To NHS Employees

 

Dear NHS Employees,

above screenshot from @hannahwebs is the ONLY NHS employee outcry I have seen on Social Media! Other people raise their voices regarding the freebies PR for the NHS while Pret tried to cut staff pay and hours! But Hannah is the only NHS worker who spoke out! It is devastating that most only care about their freebies, but not for low-paid Pret staff! My plea to NHS employees at the bottom of this page.

Below is the email by Pano Christou, CEO of Pret A Manger who announced the 25% pay-cut for all employees and 16 hour contracts for front-line staff.

I was sent his email early morning on 19.03.2020 when he sent the email to all shops and HQ. I immediately wrote a blog entry and went on Twitter. Next day after a public outcry and bad press, Pret reversed the decision and announced to go back to 100% pay … BUT said that “we need to continually review our position”:

As a little reminder or introduction for new readers, Pret that was a multi-million pound company until 2018 was sold to the second richest family of Germany Reimann under tax-haven Luxembourg based firm JAB Holdings.

Pret now is a multi-BILLION pound company. The Reimann family are worth €33 BILLION, but Pret decided to steal from low-wage workers to keep stuffing Billionaires.

Some concerned people responded on social media, including a NHS staff’s disgust at Pret’s PR stunt of giving NHS staff freebies and at the same time cutting own staff pay and hours.

2020-03-20 150% rise in profit

 

2020-03-22 Long memory re bad treatment of staff

 

This NHS employee is MY NHS hero / heroine!

2020-03-21 NHS staff1

 

2020-03-21 NHS staff2

Link

 

2020-03-20 Cancel NHS offer pay staff

 

2020-03-21 Putting Workers at risk

 

2020-03-21 Support Tweet to Piers Morgan

 

2020-03-25 Boycott forever

 

2020-03-20 Exposing staff to coronavirus -

 

2020-03-23 Bad treatment of staff

 

etc. etc. etc.

 


 

What Pret staff say for years:

Las Vegas

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

 

Go back Pret

 

I was sent a message on 19.03.2020 early morning from a Pret employee about Pret cutting 25% of pay to all staff. Another Pret worker sent me the email that CEO Pano Christou sent to all UK shops and HQ.

I was asked to not post the screenshot of the email but to write a transcript.

In the midst of giving freebies and 50% rebates to NHS workers and cranking up the PR machine again, Pret cuts 25% pay and hours of their low paid staff. Most now work 16 hours per week and get 25% cut on top of it, and are pressured to take holidays and unpaid leave. Do the math of £8.65 per hour how much they get at the end of the week!

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the PR[et] Machine!

I also wrote a blog entry today: “Pret A Clowns” addressing Pano Christou and Clive Schlee as they read my blog. No more sweet-talk!

Pano Christou’s email from 19.03.2020 regarding pay and hour cuts DURING the NHS freebie give-away smokescreen!


 

Dear 75B and UK Shops

In moments of crisis we are challenged on our values and it is important we continue to support each other. People are at the heart of Pret. That’s why our biggest priority as we navigate the impact of Coronavirus is to protect our people. Pret is a wonderful company because it is full of amazingly talented, passionate, kind and generous people. I call it my second home after spending 20 years of my life with such wonderful people who have helped to shape me as a leader, father and a human being.

There are many people losing their jobs from other companies, especially in our sector. Our aim is not lose anyone, because we believe that we are all in this together.

Unfortunately we cannot ignore the fact that our sales in the UK have dropped by 75% and we believe this will be our new reality for several weeks. Therefore we have to reduce our costs somehow.

We are prioritising cuts in all areas that don’t impact our people directly, however it’s vital we also address pay. This means we need to ask every single Pret employee to take a 25% reduction in their contracted hours (and therefore pay). I know this is a huge ask and it breaks my heart to have to get to this point. I know it will hit people hard, but if we can achieve this, we can avoid job losses at this time. The Global Leadership Team and Board will be taking bigger cuts

We anticipate that our current reduction in sales will continue for at least 3 months and therefore the reduction in hours and associated pay will need to cover this period. If sales improve before then or we receive any further assistance from the government, nothing would make me happier than to be able to reverse this decision more quickly. I will keep you informed.

It goes without saying that if anyone would like to reduce their hours even further (perhaps for personal reasons) or take any period of unpaid absence or sabbatical (even if they haven’t been as Pret for long) then please let the HR team know.

It is important that every single Manager speaks to every single member of their team by Friday 12 noon (20th March) to explain this. There will be lots of questions and following this note the HR team will be sending a list of actions that need to be taken, a letter that needs to be given to every person, and answers to the questions you and your teams may have.

To help our Pret people at this difficult time, we are setting up a Coronavirus Hardship Fund. More details to follow early next week. If any employee needs assistance due to the reduction in their hours then they must ask us for help and we will do all we can to support.

I am fully aware of the impact this change has on us all and I thank you for your understanding.

Take care of yourself and each other.

Pano

 


 

I don’t want to comment too much as I have been writing and tweeting all day on this. But a few things.

Pano writes, quote: “if we can achieve this, we can avoid job losses at this time”.

First of all, how about stopping to give freebies to NHS workers and stop the PR, and take care of your own workers! I am all for supporting medical staff, service persons etc. but at THIS time where the virus is spreading and staff don’t know how to survive, Pret cranks up the PR machine again and low-wage workers are paying for it!

And about the job losses, this is the typical Pret manipulation to scare workers into pay-cuts. Pret needs staff more than they want to admit. If Pret was to fire workers and business comes back up again, they would have to employ masses of people and train them fast. Cutting pay and cutting hours, keeping workers will have Pret back on its feet in no time.

Pano: “The Global Leadership Team and Board will be taking bigger cuts.”

The Global Leadership Team and Board earn 5 and 6-digit figures #FFS!!! I expect them to make HUGE cuts and keep the workforce at their pay level at the LEAST!

 

Clive £30 million

Link to Daily Mail

 

CEO Dan Price has cut his salary for his workers and his company Gravity Pay is thriving ever since! In 2015 Dan cut his $1.1 million annual pay down to $70K to raise the minimum wage for ALL his staff to $70K. And now his company is pulling together without him having to beg! He will leave a solid legacy behind, built on foundations of truth, integrity and life-changing actions. Dan said he has never regretted it and is happier than ever before. He has a healthy and thriving work environment and many CEOs are following his example! He will not be remembered for the sweet-talk that brings no change for the better and for which Pret is so known for within its own workforce.

Nothing more to say except, shame on Pret for squeezing their low-paid employees even more now, while pretending to sacrifice so much on top levels. Whatever cuts the top management makes on their own pay, they still have millions in the bank! And giving freebies to NHS workers at the same time is a smokescreen, while staff don’t know how to pay the rent! Absolute shame! Pret did the same recently with making plant-based milks free, and then raising the coffee prices at the same time. People always pay, one way or another!

Again, NHS workers DESERVE every bit of a break and support and love we can give them, absolutely! But Pret disregards their own yet again for the sake of PR and to polish up their cracked public image! Shame!

After public pressure and bad press Pret reversed the pay cut back to 100% pay and full 35 hour contracted hours, except for those who already signed a new 16 hour contract! But the reversion will be reviewed on an “ongoing basis” after April!

Quote from Pret:

“We will always put our people first and maintain as many hours and as much pay we can afford”. – Pret A Manger under Pano Christou (and Clive Schlee) under JAB Holdings / Reimann worth €33 Billion. “As much as we can afford”.

“We always put our people first”.

Really?

  • PR stunt giving NHS staff freebies
  • While cutting Pret staff PAY of 25% & hours down to 16 hours
  • Putting measures in place for customers 2B safe
  • NO care for staff in close proximity to each other

 

2020-03-23 100%

 

My plea to NHS employees

Apart from your joy of getting free coffees, 50% off food and food donations, praising Pret as an ethical company: why don’t you stand up for low-wage Pret employees who pay the price for Pret’s marketing, while top executives earn millions and JAB Holdings sit on billions!

Don’t let Hannah be the only NHS staff to have spoken out after NHS workers received freebies. 50% rebates and food donations!

Pret will try to cut pay and hours again, even when business is back to normal. I know Pret, they use any-and everything to avoid paying staff. Two class-action suits have been settled in New York when Pret had to repay 4000 workers!

2016-03-17 Pret will do anything not to pay - RVW9823882

Link

 

To all Pret employees:

JOIN A UNION!

These two Unions are very active and the best informed on Pret issues:

iwgb.org.uk
Twitter: @IWGBunion

www.bfawu.org
Twitter: @bfawu1

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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 bows to Public Pressure & the Press

 

Quote:

“We will always put our people first and maintain as many hours and as much pay we can afford”. – Pret A Manger under Pano Christou (and Clive Schlee) under JAB Holdings / Reimann worth €33 Billion. “As much as we can afford”.

“We always put our people first”.

Really?

 

 

-PR stunt giving NHS staff freebies

-While cutting Pret staff PAY & Hours

-Putting measures in place for customers 2B safe

-NO care for staff in close proximity to each other

 

Below is the email by Pano Christou, CEO of Pret A Manger who announced the 25% pay-cut for all employees and 16 hour contracts for front-line staff.

I was sent his email early morning and immediately wrote a blog entry and went on Twitter. Next day after a public outcry and bad press, Pret reversed and announced to go back to 100% pay … BUT … “we need to continually review our position”:

 

2020-03-23 100%

 

As a little reminder or introduction for new readers, Pret that was a multi-million pound company until 2018 was sold to the second richest company of Germany, Reimann under tax haven Luxembourg based firm JAB Holdings.

Pret now is a multiBILLION pound company. The Reimann family are worth €33 BILLION, but Pret decided to steal from low-wage workers to keep stuffing Billionaires.

Some concerned people including a NHS staff disgust at Pret’s PR stunt of giving NHS staff freebies and at the same time cutting own staff pay and hours.

2020-03-20 150% rise in profit

 

2020-03-21 NHS staff1

 

2020-03-21 NHS staff2

 

2020-03-20 Cancel NHS offer pay staff

 

2020-03-21 Putting Workers at risk

 

2020-03-21 Support Tweet to Piers Morgan

 


 

Below email from Pano Christou.

 

Las Vegas

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

 

Go back Pret

 

I was sent a message on 18.03.2020 from a Pret employee about Pret cutting 25% of pay to all staff. Another Pret worker sent me the email that CEO Pano Christou sent to all UK shops and HQ this morning (19.03.2020).

I was asked to not post the screenshot of the email but to write a transcript.

In the midst of giving freebies and 50% rebates to NHS workers and cranking up the PR machine again, Pret cuts 25% pay and hours of their low paid staff. Most now work 16 hours per week and get 25% cut on top of it, and are pressured to take holidays and unpaid leave. Do the math of £8.65 per hour how much they get at the end of the week!

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the PR[et] Machine!

I also wrote a blog entry today: “Pret A Clowns” addressing Pano Christou and Clive Schlee as they read my blog. No more sweet-talk!

