Pret A Marketing 2 – “On the House”

 

What are the news on the homeless house?

One guy advertised for it with Nicki Fisher.

What’s with the house of the “Rising Stars”?!

I put it in brackets as I find this patronizing to label former homeless people like this, especially since the majority of Pret staff are like “Fallen Stars“.

I wrote on the Social Bite homeless village project in July 2018. It took Social Bite 2 years to build a village. It took Pret, a multi-million (by now billion) pound company 5 years to plan, buy and advertise a house for homeless people in London? Mind you, those former homeless people Pret takes, interestingly seemed to have been short-term homeless and mainly young people…all with little “baggage”, compared to those who were on the streets for years with addictions and loads of “life” behind them … not easy to bulls**t anymore.

And now Nicki Fisher who headed up the Pret Foundation Trust (PFT) goes to rural places in the hopes to help some burnt out people? Really?

I thought the Pret house is helping former homeless people back into work and accommodation? Ah, I see, it’s all in the wording.

From the below Tweet:
“Nicki will be embarking on a new adventure with her wife as they open their home in the East Sussex countryside as a rural retreat for those in need.”

Open to interpretation as to who’s in need and what the need is.

2019-05-30 Nikki Fischer rural

Now there’s a proper Pret smile!

Link & Link

The Pret homeless house in London just doesn’t seem to be doing it for Nicki. And it makes sense, because people who were homeless, traumatized, vulnerable etc. need rural and quiet places to recover. Daah!

Pret’s homeless house of the “Rising Stars” is just another smile on Pret’s face … facade!

And why is none of the “Rising Stars” on Twitter etc. telling how great it all is? Instead, they are only sharing, if at all, with Pret’s camera on them. But outside of Pret? What’s their take?

It takes rural places to recuperate from tragedy of homelessness, trauma, loss etc. And here are the brutal places of Pret A Manger and their “Fallen Stars”:

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies

 

Sheriff

Sheriff Bajo, former Pret Assistant Manager and father of a young child was unfairly dismissed and ended up sleeping in his car, losing everything.

 

In the PRet CEO blog about the “Rising Stars” former homeless employment program, Clive Schlee shares how the idea came up for these “Rising Stars” to solely work together in a Pret shop. From the manager to the kitchen sandwich makers, having all former homeless people work in one shop.

Why?

CEO Quote (I added the colour to highlight something where he’s indirectly giving himself away):

“Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

 

2019-01-02 re Rising Stars too few2

 

And on the 450 “Rising Stars” since the 10 years of the Pret Foundation Trust, working with former homeless people, some people finally probe deeper also on Facebook and are just not buying it:

 

Why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12K staff

 

Here’s why Georgia:

“Careful to integrate”?

Might be leaving them “too exposed”?

Too exposed for what?

The same CEO who takes former homeless people to his Austrian PRoperty for a hike in the beautiful countryside, is the same CEO who has a highly stressful workplace with bullying managers who are drilled for targets and profit repaying the investors since private equity took over.

Also, is it coincidence that the PFT was founded in 2008 just when Bridgepoint Capital purchased Pret and started squeezing the lifeblood out of employees? With Pret A Manger I don’t believe in coincidences anymore. My own story where Pret used a development manager who supposedly also had a brother who died alone in his flat and wasn’t found until days later. Yet, after Pret bullied me and I became ill, she was introduced to me, but not for mutual support as we (if she!) had the same loss, but she was used to gaslight me. Full story in my interview at the bottom of this page.

 

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2018-07-06 Head Office PR

19. Dec. 2017

 

2019-02-11 Critical Tweet re Homeless house

 

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

 

Who will investigate staff deaths, in particular suicides?

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the 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.

The Best thing that happened to Pret A Manger

 

… is CEO Clive Schlee in terms of PR, marketing and presenting a well polished facade. But the CEO is not the best thing that happened to staff. Him being approachable and friendly is acting while staff suffer and are being fooled. I am a former Pret employee of 10 years and have survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement under Pret’s leadership. My interview on a podcast at the bottom of this page.

No matter how many customers died, a third nearly fatal allergy reaction, several hospitalized and multiple ignored warnings: the CEO will fix every mess with an approachable smile.

Clive Schlee labelled me his “late night girl” and I survived his “friendliness” to publicly speak about my ordeal and many other staff complaints I collected onto one page: Selected Quotes and long List of Reviews and comments on the web.

How easy it is to take a few former homeless people who are vulnerable and easy to be manipulated, taking them to Schlee’s PRivate PRoperty in Austria for a hike, or going to Stone Hedge and now giving them accommodation and a low paid job, separating them from regular shops, as quoting Schlee they don’t want to keep them “too exposed” being slow to “integrate” them into regular shops.

In the meantime regular shops are harsh places with poorly trained bullying managers who are tasked to reach high target and profit, so that Mr. Schlee can pocket his £30 Million. So, what does he compensate this poor treatment of staff with?

Yep, good deeds via charity.

I posted several blog entries on the facade that Clive Schlee like the Ronald McDonald Clown does for McDonald’s, Clive does for Pret. Clive is the good cop, shop management are the bad cops, but all have one goal, squeeze as much “productivity” out of staff to maximize profit. And in all this throw in some good works and lots of free coffees for customers (that are paid by raised prices) and the public is hypnotized and lulled in to sleep.

With all things in life where we want to believe a facade and are shocked beyond believe when the quiet neighbour next door who was always so involved in the community turns out to not be what everyone around him believed. The truth always comes to light about a company, person, system, ideology…

 

Illusion

 

Some blog posts I wrote regarding Clive Schlee:

 

Cry Me A River – Translating Crocodile TearsClive Schlee not acting on customer deaths until this became public.

The “Fallen Stars” of Pret – Regular staff have a different story behind the scenes. Yes, there are good shops and good managers as well, but I worked in over a dozen shops and have only worked with 2 maximum 3 managers who were good and “normal”. The majority is terrible management.

The Great Pret-ender (Genius of the Crowd)

Pret Poets Society Explaining the different job roles in Pret shops and reviews from those.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Another writing to Clive Schlee

 

… and some other indirect posts on the overall atmosphere behind the Pret facade.

 

2018-01-07 I Hate Pret Facebook Page2

Facebook group since 2011 that Facebook hides on behalf of paying companies like Pret

 

 

2018-05-09 PAMSU EndTheMysteryShopper

Former Pret staff who was fired for starting a Union

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Former IT Analyst having worked in HQ

 

17 Odd

Former Purchasing Director NYC

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Former Corporate Employee NYC

 

 

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

Link

 

 

Brutal Nightmare

YouTube comment towards the bottom

 

10 Chicago Pret horrible company to work for

A comment from a customer in Chicago who knew a deceased Pret employee

 

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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 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.

