Pret A Manger Food Waste

 

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.

 

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 with my comments to it among other issues food waste.

 

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 waste 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).

 

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.

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

Yes, I can relate very much with this review! 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 tasked 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 at the very end. If we managed to finish important tasked 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 person picking up 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 a 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. It is no understatement when I write on my Twitter name that I survived Pret. And I want to point to a charity here again that was incredibly helpful when I went to the bridge on several occasion after work: The Listening Place & on Twitter @TLPCharity‏. Chasing rabbits for a moment, but I need to mention them!

I cannot recommend them enough to people struggling with suicidal thoughts and hopelessness. I volunteered in various charities over the years in three countries and have seen a lot including not recommendable charities with questionable things. And since my brother died I have been on the receiving end for help from counseling charities for bereavement, therapists etc. But the Listening Place was the most determined and patient to see me through this hellish dark time of wanting to end my life. And even though I go through that valley at times still, I know where I would need to go for help, and just that assurance alone helps, without needing to contact them. I’ve never experienced such kindness, determination and patience from a charity.

So, if you know people who struggle with suicidal thoughts or you yourself do, and live in or close to London, give them a go and pass them on. There is absolutely no judgmental attitude whatsoever and they won’t call the police on people except if you make specific threats to end your life then and there. But then they accompany you to hospital. I was one of their first “clients” when they just started this charity, and we developed the sessions together with them changing initial things asking for my feedback after sessions on what is most helpful and what not. The Samaritans (two of them) who started The Listening Place, are great, but it didn’t help me as every time there was another volunteer on the line and I had to retell my story all over again.

The Listening Place initially started as giving 6 sessions, but then developed that I could come for longer as I was going through extreme trauma and went from counselling to counselling service, private and with the NHS, even being refused into hospital TWICE even though I was suicidal! So, they extended my sessions to indefinite and in the video I am glad this is now the norm probably from a case by case situation! I cover them a bit in another blog entry.

Incredibly humble and caring charity. They received a well deserved award last year “Small Charity BIG Impact Award”, and I can absolutely underline the impact they have! I think often of them and when I have a job again I plan to become a regular donor. It’s worth watching the 8 minute piece. The CEO, Sarah Anderson in the beginning is an absolute treasure, genuine and not giving up on people.

 

 


 

But back to 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:

 

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 at the back from the time they are made in the kitchen to the time staff have to waste them as the quality decreased 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

 

 

2019-01-19 bags of food text

Link

 

Retweeted from same feed:

 

2019-01-19 bags of food text rt

 

 

 

2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

Pic from @5awaga 28. Jan 2016 USA

 

The above are only those customers bother to go on Twitter about with photos and videos. 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!

 

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all its 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 Reviews

 

pret reviews sign

 

 

NOTE upfront, in some of the Tweet screenshots I post below one can see that in some I have responded, but when you click to see the Tweet, my Tweet is gone. It is still there when I am logged IN, but while logged out no one can see it. It’s Twitters shadowbanning again on Pret’s behalf. My Main Twitter is @LateNightGirlMe which gets regularly shadowbanned. But traffic is flowing, so I’m not concerned.

 

As I wrote before that some reviews look fake and as insiders know that big companies use PR companies, as well as ask loyal employees to leave positive feedback mixed with a little bit of bearable negative. The latest series of feedback look a little fishy, dear Pret. Make an effort! I write this also because colleagues have lied in grievance investigation hearings in favour of my bullying superiors. The Development Manager who was tasked to sanction me has lied about not having had private contact with me. HR on several occasions have not been correct, having used questionable resources to get rid of me etc. etc.

One specific review was written days ago on the 1 minute demand for staff to serve customers and coffees.

Example:

Customers flock to Twitter with photos of half empty cappuccinos, wrong teas, luke-warm drinks. One of my several Tweet responses to this rip-off was on 11. Jan. 2019. I point out regarding the pressure teams have via the Mystery Shopper, to serve customers within 1 minute, to hand over the hot drinks within 1 minute etc. or the whole team loses bonus. This seemed to have been “answered” in a new review on 14. Jan. 2019

Mystery Shopper here counted to the second how fast the coffee came out and YET, only giving 4 out of 5 points which frustrates the managers and OPs managers as the points count towards managers bonuses. The Mystery Shopper is the larges chunk of managers bonuses, that’s why the pressure is the highest and teams are extra kissing customer butts for 1. the Mystery Shopper, and 2. fear of the angry manager when points and/or bonus it lost. A colleague once received a “file note” (first step towards a disciplinary) because we lost bonus where he didn’t smile.