Pano Christou’s email from 18.03.2020 early morning:

 


 

Dear 75B and UK Shops

In moments of crisis we are challenged on our values and it is important we continue to support each other. People are at the heart of Pret. That’s why our biggest priority as we navigate the impact of Coronavirus is to protect our people. Pret is a wonderful company because it is full of amazingly talented, passionate, kind and generous people. I call it my second home after spending 20 years of my life with such wonderful people who have helped to shape me as a leader, father and a human being.

There are many people losing their jobs from other companies, especially in our sector. Our aim is not lose anyone, because we believe that we are all in this together.

Unfortunately we cannot ignore the fact that our sales in the UK have dropped by 75% and we believe this will be our new reality for several weeks. Therefore we have to reduce our costs somehow.

We are prioritising cuts in all areas that don’t impact our people directly, however it’s vital we also address pay. This means we need to ask every single Pret employee to take a 25% reduction in their contracted hours (and therefore pay). I know this is a huge ask and it breaks my heart to have to get to this point. I know it will hit people hard, but if we can achieve this, we can avoid job losses at this time. The Global Leadership Team and Board will be taking bigger cuts

We anticipate that our current reduction in sales will continue for at least 3 months and therefore the reduction in hours and associated pay will need to cover this period. If sales improve before then or we receive any further assistance from the government, nothing would make me happier than to be able to reverse this decision more quickly. I will keep you informed.

It goes without saying that if anyone would like to reduce their hours even further (perhaps for personal reasons) or take any period of unpaid absence or sabbatical (even if they haven’t been as Pret for long) then please let the HR team know.

It is important that every single Manager speaks to every single member of their team by Friday 12 noon (20th March) to explain this. There will be lots of questions and following this note the HR team will be sending a list of actions that need to be taken, a letter that needs to be given to every person, and answers to the questions you and your teams may have.

To help our Pret people at this difficult time, we are setting up a Coronavirus Hardship Fund. More details to follow early next week. If any employee needs assistance due to the reduction in their hours then they must ask us for help and we will do all we can to support.

I am fully aware of the impact this change has on us all and I thank you for your understanding.

Take care of yourself and each other.

Pano

 


 

I don’t want to comment too much as I have been writing and tweeting all day on this. But a few things.

Pano writes, quote: “if we can achieve this, we can avoid job losses at this time”.

First of all, how about stopping to give freebies to NHS workers and stop the PR, and take care of your own workers! I am all for supporting medical staff, service persons etc. but at THIS time where the virus is spreading and staff don’t know how to survive, Pret cranks up the PR machine again and low-wage workers are paying for it!

And about the job losses, this is the typical Pret manipulation to scare workers into pay-cuts. Pret needs staff more than they want to admit. If Pret was to fire workers and business comes back up again, they would have to employ masses of people and train them fast. Cutting pay and cutting hours, keeping workers will have Pret back on its feet in no time.

Pano: “The Global Leadership Team and Board will be taking bigger cuts.”

The Global Leadership Team and Board earn 5 and 6-digit figures #FFS!!! I expect them to make HUGE cuts and keep the workforce at their pay level at the LEAST!

 

Clive £30 million

Link to Daily Mail

 

CEO Dan Price has cut his salary for his workers and his company Gravity Pay is thriving ever since! In 2015 Dan cut his $1.1 million annual pay down to $70K to raise the minimum wage for ALL his staff to $70K. And now his company is pulling together without him having to beg! He will leave a solid legacy behind, built on foundations of truth, integrity and life-changing actions. Dan said he has never regretted it and is happier than ever before. He has a healthy and thriving work environment and many CEOs are following his example! He will not be remembered for the sweet-talk that brings no change for the better and for which Pret is so known for within its own workforce.

Nothing more to say except, shame on Pret for squeezing their low-paid employees even more now, while pretending to sacrifice so much on top levels. Whatever cuts the top management makes on their own pay, they still have millions in the bank! And giving freebies to NHS workers at the same time is a smokescreen, while staff don’t know how to pay the rent! Absolute shame! Pret did the same recently with making plant-based milks free, and then raising the coffee prices at the same time. People always pay, one way or another!

Again, NHS workers DESERVE every bit of a break and support and love we can give them, absolutely! But Pret disregards their own yet again for the sake of PR and to polish up their cracked public image! Shame!

 

To all Pret employees:

JOIN A UNION!

These two Unions are very active and the best informed on Pret issues:

iwgb.org.uk
Twitter: @IWGBunion

www.bfawu.org
Twitter: @bfawu1

 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

Cases of Social Media Misconduct – #PretAManger

 

To all Pret staff,

cases of social media misconduct can be avoided by sending me any information that I can publish on my website.

I you have any information for the public and the press, you can send it to me anonymously and I will publish. Pret will not know who sent it. 😉

 

Pret’s Furlough information to employees (incomplete)

2020-03-24 Pret Furlough1

 

2020-03-24 Pret Furlough2 marked

 

2020-03-24 Pret Furlough3

 

2020-03-24 Pret Furlough4

 

2020-03-24 Pret Furlough5

 

To all Pret staff,

cases of social media misconduct can be avoided by sending me any information that I can publish on my website.

I you have any information for the public and the press, you can send it to me and I will publish.

Stay safe, stand up and join a Union:

IWGBIndependent Workers Union of Great Britain (helping foreign workers a lot)

BFAWUBakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 

 

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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’s Covid-19 FUCK – sorry FAQs!

 

The following is Pret A Manger’s “How to Card” on the Coronavirus and how they UN-pay their staff during quarantine.

The worker who sent this to me highlighted the pay issues, I added the underline.

I want to say thank you to the Pret employees who sent this and other information on.

I want to tell you that you are courageous, strong and wonderful people. I wish worked with you in my wasted time at Pret. 

I’ve never met some of you, but I miss the likes of you!

 


 

Pret A Manger’s FUCK

 

Covid-19 FAQs

Who should respond to customer queries about Coronavirus?

Please refer all questions to the MOD. MODs can use this Q&A to answer any customer questions and if unsure of the correct answer, please refer the customer to our Customer Service team.

If you are contacted by a member of the press, then please refer them to press@pret.com

Will Pret be going ahead with any planned events?

We have taken advice and can confirm that May QB will not go ahead. Friday Night Drinks will be postponed until further notice. The Summer Party will also be postponed. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you all on events planned for later this year. 

One of my team have just returned from Spain / Italy / China, should they self-isolate?

As per government advice, people should only self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone confirmed to have Coronavirus (14 days), if they live in a household with someone who has symptoms or has symptoms themselves (14 days) or if they have any symptoms of Coronavirus themselves and live alone (7 days). If symptoms develop or worsen during that timeframe then they should call 111 to seek professional advice.

One of my team has travelled to another country and are now not able to get a flight back to the UK – what should I process this as?

This should be processed on Workday as unpaid authorized absence.  However, if the Team Member would like to get paid for this time, they can borrow up to 5 days holiday from next years’ entitlement.

One of my team say they feel unsafe coming to work and they would like to self-isolate.

Self-isolation only needs to take place if the TM has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus, or if they have any symptoms of Coronavirus themselves. Pret would not ask someone to work in an environment that we deemed unsafe and we are following all guidance to help prevent the spread of the virus. If a Team Member does not feel comfortable coming to work, then this should be processed as unpaid authorised absence.

One of my team is living with someone who is self-isolating – do they also need to self-isolate?

anyone who lives with others and they themselves or one of the household has symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill

anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

One of my TMs has asthma, so always has a cough / difficulty breathing, do they need to self-isolate?

No, TMs will only need to self-isolate if they have developed a recent cough, temperature or difficultly breathing. If this is an on-going health problem they do not need to self-isolate.

When should a TM self-isolate and for how long?

If a TM lives alone, they must self-isolate for 7 days from the start of having symptoms.

If a TM lives with others, they must self-isolate for 14 days from the start of anyone in the household showing symptoms including themselves.

Why 14 days if you live with others? It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or may already be infected. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community.

Anyone who starts displaying symptoms while already being in the 14 days self-isolation period must stay at home for at least 7 days from the start of their own symptoms. E.g. if you were in the 12th day of self-isolation when your symptoms appeared, you will yourself need to self-isolate for 7 days from that date. Making your self-isolation a total of 19 days.

 


 

JavaScript required to view slideshow. May not work on mobile devices without Wifi.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow can be paused

 

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

 

©2020 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 Pay-cut – FULL CEO Email

 

Las Vegas

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

 

Go back Pret

 

I was sent a message this morning from a Pret employee about Pret cutting 25% of pay to all staff. Another Pret worker sent me the email that CEO Pano Christou sent to all UK shops and HQ this morning (19.03.2020).

I was asked to not post the screenshot of the email but to write a transcript.

In the midst of giving freebies and 50% rebates to NHS workers and cranking up the PR machine again, Pret cuts 25% pay and hours of their low paid staff. Most now work 16 hours per week and get 25% cut on top of it, and are pressured to take holidays and unpaid leave. Do the math of £8.65 per hour how much they get at the end of the week!

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the PR[et] Machine!

I also wrote a blog entry today: “Pret A Clowns” addressing Pano Christou and Clive Schlee as they read my blog. No more sweet-talk!

Pano Christou’s email this morning:

 


 

Dear 75B and UK Shops

In moments of crisis we are challenged on our values and it is important we continue to support each other. People are at the heart of Pret. That’s why our biggest priority as we navigate the impact of Coronavirus is to protect our people. Pret is a wonderful company because it is full of amazingly talented, passionate, kind and generous people. I call it my second home after spending 20 years of my life with such wonderful people who have helped to shape me as a leader, father and a human being.

There are many people losing their jobs from other companies, especially in our sector. Our aim is not lose anyone, because we believe that we are all in this together.

Unfortunately we cannot ignore the fact that our sales in the UK have dropped by 75% and we believe this will be our new reality for several weeks. Therefore we have to reduce our costs somehow.

We are prioritising cuts in all areas that don’t impact our people directly, however it’s vital we also address pay. This means we need to ask every single Pret employee to take a 25% reduction in their contracted hours (and therefore pay). I know this is a huge ask and it breaks my heart to have to get to this point. I know it will hit people hard, but if we can achieve this, we can avoid job losses at this time. The Global Leadership Team and Board will be taking bigger cuts

We anticipate that our current reduction in sales will continue for at least 3 months and therefore the reduction in hours and associated pay will need to cover this period. If sales improve before then or we receive any further assistance from the government, nothing would make me happier than to be able to reverse this decision more quickly. I will keep you informed.

It goes without saying that if anyone would like to reduce their hours even further (perhaps for personal reasons) or take any period of unpaid absence or sabbatical (even if they haven’t been as Pret for long) then please let the HR team know.

It is important that every single Manager speaks to every single member of their team by Friday 12 noon (20th March) to explain this. There will be lots of questions and following this note the HR team will be sending a list of actions that need to be taken, a letter that needs to be given to every person, and answers to the questions you and your teams may have.

To help our Pret people at this difficult time, we are setting up a Coronavirus Hardship Fund. More details to follow early next week. If any employee needs assistance due to the reduction in their hours then they must ask us for help and we will do all we can to support.

I am fully aware of the impact this change has on us all and I thank you for your understanding.

Take care of yourself and each other.

