a lot of time building my team member UP when they messed up the Mystery Shopper after our manager put them DOWN, because putting down is counter productive and leads to mental health problems. If I had buckets of the tears that were flowing after the harsh telling off when the Mystery Shopper wasn’t happy …

 

2018 Emotional Labour Labor Quota Smiles2

Link

 

A Pret employee’s review on the Mystery Shopper pressure:

2019-04-16 Mystery Shopper Blame Culture

Link

 

Another of the many reviews along those lines:

2019-04-09 Mysterys Shopper Trap Happy Family

Link

 

 

So, between 7 and 9AM or even later, the GM starts to come in. Depending on the GM, some come at 7AM, others at 9AM etc. Some sit in the office during intense stressful morning rush. Others help. But if they help, almost all GMs prefer to be at the coffee machines with their backs to the customers, as customer service is extremely stressful with the demand to SMILE CONSTANTLY … for the Mystery Shopper. This is the frustrating thing for the Teams, because the GM pressures staff to be perfect for bonus, while themselves “hiding” at the coffee machines!

When I was bereaved and wanted to get away from customer service as I could not afford to stay at home unpaid, having lost all my savings. I begged the GM at times when I couldn’t hold back the tears, to please let me work in the kitchen for a day because I was tearing up at times on the shop floor. But because I wasn’t used to the pace in the kitchen, the GM denied this. I stopped asking then. But at times I asked the GM or AM if I can please be at the coffee, as I was really fast at the coffee and wanted to get away from facing customers in tears. Again, it was denied because most GMs are selfish and always choose the easiest job, no matter how a TM or even I as a leader, was doing!

A rare observation and even rarer comment by a customer who noticed that the manager is always sitting in the office during busy times. Pret tasks the Mystery Shopper also to record if they see a manager on the shop floor and what the manager was doing. Pret leaves all this to the Mystery Shopper instead of having regular visits from the Operations Managers (OPs – area managers). OPs often themselves sit in the pub during busy lunch times, pretend to be busy and mostly communicate via email. I know this for a fact, I’ve seen it.

Customer observation:

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

 

Here I want to paint the picture and would ask the reader who is a regular customer in Pret to take a morning out of their work routine if they can, go to Pret, sit closest to the till area where they can observe BEHIND the counter all the TMs. Sit down and JUST WATCH for 30-60 minutes during the most busiest coffee rush. Just sit there, quiet and concentrate without any distraction or phone, reading… Just observe for a solid hour and then ask yourself HOW staff can smile, have eye contact and make polite conversation with EACH customer!

They can, but only because of the above mentioned cash incentive and fear management via the Mystery Shopper.

MS excerpts:

04 MS

Pret probing on the INDIVIDUAL Team Member:

Pret: “We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.”
MS: “I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engage[d] and positive.”
(No concern if the TM was extremely busy and may have gone through person tragedy, depression etc.)

 

Pret probing on the WHOLE Team:

05 Attenditve to EACH customer

Pret: “We aim to be attentive to each customer’s needs. Rate the engagement level of the whole team in this shop during your visit.”
MS: “The team members were focused on their jobs but were not welcoming customers. This could be improved by the team members smiling at customers when they entered the shop, and making friendly remark or small talk, where possible.”

 

ANY and ALL the Team are under CONSTANT observation and fear of being watched and rated! All the time. Every moment.

 

Yes, Pret states “reasonable time” and depending how busy it was etc. And the above MS contradicts themself by saying “where possible”. But the Teams are so conditioned and robotic, they always rush and the GMs stress them even during the quiet periods. If they can’t finish a task, they have to often stay longer unpaid. If they DO finish the task, they are criticized for not kissing the Mystery Shopper’s butt sweet enough when they enter the shop! It is always a lose-lose situation and NEVER good enough!!

And here is the perversion of Pret’s Emotional Labour abuse, and I call this perversion and abuse!!

Because this is what it is, PERVERSE, ABUSIVE, BULLYING and EXPLOITING!

Put yourself in their shoes.

A low-paid TM (£8.65 per hour in London) serves between 100 – 200+ customers before lunchtime going through the hellishly hectic coffee rush!