Pret A Manger’s Typical Marketing Strategy (and their Fallen Stars)

 

I may not be a Guardian or New York Times writer, where the public easily believes the Press and find it hard to believe a report on the appalling work environment a person’s inside knowledge shares publicly.

I write as an insider of Pret A Manger having worked on the front lines of a stressful and discriminating workplace. I have survived workplace bullying even during bereavement which I write extensively about on my blog and Social Media as well as share for the first time verbally on a podcast (at the bottom of this page).

I experienced Pret, especially CEO Clive Schlee as dishonest, shop managers as bullying and excellent in hiding this profit-driven behaviour behind the PR[et] facade. Like neighbours who hide abused and smiling children behind a beautiful house, but when the truth comes out, everyone is shocked. Really? No, I’m not comparing Pret to the smiley Turpin or other abusive families, what I am pointing out is the age old trap, where people fall for a facade of a friendly looking leadership and PR. I just use an EXTREME example to make a point of how things can be hidden in broad day-light. Behind the “happiness and smiles” in Pret is the Mystery Shopper and the £100 incentive if staff are extra nice. And if Mystery Shopper results are bad, staff are “motivated” through fear management. Sorry to burst the bubble on the happiness illusion in Pret. I cover this extensively in “How Companies force Emotional Labour on Low Wage Workers“.

Customers see how stressful it is in Pret, but have been so conditioned an plainly spoiled where they are happy to wait in Starbucks for up to 15 minutes, but complain in Pret when the coffee isn’t ready in 2 minutes! Pret produced this for high profit, and just very few say something, most customers want their coffees fast and don’t care to look closer let alone mention something!

Rarely do customers point out the stress, chaos and upset they observe. Most just want their coffees, believe the nice facade and off they go:

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-03-19 Response to customer complaint re manager

Link

 

2019-03-22 Customer Noticing busyness Pret1

Link

 

2019-03-22 customer kings cross emma observation stress

Link

 

2013 Customer being treated nice by manager then snap at staff

Link

 

And then, a breath of fresh air!

 

VillageForHomeless

A village built for the homeless by cafe chain Social Bite. I covered this in 2018.

It is super easy for a multi-billion pound company to do some charity work, like I would flip a penny in a beggars cup which doesn’t cost me anything. And thus Pret, lulling the public in again with good deeds, while behind the scenes it is very different. All the free coffees and product give-away, which is very good customer service of course, absolutely, but who’s paying for these freebies? No, it’s not Pret. It’s customers paying it forward by other paying customers as Pret keeps raising the coffee and product prices. Among other bills prices are raised to pay for all the freebies while staff are underpaid and overworked. The few pennies more that Pret pays staff compared to the competition, is because Pret has no choice as the job is so horrendously harsh and stressful, no one would stay for the minimum wage. But for a team leader who has responsibilities almost like a manager to get £9.30 an hour is an insult! It’s better to work for less pay and in turn less stress.

 

2018-12-31 re free coffee marketing

Link … and increased coffee prices paying for the “free” coffees and free advertisement customers then give on Twitter.

 

Schlee tries to compensate this “leadership” style by treating former homeless people (whom he patronizingly calls “Rising Stars”) with kindness and more consideration. In his own words Pret is “careful to integrate” them into regular shops, as the work environment is brutal and may catapult them back unto the streets, further adding cracks to the facade.

While this is a great thing to do, helping people back into work, giving them a beautiful break, by flying them out to his Austrian home, or hike in the English countryside etc., I question the motive behind this kindness. Many staff in the main “population” of the  workforce are treated horrendously bad (my own story in the interview at the bottom). People are fired unnecessarily and unfairly, staff become depressed and suicidal. I was bullied during grief under Schlee’s watch and him even being part of my ordeal calling me his “late night girl”, two months before I was fired while my dad was in intensive care just out of a coma!

This contrast to the “Rising Stars” program should make anyone question the true intention of Pret’s “kindness” as I pointed out in my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust. It is like what one reviewer compared Pret to a “Mafia” organization I posted in Pret A M*ffin. No, of course Pret is not a Mafia organization, but what does a Mafia organization do best? They rule in every corner of a region, give money to the city and charities, to school projects and hospitals, and of course to the police and politicians. Even the press is influenced, while the Mafia is getting free range and their backs covered to build their organization and destroy lives. So, I can empathize with this reviewers comparison.

 

Quote from his blog about the Rising Star program and the idea for them to run a shop entirely by former homeless people:

“Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.”

The CEO gave himself away again, knowing very well how horrendous work conditions in shops are, pushed by his profit-driven agenda, especially since private equity took over, to repay the investors on the backs of low-paid workers. They who work double for a few pennies more.

 

Clive Schlee Blog Rising Stars

“we are usually careful to integrate”

… worried they may be

“leaving them too exposed…”

 

for this:

 

Horrible Company Pret

Further down in the comments

 

and this:

 

2018-06-27 Horrible

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-01-12 Never Ever

Link

 

and this:

 

2017-05-29 Bad experience

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-10-02 Modern day slavery depression

Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work

 

and this:

 

2017-12-20 Avoid AM

Link

 

and this:

Lose Everything That Makes You Human2

Link

 

and this:

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Link

 

and these:

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

 

The News reports on Pret supporting a house for the homeless and patronizingly labelling former homeless people “Rising Stars”, is another typical “initiative” that looks to me like the usual diversion Pret likes to do from the allergen deaths, not acting on labelling until customer deaths became public. This should send alarm bells through the public who is easily put to sleep with freebies and PR. Other crisis of the company that the public is being informed are:

  • Pesticides in “natural” food
  • 4000 Pret staff in the U.S. gone to court for unpaid overtime (TWICE in 4 years) and the illegal practices Pret used. Pret Staff in the UK also are not paid overtime and have to constantly chase their wages. I had to do this all the time as managers tend to “forget” to pay the correct hours worked… I collected those complaints from many staff reviews on “Quotes of the Day” selected staff complaints. Countries like New Zealand as of recent years criminalized “wage theft”. The UK is way behind this issue that is rampant.
  • The Class Action Suit regarding deceptive packaging and customers still feeling misled on it days ago with many complaints and photos on Twitter.
  • Many Staff Complaints that I collected onto one page linked to other review websites, YouTube, Twitter etc.
  • My own story that sounds like out of a twisted Hollywood movie, except that I have all the written evidence, and Pret’s only reaction is to report me and let Twitter hide my public posts.

And other issues.