Pano

 


 

I don’t want to comment too much as I have been writing and tweeting all day on this. But a few things.

Pano writes, quote: “if we can achieve this, we can avoid job losses at this time”.

First of all, how about stopping to give freebies to NHS workers and stop the PR, and take care of your own workers! I am all for supporting medical staff, service persons etc. but at THIS time where the virus is spreading and staff don’t know how to survive, Pret cranks up the PR machine again and low-wage workers are paying for it!

And about the job losses, this is the typical Pret manipulation to scare workers into pay-cuts. Pret needs staff more than they want to admit. If Pret was to fire workers and business comes back up again, they would have to employ masses of people and train them fast. Cutting pay and cutting hours, keeping workers will have Pret back on its feet in no time.

Pano: “The Global Leadership Team and Board will be taking bigger cuts.”

The Global Leadership Team and Board earn 5 and 6-digit figures #FFS!!! I expect them to make HUGE cuts and keep the workforce at their pay level at the LEAST!

 

Clive £30 million

Link to Daily Mail

 

CEO Dan Price has cut his salary for his workers and his company Gravity Pay is thriving ever since! In 2015 Dan cut his $1.1 million annual pay down to $70K to raise the minimum wage for ALL his staff to $70K. And now his company is pulling together without him having to beg! He will leave a solid legacy behind, built on foundations of truth, integrity and life-changing actions. Dan said he has never regretted it and is happier than ever before. He has a healthy and thriving work environment and many CEOs are following his example! He will not be remembered for the sweet-talk that brings no change for the better and for which Pret is so known for within its own workforce.

Nothing more to say except, shame on Pret for squeezing their low-paid employees even more now, while pretending to sacrifice so much on top levels. Whatever cuts the top management makes on their own pay, they still have millions in the bank! And giving freebies to NHS workers at the same time is a smokescreen, while staff don’t know how to pay the rent! Absolute shame! Pret did the same recently with making plant-based milks free, and then raising the coffee prices at the same time. People always pay, one way or another!

Again, NHS workers DESERVE every bit of a break and support and love we can give them, absolutely! But Pret disregards their own yet again for the sake of PR and to polish up their cracked public image! Shame!

 

To all Pret employees:

JOIN A UNION!

These two Unions are very active and the best informed on Pret issues:

www.bfawu.org

Twitter: @bfawu1

 

iwgb.org.uk

Twitter: @IWGBunion

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

 

©2020 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 Clowns

 

Las Vegas

 

To Pano Christou & Clive Schlee,

Clive Schlee, I know you are not the CEO anymore, even though you still present yourself on Twitter as such. You are a non-executive director and I’m sure pretty active in the background. Thank you for your visit yesterday to my blog, I hope you found something useful to inspire REAL change, not just sweet-talk.

Pano Christou, as you have deleted your Twitter account on 01. July 2019 after I tweeted Clive’s retirement news to the press as you didn’t see the need to inform them yourself (you’re welcome!) I write yet again another blog post.

You have done your typical PR stunt yet again with much success of course. It is very commendable to give free coffees and 50% rebate on food to NHS workers. Everyone agrees, it’s very nice. And NHS staff, Fire Brigade, indeed all carers deserve every break they can get! But …

I tweeted yesterday already to NHS staff that Pret workers are paying for this “generosity” by being sent home unpaid due to low business, as I know how you work. And of course I got shadow banned (censored, Tweets hidden from public view and search).

And then you dropped a bombshell this morning in an email to the shops.

I now have messages coming in on various channels that you even go further in your generosity. This morning you emailed shops wanting all your staff to agree to take 25% pay cuts for up to 3 months or more, or to take unpaid leave.

You already want to force staff to take holidays above their current holiday allowance, and they will then lose their holidays for next year.

You promised your employees you will send DAILY communications to shops on developments in Pret during this terrible virus crisis. Yet, in your typical Pret-style of breaking promises, so far you’ve only sent 2 pieces of information to shops:

  1. That cutlery now has to be moved behind the counter and regular sanitizing, hand-washing etc. (Of course you bowed to pressure from the public on this, whereas before you didn’t give a toss!)
  2. Your typical self-idolizing PR stunt, sending press releases on freebies and 50% rebate for NHS workers. And Pret workers are speechless how they themselves are disregarded! One Pret staff called this your typical “PR machine”. Other staff are cursing you out, I can’t repeat here!

 

I wrote in my other blog post 2 days ago about your Vague Statement and non-specific sweet-talk on precautions during the Coronavirus pandemic. I wrote that Clive should cut his £30 million bonus and give to the workers, so they can pay their rent and not end up on the street and have tax payers pick up the bill!

 

Clive £30 million

 

A courageous act CEO Dan Price has done for his workers, and his company is thriving ever since! Dan Price cut his $1.1 million annual pay down to $70K to raise the minimum wage for ALL his staff to $70K. He will leave a solid legacy behind, built on foundations of truth, integrity and life-changing actions. Dan said he has never regretted it and is happier than ever before. He has healthy and thriving employees! He will not be remembered for the bullshit sweet-talk that brings no change for the better and for which Pret is so known for within its own workforce.

And you have the Pret Foundation Trust that helps homeless people, don’t you? But we former and current Pret staff know it’s mostly for PR! Where is your help, Pano?! Wanting staff to agree to a pay cut of 25% and go on forced holiday which they will then lose the following year? Really?

 

It Analyst HQ Head Office Review

 

And if they refuse to take holidays they are bullied by managers and sent into the kitchen or do extra cleaning work. Yes, that does sound very Pret-like! And you sit on millions of pounds and your JAB bosses sit on billions.

You, Pano Chrsitou and all the shareholders could also cut your Million pound salaries and bonuses, to actually do the right thing “naturally”, as Pret always claimed. But you just send little emails about cutlery and your NHS PR stunt. And your low-wage workers are speechless and scared shit-less for their lives, jobs and homes!

“It’s what makes Pret, Pret”

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

Your staff who are sending these infos to me are disheartened and disgusted at your lack of care and your greed. And I am disgusted that you Pano even use your own child, to manipulate your employees to cut their own needs, so you can continue in your millionaire lifestyle and keep feeding your billionaire bosses Reimann / JAB Holdings!

You know what this reminds me of? Pret having used Lila Warren who supposedly had a brother who died alone in his apartment and wasn’t found for days, just like my brother! Lila then gaslighting and manipulating me until I got fired. If Lila’s story is true or not is not my concern anymore.

But for you Pano, to use your own child to gaslight and manipulate workers to take cuts is utterly perverse and disgusting! You write to shops that your child has asthma and is crying all day not wanting to go to school! Two years ago you emailed back a customer, who complained about the lack of labelling and their fear about allergens after the two customers died. You wrote to the customer that your child has food allergies, and that you know how it is!

I really hope your children have no illnesses and allergies, I even hope you are lying like you all did with Lila Warren. But to produce crocodile tears to make low-wage employees feel sorry for you, using your children’s health condition is utterly disgusting and disturbing! You should be more than ashamed of yourself, Pano! You should have the decency and backbone to not only refrain from using your children in any way to manipulate workers to feel bad, but you should pay them a living wage, protect their jobs, give up some of your own millions and get to work!

You “advise” staff to sign a 25% pay cut, and yet your Managers are pressuring, manipulating and gaslighting workers to sign. Pano, you said that all of you in management are also taking a pay cut, sorry, but you still have MILLIONS left even after a pay cut! You manipulate your staff by saying that other companies are firing people. You say that you don’t fire them but you gaslight them with this “generosity” of a 25% cut!

I have one sentence for Pret A Manger low-wage workers:
PRET NEEDS YOU MORE THAN YOU NEED THEM! WAKE UP!

And for Pret leadership, you should be ashamed as millionaires to “ask” low-wage staff via pressuring and manipulating Managers, to sign a 25% pay-cut and use next years holiday allowance for this year, while giving free coffees and 50% rebates to NHS staff whose job are secure and have FULL wages! You should be deeply and utterly ashamed Pano Christou, Clive Schlee, and the rest of you greedy share holders! And using freebies to NHS workers for your PR, and then letting low-wage staff foot the bill is beyond disgusting! You should be ashamed!

The only good thing about all this is, as your hard working people are even in deeper financial and existential despair now, more and more are joining unions, and they are coming for you!  🙂  ← That’s a real smile not even the Mystery Shopper could have gotten out of me!

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

 

©2020 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’s Vague Statement re: Coronavirus Precautions

 

My response and question to Pret’s vague statement on social media:

Tweet from 17.03.2020

Fabebook blocks links to my blog and even to my Twitter account.

My questions to Pret on Facebook and Twitter, which won’t be answered, but Pret’s vague statement isn’t good enough.

Regarding Pret’s statement for safety in shops..

 

To Pret A Manger,

1. Mind #FreeSpeech when you think about reporting me to get censored, as I will post again & again. I will not be silenced if my post gets hidden!

2. What EXACTLY is #PretAManger doing, what SPECIFIC things will Pano put in place not only to protect customers, but staff who work without protection. What is Pano doing regarding financial loss to staff who are sent home due to low business?

Maybe Clive Schlee can give from his £30 Million bonus & Pano can cut his own Million £ bonus & actually do what Pret always boasts about by “doing the right thing naturally”!

Learn from @DanPriceSeattle who puts his money where his mouth is & is VERY specific.

Pret & Pano Christou, please stop giving vague sweet-talk & be specific as @RishiSunak has been very specific today with numbers & solid aid to businesses and people. Stop brainwashing staff to believe you are helping when in reality they suffer even more now!

Be SPECIFIC!!!

And respect #FreeSpeech

On Twitter

First customer complaints start coming in on Facebook.

 

2020-03-17 Pret sweet talk Corona FB failure 02

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

Versus Pret A Manger

 

ET3 Response Excerpt Schlee Warren

 

Lila Warren BACP

Lila Tighilt Warren

#PretAManger

#CliveSchlee

#PanoChristou

#NickDavis

#DavidCarter

#AndreaWareham

 

This is a man’s world.

 

Ready to eat?

 

#SpotStop

 


 

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


Interview:

 

©2020 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.

Sticks & Stones – TV on WorkplaceBullying – #SpotStop

 

In December 2019 ITV screened a 3-part miniseries on workplace bullying. This is THE best production I’ve ever seen on bullying in the workplace.

For anyone who wants to understand how subtle bullying is, how seemingly harmless it starts, how it escalates, how vicious it is, how it breaks down a person and how it damages, please watch this. All the actors portrayed their role amazingly! So, amazingly convincing it will affect you.

But if you have been bullied this may trigger you because it is so well done! It is very intense, but very important to understand, spot and stop workplace bullying.

3 x 45 minutes.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Part 3

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

Definition and Signs of #WorkplaceBullying

For Pret Employees

Bullying in Pret is masqueraded as productivity targets etc. It is widely accepted even from customers as a “normal” work environment. I counter this indifference, saying that before the #metoo movement started to kick butt, sexual harassment was widely accepted as norm. “It’s just men … that’s what they do…” etc.