Mystery Shopper snippet:

Speed in Seconds

As the picture is too small for the print I quote what the MS here commented:

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

Pret: We aim to serve out customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time? (Pret demands 1 minute and then turns it into a “reasonable” time) 
MS: “I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.” (yet, still gives 4 out of 5 points. Maybe 5 seconds would be better for a perfect coffee, dear MS?)

 

So, the quick service means quick customer and money flow.

 

Mystery Shopper poor comments

Pret: We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.
MS: I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.

So, after comments like this the team member is summoned into the office and receive a sermon from the manager. The most ridiculous telling off we combined as a team have ever received from our boss, was after we lost bonus because the MS commented that the shop felt “miserable”. It was a very straining shop, very busy, harsh boss who never smiled or even said good morning. All this reflected on the team. The manager summoned most of us during the quiet period into the kitchen and said: “Your smile is part of your uniform! You are expected to wear a smile like you wear your uniform…”

Some more bla bla and then he said to us with most of us having our eyes to the ground like little rebuked puppies, he said something like, “if anyone has anything to say to that (losing the bonus = not smiling) speak now, you can’t come later, as I won’t speak about this later…” etc. I said to him something like, “are you sure, because I would want to say something to you, but not openly here (as he was my boss, didn’t want to embarrass him)”.

He persisted and said, “no, speak now, later is no opportunity.” I then said, “But So-and-so, you never smile when you serve customers.” … He quickly said to let his boss tell him that, and I apologized having to hold back a chuckle! But since then he made an effort and at times even smiled!

 

One of my several Tweets regarding 1 minute expectation, 11. January:

2019-01-11 my ms 1 min

 

 

New review on 14. Jan. 2019 (It’s all so much fun!)

 

2019-01-14 barista looks fake

Link

 

This review tries to clear up something and explains that staff have 1 minute to serve ONE customer, but this is not true. Yes, 1 minute per customer on paper. But when you have between 3 to 5 working behind the counter in the morning coffee rush, with a customer queue to the door of about 20 – 30 customers lining up, including the Mystery Shopper timing the staff, PLUS the manager pressuring the team to work faster… it’s one big load of bull-crap this review! If customer number 20 is the Mystery Shopper, they will wait over a minute from the time they join the queue. Boom! Bonus lost! If they are served within a minute and then receive their coffee within a minute, the coffee is often poor quality, half empty, not hot or too hot etc.

But customers expect their drinks fast and perfect. In what dreamland do people live in, they even SEE how crazy and chaotic it is.

 

2018-12-21 flat white coffee issues

Link

 

2018-12-19 half cup coffee

 

 

This Tweet was already on 14. Dec. 2018 when I mentioned the 1 minute pressure. And Pret’s typical “oh no” response they do in almost every Tweet:

 

2018-12-14 coffee issues less small

Link

 

 

UPDATE 21.01.2019

2019-01-21 low coffee stingy

Link

 

And these are only the two I post here as my blog entry gets too long again!!! But everyday customers tweet to Pret with photos of appalling drinks, for which they paid too much already.

 

Undercover reporter Amy Sharpe contacted me for an interview after having read my blog. I wrote my comments of her report in “Undercover Under Pressure in Pret“.

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

 

Let’s have a look again to some real barista reviews, who are swamped working in cramped areas, which Amy Sharpe also pointed out in her article, quote:

»One barista tells me the cramped service area is a “nightmare”. He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad. You’ve got to focus, stay calm.”«

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link

Unfortunately the photo doesn’t show the tiny work counter in front of the coffee machines. But if one looks to the bottom right photo where the silver counter edge is and follow a line along the photo, one gets the picture how small the work stations are. I had to retrain teams shop after shop how to best organize the space to not be cluttered and then frustrated in the busy work period.

 

This photo is a better view. There is even a sink right in front of the left coffee machine taking vital workspace away! And these cramped work stations are everywhere I have worked in.

