Cry Me A River – Translating Crocodile Tears

 

drip by drip, drop by dot and blabber…

The performance worthy of an Oscar, that took two years of research and practice.

 

YT

 

So touching!

 

CryMeARiver

 

 

In 2015 Clive Schlee was CLUELESS what to do and patronizing as usual. Only ONE of several customer complaints and warnings before AND even after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s death: 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

In 2016 which no one in the UK media seemed to have noticed nor researched a man in New York sued Pret quote: “after he a went into anaphylactic shock. He alleges that the restaurant staff served him food containing sesame after assuring him the food was free of the allergen.

—> Pret a Manger hit with lawsuit

The Verdict  (he lost!)

I tweeted about this HERE and mention that from the witness account in the verdict document the supplier of the wrap that contains sesame did NOT need to include sesame in the ingredient as in the U.S. it isn’t law, but in Canada it has to be included. So, the supplier acted responsibly and added it anyway even though by law he did NOT need to, but he included it in case the product was purchased from outside the USA, like Canada for example. Yet, Pret could not be bothered and after this lawsuit and then even after Natasha’s death still did NOTHING!

Witness statement from the supplier from the verdict document, Page 5 (FDA = Food and Drugs Administration):
“We list and perhaps by FDA regulations, we are asked to list or call out any of the ingredients that could be classified as an allergin [sic]. Wheat and soy are classified as allergins in the U.S. In Canada sesame would be included as we really don’t know wh~re stores are, so we put what might be outside this country or at least the border country.”

So, the supplier has sesame included, even though by U.S. law he didn’t need to. And Pret did not list, even though they had the info from the supplier ingredient list on the product.

Sweet-talk of the decade:

*IRONY ON*

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

*IRONY OFF*

 

The Translation
Of the CEO’s Oscar-worthy performance

 

Clive Schlee: “I went to the Inquest…”

As if he had a choice!

 

CS: “and I saw the impact that Natasha’s death had on the family.”

He went, saw and came to the conclusion after two years since Natasha died, that her premature death, which happened on his watch, destroyed a family!

 

CS: “And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

 

CryMeARiver

 

And the Pret Academy Award in a leading role, for the performance that took two years to perfect goes to…

 

CS: “So, on a personal level I’m devastated.”

Is he, now? After two years ignoring repeated warnings before and even after Natasha’s death.

 

CS: “But”

But

 

CS: “… the coroner”

Oh, the coroner, huh?!

 

CS: “the coroner asked for a change in the law…”

The coroner blames the law, now? Didn’t the coroner say that Pret’s labelling was inadequate? And further in this “REPORT TO PREVENT FUTURE DEATHS”, quote:
»Regulation 5 allows for food outlets to avoid full food labelling requirements whether they prepare a small number of items in local shops or in the case of Pret, over 200 million items for sale by preparing these items in “local kitchens”. These items prepared in “local kitchens” are in fact “assembled” in large parts from items made in factory style outlets to Pret specifications. I was left with the impression that the “local kitchens” were in fact a device to evade the spirit of the regulation.«

Yes, that about sounds like the Pret I know! And I’m glad someone finally sees that Pret products are not freshly “made” but “assembled” from ready products out of factories into many tiny “factories” sold as “lovingly made in Pret kitchens” bla.

 

 

CS: … “the family asked for a change in the law.”

Wow! Dragging the family on his side while Nadim and Tanya Ednan-Laperouse said this in response: …He’s not acting fast enough. (Well, he’s ‘acting’ alright) “I would say to anyone with serious allergies or is concerned about allergies … don’t buy a sandwich or go to Pret A Manger, because they’re still holding your life at risk right now!” — Nadim Ednan-Laperouse

 

So much about “preventing future deaths”!

 

CS: “And I’m now making changes in PRET that will make that change in the law happen more quickly.”