 

Pret keeps reporting me to Twitter, Facebook etc. to let them censor me by hiding my Tweets from the public. This secret censoring is called “shadow banning” and the public for most part is unaware this exist, many don’t even realize they are shadow banned. Facebook even deletes PRIVATE messages where I link in the message to my blog here. Check Twitter hashtags #ShadowBan #ShadowBanning #StopShadowBanning #TwitterCensorship etc. Also, google James O’Keefe undercover journalist who infiltrated Twitter with hidden cameras on the issue of shadow banning.

And as Pret reads my blog, the £1000 announcement for all staff came on 29. May 2018, the night when Pret and the CEO Clive Schlee became aware of my blog. They also learn as I have given Clive Schlee himself several tips on things he then implemented and took the credit for.

There are companies that have done for many years what Pret does now. A coffee chain Social Bite that built a VILLAGE for homeless people. Or the Timpson shoe repair & key cutting company, a family business since 1865 goes into prisons since many years recruiting ex-convicts. They even train prisoners while in prison, so that when they come out they go straight into Timpson employment without being “in between” in danger to re-offend or fall through the cracks.

Timpson aims to employ 20% of ex-prisoners. Many ex-offenders are in high positions including finance, as they are more reliable being appreciative having gotten another chance. Timpson is also the company that has as one of its slogans: “Great service by great people”…. Pret has their slogan “Good jobs for good people”. And sure, companies always “steal” ideas as the market is competitive. But I always love when people come up with true ideas like Social Bite to really help and make a lasting impact, not just for PR and own gain while Pret’s CEO pocketed £30 million for himself. A house for the homeless is nothing for him to do. It’s a penny in a beggars cup. And Pret staff behind the scenes suffer.

One comment on Facebook in Feb. 2019 by a current Pret staff on Pret’s homeless house post, also points this out that Pret does this to gain customers while behind the scenes it’s “chaos”:

 

2019-02-08 Pret Staff Facebook Comment Complaint2

Link to Facebook comment. The link needs to settle a bit before it becomes visible.

 

Timpson trail blazing:

 

And yes, it’s good to have a house for the homeless and do all these good things. And it is better to do those things even if this is used for PR, but I want to keep pointing out how harsh it is behind the scenes in Pret, so much so to the point of people becoming suicidal, depressed, disheartened as I had close calls at the bridge.

 

2018-10-13 Clive Schlee Clown Tweet

Link

 

Some criticism from a former homeless person who works with the homeless and has immense knowledge on housing issues etc.

 

2019-02-08 Former Homeless Tweet re homeless house Pret

Link

 

A response from another person on this charity that Pret has teamed up with. With “HB” the person means “Housing Benefit”, rent that is paid by social services for people without a job:

 

2019-02-09 Response to former homeless tweet

Link

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM2

 

A rare observation and acknowledgement of the forced happiness/friendliness of staff:

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

Link

 

2018-05-09 PAMSU EndTheMysteryShopper

#EndTheMysteryShopper

 

And the undercover report that was sparked by my blog: Undercover Under Pressure.

 

 

My Open Letter To The Pret Foundation Trust and how Pret use vulnerable people for PR, while not giving people with mental health issues a job beyond the trial period despite them being 100% and EVERY product picture perfect. And Pret treating regular staff with unbelievable harshness. I survived to publicly speak about my and others’ ordeal. 

 

If you want to restore or protect your reputation or keep maintaining a nice public image to get lots of customer support (£££), what do you do? You go out and look for the most vulnerable people and placate everywhere your good deeds. Even the Mafia does that, and they do that very well.

And then there are others who don’t do so much shouting about their good deeds as they want to help and not just polish their facade. A Village for the homeless built by Social Bite that I posted in July 2018, and I am always happy to help Pret with ideas. And in the meantime I continue to tell the public how it is behind the scenes, including confronting Pret on a suicide of an assistant manager in 2017, and what Pret has done to me and many others.

Pret can continue to be silent and let Twitter etc. shadow ban me. It always gets more clicks on my blog when I’m shadow banned. Thank you.

 

UPDATE:

A Tweet today from a former homeless person on the press release, who looks beyond the PR of Pret as they know how it is and the political correct issues they face as they work with the homeless as well:

 

2019-02-08 Response to Homeless House Tweet.jpg

Link to 2 consecutive Tweets ONE & TWO by former homeless @Homeless_Info that are semi-hidden where one has to click on “Show More”.

 


 

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.

Quote of the Day 66 – Pret A Scared

 

Quote of the Day: (Bold highlights by me) from YouTube, currently at the top of the comments:

Horrible place to be , pret a manger looks brilliant to the outsider but poor workers are inslaved … they work hard and they always on edge and being told to be fake and be extra nice and sweet and if someone is just him/her self he will be taking into the office and will be warned and told off and been given a letter saying that u have not been performing and from that time u will be on risk to be fired or put in the kitchen to work even harder and be threatened! Poor staff are sooo scared that they do what they are being told out of worry to lose job , so if you get free item not because of the staff member is being generous but that’s because of her manager and area manager. Who says to give about 2 to 3 items free on that day and since you are at least showing her that she is still a human she will give it to you rather than a rude heartless customer

This is what I wrote in several Tweets and on my blog that staff are threatened, and depending how insecure they are even get a letter pressuring them to perform better or risk being dismissed. I remember vividly when a new Team Member received a “File Note”, now called “Note of Concern” because our shop lost the Mystery Shopper because he didn’t smile. This Note of Concern was a typical tool of fear management.

Depending on the staff member, some did “only” receive a telling of, others this kind of “letter” or even further a disciplinary which is a secure step towards dismissal. The more intimidated a staff member is, the more these tactics are used. And that is why Clive Schlee, CEO is “careful to integrate former homeless people into regular shops, saying that they would be “too exposed”.

I am exposing WHY this concern is, because Clive Schlee KNOWS his managers as they are trained to work in fear management. A former homeless person being subjected to this management style would not serve PR very well as they are in danger to be catapulted back to the streets as they couldn’t handle this manipulative and harsh approach.

Hence, Pret puts what they patronizingly call the “Rising Stars” into one shop, including former homeless manager, thus showing to the public how lovely Pret is, while Team Members in regular shops have their “stars fall” in fear management, dismissals, resignations etc.

The above highlighted quote also is what I meant when I wrote my Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust:

Above quote: “…been given a letter saying that u have not been performing and from that time u will be on risk to be fired or put in the kitchen to work even harder and be threatened!”

Pret plays the game for the public by giving people with mental health issues a three months trial, but after the trial period are not taking them on even though, in this case Sergio from the Brixton Mosaic Clubhouse mental health place, gave 100% excellence and EVERY item picture perfect. He was just too slow and wasn’t even taken into the shop front were he wouldn’t need to be that fast.

If Sergio would have stayed on, he would have eventually needed to be pressured, but that would have gone sour as he would have clearly felt the discrimination. Thus, he was treated nice for 3 months, not taken on and he did exactly what Pret wanted: he spoke well of his experience, not realizing how he was used for PR.

My Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust explaining exactly the game Pret is playing.

Also, staff are drilled to be friendly, smiley, happy at all times no matter how they really feel as I have survived being bullied even during bereavement. The weekly Mystery Shopper probed if staff smile, give eye contact, make small talk, serve hot drinks within 1 minute etc. etc. etc. Staff switch into autopilot, and I still don’t know how I survived this. I was hard on myself, the added “sibling survival guilt” didn’t help to productively deal with this fear management.

Mystery Shopper excerpts on the forced friendliness and 1 minute service demand:

Please press Ctrl & + to enlarge picture for easier read, and Ctrl & – to decrease size again.

04 MS

 

05 MS

 

Also, the second Tweet of former Pret employee who was dismissed for having started a Union, scratching on the Mystery Shopper with the hashtag #EndTheMysteryShopper

 

2018-05-09 PAMSU EndTheMysteryShopper

If Mystery Shopper comments aren’t as favourable and points are lost, and worse even, bonus is lost, TMs find themselves individually in the office or in the kitchen as a group, away from customers, being told off and warned. And then they are being send out commanded to smile.

I will do an extra blog entry on the Mystery Shopper. But the main point with the MS is that the whole team can gain bonus on a list of things the MS is tasks to look out for like variety amount in products selection, cleanliness, atmosphere and especially the service. If one Team Member (TM) messes up the service, the whole team loses bonus incl. and especially the manager. This is done for peer pressure. But if everything is more or less good, the team gets the bonus which is £1 per hour they’ve worked the week f the MS visit. So, if a person worked 40 hours that week, they get an extra £40 on their wages.

This can be increased if an individual TM is extra nice or does something extraordinary and the MS happens to witness this. The TM doesn’t need to serve the MS to get what they call an “Outstanding Card” (OC) which is not a card, but a name for an additional bonus the TM gets. When I left Pret in December 2018 the extra reward was increased to £200. So if the MS is either served by or witnesses an outstanding service by a TM, the MS can decide to give this OC and that TM receives an additional £100. If the points are perfect, that extra bonus for that individual TM is doubled to £200. And that is why customers are so impressed with the non-stop friendliness, because they don’t realize like the person in the YouTube video getting a free cookie every time, that TMs often suspect a customer to be the Mystery Shopper and hope to get that extra cash when being extra nice.

There is a daily budget on how many free items staff are expected to give away. This is what the below person comments on below on their complaint under the YouTube video. And then customers wonder why the price for coffee has been increased twice within a short time. Part for this is that someone has to pay for all the freebies, and it isn’t Pret.

If bonus is lost, managers get extremely angry as the Mystery Shopper reports count the most towards quarterly management and area management bonuses. The money grows the higher the management, the more the bonus.

Needless to say what turmoil and depression some develop being “commanded” to smile, make small talk etc. And customers are so impressed, assuming staff are so happy working for Pret. Again, how I survived this even during traumatic bereavement, I don’t know. Maybe anger kept me going, pressing forward in a complete fogged up mental state.

Today’s quote, a YouTube comment from early January 2019 or late December 2018. This comment shows what Pret purposely did NOT do with Sergio for the sake of PResenting a nice facade and why the CEO said that they are “careful to integrate” former homeless people into regular shops as they would be “too exposed”:

 

2019-02-01 #66 YouTube under free cookie video

Link

Featured in “Quotes of the Day” selected Pret reviews and long list of “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 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, LateNightGirl.page.tl and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

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

 

Pret A Manger Food Waste (UPDATED Nov. 2019)

 

Daily wasted food onto landfill (London, New York, Chicago etc.)

2019-01-19 bags of food text

Link

 

To anyone concerned about food waste in plastic to landfill, please don’t be fooled by Pret’s generic question on Twitter on “which shop” this is from and they’ll have a word with the manager bla bla.

This is bogus, as Pret is very aware, and staff are then told to waste AWAY from customers’ glance. I wasted countless bin bags of what can be seen below due to lack of staff, time etc. Also, there are food bins in Pret kitchens and the shop behind the counter, BUT due to constant lack of staff, there is NO WAY staff can separate all the food from its packaging! £8.25 workers are NOT paid for overtime, yet are always manipulated and pushed to work longer without pay. They are so exhausted, and they stop caring. Pret settled TWO class actions in New York on missed pay, while the same problem in the UK exists, but staff never have the idea to organize and sue.

New York staff review September 2019 “always getting sued” and expired food:

Worst

Link

I can only say again and again for anyone to go undercover for more than a month into different shops and countries to see how vast this problem is. The below photos from London, New York, Chicago etc. is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

Pic from @5awaga 28. Jan 2016 USA (I love the eaten apple “skeleton” in the midst of plenty of food)

05. June 2019

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

Link

July 2019

2019-07-22 Food waste

Link

September 2019, Chicago

2019-09-16 Chicago food waste

Link

August 2019 Chicago Pret Staff Review:

2019-08-09 Review Chicago Food Waste

Link

2015 PAMSU food waste

Pret A Manger Staff Union Tweet

UPDATE: November 2019

Pret seemed to have changed the bin bags now since my blog post about the food waste. The bin bags are now NON-transparent, so the food waste can’t be spotted! Clever, Pret 😉

2019-11-04 Pret waste NONtransparent bags & delivery

Photo by Jonatan Lomax on Twitter


 

The above are only a few of the photos customers bother to go on Twitter to complain. The problem is much larger as I wasted I don’t know how much food in 10 years, not to mention how food is wasted in the kitchens! The main problem is over-production where staff are stressed, pushed and bullied to produce huge amounts in little time… and a lot of it for the bin! And CEO Clive Schlee pockets £30 million after the JAB purchase. So, yes, Pret is desperate to uphold an image of “charity”. But so many issues are way out of balance. Not to mention how customer deaths and ignored warnings were dealt with until this became public… not to mention how staff are really treated behind the scenes and forced to smile for an extra £100 via the weekly Mystery Shopper visits. Or if the Mystery Shopper comments that staff didn’t smile, fear management is used and the threat of job loss as the bonus can be lost…

 

2019-10-18 Slaves company 55 approval

Former TM review from 18. Oct. 2018. The “55 Yes” vs. “0 No” votes speak for itself.

 

UPDATE April 2019 further below from the UK and the USA of Pret staff throwing food out even while a shop is still open. Again, if staff are overworked, underpaid, bullied (collected here) … they stop caring and sabotage the company, and unfortunately with it also those in need. I learned from a former Pret General Manager, working for the competition that when he was a Team Member and his manager bullied him and the team, they would throw whole food packages like cakes etc. out while doing the morning delivery checks. They were so angry at the manager that they threw NEW food items straight into the bin that came from the food supplier. They didn’t even mark it off the invoice because they wanted to created a huge unaccounted for the manager to sabotage the manager’s bonus.