While they slave away like this, they have to smile, make eye contact, some conversation and go the “extra mile” give freebies etc. AND remember all the coffee order, hear the Barista call out the coffees that get constantly mixed up. They have to answer questions, especially on allergens, be polite to rude customers ETC! ………. and be like acrobatic clowns so that Clive Schlee CEO alone can pocket £30 million after JAB purchased Pret.

And customers remain fooled to think staff are so happy in this hellish environment forced to be like clowns because they have kids to feed!

AM ure Misery

Assistant Manager 2017 NY

Highlighting from above review:

“The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. … Everything is over priced and you are forced to act like a happy jack-ass or your pay is cut. You don’t get paid your full hourly rate if you don’t impress the “mystery shopper”. This place is what hell must be like.
Advice to Management: Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

It’s not the first time that an American reviewer angrily wants Pret to go back to the UK.

 

01 Go back to UK

Corporate NYC Review

 

I could add countless reviews like this also from YouTube, Twitter, FB and other sites, but to shorten this, the smile behind Pret is forced via Mystery Shopper’s bonus / cash incentives and fear management.

Anyone who falls for this facade that staff are so happy to work in Pret can remain lulled in if they want to.

I have to also say that staff truly love to give freebies and help customers, they really do. I did, my teams did etc. BUT becoming conditioned to this and then being bullied when personal tragedy hits you like it did me and many others, will add to mental health problems, even depression.

I was leaked an email recently which the Director of HR wrote to all the shops that two  staff members died within a month. I was told by the people who leaked the email to me that one was a suicide. They don’t know the circumstances of the other TM.

But I know of an AMK who died by suicide in 2017 and I may have learned about her turmoil before she died.

I almost went over the edge with what I’ve been through in Pret. If I would have gone through, my death would be the third suicide in Pret. And my suicide would certainly be related to Pret A Manger’s bullying environment. I explain in full in below interview.

So, dear reader, if you have an hour to spare in the weekday morning, go to your local, or even better, another Pret where they don’t know you, sit close to the counter where you have a good view of all TMs. And just observe WITHOUT being distracted. But observe in a subtle way as TMs will assume you are the Mystery Shopper if you “stare” at them. But then again, you may get a free coffee or even breakfast if the Team thinks you are the MS! 😀

If you read though all this, thank you for reading and caring! Please know, I never take people’s time lightly. I know I write a lot, it’s my passion. But I always appreciate people’s time with difficult subjects and when their perception is crushed. I always say, if something looks too good to be true, especially in profit-driven multi-billion pound business, please take a closer look.

 

The Clever Marketing of the Free Coffee give a way, and why Pret may not be doing a Loyalty Card Scheme: FREE Coffees in Pret A Manger.

 

Article: Why is Pret A Manger not being Investigated on Two Staff Deaths?

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

BEST views ever 29May2018

 

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

 

2018-05-29 Clive Announcement

Link

 

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

PR[et] at its best for sure! 😀

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

2018-08-29 My response to £1000 delay

Link

 

Into September and October:

 

2018-09-01 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-12 Pret Staff Twitter £1000

 

2018-09-15 Staff Twitter Complaint £1000

 

2018-09-16 WorshipBroccoli £1000

 

2018-09-19 Meme USA

 

 

2018-09-24 Kevin Pavain re £1000

 

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

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

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team

 

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

 

2018-09-28 Meme People Team my response

 

 

And the appalling slogan of Pret’s HR department:

Right Thing Naturally

 

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

Typo: Hay here means “employee” not employer.

2018-09-29-hay.jpg

 

Last complaint in that feed:

 

2018-10-01 Staff Twitter £1000

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

2018-05-29 Ann Donovan sees thru PR

Link

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

2019-05-05 44 recommend Pret 52 recomm Clive

 

 


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


 

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UPDATE May 2019
TWO Pret staff have died.
More here >
Why is Pret not being Investigated?

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

Interview of Former Pret A Manger Employee

 

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

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

 

My story is at the bottom in an interview.

 

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

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

2019-04-22 NEW on TWITTER

Link

 


 

I write extensively about this in the Emotional Labour article.