I must say Clive Schlee has got some balls or deeply lacks the sense of responsibility, to still be in the blaming game Pret-ending to be a “leader” who brings the change after being clueless on what to do!

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

CS: … “Probably – probably better.”

Yes, I would stutter, too if I was him!

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

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

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

 

When a Star became Sliced Pret

 

Sliced Pret

 

Okay okay, I know, I keep butchering Pret A Manger’s name, and it’s silly, I just like to return the favour after having been emotionally and mentally dismantled.

I don’t do much advertisement but I want to point out an article. It is disappointing that the Press only now starts to wake up. If any occupation should know about PR facades, than it should be the Press, but not even reporters catch on until catastrophic events happen and they start to take a closer look.

But regardless, I want to point to a brilliant Times UK article by Sathnam Sanghera and just quote a few things that are worth repeating. Some of my readers may not be on Twitter where I re-posted this article all over the place after I found it first on 03. Nov. 2018, so you can go straight to the link to read. Unfortunately you need to register with The Times to read, but it’s very simple and fast.

 




 

The only little “house keeping” I want to mention for your own inbox, that I already posted in the summer, read the small print carefully otherwise you find yourself with junk mail very quick. It really annoyed me and I ended up not registering at the time. I just registered on 3rd Nov. when I discovered Mr. Sanghera’s well worth article to register.

When you sign up, be careful how to click:

 

NaughtyTimes_crop

 

First box:

“We’ll send you information on products and services from The Times and The Sunday Times that you may be interested in. If you would prefer not to receive these then click here. ”

The little word “not” is here.

 

Second box:

“We would like to send you exclusive promotions, competitions, and content from selected partners. If you would like to receive these then please click here.”

The little word “not” is NOT here.

 

In short, if you do NOT want to receive any junk mail whatsoever, CLICK the first box and leave the second box UNclicked. Pretty naughty what The Times is doing here, as many people are in a hurry and assume after they clicked the first box, the second applies to the same 😉 But other than that registering is quite simple and fast.

 




 

 

Some things from this article I want to highlight:

 

“Pret was the best thing since sliced bread but private equity ruined it”

 

 — Sathnam Sanghera

 

 

First of all, Pret was always difficult. I started in Pret in 2008 just when Bridgepoint purchased and set a high target to open all over the place, especially on seemingly every corner in London. But former colleagues, including one former manager who worked with the competition next door to the Pret I worked in, told me that it was always a “club” at the top where you only were part of if you played the game well, and the hard workers at the bottom did all the work. But since 2008 it became hellish as I collected many staff complaints from various Employment Review sites, Twitter, YouTube etc. as well as my own traumatic experience in Pret.

I also cleaned up the comprehensive list and explained the positions in the recent post I wrote “Pret Poets Society“, as writing helps me cope.

Briefly, three of the many reviews that I can underline all the way. The first comes from a New York City former Pret employee just “freshly” reviewed on 30. Oct. 2018 and hits this home again what I have experienced and survived:

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

One former Manager’s review from 2012, 4 years after the Bridgepoint purchase:

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Link

 

And this person that keeps appearing on YouTube regarding Pret like I keep posting on Twitter:

Horrible Company Pret

Scrolling down on the YouTube comments

 

 

Some Quotes from the article:

I’d like to say I’ve not been influenced by what other people have been saying, but I have: the fallout from the death of 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died in 2016 after a severe allergic reaction to one of the company’s baguettes, and the company’s woeful response, has brought home just how much Pret has changed under private equity owners, the most recent of which is JAB Holdings, which also owns Krispy Kreme. More specifically, all the things I once admired Pret for are no longer true.

 

My response to this is, that the truth only now comes out but it has been like this for years. And devastatingly it takes deaths for the public to drop their jaw in disbelief. I was writing since May 2018 about Pret and how poorly their top leadership is dealing with serious issues. I have at times written all over the place, addressed all kinds of people especially when I was extremely distressed and virtually crying out for the public to open their eyes as people are getting hurt, especially staff.