 

small barista coffee area

Link

 

Even many kitchens are a nightmare in cramped working areas, not to mention the staff rooms. Customer space is maximized to maximize profit, staff area is minimized and a nightmare to work in.

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

This looks like a shelf next to a sink, with the storage of drinks next to it as many Prets don’t even have a stock room and items are stored under and on top of work benches, on shelves, even the tiny staff rooms are often used to store non-food items and boxes, taking away from the already small areas forcing staff to have their break in the loud shop, never really resting.

 

And rarely do customers point out the stress, chaos and upset they observe. Most just want their coffees and off they go:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-01-12 pret mess st albans

Link

 

2019-01-15 dirty tables

Link

 

Also on the 15. Jan. 2019, different shop:

2019-01-15 dirty table again

Link

 

And this is exactly what Amy Sharpe pointed out in her undercover report and I have experienced too many times: Not enough staff to maximize profit, yet expected to do everything within the given time and not being paid overtime. So, teams stop caring and don’t clean anymore. In the U.S. 4000 Pret workers have successfully taken Pret to court for not paying overtime. UK staff need to do this as well.

Amy Sharpe’s findings that I can wholly underline from my experience, quote: “When the bustle dies down I clean the shop but a colleague urges me to skip certain tasks. “You’re supposed to sweep and mop every day but don’t do that or you’ll never leave on time,” he says.”

 

 

Some genuine barista reviews:

“Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.”


Hard work all the time and high pressure”


“management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.”


“I used to work for Pret as a main barista for about 2 years in London. It was a total nightmare apart from some nice customers and coworkers. Their system is utterly mess and they alway force employees to work extra.” YouTube comment


“Act a little more like management and a little less like the employees. I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”


Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR. fire the HR staff you have now and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate”


“Cons – Too many. Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation.”


had me working as a barista for two years would not give me training so they do not have to pay me correctly(Yes, this also happens to other roles especially to the Hot Chef)


Managers are very bossy and unprofessional, a bit of exploiting”


People are two faced in order to get promotion”


 

There is certainly an extra blog entry on the laziness of managers, in this case even the danger where the GM doesn’t change labels/signs after complaints:
“*managers dont care about standards (manager was too lazy to change the meatball and the falafel sign even though there were many complaints)
*manager told me how easy HIS “job” was (he’s mostly in his office so he gets paid to sit and do nothing because he has his leaders do majority of his work)


Poor management, really short breaks, work longer hours”


etc. etc. etc.

 

Also, I pointed out sarcastically on Twitter that the percentage of recommendations are below the 50% mark having dropped:

49 percent recommended glassdoor

 

 

And now today it’s risen, but still barely half the workforce (don’t) recommend to a friend. And the steady 70% didn’t even rise with the £1000 announcement.

2019-01-19 percentage changed

So, they’re working quite hard to raise the percentage. And I’m sure after reading this blog entry the (fake) reviews continue. 😀

Here are some that don’t look real. I won’t point out on every review why they seem fake as Pret keeps learning from me. But with some I explain why, to really show why these look fake. Whoever may have been tasked to write these reviews, just cares for the % to rise and filling the top lines, bumping up the positive reviews so people stop scrolling down eventually to the terrible reviews:

 

10. Jan. 2019 “Waiter” (sounds like from the U.S.)
“I worked at Pret A Manger part-time
Pros: Very nice Team, Good salary.
Cons: Noise environment, can be very busy”

07. Jan. 2019 Tim Member Star”
(For having worked 8 YEARS in an airport which are the most stressful shops, calling the team “Tim” sounds like a fake reviewer pret-ending to be a foreigner! Or this is the proof that there is NO training, as Team Members across the board have to sign training records every 6 months, read information etc. The word “Team” is plastered all over the place in shops, not to mention their job role as a TEAM member star! While the rest of the review is mostly in accurate spelling. They can even spell complex words like: “specific”, “customers”, “interact”, and even “treat”, but 3x not Team??! Good try, try harder!)
“…the Tim is friendly… more than family Tim… For managers I don’t have specific advice, everyone has to treat the customers like that, that they want to be tried when we are like customers, more focus, attention, smail, chat and, with not interact and pushing, more regular training and short meting in a family-friendly way”