No, it’s not! Since #metoo and others, now big names once powerful fall like flies (Cosby, Epstein, Larry Nassar, Weinstein etc.). I believe more than ever that victims and survivors of workplace bullying need a #metoo movement as the problem is epidemic as well since large companies push for profit at all costs! And it does cost! It costs money for survivors who lose their job and health. It costs the company. It costs the Government, health care system etc. etc. Systemic workplace bullying is expensive in the long-run. It’s a lose-lose situation apart from companies losing valuable employees, they also lose reputation in time when the scale of bullying comes to light.

Also, even Journalists accept harassment as part of the job. But they shouldn’t!

Journalists getting used to harrassment

Link

Even more with low-wage workers in the fast-food industry and in Pret. They get used to it and even think it’s part of the job to be bullied, threatened etc. Many don’t even realize they’re being bullied as bullying is often subtle. The wider public think it’s normal at worst or nothing can be done at best. I was gaslit by Pret leadership, one OPs Manager in a grievance appeal’s hearing I raised against a bullying line manager asked me what my definition of bullying is. In shock I couldn’t respond fast enough to realize I was manipulated to think that I wasn’t bullied. I share my full story with Pret at the bottom audio player in an interview on a podcast.

2015-03-24 Worked into the ground - bullying

Link to review.

I based a YouTube slide I made on this review calling it “Worked Into the Ground without Empathy” taken from above review.

Bullying during Bereavement

I’ve sent the “ACAS guide to Bereavement in the Workplace” to Pret’s HR and several OPs Managers to no avail. ACAS has deleted their PDF on this. It was a comprehensive guide for employers. I re-uploaded the 24 page guide again. But I highlight only bullying during bereavement from their guide. I know in hindsight that me “teaching” Pret wasn’t the best of ideas, but I was traumatised and crying out for help and change. My attempts to keep raising the issues were futile. So, I take Pret’s “advise” from their “Pret Values and Behaviours”, one of which says for employees to “never give up”, and I keep raising the issue of workplace bullying outside of Pret publicly after internal efforts failed.

I write about it here: ACAS Guide to Bereavment at Work as well as in the interview.

A few quotes from the guide which I also used in my grievance hearings (to no avail).

 


 

Pages 12 & 13 (I added the colour highlights):

»Avoiding discrimination and addressing bullying

Employers should ensure their employees who are likely to be affected by the disability are able to recognise it, especially when performance or absence of a bereaved employee becomes unacceptable over the longer term for no other apparent reason.«

»Addressing Bullying

Bullying is defined as unwanted behaviour or conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. If the bullying is related to a protected characteristic then it is harassment.

Managing bereavement in the workplace

Employers should be alert to inappropriate behaviour following bereavement. Absence through bereavement can place burdens on co-workers and line managers alike who may pressurise (inadvertently or otherwise) or bully a bereaved employee into returning to work or performing their duties to the same level as they did before the death. The intentions of the bully do not matter – what is important is the impact that the behaviour has on the employee who is being bullied.

The PDF then gives examples.

 


 

Bullying in its variety of forms:

Definition of bullying

(Entry 1 of 2)

: abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger, more powerful, etc. : the actions and behavior of a bully. Merriam Webster

They changed the dictionary entry from “weaker” to “vulnerable” after a campaign by anti-bullying organisations, because a victim of bullying is not a “weak” person, but vulnerable like in my case, I was bereaved, in shock and trauma. That made me vulnerable, but not a weak person. In fact I was much stronger than the bullies if you think about it as I held out under INTENSE circumstances by a group of professionals including HR, HQ and former CEO Clive Schlee! Schlee labelled me his “late night girl” after I became ill with the emailing, I explain in below audio player. I am still recovering and have not dealt with the aftermath well myself. But I own up to it!

Quote: »A group of dictionary publishers have agreed to change the way that they define bullying after a campaign accused them of presenting perpetrators as strong and their targets as weak.« The Times

The saying, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger” is true!

 

Signs of bullying at work

From: How to Identify and Manage Workplace Bullying

A few examples of bullying include:

  • targeted practical jokes
  • being purposely misled about work duties, like incorrect deadlines or unclear directions
  • continued denial of requests for time off without an appropriate or valid reason
  • threats, humiliation, and other verbal abuse
  • excessive performance monitoring
  • overly harsh or unjust criticism

Bullying behaviors might be:

  • Verbal. This could include mockery, humiliation, jokes, gossip, or other spoken abuse.
  • Intimidating. This might include threats, social exclusion in the workplace, spying, or other invasions of privacy.
  • Related to work performance. Examples include wrongful blame, work sabotage or interference, or stealing or taking credit for ideas.
  • Retaliatory. In some cases, talking about the bullying can lead to accusations of lying, further exclusion, refused promotions, or other retaliation.
  • Institutional. Institutional bullying happens when a workplace accepts, allows, and even encourages bullying to take place. This bullying might include unrealistic production goals, forced overtime, or singling out those who can’t keep up.

NOTE: Institutional or what I call systemic bullying, is exactly what I experienced at Pret, which then went all the way up to the top leadership of Pret. I kept raising the issue of bullying that they passed me on to higher and higher Managers as well as me contacting the CEO, not knowing that it is systemic. I explain in detail in the audio player at the bottom of this page.

Early warning signs of bullying can vary:

  • Co-workers might become quiet or leave the room when you walk in, or they might simply ignore you.
  • You might be left out of office culture, such as chitchat, parties, or team lunches.
  • Your supervisor or manager might check on you often or ask you to meet multiple times a week without a clear reason.
  • You may be asked to do new tasks or tasks outside your typical duties without training or help, even when you request it.
  • It may seem like your work is frequently monitored, to the point where you begin to doubt yourself and have difficulty with your regular tasks.
  • You might be asked to do difficult or seemingly pointless tasks and be ridiculed or criticized when you can’t get them done.
  • You may notice a pattern of your documents, files, other work-related items, or personal belongings going missing.

 

To keep it short, please watch this video on workplace bullying, it is THE best “tutorial” on the variety of workplace bullying, how to spot it, what helps and what doesn’t. Very insightful. If you don’t read or watch anything I publish, please take 12 minutes and watch this, it sums it up perfectly!

 

In hindsight, in a nutshell, the following text that I found on Twitter sums up my own experience. As I was in grief and trauma, I unintentionally poked into the hornets’ nest and into the heart of Pret. I went exactly through the following, by the book:

Bullying Summed Up Nutshell

Link

Thank you for reading/watching. Please stand up against systemic bullying, no matter if in the playground, schools, workplaces, even at home or in the neighbourhood. Seek help for yourself and others. Support others. Don’t be silent! Don’t be a bystander or onlooker! Don’t be afraid! If the #metoo movement can do it in relation to sexual violence and harassment against even powerful people and groups, workplace bullying survivors can do the same! I am one example! And I won’t give up!

»Worked into the Ground without Empathy @ Pret A Manger«

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

 

Timothy Noah is my Hero

 

And I speak from a former Pret A Manger perspective. Having been frozen in fear under little dwarfs of people whose only legacy is money, nothing else but money. I have survived Pret A Manger. And only those who care are close.

An established journalist questioned some people sometime in 2013, when I was in the middle of smiling for my wage and to avoid getting fear managed. Timothy Noah wrote, because he was at a distance from these greedy little assholes called Clive Schlee, Pano Christou, David Carter & Co.

I was too close to the elephant to smell the rat.

But now I am far away to kick their ass.

I never kiss butt, I kick it when necessary.

And that’s why I love the below article, because Noah writes from a distance what I experienced up close.

Mr. Timothy Noah, thank you for being a true journalist.

 

>>> https://newrepublic.com/article/112204/pret-manger-when-corporations-enforce-happiness <<<

Labor of Love

The enforced happiness of Pret A Manger

By Timothy Noah

February 1, 2013

For a good long while, I let myself think that the slender platinum blonde behind the counter at Pret A Manger was in love with me. How else to explain her visible glow whenever I strolled into the shop for a sandwich or a latte? Then I realized she lit up for the next person in line, and the next. Radiance was her job.

Pret A Manger—a London-based chain that has spread over the past decade to the East Coast and Chicago—is at the cutting edge of what the Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls “emotional labor.” Emotional because the worker doesn’t create or even necessarily sell a product or service so much as make the customer experience a positive feeling. Labor because, as Hochschild wrote in The Managed Heart (1983), the worker must “induce or suppress [his or her own] feeling” to achieve the desired effect in others. Creepy as it sounds, emotional labor is a growing presence in this economy, coming soon to a fast-food outlet near you.

The British journalist Paul Myerscough flagged Pret’s reliance on emotional labor in a fascinating recent essay for the London Review of Books. (He called it “affective labor,” a phrase borrowed from Marxist scholarship.)1 Pret workers, Myerscough noted, are required to master what the company calls the “Pret Behaviours,” which in addition to the usual requirements—courtesy, efficiency, etc.—include “has presence,” “creates a sense of fun,” and “is happy to be themself” [sic]. (A list of the Pret Behaviours, posted on the company website before the London Review article appeared, has since been removed.)

Pret doesn’t merely want its employees to lend their minds and bodies; it wants their souls, too. It will not employ anyone who is “here just for the money.” Noting that one Pret worker in London got fired soon after he tried to start a union—the company maintained it was for making homophobic comments—Myerscough suggested the worker’s true offense was being unhappy enough to want to start a union, since “Pret workers aren’t supposed to be unhappy.” The sin commenceth with the thought, not the deed.

Emotional labor is not itself new. Prostitutes have faked orgasms for millennia. With greater sincerity (one hopes), undertakers calm the grieving, nurses comfort the sick, and migrant nannies lavish on other people’s children the love they aren’t present to furnish back home. Flight attendants, in the pre-feminist era, calmed jittery flyers by being pretty, friendly, even a little bit flirtatious; this ended with deregulation in the early ’80s as airlines stopped competing on service and started competing on price.

In all these instances, emotional labor served (legitimately or not) identifiable emotional needs. That’s not true at Pret. Fast-food service is not one of the caring professions. The only imperatives typically addressed in a Pret shop are hunger and thirst. Why must the person who sells me a cheddar and tomato sandwich have “presence” and “create a sense of fun”? Why can’t he or she be doing it “just for the money”? I don’t expect the swiping of my credit card to be anybody’s vocation. This is, after all, the economy’s bottommost rung.

Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi. A “mystery shopper” visits every Pret outlet once a week. If the employee who rings up the sale is appropriately ebullient, then everyone in the shop gets a bonus. If not, nobody does. This system turns peers into enthusiasm cops, further constricting any space for a reserved and private self. And these cops require literal stroking. In other workplaces, touching a co-worker may get you fired, but at Pret you have to worry about not touching co-workers enough. “The first thing I look at,” Chief Executive Clive Schlee told The Telegraph last March, “is whether staff are touching each other . . . I can almost predict sales on body language alone.”2

In the three decades since Hochschild published The Managed Heart, the emotional economy has spread like a noxious weed to dry cleaners, nail salons, even computer-repair shops. (Think of Apple’s Genius Bars—parodied by The Onion as “Friend Bars”—where employees are taught to be empathetic and use words like “feel” as much as possible.) Back when she wrote her book, Hochschild estimated that about one-third of all jobs entailed “substantial demands for emotional labor.” Today, she figures it’s more like half. This is, among other things, terrible news for men, who (unlike women) are not taught from birth how to make other people happy. Perhaps that explains why men are losing ground in the service economy.