As customers again keep going to Twitter with photos, videos and comments about seeing bags of food waste from Pret, instead of this being donated to those in need I want to explain why this is happening more than people realize and Pret wants to admit. I speak from 10 years as former Pret staff throwing countless bin bags of food away!

 

2019-01-10 video of binned food2

Twitter pic from @dwphilbrick video from NY

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

@amylsharpe >>> Undercover Report I suggested to Amy to go undercover to not just take my word for it.

amy sharpe waste bag

The Sunday Mirror photo. The most bags like this I remember wasting into the rubbish room at one time was 3 (THREE) bags in one night! Also, because some waste companies pick up rubbish in the morning, bags like this are stored in the rubbish room over night adding to the risk of pest, mice etc. being drawn in, especially over the weekend when there is no rubbish pick-up in some stores depending on the waste company, council etc.

Quote from Amy’s report: “At the end of the shift I apply allergen stickers to leftover sarnies, salads and pots. These are given to the homeless as part of the commendable Pret Foundation scheme. But there are never enough stickers and a bagful of perfectly edible food is binned each day.” (I underlined).

 

A pretty bleak and stern warning to Pret concerning donating food to the wrong place, as huge amounts are binned every day and donating to wrong places is not helping people to be self-sufficient. Worth watching the video in the Tweet:

 

2019-01-27 Wasted Food Binned wrong place donated to

Link to video message for Pret. This also shows how production is set too high, staff are stressed with doing too many products for the bin! But as long as businesses like Pret make their millions (CEO pockets £30 million for himself alone!) this waste issue will continue.

April 2019 USA

2019-04-03 USA food waste

Link … I love the wordplay “hangry”!

 

April 2019 UK

2019-04-09 New food waste in Bath

Link

In recent years Pret has been one of the trailblazers in giving left-over food each night to charity and people in need. But Pret is not the only one, they are just at the forefront “PR-ing” about it loudly. In the 1990’s I volunteered for a charity and once a week we were one of the places that Boots gave left-over sandwiches to us for distribution. Our day was Wednesday from the charities in the area (Notting Hill). This was in the mid 90s, 7 years after Pret started business in 1983 in Hampstead, was shut and restarted in 1986 in Victoria.

In my 10 years in Pret I don’t even want to think back on the amount of bin bags of food we had to throw away. In the beginning the reason for this waste was that at times charity did not pick it up or some shops did not have a Friday pick-up for example. Of course this could have been avoided by having teams go out to bring the food to places or call other neighbouring areas, as each area has their charities appointed for each shop. Some shops have 2, 3 or more charities who have their delegated day for the pick-up, like my charity had Wednesdays in the 90s with Boots.

But sending out the closing team sounds good on paper, but Pret staff are so swamped with work and exhausted by the end of the day to even bother bringing food out. And staff are not paid over-time while they are being over-worked, understaffed, given so many tasked to do. I was one of the few team leaders who was very organized and helped my teams instead of sitting in the office as leaders like to do. So, we often managed to finish on-time. But still then, we were extremely exhausted to do anything extra “on the house” after 9 or 10pm, while our bosses didn’t care if we worked longer unpaid. Managers in every shop like to cut hours to maximize profit and management bonuses. This in turn puts a humongous strain on staff and they are too exhausted and stop caring.

One Pret employee puts this in clear words: “Advice to Management – Either stop cutting hours or stop giving teams a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete.

2018-08-18 #50 Pret A Not Worth

Link

Another from a barista on 30.01.2019:

2019-02-02 Pret A Lack of Staff

Link

I can relate a lot to these reviews! It always seemed like managers enjoyed burdening down staff, while they sat in the office or left early to go home, not to mention not working on weekends. And the next day when tasks were not done, because team members were swamped unnecessarily with work, understaffed, exhausted, managers held their sermon in the office, telling off mainly the team leader and the team at times as well. It was a lose-lose situation and the point came that I had enough of this and sent my teams home on the dot of when our shift was supposed to finish. After having given overtime many times without pay I drew the line and suffered the consequences of not being the manager’s favourite.

But I didn’t care. My priority was the team’s welfare who most of them have families at home and with the shift finishing at 9 or 10pm they often hardly saw their kids. I made sure the most important tasks like health and safety, cleaning etc. was done, and other not vital issues I left undone. This at times helped because some managers then gave us an extra team member or allowed me to pay my team the extra time, because my managers knew how I worked, that my teams were not lazy, but gave their best every time.

And labelling food for charity started in 2015 or 2016, I can’t remember, but this added to the work load while not getting extra staff to finish all the work load Pret demands. So, with the labelling issue for charity I had to decide to keep to the very end. If we managed to finish important tasks we labeled the food. Many times we didn’t even have enough labels printed, or couldn’t find on the computer where the labels were for printing, or other organizational issues we had no time to solve. If we couldn’t label, I was instructed to throw the food out, even when charities came by and demanded the food! I had to refuse, apologize and explain how swamped we were with tasks but low on staff and not paid overtime. I only managed to give the persons picking up the food, if they wanted to eat something then and there where they had access to the allergen information in the shop.

In the beginning of labelling we would give unlabelled food to charity, but some charities would then complain to Pret HQ that the products weren’t labelled or partly labelled when we ran out of time or labels. Other charities got angry with us for NOT giving out unlabelled food. It was a constant struggle between the fronts. So, I made the decision that if my boss said to not give food out, they have to take it up with management. Little did I know WHY this was so important to label, as we were not informed of the two customers having died from unlabelled allergen hidden in products. There wasn’t even as much as a hint to be more vigilant with the labelling, except to not give food out to charity unlabelled. That was all, but no explanation as to why because there wasn’t any labelling for customers. It didn’t make sense at the time until when the deaths became public.

 

2018-06-21 pret food labels for charity

Charity allergen labelling posted on Twitter

 

But to work overtime a few minutes here and there without pay was not the issue for me, especially when emergencies happened like flooding, power-cut, accidents etc. And it was no issue for my teams either. If this was the exception it’s perfectly fine, but in Pret this was the rule and I had to draw the line. If an employer doesn’t care for their workforce, the workforce will not care for the company. Exceptions are always okay, but not exploitation and constant issues like this. And the above review is spot on as I experienced this for 10 years in shop after shop and was one of the very few to draw the line as my teams were always happy when I ran the shift as they knew they’d finish in time!

The lawsuit of 4000 Pret workers in the USA shows this as well: “Pret A Manger Settles Overtime Wage Claim” and the long list of Pret Staff Complaints I collected from various sites unto one page linking to each review. And Selected Quotes that really brings the stressful environment home which I experienced shop after shop with the last 3 years traumatically in bereavement.