 

Here several reviews days in succession and I won’t say what looks fake here, just read:

The following two reviews two days in a row look identical, also often pointing out parties as Pret is always looking for young people luring them in as they are paid less and are easier to mold without knowing their rights:

16. Dec. 2018 Team Member (the only con is “depends on the shop”)
Pros: Weekly pay, good co-workers and food. Nice Pret Parties
Cons: Depends on the shop you’re assigned


15. Dec. 2018 Team member at Pret  (“at this particular branch” – clever! Very fake looking review.)
Pros: Weekly pay, flexible hours, great co-workers from all walks of life
Cons: The GM at this particular branch was impossible to work with


09. Dec. 2018 Team Member (“can feel like” very softly put for staff that can never plan their weeks because the rotas are rarely published in advance)
Cons: rotas need to be out more consistently and in advance can feel like you can’t plan ahead unless you have set hours
Advice to Management: Keep doing what you’re doing


 

05. Dec. 2018 Front of House Leader (Cons: A “little bit” of pressure… need to get up early “sometimes” – good one! This is a very clever review: it says that there is a “little bit” of pressure and they have to get up early “sometimes”. The reader reads this, applies for a job in Pret and works in a REGULAR Pret shop where EVERY Pret shop is ALWAY busy, understaffed, start at 5am and earlier, unless they are on late shift. And the new team member then thinks they just happened to land in “a” busy shop not knowing that ALL shops are like this! And this supposedly is a team LEADER reviewing! You cheeky bugger reviewer, you! 😀 How much are these reviewers paid to fool people like this?! )
Pros: Great company to work for, paying well, you are getting the stuff food as well. Great staff parties.
Cons: A little bit of pressure if you are working in the busy shop, also you need to get up early sometimes.


28. Nov. 2018 Amazing Job (There is the “depends on which shop” again)
Pros: Flexible – very good employee training
Cons: Depends on which shop you get.


 

On Indeed. You, the reader tell me what looks dodgy in these reviews, mostly within days in succession. It isn’t hard to spot:

hard working.team work.nice staff.good comunication.using the till.customers service.the hardes part of work is starting very early shift at 4.00am.i like work on weekend.


Fun work place, great teamwork and ethos.
Loved working here, great experience and lots of new skills learned. Would definitely recommend working for pret and I would happily work fro them again.


Fast and fun work place
Great organizational culture, awesome training system. Everything is so standardized, structured and convenient. Great salary. Everyone is respectful and friendly. I loved working at Pret!


Fun and easy
Pret a manger is a good company to work for but if you want improve your skills in other areas than retail you might have some problems with it.
Overall in my opinion it’s a great company for a first job
It teach you good customer service and organisation skills.


great people, great customer hard work ethic (Here the reviewer, supposedly a GM, is even having a laugh as the only Con “its addictive”. Also, for a manager to be writing all in small, no caps used. They’ll work on that one now.)
amazing company, great people. loved every minute with Pret. made amazing friends and had great training and support, i have learnt alot from this company,a dn am sad to be wanting to leave.


TWO DAYS before: its ok
it is an ok job to start with, i believe the best of the same kind you can see around, the best part is the free food, sometimes is a lot of work but bearable


 

etc.

Pret can counter that the negative reviews may be fake. No sir, the negative reviews are written with such passion and detail. I even met some of them on various platforms who wrote to me and I linked them to their own reviews when I recognized their experience from the reviews I collected.

And now the ones again that I can absolutely underline from my 10 years in Pret A Manger. The last 3 years extremely fogged up and traumatized. I was lied to by top leadership, gaslighted via HR with a Development Manager who was used to sanction me, instead of supporting each other in our common grief. I write extensively about this perversion of Pret in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department” under the leadership and knowledge of CEO Clive Schlee.

Pret’s “Rising Star” program is PR as regular staff are pushed and stressed, once they become bereaved they become an inconvenience. I write extensively about this on this blog. The best way to get to the most important blog entries to get a quick overview is via the “Mind Map” I created: “My Ordeal With Pret A Manger“. From there it links back to this website to the most important articles.