What’s driving this growth? Hochschild thinks it partly reflects a class-based change in consumption patterns. As income inequality reorients the consumer marketplace toward luxury services for the rich, like “destination clubs” and “concierge medicine,” consumer expectations change and trickle down. The new services “set the standards for lower-cost versions” that cater to the merely affluent. Pret shops are typically located in neighborhoods that bustle with busy professionals whom Pret fusses over like the maître d’ at Alain Ducasse. The more the rich get used to fawning service, the more the rest of us—or rather, the rest of us who can afford to buy a sandwich rather than brown-bag it from home—find we rather like it, too. Eventually everybody will have to act like a goddamned concierge. I don’t want to believe this, but I fear it may be true.

Why do Pret workers accept the customer’s emotional state as their personal responsibility? For some, we may presume an extremely sunny personality that has merely found a serendipitous outlet. (They are selected for this quality, after all.) But what about the rest? In England, the vast majority of Pret workers are foreign immigrants, but that seems less true here. “My only thought,” says Harry Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown, “is that it is such a buyer’s market in the labor market—because of so many unemployed workers per job—that employers can get away with a lot of demands on their workers that ordinarily wouldn’t be possible.” In other words—shhhh!—Pret clerks love-bomb customers for the money (which isn’t bad by fast-food standards).

Now that I know Pret’s slender blonde doesn’t love me, I prefer the human contact at a D.C. lunch counter called C.F. Folks. The food is infinitely better. But I also like that the service is slower, the staff is older and grumpier, and the prevailing emotion is “Get over yourself.” Try touching someone at C.F. Folks, and you just might get slugged.

  1. Specifically, the idea of “affective labor” came from the Italian Autonomists. One of the central texts, apparently, is Empire by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, published in 2000. Don’t ask me what this book says because I don’t speak Marxist.
  2. The last thing Schlee looks at, to judge from my own experience, is whether the company returns calls from the press. I phoned Pret HQ twice, twice pushing “0” for “operator,” and twice got a recording. I twice left messages saying I was on deadline with a story about Pret, and in the second message I specified that the story was critical. My call was not returned, and I’m not convinced anybody ever even heard my messages. So much for the personal touch.

 

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

 

What makes Pret A Manger Extra Responsible?

 

Having a face.

And seeing a face in front of them.

Look at these beautiful, clean, rich, white, smiley faces.

Look at them.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Ready to eat?

Just a feast to look at, hey.

They are right now in their homes, or on the golf course, or on holiday in the mountains, or shopping for a new mortgage.

They cradle their kids and chase their dogs. They eat and shit and drink wine, like you and I.

Their wine and their toilet paper is just a little more expensive than yours and mine. Why?

Oh … don’t ask…

don’t ask.

 

Annihilate Humanity 45

Link

GM

Link

2020-02-10 DC - Fired due to pregnancy

Link

 

What makes Pret A Manger responsible (and inexcusable in their actions)?

 

Once they got to know me,
once they saw and heard me,
once I had a face to look at,
a voice to listen to,
a feature,
having been a person in front of them,
not just some faceless number far away on the shop floor;
once I was a tangible human being before their eyes
they still, they STILL decided that I was in the way of profit …
and with that, all my fellow human beings that digg’d the dirt for these arrogant people… are in their way

 

You are beautiful, white, rich, educated assholes who spit on those who pay your rent.

Let me repeat.

You are ugly, white trash, lacking emotional intelligence and care, you shit on those who pay your rent.

You are greedy insecure cowards, and you skipped out once the wolves of private equity came in.

You made a decision Clive Schlee.

The decision you made was many years ago, when you and your friends, Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe got your heads together and had this bright idea that you would be the king of the high-street.

And Clive Schlee, Pano Chrsitou, Nick Davis, David Carter, Lila Warren … I know you sleep well.

You know why I know you sleep well?

Because you are angels of light.

Good night.

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

Do not judge me

 

I have no excuse to lash out at times like I did, drunk or not, it’s no excuse.

Be perplexed, shocked, annoyed with me, be angry with me, but do not judge me.

Turn your back, walk away, close your eyes, block me, report me, cuss me out, but don’t judge me.

I’ve come out of an emotional and mental hell that is stuff for a shooting spree.

I just write intensely, survived by speaking out loud and detailed.

Don’t judge me.

I’ve been bullied, abandoned, blamed during the worst time of my life. I still blame myself for things that happened during that time. Stop judging me!

I’ve been on yearlong waiting-lists for therapy. Don’t judge me.

I turned away from the Christian belief. No, don’t judge me.

I’m a mess. Just don’t judge me.

My healing way is complicated. Do not judge me.

I dig deep for my dignity, I left it on the way somewhere and judged myself.

Don’t judge me.

Be annoyed, angry, be tired of me, but do not judge me.

 — poetrasblok.com

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints (needs updating).
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

My 2 Articles in the Scottish Left Review

 

1. On the frontline: crushed by corporate capitalist culture
(May/June 2019)

2. Pushing back against Pret – making headway against malevolent management
(Nov/Dec 2019)

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor

2020-02-11 Pano 35 39

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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 Merde

 

Nothing more to add … EXCEPT pointing out the spelling mistake! That reviewer wasn’t Pret perfect here!

“Oh no! Sorry about that. Could you DM us and let us know which shop this was from?”
— Pret A Merde

 

Pret A Merde

 

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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 Migraine

 

… I love the creative writing / titles on some of the reviews!

Nothing more to add to this review. I’m learning to keep my posts short, also for lack of time (lucky reader!).

 

2020-01-30 Pret A Migraine - RVW31598406

Link

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints.
And extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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.

An Unacceptable Level of Fear Culture

 

There’s nothing more to add to this Manager’s review, except that the fear culture is not just in Edinburgh, but is systemic in Pret.

 

GM Horrible

Link

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints and extensive accounts of Pret’s systemic bullying behind the “happy” facade, also witnessed by customers: Caught in the Act at Pret.

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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 feel worthless

Avoid

Link


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


Interview:


©2020 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.

Employees are the Blood of the Company

 

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

 — @minmilyjung

 

2018-06-13 Hellhole - RVW21022161

Link

 

Clive Schlee “retired” with a legacy on Glassdoor & Co where staff dare to speak bluntly without fear:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

2020-01-22 Pano 39 34

 

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

 


 

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


Interview:

©2020 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 Service Secrets REVEALED

Pret A Manger’s strict Mystery Shopper scheme.

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness3

 

Introduction

This is a very detailed account on Pret A Manger’s Mystery Shopper scheme with a full report, and why staff everywhere always smile and chat so much, and give freebies etc. I walk the reader through the steps in how staff are drilled to perform to perfection for low pay, and why they do it. If you don’t have time to read, please scroll down to the large red writing (about halfway down this post) on the 30+ questions Mystery Shoppers are tasked to test staff on every week. A current staff member sent me a recent Mystery Shopper report, and I want to post the whole report here. I renamed the Mystery Shopper to “Misery” Shopper for a reason!

I write so detailed and extensive to show the public how micromanaging, brainwashing, exhausting and patronizing Pret’s Mystery Shopper scheme is.

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

I touched on this already in other blog posts, but also on a YouTube slide I made from excerpts of real Mystery Shopper reports. But I only used about 4 – 6 questions that Pret tasks Mystery Shoppers every week to test staff on. I concentrated mainly on the smiley service part and speed of service. In this post I want to put a current and FULL Mystery Shopper report, to highlight the micromanaging scheme that stresses staff every minute, as they anticipate Mystery Shoppers for cash incentives and to avoid getting fear managed.

A brief YouTube slide on real Mystery Shopper reports I combined from several years:

 

Pret makes no secret that they have Mystery Shoppers (MS), but they portray themselves to be such a happy place, when in reality staff are checked on  micromanaging questions every week.

If you want to skip this long intro, please just scroll down to the 30+ questions from current Mystery Shopper reports.

But as a taster, here are the questions without the answers. I posted the answers further below. Out of these 32 questions, 28 are “scoring” questions, meaning the results affect Managers and Team bonuses. Halfway through this post the answer from the Mystery Shopper are posted under the Qs. But here first of all just the questions, which span over 8 pages with the MS answers. When I worked at Pret it used to be 4 – 5 pages max.

NOTE: categories 1 – 6, Style, Selection etc. are the “6 steps of Service” that I explain further below that affect the whole Team bonus.
Category 7 is about an individual staff member’s service and their individual cash reward, even when the Team bonus is lost.
Category 8 is about the Government Value Added Tax (VAT), which currently is Pret’s “focus question” since about 2012-ish when the Government increased pressure on companies (I explain further in the post).
And in Category 9 are the 4 “non-scoring” questions that don’t affect bonus, and are just for market research.
The numbers in brackets i.e. (16 out of 20) is 16 points reached out of 20.

Quick rundown of the 32 questions:

1 – Style (30 out of 30)

1 – How inviting was the shop from the outside?

2 – How clean was the shop entrance?

3 – How welcoming was the atmosphere at the entrance?

4 – How was the presentation of food and drink in our display units, fridges, fruit stand, crisp baskets and queue stands?

5 – How presentable was the till counter and bakery display?

6 – How well presented were team members?

2 – Selection (16 out of 20)

7 – 1 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the cold fridges had less than 2 items.

8 – 2 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the hot food display had NO stock.

9 – 3 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for pre-packaged cakes, cold drinks and snacks had NO stock.

10 – 4 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for unwrapped bakery (behind the glass till counter) had NO stock.

3 – Speed (10 out of 10)

11 – 1 – Please rate the time it took to be served from joining the queue.

12 – 2 – Did you receive your hot drink within reasonable time from payment?

4 – Service (10 out of 10)

13 – 1 – How well did the person at the till connect with you with a smile, eye contact and some polite remarks?

14 – 2 – Were all your items stated during the transaction, were you charged correctly and did you receive the correct products?

3 – Please select which scenario question you asked. Asked for more information on a product Asked for more information on a product

15 – 4 – Based on the scenario you selected, please rate your experience when asking our team member your enquiry.

5 – Seating (13 out of 15)

16 – 1 – How clean were the bin stations inside the shop?

17 – 2 – How clear and clean were the floors, tables and chairs inside the shop?

18 – 3 – How well presented and stocked were the toilets INSIDE the shop (if applicable)?

6 – Say Thank You and See You Again (5 out of 5)

19 – 1 – How well did your server or any member of the team end the transaction by thank you and/or giving a pleasant parting comment?

7 – Additional Scored Question (5 out of 5)

1 – Was any ONE member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or outstanding?

2 – Please provide the name or a description of this outstanding member of staff.

8 – Additional Information (0 out of 5)

1 – It is a legal requirement for our teams to charge VAT for all ‘Eat In’ items/transactions. When served, were you asked if you were ‘taking away’ or ‘eating in’, and charged correctly? Asked & Charged

2 – Did you notice someone in charge and, if so, what were they doing?