 


 

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

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

2019-03-19 Customer re managers

Link

 

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

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

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

 

2015-09-29 Staff cry

Link

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

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

04 MS

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

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

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

 

Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness2

 

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

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

 

man-320273__340

 

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

Preview:

 

Full Interview:

 

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

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

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

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

You will Lose Everything that makes You Human – Pret A Manger

 

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(I left all the mistakes in the reviews to keep it in their own words)

 

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

Collected on the Long List of Pret Staff Complaints and Reviews

 


 

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.

 


 

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

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Pret A Manger Snapshots, Experiences & Reviews

 

UPDATE March 2019 – The first time I share my story verbally in one go in this interview. Underneath the interview section are selected reviews from current and former Pret Staff.

 

 

 

Adam

 

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

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

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

Please visit his Podcast and Twitter @1AdamParadox.

 


 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Go back to the UK, Pret I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment.

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

I want to be as loud as possible herePRET DOESN’T CARE!I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth.

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

horrible management … management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life… i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.”

Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake.

Never again – very poor screening system when choosing management, lots of hr issue unsolved … reconsider the Happy Team, Happy Customer scenario and solve the hr issues from headoffice

Not for britishI felt like an outsider in my own country. Train your managers! They look unhappy and stressed.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Paris:Charge de travail horrible – Entreprise a fuir absolument, des rushs épouvantables parfois 7 jours de travails consécutifs sans repos.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~man-320273__340

 

Never left a job so fast – I worked only a few week in Pret but fell used and stressed out. Expectations is high but no help from manager.”

If I could give zero stars I wouldPret does not deserve even 1 star. I regret having worked there. Pret looks good from the front but once you work thete it’s a lot of stress”

You can do better – I was stressed out nearly everyday. The manager was very unprofessional and disrespectful.”

The place was always dirty. People wouldn’t take the job seriously. Everyday people would call out. I wouldn’t recommend working at this company. Avoid.”

to much stress for little pay – bad managers in most shop I worked, dirty work kitchen don’t wash hands …”

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

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

Pure Misery kitchen staff is treated like slaves… The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives… Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Exploitation, racism: Sfruttamento – azienda poco seria e stipendi molto bassi, poca vita sociale e turni troppo lunghi, bullismo e razzismo erano all’ordine del giorno”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Despair pexels-photo-568027

~~~~~~

Intense and stressful environmenthostile work environment.”

HorriblePret A Manger is honestly a very unprofessional work environment. I’ve met great people at the job but the job itself is very stressful and not worth the pay.”

I hate work in Pret A MangerTreat all fair and don’t push so much.

Wouldn’t recommendThere are lot of slogans and promises of awards but when you do well there is no award. Manager is stressed and hectic no time to learn and make mistakes.”

Unfriendly environment people were too mean”

Don’t work for Pret when you sickI have disability from doctor but manager don’t believe me. they push hard no matter when you sick or not.

Discrimination and favouritismIf you can play games Pret is perfect.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

General Manager: Not the best place to workNot much support to the management from the Operations Team. Had to work there at least 12 hours, as there was no other manager in the store, due to some HR issue … As much as they “Like to promote internally” you are still just a pawn for them.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

Link

“Other locations were filthy. Seriously… I worked at a relatively new location with staff that enjoyed themselves… but I was sent to a couple other locations at times if they needed help and ooooh was it a different story.

Bad experience – don’t be racist

They don’t pay leaders enough money. They transfer you from store to store if the gm don’t like you

Employees made the place hell to work

Ehh not worth it at all – Unprofessional staff, youre not even trained properly they just throw you in there.

The idea of proper training is also rediculous – Most people are taken in under promises

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

The brainwash is real A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period.”

Modern Day SlaveryDepression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

Pixabay Tears man-1465525__340

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

General Manager: Great company in risk of ruin! Forced to work without pay, expected to work during annual holiday, pressure on profit leading to unsafe food practices, bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, discrimination… Please get the bullies out and revive Pret to its former glory. Used to be the most amazing company to work for, a job to be proud of. Now your people work in fear.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Head Office:Great brand poor management – Poor management resulting in poor decisions. Office culture is working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Manager:Standards have dropped in recent years, growing animosity between team members and even their managers…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It’s all gone downhill …”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

pexels-photo-767387

~~~~~~

Taken from the Long List of Staff Complaints
from outside Review websites, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook of various positions, countries, years …

~ & ~

How Companies Force Emotional Labour on Low Wage Workers

 


 

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

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

Pret A Manger Allergen Issues & Mislabelling Continues (UPDATED Mar. 2019)

Pret A Manger’s mislabelling and allergen issues continues.