All these reviews I have experienced in all my 10 years, in over a dozen shops, in every shop:

 

2018-05-09 pamsu endthemysteryshopper

Link

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet2

Link

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

Link

 

2018-07-12 Quote Pret #17

Link

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

Link

 

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

This person’s name is changed to Banzinotito Scrolling down in this YouTube video

 

… and many, many more in collected reviews from Employment review sites, YouTube, Twitter and other sites: Selected Quotes from the long list of Pret Staff Complaints.

 

Pret can try and counter those all day long, the truth will be told again and again. And Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror having gone undercover into Pret, I hope more journalists will go into Pret as several have also gone into Amazon. But the press needs to go into the kitchen, work for a month in the morning kitchen production! That’s when the Pret blow will be felt hard! It will be harder though now, as Pret will scrutinize their job application closer, but people behind the scenes suffer and hold under this because they have kids to feed and are lulled in with incentives. But mental health is suffering. I survived to tell my and others experience.

 

pret reviews sign

 

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.

 

Class Action vs Pret for DECEPTIVE Packaging (UPDATE 14. Jan 2019)

 

… And the Warped Reason for a Lack of Wrap!

 

I didn’t want to put this “wrap collection” into a blog post, but Twitter and Facebook keep hiding, deleting etc. my posts, FB even deletes my PRIVATE messages when I have a link to my blog in the message! So I enter the below list into one post, hence only one link to post and a list of customer complaints.

In the U.S. people easily sue companies, in the UK they just go to Twitter, rant a little and that was that. Even customers dying, getting hospitalized from unlabelled allergen in products, no law suit! In the U.S. it would hail a storm of law suits upon Pret with lawyers drooling for cases like this! But in the UK they fall asleep being cooked like frogs while getting bribed with cheap free coffees! Unbelievable!

After my repeated comments on Pret’s funny reason for the cardboard to hide “air” behind it and letting customers pay overpriced half products, Pret keeps sweet-talking customers into sleep, “Oh no, this looks like it has been wrapped too tightly”.

 

But let’s rewind to 2016 where the version was, starting as usual with “Oh no…” to pret-end that the Pret-Tweeter is surprised. The rather TRUE response here is: “this isn’t right…”

Exactly! This is NOT right! Thanks for the honesty here, Pret. Unfortunately nothing was changed in the packaging to be decreased, or an increased size of wrap to fill the packaging for an honest product. And communication down the line, of which version would be best to give on Twitter complaints, got messed up over time.

 

2016-06-25 wrap air now doesnt look right

Link

 

In 2018 it “doesn’t look right at all”…

 

2018-02-23 wrap doesnt look right at all

Link

 

And this one from the U.S. in October 2018 is a give away that this indeed is not an honest packaging for the later “version” of a 13. Jan. 2019 explanation by Pret. Stephanie feels “very tricked” and Pret EVEN agrees by saying:

 

2018-10-29 usa wrap pret understands

 

Full Tweet feed:

 

2018-10-29 usa wrap full tweet feed

Link Oct. 2018

 

 

Fast forward a little … the version is that this is “wrapped too tightly”. This loosely wrapped product Pret says looks too tightly wrapped. LOL! The consistent “Oh no”… “Oh dear”… Oh gosh”… from the UK Twitter side remains, to give the impression that this is an EXCEPTION while Pret is being sued in the States for deception.

 

 

2018-12-07 wrap

Link to Dec 2018 Tweet

 

 

2018-10-24 wrapped too tightly

Link to Oct. 2018 Tweet

 

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, here is a brand new version of a warped wrap packaging! 

After repeated comments on this ridiculous “reason” for Pret having spread that version too broadly, the version now is even more ridiculous, I added the bold highlight. New reason completely holding customers for idiots!

Quote: “Our packaging is designed to leave a space in the middle so the wrap can be displayed clearly at both ends and doesn’t get squashed. We’re sorry if you feel mislead on the size, Natalie but we can assure you that you’ve received both halves of the same wrap.”

How absolutely amazing Pret now openly fools customers! The Wrap WON’T get squashed as the cardboard center is sturdy and protects any product from being squashed. This should be a UK law suit (the bot that bookmarks my blog in the States on behalf of Pret can send this one to them! Be my guest!)