But the issue of food being wasted each night, it is a bigger problem than Pret wants to admit. The only way for this to be minimized is for staff to be paid overtime or have enough team members on the shop floor who are TRULY trained, not just on paper, covering for all the tasks Pret expects.

 

A list of customer complaints, some with photos and video and some Updates on recent Tweets:

2018-03-05 breakfast baguettes out of time binned

Link

This issue Pret responds by claiming: “this is very concerning to hear as we donate our unsold cold food to the homeless throughout the UK. Can you DM us with which shop this was in and some more information on whether it was hot or cold food?”

First of all the constant repeat to get customers away from the public eye into private DM with the question of which shop while Pret knows EVERY shop does that. And to ask if this was hot or cold, Pret knows very well that “egg rolls from the COUNTER” are cold products! But this “pret”-ense (sorry, can’t help it!) of not knowing is bogus, because Pret sets the time for these breakfast baguettes in the morning as for 2 hours of shelf-life.

These baguettes are marked on the back from the time they are made in the kitchen to the time staff have to waste them as the quality decreases and the baguette becomes soggy when not refrigerated. If the OPs manager happens to come by, they often check the time of the product and the team leader responsible for the shift gets in trouble if the items are still on sale while the time has passed the expiration “hour”.

In my 10 years we were never ever instructed to keep them until the evening for charity. Never! They are supposed to be thrown without packaging into the green food waste bin behind the counter or in the kitchen. But again, because team members are so busy and stressed, they just chuck it in the regular bin. I managed many times to waste it into the food waste bin, but even while I worked very fast, I didn’t always manage and at times also threw it into the regular bins. It is just plainly impossible to follow the ridiculous amount of demands Pret sets, especially when managers also cut staff to maximize profit and with it their bonus. It’s always and forever just about money for management! Full stop!

 

2018-03-01 food in customer bins

Link from 2016

 

2016-01-19 food waste text

Link

 

2019-01-25 Liverpool Food Waste

Link

The next Tweet is a terrible example of how staff stop caring and even sabotaging innocent people in need. I have not witnessed this in any of my shops that teams poured bleach on food to make it uneatable, but I have heard countless stories of how staff sabotage the business because the managers did not care for their teams. I heard from a former manager that when he was Team Member, he saw at times how teams threw whole new packs of cakes and other food items in the bins during the morning delivery checks, to sabotage the managers bonuses: high waste (unaccounted items) = less bonus.

I personally have witnessed staff throwing Pret brochures away, that give employees steps and values to follow. But because many managers are the worst examples in portraying any values, and teams realize that if the top leadership does not care, it trickles down to lower management. Managers pressured with targets, overwhelmed, not well trained, and the worst being complacent; teams become disheartened and at times throw these booklets away with an angry smirk and whatever else they do in anger or to sabotage managers’ bonuses.

But to destroy food by pouring bleach on it is quite horrendous! But it should give the public some insight in how frustrated staff are. I keep linking to a selection of the Staff Complaints I collected to highlight this, as well as my own trauma with Pret.

 

2019-01-19 bags of food text

Link

Retweeted from same feed:

2019-01-19 bags of food text rt

 

I keep saying all the time that if something looks to good to be true (from the outside) who will take a closer look? I write from inside knowledge… but most people don’t want to know how it really is. It’s far easier to be lulled in with brilliant marketing and a smiley facade, added with fast Tweets and customer service. Amy Sharpe’s undercover report was a good start, but she worked only in the evening closing shift. It would be great for someone to work undercover in Pret for at 1 month in the kitchen from 5am on. That is where the Pret blow is felt.

 

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

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Slideshow can be paused

 

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

UPDATE: Oct. 2019 Glassdoor scores

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 


 

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.

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

 

UPDATED November 2018 – Undercover report sparked by my blog (at the bottom of this post).

UPDATE March 2019 – For the first time I share my story verbally on a podcast based in California.

 

NOTE: I am shadow banned all the time on Twitter and Facebook on Pret’s behalf to avoid bad press for them. I mainly get shadow banned when I tweet to the press. Please google what shadow banning means (in a nutshell: secret censoring). I also talk about it extensively in the interview. Also, at times it says on a Tweet “Tweet unavailable”, but always click on the link, because it IS available! And always click on “Show more replies” where Twitter hides posts from the public, as with this Tweet: LINK to TWEET at the bottom, click on the link as supposedly “This Tweet is unavailable”. But tweets are always there and are visible via direct links.

 


 

Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

 

To whom it may concern at the PFT,

I want to start this open letter with one of your former assistant managers who became homeless after being unfairly dismissed. And he is just one who is public. How many more underpaid and for overtime unpaid employees went from the kitchen and shops to the streets? Only you know … I certainly almost did!

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

Link

 

And as your “labelling commitment” has been placed again under the carpet and replaced by, what I find a patronizing slogan, to call former homeless people “Rising Stars” is to me again typical for Pret and the facade of your company.

 

2018-09-21 PFT

Tweet

 

The Pret staff on the left in the photo with the white shirt, Hind, has been to my shop several times when one particular FL was difficult for the whole team and I was going through trauma. The FL was later transferred to another shop. But Hind in the photo came to my shop several times, and was obviously briefed about what I was going through at the time with my personal loss and the grievances that were raised due to the bullying I went through in a previous shop. She came to speak with the FL who was challenging for the team.

But not one time did she speak to me, not even hello or bye. Nothing! I didn’t know who she was, but it was clear that she was involved with the apprentices as she came by also for catch-ups with a young apprentice.

 

This post links to a member of the Mosaic Clubhouse in Brixton who worked for 3 months under your Rising Star scheme. But he wasn’t taken on after three months and explains that his experience was positive. Quote: “I was very slow and so they didn’t offer me a continuation of job after the three months trial. … In the end the experience was very good and worthy. ”

It was positive for him as he was treated differently, not shouted at; placed in a branch that Pret knows can be used as an example compared to the usual atmosphere in shops; he worked steady and stable morning hours, Monday to Friday with weekends off etc. Ben, the manager of the Brixton shop wrote this to Hind:
“Please let him know that we were very impressed by his professionalism at work and always giving 100% in whatever he was doing. The quality of products he made were picture perfect EVERY time. Myself and the team would like to say a big thank you and we wish him luck in his new job and we hope he will pop by for a coffee on us whenever he is in Brixton as he will always be one of us.”