3 – Did BOTH questions 2.1 and 2.2 achieve the top answer OR N/A?

4 – If you ordered a dairy free alternative milk, was the correct sticker applied to your cup to indicate the milk used?

5 – If you bought a hot food item, did the label on your product match the product you purchased?

6 – Did the label on your cold fresh food product match the product you purchased?

9 – Customer Segmentation (non-scoring)

1 – Based on your overall experience on this visit, how likely are you to recommend Pret to people you know on a scale of 1-10?

2 – In order for you to have the perfect visit, which of the following aspects should we prioritise to improve?

3 – From the list below, please choose which area is our main strength.

4 – Where do you normally go to purchase similar products?


 

When breaking down the questions, these reports are very complex as you will see with the answers the MS gives further below. Any tiny issue can penalize the whole shop team. Staff HAVE TO smile, HAVE TO chat, HAVE TO make eye contact and are drilled to give freebies, as every shop has a weekly marketing budget. For space and to keep the post as short as possible (yeah right!), I just mention a few of the many, many ways shop teams can lose or gain bonus, and individual Team Members, including Managers, can earn an extra cash reward called an “outstanding card” (OC) of £100 or a “super outstanding card” (SOC) of £200 per week / Mystery Shopper visit. An outstanding card is not a literal card, it’s just the name of the cash reward. This reward can be earned ON TOP of the wages AND on top of the Team bonus. Sounds, generous? No, if you experienced the daily stress, headache, depression, tinnitus, anxiety, physical pain, rude customers, bullying … this is 1. peanuts, and 2. even if the reward was higher, it’s not worth what your mental and physical health goes through on a prolonged period of time, every day, having to bend backwards for a little more money and small recognition.

Also, the following week this reward is forgotten, especially if you fail on a Mystery Shopper visit. It is never be good enough.

A recent review from LAX, that was just opened in the summer of 2019, shows as well the bullying culture and how the reviewer doesn’t care if they get $15.25 per hour. Even a higher amount of wages isn’t worth the abuse they’re subjected to. Also, in a New Shop Opening (NSO), they pay a little more and usually have a lot of staff, as the first year of the NSO, the store doesn’t have targets to reach, as they first want to build a customer base. After about a year the pressure really starts on the targets, profits, cutting labour etc.

LAX

Link

The “outstanding card” (OC) used to be a £50 reward for an individual staff member, or “super outstanding card” (SOC) of £100 if the shop scores were perfect. And even if the whole shop lost the bonus on an issue I explain below, an individual staff member can still get the extra £50 (now £100) cash reward. So, it used to be £50 OC or £100 SOC if perfect scores were reached. And now it is £100 OC or £200 SOC with perfect scores.

2018-07-04 Outstanding Card Prets Response

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The irony is, I gave suggestions to an OPs (area) Manager, who asked me for my input on how Mystery Shopper scores can be improved company wide, as our shop was always very successful. And one of the suggestions I made was to double the MS reward from £50 or £100 to £100 or £200! Thank me later Pret staff! 😀 – I still have the email with the suggestions to the OPs!

No, I’m not floating my own boat here, but as a Team Leader I was responsible for “team engagement”, and everywhere I worked, I helped improve the scores by organizing the teams and encouraging them, NOT blaming them. I worked to lift them up, not put them down. And that showed in the Mystery Shopper reports. But my Managers never encouraged me, in fact one OPs tried to use one Mystery Shopper report that had bad scores (when I was in bereavement) to target me. I then collected all Mystery Shopper reports where I / we succeeded, just for my protection. Sad, but reality! And that’s how I was able to put above “Misery” Shopper YouTube slide together.

NOTE: I have been asked by some Journalists on the Mystery Shopper requirements, one Journo asked me if a staff member ever got fired for making mistakes with the MS scores. But that will never happen in an open way. I know of a Team Member who received what they used to call a “file note”, now called “note of concern”, when he didn’t smile and that lost us the bonus. A “note of concern” is NOT a disciplinary / written warning, but it is a first step to get a person towards a disciplinary and out of the company. If the management is looking for something to pin on the employee, they will find it fast. And Mystery Shopper result is the perfect way in that direction.

Many insecure Managers who work a lot with fear management, hand out “note of concerns” like staff hand out napkins. It’s always a clear sign to see which Manager is scared themselves by the amount of “notes” they “motivate” staff with. In my 10 years I only received 1 “note of concern” on a stupid thing, but not another time as I saw through this manipulation quick and wasn’t impressed. But I was the recipient of a lot of verbal fear management and unfavourably shift times etc.

Quick Sack

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I have been targeted by an Area Manager when we lost points, NOT bonus, but points as I didn’t smile. The Area Manager KNEW that I just lost my brother 6 months before. I have this as evidence if anyone doubts this. I was invited for a meeting and was presented with a list of (silly!) things I was doing wrong, including the non-smiling when I served the Mystery Shopper.

And I was often spoken to in a manipulative way when I didn’t achieve the highest points or some stupid remark the MS made about my service. I know of Team Members where the Manager would say something like, “maybe this job is not for you”… or “maybe you would do better in the kitchen” … etc. And I know of people who have been placed in the kitchen as a penalty to get them off the shop floor into the kitchen like Cinderella separating peas! And especially when staff are younger or new to Pret, they are very quickly manipulated with subtle undertones of fear management.

What the Managers didn’t know was, that I as the Team Leader took the Team Member aside later and told them not to be afraid, and I put in a good word for them, and that I know how well they do their job etc. The relieve on their faces, and at times calming their tears, was more worth to me than any effing Mystery Shopper reward! I also told my colleagues when they are harsh with the person who lost us the bonus, the day will come when they also lose the bonus and will be treated with the same measure! 

My message always was: We ALL make mistakes, let’s look after each other and not let the big guns upstairs throw crumbs at us to fight over!

As I was the shop Team Leader, responsible to “engage” the Team (to kiss butt all day!), one Manager took me aside in the beginning of me working in his shop and he said to me, “I close my eye to everything but the Mystery Shopper”. In other words, I can mess up on everything including Health and Safety issues, cutting corners everywhere, but if I mess up on the Mystery Shopper, he won’t close his eyes. I made clear to him, that he shouldn’t close his eyes on ANYTHING. I just came from a previous shop where I was targeted for small things, so I was not going to get sabotaged on ANYTHING! And I was still angry and distraught about what happened in the other shop, so I clearly spoke my mind! But this was also due to me being traumatized and in great anxiety to make the smallest mistake that could be used against me.

Pret cannot and would not openly fire someone on the grounds of having messed up the Mystery Shopper. But the targeting and bullying with the help of Mystery Shopper reports is very vast, subtle and extensive. If the Manager doesn’t like you or is angry with you for messing up the Mystery Shopper, they will arrange for you to fail further in other areas to get you fired or in the “least” transfer you out to another shop. Anyone who has been through systematic (and systemic) workplace bullying, knows what I’m talking about.

On a side note, I really recommend watching the 3-part mini-series “Sticks and Stones” from ITV, regarding subtle and systematic workplace bullying that was screened in December 2019. In this case a Team Leader is bullied and sabotaged by his Team for his position. And as the company has announced redundancies, he is put through an ordeal that is throwing him off and leads to a breakdown, that makes him look like the bad guy, incapable to do his job, out of control. Oh, how I can relate to that!!! This was another part where Pret HR gaslighted me after I raised grievances. They turned it around and used a breakdown I had after my line manager bullied me in December 2015. I broke down, sobbed and became erratic in front of my team and boss, two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death. And Pret made me look like an angry person who causes trouble. In reality I had a breakdown similar to the breakdown the actor has in below “Sticks and Stones” Trailer.

Unfortunately the series is offline now, as ITV.com just screened it until the end of December 2019, but in case you see it on Netflix & Co. please watch! It is really well portrayed how subtle bullying happens, and how hard it is to proof without solid evidence! I watched this twice back to back and cried as I was triggered, even though Pret shops are not an office environment and I was bullied and targeted by my superiors, not by my Teams. But the principles are the same.

The Trailer on YouTube:

 

So, I can only suggest for Journalists to go undercover into Pret for AT LEAST 4 weeks, best in the mornings, where the pressure is the most intense and where the Mystery Shopper requirements are felt hard every single moment of the day! Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover only for a week in the evening shift where it’s quieter. Amy made a good start, but to really feel the Pret “blow”, people need to work in the mornings from 5AM in both the shop and the kitchen. The most poignant review by a staff member who jumped between the kitchen and the shop, is the following review on Indeed, and I can verify every word of it:

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

You will lose everything that makes you human.«

Annihilate Humanity 45

Link 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…”

 

Brainwash

Now, what I explain here may sound harsh, and of course it is commendable when a business looks nice, friendly, clean and fully stocked etc. But the price low-wage workers have to pay, so that company leaders reap their millions, is ridiculously high and damages a lot of people physically, mentally and even financially.

£30m

Daily Mail

Pret Mystery Shopper requirements are very militant and what Timothy Noah even called “Stasi” like, quote: “Pret keeps its sales clerks in a state of enforced rapture through policies vaguely reminiscent of the old East German Stasi”. From his excellent article Labor of Love: The Enforced Happiness of Pret A Manger. And I totally underline his article. More about the exploitation via strict Mystery Shopper emotional labour demands, I cover extensively in: The Dangers of Emotional Labour.

Side note: For any person wanting to criticize me on silly spelling because you have no other arguments to defend Pret, I write from England on WordPress that uses American spell-check. I also respect American and British spelling, so when I write “labor” it’s because an American author wrote it, vs. “labour” from a British or European writer. Also, English is NOT my first language, and I think I’m doing pretty good so far. So, before you criticize me on silliness like this, click away and watch a film or something.

Having said that, I welcome genuine corrections on typos and spelling mistakes.

Pret has a lot of brainwashing slogans in place that staff have to memorize and follow. The most appalling wordings I always found while working at Pret is on their packaging: “Lovingly handmade in this shop today”! When you work at Pret, this particular slogan can make you puke, and the many staff reviews at the very bottom page slideshow explain why!

 

The 6 Steps of Service

In the shop there is what Pret developed as the “6 Steps of Service”, which all start with an “S”. In the kitchen Pret has the “6 Steps of Production” which all start with a “P”. A lot of psychology went into developing those. But I will just concentrate on the shop 6 steps of service here, and can cover the kitchen another time. The kitchen concentrates on the speed of production (productivity), while the shop concentrates on appearance (happy facade), yet also speed.

These 6 steps are in a particular order for Mystery Shoppers to check every week. Mystery Shoppers basically work their way in, from the entrance to the food display/fridges to the counter to the seat and out again, via a D-tour to check the toilets. The 6 steps are:

1. Style (atmosphere of the shop, this is in their own discretion. What one MS likes, another MS dislikes the next week)

2. Selection (clear rules the MS has to follow)

3. Speed of service (also called “SOS”)

4. Service (if staff always smile, chat, are attentive, efficient etc. Giving freebies always helps and often gets the Team Member the extra £100 or £200 “outstanding card” reward)

5. Seating (if seats / tables etc. are cleaned within 1 minute of customers leaving, sometimes even crumbs are a big problem)

6. Say Thank you and See you again (a departing remark of some kind)

And then some non-scoring questions at the end, which even though are not scored, still fear manage especially the shop Managers.