The issue is NOT the size of the wrap, but the misleading size of the packaging. It’s an old trick businesses do knowing that customers buy via sight, not probing on the weight and measure, even if a package would state that. But as everyone knows, Pret packaging has hardly ANY useful information on it, as at least the first of the two customers who died had to pay with her life, and only when the public became aware of their deaths does Pret SLOWLY change labelling. Let alone have a weight and measurement of the product on the packaging. Pret’s packaging just has bla bla sweet-talk of whatever, but NO useful information on ingredients, weight etc. except in stores where ingredient/allergen labelling is TRIALED as I write this.

So with Pret products that are assembled in the shops each day, customers rely SOLELY on their eye-sight, and as they don’t have time during their lunch break to weigh out the product with their bare hands if it is too light, or the usual weight, they go by eye-sight. They cannot purchase according to weight or how much of a certain ingredient is “behind” the packaging. Companies use this to their advantage and what I find, mislead customers to “assume” the package is completely filled inside.

The most common is items like Washing Powder. Yes, it does state the amount in KG, but what customer carries a scale or knows how to size up the packaging. So, the washing powder packaging is often very large, but upon opening at home a quarter is just air, because businesses know customers buy according to eye sight, not information and weighing the product.

And Pret’s wraps get the most complaints because it has the middle section to hide air, whereas the sandwich and salad packaging has more “window” to show the majority of the item, and less possibility to hide air.

 

2019-01-13 another wrap misleading package3

Link to today’s Tweet A spanking new version of why there is a gap.

I cannot believe my eyes reading this! From “Oh no, this isn’t right…” to this hilarious open fairy tale, holding customers for complete idiots! And customers swallow the fast, efficiency of Pret’s Twitter feed and go back to sleep while their remain happy to pay for hidden air.

 

These, the list below and others I didn’t include here, are only those that people bother posting on Twitter. Not every customer produces a photo publicly as they don’t have time and may think this is a one-off, not realizing how much this happens.

 

Links to Class Action Suit and customers’ complaints on Twitter. Links open in new window:

 

Class Action NY

Court Document (starts to get interesting from page 18 on)

Press Article on Suit

Press Article on Deceptive Packaging

 

Customers Tweets:

August 2012

25. June 2016

March 2017

05. May 2017 Little Ingredient (lots of complaints on Twitter on this)

July 2017

02. Aug. 2017

07. Aug. 2017

A little humour in-between!

Also 07. Aug. 2017 Another really bad one!

23. Feb. 2018

24. Oct. 2018

16. Oct. 2018 Hot Wrap

29. Oct. 2018 USA

06. Nov. 2018 Hot Wrap

12. Nov. 2018 Little Duck more Spinach, badly wrapped

13. Nov. 2018 Hot Wrap

17. November 2018 This is the worst so far!

07. Dec. 2018

12. Jan. 2018 Little Duck (expensive), lots of Greens (cheap)

13. Jan. 2019 Pret’s NEW reason for packaging “deception”

Ok, didn’t expect the next day to have to continue on this…

14. Jan. 2019 I should get paid for giving Pret so many tipps, now Pret does NOT give any reason anymore but write instead: “We’re sorry to hear that, Sam. Please could you send us a DM with some more info including the shop you visited?”

There isn’t even a “oh no… oh gosh” response anymore, well done Pret! Them spies and boss are reading my blog. Well, thank you! Keep it up and be on your toes! 😀

 

14. Jan. 2019 Flatbread living up to its name: FLAT!

 

As this will continue, the list will also continue…

 

It’s certainly a good give-away that Pret knows what they are doing and the versions they keep giving when they don’t even respond to the Tweets addressed to them directly in this feed HERE further down the Tweets.

And I can’t help but think that Pret now changed the version because of this law suit. Time will tell. I cannot find any more info on this suit.

A TripAdvisor Review on Pret and the oldest trick in the book on shrinking products but charging same or higher price. I have seen this many times over the years when I worked in Pret. The brownie for example disappeared for a while, we were instructed to tell customers that the product is being “improved” and when the brownie returned, it was smaller.