So, his sandwiches were picture perfect (a requirement in Pret) EVERY time, and yet he wasn’t employed beyond the three months trial period. He isn’t even completely clear why he didn’t get the job beyond his trial period, quote: “For what I understood I did my job very well but I was very slow and so they didn’t offer me a continuation of job after the three months trial.” He was not even taken in the shop front on the tills or any other place in the business, regardless of his 100% professional attitude AND picture perfect sandwiches! It urges the question if “slow” people, even while working with 100% excellence but with mental health conditions have a chance in Pret! Sergio certainly was treated really well but to me it looks like it was a show for him to give the positive report. If he would have stayed on, he would have eventually seen and be treated differently as Pret demands a high pace and a smiley front at all times.

One staff review makes this paradox and contradiction very clear. The expectation is to make picture perfect products, but super fast. Yet, Team Members are confused and frustrated because they want to work well, do their jobs with care and passion, but are pushed and pressed for speed: They expect you to follow six key points of production and have passion in making items. When you follow this they then moan that you are to slow and need to hurry up as everyone in a Pret kitchen says choppy choppy which is the worst thing because it only makes you less motivated.

LINK: Modern-day Slavery

 

And from experience I know how quick managers are to letting staff go, as a Team Leader I had the lucky position to be able many times to save a Team Member’s job when I learned that the manager wanted to let them go. I would put in a word for them asking for them to be under my wing in the shop. Fortunately at times managers listened and the TM bloomed in the shop where they struggled in the kitchen, or they did better in the kitchen after having struggled in the shop.

Sergio was treated differently, he worked Monday to Friday with the weekends off which is very unusual, unless you are a parent and stand up for your rights in regards to flexible working hours protected by law. But every staff member that I worked with, including myself, HAD TO be flexible and work on weekend, except if they really fought it through to be off on weekends. Even getting rotating shifts every other weekend off was often a struggle as managers are not disciplined in the rota setting and just want staff to be available non-stop.

I have a feeling that he would have eventually realized a different Pret than he experienced and there was no room for him there, no matter how well he worked. Not fast enough despite his excellent working ethics. It was a perfect way for Pret to show a front for him to share how wonderful Pret is. And then they add insult to injury by calling him “one of our own”. His contract was discontinued after his trial period, and yet they call him of their own. A typical “sweet-talk” in Pret of how they fool people into believing Pret cares, while not caring in reality, except when people play their games and for PR. And he certainly receives free coffees as a customer to keep him sharing “happy” moments with Pret.

Thus Pret indirectly, with sweet-talk and free products (and probably a big donation for Mosaic Clubhouse) shows that there is NO room for people with mental or physical disabilities in shops, as they cannot keep up the horrendous pace in shops. There is no room for people who suffer or struggle in any way that would hinder Pret to pressure them into high productivity. Pret being “careful to integrate” former homeless people into shops as Clive Schlee worded it, as they won’t last under the burden of management. Regular staff are bullied and pressured that after a while they break and either leave or get fired, putting them into mental health issues. 

I keep linking to the staff complaints that I collected unto one page, as this shows again and again how pressured and stressful it is and if staff are not fast enough, they don’t have much of a chance. One example that I know only too well about messed up pays and other issues I am sure Sergio did not experience as Pret was careful to treat him different for PR:

 

StaffComplain_Jan2018

Link

 

Also, Sergio didn’t get taken on after the 3 months trial as Pret would have had to pay him the £1000 that the CEO promised via Twitter. This would be paid after already one year of service.

And Pret announced that they will bring a report on the Rising Stars soon, and of course as I have confronted them with my “Fallen Stars” post, knowing Pret they like to counter this with slick videos and interview those who have had a great experience being invited to the CEO’s PRivate PRoperty in Austria and other places. As they are not pressured like the mainstream staff to cover up how horrible working there is. I responded with a Tweet myself, even though this is silly.

 

Being involved with the PFT and working with former homeless people, who have their story and reason why they were homeless, looks good from the outside and I’m sure a lot is meant well and fun. Oftentimes homeless people have lost someone, couldn’t cope with the trauma, and through various events ended up on the street. At the time I worked in Pret 7+ years and was bereaved and on top of that I was bullied during this horrific time. OPs managers who did the grievance hearings pretended that I wasn’t bullied. Grievances were not substantiated and in the appeals were partially substantiated, but just for tiny unimportant issues to keep up appearances. I was denied that I was bullied, and yet your lawyers mentioned that I was bullied in their reply to the Tribunal.

Everyone who knows my blog knows the story, and I will not go into further detail again. As a Team Leader I performed very well, helped bring success to every single shop I worked in, and then having lost my brother and on top of it being bullied from line managers under the watchful eye and guidance of HR. I approached HR early on since May 2015, but they ignored my efforts to bring suggestions in how to support bereaved employees, and just “sweet-talked” while behind the scenes pulling the strings as I could see in my file later.

And yet, all this time there was the Pret Foundation Trust that helps former homeless people back into work.

In a recent Tweet your PFT Director speaks about how she is supportive of people with mental health issues, and yet I was bereaved, bullied, became ill and you had no concerns whatsoever about staff whose “stars” are starting to fall right in front of you! I also keep confronting Pret on a suicide of an AMK last year. Of course you would want this under the carpet as well. But the person in the photo even came to my shop several times, but never ever even gave as little as a hello or good bye, let alone “How are you, my name is so-and-so I work with PFT and we care for people with mental health issues, bereavement and help them find back into work…”

To see how former (mainly young) homeless people are being used for PR while regular staff suffer in bereavement, a bullying work environment, and become an inconvenience, turns my stomach!

 

One of the rare persons on Facebook was thinking further than just from 12 to noon and asked Pret underneath their Promo video about the Christmas Ads on the “Rising Stars” program, quote:

this is great, but 450 in 10 years in really not much given pret have 12k staff this year alone? why so few?

Link (to be able to read, need to be logged into FB)

Screenshot in case her comment will be deleted, as mine disappear regularly:

why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12k staff

 

 

why only 450 in 10yrs out of 12k staff

 

And UPDATE 02.01.2018

 

2019-01-02 re rising stars too few2

Link

 

In the 10 years since the Rising Stars program exists, out of 12K employees only 450 came through the program. It does not take much to use people for PR, that is all I can say, dear Pret Foundation Trust. And the public falls for it, and only very few take a closer look.

 

I wrote extensively in “Pret Being Careful to Integrate” why Pret is careful to integrate former homeless people into regular shops, and that the idea came for them to run an entire shop by themselves. Clive Schlee wrote in his blog, quote: “People pointed out that we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at a management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed, as we are usually careful to integrate Rising Stars into our shop teams.””

And this is the big give away that Clive Schlee is very very aware and as the CEO indeed the leading force behind how shop staff are treated. I explain in my blog entry as to why they would be “too exposed” and therefore great care is being taken to not integrate them into regular shops. They would be too exposed to the harsh treatment of managers who are tasked by this same CEO for targets and profits. Rarely does a GM step back from that for the sake of the teams:

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

4 years after Bridgepoint took over

 

Or a former Assistant Manager’s review:

 

AM

Dec 2017

 

So, in order for the Mosaic Clubhouse member to not see the reality, he was not taken on as he was too slow, not even taken on in the shop as he would see reality after a while and that wouldn’t be good for PR[et]!

 

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

13. June 2018

 

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

YouTube

 

“Pressure, humiliation, unpaid work”

2018-10-21 #61 Slaves Company

18. Oct. 2018

 

 

“Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work”

2018-10-02 Modern Day Slavery

02. Oct. 2018

 

 

“You will lose everything that makes you human”

2018-07-12 Quote Pret #17

05. March 2018

 

 

“I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment.”

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

30. Oct. 2018

 

… and many more along those lines!

 

And just one of the press reports where journalists are starting to wake up. Everything this article says I could have told him years and months ago incl. the class suit by staff in the U.S. on unpaid wages! Once the public started to see how appalling Pret’s senior leadership dealt with two customer deaths and kept it quiet until it became public, only then does the press wake up to how it really is behind the facade. And at least plenty of people, Unions etc. have an eye on you now! Don’t be fooled by the few followers I have. I keep it low on purpose! And I know you have people keeping an eye on my posts and automated bookmarking systems are used to register every blog post I publish. Be my guest!

 

Times report

 

Link to the article where the reader needs to register to read, but I gave my two cents to it in “Sliced Pret“. Sathnam Sanghera woke up so clearly that he even liked a Tweet I posted, one of many on his article that I linked to on Twitter:

 

2018-11-09 Times Report Like2

Link

 

So, you bet your former homeless people would be too exposed and you want to be careful to integrate them into regular shops as they may not last long like the above Mosaic Clubhouse member, who despite being such a good asset didn’t get the job! You let “Rising Stars” work together in one shop incl. management, make it easier on them and thus you show to the public what a lovely company you are, while your regular shop staff are suffering greatly. Instead of making it easier across the company, you create clusters of shops for PR. Again, my stomach turns.

The Head of HR and Recruitment who was tasked to speak with me once I contacted the CEO after being bullied and sent away by your toxic HR department for almost a year, he could have very easily placed me in another area of the business or introduced me to the PFT to help me recuperate from my trauma. But the plan was to place and keep me under suppressive management in the hopes I resign. Thus this whole PFT is not just hypocritical, it’s a scheme for marketing.

Well I didn’t. I rejected 4 settlement offers that were peanuts anyway if I resign. You don’t understand that a person who becomes bereaved has no interest in money nor do you realize that to mess with a bereaved person, you don’t know what you are getting yourself into! I wouldn’t budge because I have strong principles and values that cannot be polluted with money. Money comes and goes, but I don’t prostitute my values and convictions.

I kept going and then your company fired me while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma. You used your Development Manager who supposedly also lost her brother and didn’t know for days that he was dead like my brother. You stepped on her and my dignity by using her personal tragedy against mine to sanction me, instead of supporting me and her in our common grief. How perverse and corrupt does it get, Pret?!

I buried my dad a few months after losing my job, but I never told him that I was fired. In and out of dementia and being clear at times, surprised to see me again so soon, where I just left him a week before. I lied to him and said that my company gave me extra time off to be with him, while in reality I was fired three days after Christmas 2017, no job in sight, my father just out of a coma, money running out, a complete breakdown and suicidal. My dad was pleased that I seemed to work for such a great company. And thus I have the opportunity now to tell the public what a careless and corrupt company Pret A Manger is, that just likes to cater to PR.

It hurts me for people who continue to suffer under this greed-ridden corporate bully, disguised behind sweet-talk and fake smiles. And as a former IT Analyst reviewed the company and Head Office:

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

19. Dec. 2018

 

Even the £1000 announcement to all staff came in the night from 28th to 29th May 2018 when Pret became aware of my blog here. Quick PR RE-action, while not being bothered at all that customers died until this also became public.

I’ve written many times on Twitter and here in my blog that it is my biggest regret to have wasted 10 years of my life on a company that wasn’t worth my while at all. I struggled so much but kept giving Pret the benefit of the doubt while deeply traumatized and becoming ill. I never worked in such a hurtful place and had to learn my lesson hard.

You use former homeless people for your PR, giving them patronizing labels of “Rising Stars”, which is your CEO’s “trademark” suffering from “foot-in-mouth disease” to give people patronizing and disrespectful labels, like calling me his “late night girl” while pretending that my emails were wrong. Yes, take disadvantaged people to Austria and all over the world, I would even donate to that, treat them well, but to not soften the approach to all staff across the board, some of whose lives have been and are being destroyed by your company, THAT is my disgust of your lies, tricks and exploitation of hard working people. Once they become bereaved, unwell mentally they become an inconvenience for you.

And my experience that Pret never cared for bereaved staff, have absolutely nothing in place to protect and support them, and worse even bully bereaved staff that I have survived under a discriminating HR department. It is still going on and will not change unless the law here also changes and protects bereaved employees from bullying and toxic management and companies.

 

The bereaved keep getting penalized in Pret:

2018-11-01 Funeral

01. Nov. 2018

 

 

Fired

Link

 

 

To end this “letter” that you don’t care about anyway, Pret you step on people, including from HQ. I regret not having reached out to the AMK I was told about who later ended her life. And someday, someone, somewhere will pick this and other things up again.

I am a member of the Mosaic Clubhouse that you try to insinuate fishing for staff as Brexit is close. I am seriously considering cancelling my membership at the Clubhouse. I cannot be in a mental health facility that just cares for support from toxic companies who put people in mental ill-health in the first place.

I am proud to have made many Unions and other important people aware of you, and more and more people as well as your staff will rise and tell their story.

My tribute to the “Fallen Stars” who were trampled upon, some who became homeless, and God knows how many more suicides are under the carpet, when Pret can hide two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, several hospitalized… how many staff found no way out then to go over the edge, as I almost did as well.

Pret, you are dangerous to people’s lives and health!

And more people will disobey.

 

A message to exploitative companies, “We’re coming for you!” – John McDonnell

 

 

 

 

FallenStars

 

 

Pret Staff Complaints Selected Quotes

 

 

Sparked by my blog Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror went undercover in Pret. I added some comments to her findings in more detail from my 10 years in Pret in “Undercover Under Pressure“.

 

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

 

 

Other example on the “Rising Stars” Tweet where my Tweets are hidden from the public:

 

Tweet visible to me only while logged in:

shadowban risingstars visible

 

 

My Tweet NOT visible to the public when I’m logged out:

 

shadowban risingstars not visible

 

Link

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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 an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

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