 

Only two of the countless mislabelled soups in Pret. A major reason is Hot Chefs who are responsible for all hot food preparations are swamped with work, understaffed, overworked, often not trained properly and just thrown into the job for lack of staff. The Hot Chef position is the hardest job on the shop floor as they never stop going from the morning breakfast rush into the lunch rush, non-stop and often in cramped work spaces.

And while they are paid a few pennies more, but still under £10 an hour, they are brainwashed to believe they are paid more, while in reality they work double and triple the amount. I was thrust into the Hot Chef position when I started in Pret but stopped it after a few weeks as I didn’t get training, no pay-rise and started to have pain in my shoulders and arms. Horrendously hard work, non-rewarding and ridiculously underpaid, but staff are made to believe they are paid better… pennies better but have to work double and triple as hard.

If the below customers (which are only the tip of the iceberg) would have allergies with some of the products looking similar, I wonder how many injuries, even deaths have occurred the public doesn’t know about.

 

2019-02-07 Chicken in Veggie soup mislabelled

Link 7. Feb. 2019

 

2019-01-16 Wrong soup again

Link 16. Jan. 2019

 

The latest Hot Chef review from 1st March 2019 on Indeed:

2019-03-01 HotChef exhausting

Link

 

 

2018-01-21 Hot Chef

Link

 

Only 2 of many reviews collected on Pret Staff Complaints.

 

Below is a series of more customer complaints of half empty coffees, un-stirred hot chocolates, poor coffee quality, chicken instead of vegan soup, pork instead of veggie pot, stingy ingredients in wraps, wrongly labelled … These are just a small collection here of those people care to go on Twitter with photos. I stopped updating, but the issues continue.

To say upfront, the reason the coffees are often half empty, or the wrong milk was added, or no milk at all, is to a great deal because of the 1 minute demand to serve hot drinks from the time of payment.

The weekly Mystery Shopper even times it to the second which adds to the horrendous stress.

 

07 15 seconds

 

Pret: “We aim to serve out customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Were you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?”

Mystery Shopper: “I was served very quickly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.” Yet, the MS gives 4 out of 5 points as if 1.5 seconds would have been more acceptable for a perfect score.

If the staff is successful in most things the whole team receives the bonus, if the MS marks them down on few things including getting the coffee in 2 minutes, the whole team loses bonus. But even if bonus is won or lost, and individual staff member can win an extra £100 or double up to £200 if they were extremely nice by giving free coffees and food, or be really chatty or outstanding where the Mystery Shopper is either served or witnesses this generosity and “happiness”. And customers are fooled to think Pret staff are so happy, while completely ignoring how intensely stressful, exhausting, loud and harsh the rush times are.

 

Not Outstanding

 

or if successful, then the team member received £100 extra or double £200 if everything was a perfect Mystery Shopper score.

 

2018-07-04 Outstanding Card

 

If bonus was lost or the points were low the team member or members were getting told off. It’s either win some extra money or get pressure and fear managed, but the whole work in between to serve the MS who’s only there 10-15 minutes or longer per week, is too much stress with the expectation to smile, be chatty and show a forced happiness for 6, 8 10+ hours everyday adds to the decline of mental health and dignity. I was expected to smile while traumatically bereaved.

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

Pret claims that staff have 1 minute to serve 1 customer. Apart from the 1 minute per customer service being already way too fast to do proper customer service, it is unrealistic. Most Prets have on average 7 – 10+ tills. Mostly there are only 3 on the tills and 1 – 2 baristas on the coffee machines, even during extreme morning rushes that I have worked like this. At busy periods the queue is to the door and even outside the door, but managers refuse to get more team members to man the tills as this would cut a slice out of their labour expenses and decreases their bonus.

So, reality is, Team Member are swamped and overworked in intense stress, but they conditioned and brainwashed to serve within a minute. The computer print-outs at the end of the day that showed exactly how many transactions at what times which team member did on which till shows the immense volume of customers that come through EACH staff member’s till.

I myself served on average 25 – 30 transactions within a 15 minute period. That is 2 transactions per minute. That is NOT 2 customers per minute as 1 transaction is a payment being registered through the till. So, 1 transaction is anything from 1 customer to a group of 3, 5, 8 people. If you were too slow, your boss was on your case. So, the 1 minute per customer is bogus as staff turn into robots and are constantly on electricity without stopping.

What is so ridiculous is that most customers neither open their eyes, nor care to know how stressful this is physically and mentally on employees.

Very rarely does a customer speak out:

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror who went undercover in Pret after having read my blog also points out the stress:

I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags. I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.
All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.
One barista tells me the cramped service area is a ‘nightmare’.
He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad.
You’ve got to focus, stay calm.

Link

 

The cramped work areas are big problems in most Prets, be it front or back of house. Coffee makers have very little space to work, but are expected to make perfect coffees within 1 minute in an extreme stressful environment, often under harsh management, force to smile like an acrobat!

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link

 

small barista coffee area

Link

Even a sink directly in front of the left coffee machine, no space to work properly.

This problem is also in the kitchen, stock rooms, changing rooms and other back of house areas:

Customer areas are increased to get as many customers = money in as possible; staff areas are decreased. This then creates multiple problems, not only on the mental strain of staff but customers lives as mistakes happen quickly as with labelling I collected in another post “Ongoing issues, hospitalization, mislabelling…“:

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

One shop I worked in had only ONE multitask room: office, staff changing room with lockers, fridges, freezers, stock room, hot chef soup prep area, chemical room for cleaning materials etc and to top it all, illegally the rubbish room next to the food prep area! This shop was the worst shop I’ve worked in. This photo is from 2015 and after years like this, Pret was forced to expand the work space to separate the rubbish for health and safety reasons. This room was medium size and approx. 15 square meters max. A total nightmare.

 

Spitalfields Waste MultitaskOffice_6Sep15

 

 

Here are just few of the results of the 1 minute pressure, fear management and the cramped working areas that customers care to go on Twitter:


2019-02-11 Stingy coffee

Link

 

2019-01-29 stingy latte coffee

Link

 

2019-02-05 Tea in Filter Coffee

Link

 

2019-02-01 half coffee

Link

 

2019-02-01 Coffee flat white worst ever

Link

 

2019-01-30 Half Empty Coffee

Link

 

2019-01-21 Low coffee stingy

Link

 

2018-12-19 half coffee

Link

 

 

2018-11-28 Wrong Coffee

Link

 

2019-02-02 Bland Hot Chocolate Coffee stingy

 

 

2019-01-25 Wrong milk in latte gross

Link

 

 

Back of house issues:

 

 

Salmon stingy 2015-08-12

 

 

2019-01-28 Hong Kong stingy ham baguette

 

 

2019-01-25 Spicy Chicken Wrap stingy

 

 

2017-12-12 Stingy Wrap

 

 

2019-02-11 Stingy salad

 

 

2018-05-22 Wrap Air Stingy

 

2019-01-08 Stingy Crayfish

 

2019-01-15 Little stingy soup

 

 

CHICKEN instead of VEGAN soup

 

2018-12-19 Chicken instead of Vegan soup

 

 

PORK instead of VEGGIE pot

 

2019-02-05 Pork instead of veggie pot

 

 

 

Before the customer deaths became public several customers asked Pret to label products, but the generic response from Pret was just to shift blame, and that was that.

 

2018-06-05-wrong-wrap-wrong-label1.jpg

 

2018-06-05 wrong wrap

 

etc. etc. etc.

These things continue even now, and it would take a much longer blog entry to list them here.

 

The pressure on staff to work so fast or get threatened with their job security puts not only customer lives at risk, but the mental strain on staff is horrendous.

 

04 MSEndTheMysteryShopper

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

MS: “I was not treated at the till or given a smile…”

 

PAMSU Dismantle MS

 

 

2018-05-09 PAMSU EndTheMysteryShopper

Link Tweets on the reason why staff are “always” so “happy”, from the former Pret employee who was fired for having started a Union

 

For extensive insight into the humiliating Mystery Shopper requirements and “Emotional Labour” the press called it >>> How companies force Emotional Labour on Low Paid Workers

 

And >>> Long List of Pret Staff Complaints and Reviews

 


 

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

 

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