And currently customers on Twitter keep lamenting that the Vegan cookie is not on sale anymore and Pret again says that the recipe is being improved. And yet customer after customer says that it was perfect, doesn’t need improvement, even today again:

 

2019-01-13 vegan cookie improving

Link

 

Someone recently mentioned a rumour that the Vegan cookie wasn’t even Vegan in the first place, hence Pret did what they do best, they “deleted the cookie”. Vegans point this out a lot that many products advertised as Vegan have eggs in it, not to mention Celia Marsh’s death as she was allergic to dairy. This second death in Pret from a non-dairy  product that contained Dairy Protein is still under investigation who is responsible, Pret or Coyo that supplied the non-dairy yogurt.

 

vegan-not-vegan-rumour.jpg

Link

 

And to finish on a positive, just today when I cooked something, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened a brand new Colman’s mustard powder package and upon opening had to catch powder falling out as the jar was so full it ran over. The photo is already after I used some of it, but it’s still filled to the top. This is rare these days, and maybe it was an “accidental” overfill, as I haven’t bought this product for a long time and can’t remember how it used to be before.

But maybe there’s another blog entry on deceiving vs honest packaging one of these days and companies need to be called out for it, the good and the bad guys. But on a positive note, the good stuff needs to be mentioned as well.

 

img_20190113_195848

 

 

©2019 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

Whatever you do, How little you know

 

If your friend, family member, colleague, employee, acquaintance… loses someone, don’t leave them alone. You will not know what to do, and that is ok. Just don’t leave them alone, or even worse tell them it’s their fault they are so down. They are lost and don’t know what to do. They feel already the guilt of loss and being a burden.

And stay away from Pret A Manger and any company that hurt people, using them for PR while bullying those who go through tragedy. Don’t believe their facade and psychology. They can afford companies who manipulate with wordings to “hypnotize” the public for profit. And the public wants to believe the facade. I know Pret since 10 years and gave them the benefit of the doubt too much (that only is my fault). Pret does not care for people, except themselves and whoever is in their elite group who play their games. As long as you play their game, you are in their group.

Most people don’t play games and are just used, and exploited, and lied to. Pret A Manger is a very dishonest company. Support the small independent businesses, even if you have to walk, drive extra to get to them. We all enable those careless companies because we are not willing to change our habits.

They even did nothing after customers died and multiple warnings to label their products properly until it became public. If that doesn’t tell people how Pret really is, than I don’t know.

The blogger community is the best social media among all social media platforms; solid, thoughtful, creative.

I’ve given it all, I told my story, if people care to know or not is not my concern. Pret doesn’t even respond on Twitter to my open confrontation. All they do is get Twitter to “shadow ban” me. Pathetic! I passed on the written evidence to people. I’ve given it my best. Stand up for yourself and those who can’t. Look closer, if a profit-driven company looks too good to be true, look behind the facade. Businesses can afford to employ companies to write fake reviews, look at the little people who stand up against a giant. Join a Union and stand up for yourself. I was too naive and traumatized and gave Pret the benefit of the doubt too much.

But I have written it all down.

Thank you for reading. Happy 2019.

 

 

pexels-photo-212324

 

 

©2019 poetrasblok.com

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

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

 

London Eye 19 Years Ago

 

in the summer of 2000 when the London Eye was brand new on the South Bank, I went with a friend to take a ride. I can’t believe it’s that long ago! I was days away from moving to the States, met with friends, strolled through London, did my last errands in preparation. My brother visited me a few weeks before, although the London Eye wasn’t on my “map” at the time and I showed him around London to the typical “old” London sites. The only high-rise building then was the NatWest Tower in the city and the highest was the Canary Wharf Tower in the Docklands in East London where I first lived when I came to London. (London’s Skyline throughout the years.)

 

2000-7-27 London Eye8

July 2000

 

When I went with my friend to take a ride, the price was £8 which of course now is over £20, close to £30 I guess. But when I purchased the ticket, a former colleague of mine was sitting in the ticket booth and gave us a complimentary ride! So, my first and last ride was for free. I must say that at that time I was not too impressed with the view, but I think now since a few years the view has immensely changed due to the new high rise buildings in London.