The questions and some answers below are self-explanatory, but I want to highlight the stress and peer-pressure Pret puts on Teams and the Mystery Shopper reports being used as a tool to bully staff to always perform with a fake front, no matter what. Smile, chat, eye contact etc. to achieve maximum scores, to appear as such a happy and efficient company, while in reality it is VERY stressful and depressing!

One person on Twitter has put it in simple, but poignant words on how Pret penalize the whole Team if ONE person makes a mistake. I have experienced this countless times. And this is done on purpose where hard-working staff lose their bonus and effort after ONE person messed up. This one person is then shunned or dealt with the silent treatment. As a Team Leader I went the opposite and encouraged the one person, instead of putting them down, as this is counter productive and hurting them. I signaled that we all make mistakes and not to let others pressure them! But Pret wants peer pressure… to always appear happy… to draw people in… to increase profit:

2013 Mystery Shopper Group Incentive marked

 

Bonus is £1 per hour worked for hourly paid staff in shops. So, if I worked 40 hours that week and as a Team we receive the bonus, I get an extra £40 on top of my weekly wages. Sounds great, but is very, very stressful for the peanuts you get extra! If I am sick even just for one day, I automatically get my bonus cut and don’t receive it. Also, there’s no bonus when you are on holiday which is fair. But if I am late, even 5 minutes, the Manager in their own discretion can cut my bonus. As in Pret there is a lot of favouritism, which can also be seen in the many staff reviews I collected, some staff members make friends with the Manager, and then get away with a lot of sh!t. And those who work their butts off, who are very reliant, but are not the Manager’s favourite, come late ONE time for 5 minutes, and bam! – get their bonus cut! The bonus is used for a lot of abuse by Management.

Managers, Assistant Managers and upper area Managers (OPs) get their bonuses not every week, like hourly paid shop staff, but every quarter which are huge amounts of money! Managers’ bonuses are based on many things, like profit, how little waste the shops have, how little labour costs (that’s why Pret under-staffs), health and safety checks and other things. But the biggest chunk of Managers’ and upper Managers’ bonuses are the Mystery Shopper scores. That’s why Managers stress a lot about the Mystery Shopper and the point system that is VERY important to Managers to compete in their area of 10 – 14 shops, and company-wide.

So, it’s the typical greed of the few to squeeze the many. Pret cuts staff, so that the few Managers on top get a lot of bonus, instead of staffing appropriately, giving everyone a piece of the cake, value and respect workers, lowering their stress, and with an adequate amount of staff also giving customers a much better and calmer service.

 

Examples on how a shop can lose or gain bonus

On product selection for example, Pret demands a certain amount of selection during certain business hours. The Mystery Shopper is also tasked to count the “lines” of products. Any product is a line. The Tuna Cucumber Baguette is a line. The Egg-Mayo Sandwich is a line. The Tomato Soup is a line in the hot food section. Every different product is a line.

Usually between 12 noon and 2:00 or 2:30PM (depending on the area) Pret wants FULL selection of all products they offer in that particular shop. But Pret changes that at times. But from my experience it was between 12 noon and 2:30PM. Staff are NOT allowed to run out of a product (line) at that certain time. Staff are also not allowed to take the product label off the shelf if they run out of a product (line). If a Manager or Leader is caught taking out the label, they risk getting a disciplinary. This is to stress staff to ALWAYS have products available or MAKE them on demand to increase profit. At the same time, Managers and Leaders are stressed by OPs Managers when they have too much waste. It’s an absolute nightmare to balance without a lot of pain! And beyond the charity PR is daily food-waste in plastic packaging to landfill because of over-production to have the shelves full and the money rolling in!

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

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Waste

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2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

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For a longer list of customer photos and complaints on wasted food, please see: Pret A Manger Food Waste. I had to waste countless bin bags like this over the years due to overproduction and under-staffing to manage the waste properly. And Pret now use increasingly NON-transparent bin bags to hide the food-waste in the streets.

Before 12 noon and after 2:30PM Pret demands a certain amount of products. This may vary from shop to shop and area. But in a nutshell, let’s say Pret wants 15 different products (lines) after 2:30PM on the shelves, but my shop has only 14 different lines, and if the Mystery Shopper happens to be there at that time (they have to count the lines), and if 1 line is missing, the whole Team lose the bonus.

This means, if I worked in the morning in the kitchen, worked my butt off to get the products on the shelf, then at 2PM I go home and at 5PM the shop is missing 1 line because the afternoon Team is understaffed to make more products, the Mystery Shopper happens to be there at that time and counts the lines. I then, who have already left hours ago, and can contribute NOTHING more, I lose my bonus for that week! Or even if I was off that day, working 5 out of 7 days, and this was my off-day, I lose my bonus if ONE person messes up in any way on the day I was off! And I can do nothing about it. My efforts went down the drain. And THAT is what Pret wants, colleagues to get mad at that one person or shift that made a mistake, even if it wasn’t their fault due to under-staffing!

 

Pret even goes a step further

Each product line HAS TO have at least 2 items behind its label. So, if the MS counts 15 lines of products, but ONE line only has 1 item, instead of 2, it means it is 14 lines. If the fridge has 15 different products (lines) but out of these 15 lines I only have 1 Cucumber Baguette (in its line) instead of 2 baguettes, I am “out of selection” and we as a Team lose the bonus!

An example I found on Twitter. These 2 BLT sandwiches in 1 LINE. If there was only 1 sandwich, this would NOT be a line. (Side-note: 4,70€ for a sandwich!)

2020-01-25 @GillyBerlin Pret Berlin 2 Sandwiches behind sticker2

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Managers often find ways to “cheat” by taking a label out until they fill the shelf with the product. But this can get them a disciplinary as Pret wants the machinery to run perfectly at all times. Another way to cheat, and this is when it gets dangerous, is when they take a DIFFERENT baguette from a different line that looks similar to the Cucumber Baguette, and place this baguette behind the Cucumber Baguette to make it look like they have TWO. This way they avoid losing Mystery Shopper bonus, as the MS doesn’t have time to check all products perfectly but often just scans and counts the lines quickly. 

This is also not allowed, but because Pret under-staffs and workers are stressed to the max, it forces Managers to cheat! One recent review by a Manager highlights this, and the danger it brings as customers take the WRONG item behind a label. Managers cheat in many ways to make the numbers look good, so as not to get bullied by their superiors, the OPs Managers. I was never promoted, because I refused to risk my job for Managers and OPs Managers bonuses! But this Manager’s (GM) review is very brave, as they even mention their city. But also in regards to the “fear culture” mentioned at the bottom of this review, this is not only in Edinburgh. I worked in over a dozen shops and it is systemic and everywhere:

GM cheat

Link Quote:Managers are forced to cheat on results and break standards just so that the area manager looks good on paper, though he stays at home most of the days whilst the shops collapse.

I often said to my Teams and bosses, who were frustrated at Pret, I always said that Pret is like a company that binds our feet together in a tight rope, and then demands from us to run! Any way you turn, you have to make constant decisions if to cheat and risk getting caught, losing your job  – or if to lose bonus and get fear managed by the OPs Managers. OPs Managers who often sit in the pub at lunch time (I’ve seen it), or are at home as the above review states. I didn’t see an OPs for 3 – 4 months at a time. Once an OPs “visited” a shop for a few minutes to let their bossy attitude scare Managers and Teams, you knew immediately when they were there, as everyone was always talking about it in fear or annoyance the next day. So, OPs Managers get a shit-load of money, while having a laugh in the pub or at home during busy lunch-time rushes. And the only “presence” they show is via Emails stressing the shops for higher numbers! Typical Pret “leadership”.

This also shows in a recent review by a Team Leader from Chicago of the bullying environment:

GM cry

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Las Vegas

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Coming to the full Mystery Shopper report

The below Mystery Shopper visited shortly after 11AM when the shops are quiet and Team Members have more time to “kiss butt” to receive the cash rewards, as Mystery Shoppers come mainly before and after the busy morning and lunchtime rushes. In this case the Team Member got the “outstanding card”, the £100 even though the shop lost bonus on selection. The “outstanding” service described below wouldn’t be possible during intense coffee or lunch time rushes. Most rewards are received at quiet times, not so much at peek times, as Mystery Shoppers visit more quieter periods to properly check everything they can’t check during manic busy times. But I want to also say that Team Members LOVE to give freebies and good customer service if they are not stressed and have the time, BUT even if they have a bad day, they have to function like smiley robots or get fear managed and peer pressured. 

My favourite thing to do was to give freebies, which is Pret’s number 1 marketing tool that I write extensively about in Free Coffees at Pret and why Pret doesn’t do a loyalty card system. But when I was ill, and especially going through traumatic bereavement and being bullied by my superiors under HR, it was HELL having to perform like an emotional prostitute for a few more peanuts. And I smiled, not for money, but to get my bosses off my back suffering in anxiety! 

What always bothered me was when some Team Members only lingered around the till area for a chance to serve a potential Mystery Shopper. So, they love-bomb customers letting their colleagues work their butts off, do the cleaning and stocking up, while “sliming” customers. And while those who try to get the cash rewards, love-bombing customers, they are being rude to their colleagues behind the scenes. I was always disgusted at this and made sure there was a good rotation of staff doing a variety of tasks, not the same people cleaning or the same people being stuck on the tills trying to get rewards, while others made the shop look good. And it worked, because it improved team-work and encouraged the shy ones to have some success without always doing the dirty work.

So, dear reader, get yourself a cuppa, maybe even while you’re in Pret reading this, because this will take a while! Know WHY staff are always so attentive, cheery, chatty, even if they are not well or are depressed or bereaved or ill or pregnant or bullied etc. Read the DETAIL and micromanaging actions, that Mystery Shoppers are expected to test staff on to perform like acrobatic clowns, stretching themselves like octopuses in all directions for low pay and some small recognition! Know the high emotional, mental and physical price they pay for little return!

And no, don’t make it so easy on yourself by saying that staff can just look for another job! Oh no! Don’t assume that people can just switch jobs, especially when they are so exhausted and burnt out, unable to look for another job! Pret keeps them busy, even wanting staff to “never stand still”.

Many employees left their countries to find work and a better life, have kids to feed, Uni tuition to pay, and so on. Many even have degrees, but their degree is not accepted in the UK, or their English is still improving. Staff are brain-washed and promised a lot (see next reviews here below), not realizing the intense work and stress they will be subjected to. Pret hangs a carrot in front of employees, and staff always hope for that breakthrough that never comes, because the price for it is too high. And by the time they do reach that goal, they are embittered, exhausted, discouraged. It is my experience, and also from many staff reviews, that if you make friends with upper Managers (sometimes even in the bedroom!), and are willing to do anything expected, even if it’s wrong, you will make it far in Pret! And what’s so disgusting about it is, that you’d expect this in a law firm, and certainly in politics and Hollywood, but a sandwich chain? Very sad!
(Also, pay attention to the amount of “Yes” vs. “No” votes on the reviews!)