But the majority of the time I was met with silence, sometimes with anger because people just don’t want to know that their beloved Pret is not what they thought it is. The only people who believed me immediately and were/are supportive are of course the Unions and activists in general, people who deal with dishonest companies and organizations on a daily basis and are not surprised anymore.

One person’s support helped me greatly, just in the fact that she believed me and gave me a dose of reality that most people don’t give a toss. Thank you to Rebecca again:

 

Rebecca

 

 

But it is sad that even the Press is not interested to look deeper until the ultimate catastrophic event happens: death prematurely and unnecessarily. And if the press gets interested, they are intimidated, fearing by legal ramifications. I don’t blame them. But at the end of the day no one who read my publications will be able to say they didn’t know how it is in Pret. I’m satisfied that even 1 person reads and believes me.

 

 

Quote:

“Depressingly, this weekend The Sunday Times reported that Pret had been hit with a bill of almost $1 million (£780,000) to settle claims that it underpaid staff in its New York sandwich bars.”

 

Again, I posted this all over the place already back in August (in red at the start of this post) where I was even followed on Twitter by several news reporters including one from the Guardian. I have since kicked everyone off my following, that I did at times in a drunken stupor and distress. For the reader to understand I became like this since the traumatic death of my brother added with what I went through in Pret. But I am slowly recovering and working hard, including with Therapy not to act on impulse. But I keep writing about how staff in the UK are not paid accordingly, which I also have experienced countless times having to chase my correct pay.

 

 

Quote:

“…in recent years the company has been attacked as a prominent proponent of “affective labour”, aimed at giving customers a positive feeling, with the British journalist Paul Myerscough reporting in The London Review of Books that staff are required to master…”

 

This article can be found here and speaks about Andrej who was fired from Pret after he started a Union. I gave Andrej his own spot on my website: Andrej Stopa Ex-Pret.

And I will add again and again that this affective emotional labour hurts people to the point of suicide. And for those who know my story and keep reading this repeat, I’m sorry, but new readers find my website every day and I have to repeat over and over that I was bullied during bereavement with all the manipulative traumas that happened to me under Pret’s toxic HR department. My website/blog is filled with the majority of the story and will eventually turn into a chronological book.

But because I became suicidal, I had to just write as much as possible in case I wouldn’t survive. And if this is all that I had left to do, and no matter what Pret does to me again, my story is out and I hope people open their eyes. Last year an assistant manager died by suicide and I keep confronting Pret about it. Of course they wouldn’t respond. But again, the truth will one day always come out!

 

 

Quote:

“The recent claim made by chief executive Clive Schlee that “Pret looks like a huge company but in fact it’s 500 little kitchens”, and marketing material that implies that Pret is still a local store selling healthy products to customers it knows intimately, just doesn’t wash anymore. It’s obvious what the owners are trying to do. As one veteran private equity investor put it recently: “We buy a business, work out how many restaurants you can get away with in an area until it’s become saturated, then try to convince a new buyer that there is plenty more runway”.”

 

Yes, I started to be bothered with the amount of Prets popping up all over the place since 2008, and while working in Pret then I felt “invaded” even in my private time when mingling around London that in my personal time I couldn’t escape the view of a Pret.

 

 

Quote:

“There has been a barrage of negative stories in recent years: tabloid claims that Pret’s “freshly baked bread” is in fact imported part-baked and frozen from France; tales of a vegetarian customer finding sausages in their breakfast pot…”

 

It’s not just “tales” it’s fact, and in my 10 years the amount of complaints I had to deal with in shops and had to refund and fix mistake is a book on its own. Several serious issues from just recently: Meat soup for vegetarian, dairy instead of soya in coffee, plastic socket cover in a wrap, metal piece in a wrap, piece of ham in veggie sandwich, repeatedly wrong soups / wrong labels…

 

2018-10-30 Plastic Cover

 

 

Quote:

“It’s ironic that when the founders sold a third of the business to McDonald’s for £50 million in 2001 it was deemed a disaster but nowadays McDonald’s feels like it is trying harder to change than Pret.”

 

I am a permanent and life-long “boycotter” or avoider of McDonald’s and the like, but this is a great statement! It always bothered me when I first learned that Pret did this marriage of convenience to McD to get their foot into the U.S. I learned this in my first year in Pret and couldn’t believe how a food company that prides itself in freshness and paying staff better, then teaming up with McDonald’s. That already is a dead give away what’s behind the motive anyway.

 

Yes, a star may have been fallen while Pret painstakingly keeps up the smile and now push hard with patronizing former homeless people as “Rising Stars” … and what is behind this I wrote in this article… But PR[et} keeps shouting loud and diverting away from its troubles and readjusts its make up for the public.

 

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

 

 

I hope more quality journalists like Sathnam Sanghera will take a closer look and interest into the facade of Pret and also staff treatment. Pret deserves a host of undercover reporters on different locations/countries invading them and reporting from the inside, like James Bloodworth did with Amazon. But I guess, even deaths in Pret are falling on the wayside again now and the public woohoos about free coffees and cookies. Just business as usual …

My thoughts are often with the Ednan-Laperouse and Marsh families. I cannot stop thinking about their trauma. The first couple of years are the worst, and now especially during Christmas, the first Christmas that 5 daughters and a widow will be without their mum and wife…

 


 

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

Interview:

 

©2017 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 Allergen Deaths & Customers Repeated & Ignored Warnings

 

seeds pexels-photo-1296262

 

 

Apart from the 9 warnings, Pret under the Director of Risk and Compliance (or more appropriate “Risk-Taking and Complacency”) has ignored, with one also almost fatal, I have started to collect customers’ responses of allergen warnings to Pret regarding the lack of labelling before AND after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died. Only this having become public now is there some slow reaction happening. But again, only a RE-action to public pressure.

Not only should Natasha’s family pursue Pret in court, but those who have had to go to hospital and those who had allergic reactions from Pret products should file a combined lawsuit against Pret. If Natasha’s death two years ago has just come to light now in 2018, how many more are there?

People asked on Twitter and other social media who should be prosecuted for “murder”, for starters I think it is for sure Jonathan Perkins who walked along the pavement after the inquest with his hands in his pockets as if taking a stroll in the park. And certainly Clive Schlee has to face the music away from his usual sweet-talk and wanting to pay people out for silence. His patronizing response in 2015 to a concerned customer has me at a loss, even though I should not be surprised at his patronizing way.

 

Clive Schlee in his typical patronizing and self-assured way labelled me his “late night girl” after my ordeal with Pret while he can’t label products to save a life!

Welcome to Pret A Manger, feel free to take a peek behind the scenes and the reality of a company and CEO who mainly cares for the PR(et) machine.

 

The start of a list of customer concerns, warnings and complaints even before Natasha died, as well as noting that the issue has still not been taken seriously after the public inquest and outrage:

 

And another-one (CEO’s patronizing response not knowing what to do)

A list of customer warnings before and after the two customer deaths:
Allergen Deaths and Customer Warnings to Pret

Ongoing issues into 2019: Hospitalization, Mislabelling, Cockroach etc.

 

A tutorial for Pret A Manger:

Labelling for Dummies

 

2014-07-21 Contains Nuts RFH

Photo taken in London’s Royal Festival Hall cafe 2014.


 

UPDATE

07. Oct. 2018

Second allergy death in Pret and my question to Pret on 30. Sep. 2018!

 


 

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

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

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

And Another-Nine

 

2018-10-04 PineNuts IceQueen2912

 

Link

 

Other customer complaints and concerns regarding labelling issues in Pret.

 

 

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

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

 

And Another-One Again

 

egg-3471439_960_720

 

“I went to Pret *today* thinking you’d learned your lesson. My daughter is allergic to egg. Allergic lists were hidden away. Your staff could not confirm the ingredients on children’s products after 20 mins of online research & calls. You should be utterly and deeply ashamed.”

 

Link

 

 

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

 

business-1320078__340

 

 

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

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement

Quote from the Introduction on page 3:

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

 

We know there’s a lot to do?

 

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

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

 

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

 

NEW Slave’s company (18. Oct. 2018)

Modern Day Slavery (2nd Oct. 2018)

Workers are slave (June 2017)

Slave-like environment (Oct. 2017)

Felt Like A Slave (Nov. 2014)

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

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

Advice to Management

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

 

Slavery hasn’t been abolished (Oct. 2017)

Leaders treat you like a slave (May 2018)

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

 

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

Hellhole!”

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

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

 

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

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

On Andrej’s Pret Union video more comments:

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments1a

 

… and further …

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments4

 

etc. etc.

 

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

 

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

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Lucky Pret: The Difference between the USA & the UK

 

justice-2071539_960_720

 

 

The difference between the USA and the UK is not only the legal system, but the hunger for justice, even if that “justice” in the U.S. is known for being so ridiculous:

 

Suing Pret for “air” in the States, while Natasha was dying in the air and Pret in the UK is getting away with murder.

 

 

 

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

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

 

And Another-one

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_3

Link

 

Clive Schlee’s appalling response, apart from the patronizing and self-assured tone: “I must say you do have a charming, self deprecating writing style and it was very gracious of you to mention so many good things about Pret. I am Pret’s CEO.” … and she’s supposed to be impressed that the CEO responded to an open letter addressed to Pret, while not having a clue what to do:

“You also make your point about the allergen information. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to respond. I think you are telling us to train our staff better. I can’t argue with that …”

 

I still shake my head when reading this, and I read this many times now in disbelief!

 

A “collection” of warnings Pret ignored.

 

The Definition of Bullying

 

Bullying can kill

 

When my brother died I went into extreme darkness, shock and trauma, and at the same time straight into autopilot. Apart from all the errands I had to run and things I had to do, I kept working because I had no choice. I lost all my savings for all the bills that came up, flights, living costs etc. I was forced to keep working.

During that time the bullying in Pret did not stop, it even gotten worse where they tried to cut me out of my leadership position. One incidence I just came back from a two week holiday in warm Florida and Virginia having visited with friends, one of whom I share my birthday with, and our combined friends gave us a trip on a boat to watch dolphins further out on the ocean. I didn’t enjoy the holiday as I usually do, but I relaxed and enjoyed my friends. In hindsight this was the darkest time, the whole year and the following was, but this time even while the sun was beaming and my friends were so lovely, it was so dark for me.

My guard was somewhat down, just having returned from a warm climate, warm in weather and in people, to then returning to the cold early December weather in London. When I returned to work my then line manager was tense and as usual would tell me off in front of my team. As an employee to be told off repeatedly in front of your colleagues is already wrong and hard enough, but as a team leader being told off again in front of my team I couldn’t bear anymore.

After just starting work again, with my guard down and this having been two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death, I couldn’t take the telling off anymore and I just broke down right then and their in front of everyone. I cried and shouted uncontrollably, tried to take my jacket and pushed a tall colleague a little to the side who was just standing behind me. Shocked at him standing there, because I didn’t realize someone was behind me, I just pushed him out of shock, crying, trying to grab my jacket to leave the shop.

The line manager kept telling me to get out on the shop floor to serve customers. I was extremely in shock, afraid I would lose my job if I take my jacket and leave. The guy I pushed (not purposely, but in shock) just said to me “Don’t push me!” When he said that I just wept and repeatedly said “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

NO ONE tried to calm me down or console me, absolutely no one!

The line manager flung the office door to the shop floor open and with a delegating pointing finger towards the shop floor ordered me out. In tears and immense shock I served customers, and not even customers asked me what happened. My colleagues outside did, who didn’t witness what happened in the office. They asked what’s going on, but I couldn’t tell them.

I raised a grievance, which at first HR didn’t want to do. I then contacted the CEO and only then did they conduct a hearing. The hearing manager in a nutshell rejected everything, rejected that it was bullying and even flipped it around putting the blame on me for being aggressive (breakdown!!)! Shock after shock after shock after shock after shock….

I appealed the outcome and in a 4.5 hour appeal’s hearing the hearing manager and HR note taker played dumb and pretended (Pret-ended!) to not understand what my problem is. The hearing manager in fact than asked me another shocking question:

“What is your definition of bullying?”

I remember just starring at her… Did she really just asked me that??!

To make it short, the appeal was partially substantiated, but not that it was bullying, but only that the line manager after I broke down did not show “compassion”. I understand only in hindsight that they tried to avoid admitting that bullying of a bereaved employee not only happened, but kept continuing. In fact I was put into the role of the bully then because I became loud and in tears crying out irrationally.

In hindsight I would answer the question of what my definition of bullying is, with the question of what this OPs manager’s definition of bullshit is?!

As you read you would ask why on earth I didn’t go to Tribunal then. I cannot explain this, I cannot explain the irrational fear I was in, the intense trauma and fog. I entered into self-blame which was perfect for Pret, because I suffered from sibling survivor guilt. I felt, and still feel somewhat that I let my brother down. Why did I survive my big brother?! What have I done to deserve to live!?

In later grievance appeal’s hearing I raised against an HR People Business Partner who kept sending me away when I asked for support, I explained the background of my turmoil up until my communications with this PBP, when I came to the point about being rebuked again, breaking down and in my broken down state being send out to do customer service, the hearing manager asked me if my GP can verify that I had a breakdown! I cannot explain the Twilight Zone I was in with incident after incident of systemic bullying in a work environment.

So, the bullying felt more like I was just imagining wrong doing because I already am suffering on the inside, lost over 35kg (while having free food around me every day!), couldn’t eat, was in physical pain, tinnitus, a complete and utter mess inside. I gave everybody the benefit of a doubt, except myself. How sick I have become and how wrong I was to let them step all over me, but I was in a different world, traumatized and on autopilot.

I became suicidal and had several close calls and am moving on to tell my story, no matter what they’ll throw at me!

So, to the OPs manager who did the appeal’s hearing asking me my definition of bullying, and to Pret, I have a question: Would the below count as definition of bullying?

 

Quote of the Day Pret #4

(New York)

 

This one maybe?

Quote Pret #22 Racist

(NYC)

 

Or this one?

Quote Pret #23 Racism

 

How about this!

Quote Pret #21 Just Terrible

(Chicago)

 

This?

Quote Pret #09a Hellhole

Quote Pret #09b Hellhole

 

 

Quote Pret #15 Harsh

(London)

 

 

Quote Pret #19 Avoid

 

Quote Pret #20 Terrible Company

 

(NYC)

 

Quote Pret #11 Squandered Opportunities

 

Quote Pret #25 Brainwash

 

For the sake of my wrist trying to avoid carpal tunnel, a long but not exhaustive list can be found here:

Pret A Manger Staff Complaints

Would the above answer your question dear OPs manager? If you don’t think that bullying a bereaved employee and in their trauma send them out to do customer service, in a company that prides itself in customer service does not look like bullying to you, then I really feel for your lack of emotional intelligence and you conspiring with a toxic HR department like this!

 

The Cost of Systemic Workplace Bullying

The Cost of Systemic Workplace Bullying – 2

Workplace Bullying Costs Lives

Workplace Bullying Costs Lives – 2

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

Pret A Manger Staff Complaints ~~~ & ~~~ Selected Quotes

How I became a Late Night Girl

 

 

Late Night Girl2

 

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