I never imagined that the London Eye would become the focal point of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. The first time I saw it live on Lambeth Bridge was after I returned from the States in 2006. I’d see the fireworks by the river since then every year until 2014 with one exception in 2011 or 2012. I saw it from different views, often on Lambeth Bridge with friends, one time even from directly opposite the Wheel on the other side of the river, other times from behind the wheel. But I would not recommend to be that close directly opposite as most I saw was just smoke and overwhelming bright flashing of white light. I would have needed sun glasses to see properly and not get blinded and smoked in. Things really do look much prettier from afar sometimes! That said, it still was an amazing experience, if not just for the atmosphere with friends and strangers alike.

 

London Eye Fireworks

London Eye where are you?

 

Since January 2015 with all that happened and all the trauma and nightmare, I never saw the fireworks live up close again, partly also because over the years it has become too crowded, and since a few years they charge tickets to control the crowds as well as getting funds in as they blow millions of tax-payers money into the air. I used to be ambivalent about the fireworks and the money that could be used for other projects. But in a rare occasion I since take the same approach as most people, that life is short, let’s just enjoy something as gigantic as this display of colour, sound and energy, uniting friends and strangers for a few hours and minutes.

I have found that the best view is from a screen or my balcony where I can see a good portion of the Eye and fireworks. In 2006, 2007 etc. it was still very easy to leave with friends from a party close by Lambeth Bridge 20 or even 15 minutes before midnight and still get a good spot on the bridge without being squeezed. And it was free to watch up close without any fencing and boarding off the view! But since these last few years, if you don’t go to a certain spot HOURS before after having purchased a ticket, you have no chance for a reasonable space anywhere. Plus they fence off certain spots with high wooden boards so that those who don’t have a ticket have their view blocked.

The only thing I am not keen on with the fireworks is that they put music in the background since a few years now. The idea is to use only music by British artists, which makes sense, although this year they seem to have chosen a mix of international artists as a statement with Brexit at the door. But in the early years of the fireworks there was no music and you could just enjoy the pure display of light and sound which I always called the “Big Bang” at the Big Ben.

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye29 British Airways sign

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye4

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye7

 

 

2000-7-27-London-Eye3.jpg

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye25

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye14

July 2000

 

Like with most things, everything becomes commercial. When I worked in the city until 3 or 4pm on New Year’s eve, I had to rush to get over the river to the south side where I live, as they started to close down streets and bridges in preparation for the crowds. If you missed it you were stuck on the north side and had to take the cramped underground home. But I always try to avoid having to take the Tube and either walk or take the bus, anything to stay over ground.

The last time I saw the fireworks by the river was from behind it in 2014 into 2015. I didn’t pay much attention that I didn’t receive a text message from my brother as this was not unusual. Sometimes on New Year’s Eve he would text me to wish me a happy new year as Germany is 1 hour ahead of England. Other times I would text him when he was at a party having forgotten to text. Other times we both didn’t text or in the early years of mobile phone where we’d call for a minute. And oddly enough the only text message I still have was his reply in early January 2013 to wish me a happy new year. I always deleted text messages from everyone and regret that now. But this one text I still have.

I watched the fireworks for the last time live up close on 31. Dec. 2014 not knowing my brother has died weeks prior. It didn’t worry me that there was no message from him as this was always random over the years. In January 2013 he even replied to my New Year’s greeting a few days after 1st January. Other times he texted on the dot of 12 midnight. Other times not at all. We were never very traditional in our family and communication was completely free of expectations. But I did sent my brother and friends the YouTube link to the fireworks on 01. January every year. He loved fireworks, and in Germany people do their own on the streets at midnight, and my brother was always the first and last to blow up rockets fearlessly!

Would I want tradition now? I don’t know. A certain consistency and predictability is always good I think. But my focus now is just taking one day at a time and always know that life can change in a second.

I just enjoy the fireworks from afar on a screen and from my balcony.

Happy New Year to everyone, where ever you are. May this year be kind to you, and if life hits from all directions or an unexpected angle, may you find solid footing to have strength and eventually peace.

 

01.01.2019 London Fireworks

 

Link

 

Plus, a little beautiful behind the scenes look at the logistics and preps for the fireworks. Fascinating how detailed and precise planning of many brilliant minds can make something like this happen:

 

 

And another view from the ground for the technical minded, but as a direct link from one angle only and from several angles.

 

 

©2019 poetrasblok.com

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

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