A recent Manager review and I can underline this from experience:

Step on others

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A recent review on HEAD OFFICE:

HQ Bullies

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Another Manager from 2016:

Kiss bum

 

2017-12-15 Lick asses Prayer

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And a recent Manager review:

GM Horrible

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etc. etc. etc. …

In some of the below Mystery Shopper comments I make a remark in blue and italics to briefly explain further. I also changed names of Team Members into italics “Name of Team Member” etc.

Also, regular customers can be Mystery Shoppers. But once a Mystery Shopper has visited one particular shop to do a job, they are NOT send back to that shop to do a job for 3 months, so as not to be spotted as MS by staff. They can of course visit privately, but as Mystery Shoppers not for 3 months after a job.

 

The 32 questions Pret tasks Mystery Shoppers to test staff on every week:

This is a real recent Mystery Shopper report:

MS scrores

 

MS scrores2

 

1 – Style (30 out of 30)

1 – How inviting was the shop from the outside?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The outside signage, windows, and door frame were reasonably clear and clean. There is no outside seating at this site.”

2 – How clean was the shop entrance?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The entrance area and door mat were reasonably tidy with no visible debris or litter.”

3 – How welcoming was the atmosphere at the entrance?

Friendly (5)

“There was a good buzz of energy at the entrance. The team members were not close enough to acknowledge people entering the shop.”

(These kinds of comments from Mystery Shoppers always upset the Teams, as the MS expects staff to kiss butt from the get go at the entrance, not taking into consideration that shops are understaffed and workers get in trouble when they don’t finish all the cleaning, stocking up etc. It’s that thing again of having ones feet bound together in a tight rope and expected to run or stretch in all directions like an octopus!)

4 – How was the presentation of food and drink in our display units, fridges, fruit stand, crisp baskets and queue stands?

Well presented (5)

“All food and drink displays were tidy and well organised.”

5 – How presentable was the till counter and bakery display?

Well presented (5)

“The bakery display looked attractive and well arranged. There was no mess on the till counter. ”

6 – How well presented were team members?

Very smart (5)

“The team members that I saw were well groomed and wearing clean pressed uniforms.”

 

2 – Selection (16 out of 20)

7

1 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the cold fridges had less than 2 items.

4 or more tickets had less than 2 items (1)

“A baguette, a sandwich, a flat wrap and a salad.”

(THIS is where this shop lost their bonus.)

8

2 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets in the hot food display had NO stock.

No tickets without stock (5)

(…psst, unless the Manager or Leader took the label off 😉 )

9

3 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for pre-packaged cakes, cold drinks and snacks had NO stock.

Every ticket had at least 1 item (5)

“There were no labels without products.”

(Here the “lines” don’t need to be at least 2).

10

4 – FULL SELECTION: Count how many price tickets for unwrapped bakery (behind the glass till counter) had NO stock.

Every ticket had at least 1 item (5)

“There were bakery items for each label.”

 

3 – Speed (10 out of 10)

11

1 – Please rate the time it took to be served from joining the queue.

Perfect (5)

“I was served immediately.”

(Because it was at the quiet period after 11AM and before the 12noon lunch rush).

12

2 – Did you receive your hot drink within reasonable time from payment?

Perfect (5)

“My hot drink was ready within 30 seconds.”

(Pret changed their question now, as they also read my blog where I mention the 60 seconds rule as featured in the first YouTube video at the top of this post. It used to be that staff had to serve within 1 minute from the time payment was made. So, Pret changed the wording as this high pace expectation adds to a lot of mistakes with the non-dairy milks, allergen issues etc. A recent interview of the new CEO Pano Christou still mentions the 60 second rule. A current staff member told me that Pret briefly changed the 60 seconds to 90 seconds after a staff member died. But now they changed it back to 1 minute:
“We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of tills open, please rate the time it took to be served?”
~and ~

“We aim to serve our customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Bearing in mind how busy the shop was, did you received your correct hot
drink in a reasonable time?”

Here is an excerpt on the 60 seconds rule from 2017).

1 min

 

I got confirmed by a current Pret staff that this 1 minute rule still applies to the Mystery Shopper.

Back to the current 2020 MS report:

MS scrores3

 

4 – Service (10 out of 10)

13

1 – How well did the person at the till connect with you with a smile, eye contact and some polite remarks?

Friendly (5)

“Both Name of Team Member A and Name of Team Member B were welcoming, making eye contact, smiling and interacting in a cheerful manner.”

(Pret change the wording here. It used to be worded:
“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.” – screenshot of MS excerpt from 2015, but this question was still worded like this at least till 2018).

Every customer

14

2 – Were all your items stated during the transaction, were you charged correctly and did you receive the correct products?

All correct (5)

“The items were clearly stated, charged, and served, exactly as ordered.”

(Because of the allergen deaths, staff have to name the items, in case the customer took the wrong one).

3 – Please select which scenario question you asked. Asked for more information on a product Asked for more information on a product

“No comments are required for this question.”

(Again: since the customer deaths, Mystery Shoppers have to ask staff about a product, for example on allergen, or calories etc. to test how well staff can answer the question. Staff are supposed to call the Manager to take over, but that’s not always possible).

15

4 – Based on the scenario you selected, please rate your experience when asking our team member your enquiry.

N/A

(The Mystery Shopper chose NOT to ask any allergen related questions, which used to be mandatory straight after the customer deaths became public).

Friendly (5)

“I approached a manager who was checking stock at the fridge. I asked him about identifying low fat products. Manager’s Name said that he could bring the allergy guide, or we could use the electronic wall mounted screen for more information. He showed me the display label detail of fat content per 100gm and encouraged me to ask for any further assistance if required.”

(If the Manager wasn’t helpful or not knowledgeable, this would have consequences for him and the Team).

 

5 – Seating (13 out of 15)

16

1 – How clean were the bin stations inside the shop?

Clean and Tidy (5)

“The bin stations were very tidy and clean.”

17

2 – How clear and clean were the floors, tables and chairs inside the shop?

Presentable (4)

“There was a large seating area that was clean and clear of debris and litter. The table tops that I could see needed a full wipe as there was some very small residue of crumbs.”

(Some “very small” residue!)

18

3 – How well presented and stocked were the toilets INSIDE the shop (if applicable)?

Presentable (4)

“The toilet I visited had adequate toilet roll, hand soap and a working hand dryer. There was some paper litter on the floor.”

 

6 – Say Thank You and See You Again (5 out of 5)

19

1 – How well did your server or any member of the team end the transaction by thank you and/or giving a pleasant parting comment?

Friendly (5)

Name of Team Member A thanked me and wished me a good day.”

 

7 – Additional Scored Question (5 out of 5)

1 – Was any ONE member of our team very helpful, extremely charming and/or outstanding?

Yes

Name of Team Member B was preparing the hot drinks and heard me talking to Name of Team Member A about trying a new variety. She asked if I liked coffee and said that she would be happy to make me another drink for me to taste. Name of Team Member B explained the drink and prepared it for me, making helpful comments and encouraging me to let her know if I liked it. The drink was amazing, absolutely delicious, and something I would never have known about without her taking the initiative. It added value to my visit and I savoured the drink with pleasure.”

2 – Please provide the name or a description of this outstanding member of staff.

N/A

Name of Team Member

(This Team Member received the £100 reward. £100 because the scores weren’t perfect and the shop lost bonus. If the shop had perfect scores which also would have won the Team bonus, this Team Member would have gotten £200 reward.)

 

8 – Additional Information (0 out of 5)

1 – It is a legal requirement for our teams to charge VAT for all ‘Eat In’ items/transactions. When served, were you asked if you were ‘taking away’ or ‘eating in’, and charged correctly? Asked & Charged

Asked & Charged Correctly Correctly

Name of Team Member A carefully asked me and charged accordingly.”

(It used to be between about 2012 and 2017-ish that the Government put pressure on companies as they realized there isn’t as much VAT payment coming through. So, the Mystery Shopper was tasked to eat inside the shop. And when the Pret server, who rung up the Mystery Shopper order, did 1. not ASK “eat in or take away” OR 2. did not CHARGE the eat-in price, forgetting to press the eat-in button even when they asked, the whole Team lost the bonus! Pret tried to avoid getting fined by the Government for not having a certain amount of VAT payments to pay these Government taxes. So, Pret turned around as usual, and put that burden on low-wage workers, penalizing them if they didn’t charge the eat-in VAT price.
I once lost my Team the bonus because I gave the wrong receipt from the SHARED receipt machine, where we took receipts in a hurry having to serve fast. Mystery Shopper ask for receipts 1. to proof they visited the shop – also have to take a photo from outside the shop, 2. they need the receipt to get reimbursed, 3. the server’s name is on the receipt for the reward or critique).

2 – Did you notice someone in charge and, if so, what were they doing?

Yes

Name of Manager was the manager and during my visit was concentrating on filling stock for a full display. ”

(Here again, Pret uses the Mystery Shopper to even check on management, while OPs Managers, who could come by more often sit in the pub or at home! This again is the constant “surveillance” staff go through).

3 – Did BOTH questions 2.1 and 2.2 achieve the top answer OR N/A?

No

“N/A”

4 – If you ordered a dairy free alternative milk, was the correct sticker applied to your cup to indicate the milk used?

Yes

“There was a yellow soy sticker on my cup.”

(Mystery Shoppers HAVE TO purchase a hot drink to also time baristas the 1 minute rule)

5 – If you bought a hot food item, did the label on your product match the product you purchased?

N/A N/A

“I did not buy a hot item.”

6 – Did the label on your cold fresh food product match the product you purchased?

Yes

“The wrap and baguette contents were as described on the shelf and package labels.”

 

9 – Customer Segmentation (non-scoring)

1 – Based on your overall experience on this visit, how likely are you to recommend Pret to people you know on a scale of 1-10?

10 10

“The service was excellent and the food and especially drink were very enjoyable.”

2 – In order for you to have the perfect visit, which of the following aspects should we prioritise to improve?

Other

“I was disappointed not to find any breakfast products when I arrived a few minutes after 11 on a Saturday morning.”

(This disappointment by the MS can also put pressure on staff to have more breakfast items on display at a quiet time after 11AM, and thus increase the waste. These unnecessary expectations put extra pressure on staff. I once had a Mystery Shopper comment that I didn’t ask them “Anything else?” After that comment, my Manager pressured me to say this! I remember feeling humiliated and stunned at this stupid thing! This is why the former staff member tweeted to Pret and its former CEO:)

PAMSU Dismantle MS

Link

3 – From the list below, please choose which area is our main strength.

Service

“No comments are required for this question.”

4 – Where do you normally go to purchase similar products?

Pret a Manger

“It is interesting to try different food and drink at a new Pret site.”

 


 

If any current Pret staff has read this and found that I missed something important, or some things have changed, feel free to contact me anonymously and add to it via my contact page.

In September 2019 Clive Schlee “retired” but let the new CEO, Pano Christou aleady take over on Glassdoor in mid July to avoid further poor scoring. Schlee retired with quite a legacy, as Pret staff always spill the beans in anonymity, away from the fear management. Yet, he remains in the background as a non-executive director. But this is his legacy: