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Pret A Manger Use Bereaved Against Bereaved

 

 

Today is my brother’s (estimated) 4th year anniversary.

 

I feel like writing a second short blog entry today after my tribute to him, a brief post on the “perversion” of Pret A Manger’s dealings with bereaved staff. I am still in shock over this.

I want to highlight this again in light of how Pret dealt with two customer deaths, as the public for the most part is still under the impression that Pret just made a mistake like any other would. But from my trauma with Pret, I experienced them as toxic, calculated, careless and stepping on people’s dignity.

 

  • I learned of my brother’s death on Monday 12. Jan. 2015
  • He was found on 15. Dec. 2014 in his flat, estimated date of death around six days before. As the date is an estimate, the council put the date of 15.12.2014 when he was found on his grave instead of the estimated 09.12.2014. We didn’t know they’d do that and again we were NOT informed or consulted on what OUR wishes were! I wanted to let this date be changed but my mum didn’t want me to struggle with this and just leave it. So many strange things happened like sending his urn from his city to my mum’s village council via POST! I didn’t even know this was “normal” procedure in Germany! For some people, like some of my friends this isn’t a problem, but for me it is! Terrible to send the urn of a loved one via post! Shock after shock after shock!!!
  • The police was so sloppy they couldn’t be bothered to search extensively as they ruled out fowl play.
  • They cremated my brother before finding us! Only recently I found a video of a family in the USA who’s son/brother died and was cremated without finding the family. I thought these things don’t happen.
  • When I learned he died, I learned it in one loaded email that amongst other things he was completely gone!
  • I am still in thoughts and communication with people on what I can do about how all of this was dealt with.

 

  • Fasting forward through a horrific period of trauma, confusion, unclear information, horror and on top of this being bullied in Pret during this time. If anyone doubts my story, I have written evidence that could fill several books!
  • In complete trauma, on autopilot having to work and like a zombie I raised grievance after grievance not realizing that Pret’s toxic HR department was behind my ordeal at work. It was a waste of time and energy. I just stumbled through an emotional minefield in a mental war zone.
  • Because I was so instabil, in the end calling sick increasingly, Pret used a Development Manager from HQ, who worked with Pret for around 15 years at the time, to sanction me. She had a brother who also died in his flat alone and was not discovered until days later, like my brother died and wasn’t found until days later. There are some minor differences between her brother’s and my brother’s circumstances in death, but overall the major parts were like a twin story.Her brother died roughly 5 – 6 weeks before my brother died in his home country, like my brother in our home contry. But instead of introducing us for mutual support in our common grief, Pret used her to sanction me because I spiraled into traumatic emailing, even though she wasn’t even working in HR. I learned of my brother’s death via email, was targeted and bullied via group emails from my line managers and other emailing incidences that started an emailing sprint lasting for months.Straight away the day after the disciplinary she and I entered into personal contact solely via text messages and emailing for which she sanctioned me! I was so out-of-sync that initially I thought Pret was supporting me through her even though I was always confused and questioned her why she was used to sanction me instead of someone else doing the disciplinary and her just having normal, non-secret contact. But in hindsight and after having ignored a friend’s warning, she was “spying” on me, on my mental state and if firing me would be a risk for them as a disciplinary is the first and pretty secure step to fire people.

I was so out of it I didn’t see the scheming in this and to this day I don’t know if she even had a brother who died like he did. If her story is NOT true, she is an extremely good liar because the way she described everything was very graphic which I could relate to because that’s how it was with my brother! But if it is true, to allow Pret to step on her as well as my dignity like that is beyond me!

Not only was this the most corrupt thing I have experienced, I have also gone through another kind of loss of having met a person with the SAME loss to just be tricked and lose that support, even thought after what she allowed Pret to do via her, I would not want any connection with her again.

My traumatic grief that NO-ONE understood plus the bullying in Pret was like going through a torching desert, then reaching an oasis and someone handing you fresh cold water, and just when you reached out to drink, they snatched it away!

THIS is Pret A Manger behind their PR facade!

 

And in Pret the bereaved are still treated badly as a former employee from NYC left a review in November:

 

2018-11-01 Funeral

Link

 

To keep it short, after initial improvement of my traumatic emailing, I restarted as I was confused and further traumatized with the Development Manager’s conduct. I just became really unwell. My grief turned complicated.

I was fired three days after Christmas, days after my dad came out of his coma still in intensive care when I was summoned back from Germany to London for the dismissal hearing. Two months before I was fired Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee patronized me by calling me his “late night girl” because of emailing late at nights after work. He had a laugh while they all pretended it was so wrong, tricking and trapping me all the way. Therefore I named my website this to be a sore in his and Pret’s sight!

My dad died in March and in a new Twilight Zone I started in May 2018 to write about my ordeal after initially just having posted videos and poems for my brother. I will eventually re-blog everything for my brother and/or separate my Pret ordeal from my brother’s blog as my brother should not share a website with this corrupt and toxic company that is Pret A Manger.

I rejected 4 settlement offers if I resign and be silent about what I went through in Pret. These are the brief bullet points of my story with Pret. My story is spread throughout this website.

I know I am not dealing with this in a way I would have wished for, but I am still coming to terms and acknowledge after almost 4 years that I am actually doing extremely well under the circumstances! And I don’t care if people agree with it or not. It’s MY story, MY pain, MY loss, and MY way to try and navigate through trauma and grief. And I will eventually move away from this “ranting”, but the public is oblivious on how cold and negligent Pret is behind the facade. Unfortunately through deaths of customers becoming public and how badly Pret dealt with it do some of the public and the press slowly wake up.

 

Some key blog entries of my story in more detail:

(Links will open in a new window)

 

In Memory of my big Brother Thomas. Ich hoffe Du bist ok. 

 

Please visit my brother’s page I created today among other posts. I initially started my website and blog with videos and poems for him and will eventually turn this back for solely my brother and life in general.

He died alone in his flat, I want his memory to be known and not be alone. Pret has no place in my life even though I wasted 10 years in this company, it has almost destroyed me and postponed my grief for my brother. My brother is gone, I can’t recover him for my mum, but I will recover, tell my story and help people against workplace bullying.

Thank you for reading.

 

cropped-17-tk.jpg

*25.02.1969 ~ †09.12.2014

 

 

 

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DeadDotCommunication

 

12.01.2015

Dear Ms. Sister,
unfortunately I have to bring you sad news.
Mr. Thomas Brother was found dead in his apartment in X-City on 15.12.2014.
From his paper work no next of kin could be determined so that I was appointed as curator for your deceased brother’s estate. …
Your brother has been cremated under order of the city council. Copy of order attached.
His urn has not been buried yet and you can decide where to bury the urn.
Unfortunately I have to also inform you that his estate is in debt and have to therefore advise you to reject the inheritance.
Please inform me of any other family and addresses.
The contact details of the morgue are…
With kind regards,
Mrs. Ice Cold Curator
….

 

 

2017-01-31 Th Kerzen3

 

 

Dear Thomas,

I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your last email, I don’t even know why I didn’t reply. Maybe I expected to see you, but then life just keeps happening and we always assume next time, next time… And maybe I was upset that you couldn’t come to the concert I invited you to. Apart from being busy you were also honest enough to say that this wasn’t your type of music. But I got us on the guest list, with backstage meeting the artist I worked with. I wanted you to be proud of me.

But I have no right to be cross. I didn’t pay much attention to your 20 page business plan you sent me, maybe you wanted me to be proud of you. And I was, but it didn’t cross my mind to say something. I just replied that your business plan looks impressive but reads like Chinese to me as I don’t understand business language. I’m sorry I never told you how impressed I was, how proud that you had the courage to start a business. I could never do that, I’m too cowardly to start something like that. It takes a lot of courage, strength and determination to start a business. I always played it safe, just being employed and do my real passions and hobbies in my private life. You went further and gave it a go. But being employed did me no good after all. And now I don’t even have the courage for regular employment.

Can you believe the email this woman sent? She didn’t try to find out my phone number or mum’s address she lived at for 30+ years, in a country with a high sophisticated ID system where everyone is registered under law. She didn’t email and ask me to phone her or give my phone number and warn or prepare me that I urgently need to get in contact as she had to inform me about you. She just wrote a few sentences in a typical German efficient and straightforward way. No-nonsense, not wasting time, tell it like it is, no mercy. And she made sure she covered everything in one email. I cannot describe the hell, I cannot describe it. A huge hand of a monster thrust inside my gut and ripped it out in one fast move.

Do you know that the next day when I flew over to tell mum that you were gone, I called this woman but she didn’t want to give any more info. She sounded nervous, was upset that I called her at 9pm and said that she had no further information and that her husband is getting impatient in the background.

Do you know why? Why was she so short-cut and angry that I called? I kept calling the police, but they had no answer either. I am still confused. Why did the police handle this so poorly, why could they not give me a clear cause of death and couldn’t answer my list of questions? The only explanation the police guy gave me of why they didn’t do an autopsy was that they ruled out fowl play and suicide, and once they ruled out especially murder, they hand the case back to the coroner and close it on their file. Just like that. They have many cases to work on. A former police detective who was a customer of mine confirmed that if they don’t find anything suspicious, they just close the case as it would otherwise involve too much paper work. He told me that deaths in flats happen more often than we think. I’m sure if one of their family members was found like this, they’d go to town to find the cause. But there weren’t able to tell me what you died of. And they frankly didn’t care.

Everyone since then keeps telling me to not pursue any legal action as this would just add to the turmoil and the police always covers themselves. I had to put puzzle pieces together, with bits and pieces of information from your neighbours, your ex-girl friend C. etc. If you could hear me, I wouldn’t tell you that they sent your urn from your city to mum’s village council via post! Via post, Thomas. I’m sorry, I didn’t know they’d do that in Germany. If I’d knew they send urns via post, I’d made arrangements with the funeral service who arranged the funeral later, to bring it over in a dignified way. No one told me they send urns via post. I didn’t know so many things they’d do. I’m sorry, everything was a mess. Everything. Your three cats survived and they were able to catch two, but the third slipped through the door. I don’t know which one, but your neighbour said that she sees the cat outside sometimes, but it won’t let anyone catch it. I’m sorry your cats went through the six days seeing you lie there.

The police said that they rampaged your apartment. I know how clean you liked it, we had to take our shoes off, like in my place as well. But after you died, the cats just rampaged. They must have been distressed, the mum and her two kitties. The mum-cat in this picture you sent me before she had kittens, I wish I knew where she is. I’m sorry.

 

DSC00221

 

I dislike this country of ours. And if it wasn’t for mum, I’d never return. I buried dad in March, near you.

I saw an amazing play yesterday, Bury the Dead in which six soldiers who fell in a war refused to be buried. They got up from the ground where soldiers were digging out graves, but they just stood up and refused to be buried because they died too young. They died under the lies of the leaders who brainwashed them to fight and die for “honour”.

But they were too young to die and haven’t seen the world yet, or haven’t had the chance to start a family, or couldn’t finish that university degree they started before getting drafted. I wept through half the play and imagined you to refuse to be cremated until we got the news that your corpse was in the cold chamber. But then I thought if they would have found us before cremating you, mum may have wanted to see you. But what does a six day old corpse look like? Once an image is ingrained in the mind, it will never leave.

I wanted her to keep you in memory of this last photo she took of you a year before you died.

 

18 TK ca 2012

 

You look annoyed as usual of her taking photos all the time. I had to forbid mum to go to the police station as they spoke about photos they took when they found you. The way they handled your death and case, I panicked they would show her the photos. Mum was extremely angry that you didn’t have her address and phone number in your flat. I had to explain to her that I don’t have that either as we live in the Internet age and we know her address and number by heart, as she lives there since over 30 years. She slowly accepted that.

I’ve written you many emails since until your account was shut for lack of you logging in and sending emails. I kept writing though and my emails bounced back as if you replied. But getting “Mailer-Daemon” responses wore me out.

Remember when you visited me in London and I showed you around? We took the tube to Tower Bridge and as we walked towards the bridge that was hidden behind the trees you asked me what “castle” this was. I said that this is the Tower Bridge. You asked, “Yes, but what castle is this?” It is the Tower Bridge I repeated. “Yeah, but what’s that castle?” Thomas, this is the Tower Bridge!!! And as we came closer where you could see the full bridge you laughed and looked at me embarrassed “Ah, yeah!”

It was one of the rare occasions that I knew something more than you did, as you were always too smart for me! I beat you on this one! Stupid, I know. I have to think of this every time I am at the Bridge.

 

tower_bridge_tower_garden_moat_view

 

And remember when we sat in the café by Piccadilly Circus and you called mum from your mobile pretending to be in your home? You chatted for a while with her and then just handed the phone over to me to say hi to mum! That surprise surely worked! I asked her several times since you’re gone if she can remember you calling her from London to prank her to think you were calling from your home, but she can’t remember. I don’t know if she blocked it out or if her dementia is getting worse. She’s more forgetful now, you know? But she’s doing okay. We went through rough waters these last four years. It’s normal they say.

All I know now is that I let you down.

And I don’t know how to forgive myself.

Knowing you, I know you’d forgive me, but I can’t forgive myself, Thomas.

I made this silly “video” for you, one of many, but this is the only one with a German artist. He sings about his best friend, Michael, who was like a brother to him. But his friend died. I mixed in another song of a Swiss artist and wrote my text to it. I’m not sure if these would be your taste of music, as our tastes was often very different. I am not into German much but I wanted to use German speaking artists. But you can’t see it, I know. I did it to cope. I messed up in so many ways, Thomas. I can’t forgive myself.

 

 

 

 

Open Letter to the Pret Foundation Trust

UPDATED 20.11.2018 with a press addition and a work experience under the PFT.

UPDATED 29.11.2018 Undercover in Pret at the bottom of this post.

 

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 went from the kitchen to the streets only you know …

 

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 tweet 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 product 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

 

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” were 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!

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 many 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.

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.

 

Again, as I sent this to your company before, you can learn from this company and their HR department who truly do the right thing “naturally” than just lulling in the public and staff:

 

 

 

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

And more people will disobey.

 

Sincerely.

 

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

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

 

 

Questions to Pret A Manger

 

Since Twitter is limited in the amount of words that can be used and on Facebook Pret tends to delete my comments, I’d just like to expand my questions here and just link to it.

I used to get told off and “corrected” from line managers in front of colleagues, one GM in particular would repeatedly do this, to which I kept asking to please give me feedback in person not in front of my team. This particular GM would say that he “feed-backs” me in front of the team for their benefit, so that they learn from my mistakes. Apart from this being complete nonsense, incapable management and plain wrong, I understood his bullying mentality and insecurity.

And I am sure Pret is not keen on answering my questions, certainly not directly, I’d like to take this “example” be it poor as it is, and do the same thing. For the sake of the public, so they learn from your mistakes, I’d like to ask you publicly again a few questions.

After I was bullied during bereavement in all its forms, shouted at, excluded from leader’s meetings as well as a leaders Christmas dinner (when my dad just woke from his coma and I returned to work and was put on late shifts to cover for them to have their dinner), information withheld that I needed in order to do my job, held low in jobs where I could not grow and thrive, hours cut to zero during Christmas time even though I was on a 35 hour contract needing money to visit my dad again, hours not paid that I had to chase, the patronizing approach from Clive Schlee, CEO who labelled me his “late night girl”, the lies and dodgy grievance hearings, after all this bullying under the guidance of HR and the Head of HR & Recruitment, after all this mistreatment you tasked one of your Development Managers to sanction me supposedly because of my emailing, for which your CEO labelled me his “late night girl” two months before you dismissed me.

Your Development Manager, who also is a Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner (as several of your leaders are) and in 2017 studied to become a Psychotherapist, was put on my case because she had a brother who died in his flat and was not discovered after days later, just like my brother died and was in his flat for days before his corpse was found.

She was put into contact with me, not so we could support each other in our common grief, but so that I would be able to receive the disciplinary as I would be more receptive since we have the same loss. This which I already put forward to your Director of HR, I called “perversion” for lack of a better word. I had to learn later that this was gaslight in its most primitive form.

Your Development Manger, who is governed under this therapy body, then entered into personal communication with me right from the next day onward which was secret, even though you all knew about it of course. This confused me further. Not only did she enter into unallowed contact, but she solely communicated with me via text messages and email, for which she sanctioned me in the first place!

Fasting forward a few months, I of course got dismissed (with my dad in intensive care just out of a coma) while she is safe in her job as she served HR well. She even at times sounded like the Head of HR, saying things only the Head of HR knew and vice versa.

Now my question is, as I am not sure anymore what to believe because there were so many lies from you from the top down, did she really have a brother who died very similar to how my brother died and the delay in her learning about his passing, like in my case as well?

If she did have a brother and all she told me about him and the situation, why did you step on her dignity by using her against me, instead of for me and her being able to have open, not in secret, support in our grief. Her brother (supposedly) died 2 months before my brother died, in his flat, alone, for days undiscovered… like a twin story. And yet your core value of “doing the right thing naturally” … NATURALLY … I still have to let that word melt on my tongue… is such a disgrace and arrogance I have rarely come across.

If she did not have a brother and made up this story to really fuel the gaslight, than she is a bad person.

But if she did have a brother and everything she told me was like it was, than she is even worse than a bad person, because she should and could have declined the task of sanctioning me to protect her as well as my dignity.

I certainly would have declined and offered instead to be available for support and open contact with respect and integrity.

What this also particularly bad is how manipulative she was. Right from the start of our secret contact she wanted to meet me to interview me for an assignment she was writing for university as she was studying to be a Psychotherapist. She was writing an essay on anger and wanted my input as I was very angry with everything surrounding my brother’s death and being bullied on top of it.

I declined being interviewed as I didn’t know her, no matter how similar our losses were, but I also didn’t want to feel like a guinea pig for someone’s projects and from the get go I was confused about her role. A friend even warned me that Pret may be using her to “spy” on me to see how best to fire me. But I was so blinded from grief and all that happened at work that I fell for this trap that sounded too good to be true that someone with such an identical loss could be even in the same company.

She later declined showing me her essay as I was interested what her take on anger was. Her reasons for not showing it to me was supposedly because she wanted to protect the volunteers who participated in the interviews. And yet, an essay or book is usually written with changed names and even if the first names were real, I wouldn’t know anyone anyway. So, from all the lies and manipulations I reckon she used my story anyway against my permission.

My aim since May 2015, when I approached HR informally to make suggestions on how to support bereaved staff not only put a target on my back. I would enter further and further into troubled waters from superiors in the years to come, but Pret’s non-existent bereavement support program involves using one bereaved employee against another in the most disgraceful way! Perhaps they bribed the Development Manager either with immunity if any future disciplinary against her would come up, or she got that promotion she had an eye on for some time, as she worked in Pret’s HQ since over 15 years. She certainly got the personal protection from the Head of HR who would manipulate and tweak my situation on several occasions, leaving me like a lamb up for slaughter under incapable management. Only she knows why she not only allowed HR to use her, and even went further to take advantage of my story in her university studies.

 

And that is what makes Pret, Pret:

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

… and HR takes this to even more lofty heights:

 

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

PR, slogans, lies, dishonesty, tricks and traps, disrespect of dignity, lack of integrity behind a facade…

So, those are my questions regarding the Development Manager, did she really have a brother whose story in death was so similar to my brother’s, and if so why did you step on her and my dignity as well as her allowing this.

As you know you got away with it from reaching court as I cannot deal with this mentally without a lawyer and having buried my dad in March. I finally completely broke down. But I can write and ask and expose and share…

 

The other question that keeps burning in my heart which I already addressed you while working in Pret, was the incident one of your People Business Partners told me in an appeals hearing where I raised a grievance against another PBP, which of course was a waste of time, but at least I gave it my best. The PBP in the hearing told me about an assistant manager who was bereaved and mistreated on top of this at work and raised grievances, just like I was. He had the audacity to not only compare me with her, but judging her as well as me to be bitter, because we raised grievances.

I later emailed him as I was speechless in the hearing when he told me this, and wrote that she is not bitter, but in a lot of pain as I could relate to that. I deeply regret not having tried to get in contact with her to support her. But you know, Pret, I was so traumatized, not ready to give any help or assistance to anyone, I was so lost myself, whereas you have all the money, resource and manpower including your Development Manager who is a therapist… I had no strength nor mental capacity to help.

And my question again that I raised before, is this AM the same AM who a few months later ended her life in suicide?

 

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

 

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

Dear Pret, you take former homeless staff hiking, at times your CEO is taking them to his home in Austria and this serves your PR very well as one of your former IT Analyst’s reviewed your Head Office. And yet you put people on the streets through unfair dismissals. I certainly also could have ended up on the streets and was on my way downhill. You drive hardworking staff to suicidal thoughts maybe even successfully, you bully them during bereavement and then try to get rid of them with all kinds of tricks and traps under the umbrella of “doing the right thing… naturally”.

My public outcry, no matter how creative I write to try to heal, my ordeal with your company remains traumatic and it will never go away, no matter what you try next. And having a former team leader colleague of mine whom I used to highly respect and work well together, for him to call and then text me a few weeks ago, after not having heard from him for three years doesn’t work. He lied during an investigation in favour of a line manager who bullied me. He never expected that I’d read his lies later on after I applied for my file. I immediately told him to not contact me again. Your trick-box should have been exhausted by now.

I know you are collecting and waiting for me to do the “right” wrong thing for you to take action and certainly keep my public outcry should this reach court, and I wholeheartedly tell you that I neither care nor am afraid of you. Your systemic disregard for decent and hardworking people with integrity, your lack of compassion for people who give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions, your PR that gotten more cracks in its facade after your appalling dealings with two deaths becoming public… your carelessness will not be hidden forever, no matter how many hikes you take and use former homeless people for PR and step on even their dignity.

These questions remain, and the truth will always come to light… how many more have died, be it customers from allergen reactions or staff by suicide, some even after having left Pret so that no connections can be made. And how many more keep suffering, slide into depression and suicidal thoughts, as the true staff reviews reveal on the same lines of mistreatment again and again?

The truth will always come out, no matter how long it takes.

Kind regards,

Clive Schlee’s Late Night Girl

 

 

 

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

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

You Went Gone

 

For my big brother Thomas

*25.02.1969 ~ †09.12.2014

 

 

 

»Death Came And Got Me« ©Rosie Thomas (Added & altered text poetrasblok.com)

 

 

An Urn is an even Smaller Domain

 

An Urn is an even smaller Domain

Not able to contain

A Heart once beating

A Life well beaten down to diminished Pain

 

A Rock is a restricted Lot

Yet better than a Stone

A Poor Man’s Plot

Forgotten not, and yet it stands alone

 

To Him who at His cumbrous Door

Bestowed His final Breath

Circumstances know we not

Nor Estimated Death.

©2017 poetrasblok.com

 

 

Inspired by Emily Dickinson:

 

A Coffin — is a small Domain,

Yet able to contain

A Citizen of Paradise

In it diminished Plane.

 

A Grave — is a restricted Breadth —

Yet ampler than the Sun —

And all the Seas He populates

And Lands He looks upon

 

To Him who on its small Repose

Bestows a single Friend —

Circumference without Relief —

Or Estimate — or End —

Emily Dickinson

 

 

TK Urn

 

 

 

Bild010_Neg.Nr.11

 

 

 

2017-01-31 Th Kerzen3

 

 

 

10 Running1

 

 

 

10 TheGreatest

 

 

 

05 Thomas CouchBett Urlaub CROP

 

 

Thomas Zugfenster

 

 

Thomas Brunnen

 

 

 

cropped-14-tk-crop

 

 

 

animated-candle-gif-29

 

 

 

Thomas+Frau_GoghsWorkshop1_SMUDGED

 

 

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.
©2017 – 2018 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

The Good, Bad & Ugly: To Clive Schlee

 

To the current CEO of Pret A Manger Clive Schlee,

I want to respond to your invitation to give feedback on the good the bad and the ugly. As you anticipate my responses, not blocking me so you can collect my Tweets and writings (also through automated bookmarking from my blog) in case for court and other reasons I won’t speculate upon, I continue to share for the sake of the public. I used to never do these kinds of communications. I used to always be discreet and professional giving the benefit of the doubt, communicating one to one, and not calling out wrongdoing in public.

Yet as you know, with what your management and HR department has put me through under your guidance and leadership, especially managers telling me off in front of my teams and my repeated requests to be spoken to in private regarding mistakes, I was given the poor explanation that I am being corrected for the benefit of the team so they can learn from my mistakes.

Apart from this being very poor management and a lame excuse for bullying, I do like to take the opportunity and use this leadership “style” to communicate to you openly again for the benefit of the public and other companies to learn from your “mistakes”.

As there are always new readers who do not know my story and what staff in Pret go through, here again my feedback on Pret A Manger’s work-conditions. Starting with an employee review on Pret in New York City:

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

Link to review (collected with other reviews and complaints on “Quotes of the Day“)

 

 

Pret A Manger: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

 

 

The Good

I used to be a very giving person, quick to forgive, patient in difficult times, very loyal come rain come shine, hard working with integrity and passion, deeply caring for my teams… and I am still these things with measure and with all the shortcomings I have. And if there is one good thing I take away from my experience in Pret, it is the lesson and freedom to say the small yet heavy word starting with “n” and ending with “o”.

Like the above review from 30. October 2018 of a former Pret employee in NYC, I can only underline this review as I have also never worked in such a toxic, abusive and bullying workplace that hides behind a smiley facade. And it took extreme trauma, being bullied during bereavement and gaslighted under a corrupt HR department to finally come to the conclusion that Pret is absolutely not what it gives itself to the public and staff.

 

From another review, quote: I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth…” Link

 

The only good I took away from Pret is my freedom to say “no”, no matter if this will result in unfavourable positions, exclusion, less finances etc. It doesn’t matter. The most precious things I am left with is my integrity, my principles, my values that cannot be prostituted for money or bought for silence or crushed by incapable and poorly trained “leadership”.

No!

 

 

The Bad

Unfortunately Pret has drawn the bad out of me. Where I used to be discreet, professional and quick to forgive, I went so out-of-sync in my communication, and yet I am still learning with the support or others to not be hard on myself.

Tomorrow 09.12.2018 will be the fourth anniversary of my brother’s death, and that date is only estimated, we “adopted” that date just to have a reference. But I was not to learn for five weeks after he was found that he was dead and cremated, completely gone. All the circumstances, the mess and surroundings of it was to turn my life unto a halt while going ahead on autopilot with no choice but to keep working.

To then be bullied by Pret’s management and my aim to bring suggestions to HR and “help” a multi-million pound company improve work-conditions to have a clear policy for bereaved employees in place, was in hindsight not only a waste of time, but not my responsibility. Clive Schlee, you certainly had a good laugh on the account of my dignity and health. My grief was postponed while going through this ordeal in Pret. My grief has turned complicated as it already was. I can never be silent about what you put me through with this incapable, careless and manipulative management style.

The true employee reviews where staff are “overstretched” as undercover reporter Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror experienced; where staff are being treated in a way that a GM felt no other option than to walk out; and in my own and many other experiences where workers are stressed, pushed and bullied to breaking point even during bereavement will always rise to the surface of the facade you worked so hard on to maintain.

The slogan of “doing the right thing” and with your HR department taking it to more lofty heights by claiming to be “doing the right thing naturally” is unbelievable in its arrogance!

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks3

Link

 

Review: “This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you. … You will lose everything that makes you human.” Link

 

You try to compensate this “leadership” style by treating former homeless people (whom you patronizingly call “Rising Stars”) with kindness and more consideration, and in your own words are “careful to integrate” them into regular shops, as the work environment is brutal and may catapult them back unto the streets giving your PR a true face.

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

This contrast to your “Rising Stars” program should make anyone question the true intention of your “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 while getting free range and their backs covered to built their organization and destroy lives. So, I can empathize with this reviewers comparison.

 

Quote from your 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.”

 

“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:

 

“Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work”

 

2018-10-02 Modern Day Slavery

Link

 

 

and this:

 

2017-12-20 Avoid AM

Link

 

 

and this:

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Link

 

 

and many many more compiled on one page.

 

And it doesn’t matter how many “fake” reviewers are employed for Glassdoor, Indeed and other sites. True reviews on horrible work-conditions, naming and shaming shops when they don’t do well, overworked and underpaid workers, all these reviews will always continue unless real change happens for ALL employees, not only for a few selected “Rising Stars” for PR. Regular hardworking staff are being bullied, thrown on the streets, into mental illness, depression and suicidal thoughts!

 

40 percent 63 percent CEO 8Nov18

 

 

 

The Ugly

The ugly part in my work in Pret has topped everything that I ever imagined could have happened in an already traumatic workplace experience. It has shown how toxic, disgraceful, disrespectful and scheming the leadership and HR really is.

I could tell you the estimated date of a man who died in his flat alone and was not discovered until days later when his corpse was already disintegrated to the degree that it wasn’t recommended to view his remains.

I could tell you about a woman who had to learn days later in another country that her brother has died, not knowing at the time what he died of.

I could tell you about a staff member who kept working in Pret, on autopilot, traumatized and trying to come to terms of the untimely loss of a loved one.

I could tell you about that employee and the details of the death, family circumstances, upbringing etc.

I could tell you about this person, but I won’t because this wouldn’t be my story. This is the story of your Development Manager whose dignity you stepped upon by using her to sanction me for my emailing. And what makes this worse, she allowed you to step on her dignity! She then entered into emailing and text messaging, even though she sanctioned me for it. We entered into personal communication because our brothers’ deaths were like a twin story.

But the ugly and frankly perverse part in this is, that she was not asked to get in contact with me for mutual support in our common grief. No, her tragedy was used against my tragedy for your toxic, corrupt and disregarding leadership style to avoid truly caring for your employees.

Unfortunately her conduct was equally abusive as she is also a Hypnotherapist under this governing body and she wanted to use my experience in grief for her psychology studies. And maybe she felt without a choice, with her back against the wall to please HR, maybe out of fear to not be treated favourably or have a career. I don’t know. But it was her choice and problem, and it is not my concern to figure out her motives for playing along with this disgraceful scheme.

I write extensively about this in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department“.

 

The offense upon offense, grief upon grief, loss upon loss I have experienced since my brother died I am still coming to terms with. To be introduced to a colleague who has such a similar loss, to only be tricked and trapped is beyond me. The opportunity Pret A Manger has had, was not only lost, but it was kicked with disregard to truly make an impact that would have led me to write incredibly positive reports, instead of putting a crack into your facade, no amount of trips with the “Rising Stars” will keep your white washed facade in tact.

Your new bosses have now employed the specialists company Headland to help you in how to conduct in public affairs where your previous PR just doesn’t cut it anymore. They were added to help properly communicate without putting the foot in the mouth with sweet-talk and patronizing labels! Yet, what Pret really needs is not another firm to show them how to best keep the facade polished while it is rotten behind it, what Pret truly needs is real leadership that doesn’t have slogans but true ethics and care in place. True leadership that take responsibility, away from all the blaming game Pret is so entrenched in.

The crack in the facade will be fixed again, but there will always be new cracks appearing where the stench of staff mistreatment, toxic work-conditions, a corrupt HR department will ooze out unless the core, the heart of the business is truly changed from the top down.

 

I cannot bring my brother back, and I certainly will never work in a toxic company again, but I can keep taking my life back and live the freedom to share what happened to me and how many others are struggling to the point of suicide. And I am proud of what I was able to contribute, even while you, Clive Schlee won’t ever admit this. You don’t need to.

 

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ― Anne Lamott

 

When I made this “video” below earlier this year, I was still in a mental storm of trauma, loss, guilt to have let my brother down, guilt to have been a “burden” to a multi-million pound company still giving the benefit of the doubt and blaming myself. When I made this “video” I just buried my dad around that time and still coming to terms about my brother.

I wrote in grief and blaming myself, where I shouldn’t have. Pret leadership, you are the ones that have all the resources and manpower to support staff that worked for you so long. And I wrote at the end of this video, “I know you have a good heart”, but I take that back, Pret and Clive Schlee because there is no good in the center, at the top leadership levels that allow and enable such pain and disrespect towards hardworking people as well as in the dealings with customers deaths.

Pret needs a heart transplant with a truly good heart at the center of the company to not just aim for profits at the loss of so many. And yet I doubt JAB Holdings will have their heart in the right place. It’s just another profit driven business based in tax-haven Luxembourg and some journalists have woken up.

But I decided to leave my wrong conclusions without deleting the video as you need to be reminded what could have been written from a bereaved former employee who survived your company unlike some others.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

Header photo from a review of a woman whose husband was fired.

 

 

2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

 

NO Parole for Triple Child Murderer

 

 

I really dislike having to give this “person” room on my website / blog, but below is a petition page, please pass on and sign this petition to reach Parliament to overturn the parole decision.

 

If a petition receives 10,000 signatures the Government will respond.

If it gets 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in parliament.

Almost all petitions that reach 100,000 signatures are debated. But the petition may not go forward if the issue has been debated recently or a debate is already scheduled.

Rules on the Parliament Petition website.

 

 

mcgreavy-victims

Paul Ralph, Dawn Ralph and Samantha Ralph.

 

Triple child killer David McGreavy cleared for release by Parole Board

 

LINK to the Telegraph

 

 

The only recent video interview with the mum I found was with the Sun who has been campaigning for 10 years against his parole.

 

 

Please pass on and sign this PETITION

 

This was possible in the case of the Taxi Cab rapist who was up for parole, the victims campaigned, and the decision was overturned! This must be possible for the decision on David McGreavy’s parole:

 

 

 

 

Please pass on, Tweet, Facebook, email, send, share, text, Whatsapp… and sign PETITION for the decision of David McGreavy’s parole to be overturned.

 

 

Strong Enough

.
Missing children, missing people alerts
.

Niki Flow

Missing Children

(CNN)Here is a look at missing children in the United States. There are several different types of missing children: runaways, family abductions, lost or “thrown away,”* and non-family abductions. Recent advances in technology, communications through public alerts and greater cooperation from law enforcement have helped solve many cases quickly.

Statistics:

According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File, there are 88,089 active missing person records, of which juveniles under the age of 18 account for 32,121 (36.5%) of the records. (as of December 31, 2017)

The Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), released by the Department of Justice in 2002 and spanning the years 1997 to 1999, reported that of the 797,500 children reported missing in a one-year period, 203,900 were abducted by family members and 58,200 were abducted by non-relatives. One-hundred and fifteen were…

View original post 1,096 more words

Undercover Under Pressure in Pret

 

Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror contacted me on Facebook after I declined another Mirror Journalist’s request for an interview.

I declined her request as well, as I wasn’t ready for the press and as I am still paranoid to be tricked and trapped like Pret did with the Development Manager I write extensively about in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department“. But I urged her to go undercover to see for herself and not just take my word for it, just like James Bloodworth did in Amazon. And she did.

As I commented on Sathnam Sanghera’s Times article, I’d like to give my two cents also to Amy Sharpe’s undercover article. Both articles from very different perspectives as one from a customer and business point of view, the other from behind the scenes for a few days. But both are equally important and revealing how business works with the main goal of profit in mind.

I have to say that when I saw the undercover reporting yesterday morning (28.11.2018) linked on Twitter, after Amy has been very silent about going “under”, and rightly so, I teared up. I cried when I read her name on the report because not just did she follow my suggestion taking my ordeal serious, but someone from the outside saw what I and many others experience(d), but the public doesn’t want to know about unless it is the press poking into an organization.

It sadly takes deaths becoming public to show how negligent a company, in this case Pret, really is. I’ve been writing openly about my experience with Pret since May 2018 after my father died in March and I started to come to terms again of another loss… still recuperating from my Pret trauma that has “postponed” my grief for my brother. Regular readers know the story.

Some people criticize The Sunday Mirror’s report as being part of a witch hunt, but I don’t think that. The public is so used to be lulled in by a nice and shiny facade, free coffees and cookies. Customers are so used to the smiles of staff where no-one knows what really is behind it. I mentioned this in a Tweet response to a customer who without any thought or empathy complained to Pret about a barista, even naming him, for not smiling and rushing the service:

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

Link

 

So, this undercover article to me is like someone understanding this and finally confirming my and the team’s ordeal. Some points I want to highlight as I don’t use the full article, just what I want to confirm and expand upon a little from what this journalist has experienced and witnessed. The article will be in black and my comments in grey. I added the bold to the text to highlight some issues.

 

 


Article:
A manager reacts in horror as I point out the mistake (of an Almond Croissant with a Jam Croissant label).
“Oh my god!” he cries as he switches labels on two trays of croissants – one containing jam, the other almonds.

This is the typical PANIC reaction of a manager who either didn’t take the time or is too disorganized to do the MBWA (Managing By Walking Around) to check that everything is in its proper place, health & safety checks and so on. This could easily be improved by investing to have plenty of staff, instead of cutting staff to save money, so that the Manager On Duty (MOD) can concentrate on checking everything daily as well as throughout the day. It’s a very simple organizational issue. Very, very simple.

 

 


Article:
In the wake of two allergy deaths, he adds: “It’s really dangerous, especially with everything that’s been going on.”

And yet, no-one steps on the brakes to put immediate, and what CEO Clive Schlee calls, “meaningful” changes in place. The problem with the word “meaningful” to me here is, it sounds too wishy-washy, “poetically” correct but shows no urgency, even though “it’s really dangerous”. The appropriate word should have been to implement “immediate” changes! As Natasha’s parents are in shock over Pret’s procrastination, ITV’s November report:

 

 

 


Article:
I am standing behind the counter in Pret a Manger … The pace is so relentless, the demands so constantcustomers want serving super-quick – that I find myself under constant pressure. I sense that other staff feel the strain too.

Ms. Sharpe does not give the time of day she was behind the counter, but mentioned having to dash to the toastie machine, so this may have been lunch time. But the strain can especially be felt when a Team Member does the morning shift from 5 or 6am till 2 or 3pm going through two intense rushes: breakfast and lunch. When I worked in Pret I made a decision to not meet with a friend or have an appointment straight after my morning shift having come out of lunch time. I was always like having come out of a tumbler, being shaken for hours and still on electricity. My friends commented on this, so I tried to get home first to clean up and rest and calm down before joining any events.

One staff review paints this very bluntly. This is why I wished Amy Sharpe would have also covered a week in the kitchen to really get the full Pret “blow”: “This job can annihilate every piece of humanity inside of you.

Many kitchens I have seen with very small working areas for the Hot Chef in particular. Someone leaked a photo to Twitter.

Customer areas are increased to get as many customers / money in as possible; staff areas are decreased. This then creates multiple problems, not only on the mental strain of staff but customers lives as mistakes happen quickly as with labelling I collected in another post “Vegetarians Get Meat Products“:

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

 

 


Article:
I am at a central London branch, where 10 staff vie for space, muttering apologies as we collide and stretch across one another to grab pastries and bags.
I shout orders to a barista while dashing to a beeping toastie machine to retrieve a baguette.
I make green teas and filter coffees while my other drinks orders are prepared. It’s stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.
All the while, staff must be alert to the issue of allergens.

Yep. And as one customer on Twitter pointed out the chaos and stress on the staff and customers alike. I had to console Team Members many times over the years who held their tears back or just cried in the staff room after being shouted at by the manager. Another review: “A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period.”
I also shed many tears on my way home in the bus, especially during grief of course, but after a terribly depressing shift this was a common thing to let the tears finally flow.

 

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

 

It is rare that a customer speaks out like this and it’s sad that most customers don’t care how stressful it is behind the counter. They see it, at times even commented about it to me, but they just want their coffees fast. Pret has spoiled them where they would be perfectly happy to wait 5-10 minutes in Starbucks, Pret made the service so fast to get the money circulation into the shops fast. Pret staff are expected to whip out PERFECT coffees within ONE minute and are timed to the SECOND by Mystery Shoppers, while customers think that staff is just happy working under intense pressure. They don’t realize what’s behind that happy facade!

 

Excerpt:

Speed in Seconds

1 minute aim to serve and another 1 minute to have a perfect hot drink ready, checked by the MS to the second:

“I was served very quickly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.”

“I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.”

And then customers run to Twitter with pictures of half full cappuccinos, missing cream, lukewarm coffees…! There’s nothing more dehumanizing at a workplace that I have experienced. And should anyone suffer from boredom, do an experiment and just read through some Pret Tweets a few minutes each day for a week, with the same sweet-talk response from Pret veering customers away from public Tweets to private DM.

Some complaints are legitimate when a customer already spoke to the manager, and yet Pret has a DM button, but customers feel the public needs to be aware of their dilemma in Pret shops. I know, I know I respond a lot to some Tweets, and maybe it is because for 10 years I had to bite my tongue towards rude customers, I take the opportunity now to give my opinion. And Pret doesn’t block me as they collect my Tweets in case for court and certainly to learn some tips, as I have showered them with suggestions for improvement while I worked there. Be my guest, Pret.

 

 


Article:
Staff now repeat orders to customers to avoid any mistakes. Allergen enquiries are referred to the duty manager, who will show a list of ingredients.

Which is good to repeat, but the pace is still kept high with all sorts of demands, especially for the “Misery” Shopper: always smile, eye contact, make some small-talk, serve within 1 minute, stand on your head, dance on one feet, bend your back, twist your brain, know all the answers, kiss their butts … and all this with a big fake Pret A Smile to keep your job! In other words you either develop superhuman abilities or mental illness. The pace is the same, the demand is higher, and life is still at risk including the lives of staff who suffer depression, mental ill health and at times become suicidal. But the public “just” wakes up once customer lives are affected. Forget the “slaves“.

 

 

A positive Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

MS eye contact

“The staff member who served me made good eye contact and greeted me with a friendly smile. While remaining focused and efficient, she also took time to engage in a few words of conversation, which added a personal element to the exchange – enhancing the welcoming atmosphere of this store.”

 

 

A negative Mystery Shopper visit, excerpt:

Mystery Shopper poor comments

“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 engage(d) and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

 

— or —

 

MS_Cough

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

I wish I could have told this MS that staff are not paid sick leave for the first 2 and 3 days depending on age. So one had to decide if to stay home sick and lose income, or go to work unwell and get a telling off from the manager like I did because I coughed when I happened to serve the MS.

I wonder if Amy Sharpe served the Mystery Shopper and how she would have felt reading a negative comment on her service while feeling the experience of the “overstretched staff” and it being “stressful and confusing and the queue makes it even more so.”

I even wished sometimes customers would just join us for a few hours, especially those who quickly complain about everything.

Just few of the countless Tweets, just from this week:

This customer had good service for THREE years, then one negative experience and the world has come to an end. I linked her to Amy Sharpe’s report to bring some perspective for her feeling so unwanted. But I deleted the Tweet again as I write too many Tweets and always like to de-clutter my Twitter feeds:

 

2018-11-28 Bad Service after 3 years

Link

 

“Every time…”

2018-11-28 Wrong Coffee

Link

 

 

2018-11-28 No steamed milk

Link

 

 

“Oh no!…”

2018-11-29 Gingerbread Latte

Link

 

etc. etc.

So, companies like Pret has created a “nation” of complainers where the British were usually patient and polite, they now cry like babies whose bottoms haven’t been wiped in a while! And the money keeps coming in while Pret responds with “Oh no…” and “Oh gosh, are you okay?…” sweet-talk to keep the babies happy and the money rolling!

 

I responded, but since deleted as well to this baby who had no issues to call hard working people the “C” word because he was in the “teething” period having his day ruined by a hard avocado. Pret’s typical cut’n’paste response, apologizing while he is offensive, and as if they really contact each shop all day long for repeated hard avocados:

 

PretBehaviour01a

 

 

 

 


Article:
The mantra, I am told repeatedly, is “NEVER guess”.
But from what I witness, the speed at which staff often have to work could put these commendable new standards at risk.
On my second shift I find an orange juice two weeks out of date on the shelves.
The shocked team leader tells me: “You don’t need to tell anyone, otherwise we’re f****d. It is really bad… I’ll throw it away.”
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.”
With soybeans and dairy prominent on the menu – and among the 14 allergens kitchens must legally declare – this admission is worrying.
On my last shift, stickers are introduced to distinguish between soya, coconut and regular milks. But one barista serves a coffee without a sticker – and a manager barks: “Where is the sticker?”
The £8.25-an-hour shifts are tough and I collapse into bed exhausted after eight hours on my feet, lifting boxes, mopping and dragging tables around.

Nothing more to add except this Link

 

 


Article:
Some staff do 12-hour shifts or work at other branches to earn more. To add to the intensity, employees are battling the cold due to its station location. I wear extra layers to stay warm – there are only two Pret fleeces to go round, so we share.

Nothing more to add except that some staff even do 60-70 hour weeks assigned by the manager! I had to speak out about this as Team Members were exhausted, at times became sick from the amount of work, but were too scared to speak with the GM. Again, I did not make friends with my bosses. But neither did I care!

 

 


Article:
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.

This unfortunately is common in most shops that staff are so swamped with work they are not able to finish in time and are NOT paid for overtime. I fought for this with my managers in every shop. I would say to my teams who did their best and me as the Team Leader helping them, that if they can’t finish I will mark this on the cleaning rota with an explanation, instead of just ticking off the jobs as done like most do to keep the appearance that jobs were completed. I’d then take responsibility when the boss summons me in the office the next day. I let the team go on the dot when our shift finished at 9 or 10pm or whatever closing and cleaning time the branch had.

Most Team Members have families with kids at home, not seeing their children all day as they are in school, and later the parent is working when they go to bed. So I made it a point to let them go when the shift finished. I was very organized and made sure that the important jobs, health & safety was taken care of and prioritized these. I structured my teams in this way and left the unimportant jobs unfinished if we didn’t have time or enough staff.

In the early times in Pret I would work and work, finish in time and also worked overtime unpaid. But then the time came where I drew a line. It is okay here and there to finish a little late, but it was the norm in Pret and it seemed a very calculated one as Teams worked extra for no pay every day. I struggled with my managers and communicated that if we have to stay longer to finish the job, I will pay them the extra time through the system as was part of my job. If my bosses didn’t want that, then I told my team to finish on the dot and we go home. Full stop.

This of course didn’t make me friends with my bosses, but neither did I care! My friends are not these kind of people who exploit workers for their own bonuses. One Pret staff reviews this as a common practice for managers to give them a job to do 15 minutes before the Team Member would have finished the shift. But the job would take 30 – 60 minutes to complete. I experienced this many times as well and was made to feel bad if I needed or wanted to leave. It took me some time to stand up against this. Pret staff in the UK should do what their colleagues in the U.S. did, a class action suit for not being paid overtime.

 

Full article of the Sunday Mirror

 

I have to be honest that I wished Amy Sharpe would have worked longer, a month or so like James Bloodworth did in Amazon. It would have been good for Ms Sharpe to cover the early shifts and weekends as well, including working in the kitchen, as each time and job has its own challenges. But I’m not complaining. She covered 1 or 2 weeks (?) really really well, while I have 10 years of “material” to share that almost literally killed me having survived bullying during bereavement.

So, I have to be patient and acknowledge the brilliant work by this journalist having been willing to do this, as well as Sathnam Sanghera’s article. And many more people will tell their story in time away from the typical PR that Pret does so well. I keep confronting Pret on a staff suicide in 2017 and who knows how many more are under the carpet when they could hide two customer deaths for two years and the other for 10 months! I know my approach and direct confrontation is full on, but I almost lost my life after having worked with integrity, honesty, very hard and with passion for my teams. I cannot be silent after having wasted 10 years of my life in Pret with the knowledge that staff continue to suffer behind the facade. And if any reader wonders if I went to court, I explain here.

Thank you for your time in reading this. And thank you to anyone in the press to have taken a closer look. Thank you to Amy Sharpe. Never thought to be calling a reporter a now former colleague of mine! Well done her!

Life is short, please be kind to yourselves and others.

poetrasblok.com

 


 

UPDATE: 14.12.2018 A rare observation from a customer regarding forced friendliness.

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

Link

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org
Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.
©2017 – 2018 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Press A Manger

 

I’m not a newspaper person, but I just had a beautiful read of an article that was about time to be written!

If a reporter or more journalists would go undercover for 3 – 6 months, like James Bloodworth did in Amazon, to really get a feel of the issues with staff treatment, bullying, missing pay, messed up rotas, terrible work-life balance, low pay, fear management etc. etc. it would bring an in-depth look into what I survived.

Well done to this journalist, Amy Sharpe for diving into Pret for a week!

 

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

 

 

 

The Falling Stars Program

 

… helped many lose their feet and self-confidence, even bravely speaking to friends to lend them money, knocking on doors to find jobs and homes, talking about their experience being bullied in Pret, manipulated and fired during bereavement. And some becoming suicidal with one AMK ending her life in 2017.

 

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

 

 

Nothing against Sabina, she has her story, but she has been pampered in Pret for PR[et]. Sabina doesn’t know the many people who suffer, get fired, become suicidal, even dying. I don’t blame her. She’ll be fine.

Andrea Wareham spoke at the House of Lords on behalf of Pret as well, but JAB now axed her from the director’s board. Says a lot.

 

Pret A Manger, Clive Schlee, Niki I am NOT impressed at all whatsoever with your slick videos, politics, manipulation PR…

 

You hurt people to the point of suicide. You discriminate against the bereaved. You are a business.

PLEASE, please BE a BUSINESS without giving charity a bad name!

 

Learn more about Pret’s falling stars program if you even care.

And Pret, maybe learn from this lady, but I know you won’t because you are too “big”  for that.

 

Sheryl Sandberg quote

 

— & —

 

Get down from that high horse you’re on !

 

humiliation

 

do better Pret

 

Sheryl Sandberg on bereavement at work and how her boss, Mark Zuckerberg not just “accommodated” her bereavement, but wanted her to be there. Respect, Mr. Zuckerberg, he sucks in other places like data protection stuff, but he got my heart on staff welfare!

Shame Pret, you missed so many opportunities. Too many.

 

Clive Schlee, having taken your patronizing, disrespectful label of late night girl as a website, I used to respect you, I still do, like I respect any person on the street, but I am not impressed with you at all. Not one bit.

You do not know what traumatic loss means. And I don’t wish it on anyone.

Good luck with JAB.

 

 

3 Months That Are Supposed to be Good

 

November, December, January have become months I’ve come to dislike.

I was moving around these past days and weeks extremely down and tried to figure out why several consecutive days I am just very low. It’s not the weather, I love October and November, and fog. My heart is tight and heavy as if something is suffocating the life out of it. On the verge of a panic attack, I seek quiet places. Anytime, in random places I tear up, just out of the blue.

I realized that on 19.10.2014 I received my brother’s last email. And I never replied.

He was supposed to meet me for a concert in November. But he couldn’t make it. He wished me to have fun, till later. I didn’t see the need to respond and assumed I’d seen him anyway while I was visiting Germany. But I got distracted and as he was busy anyway, didn’t even think to call him. Maybe I was disappointed that he couldn’t make it. I don’t know.

On 12. January 2015 I learned via an email that he was found dead in his apartment on 15. December 2015, approximate day of death 09.12.2014. No clear cause of death. No autopsy. They supposedly couldn’t find us and after a while just cremated him.

And I made the biggest mistake that I can see in hindsight. After flying back and forth for funeral, errand, family, investigating… I kept working as my savings dried out and without support couldn’t afford to take off. In hindsight I should have taken off at least six months to a year instead of flying back and forth and with the horrific experience in Pret on top.

I was in a fog, on autopilot, in a Twilight Zone, like a Zombie.

Three years of emotional horror while trying to pull myself together, but falling more and more apart. Guilt, regrets, self-doubt, everything kept crushing again and again into me like a building collapsing again and again.

After my ordeal in Pret, my father was submitted into intensive care, in a three week coma in November 2017. At the end of December 2017 with my dad just woken from his coma I was fired from Pret. Autopilot again, guilt, regret, existential fears … flying back and forth again to work and be by his side, back to London to look for work, back to my dad, back to London … back to Germany to bury him as he didn’t recover.

November, December, January, February my brother’s birthday, March, my father’s death. I want to cut some months out of the calendar. I shut everything down, most things and people that meant something to me, I shut down.

My heart is tight and heavy, and I feel any moment an anxiety attack is approaching. But I have learned to not fear them so they don’t come heavy. Just ride it out, the doctor said the heart is perfectly capable to handle it. It’s not physical. If it wouldn’t have been for my mum being alive, I don’t know if I would be here right now.

To anyone reading this who knows me personally, I have said it many times, but I want to apologize again for letting people down. It’s not you, you know that.

 

 

Unquiet Grief (re-written / music: LAU)

 

 

animated-candle-gif-29

 

 

 

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

Digging Out an Older Blog Entry

 

As Anti-Bullying week has come to an end last Friday I remembered an older blog entry I made. I wrote the below post in May 2016 on another blog site where I mainly posted poems for/about my brother and just scratched on what I went through in Pret, without naming Pret at the time as I do now on this site. But when I was going through the mixed horror of my brother’s death added with the bullying in Pret, this particular time was like a transition period where my trauma worsened, but I didn’t realize it then.

At that time I rather felt that everything in Pret would settle for me and I could concentrate on coming to terms about my brother’s death. I always felt that my situation wasn’t dealt with properly, but I didn’t realize how much I was played and manipulated via dodgy grievance hearings. One area manager who was very slick held a grievance appeals hearing against a line manager who openly bullied me (shouting, blaming, excluding etc.) under the main catalyst who was his boss and the guidance of HR.

In the hearing she held she asked me what my “definition of bullying is”. At that time I was utterly distraught and fell for this trap to think I wasn’t bullied. In hindsight I’d answer this “question” with a question of what her definition of bullshit is! It was also the time when I applied for and received my file, but at the time I just briefly looked through it vaguely until months later when I meticulously sieved through every word on every page and went into deeper turmoil that I explain in “Not Quite a Beautiful Mind“.

Now, looking back, having been in deep darkness, confused, traumatized, holding on and trying to escape through writing, I am grateful to have given Pret the benefit of the doubt so much to be able to say, what a corrupt and toxic company behind a friendly facade and under the current leadership of Clive Schlee and HR Pret A Manger is.

 

 


 

May 2016 Blog post (I added the links from this blog into the old blog entry):

 

 

Definition of Bullying

 

Once on a school trip to the seaside of Western France, six of us girls planned to share a room in the youth hostel we were booked in. On the first night after dinner and having settled in, I found myself alone with one of the girls in the big room, while the other four girls spontaneously moved out again and into a vacant 4-bedded room together.

It didn’t take me long to understand what was happening. The girl who was “stuck” with me (or I with her) in the 6-bedded room was the typical person to not have been cool enough to share a room with. There was even talk about her already back home at a school-BBQ before the trip and how they would give her the trip of her life. She was typically uncool, by the book at that time; ginger hair, thick glasses, long front teeth, not wearing the trendiest clothes… The perfect uncool kid to be “avoided with” or not be around.

She (I’ll give her the name “Ginger”) was someone who didn’t fit into the norm, nothing more, nothing less. The usual stuff. I didn’t fit in either, not for “temperature” reasons, but because I was in a sphere of my own.

So, we just had more space and more peace. I didn’t like the situation because I wasn’t invited  by the four “cool” girls, but I didn’t mind either because I never liked this kind of group dynamic. Nothing against groups as long as they are inclusive, accepting, supportive, more than just tolerant/tolerating. But tolerance would have been the bare minimum anyone could ask for if individuals in a group have neither strength nor courage for anything beyond that.

“The soul selects her own society, then shuts the door to divine majority. Present no more.”

— Emily Dickinson
Not having been particularly “cool” myself, and not really bothered if I was or not, I didn’t care to impress a group or be intimidated by a “mob” of freezers. I tend to select my own society.

 

 

The first of the five or six mornings we were there, I woke up turning around in my bed towards the door. From the sun beams that were shining through the windows, I could see something shimmering on the floor in front of the bed of my room mate. I got up, went to see what it was and saw it was a puddle of fluid, it was obvious from the stench that it was urine left there close to Ginger’s bed, with her still asleep. If she would have had to get up at night for the toilet, she most certainly would have stepped into it.

I pondered over this “pond” and was just perplexed on how it got there or worse, why someone would do this and how we both didn’t wake up noticing this invasion of our dignity. We cleaned it up later, pretending something weird spilled here somehow. I don’t know, I didn’t know what to think or say. Whatever we were thinking, not sure. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t get a teacher immediately and clean it up before she woke up. Maybe I was too perplexed, offended, embarrassed… Hopefully she thought I was the target or us both together; wishful thinking on my part. She was just always very quiet. I will never know if or what she realized was going on.

I didn’t know what to do, if I should go to a teacher or ask around why someone would do this. But going to a teacher or trying to find out who the “donor” of this mess was, might have just encouraged more of this. So I left it, assuming it was a one-off, never having seen any “pranks” like this on previous school trips.

As the days of the trip went on, we took a bus ride through the region. I was sitting in the back of the bus, one or two rows in front of the group of girls, now joined by the boys, and overheard them speak about how they want to cut Ginger’s hair at night. I remember freezing in my seat and feeling my blood disappear from my head with a tingling sensation in my face, going into panic-mode. I had two seats to myself since the bus was roughly half filled, as not the whole class went on this trip but just about two dozen of us. Everyone, except for the group and some couples, would sit generously in two seats, getting a little privacy away from the shared rooms in the hostel.
My thoughts started racing on what to do, since the “pee” situation I knew they would go through with whatever they planned. They must have felt secure that I was just a dumb bystander who’s “job” it was to console Ginger in the aftermath of whatever would happen to her. As if it was some kind of calling in life for her to be bullied and my calling was to just stroke her head, comforting her, oh well poor poor Ginger, c’est la vie.

My heart and my mind went into overdrive with the dilemma of not wanting to get into trouble with the cool crew, but also not wanting to allow something disgusting like this to happen to a girl, who’s only fault it was to not fit in.

Society-selecting time again!

 

 

Later that day before dinner time at the hostel, I couldn’t think straight, never mentioning any of this to Ginger or anyone. I was nervous before the meal, heart pouncing, thoughts pacing back and forth when I decided to speak up. I approached the room where the group always huddled together, prayed under my breath, knocked on the door and was invited in. I went straight to the ring leader girl and said sharply (with my limbs like jelly and my heart beating to my throat!) “If anything happens to Ginger, you will be the first to regret it!”. She looked perplexed, starring at me and then around the room, and laughing with the group asked if I was insane or what!? I repeated the sentence and just left the room shaking inside. I went straight to the room of one of the teachers, telling the whole story to just get this sorted. I guess some would call me a “Drama Queen”, but bullying is not just a drama, it’s a cowardly disgrace and a shame.
The next day Ginger had her birthday, and the majority of the kids congratulated her, even if half-hearted by most, including some of the cool, “strong” and marvelous group. Nothing ever happened to the uncool girl anymore. And on the eve of our return back home, Ginger and I sat outside for a smoke while there was an improvised “Disco” going on inside for our last night of the trip.

To this day it’s just a guess if Ginger knew what was going on, or if she repressed the situation to just avoid the pain of it. We never spoke about it and she never seemed at a shock, just rather quiet and speaking about nothing really. Deep down I felt of course she knows. But my pretense might have matched hers equally, just so we can make that day. We just had a good smoke and a meaningless chat, but worth our while.

Nothing further happened as the teachers had an eye on it now, after my shivering confrontation with the group’s leader. But I meant what I said, even while shaking inside my boots. And I rather took the risk of being bullied myself, suffering the consequences, than having to watch in silence how a person is being targeted just because she didn’t fit in to whatever the majority felt was the(ir) norm, or to release the burden of their own meaningless existence.

Even with the threat of any more nightly “adventures” in our room, I slept well at nights. I’d rather be bullied or be with those who are, then being cozy with a bully.

I wondered at times throughout the years, and even now, what has become of Ginger. While writing this experience down, I looked up a digitalized photo of her with some of the bullies on the France trip. I do hope this wallflower became a bouquet, no matter if it fits into anyone’s perception of cool or beauty, but whom those bullies would not recognize today, because they are too busy and messed up in their own journey to fit in.

I never thought I would write this story down and after having scanned over a thousand photos recently into my computer from all the years of my life, even before I was born, then shredding the majority of it to get rid of clutter in my flat. I never scanned in the photos of the bullies, except when “Ginger” was on them, but just threw them away without digitalizing them. Don’t know if I’d regret it one day since even the bad stuff is part of our lives, but I have no room for those bullies on my computer. No more “beds” available.

 

Depression & Support pexels-photo-551594

 

I have not been bullied as a kid, except the typical teasing we all go through. But I cannot remember ever having been bullied as a kid in school. But I never would have imagined that I would be bullied as an adult.

What was my weakness? The thought that our lives are final on this earth? The inconvenience of my grief? That I didn’t “function” at times as expected? That I didn’t kiss anyone’s association or agenda? That I looked strong, but in reality was completely broken while on autopilot? That I spoiled someone’s perception of strength? That I reminded them of their own mortality and weakness?

In hindsight, please, someone tell me?

All I know is that I have been bullied! No more formal grievances needed. If the catalyst, the main bully is in leadership above you, you have no chance unless you have the strength to see it through. I’m sorry my brother’s death got in their way. He won’t do that again!

 

 

Sometimes people are bullied not because they are uncool in the perception of a mob, but because they may come across too strong. Anything that does not fit into the “norm” of the (insecure) majority might just be the perfect target. I don’t know. People in a group, in a mob do things that they would never do when alone. But unfortunately 1 single person, who is in the position of power or leadership, can influence a group who wants to please their leader/boss, and pull the carpet from under someone else’s feet.

It takes only 1 person, 1 leader to influence their sub-ordinance to either pull that carpet or provide a safe place for an individual or minority. Everything stands and falls with leadership. If a leader won’t allow bullying to happen, it won’t! If a leader closes their eyes, or worse, is the main catalyst of bullying, then God help us.

I understood this in my late teens/early 20s already, that’s why I went straight to the leader to make clear that she is responsible to set the tone of the group. But I was too scared and got backup by the teacher, the higher “leader” of the group. If telling on others is what it takes, then that’s what it takes.

It is horrendously easy to be within a group siding against one person, than to stand up within that group, reaching out against the decision of the majority and their leader for the protection and support of that one person. If we realize it or not, we constantly “select our own society”, depending on how strong we feel towards moral issues, health, justice, principles. We constantly make our choices and will choose until our last day. I have chosen wrong and right many times myself in different situations, but if I make up my mind that one person or a minority needs to be protected, especially while going through tragedy, than I hope my mind is made up regardless of the consequences. And after a while, if I manage to make it through in one piece, I sleep well at nights.

 

 

What is the definition of bullying? Anyone who asks this question might really be asking how to avoid being made corporately responsible for those who are in the group they themself represent.

It is beyond me that a powerful group of professionals still try to protect each other without realizing how “small” I am and how simple I am reached without trickery. If we “manage” by fear, that’s all we do: fear!

All I hoped for was just for someone to not be afraid of me, for someone to just have a coffee with me asking how my day was and complain about the weather or whatever. The way my former boss “Cat” did briefly before leaving too soon. I am nobody, just broken, scared, loud, angry, nothing more to be afraid of, and nothing less to be stepped upon. I would have wished for some protection. But better late than never.

 

 

Now, I like to leave each day on a positive note. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with depression, other times I’m exhausted from the day, another time just chilled and content. I don’t dare to aim for happiness, I’m not there yet. But I don’t want to end a day on a negative note. And yet I still do it so often.

A dear friend recently said to me, “Forgiveness is a powerful thing”, something I did not want to hear, but know she is right. To “for – give”, to give away an experience, a painful event, letting go, is liberating. Even if or because it takes time and pain; falling, getting up, falling again, getting up again… as if I haven’t got enough pain to work through already. But bitterness won’t be the thing I will fall asleep with. And the only shimmering puddle I will wake up to is the dew of a new day, with new chances to look out for those who need a new society to lend them a hand to heal.

 

 

One thing I often did early on after my brother died, was to walk for hours through London, especially through the busy tourist areas I would usually avoid. There I sought and saw happy faces, little kids eating ice cream and being jolly, and when they cried it was because they didn’t get their ice cream right then and there. Very valid tears for a child; I envied the reason for their tears. And after five minutes the only thing that was crying was the melting ice cream dripping down on their chin, and life was sweet again.

There were glimpses of life in the midst of loss and blackness. I sought the smiles of kids, or the naïve curiosity of tourists, or the clumsy effort of new lovers… All I did was starring at life as it kept moving on and passing by me. There was life in the midst of trauma. At least I was an observer of it, like watching a movie passively, just “existing” without living the scenes I watched, looking for meaning, never mind a happy end. There’s none.

The Trafalgar and the Leicester Square areas and the Southbank have been my home away from home in the early weeks and months of making sense of my brother’s passing. I miss him. And I keep looking for him in my walks.

 

 

Life is good I want to enjoy it when it comes around.

When love songs turn into little meanings of…for life, they become life songs.

The smile of a child; the glance of a lover; a little dog licking your face not caring if you’re happy or sad, just caring that you’re there; the anger courage of and encouragement from your boss; the neighbour’s lending hand; the shoulder of a friend …

all life.

May 2016

 

… for all the kids who have no care in the world and whose smiles are life-savers, and for all those who keep moving on and bring some sunshine into the darkness….

 

 

 

 

Okay

»Panda«

Sunshine, baby, sunshine
Coming right out, right out of you
Right into my eyes, into my eyes
And I can’t help but look at you

Sunshine, baby, sunshine
Coming right out, right out of you
Till I feel it’s mine, till I feel it’s mine
And I have to, I just have to

Sunshine, baby, sunshine
Keeps coming right out, right out of you
Till I feel it’s mine, till I feel it’s mine

And I have to, I just have to
I just have to, I just have to
let it go, where it goes, let it go, where it goes,
let it go, where it goes, let it go, where it goes,
let it go …

and goes, let it go, and goes, let it go …

where no-one goes …

let it out … you got something …

more than something …

©Marty Anderson

 

 

©2016 / 2018 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 – 2018 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

 

Cry Me A River – Translating Crocodile Tears

 

drip by drip, drop by dot and blabber…

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

 

 

YT

 

So touching!

 

 

CryMeARiver

 

The Translation:

 

Clive Schlee: “I went to the Inquest…”

As if he had a choice!

 

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

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

 

CS: “And it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”

 

CryMeARiver

 

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

 

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

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

 

CS: “But”

But

 

CS: “… the coroner”

Oh, the coroner!

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

So much about “preventing future deaths”!

 

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

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

 

2018-09-28 Another OPEN LETTER_2

 

Link

 

 

CS: … “Probably – probably better.”

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

 

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

 

Fallen Stars – On the House! Would you like some Sweet-talk with that?

 

FallenStars

 

 

After my “IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret” in the summer, I’d like to add to that an “IMAGINARY but (equally) Honest Project in Pret”:

 

The Fallen Stars of Pret A Manger which is their true “labelling commitment”

 

… or how about some nutty fruitcakes with “natural” labels like this? I certainly survived a near fatal reaction to these:

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

Freshly prepared in kitchens where they handle allergens … so eat responsibly as it is solely your and shop staff’s responsibility to find out what is in the products.

Just a few of the fun games with the colourful labels. It’s also called “Pret A Guess The Product”. The winner gets a cheap coffee on the house with the wrong milk of course.

 

2018-10-29 Dairy vs Soya

 

 

Rules: none, you just get fired or killed at your own fault.

Playing Fields:

The Hot Chef’s playing field where they “play” so fast under immense pressure in tiny work spaces that it turns into fun having to figure out which surprise is in a soup cup… After all, they love to play Russian Roulette.

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

 

The Customer’s Playing Field

2018-11-09 Meaty Porridge

 

2018-10-23 Gherkin in Croiss

 

 

2018-10-24 Soup incidence

 

 

2018-10-29 Meat Mac instead of Veg

 

 

The winner is ALWAYS the customer risking their lives and health. And the “Fallen Stars” just disappear as quickly as they came, if the blaming game on them is successful.

 

To concentrate on the project, this is about the Fallen Stars that they don’t like to advertise, like they do with the “Rising Stars” that really help PR[et]. They don’t want to integrate former homeless people into shop teams as the harsh work environment would turn them also into Fallen Stars (again!).

But for the sake of the ever so Pret-onizing labelling commitment (by the way, CEO Clive Schlee labeled me his “late night girl” after the trauma Pret put me through… but that story is spread like butter on my website and can fill a dozen books).

CAUTION: There is nothing gluten free, dairy free, nut free on my side, just the blank ingredients loaded with calories of the reality on how I survived Pret A Manger. Read responsibly.

 

So, who are the “Fallen Stars”?

Here are the winners, who after they won their spot on the streets, go to places where Pret never tread before:

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff and plenty of Deputies!

 

Pret A Marley shot the Sheriff

 

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

 

 

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

 

2018-10-21 #61 Slaves Company

 

2018-11-01 Funeral

 

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

 

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

 

 

2018-09-16 Re Emily to Pret

 

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

 

 

And many, many, many more of the wonderful Fallen Stars who “really matter”, those struggling Poets who tell it like it is, the true Captains some who were thrown over board, each with their own genre, shortened in Quotes of the Day.

 

 

And Pret’s “Plastic Pledge” will be the next project that will be covered. Watch this space!

 

 

2018-10-30 Plastic Cover

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

 

 

 

When a Star became Sliced Pret

 

Sliced Pret

 

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

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

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

 




 

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

When you sign up, be careful how to click:

 

NaughtyTimes_crop

 

First box:

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

The little word “not” is here.

 

Second box:

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

The little word “not” is NOT here.

 

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

 




 

 

Some things from this article I want to highlight:

 

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

 

 — Sathnam Sanghera

 

 

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

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

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

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

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

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Link

 

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

Horrible Company Pret

Scrolling down on the YouTube comments

 

 

Some Quotes from the article:

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

 

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

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

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

 

Rebecca

 

 

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

 

 

Quote:

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

 

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

 

 

Quote:

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Quote:

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

 

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

 

 

Quote:

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

 

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

 

2018-10-30 Plastic Cover

 

 

Quote:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

My Brother Died

 

just like that

 

 

TK03a

 

 

Five weeks before he died he replied to my email inviting him to a gig close to his town. An artist I knew for a long time and had the privilege to work together would play there. I invited him, backstage and stuff, I wanted to make my big brother proud. But he couldn’t make it and I never responded back.

I never responded back.

 

 

 

Pret A Menace

 

 

horizontal-1452536_960_720

 

 

What is the difference between the Takeaway managers who were sentenced to prison and Pret A Manger’s repeated deaths and injuries of customers?

 

BBC Report: (Judge’s verdict) “Neither of you actually foresaw the death of anyone. It never occurred to you that you would be responsible for the death of a young girl. Quite simply, you never gave the risk of a customer dying because of an allergy a moment’s thought.

“You must now live with the guilt of what you have done and the suffering you have caused Megan’s family and to your own families. All of this is a tragedy that could so easily have been avoided had you exercised the proper care to be expected of those who serve food to the public.”

 

How is that different to Pret that had TWO customers die (that the public knows about), a third almost fatal, several in hospital and repeated ignored warnings from customers?

  • Judge: “Neither of you actually foresaw the death of anyone.”
    – Neither did Pret, even though they received repeated warnings especially regarding sesame where a 17 year old teenager was hospitalized before Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died.
  • Judge: “It never occurred to you that you would be responsible for the death of a young girl.”
    – And yet, it may have occurred to Pret as they were warned, including Clive Schlee’s poor response to an open letter before Natasha died.
  • Judge: “Quite simply, you never gave the risk of a customer dying because of an allergy a moment’s thought.”
    Just like Pret that was warned repeatedly and even now still has issues with wrong labelling and just blames downward, while labelling every product, every night since a few years for charity.

 

 

2018-10-20 Pret charity labels2

 

BBC report: The judge said: “The Royal Spice had no systems or processes to manage allergen control. The menu contained no information about allergens. No record was kept of the ingredients used in dishes.

“In short, it appears that no one at the takeaway had any way of knowing what allergens were in the food supplied.”

 

Pret A Mess:

 

The sentencing of the two take away managers may be as an example for small businesses that often do lack in hygiene and training. I am very fortunate to not have any allergies whatsoever, but the first thing I do when I walk into a restaurant to wash my hands before the meal, I check the toilets. Whatever I find in the back gives me a good idea what I will get in the front! Food poisoning is no respecter of persons! I have walked out of restaurants many times based on the toilets. I have a zero tolerance on the lack of hygiene.

 

Jail

 

 

BBC report: “Those who fail to heed the warnings and who continue to flout food safety regulations may find the courts taking a harsher view in the future.”

horizontal-1452536_960_720money

Which takes me back to the question why Pret keeps getting away with repeated incidences? Does it really always boil down to money and is the public so lulled in to the shiny facade Pret polished for years, covering up what’s really behind it? 

BBC: The two-week trial heard there was a “litany of failings” in the kitchen, including poor hygiene and no records of ingredients kept.

 

 

 

Pret A Mice and the Company’s Procrastination

 

 

 

Pest and poor hygiene issues were rampant in Pret years ago. I worked in one particular mice infested shop in around 2010/11 and asked for a transfer to a pest-free shop, as I couldn’t take working in this shop anymore. Usually mice, rats etc. come out of hiding when the shop is closed, quiet and dark. But in this particular shop that was very old before the refurbishments Pret did throughout the company, the mice were so bold they strolled along under the barista cupboard during the busy and loud morning coffee rush. As staff we saw the critters and just held our breath not knowing what to do. I requested to be transferred out from this shop.

Pret used to have internal pest control people who regularly came in to do proofing when there were issues, and we had to constantly call them, but they were unable to tackle the issue and were just fixing holes. They and we all were literally playing a cat and mouse game where the mice won. As a Team Member I even suggested to the pest control person if we couldn’t just close the shop for a few days and solve the issue head on, and I remember very very well him saying that he kept talking to Pret but they did not see any urgency to resolve this. I was appalled because it was getting worse. Once a pair of mice is in they multiply in no time.

Only after an EHO closed a Pret shop after a routine check, finding evidence of pest, did Pret react and commissioned an outside pest control company to take over. Pret went from complete apathy into complete panic mode. Managers were blamed even though there was no clear procedure and training in place as I was a leader already and received no training on pest control at the time. Some managers were fired, other managers were reduced back to assistant manager roles, even though they had no to little training. The blame was always on the shops.

After my transferal to another shop we had one mouse appear and the reaction from Pret suddenly was very very quick after the EHO’s closure. And rightly so. They employed a former EHO to help who was extremely strict and almost on OCD level pressuring us on the tiniest issues. This of course helped, but was extremely stressful compared to our call for help before and being ignored. I and colleagues were summoned to an “informal” meeting where the area manager questioned us on how we dealt with the mouse issue (while not having been trained).

Tactically he was taking notes and let me sign each note. He did that as a typical Pret fear management thing, but at one point I refused to sign if he doesn’t add that the shop I worked in previously that had the mice infestation in the same area where he himself was the area manager at the time, but didn’t act. He quickly realised that this stunt doesn’t work as we had plenty of evidence in the other shop of the amount of times we did a call out for the internal pest control people who couldn’t tackle the issue. After many months of training. and most importantly, the external pest control company doing regular checks, Pret finally got on top of the problem.

Pest is rampant especially in a city like London. It is completely normal that a restaurant or any place will have pest issues from time to time, even when they are squeaky clean hygienically, but with a prompt and professional approach it can be tackled fast. But as usual for Pret it took a major happening, an EHO closing a shop before they reacted while ignoring staff’s and internal pest control people’s concerns.

So, Pret can do it if they want to! And do it prompt and fast! … If they want to!

 

Pret now has hired ex-FSA boss Tim Smith as Food Safety Adviser.

Once Pret makes up their mind and finally “re”acts after a catastrophic and public event, they employ the best of the best and the most experienced, but it takes shop closures (= loss of money), deaths and this becoming public (= reputation, loss of profit) before this giant wakes from its slumber and complacency where the blaming downwards doesn’t work anymore as the top got caught out being the ones not taking responsibility!

So Pret does a smart thing, an EHO closes down at least one shop due to pest issues, and Pret employs a former EHO because they know what to look for and how an EHO thinks. Customers die and get injured, but no concern there at all for at least two years, but only since the inquest and it becoming public, Pret does the smart thing again to get the ex-CEO from the FSA.

Both very good moves as they know exactly how to improve, the problem is, mice have to multiply NOT to the point that staff get disgusted working there and food is compromised for customers (I won’t go into detail), but only after a shop closure is Pret going into full gear. Two deaths becoming public, no not, 1 death happened and Pret put on the brakes, it had to become public with an inquest. And people get excited about Christmas sandwiches and are bribed with free cookies. Sad and scary world we live in, where people willingly prostitute their principles and values for occasional free and colourful food.

 

Pret A Monopoly

Pret has drawn the Get-out-of-jail-card and will get away with two deaths and several injuries, or at “worst” get fined, while two small fish will serve as an example to smaller businesses and the big guns get away with “murder”.

 

Monopoly

 

Other profit driven fast re-actions from Pret that only serves PR[et] in the post “Immediate PR[et] vs. Labelling Delay“.

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

Pret A Manager – Bad A Manager

 

I want to shorten some reviews here from the “Pret Poets Society” post to only link to Assistant Managers, General Managers and HQ Staff reviews.

The poor management style that so many Team Members complain about in Pret is enabled from the very top senior leadership and HR, who know exactly how their leaders are. If there is no clear leadership strategy in place, a zero tolerance on bullying and when a large part of Managers are poorly trained, discriminating and especially profit driven, than it becomes very clear that the fish stinks from its head. No company’s top boss can close their eyes and play innocent.

CEO Clive Schlee prides himself on how well he knows his people in this video, and that is why he has no excuse on how the Team Members as well as Manager are treated! He is not able to say that he doesn’t know as he also visits shops regularly and makes himself approachable to TMs, who often complain directly to him or via his Twitter, risking getting fired for publicly outing their distress. But he does not change the terrible culture as the money keeps pouring in and he pockets £30 Million from the JAB take-over.

 

 

Because Pret’s CEO presents himself as this approachable top boss which impresses many, especially young shop based staff, it is like Clive Schlee plays the “good cop” while Managers are the “bad cop”. But both have one goal, make as much money as possible that they can squeeze out of their workers.

 

 

When I was going through the darkest, most hellish time in grief and on top being bullied by superiors, I was continuously being placed under bullying managers who supposedly cared. When the shouting didn’t work, they turned their bullying more subtle, by withholding information that I needed as a leader, not inviting me to leaders’ meetings and even Christmas dinner, holding me low with menial tasks, giving me the minimum hours even though I asked for more hours etc. In my traumatic state it took me many months to realize that this was on purpose. Clive Schlee and HR know their managers and placed me accordingly in hopes I would resign, as I was offered four settlements if I resign. There was no care nor interest to have me under empathetic or skilled leadership.

This leadership style is then continued, trickling down through the ranks. So, TMs try to rise up the ladder to escape the horrendous pressure and stress, because they see how managers and even Team Leaders sit in the office. And the incentive of managers getting huge bonuses paid while stressing their staff.

I have seen it countless times how good TMs who were very passionate, kind and hard working changed and got corrupted, once they started moving into management levels and attached themselves to this crowd of “leaders”.

 

I never wanted to be a manager even though I applied for Assistant Manager roles, but only to escape the bullying culture in shops. I was often asked through the years by many TMs why I wasn’t a manager, as I worked professionally, with skill and knowledge, and many customers often approached me with a query thinking that I was the manager until I pointed them to the plain clothes GM or AM. But I answered the question of why I was not a manager, very simple because I could not do what managers are pressured to do, cut hours and squeeze everything out of teams to maximize profit. And my TMs agreed and understood, as I was always helping my teams, encouraging them, supporting them, even when I was hectic myself at times.

 

 

goldfish-carassius-fish-golden-45910

I am glad to not be under such toxic “leadership” anymore!

 

 

The worst management often are Managers who come from the outside, from other places like Costa or Nero. They then start straight away as Assistant Managers for a few weeks before being “graduated” as GMs. They work a few weeks of months in the kitchen and do various jobs, but this does not help as they have not been at the very bottom level as a Team Member. But even Managers who started as TMs often turn very sour as I worked with two GMs who were some of the most difficult Managers I had.

The different job roles and how to progress on the ladder I cover in detail in the Pret Poets Society post. But as a short cut briefly:

The hierarchic order to rise up

  • Starting as TM
  • then HFC, Barista or TMT (or any other new job role Pret comes up with)
  • then as FL or KL
  • then as AMF or AMK
  • and finally on shop level as the GM.
  • Beyond this and outside of the shop it goes into area management levels / Operations Manager (OPs).

 

There are two types of Assistant Managers, as the shop in itself is like a business, and so is the kitchen. In larger busy shops there is the Assistant Manager for the shop floor (AMF), and the Assistant Manager for the kitchen (AMK). Smaller, less busy shops don’t have an AMF and sometimes not even an AMK to save on payroll costs. But this burdens down the Team Leaders as GMs often don’t care, are incapable to even do the ordering. When I returned from holiday many times, the shop stock room was a complete mess, over-ordered or missing stock because the GM filled in for my role and couldn’t do the ordering properly. Initially this was very shocking but also seems the norm. But when I as the Team Leader made a mistake on the ordering, there was immediate trouble from the Manager. No mercy while they themselves couldn’t even do the ordering.

Regarding the Operations Managers (OPs) for the areas, I am not concerned with them whose job it is to pressure the shop GMs, to pressure the FLs/KLs, to pressure the Teams. The typical pyramid of hierarchy trickling down with this “leadership” of fear management to reach higher “productivity” and profit. OPs like to sit in the pub during lunch time, visit some shops here and there to intimidate the hard working teams. They fly out to Dubai or if in the USA to Las Vegas, and throw their parties and receive their immense bonuses. So, I am not concerned with OPs managers who mostly don’t give a toss.

 

 

The following Reviews are just those who outed themselves as Assistant Manager, GM, HQ staff and who give an insight into upper and senior management from OPs to HQ.

 

 


 

The Reviews / Complaints

Leaving all mistakes in the reviews to keep it in their own words
and starting with the most recent reviews.

In each job role I highlight a few reviews that really hit the nail on the head.

 


 

 

AMF / AMK

 

20. Dec. 2017 LondonAvoid working thereToo much pressure working there , company expects you to do all your job within the time you are schedule but it is impossible , you will end up working hours for free, no work life balance at all , they have he mistery shipper but it is all a fake thing you can not control , the standards are so high the only thing it will drive is you stress everyday . Don’t work there . Cons: Extra hours not paid”

02. Aug. 2017 Manchester, EnglandRespect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

26. May 2017 NYCPure Misery – The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives. Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

11. Dec. 2013 NYC “Promotions bases on politics, inconsistency In polices , long hours”

09. Oct 2012 London “Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. Respect your team, be patient and keep cool under pressure. Be fair to your team members.”

 


Highlighted Review:

19. Nov. 2014 LondonWorst company to work forPret was the best company 10 years ago, they were more about the people and it was beat place to work. now the company is just about the profit also it is run like mafia organisation where it is about who you know, the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear, the way the company is going it will not last long.
Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”

 

 




 

GM

 

07. Juny 2018 A former Senior Manager’s response to my review:

 

GM response to LNG

 

 

03. Feb. 2018High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Mar. 2017Pret A Manger Reality – Long hours, inexperience Operation Managers.
Companhy values have been lost along do way, bonus scheme not very fair.
Pay raises no fair either,
You don’t get reward for results and work ethic, just if you have a close relationship with your Operation Manager, you are the new hot of the month.
Listen to your people more closely, massive turnover on Pret Managers at the moment and everyone just ignoring the reality, huge unhappiness amoung the managers.

Create and fair and competive process for development.

Opportunity Network for Pret employees, just another flawless (meant flawed) tool at pret, most of the vacancies have people already for them, they want to create an illusion you can develop yourself.

Focus on team members it’s essential, but managers dictated the success on your shops, and drive passion to the team.

HR doesn’t protect the managers.

PIP, pret Partners only people, whom have friends already in, not related if you can contribute to the company, just based on relationships.”

(NOTE: HR doesn’t protect anyone unless it suits Pret’s business.)


 

15. Nov. 2016 NYCToxic, low class, unprofessional culture – Racist, non-inclusive environment that upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore.” (NOTE: worth reading this review in full!)

 


Highlighted Review:

25. May 2016 USA  “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones.
Advise to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”


Highlighted Review:

31. Oct. 2015 NYCHorrible training, too many lies. Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.”


 

20. Apr. 2015 Chicago, IL “Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics. Favoritism with managementHiring is based on looks – All push with no supportNo integrity  – A lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo Your employees will respect you if you offer genuine support. It is all about what your shop looks like when the CEO is in town. Stop favoriting managers, no one respects you for it.”

 

01. Feb. 2014 “Great company in risk of ruin! Please get the bullies out and revive Pret to its former glory. Used to be the most amazing company to work for, a job to be proud of. Now your people work in fear…..its time to listen!

 

 

Scrolling to the 23 July 2012 at 12:53 comment, 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret and set the high target of 15% p/a to open all over the place in London specifically.

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 




 

 

HQ London or Offices in other countries

 

19. Dec. 2017 London Former IT Analyst: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

 

28. Feb. 2017 NYC Former Purchasing Director: “One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.

 

 


 

 

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

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

 

 

Pret Poets Society

 

Once I was a Team Leader
a customer feeder
a mental health pleader
for better work conditions

Then I became a help needer
a broken-hearted bleeder
fighting against the greeder
for better work conditions

But now I am just a reader
writing against the cheaters
in-between the tweeters
for better work conditions

©2018 poetrasblok.com

 

 

Clive Deer in the Headlights

 

Clive Schlee, I am glad that you are not my captain anymore!

 

 

Okay, a rather silly “poem” and start into a host of serious concerns from current and former Pret Employees. But in a more humorous and creative way, I decided to clean up the cluttered “Pret Staff Complaints” that has become like “poetry” to me, confirming the terrible work environment throughout the company, even beyond borders, that I survived. A “Club” of people hidden behind the PR[et] facade in the Pret-entious “Happy Factory”, who in their own distress can only out themselves anonymously in public via Employment Review sites and other online platforms. And even when they complain openly on Twitter, they risk their jobs as to publicly post online is not allowed in Pret since recent times. But when they do, they already tried to go via the appropriate channels without success, as the below Tweet so painfully shows.

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

Link

 

I aim to categorize reviews into each job role for an easier overview. As I used to be a Team Leader of the shop floor, also called Floor Leader (FL) and had my team’s welfare in mind, I start the categories from the bottom up in positions. I start the links to the reviews with team members, including those who did not specify their job role and continue through the “ranks” up until HQ reviews. The different job roles will be clearly marked and separated as well as briefly explained.

Yes, to some readers my repeated writing about Pret seems obsessive, and maybe it is, but after knowing my story for one I am not apologizing for being out-of-sync like this. And as I read through these staff complaints again, it becomes clear again how systemic and carefully thought out this is from the top leadership of Pret down to the shop floor, as the fish stinks from its head. Working on this again helps me understand what happened to me and why, as I still go through traumatic experience, anxiety, triggers etc.

My hope is that more staff become bold and speak out without fear, and especially join a Union. I was not in a Union as I never had problems at work anywhere until working in Pret. Having been bullied during bereavement and all the toxic things that happened, I was like a lamb amongst wolves, up for “slaughter”. I had to learn my lesson very hard, and will never work anywhere again without being in a Union!

 

 

Brief explanation on each role:

 

Team Member (TM) or Team Member Star (TM*) which just means a TM “graduated” after a few weeks to be a TM*, as Pret has a lot of complex procedures and patronizing graduations in place that is supposed to make TMs feel like they achieved something. That way they stay longer after having gone through many micromanaging levels that are actually completely unnecessary. But it’s very clever psychology.

TMs/TM*s have a burgundy belt and a white name badge. General Managers (GMs) and Assistant Managers (AMs) don’t wear uniform but their own chosen business clothes, initially paid for by Pret when they become AMs/GMs.

In order to rise through the ranks to eventually become Assistant Managers, General Managers and beyond, TMs have to go through the channels of becoming a Barista via being a Coffee Maker (Assistant to Baristas) with a black belt, shirt and name badge or a Hot Chef also called Hot Food Chef (HFC) with a red belt and name badge, or any other job role Pret creates. Of course this is a good idea, but the “graduation” process can often take way too long, as managers tend to procrastinate giving the appropriate pay-rise for each position, so they drag out the graduation process where the TM isn’t even trained properly while still doing that positions job for longer than required, still on TM pay.

One staff member makes this clear in a review and I myself had to draw the line when my then line manager kept postponing my graduation as a Team Leader, I said that I would quit if I am not graduated ASAP, which then happened that day when I drew the line. Part of the review which is very very common in Pret:

 

had me working as a barista for two years would not give me training so they do not have to pay me correctly

 

There used to be the job role of the Shift Runner, but that was discontinued, because Shift Runners weren’t as responsible as Team Leaders had to be. And Shift Runners were paid less than Leaders, so they didn’t care as much and the Team Leaders had to pick up the pieces.

On a side note, the HFC is the hardest job on Team Member level on the shop floor. They are often not well trained, thrust into the job, over worked and they never stop, whereas the Barista has the coffee rush in the morning for about 2 hours and a quieter lunch time on the coffee machines. The Hot Chef goes from stress level to stress level throughout their whole shift. It’s a back breaking job.

 

In the kitchen to climb through the ranks, a TM must become a Team Member Trainer (TMT) with the blue belt and name badge.

Only after they went through any or even all of these positions (as there is often a lack of the job role after staff leave) they can move further to become a Team Leader with a green belt and name badge.

 

There are two types of Team Leaders as well as two types of Assistant Managers, as the shop is like a separate business in itself, and so is the kitchen.

There is the Team Leader for the shop floor, also called Floor Leader (FL) and the Team Leader for the kitchen or also called Kitchen Leader (KL). But both wear green belts and name badges. Speaking as a former FL, knowing the responsibilities and having worked with many leaders, it becomes quickly clear if a leader is genuinely a good leader or if they take advantage of the role and teams, which unfortunately is the norm in Pret.

Team Leaders are often at polar opposites, rarely anything in between, they are either very hard working to breaking point where they deeply care, or they like to follow the example of bad management and sit in the office, shout at the team and rise up fast through favouritism, by equally flawed managers. Unfortunately the latter is the case in most shops. But rarely is there anything in between. And teams will know very quickly which “extreme” a Team Leader belongs to.

 

In larger busy shops there are two kind of Assistant Managers, for the shop floor (AMF) and for the kitchen (AMK). Smaller, less busy shops don’t have an AMF and sometimes not even an AMK to save on payroll costs, burdening down the Team Leaders as GMs often don’t care, are incapable to even do the ordering. When I returned from holiday many times the shop stock room was a complete mess, over-ordered or missing stock because the GM filled in for my role and couldn’t do the ordering properly. Initially this was very shocking but also seems the norm.

 

The FL and KL are the workers that really put in the hard work. They are like mini managers who do almost everything except hiring, firing and the rota. They do the ordering, often set the production, are responsible for health and safety and look after the team. They are overworked, underpaid and mostly blamed when things go wrong. Their job is so hard and they often don’t have help from the AMs and GMs, as most Managers like to “look” busy and important, but love to sit in the office, kiss up to senior management and kick down on staff. That’s why many Team Leaders are in a hurry to get promoted away from this stress.

 

One of the very rare customer comments on behalf of TMs:

 

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

This poor management style in Pret is enabled from the very top senior leadership in HQ, who know exactly how their leaders are. CEO Clive Schlee himself brags about how well he knows his managers in this video, and that is why he has no excuse on how the team members are treated! He is not able to say that he doesn’t know as he also visits shops regularly and makes himself approachable to TMs, who often complain directly to him or via his Twitter, risking getting fired for publicly outing their distress. But he does not change the terrible culture as the money keeps pouring in and he pockets £30 Million from the JAB take-over.

When I was going through the darkest, most hellish time in grief and on top being bullied by superiors, I was continuously being placed under bullying managers who supposedly cared. When the shouting didn’t work, they turned their bullying more subtle, by withholding information that I needed as a leader, not inviting me to leaders’ meetings and even Christmas dinner, holding me low with menial tasks, giving me the minimum hours even though I asked for more hours etc. In my traumatic state it took me many months to realize that this was on purpose. Clive Schlee and HR know their managers and placed me accordingly in hopes I would resign, as I was offered four settlements if I resign. There was no care nor interest to have me under empathetic or skilled leadership, or indeed away from the stressful shop atmosphere.

When I complaint to the CEO directly after not getting anywhere with managers and HR for almost a year, the Head of HR and Recruitment dealt with my situation a few times. He could have easily placed me in a quieter job anywhere in the company until I recuperated from my trauma. But he kept me with suppressing “leaders”, and only after much distance can I see how calculated this was.

 

This leadership style is then continued, trickling down through the ranks. So, TMs try to rise up the ladder to escape the horrendous pressure and stress, because they see how managers and even Team Leaders sit in the office. And the incentive of managers getting huge bonuses paid while stressing their staff.

I have seen countless times how good TMs who were very passionate, kind and hard working changed and got corrupted once they started growing into management levels, and attached themselves to this crowd of “leaders”.

I never wanted to be a manager even though I applied for Assistant Manager roles, but only to escape the bullying culture in shops. I was often asked through the years by many TMs why I wasn’t a manager, as I worked professionally, with skill and knowledge, and many customers often approached me with a query thinking that I was the manager until I pointed them to the plain clothes GM or AM. But I answered the question of why I was not a manager, very simple because I could not do what managers are pressured to do, cut hours and squeeze everything out of teams to maximize profit. And my TMs agreed and understood, as I was always helping my teams, encouraging them, supporting them, even when I was hectic myself at times.

 

So, this is the hierarchic order to rise up:

  • Starting as TM
  • then HFC, Barista or TMT (or any other new job role Pret comes up with)
  • then as FL or KL
  • then as AMF or AMK
  • and finally on shop level as the GM.
  • Beyond this and outside of the shop it goes into area management levels / Operations Manager (OPs).

But I am not concerned with those whose job it is to pressure the shop GMs to pressure the FLs/KLs to pressure the Teams, trickling down this hierarchy of fear management to reach higher “productivity” and profit which many of the below reviews mention as “modern day slavery”. OPs like to sit in the pub during lunch time, visit some shops here and there to intimidate the hard working teams. They fly out to Dubai or if in the USA to Las Vegas, and throw their parties and receive their immense bonuses. So, I am not concerned with OPs managers who most of them don’t give a toss.

Even though I want to start from the bottom up with TM reviews, I want to kick off with one former GMs review that makes it very clear how the “happy factory” really works. I really respect this person, as this is extremely rare that a GM leaves for the sake of the teams and their own integrity:

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

Scrolling to the 23 July 2012 at 12:53 comment, 4 years after Bridgepoint purchased Pret and set the high target of 15% p/a to open all over the place in London specifically.

 

 


 

The Reviews / Complaints

Leaving all mistakes in the reviews to keep it in their own words
and starting with the most recent reviews.

In each job role I highlight a few reviews that really hit the nail on the head.

 


 

 

TM/TM* or unspecified and mixed job roles

 

30. Oct. 2018 NYCGo back to the UK, PretI have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience, HR was mostly a joke, ‘leaders’ displayed zero initiative in mentorship of their teams…

 

 

July 2018 Review on YouTube towards the bottom from Branzinotito: 

Horrible Company Pret

 

27. June 2018 LondonI have worked there just 2 weeks and left. Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake.

25. June 2018 LondonBad management and not taking care about peopledo not give power to irresponsible people

13. June 2018Hellhole – … you treat people like they’re useless and worthless … get down from that high horse you’re on.”

21. May 2018 LondonPeople will dominate you until you feel like resigning the job.
Supervisors/Team Leaders treat you like a slave.”

15. May 2018you are not seen as human – even when you are having a bad day you must smile – fake atmosphere They treat you like a smiling robot slave that has no life outside of pret. People have come in for a coffee and a sandwich, not a 5 star Michelin restaurant experience, if thats what your going for pay your staff better.”

18. Apr. 2018 “lack of good organisation – management is a joke – numbers are more important than people”

13. Mar. 2018The management is terrible. Thassit.”

21. Jan. 2018 LondonWe have to be smiling a being polite to a bunch of unpolite people. At least give us the London Minimum Wage”

19. Jan, 2018 “too much work, poor leadership

12. Jan. 2018 LondonNever ever! I like Pret just because of people – colleges and because of free food, on the other hand most of the customers was rude and absolutely not thankful for service. I hate all managers,what work for Pret

03. Jan. 2018 Cheltenham, England “Management should do their job and not less”

23. Dec. 2017high rated company – low salary, too much pressure”

10. Dec. 2017super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like… horrible training and won’t listen to employees – Advise to Management: make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell

25. Oct. 2017 London “Will be leaving soon – Always messing up pay
– If you’re even 2mins late, ITS A BIG ISSUE! (& you will miss out on weekly bonus)
Expect too much from you (work you like a slave)
– Everyone speaks their own languages
Be more understand to staff needs
– Train managers regularly (especially with confidentiality)
– Employ more staff”

 


Highlighted Review:

18. Oct. 2017 London “Overworked environment – Cons: Many of them. People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings so all the company values presented in academy are just crap. Whats more they promote you for more advanced roles without paying you for that. So you become a barista or a hot chef and they delay sending you for a training to save money.
tart treating people like people.”


 

10. Oct. 2017 London “rude behaviour at the workplace (kitchen manager shouting at everybody) … The training should be more about encouraging people than about shouting and shaming them.”

06. Oct. 2017 NYC “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff.
– Immature workers
Slave-like environment
– Biased behavior
– Too strict on simple task
Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”

 


Highlighted Review:

03. Oct. 2017 NYC “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly (Mystery) shopper.
Welcome your employees, request a bigger staff
Also, managers shouldn’t be rude. If someone knocks on your door, answer politely and return the courtesy. Don’t leave your new team member working extra hours since the schedule wasn’t fully explained to them.”

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Sep. 2017 “Not kitchen, food factory – Sometimes the leaders forget that the team members are persons, not machines. Some leaders are lacking politeness, consistency and character. Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.”


 

11. Sep. 2017 NYC “Squandered opportunities – Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”

 


Highlighted Review:

06. Sep. 2017 Birmingham, England “Not sticking to contracted hours- giving you more when it suits them and giving u less when it suits them
Not sticking to actual job roles
You are a full time cleaner part time what you actually applied for
putting rotas up literally days before
changing rotas without informing you
had me working as a barista for two years would not give me training so they do not have to pay me correctly
Advise to Management: quit


 

28. Aug. 2017 “extremely rude co workers, unprofessional management, not properly trained however expected to know what you’re doing and smile while doing it.”

14. Aug. 2017 Edinburghmanagement have no clue how to manage people. train management team to reduce turnover.”

02. Aug. 2017 LondonSlavery for non British people. Good luck with Brexit!”

 


Highlighted Review:

23. July 2017 “The environment was very stressful as you’d imagine, however it always felt like you’re doing something wrong, even when you are trying your hardest. I didn’t feel I received enough training and when I asked for some more training I was told there’s no time at the moment for that, which made it even more difficult for me to be a better employee.
Working in a high demand environment like Pret can be difficult, this on it’s own will motivate the workers, there’s no need for added stress and pressure from the management.”


 

22. July 2017 LondonStrong favouritism – Only comfortable place to work if you belong to certain races – Should practice fair treatment to all staff… team leaders who all happened to be from the same country they came from… Team leaders act like they owe the shop and do and eat whatever they like and telling team member a list of food that not included in staff free food – Management should swap team leaders and managers to other branches

22. July 2017 London “Boring, lots of micromanaging, fairly low pay

15. Juni 2017 NYCVery bad management. They treat you like a slave. You have zero value for them. They don’t recognize your effort. They thread us and show the door if we don’t work very fast. I wonder what kind of manager training they give that manager treats people like crap.” (Little side note from me: There is no to little training, even an OPs who was one of the rare nice OPs, confirmed this once to me when I asked the OPs, as I tried desperately to understand why management in Pret is so appalling throughout the board!)

29. May 2017 “Bad experience – Manager was rude, short tempered and enjoyed shouting at employees. Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”

28. May 2017 “Cliquey environment… Horrible staff, didn’t care about anyone who wasn’t from the same cultural background and extremely dismissive management who were rude and unhelpful. ”

27. May 2017 “Bad managers… Learning to communicate politely is important.”

 


Highlighted Review:

23. May 2016 NYC

Pros: Hmmmm hard one. I would say free food. If it wasn’t for the 20 word min I wouldn’t have said anything else
Cons: Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership
Lack of leadership

Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs


 

07. May 2017 London “Management doesn’t listen or care. High staff turnover. You get paid very little for what you are expected to do. Invest more in team building and ensure proper training. Have proper career advancevent opportunities.”

 


Highlighted Review:

25. Apr. 2017Not for British people or young people. Very strict at some stores. Big divide between team leaders/managers and team members. Managers just want their massive bonus will work too like a slave. Relax it’s coffee and sandwichs”

(No it’s not coffee and sandwiches, it’s massive bonuses and huge profits)


 

17. Apr. 2017unskilled managers, racism, bad pay, they take advantage of staff

21. Mar. 2017 Londonlazy managers high demanding ops – Advise to management: take good care of the team”

10. Mar. 2017 LondonDon’t be so brainwashed and scared

10. Mar 2017 “Stress at work … poor management … Stress people less”

04. Feb. 2017Highly defensive personalities amongst management and very difficult to collaborate in order to improve and develop. I would advise more training for people in positions of responsibility.”

12. Jan. 2017strict hierarchy, …team leaders are bossing and frustrated – take it easy”

10. Oct. 2016 LondonIt’s a Trap – Huge stress. Never stops. Brute customers… Shouting all around. listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

10. Oct. 2016Stressful. It’s like a china factory. They ring a bell to tell you when they want you to clean or to go to the till, leader use to shout people.”

29. Sep. 2016Poorly trained management. Too much dependency on skillful employees.”

 


Highlighted Review:

26. Sep. 2016 LondonWorst first day experience – Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star – Cons: Management don’t speak one bit of English – Staff in the kitchen don’t speak English – It’s really hard to communicate – Lies about family team vibes – They don’t recruit you for your work ethic – Ethnic and racial issues (if you don’t believe me go to few stores ask who’s a white or black British in the team)
Hire British people
Practice English at work rather than using your language
And stop listening to your fella country boys or girls of their stupid feed back…


 

09. Sep. 2016 “Our manager sets up the rota. The only full-time person that is allowed to have a day off on weekends is her, that’s it. Very, very unfair. Weekend is the worst period of the week when we have loads of customers and complaints that we have to deal with.

01. Sep. 2016 “If youre young and look young (im 17) they will be difficult with youre last payment
They always make mistakes like ‘adjust the rota’ resulting in me not being able to work
They dont tell you what you’re entitled to food wise
Some of the management are rude or never show up
The team leaders make younger employees do the worst jobs

09. Aug. 2016 “There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then? You just have to learn as you go from your colleagues”

23. Mar. 2016Years – Takes advantage of your kindness

07. Mar. 2016 UKI just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truthI want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE.

03. Jan. 2016 USASlave work, they ask for a lot of work for a little bit of pay… food isn’t actually natural Be kinder to your employees they are not slaves

22. Dec. 2015 LondonThe other team members are really nice and welcomingManagers are a pain

11. Nov. 2015 Londonthey need slaves for work and they are very bad – manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office

16. Oct. 2015 “Bad management who talk to staff rudely, and yet don’t do their jobs properly”

 


Highlighted Review:

04. Dec. 2015 LondonBrainwash, Control, Never stop, Last time shift – Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!


 

15. Oct. 2015 NYC “Great Things Preached, Not Always Practiced – Relies too heavily on UK influence, and has difficulty adjusting to American tastes and culture. If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”

11. Oct. 2015 NYC “Sandwich artist – Terrible hours and poor management and training some people are complete jerks to the new people the expect you to know how everything is made in less than a week of starting the job” (Sandwich “artist”? Pret’s American slogans… LOL)

01. Sep. 2015 London “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!”

26. July 2015 London “Nothing you do there is appreciated… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.”

23. June 2015 Part-timer: “management talks to you with little respect.”

 


Highlighted Review:

20. June 2015 NYC “Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. Sometimes they want you to do more then your job description. Paperwork is excessive at times. Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”


 

28. May 2015 “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others – think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team and the shop to be successful, or fail in profits and likeability

24. Mar. 2015 LondonIf you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for Pret Early hours – Being bullied – Total disregard for health and safety – Being made to feel incompetentWorked into the ground without empathy

18. Mar. 2015 “Lack of accountability … Poor management

04. Mar. 2015Hell job for minimum salary.”

26. Dec. 2014Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had – Pretty much everything is a con -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes –terrible management -really unflexible schedule

25. Dec. 2015 “Long hours, unrealistic expectations, high pay – Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours – Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution

 


Highlighted Review:

07. Jan. 2015 NYCSpoiled, selfish upper management has ruined it for the rest. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them.
get over yourselves.”


 

26. Dec. 2014Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had –Cons: Pretty much everything is a con -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule”

 

15. Dec. 2014 London “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends was very rude to me, calling me stupid … There is a a HUGE pressure on having a BUZZ in the shop, which made me feel like a clown and also in my opinion made very fake atmosphere in the shop.

03. Dec. 2014Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

11. Nov. 2014 NYCHorrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave

31. Oct. 2014 London “not a good culture. every manager dictates his values to the team.”

13. Oct. 2014 LondonAbuse of power most part of the timesIncorrect wadges, my management doesn’t know what is a calculator or how to read a rota correctly – Pret does rules for itself but it doesn’t mean that you have the right to don’t follow the ones made from doctors or the state, management in my shop has a lack of professionalism.

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Oct. 2014 “There’s too much pressure.They overwork their staff with little compensation.Any bad move and you lose the bonus, and the work in the kitchen is incredibly difficult and they stay past their schedule but they don’t get anything for it.Pret used to be about having a happy staff and happy costumers, now it’s just about the money. They keep feeding people this image of “happiness, good times, best place in the world!!” that when you really start working there you become very surprised and disappointed.I quit my job just after 3 weeks because I was feeling physically sick and they gave me insane shifts to do without my permission.
If you see that people are overworked and they can’t keep up with the standards, hire more staff!And there are too many irrational rules to follow.When the staff says that something is “unfair” or “impossible to do” don’t just say “that’s how things work at Pret”.”


 

31. Aug. 2014 NYCthe management dont really care about employees and all the things they have to do to make them happy
they are always on your back about things that is usually their fault
benefits suck..take about half your paycheck
follow way too many standards
get retrained

01. Aug. 2014 London “Too much pressure… Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties… In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position

 


Highlighted Review:

30. July 2013Brainwashed sandwich makingThe company is trying to brainwash you, they expect you to give up your life and be ready for Pret 24/7; they want to use you.
There are a lot of favouritism, which leads to promoting incompetent people to more senior roles.
The salary system is completely unfair; people who work for the company for 5,6,7,etc. years get the same salary as a someone who just started a few months ago.
The management expects you to do the workload of 2 or 3 people, including doing their job sometimes.
It’s not the NASA, just a sandwich shop, where human beings work, not robots.”


 

07. July 2014 NYC “long shifts, a lots of heavy lifting and horrible managment

24. Apr. 2014Great perks that come with a price – They expect perfection
– High stress levels when understaffed … – Very little to no leniency on rules”

 


Highlighted Review:

18. Dec. 2013They will hire you even if you do not know the language Your thoughts are worthless, you are there to keep up with the work. If you want to promote you better be ready to not have a personal life years…..55hours a week to show you are worthy.”
(NOTE: Hiring people who don’t know English is so they won’t know their rights nor where to complain to)


 

08. Oct. 2013 NYCPret was a stressful and busy job that seeks perfection and expects you to actually be perfect

 

22. Sep. 2013

“Good place to work…at first

 

29. March 2013 NYC “Heavy workload, borderline demeaning, discrimination. Maybe a bit more respect towards your employees?”

02. Oct. 2012 “hard hard working culture, to much pressure to be working 100% every sec. make it easy”

20. Apr. 2012 LondonThe moral is terrible and … being overworked. The idea of proper training is also rediculousMost people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough

16. Aug. 2011Carelessunderstaffed. and unfair decisions made by management. most of your employees don’t look forward to working there because you are staring them down every second. they make one little mistake that doesn’t affect the restaurant what so ever and act like it’s the biggest deal ever. happy employees make happy customers.”

21. July 2011Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”

19. July 2011 NYCManagement is very incompetent. It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations or even customer relations for that matter. Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you.” (The full review says everything!)

 


Highlighted Review:

04. July 2011Poor senior leadership due to lack of experience … Promotion and staff recognition based on personal favourites rather than competence and experience. Quite clicky. Favouritism at the top has to stop and start to recognise talent at middle management. Like the social hierarchy, this sphere of the staff population seems to be the ones who get screwed over the most, often talented individuals are overlooked for promotion.”


 

~~~~~~~~~~

20. Apr. 2011 A woman’s review on her husband who worked in Pret:

“Interesting comments. My husband now works for pret and is being treated so badly by his area manager. I am astounded that they can get away with it. It seemed like such a nice place to work but it’s like some kind of sect… ”

My response: they get away with it because it is systemic and they are trained to treat staff like this, for more and more profit.

— 4 months later: —

“Further to my previous comment  about my husband having problems with his area manager. They stitched him up good and proper and fired him…this was done in such a way that they found a couple of things to hang him on which wouldn’t normally result in him being sacked. They clearly did all of this because he was going to put in a grievance against his area manager for bullying (he was talked out of this and thought it had all smoothed over) and then wham! The company disgusts me – how they could treat an employee with a wife and 2 small children like that I don’t know. The management of this company are pure evil.”

Response to above review:

“Regarding the area manager, yeah they just sit on their fat bums all day, and email on their phones or look at stupid graphs. End of the day its about increasing sales, meeting targets and reducing labour. They will always cover there own backs first, to watch there bonuses, and not care about the workers.

A lot of managers i have met, are complete arrogant snobs, that know nothing about even running a store, yet alone trying to explain things to you, they sit on there high throne, and blah blah blah things.”

~~~~~~~~~~

 

08. Jan 2011 “DISCRIMINATION in PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”

 


2008 Review that shows it has always been like this in Pret!

 

Highlighted Review:

05. Sep. 2008 “I’m an ex-Pret employee so have direct experience of this engagement. I can vouch for the truth in Sam’s comments. The happy people philosophy was one I always adopted when recruiting new people and it made a difference to the way that we worked.
The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”

NOTE: My response to this review, the person left in 2008 out of frustration, I started in Pret in May 2008 and can only say in all fairness to Pret, that it’s gotten worse.


 

 




 

HFC

 

11. Mar. 2018 London “Hot Chef – setting up the hot food production, dealing with sales and wastage as well as taking many responsabilities. Pressure and plenty of targets.”

 


Highlighted Review:

21. Jan. 2018 London “Really hard work with Really bad management, it’s same in all shops, people think that a job there is a challenge making bad to the other colegue. Hot chef position has lots of stress, pressure – Be human. It’s not your own business.” (Bingo!)


 

31. Oct. 2016 LondonWorst place – The team is nice, some team leaders are stupid and rude…! Management lives in another world. Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”

22. Feb. 2016 NYCSome managers are very anal! Listen to your employers suggestions!!”

 




 

Barista / Coffee Maker

01. Nov. 2018 NYC “horrible management – 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.

12. June 2018 NYCNothing but aggravation and a discriminating HRfire the HR staff you have now and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate”

22. May 2018 Royal Tunbridge Wells, EnglandPoor – Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation. ”

 

Feb. 2018 London (scrolling down)

James Ashword video comment by Hailey Hyein Lee

 

Same Video:
Perat A Manger London video comment by Budai Andrea

 

Same Video:
Perat A Manger London video comment by Logic 2000

 

05. Dec. 2017 LondonDear 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.

 

12. July 2017 “Over worked and Aweful Mangers – *everyone complains how much they hate this job *managers dont care about standards (manager was too lazy … (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)

12. July 2017 “If you want to follow the company standards, you need to have enough labor. Do not kill your employees.”

24. June 2017 LondonPoor management, really short breaks, work longer hours, not equal distribution of tasks for cleaning/closing shop.”

19. Dec. 2016 Edinburgh “Would not recommend … Managers do not care about they team. Never get 2 days off in a row. Practice favoritism”

13. Mar. 2016 “Hard work all the time and high pressure – More people-orientated management needed in the shop”

16. Nov. 2015 NYC “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.”

 


Highlighted Review:

16. Nov. 2015 NYCThe management plays favorites more often than not. Also, if you are overweight, older, or unattractive you can forget about even getting past the interview stage (exception often made for relatives of said favorites or management). Key roles and shift leaders must have open availability, which makes it impossible to have other employment. Overtime isn’t allowed often, and managers often send employees home early if it looks like that 40 hour mark will be passed.
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.”


 

 


Highlighted Review

29. Sep. 2015 LondonThe Brainwash is real. Better salary than McDonalds or Costa as long as you keep your fake smile up. – Staff with more experience cuts corners on Sanitary rules because otherwise it is impossible to finish your batch on time.
– The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. … (A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period). Get some proper training regarding real people skills.


 

12. May 2015 Chicago, ILjust terribleDiscriminatory management
Unprofessional atmosphere
Osha standards not met
Very Low pay
Abusive staff
Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”

 

 




 

TMT

 

20. June 2018 LondonNot for sensitive peopleVery stressfull environment (especially at back of house) Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed

 


Highlighted Review:

13. Apr. 2018 London “Fun, but stressful and not worth itUnattainable goals
Very short breaks / irregular – Poor management and under-trained
Pret A Manger has cut down on staff so theres more a lot more of things to do and not enough staff to do everything, so employees are being worked harder.
Management do not have sympathy or care for employees. Managers only focus on their goals and tasks.


 

27. Apr. 2017Work like robot, disorganisation… Listen more to your employees’ needs”

08. Sep. 2016 “Lots of pressure, and work colleagues shouting at you. Starting the shift at 5am. I haven’t got paid. There’re too many opportunities in London so don’t end up working here. They should take care a bit more of their employers.”

 


Highlighted Review:

20. May 2016 LondonClear talking is just marketing: if they have a bad opinion about you, forget any clear feedback.
A lot of pressure. The workload can be very challenging especially compared with the wage.
With a bossy manager your life might become really hard and sickening.
The coffee calling system is messy during busy hours, I stopped thinking to step up as a barista because of that.
I do not give any advice to management, they are always right of course.”


 

20. Jan. 2016 London “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”

01. Feb. 2015 London “This company pays better than most other coffee and sandwich chains, but it expects you to do a lot in return. You are supposed to be happy and smile at all times.”

12. June 2013 Washington, DC “Listen to your employees, some have great potential that needs to be channeled not blocked

07. Dec. 2010 “Very hard work – No support and respect from Manager

 




 

FL / KL

 


Highlighted Review:

06. Feb. 2018 London “- huge pressure especially on the higher positions
working overhours without being paid, no breaks (happened to me only while working on the Team Leader position)
lack of recognition from your own manager elimitates the opportunity of growth (basically only your own manager can push you up on the career ladder and the reasons for promotions really often seems to be based on personal preferences)”
Definetely have a deeper insght into the progression situation within the shops. You lose lts of amazing people just because they stay unrecognized due to personal preferences of manager.


 

29. Nov. 2017 LondonLook after your people and figures will look after themselves.

17. Oct. 2017 London “Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability. …managers that come externally, as most of the time, their personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”

14. Oct. 2017Slavery hasn’t been abolished. Early starts, rude staff. kitchen leaders are disrespectful. Improve how staff are treated.”

31. Jan. 2017Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians

13. Nov. 2016 LondonManagement bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often The £1 bonus is often used as a threat to keep people in line
I would recommend joining a union
Team Members deserve london living wage from a company that has the means to supply it.”

02. Nov. 2016Promotion can be down to who you know not what you know.”

06. Aug. 2016 LondonMost of the managers are really difficult, they forgot where they come from, please treat the people as human beings, We know the profit and your career are important but you don’t have to be rude.”

19. Mar. 2016 “Bad management – Rotas never placed in advance – Treat people like human beings”

 


Highlighted Review:

08. Sep 2015 NYC Shift Leader: “hours are constantly changing
pay doesn’t match time sheet
a lot of call outs
team members are constantly training themselfs
train team members longer make sure they are avail to handle the rush”


 

15. Nov. 2014 NYC Shift Runner: “Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. I strongly suggest a Labor Union!, so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”

27. June 2013 Kingston upon Thames, England “Tends to get very stressfull during busy periods with lots of pressure from the management … sometimes late payment of the over time, working 8days in a row according the rota, calls to come to work on your day off … it would be great if employees wont be treated only as a work force that helps make money” (Side-note, this Team Leader sounds like one of the hard working ones who cares a lot and is always called and overworked.)

 




 

AMF / AMK

 

20. Dec. 2017 LondonAvoid working thereToo much pressure working there , company expects you to do all your job within the time you are schedule but it is impossible , you will end up working hours for free, no work life balance at all , they have he mistery shipper but it is all a fake thing you can not control , the standards are so high the only thing it will drive is you stress everyday . Don’t work there . Cons: Extra hours not paid”

02. Aug. 2017 Manchester, EnglandRespect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

26. May 2017 NYCPure Misery – The kitchen staff is treated like slaves. They are expected to do the impossible. The upper management is a bunch of heartless, evil British monsters that take credit for all the positives and assign blame for all the negatives. Quit your jobs and go back to England and stay there.”

11. Dec. 2013 NYC “Promotions bases on politics, inconsistency In polices , long hours”

09. Oct 2012 London “Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. Respect your team, be patient and keep cool under pressure. Be fair to your team members.”

 


Highlighted Review:

19. Nov. 2014 LondonWorst company to work forPret was the best company 10 years ago, they were more about the people and it was beat place to work. now the company is just about the profit also it is run like mafia organisation where it is about who you know, the team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear, the way the company is going it will not last long.
Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.”


 

 




 

GM

 

07. Juny 2018 A former Senior Manager’s response to my review:

 

GM response to LNG

 

 

03. Feb. 2018High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance

 


Highlighted Review:

11. Mar. 2017Pret A Manger Reality – Long hours, inexperience Operation Managers.
Companhy values have been lost along do way, bonus scheme not very fair.
Pay raises no fair either,
You don’t get reward for results and work ethic, just if you have a close relationship with your Operation Manager, you are the new hot of the month.
Listen to your people more closely, massive turnover on Pret Managers at the moment and everyone just ignoring the reality, huge unhappiness amoung the managers.

Create and fair and competive process for development.

Opportunity Network for Pret employees, just another flawless (meant flawed) tool at pret, most of the vacancies have people already for them, they want to create an illusion you can develop yourself.

Focus on team members it’s essential, but managers dictated the success on your shops, and drive passion to the team.

HR doesn’t protect the managers.

PIP, pret Partners only people, whom have friends already in, not related if you can contribute to the company, just based on relationships.”

(NOTE: HR doesn’t protect anyone unless it suits Pret’s business.)


 

15. Nov. 2016 NYCToxic, low class, unprofessional culture – Racist, non-inclusive environment that upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore.” (NOTE: worth reading this review in full!)

 


Highlighted Review:

25. May 2016 USA  “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones.
Advise to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”


Highlighted Review:

31. Oct. 2015 NYCHorrible training, too many lies. Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.”


 

20. Apr. 2015 Chicago, IL “Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics. Favoritism with managementHiring is based on looks – All push with no supportNo integrity  – A lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo Your employees will respect you if you offer genuine support. It is all about what your shop looks like when the CEO is in town. Stop favoriting managers, no one respects you for it.”

 

01. Feb. 2014 “Great company in risk of ruin! Please get the bullies out and revive Pret to its former glory. Used to be the most amazing company to work for, a job to be proud of. Now your people work in fear…..its time to listen!

 

23. July 2012 “I am an ex GM (10 years service) I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.”

 




 

HQ London or Offices in other countries

 

19. Dec. 2017 London Former IT Analyst: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

28. Feb. 2017 NYC Former Purchasing Director: “One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.

 


 

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

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

 

 

2. Quote of the Day #63 – Penalize A Funeral

 

colorful-candles-3768442__340

 

The second quote also from NY crushes me, as I have been through this and it almost ended my life. My regular readers know my story, but for new readers the below review of a former NY employee from days ago does not surprise me, even while I tear up when reading this review as it brings back traumatic memories. I was bullied during bereavement, and even while completely traumatized I was still trying to bring suggestions via HR for Pret to have support for bereaved employees in place. But unbeknown to me at the time, and in a complete fogged up state on autopilot, my approaching HR put a target on my back, which I write on my blog extensively.

As I tried to come to terms about my brother’s death and on top of that the turmoil at work, I applied for my file as I wanted to understand what was happening and why? I didn’t realize when I applied for my file under the Data Protection Act 1998, that this also involved emails between HR and managers about me. I assumed my employee file just involved regular notes that a line manager might have made about employees, to pass information on to another line manager when the employee gets transferred or promoted. I had a very difficult manager before my brother died, who would even sabotage me when I tried to transfer away from her shop. I had this thought that she may have written something detrimental about me that made the following managers dis-favourable towards me.

But that wasn’t the case and what I was confronted with, apart from the sheer size of approximately over 1000 pages, which included many repeats, were emails between HR and managers who were stumbling around without clear direction, no steady leadership, no policy on how to support bereaved employees. One email that struck me was from a People Business Partner (PBP) who responded to an email from an HR advisor who was the note taker of my first grievance appeal’s hearing against a line manager who bullied me openly. The HR advisor brought my concerns forward and the PBP even agreed that Pret could improve on supporting bereaved employees. This and other emails often were written to just have a paper trail of supposedly being supportive, anything else was communicated on the phone or in person.

But this HR advisor was the most professional HR person I have come across in Pret. In the hearing she was completely quiet and just took the notes, but I could see in her face that she cared when I described my turmoil with the line manager who bullied me. She cared enough to pass my concerns on to this PBP and in all her dealings with me after the hearing I felt she was extremely professional and cared. I learned later that she left Pret, and I was crushed that all the good people seemed to be leaving. Of course people move on, but with the top leadership of HR I constantly felt with my back against the wall and like in a Twilight Zone.

The email, I added the pink description on who’s who and underlined in yellow:

 

 

2015-10-22 Chris Walsh & Laura re SUPPORT

 

This PBP (#2) several months later was the note taker of an appeal’s hearing I raised against another PBP (#1) who was in the background advising the area manager who targeted me. I raised the grievance based on the evidence of the emails from my file. Of course raising a grievance against anyone from HR, especially a PBP is a waste of time, but I was just out-of-sync trying to go through the right channels to not only improve my situation, but that of all employees. In the appeal’s hearing I confronted this PBP (#2) about the above email, where he agreed that Pret could improve on supporting employees who suffer loss, but he then said that in hindsight he could have made a mistake! For the sake of his colleague PBP (#1), he changed his mind and the game continued… I wrote an open letter to him as well, which was a waste of time as well of course, but this needs to be in the open.

 

Today’s 2nd quote of the day from a former NY employee makes it clear to me again that Pret not only doesn’t learn its lessons, but Pret does not care whatsoever about employees, unless it serves PR. And even while I am not surprised anymore, this review has me in tears and my heart racing from remembering my ordeal.

I confronted Clive Schlee, CEO again on this with a tweet where he tweeted about plastic issues another Twitter person raised. But the CEO then deleted his tweet minutes after I tweeted. I know I tweet a lot, but people suffer and become suicidal and Pret under the leadership of Clive Schlee does business as usual and goes full steam ahead.

The time of the Tweet is American time, not UK.

 

2018-11-04 Clive deleted his Tweet

Link

 

 

The NY review quote:

“management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral people who were stealing still work there but call out & youre fired”

 

 

2018-11-01 Funeral

01. Nov. 2018 NY

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

1. Quote of the Day #62 – Pret A Noxious

 

I decided to do two “quotes of the day” today as they are both from New York within days of each other.

 

 

dirty-water5

 

Full review as Quote of the Day:

 

Go back to the UK, Pret
I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience, HR was mostly a joke, ‘leaders’ displayed zero initiative in mentorship of their teams, roles were unclear and the company had tunnel vision on decision making based on the opinion of one or two people who paid little attention to local market data.

 

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

30. Oct. 2018 NY

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

 

 

 

My Brother

 

His name is Thomas, he isn’t with us anymore, but his name is still Thomas, that will never change.

 

When I started this website and blog I started it as poetrasblok.com, which still runs under this name as well as now also under LateNightGirl.org

Initially I only wrote about my brother as only poetrasblok with poems and videos I made for him and posted on this site. But after my ordeal with Pret A Manger, having also lost my father in March 2018 as well, I started to add the latenightgirl URL to write about my traumatic experience in Pret and show another side behind the PR[et] facade that almost ended my life.

Even while I dislike having my brother’s memory share one website with my Pret ordeal, I will eventually turn this site back to re-upload some of the poems and videos, and solely write about my brother as well as life in general. As this site has become quite large I periodically hide post entries that don’t seem important at a certain time, so that readers won’t be cluttered with too many blog entries to sieve through, and are lead to posts faster that I find important to share.

I currently don’t have the finances to start a second website for solely my Pret experience, and don’t have the strength to work on two website simultaneously at the moment. But in time I will separate the two sites, as my brother deserves his own space and website in his memory, and not share space with this toxic, greedy and dishonest company that is Pret A Manger.

At times my writings seem angry or bitter to the reader, that may be, but I am not apologizing for it. I almost lost my life in Pret after having worked with integrity, care and skill for almost 10 years. And all that happened to me was that my brother died, and I then became an inconvenience to Pret. My writing helps me overcome this trauma, and at the same time expose this company for what they really are.

 

Why I became a “late night girl”

 

In memory of my brother.

 

 

animated-candle-gif-29

 

»It’s OK«  Tom Rosenthal

 

14 TK crop

Thomas K. *25.02.1969 – 09.12.2014

 

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department

 

… and how it poisoned me. What I have survived in a workplace that only cares for profit and the rest is just PR, has traumatized me so much on top of going through personal loss already. I have not dealt with this how I wished I would have, but I had no tools and am still learning how best to deal with this. I haven’t even started to come to terms about my brother and have lost myself in darkness and fear where I couldn’t see right from left.

Even with all the distance now to Pret and a lot of thoughts in hindsight, if I wouldn’t have all this in writing I would still shake my head in disbelief as if I just came out of a long and twisted Hollywood movie.

Regular readers know the story, so this will be a repeat, sorry for this, but I am still recovering and working through it all with the help of Therapy as well as sieving through the writings, emails etc. But I want to move away from writing in metaphors. I used metaphors a lot like the “Pret A Monkey Business” post to help me cope with the blunt memory of this “experience” that had me almost killed and try to make sense what happened and why.

 

head-1597565__340

 

I want to describe what to me was the greatest perversion I have experienced in Pret, twisted chain of events I have never experienced in my life anywhere. I lived in three countries, traveled in more, lived and worked with countless people from all walks of life, from various countries, of different ages. I worked in several companies, mostly in the hospitality and service industry, had relationships, friendships, colleagues, bosses and had my share of betrayal and disappointments, like everyone. But I never ever experienced the level of trauma, intrigue and viciousness I experienced in Pret. This is something I would expect in a law firm and certainly in politics, but a sandwich chain?? Maybe because I never experienced such dishonesty and trickery, I fell for it so easily. But I need to be kinder with myself and not keep blaming myself. Even if I would have experienced anything close to it, I was so traumatized already with the loss of my brother, which in itself was so out of this world, weird, unclear, with puzzle pieces I still have to put together.

Not having known for 5 weeks that he was dead and completely gone, already cremated without our consent in a country as efficient as Germany with its ID system, for us not being found still has me paralyzed how this could even happen. I recently found a video on YouTube where a family in the U.S. went through a similar event, losing a family member, not knowing that he died and was already cremated! I am not consoled that this happened to this family, but not feeling alone in a nightmare like this does help a little.

From the get go of my loss and all the terrible circumstances around it, I had not only no support in Pret apart from the basic stuff the company offers and then later when I contacted the CEO, but I was bullied in shop after shop as this is an issue with leadership which I also listed on one page from other current and former staff members. If a company does not have a clear policy for bereaved employees in place, like it has for pregnant women’s health and safety, a clear stand on homophobic and other discrimination issues, than managers are left to themselves. They have to figure out what to do, and most managers are overwhelmed, not trained, have no confidence which then manifests in leadership avoiding the bereaved at best and get angry at worst, or both. I went through it all.

Early on I approached HR informally to “help” them, where in reality I desperately needed help! I gave suggestions, even looked online for material and passed it on to HR, to managers and to area managers. But in my naive attempt to help them help me, I did not realize how uncomfortable the subject of death and grief is. A bereaved employee, especially if the loss is traumatic, quickly becomes an inconvenience.

Jimmy Edmonds from The Good Grief Project earlier this year shared in a Q&A in cinema where his film about grief was shown, that in Victorian times people frequently spoke about death, dying and grief. It was completely acceptable and normal to talk about death. But it was taboo to talk about sex. And today it’s the complete opposite. With the Good Grief Project they produce films, and travel to share and hear experiences of grief. They make the subject of death, dying and grief accessible in this day and age where we hide from this subject that will come to us all sooner or later. But they don’t do this in a gloomy way, I for one find it very relieving, and paradoxically lively the way they deal with this. It takes the sting out of this inevitable issue.

I wish I’d known their project early on in my own grief and in trying to find my way around the Pret maze where it felt like I was going through a war zone emotionally, and every step I took in a mine field could have been explosive, as it was many times.

I shared in several posts the different situations and bullying I went through. In a nutshell it was everything except physical and sexual violence. But I was shouted at repeatedly by different managers, as this is very common in Pret. I was avoided, not invited to leaders’ meetings, even a leader’s Christmas dinner days after my dad woke from his coma and I returned to London to earn money to visit him again, I wasn’t invited to the dinner. I wasn’t given information that I needed to do my job and when I made a mistake I was solely blamed. I was told off in front of my team as well as in group emails where the area manager was constantly copied in. It didn’t matter how I turned, it was always wrong and I felt with my back against the wall.

In all this I kept blaming myself mixed with the guilt of having let my brother down and silly things like not having replied to his last email to me five weeks before he died. The regret of not having emailed him back, and then five weeks after he died having received the news of his death via an email, all the group emails that my then line manager sent where he told me off several times or blamed me, and then later the emails I read between HR and managers about me. With all these email incidences I started to spiral into an ill emailing sprint that lasted many months.

It became so out of hand that I cried out to a line manager who just shrugged it off and even laughed with the leadership team. I brainstormed with therapist after therapist on how to stop this sickness, they couldn’t even diagnose what this is. Clive Schlee, CEO would later label me his “late night girl” to the Director of HR, due to late night emails to Pret (as well as my friends, therapists, anyone). He had a laugh two months before I was dismissed for emailing. I couldn’t stop, I went into a writing cramp again with my dad in a coma, coming to terms with another blow. I only started to come out of this writing cramp when I started this blog.

But the perversion I am speaking about really got to its peak when HR tasked a Development Manager from HQ to give me a disciplinary for the emailing. Up until then the Head of HR & Recruitment would deal a lot with my situation, after I contacted the CEO who then put the Head of HR on my case, as the bullying increased and no manager knew how to be normal, let alone empathetic. I approached HR and managers for almost a year, but was constantly sent away. One particular People Business Partner was heavily involved and already part from the beginning in my first approach to make suggestions to HR. I later raised a grievance against him after I read his emails and his involvement when I applied for my file. But of course it was a waste of time. I was just extremely out-of-sync.

I even apologized for a nervous breakdown I had two days before the first anniversary of my brother’s death, where the same line manager who would tell me off in the group emails and blame me constantly, rebuked me again in front of my team, and I just broke down.

But approaching HR and any leader didn’t help, I was sweet-talked and sent away … again. And I kept apologizing even though I had nothing to apologize for but needed an apology from those who targeted me for months under the guidance of HR. This was then when I finally contacted the CEO, something by the way one can see on Twitter keeps happening where employees contact Pret openly because they don’t get help from their managers or HR.

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet2

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet3

Link

 

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

 

Link

 

And one just from yesterday:

 

2018-11-01 Homophobic Complaint1

Link

 

— & — Pret’s generic response because it’s public:

 

2018-11-02 Homophobic Complaint deleted2

 

I know, I know, I tweet a lot 😉 But the reason for this is that most people still don’t understand the turmoil and because I gave Pret the benefit of the doubt time and time again while they had a laugh and I almost killed myself! The tweeting will eventually cease.

 

But because my concerns and trauma with the managers where constantly ignored or I was sent away, I went into extensive emailing which increased when I drank as I couldn’t cope with the grief and what happened at work. Later I applied for my file as I tried to understand why this happened to me, and one email had me shocked, one of many emails that had me shocked, but this one was from an HR Advisor who was at first involved in trying to put me on performance targets that would lead to disciplinaries, and a disciplinary quickly leads to dismissal, even though I performed extremely well, especially under traumatic bereavement on autopilot. This among the other emails between HR and managers, the email bringing me the news of my brother’s death and the group emails from a line manager had me spiral into emailing, which I explain extensively in another blog entry.

In this email from the HR Advisor to the area manager, the HR person is trying to come up with a plan but wants to first liaise with the PBP who was involved from the beginning and was present in the first informal meeting where I approached HR with suggestions. The HR Advisor even writes that she thinks that my “case” is going to be “very complicated”, meaning because I am bereaved they cannot just get rid of me, at least cut me down from my leadership position, as this would be blunt discrimination and would not look good on the company.

Side note, this HR Advisor later changed direction when she heard MY side for the first time and raised my experience as a grievance against this area manager to whom she wrote that my case would be complicated. But in the grievance hearing she wasn’t present even though she said she would be, which started a whole host of confusion and deeper trauma. This email is a response from the HR person to the area manager who forwarded my email, where I asked for a meeting with my line manager and area manager as the bullying got worse. But not only were they never willing to sit down and speak openly to clear up any misunderstanding there may have been, but they were then even advised by HR to not have any meetings with me until further notice:

 

2015-08-24-complicated-case-with-plan.jpg

 

Quote for larger print: “Thanks for sending this (my email asking for a meeting) through. I have a few ideas of how to proceed but as I think this is going to be a very complicated case I’ll pick up with XXXX (the PBP involved since the beginning) tomorrow and will get back to you very soon. In the meantime, please can you and XXX (line manager) avoid having any formal/informal meeting with XXX (me) until I get back to you with a plan of how to proceed with this.”

 

This area manager who targeted me for months, using this line manager and other leaders from the area, would not meet with me, even before this HR person’s request to avoid any meeting with me. She only had one meeting where she held an “informal” meeting while taking notes that she emailed me after the meeting, and in the meeting gave me a list of things that she wasn’t happy with. But this list was completely banal and it looked very obvious that she was targeting me for the tiniest thing, whereas my colleagues made much bigger and more serious mistakes. It was ridiculous, but it traumatized me further because I felt like no matter how I turned, there was a trap laid out. And up until that time the HR Advisor only had the PBP and the area manager’s version of events, until she heard my side and then raised it as a grievance against these managers. But the grievance hearing, the first of many, was a joke, which I cover partly in other blog posts in a sarcastic way where Pret has all these “How To Cards” for every peep and poop micromanaging the staff. I just turned it around.

 

Fasting forward, after all my emailing and the continued bullying where I continued to be avoided, not given important info, not invited to meetings, my hours cut to minimum, even though I was desperate to work more as my finances were low since my brother died. I used all my savings for travel, bills etc. I became suicidal and had several close calls where I would leave work to go home but headed straight for the bridge.

HR then came up with the most perverse “plan” that I still have to get my head around. I scratched on this and wrote extensively, but more in metaphors to come to terms. Using a Development Manager to give me a disciplinary, she told me in the hearing that she also had a brother who died in his flat and was not discovered until days later. Just like my brother. Our stories are so similar that I broke and embraced the disciplinary assuming Pret now really supports me. I was so ill with the emailing and wanted to get away from this writing cramp, that I felt supported after all the pretense support since involving the CEO. I even improved and moved away from emailing for a while as I bought this trick thinking they supported me. But in reality they stepped on her and my dignity, using a bereaved employee against another bereaved employee, especially with such similar stories (if it’s true, I don’t even know anymore). Instead of getting us connected to support each other in our common grief which they could have easily done, they just used her against me. I still feel sick to my stomach even while writing this.

She gave me the disciplinary for my emailing but the next day entered into secret contact with me, even though HR of course knew as this was the plan, not to support me (and her) but to get rid of me as a disciplinary is the first step towards dismissal. And not only did she enter into private contact, she did solely via text message and email for which she sanctioned me in the first place! Hello??!! I don’t have to explain how confusing and distressing the following weeks and months became. To make it worse, she allowed Pret to use her personal loss and went further by manipulating me and what a Psychologist assessing me labeled as her “abusing” me. This Development Manager is a Hypnotherapist (registered under this therapy body), an NLP practitioner (as several managers in Pret are) and in 2017 studied to become a Psychotherapist. Hypnotherapy and NLP can easily be used to manipulate people, and they did that well.

Early on in our secret contact, as she wasn’t allowed to be in private communication as the hearing manager (but Pret of course knew unofficially), she wanted to meet up and interview me for an Essay on anger that she wrote for her university studies. She thought it would be great to have my input as I was very angry because of how my brother died and all the mystery about it, and the added turmoil with Pret. Of course I was angry! But I declined being interviewed as I didn’t know her and didn’t want to be her guinea pig. And from the beginning all of this was confusing, but I was so traumatized, in dark grief, anxiety, confusion, I couldn’t put two and two together, like I can now in hindsight and distance.

I did file a tribunal claim but withdrew which I explain in this post. And that is one reason why Pret does not block me on Twitter, so they can use all my Tweets in court should I file a second time. I have declined four settlement offers in turn to be silent and never go to court, including going to court against the Development Manager who is protected in her job regardless what she has done and allowed them to do through her.

But most every leader, HR person, this Development Manager while not having a clear policy to protect bereaved employees against discrimination, most of them were picking and choosing what for them was “useful”. The Head of HR met with me after I contacted the CEO for help (before I realized the game they were all playing) and in the first meeting he asked me to score on a scale of 1 – 10 how it was meeting with him. Again, confused about a question like this I wasn’t impressed to meet with a “big gun” as I just wanted my line managers to be confident and normal with me, not bullying and avoiding me. I wasn’t interested in scratching his ego because he is wohooo a big gun meeting with a “plastic pistol”! And the first time he offered me a settlement, when he left he wanted a “cuddle”, and again I just thought what does he want? Does he want me to leave or does he want a cuddle?! He can’t have both!

Or an area manager who after she got to know me wanted to stay in contact even if I left Pret as she said I have so much insight into many things. And yet this area manager held a dodgy grievance hearing where I met her initially and later forwarded my emails to my line manager who also held me low.

Or the Development Manager wanting my input for her Psychotherapy studies.

Or a line manager who would not let me leave his shop because I worked so well and helped bring success to his shop, he would not let me leave even after I raised a grievance against him. I had to firmly beg to get a transfer as I couldn’t work under his manipulative ways anymore.

I was like a supermarket for them where these “leaders” just helped themselves! My confidence was completely lost with the death of my brother and what happened in Pret. Anyone who has gone through loss, especially a traumatic loss will have the ground pulled from underneath their feet. You feel like you are on an emotional free-fall and never hit the ground. Everything is insecure, existential fears, even if irrational, are magnified ten times over. One of my line managers would laugh when I had a minor panic attack in the shop. He just laughed and said “Haha, I never saw you that scared” laughing further… Sure it was his insecurity, but what the f***!!!! They used my vulnerability well and trampled on my dignity repeatedly! I even would apologize where I had nothing to apologize for. I was just on constant electricity, hyper vigilant and in a panic mode.

This is why at times I have completely wiped out my Facebook and Twitter followers, because I fell into this paranoia of fear, thinking what the heck do people want from me. Of course it is stupid and irrational, but it’s my only explanation why I act like this at times, especially when I drank something. So, that’s another thing I’m working on, but it is much better. To all who have been “kicked out” from Twitter and / or Facebook, it’s not you, it’s me! Apologies again! Of course some people I have blocked consciously as they were either trolls or disrespectful.

This perversion of this toxic HR department using a Development Manager, who isn’t even an HR personnel, who lost her brother like I lost mine in such similar circumstances, has topped everything they have done. It is beyond me how educated, elitist people, from wealthy to middle class backgrounds with university degrees and even Therapists backgrounds, can stoop so low to use and be used in such undignified ways. It is amazing. The Development Manager could and should have declined doing the disciplinary and instead offered to support me outside the sanction. But she chose to play their game, maybe out of fear, maybe she got a promotion, a pay-rise, she certainly has gotten the protection of the Head of HR. But whatever her reason, she should have been woman enough to respectfully decline and asked to not be the hearing manager as she had personal conflict.

Pret will find a way to get back at me for making this public. So be it! I neither fear them, nor have anything to lose anymore, and any job reference they will do to my disadvantage, I am not in the slightest bothered anymore. And they will come with another trick in the future, @ Pret I wholeheartedly don’t care whatsoever.

People get hurt in such traumatic and dishonest ways. I have lived long enough to know that corrupt people and companies will get their fair share of exposure sooner or later. I am not worried about that at all. Even hiding two customers deaths under the carpet and not dealing with the allergen label promptly says it all!

 

 

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

― Anne Lamott

 

 

This is my story and I take the liberty to share it with the world after having given 10 years of my life to a company that was not worth my while. The last three year in Pret where so traumatic and surreal like living in Twilight Zone! I still don’t know how I survived this and am still recovering. Pret and any company or person forgets that when you don’t support the vulnerable, be it children, the elderly, sick people or traumatized and bereaved people, when you step on them while they are already on the ground, the time will come where children grow up and the vulnerable will become strong again if they survive. And then they will share their experience and/or retaliate through court or publication, standing up with other sufferers in unity. And with Pret I believe the time will come where more people will cut through the bull-crap and say enough is enough, and overcome the fear and intimidation of these giants, who in reality are dwarfs hiding behind their inflated shadow of fear management.

 

dwarf

 

Anyone who has come in contact with me has also been at the receiving end of my irrational fears and paranoia, especially when I drank something. I fall into this extreme fear of not knowing who to trust, as what Pret has done has so messed with my head, that I feel like a human going through an alien zone trying to figure out who’s the human and who’s the alien masquerading as a human. Sounds whacked up I know, but this is how I can describe it. Pret’s HR department especially are so skilled in being nice on the front, while behind this is another motive. Maybe I was this dwarf that became a deflated giant scaring people unnecessarily!

And many of you are very kind and patient, and I will always be indebted to you for this, and in time I will “repay” you for your kindness!

Thank you for reading and if I can give anyone any advise, join a Union and trust yourself, no matter how messed up you feel or indeed are!

 


 

Update 10.11.2018

A review from a former Pret staff from NYC who puts it in brief and better words than my long posts:

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

Substantial list of staff complaints from other websites.

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

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

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

 

Barbaric, Insane and Fear-driven Parenting under a Failing Government!

 

This has NOTHING to do with love and education, but has everything to do with fear, powerlessness, and a failing government and police system that only revert to ads!?!

 

And this is happening right now in 2018!!!

 

 

22745

 

“The Shocking Ad Telling Parents To Stop Taking Children To Be Shot By Paramilitaries

 

 

3rd Open Letter to Pret Customers

 

hand-1571852__340

 

Since two customer deaths in Pret, with a third nearly fatal, several in hospital and continued warnings regarding labelling and cross contamination, customers seem to raise more issues via Twitter, even though these issues always existed. More customers seem to feel bolder to publicly complain about poor products and service.

Understandably.

I am writing from my experience having worked in Pret for 10 years. After 7 years I lost my brother and was bullied on top of my bereavement from my line managers and area managers (OPs) under the watchful eye of HR. I was a Team Leader and a very good one. No, I’m not floating my own boat, I just know how well I performed, know the feedback I received from colleagues, customers and Mystery Shoppers on my leadership and my teams. I had to go so low to even keep Mystery Shopper reports because one area manager was targeting me for 6 months straight while I was in my first year of bereavement and in extreme trauma, but on autopilot. Even during the darkest times I received good comments from customers, while my line manager under the guidance of this area manager (and HR) tried everything to get rid of me. Every little comment on my service when it wasn’t the best was used, every tiny mistake I found myself in the office or called out via group emails… For my protection I started collecting the positive Mystery Shopper and regular customer comments. And it helped. But it was sad to have to do this.

One card I received about 9 months after my brother died and I was in hell emotionally, but the customers didn’t know the inner state I was in, this card helped me out of dark pits at times when my managers were looking for the smallest issues. This dark time felt like I was going through an emotional war zone, being shot at from different angles, stumbling through a mine field, where I would never know when the next blow comes. And then out of the blue I received this card with £20 inside, but the customers did not know my traumatic bereavement and the added ordeal in Pret.

I read the card later after closing time in the office and just sobbed:

 

pk-customer-card-aug-2015-aldgateeast_smudged.jpg

 

 

Some excerpts from Mystery Shoppers where either I served the MS as my name was mentioned as the server, or I was the responsible Team Leader for the shift, having trained and supervised my teams when the MS visited. Every excerpt is from a different MS visit, different time/year and different shops:

 

2012-10-12 MS 2

~~~~~~~~~~

2012-10-12 MS 1

~~~~~~~~~~

MS eye contact

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Other more neutral or difficult comments:

 

MS_Cough

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Mystery Shopper poor comments

 

We received a lot of good to neutral comments, and at times fair as well as unfair negative comments. But no matter how well you did, it was never good enough for the line managers. And it didn’t help me from getting more traumatized and held low by insecure “leaders” who are often not well trained, overwhelmed, don’t have people and leadership skills, and easily feel intimidated when they work with Team Members who have skills and emotional intelligence. The Mystery Shopper scores count towards the biggest chunk of the managers’ bonuses, so managers were never happy unless it was a 100% perfect score, every time. One tiny point missing and the team got a telling off in the kitchen until I drew the line and said enough is enough!

I cannot describe how discouraging it is but you just kept going until you broke and many left.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Dear Pret Customer and Mystery Shopper,

much of the issues with the quality of products, missing ingredients, low portions, cross contamination, lack of smiles from staff and rude staff even… a lot these are boiled down to labour being cut to maximize profits, staff calling sick or leaving as they can’t take it anymore, including managers throwing in the towel and leaving without notice (or were fired).

Yes, rude service is unacceptable. But from my experience as a former Team Leader (by the way I was fired just when my dad came out of a coma still in intensive care, but I share this in another post), but as a Team Leader I have had some challenging Team Members, especially Baristas who often work with an electrified temperament, as they have to get the coffees out fast. But when you treat your team with respect, support them, encourage them as well as making clear where the boundaries are, they mirror that because they feel respected.

Team Members are over stressed by team leaders and managers who often prefer to sit in the office having a chat while the teams sweat it out in the kitchen and shop floor. As a Team Leader I was out with my team helping them, encouraging them, while also working to the highest standards. But I didn’t leave them abandoned while sitting unnecessarily in the office as many “leaders” like to do.

 

During my traumatic bereavement, trying to improve work conditions I would write in to Pret repeatedly, which later turned into ill emailing which I explain extensively why this happened in this blog entry. But I’d write in to Clive Schlee, CEO if he could do what Pret calls a “Buddy Day” where staff from HQ work for 1 day per year in a Pret shop in order to get a glimpse on how stressful working in shops is. The idea is great on paper, but HQ staff mostly come in at 8 or 9am, start their “shift” with breakfast, fiddle around on their mobile phones during the shift, especially if they are higher up in their positions. Managers and Leaders kiss their butt and don’t dare to ask them to leave their phones in the locker like all the other staff are required to. The Manager and Team Members behave very well, suddenly treat all staff respectfully and calm until the HQ staff is gone. And then the usual stress continues.

I suggested to the CEO for the HQ staff to come in and start their shift at 5am ready in uniform like the rest of the team. Pret A Traviller, ready to get their hands dirty, their fingernails cracked and their backs broken, just like the regular shop staff. And I suggested for Clive Schlee to do a Buddy-Day himself, preferably in a shop where no-one knows that he is the CEO, except of course the GM knows.

Schlee likes to do his rounds in the shops and all the staff and managers get nervous and who-haa around him and his delegate, because the big boss is around. I asked myself often how much Schlee and the senior leadership enjoy staff ducking down like this, and kissing butt. I always cringed when the big bosses were around and the managers were suddenly super nice. I usually went the other way not wanting to be part in this hypocritical game. I preferred to stay with my team with whom I worked shoulder to shoulder from early morning on. What do I want with the big bosses who make their millions on our backs, walking around like celebrities! Give me a break!

 

Before and after the big bosses and “Buddies” were around the usual tone was this:
“The training should be more about encouraging people than shouting and shaming them. … it has been the most stressful job I have had in a couple of years.” (Staff Review)

 

My own story is spread throughout this website and will turn into a chronological book as it is quite complex and has involved the heart of Pret, HQ, HR, the CEO, and most disgracefully, a Development Manager who was used to manipulate and gaslight me. She was used because she supposedly had a brother who died alone in his flat and was not discovered until days later, just like my brother was. But this complex story is in several other blog posts.

But I want to share again about my former colleagues and how much they struggle and suffer under immense pressure, underpaid, “motivated” under fear management, openly or subtly threatened with their job security etc. I’ve been through it all and more, and have seen this countless times. Sure, the pay is a little more and some other perks are thrown in than in competitive companies, but that is because the work in Pret is hellish! And Pret cannot afford to pay minimum wage as staff would not stay long.

 

Some customers are quick to tweet, quick to come to conclusion, quick to judge, but have no clue how hellish it is behind the scenes, especially before opening time while the teams get the shops ready in a very short amount of time and little manpower. And not to mention the coffee and lunch rushes that are visible, and all the pressures in-between that the customers don’t see. They work like for 2 or 3 people as Pret loves to cut staff to increase profits. The pressure is on managers to make sure the targets are reached, so they can get their huge bonuses and slaps on the back in huge managers’ meetings.

CEO, Clive Schlee’s special technique for these managers’ meetings, from 0:39 on, is to recognize a few out of hundreds of managers by making sure they are aware he knows them, a clever strategy to keep his managers in check, so they always feel watched, not only from the hidden camera in the offices. They are all nervous to see if they will be picked!

And that is why he has no excuse on how the shops are run by harsh managers and the teams that struggle and suffer under immense stress and mistreatment. He knows, he is aware, but he is not concerned to have a truly “happy” workforce, but only the facade of a smiley culture to have rising profits under what many experience as “Modern-day Slavery“. He also knew about two customer deaths and plenty of allergy reactions and complaints, but no concern there.

A blunt review from a former IT Analyst from HQ:

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

Link

 

Managers and Leaders love to sit in the office and just come out to shout at Team Members. Sure, you will think that you are a paying customer,  and yes you deserve the best product, the best service, a safe environment and just plainly a good time. But why would you expect from others what you could and never would give yourself. Smiling for 8, 9, 12+ hours straight in a high intense, ungrateful and unrealistic environment. I wrote it in another blog post, breaking it down for the reader, that I myself easily dealt with around 800-1000+ people EVERY DAY from customers on the tills, by the fridges, on the phone, even during my break and my teams and bosses.

And customers want to believe the facade that staff are happy. And dare they not smile after having just come out of the coffee rush where they may have served around 300 people within 2 – 3 hours straight! In the heat, where the air conditioning doesn’t work well! Without being allowed to drink water behind the counter and during service! Where they have to listen with a smile, small-talk, complimenting customers while also listening to the barista behind them shouting at them to grab the coffee! Where Team Members have the task via the Mystery Shopper to have the coffee ready in a minute from the time the customer orders, serve the customer within 1 minute of them joining the queue, clear and clean tables within a minute of customers leaving their seats! Checking the toilets, checking the fridges that no items are missing for the Mystery Shopper so as not to lose bonus and get in trouble with the boss!

Team Members who often have to chase their pay as the managers often “forget” to pay them the correct amount of hours worked…

Yes, you can easily say why they do this job and should find another one. I used to think like this when I experienced bad customer service or saw unhappy faces of restaurant staff. But it isn’t that simple just because I may be in a pleasant job with a good reward at that time. Many customers look down at the Teams, because they are fast-food workers. First of all this arrogance will eventually catch up on people. Secondly, many staff members in the kitchens and shops have degrees.

I worked with a person from Finland who has a PhD, another from Spain who is a lawyer but her degree was not accepted of course as British law is different. I worked with a colleague who is from a small town in Brazil and used to be the secretary to the mayor of that town. Another Brazilian lady was a bank manager in her town. Many are artists, musicians, IT people. I myself am a writer and have published a book in 2013 etc. etc. etc.

Whatever the reason is that people work in these stressful jobs, one thing is reality, that many have to feed kids, pay bills, University or plainly need a fast job to concentrate on their real passion in life, be it art, studying, writing etc.

And even just working and going home to watch TV all night, to shrug the shoulder and say that people should just leave if it’s so hard is very ignorant and arrogant to be blunt! Because most people don’t give a toss how employees are treated until they themselves are treated like crap! My approach is for the employers to change their attitude and greed and really be fair in the light where Clive Schlee pockets £30 Million. I’ve been writing about this since May 2018, before the press got interested because of the deaths.

Staff get their peanuts and get broken. I already confronted Pret on this and will continue to confront them on a staff suicide last year. I almost ended my life, others become depressed if not suicidal and the mental, emotional and physical strain is immense.

My plea dear Pret Customer is for you to pause and think if this is really such a “happy” environment. And I only scratched the surface. Maybe one day I will go hour by hour to talk you through an average day in a shop and kitchen. But I’m sure most people don’t want to know.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Some of your Tweets, dear customers.

Most of you customers who quickly tweet publicly without having spoken to the shop staff first, don’t know how many times I at least left work, especially during bereavement being bullied and went straight to the bridge. And I know others who have become suicidal, depressed, discouraged and don’t care anymore.

 

Some Tweets from recently:

 

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

Link to Tweet

 

 

 

02 Customer Complaint

Link

 

 

 

03 Customer Complaint

Link to Tweet

 

 

A customer who has no boundaries to call hard-working people the C-Word:

 

PretBehaviour01a

 

 

 

A customer, instead of asking shop staff if they could turn down the volume has to tweet his annoyance publicly in a tone where Pret even apologizes regardless:

 

PretBehaviour02a

 

 

 

 

04 Customer Complaint

Link

 

 

 

01 Customer Complaint

Link

 

etc.

 

Reasons for all these complaints:

 

Selected Staff Reviews

 

Substantial but not exhaustive List of Complaints

 

 

 

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

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

 

Serving is Beautiful

 

Life

 

I saw this film in the U.S. when I lived in Florida in the Noughties. I remember so well that I strolled into the living room where my house mates were watching a film, and I just joined them. The film was already quite a bit in, at least 30 minutes or so. And as the theme of the movie was very familiar to me, I just watched.

I grew up with documentaries on Hitler, Nazis, the Holocaust, crimes that humanity will not forget. So, seeing the familiar pictures just let me sit and watch if there was any new thing unfolding.

And it was.

The fictional, yet beautiful story of a father who promised his little son a tank when he wins a game they were playing.

The catch was, the son had to play-pretend a hide and seek game during WWII after being captured by the Nazis. In order to win, the main rule of the “game” was that he had to hid and be silent. What the son didn’t know was that he had to play being silent in order to survive. And if he won the game of being the most silent player, he’d see a tank as a reward!

The spoiler is (close your eyes), the son did see his reward in the end.

He lost his dad, though, but as the writer and director (main character) wanted, the little kid at least saw a tank.

For all of you who are reading this, you go like wtf…

I got it…

So, I spare you with explaining my education in history in front of a TV watching what Germany’s crime was and why the world keeps using this as an example of evil, and how all the other nations closed their eyes to it. And I’m proud that my dad forced us to watch the atrocities and not close our eyes.

But rewinding back to the movie “Life is Beautiful” … there is one scene that I always think of when I think of this movie. Before being captured, the father tried to get a job in a nightmare situation during occupation, he was being trained as a waiter, and his superior who trained him said an unforgettable thing about humility, dignity, self-respect and strength: “God serves men but he’s not a servant to men“.

This is what I always tried to portrait to my teams when I was a team leader in Pret and saw their frustration with customers that at times were rude and disrespectful. I’d remember this scene and also told my team that they serve customers but they are not their servants when my colleagues felt humiliated by them.

When hard-working people are called the C-word, the loud music makes a customer tweet instead of asking the shop staff politely to turn down the volume, a customer who wants a fuzzy warm feeling and staff to smile to all customers … and Pret does the thing they do, “prostituting” their values while claiming of “doing the right thing naturally“.

In the service industry, people serve people, but they are not their servants.

 

 

PretBehaviour01a

 

 

PretBehaviour02a

 

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

 

 

 

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

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

 

Vegetarians get Meat Products – UPDATE Undercover Report + Cramped Work Area

 

UPDATE: Undercover Report by The Sunday Mirror – 24.11.2018

 


 

 

New updates and additions at the bottom…

 

 

Soup

(From experience with Pret soups, this looks like Pulled Pork to me)

 

This could have been another death, hospitalization, allergic reaction… certainly an unpleasant experience for a vegetarian. Multiple warnings not taken seriously.

As I want to move away from my Pret outcry because I have said enough to give a good idea what really is going on behind the facade, but I keep seeing these complaints.

A tweet with the typical response from Pret that has me shake my head again and again, even though I shouldn’t be surprised.

A vegetarian customer got a meaty soup instead of what was labelled as a vegetarian Tuscan Bean Soup that even has the green veggie sticker on the soup cup. A meaty soup has a red sticker with the soup name, a veggie soup has a green sticker, plus the label on the Hot Cabinet with the ingredients (hopefully with full allergen info).

Pret’s response is to blame downwards as usual, making the Hot Chef (the person who is preparing all hot food) responsible. The OPs manager (operations manager = area manager) who often is quite stern, with an intimidating “bossy” attitude, visits the shop. The OPs then speaks to the General Manager (GM) or maybe even to the Hot Chef or person who prepared the soup.

On a side note, the Hot Chef has the most difficult and stressful job on the shop floor. They never stop. Often they don’t get help except on paper, but in reality they are so stressed for time and often have tiny work benches, if at all, and if they are not organized naturally and not trained properly, they struggle a great deal. I mention the different job roles and stress factors in my Open Letter to Pret Customers.

So, the Hot Chef now gets even more stress and may not even get help, but will be blamed, no matter if the team may have been understaffed, or the Hot Chef may not have received proper training as I used to work as a HC and was thrust into it with little training and have seen this with other HCs again and again.

It is a lose-lose situation. The typical scenario is that staff are not trained properly, overworked, underpaid, stressed to the max, not helped and then blamed when things go wrong. Apart from my experience this can be seen in the countless staff complaints that I collected from other websites. A very typical Pret situation on a daily basis. Of course there are trained staff and good shops, but my 10 years in Pret mainly involved training myself, trying to help my colleagues as best as I was able to under intensely stressful circumstances.

Pret’s response to the customer who was sold the wrong soup is again typical for how Pret responds to this:

 

2018-10-27 Soup incidence

If the text is too small: Ctrl & + or direct Link to Tweet
So, the customer read the labels on the hot cabinet and the soup cup, and yet still got the wrong item and ingredients! If the customer would have been allergic to any of the ingredients in the wrong soup, having believed to have bought the correct item, scrutinized the labels, double checked everything … but still got the wrong item, this could have been another death… The Toscan Bean soup does also look like this meat soup in the photo above. So, often customers open the lid and the similarity of the soups visually could still mislead them. And Pret responds in this indifferent way and just blames the Hot Chef who most likely is already over stressed as it is.

 

Tuscan Bean Soup

The (real) veggie Tuscan Bean Soup

 

The generic response that is so typical for Pret still amazes me. But the blaming is typical. Quote:

“The hot chef in charge failed the Pret standard for soup preparation…”

No, the Hot Chef most likely was overworked, stressed, had no help and was pressured by the GM or Team Leader to quickly get the soups out for selection so in case the Mystery Shopper comes, they won’t be marked down for missing items on the shelves.

 


 

UPDATE: 12.11.2018

No idea how a customer got a hold of this photo. If the customer lets Pret know which shop it is, the person who took and then leaked the photo will have an appointment with the Job-center soon. But this is a very common view I found in my 10 years in Pret. And this is then no wonder that serious mistakes keep happening: tiny work spaces especially for Hot Chefs who have the hardest job on shop level. This photo is a very familiar sight. Hot Chefs balancing act to have proper work benches. Very dehumanizing and disrespectful towards hardworking people to not give them the right space as well as time to prepare in a safe way.

Customer areas are increased to get as many customers / money in as possible; staff areas are decreased. This then creates multiple problems, not only on the mental strain of staff but customers’ lives:

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

 

 


 

 

I keep repeating myself that Starbucks closed 8000 shops in the USA to train staff for an afternoon after a racial incident in one of their stores. They closed for a few hours to train their staff and then even remained closed for the rest of the day after the training. This has cost Starbucks an estimated $12 Million+ for that ONE day. Starbucks did that a few years ago already in the UK to retrain staff on coffee quality.

But in Pret customers die, repeated complaints keep coming in on wrong and inadequate labelling, and worse even, products are wrongly labelled or put into wrong vessels like this soup … And those are only the complaints that are public.

And Pret A Manger does business as usual. Full steam ahead. Let the slogans and generic cut and paste responses do their work. I still cannot believe that Pret is still not putting on the brakes here, and gets away with “murder” so to speak.

I wanted to move away from my Pret outcry, but these incidences which are only public, there is much more going on which is not seen, but how people are being treated, how staff suffer… and how I survived Pret, I cannot be silent.

 

Collected on “Pret Allergen Death & Customer Warnings to Pret“.

 

 

BEFORE Natasha’s and Ms. Marsh’s deaths became public:

 

 

05. June 2018 Quote: “Can you start labelling individual wraps?

2018-06-05 Wrong Wrap wrong label1

 

And the typical Pret “Oh gosh…” response veering away from the public into DM and just blaming “someone” for having placed item behind the wrong label. But no priority on labelling, no “meaningful” change, just full steam ahead doing business as usual. As a Team Leader I had to fix issues like this on a daily basis.

 

2018-06-05 wrong wrap

Link

 

I just added one “before” example, but there are countless more. Also from my own experience having worked in Pret with staff on high pace and stress, understaffed to maximize profits, running non-stop with no time to oversee careful labelling and placing items on correct shelves…

 

 

AFTER Natasha’s and Ms. Marsh’s deaths became public, issues continue:

 

 

24.10.2018 Another soup issue. In the U.S. this time:

2018-10-24 Soup incidence

Link to Tweet

 

28.10.2018 A piece of Ham in a Veggie Cheese Sandwich (clear sign of cross contamination, not cleaned properly, especially on weekends where staff are cut and struggle more than they already do during the week. Managers mostly at home enjoying their weekends off while staff struggle. Hence too many shortfalls and quality issues.)

2018-10-28 Ham in Veg sandwich

Link

 

 

29.10.2018 This is either the Ham Mac&Cheese or Proscioutto, but looks like the Ham Mac with a green Veggie Kale & Cauli label instead of the red Meaty sticker:

2018-10-29 Meat Mac instead of Veg

Link

 

 

Also 29.10.2018 response to a 26.10. complaint, after three days asking if she was okay. Pret may even be understaffed on their USA Twitter feed. A dish that contains at least enough “iron” supply for the day. The Pret A Metal-Wrap (Allergen Info: Contains metal, eat responsibly)

2018-10-29 Metal Wrap

Link

 

 

29.10.2018 Dairy vs Soya

2018-10-29 Dairy vs Soya

Link

 

 

30.10.2018 Pret’s “Plastic Pledge” (Allergen Info: Contains Plastic. Eat responsibly)

2018-10-30 Plastic Cover

Link

 

30.10.2018  Pret A Hair

2018-10-30 Hair

Link

 

 

01.11.2018 USA Allergen Info: “May” contain Unidentified Food Object. Eat responsibly.

2018-11-01 UFO

Link

 

22.10.2018 Wrong Soup

 

2018-10-22 No Tom Soup2

2018-10-22 No Tom Soup1

Link

 

 

23.10.2018 “Plastic Pledge” again

2018-10-23 Plastic

Link

 

 

23.10.2018 Gherkin Croissant

2018-10-23 Gherkin in Croiss

Link

 

 

07.11.2018 Wrong soup again

2018-11-07 Soup incidence

Link

 

 

08. Nov. 2018 Serious labelling issues continue

2018-11-08 Label Mess1

Link

 

08.11.2018 Omelette with Mac & Cheese label:

2018-11-08 Omelette with MacCheese label

Link

 

 

09. Nov. 2018 “Meaty Porridge”

2018-11-09 Meaty Porridge

Link

 

 

22.11.2018 Duck instead of Avo Wrap for Vegetarian

2018-11-22- Duck wrap instead of Avo

Link

 

 

27.11.2018 Meat instead of Vegan wrap:

2018-11-27 Meat instead of Vegan wrapLink

 

 

29.11.2018 Wrong soup … again

2018-11-29 Wrong soup

Link

 

 

29.11.2018 Pret’s “Plastic Pledge” again. Even the teeth/bite marks are visible!

2018-11-29 Prosciutto Plastc0

Link

 

… to be continued (unfortunately)

 

 

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

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

 

Blogger Recognition Award

 

BloggersRecogAward

 

A very warm Thank You to Paul for nominating me. Your poems make my brain cells think around several corners! And your tireless support puts a smile in my heart… and then I think what’s wrong with you!? 😀 — Thank you.

His blog: parallax

 

 

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your Award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Select 15 or more bloggers for this award.
  • Let each nominee know that you have nominated them and leave a link to your post.

 

 

Brief Story How My Blog Started

I limit myself to a 99 word challenge, because I cannot keep it short. I don’t see myself as a blogger, because I never felt I had anything to say each day. I love to write, it was in my dreams at nights for years, just as a passion. Those who know my story, I initially started this as poetrasblok.com as I wanted to create a platform for my brother who died almost 4 years ago. But this turned into LateNightGirl.org because I was bullied during bereavement at work in Pret A Manger. I survived to tell my story.

 

 

My 2 Pieces of Advice for new Bloggers:

1. Stand up for what you are passionate about; it may be a cause, an injustice, a love for unpopular art, rescuing cats in Istanbul, creating an unforgettable vegan recipe on a high street in America surrounded by fast food giants, holding the hand of a dying patient in a hospice, standing in the streets with fellow demonstrators for what you believe needs to change, collecting metal lunch boxes … whatever. And then write your heart out about it! Whatever it may be, stand your ground no matter how little support you’ll have initially. And maybe you will never have the support that you wish for or need, and silence often is the loudest motivator to keep going.

Just know who you are, and stand.

 

2. Don’t follow rules if they are damaging, flawed or limit creativity. Reinvent, even if your knees are shaking, as long as you don’t hurt people or break the law.

 

 

My nominations:

 

Lucy Grove-Jones

~

Maverick

~

Alexis Rose

~

Revolutionary Musings

~

Charli Mills and her Carrot Ranch

~

Niki Flow

~

The Day After

~

DAZZLED

~

allycwriter

~

Natalie Swift

~

Firelands

~

feistyfroggy

~

Penfila

~

Breaking the rules, Paul:

~

Cindi Francois (You are so silent….)

~~~ .

 

 

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

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

 

 

Doing the PR[et] Thing Naturally

 

My 10 years in Pret A Manger which has always been stressful, trying to figure out why it felt so toxic and negative in this company, and this long road in hardship at work has taught me to not give Pret the benefit of the doubt anymore, as I did too many times. The last three years have been extremely traumatic after I lost my brother and on top of this being bullied in Pret, which I explain extensively on this blog and which will turn into a chronological book, as the story is very complex. But it was important for me to put the story out in creative writing as best as it comes out, and to do it publicly as I was in these last years balancing on the edge of life. Even if life ends prematurely due to illness, accident, while my suicidal thoughts will be left behind, I want the public to know what happened to me in Pret, and not take my ordeal to the grave, apart from what my friends know and witnessed through my distress. I also collected numerous staff reviews on the bullying culture in Pret and listed them onto one page for easy access to each review.

When people learn of my experience, the question comes up if I went to court against Pret. I explain that I did and then withdrew for these reasons in this blog entry.

The other question that comes up is why on earth I stayed so long in this environment that almost killed me. I scratch on this in several blog posts but will write an extra blog entry on this in more detail. Watch this space.

Many people who read my story don’t know what to do with it, let alone what to say. Understandably. My writings sound angry at times, and they are, but I am not the “monster” that people may view me from afar with my loud and public outcry. I am actually a very peaceful person who loves and cares deeply about people, even if this doesn’t look like it. This probably was one reason why I struggled so long in Pret and approached them internally, even in ill emailing out of trauma and a drunken stupor later on. But my integrity and my honest, even if weird approach was to my disadvantage. And yet integrity and honesty is what I am proud of, it didn’t make me rich, but it makes me sleep at nights.

I don’t have a nice front to show you, I don’t plaster my life with a nice facade while rotten inside. I show you ‘my’ back first (this website picture is not me of course). For 10 years I was forced to smile in Pret, even during traumatic bereavement. There was no mercy from my line managers. The Mystery Shopper, who is sent weekly to each store with the assignment to let the shops know if the Team Member smiled, made eye-contact, made some small-talk even during extreme busy times, is the main contributor to the “friendly” hell that I and all shop staff went and go through. Of course I would have loved to wear a badge one can apply for to use the public transport in London. A badge like pregnant women or people with a disability wear that says, “Baby on board” or “Please offer me a seat”, as the pregnancy or disability is not always or immediately visible to assist the person who may be in pain or uncomfortable in general.

 

 

BabyBoard    tfl-please-offer-me-a-seat-badge-and-card

 

 

In my trauma and bereavement I wish I could have worn a badge that said, “Please offer me a smile for a change” or “Abnormal load on board” or “In grief, please be kind” or “Please help me I want to die” …

I collected a list of Staff Complaints from external Employment Review sites as well as YouTube, Twitter and other websites. I did an extra category on the forced happiness and another on the fake smiles that Team Members are tasked to perform. And customers are so impressed with the service, not knowing what is the driving “force” behind the happiness con. The amount of times I and team members were summoned into the office or kitchen, away from the customers, and then told off when we didn’t smile.

I had a good telling off in the office after the Mystery Shopper (I call them Misery Shopper) commented that I should stay home when sick as I couldn’t smile because I was coughing. Mystery Shoppers either don’t know or don’t care that weekly paid staff are not paid sick-leave the first 2 or 3 days (depending which age) when sick, no matter if they have a sick note from the GP. Sure, there are what Pret calls “well-being days” depending how long you worked in Pret and other times at the discretion of the GM, but for things like having a cold or illnesses that take 2 or 3 days to recover, you have to make a choice if you want to stay in bed to recover and lose income, or drag yourself to work and then be told off for not smiling because you coughed!

Excerpt of the Mystery Shopper’s comment after I served the MS and coughed:

 

2014-12-01 MS cough

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

 

It was also impossible to “feel cheerful” when my boss was constantly telling me off for the smallest issues and then ordered me to go out to the shop floor and smile. It was even more impossible to “feel cheerful” when I just buried my brother and there was no mercy from my superiors nor from HR. And the line manager who warned me verbally in the office after the above comment on my coughing, countless times being told off, never once asked “how are you, are you ok?” And I did it, I smiled again and again and again and again and again and again…, and received many compliments from customers as well as Mystery Shoppers, while neither of them knew what turmoil and trauma was raging inside me. No customer would have guessed that I left work after my shift and walked towards a bridge, wrestling with life.

 

I even received a thank you card with a £20 note inside from a customer pair whom I served in a shop where I helped out for a week. This card I received WHILE in the middle of the darkest time, it was about 8 or 9 months after the news of my brother’s death AND the middle of being bullied by my superiors. I didn’t let it show and have to say as well that these two customers, who sat in that shop every day working on their laptops as they were graphic designers, were extremely pleasant. They made my job very very easy and cheered me up the best I was able to relax during trauma. They were a fantastic distraction and kind people. In my ten years in Pret, these two people come to mind immediately when I think of a nice customer experience. This exchange was brief but very organic.

We chatted every day as they sat in the shop for hours using the Wifi for their work. And they spent quite some money everyday, buying food and coffee, work some hours, buying some sweets and another coffee, work more hours, buying another drink etc. Every day they spent a good amount, not like some students on a budged who would buy the cheapest item just to use the free Wifi for hours. On my last day for that week I told them that it was my last day and where my usual shop is so that they won’t be surprised why I wasn’t there anymore as we had lots of conversations and laughs in-between.

They never knew my loss and the added turmoil I went through in Pret. As sad as it is, but this card was my life-line for a while. I put it on my desk at home to remind me that my service wasn’t as bad as my superiors tried to make me believe. I knew how good I was at my job and with my teams, with all my mistakes, flaws and shortcomings as well. But when you go through loss AND bullying on top of it, you lose the floor underneath your feet and all, absolutely all self-esteem and self-confidence disappears. So, as sad as it is, but this simple card heaved me out of a black hole many a times, and I wish I had a way to let the customer know what a small gesture like this did to me, I didn’t care for the money, but his words were life to me as I became increasingly suicidal! When they learned that it was my last day, he briefly left the shop, returned and gave me this card. Later in the office when reading this after closing time, I broke down and sobbed:

 

PK Customer Card Aug 2015 AldgateEast_smudged

 

It is an extremely rare occasion for customers to go out of their way to acknowledge staff like this. I’ve seen customers giving gifts to my colleagues as well throughout the years, but it is extremely rare and mostly happens around Christmas time.

 

And with the Mystery Shoppers, I kept these MS comments because of that same area manager who targeted me during the darkest time, saying that I didn’t engage my teams, and yet countless MS comments as well as regular customers said otherwise:

 

2012-10-12 MS 1

 

Another year, different MS:

2012-10-12 MS 2

 

These two and much more MS reports were my protection as my name was on them, and even if my name wasn’t mentioned, I was on the shift the days of these and other comments as the responsible Team Leader running the shifts. Again, it is sad that I had to keep those for my protection against bullying superiors who tried to look for the smallest issue to get rid of (for them) inconvenient staff.

Of course there is some true smiling going on as well, especially within the teams who often work very well together, trying to protect each other from the line managers who tend to kiss upward and kick downward. But the job in Pret involves having to smile no matter what, or as one of my GMs (General Manager) once told us off in the kitchen saying that, “Your smile is part of your uniform” while he never smiled when serving customers.

 

Pret Uniform2

The Pret A Mask Staff Uniform Cupboard

 

This is the reality behind the smiles of team members where even during bereavement, depression, illness and a personality that may not be naturally cheerful, you have to smile. You either develop superhuman capabilities or mental illness. And I’m sure you’ll figure which one of the two is more likely. Anyone would know that no-one can smile and be happy for 8 hours straight, let alone in a high stress, fast-paced, brutal work environment; LET ALONE during bereavement and mental strain! But the public loves to buy this facade, because it is so easy to be lulled in. So easy.

 

And just when I finished the majority text of this draft today, I see this Tweet from a customer who is appalled at the poor service and lack of smile, even naming the Team Member, and Pret of course in a generic cut & paste response will pass this on to the GM in that shop. And Adil S. will find himself in the office today or tomorrow depending on when he is in the shop. The GM or even AM will most likely not ask Adil how he is doing, if he has any problems or issues, if everything okay? Adil might have just buried a loved-one and his boss is even aware of this, or certainly he might have just been in the middle or just finished an extremely busy coffee morning, or he might have just come out of the office where his line manager had a go at him. And there certainly is no guarantee that he will find any mercy or empathy from his boss after this Tweet below where he is named publicly!

The customer does not give a second’s thought on why Adil was rushing and not smiling and not giving the customer a “warm feeling” and “naturally smiling” to ALL customers. And why should he, he paid a lot of money for cheap coffee. The customer will most likely also respond to my comment angrily, as my pointing out that Adil, or any staff member at that, might be going through hell. It may burst his bubble and that it may be too much to give a warm feeling to a staff member who cannot share what may be going on in his life.

Many customers do recognize how intensely busy it is during a Pret morning coffee rush. It is called a coffee “rush” for a reason. On an average busy morning, especially when the GM cut staff, I myself alone served approximately 25 – 30 people in a 15 minute period which was visible in the system for later scrutiny by managers. This means on an average I served between 80 – 100 customers within an hour during extreme busyness.

If any reader here is a regular customer in Pret and thinks I am exaggerating, do an experiment, go to any Pret, especially the really busy ones and go when you know the busiest time is in the morning or lunch time, as this varies a little bit from shop to shop. Sit close to the till area where you can easily observe the Team Members. Take a stop watch, pick the fastest Team Member and time them within a 15 minute period. It will be hard to concentrate only on one Team Member, but give it a go. Count how many customers (transactions) this TM serves in that time. And I specifically mean the busy morning coffee rush and / or the busy lunch time rush, not the more quieter afternoons and evenings or the quieter time after the morning and before the lunch rush.

One can do the math throughout the day including the busy lunch “rush”. But from the log on the system, I often did around 500 – 600 transactions (1 transaction with the minimum of 1 customer, but often serving more than 1 person per transaction, serving a family or friends, but the number showed as per transaction, not per customer) in a 6, 8 or 10+ hour shift. Every day!

PLUS all the customers that you spoke to that weren’t logged as transactions via the till system, people who approached you by the fridges with a question. PLUS customers who called in on the phone with a query. PLUS customers who knew you were staff even when you were on your break and with your Pret uniform covered up, customers still approached you with a question during your break……. and dare you decline to help them during your break, being worn out, exhausted after busy breakfast and lunch rushes!! How quickly do customers tweet to Pret about any and every peep that bothers them. It’s safe to say that I myself alone was dealing with around 1000+ people EACH DAY plus my team and bosses…………..

And you are required to smile for EACH and EVERY customer. The Mystery Shopper will make sure you do, while also making sure you keep eye contact AND have a little conversation! In all this you are expected to be natural, not robotic.

Forget the “aim” to “connect”, if you don’t smile you get into trouble. One comment here from the MS on a colleague who was a very hard working Team Leader herself in her service, but I have had similar comments on my service like this as well. And no matter how hard you worked or how good your service was before and after you happened to serve the MS, reading those comments discouraged you further, not to mention your boss telling you off later:

 

Mystery Shopper poor comments

Quote: “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 engage[d] and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.”

 

I know that this team leader also had 500-600 transactions each day on top of her leadership responsibilities as we were always looking at our till reports if we were too slow or even too fast. Total nightmare and the most ungrateful, unrewarding and dehumanizing job. Autopilot happens and it turns into mental illness.

 

Yes, customers pay a lot of money, they deserve the minimum of a decent service, as in fact every paying customer, as well as the homeless person does who asks for a free Tea which happens all the time. Every person deserves respect and the best service possible. But again, the bullying environment in Pret, cutting staff to maximize profit, overworking and stressing staff to breaking point … no one wants to know about this. It’s all about “me, myself and I”. No thought of my fellow man and woman. Let’s just name, shame and blame them publicly, right?

I know of one suicide of a staff member, I almost ended my life as well, as my regular readers know my story by now. Others have repeatedly reviewed on the stress, depression, anxiety etc. working in Pret, and I cannot help thinking of how many more may have ended their lives or became suicidal, even after they left Pret or got fired and broke.

So, I keep my fingers crossed for Adil, and hope the feedback he receives will be constructive, not pulling him down further as GMs don’t like the “shame” of feedback like this from HQ via a public Tweet. I certainly know how it is to get pulled down in the office by my bosses because of a Tweet, or customers writing in because their day got ruined for whatever reason…

 

Today’s Tweet from a customer to Pret:

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile

 

2018-10-24 Re No Smile2

Link to Tweet

 

And who is the best in this smile and friendliness? Of course Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret. What Ronald McDonald is to lure kids to McDonald’s, Schlee is to Pret. His job is to present (and Pret-end) this happiness and friendliness, and portray to the public that Pret is a lovely place that provides “good jobs for good people”. And he paints this facade extremely well.

But he doesn’t stop there, he goes the “extra mile” and takes the poorest of the poor, the most vulnerable and broken ones, homeless people (mainly young people) off the street, offers them jobs, flies them out to Austria where he has property, hikes with them and then making nice photos to show what a great company Pret is, and how well he and Pret cares for staff.

 

Some free PR on the house:

 

2018-10-20 Careful 2 Integrate Homeless1

 

 

How easy it is, as a millionaire business man to take the most vulnerable people, shower them with good deeds and an overdose of luxury, and then post this on his blog and on Twitter. And the public goes ‘Aaaawww isn’t that lovely’.

In the meantime staff across the board in Pret shops and kitchens are bullied, overworked, underpaid, have to work overtime without pay. And when they complain they are being threatened with their job security; disciplinaries are handed out like napkins, hardworking and loyal staff being unfairly dismissed and put on the streets, fear management is thriving, staff becoming suicidal etc. etc. Selected quotes from the long list of staff complaints, as well as my traumatic experience that I survived.

That is why Schlee writes on his blog of the idea for the Rising Stars (well sounding slogans) to run a shop by themselves, as solely former homeless from the manager down to the kitchen and shop staff and that Pret is “careful to integrate” them into shops. I write about why Pret is careful to integrate them in this blog entry more extensively.

But in a nutshell, for people who were homeless, vulnerable, have mental challenges and traumas to overcome, for them to work in the mainstream shops could catapult them right back on the streets as the work environment in shops and kitchens is brutal. So, when these Rising Stars run shops entirely with solely former homeless people on staff, they would be treated not as harsh as mainstream shops with high targets and unrealistic expectations. These Rising Stars would get an easier ride.

Thus, the well oiled PR[et] machine puts on its famous smile and portrays to the public what a lovely company they are. And yet, reality looks very different as I share my traumatic survival of Pret and all the staff reviews I collected unto one page. I keep referencing back and forth with links so that the reader doesn’t need to take just my word for it and because many people are new readers. This is so appalling because instead of making it easier across the company, treating ALL people with respect and kindness, and in this way still be really successful, the Rising Stars are treated softer, while the mainstream shops continue to suffer, and who knows how many ended up on the streets after they broke.

The CEO is very aware of how it is in shops, as he also visits shops regularly. One approach also is that shops are named, shamed and blamed when things go wrong like poor Health & Safety results. Of course shops are also named when they do extremely well as an incentive to make shops jealous to compete and raise the profit. But the atmosphere is hellish and I was able to take it for a long time while I had a “normal” life, not taking this home too much. But when my life got turned upside down when my brother died, this became a roller coaster that I don’t know how I survived this.

 

Only some of the many collected “reviews” on Pret’s work conditions:

 

This person keeps appearing on several YouTube comments regarding Pret (like I do on Twitter). One comment from YouTube scrolling down in the comments:

 

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

 

 

 

Ex-GM:

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 

 

 

 

Cons: “Depression. Anxiety. Dread to go to work”

 

2018-10-02 Modern Day Slavery

 

 

A very blunt but true review:

 

2018-07-12 Quote Pret #17

 

… Compiled with more reviews along those lines collected on the usual page I created.

 

The way Pret and the CEO dealt with two customer deaths, a third nearly fatal, ignored numerous complaints and warnings regarding allergen and the lack of labelling, that only once the deaths became public and people started to boycott Pret, some even saying they will never shop there again, only then does Pret start slowly to trial labelling each product. And yet, each item has been labeled with full allergen guide for the homeless each night since years. The main characteristic in Pret is to make shop staff and customers responsible to figure out what is in the products. The homeless and  / or people in need cannot check after closing time nor do many have access to the Internet to check for allergen information online. So, staff and customers while in the shops are made responsible to search for ingredient and allergen information. A typical Pret “behaviour” to blame downwards should things go wrong.

 

2018-10-20 Pret charity labels2

 

 

I am all for taking homeless people off the streets, please do. Please help people back into jobs and get accommodation. But please, while you are doing this, also include homeless people who are in their 40s and 50s and not just in their 20s where your investment may pay off longer! There is too much discrimination going on, and even while older people are not as easily molded and brainwashed anymore, as they have a zero-tolerance on bullshit with their life experience, your reputation would get a better shine in the long-run. And yes, take them to Austria, Stonehenge, Hawaii or to the freaking moon if you can, but to take the most vulnerable for PR while regular shop staff are suffering, is the greatest hypocrisy and self-serving thing! If I was a former homeless person, I would be ticked off being used for PR[et] like this.

The catering and hospitality industry is already stressful as it is, but the unnecessary stress is what makes this so terrible and the PR facade so ugly, once the reality behind this facade comes to light.

 

Former IT-Analyst’s December 2017 review of HQ and Top Leadership:

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 

 

My story at least I will tell again and again because it took 10 years of my life to come to a point to not give Pret, and indeed any company with double-standards, the benefit of the doubt anymore. I have to say though that I never experienced this turmoil in any company until I came to Pret. Maybe this is why it took me so long and such a traumatic journey to finally conclude that Pret was not worth my while.

 

I want to end on a positive note this time. I was at a gig yesterday of one of my favourite artists whose music has gotten me through a lot of dark times. I used her song “The Greatest” on a ‘video’ I did for my brother shortly after I learned that he died, and which I posted at the bottom of this page for him. My website here, which started and also still goes under poetrasblok.com, used to be all about my brother with a lot of poems I wrote and videos I made in my trauma, until the LateNightGirl.org thing took over. I will eventually turn it back into my sole tribute page for my brother and re-upload all the poems and videos that I posted before, as well as now also for my father who died in March this year.

But I had a little chat with this artist two days ago at a signing she did at Rough Trade East, London. I am not a fan of getting an autograph as this doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t ask for autographs, even though I met some artists that I love. Artists scribbling their name for a stranger on something doesn’t mean anything to me. But a small conversation, as little as 2 minutes means the world to me.

But as this was specifically a signing, it would have been a little bit odd not to take some of her albums for signing. Exchanging words was more important from human to human than any autograph could have been written into stone. Yesterday in the Roundhouse the thing she said at the end resonates so much with me. It wraps up my wasted years in Pret and my aim to not waste my short life on brutal and self-serving people or companies:

 

“Take care of yourself and those who love you. We spent sometimes our entire life taking care of those who don’t really even give the tiniest little shit about us. Make sure you take care of yourself and those who love you.”

Cat Power

 

Thanks, Chan! I will!

Chin up!

 

Roundhouse, London 23. Oct. 2018

 

 

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

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

 

Compensation for Life spent not for Death

 

Is it April Fool’s Day?

 

Man invoices Pret & EAT for time spent in shops (in 2009 mind you).

 

 

 

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

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

Quote of the Day #61 – Pret A Slave’s Company

 

Another “slave” review now from 18. Oct. 2018 and added to the list of complaints regarding Modern-day Slavery treatment in Pret.

 

SlaveBrick

 

Quote of the Day (highlight by me):

If someone can’t finish job on time has to stay longer, for free. Common practise is to give someone job to do, just a couple of minutes before end of shift and after telling that “you couldn’t finish on time, because you are to slow”

Oh yes, this is absolutely a common practice. The amount of times I was given a job 15 minutes before my shift ended, a job that would take at least 30 – 45 minutes and longer. I changed this “habit” then, and left on the dot when my shift ended and also told my teams or individuals when they were given jobs by the line manager minutes before their shift ended, that I will pay them via the system, as I was authorized to do as part of my team leader responsibilities, for the extra time. When the manager objected, which happened many times, then I advised my TMs that they should leave on the dot. I let my team go home precisely when their shift ended.

This did not make me friends with my line- and OPs managers, but these kind of people are not my desired friends!

 

2018-10-21 #61 Slaves Company

 

Former TM review from 18. Oct. 2018

Pret workers should do what colleagues did in the U.S. taking Pret to court:

Pret settles overtime wage claim (NY)

 

 


 

Long but not exhaustive list of Pret Staff reviews and complaints.

 


 

 

NOTE:

If you are a current Pret Employee, especially in the shop and / or kitchen, I advise you to not waste your time trying to change work conditions, nor “fight” this internally. Before I worked in Pret I never had any problems with a company or bosses. Of course I had the usual stresses any job brings, especially the food industry, and a boss here and there would get on our nerves from time to time, but nothing like the hell and trauma I survived in Pret! Nothing came even close!

That’s why I made the mistake to give Pret the benefit of the doubt one too many times, as this was a first, and trying to figure out why this was happening to me. In my darkest time during bereavement, when I was so traumatized I couldn’t see left from right and just went on autopilot, I was even bullied on top of this! From my experience with this company, Pret A Manger, and especially their toxic HR department, I can only urge you to join a Union! Keep on writing reviews on Employment Review and other websites, but safe yourself unnecessary pain and time, and join a Union.

In fact any employee should be a member of a Union. Period.

For Pret workers and food workers in general, I can highly recommend the Bakers Food and Allied Workers’ Union. The BFAWU was instrumental in the first ever McDonald’s workers’ strikes (McStrike) in the UK that already took place in the USA, but in the UK they are a vital force in organizing workers who suffer financially, physically and mentally.

But understand, that when you join a Union and Pret knows about it, that they will find anything against you to get rid of you. Andrej who founded the Pret A Manger Staff Union (PAMSU) was fired under the “pret”ense of allegedly having made homophobic remarks 10 months prior to getting dismissed.

Andrej confronting Pret on the real reason of dismissal.

 

 

Pret A Manger Staff Union on Twitter

BFAWU on Twitter

 

So, join a Union but understand that once Pret knows that you joined any Union, your days in Pret are numbered. But you won’t be alone. I am recommending the BFAWU because they are very active and supportive of all workers.

President of the BFAWU, Ian Hodson’s much needed words for employees and employers alike:

 

 

 

Worldwide food workers’ strikes on 04.10.2018

 

John McDonnell’s message to exploitative employers:

“We are coming for you!”

 

 

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

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

 

I thought this only happened to us!

 

I thought this only happened to us!

 

 

question

 

 

 

This happened to a family in the U.S. similar as it happened to us in Germany. Different circumstances but two same things: someone died and was cremated without finding the family first! Germany that is known for its efficiency and thoroughness has shocked me. Carelessness, indifference and sloppy police work know no boundaries.

My brother died and was found in his flat, approximate date of death six days before he was found. Police didn’t do their work properly to find us, then cremated my brother without our consent. We didn’t know for five weeks that he was dead and gone… completely gone…

A year or so later I was told by a customer who used to be a police detective after I asked him for advice, that when the police doesn’t find anything suspicious they close the case fast to avoid paper work! Of course if one of their own was found dead, they would move mountains to find the cause and family!

My life is one complete mess since then…

 

 

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

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

 

Little Drummer Boy

 

who is about 6 feet 5-ish.

 

Ellis Dickson

Ellis Dickson

 

Nothing more to say … made my day.

First gig this year after being tired of concerts after my dad died, the whole Pret thing, three years of survival, life in general, coming to terms, cutting out all the bs. But a friend sold some bands to me……

I went home speechless and deaf! But well worth it, also for the cause of the gig!

 

Full song:

 

 

Chopped parts on the drums:

 

 

Strange Cages

Strange-Cages_Press-shot2

 

 

 

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

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

The Audacious and Sneaky Bus Fare

 

TrumpTrap chasing-3744753_960_720

 

After a conversation with someone, I just remembered something that I experienced a few years ago.

In 2013 I visited some friends in the U.S. having lived in Florida a few years before, I usually visit every couple of years doing a little tour through the States where friends are scattered all over. I traveled mainly on the East Coast and going mostly by coach, train and car. I flew into JFK, stayed a night, then took a coach to New Jersey to visit friends for a few days. After that I took a train to Virginia for another set of friends and another train back to NYC for a couple more days by myself, seeing some favourite bands and music events that happened to play while I was there. I then took another bus to my favourite City in the U.S., Philadelphia, stayed a couple of days, and ended my U.S. “tour” by flying out to North Dakota for another set of friends before returning back to London.

I meticulously planned my trip from London, booked almost all tickets, hotels where I stayed alone in parts of the journey. I booked almost all train and bus tickets, where I was able to book online. I researched on cultural events and bands that I love who rarely play in Europe, and even found one of my favourite bands Over The Rhine due to play in NYC just when I planned my trip there! Perfect! I even managed to book a helicopter ride over NYC. I booked almost every journey, accommodation where needed, and cultural events. I only needed spending money and whatever else came up with trips I couldn’t book from London or anything spontaneous I decided to do. So, I was able to plan my trip around some of the events as well as how my friends where at home in their states / towns.

The only ticket I couldn’t book from London was the bus ride from NYC to Jew Jersey. As I had most all other things booked and paid for I didn’t worry and just planned to go straight to the coach station and buy a bus fare right then and there. I already did my homework from London on which station to go to, and as I visited NYC before, I knew roughly where to stay over night and just book accommodation in walking distance from Port Authority Bus Terminal.

So, at the second day of the trip I did exactly that. I took a nice little walk from the hotel to the Terminal, found the right bus pretty fast and started to book a one-way ticket to Atlantic City which my friends recommended me to book to, as they would pick me up from there living about one hour away.

A one way fare would have been $20 which is super cheap for a roughly 2 – 3 hour ride. I can’t remember exactly how long it took. But for some reason the salesperson at the desk would not let me book a one-way ticket and insisted that this journey can only be booked as a return ticket and that I would get my return fare back on the other side. I had a little debate as this didn’t make sense. Why should I pay $40 if I planned to only do a one-way journey? What I didn’t tell the clerk was that I did indeed plan to return to NYC about two weeks later, but wanted to take the train as I would be coming from Virginia. The one-way Amtrak journey, which I also already booked while still in London as I planned to catch the Over The Rhine concert, takes 8 hours from Blacksburg, VA to NYC. With a bus it would have been longer and much more uncomfortable. The back and forth seems complicated, but I had to book also according to how my friends were available. And as I don’t mind train journeys and traveling in general, the zik-zaking was okay for me as this also relaxes me as long as no rush is involved. And this trip was perfect in timing from beginning to end.

But I wanted to spare all the details and just wanted a blinking ONE-WAY ticket from New York City to flipping Atlantic City! Capiche?! Nopes! She wouldn’t have it. She insisted that they ONLY sell return tickets and that passengers WILL get the return fare back in Atlantic City. Annoyed, and yet needing to take the next coach as my friends would be at the other side in a few hours to pick me up, I paid the fare and soon after left for Atlantic City.

Hours later I arrived in Atlantic City in a parking area. I texted my friends roughly 30 minutes beforehand that my coach was approaching the city, and when the bus turned into the parking area they texted back that they were also already waiting on another parking lot nearby. Fantastic, I can just grab my luggage, get my return fare back and off we go.

Nopes!

I asked the bus driver to reimburse me my return fare that I didn’t need, but he directed me with my paper ticket into a building. Now guess what building it was? Yep, it was the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino! I go in, and by now quite agitated, and was directed to an automate and thought ok, finally I can put the ticket in and get my $20 back.

Nopes!

Instead of my money, a credit-card sized plastic card dropped out of the machine! By now I’m really p*ssed off! A security guard who was standing nearby, observing my frantic aim to figure out how to get my money back, chuckled and asked me where I was from as my accent gave me away again! The mix of British English with a German tone can never have me go under cover! He happened to speak some decent German as he used to be stationed with the U.S. military in Germany in the 80s. Amused, but still helpful, he pointed me where I needed to go to the cashier place to get my money back.

So, I walked through the CASINO and a maze of slot machines, but instead of coins you just needed to use your plastic card, in my case that was loaded with MY $20. Aaaahhh, now the plastic penny dropped!

Luring passengers travelling from New York and other places into the Casino for you to get tempted to use your card (your already purchased return fare that you didn’t need!) to spend it in Trump’s casino. On the initial bus fare purchase in NYC I was very naïve why all this happened. Now it all made “cents”!

 

TrumpPlaza

 

By now I am really outraged, as the audacity of trying to use my money but being forced to “lend” it to them before getting it back, for me to only be tempted to leave it at the casino, and worse even to get into gambling!

Now, I don’t gamble and am not tempted at all to use any of the machines or tables, and I don’t know anyone in my circles who does and would support anyone who struggles with gambling without judgment. But apart from the waste of time debating with the sales person in New York to have to pay a double fare, and then trying to get MY money back with my friends waiting outside in the parking lot who already drove for an hour to pick me up, I was unsettled by the lure they use to FORCE you to go through the casino. If I was a person with a gambling addiction, be it active or recovering, this could have pulled me right back in. This “evil”, and I call it evil, so outraged me that I ranted in the car to my friends almost all the journey to their house!

The length these greedy hordes go through to get you to spend your hard-earned money felt like an old-school Nintendo Mario game. You purchase a one-way ticket but are forced to get a return ticket. Then the bus driver who can’t give you the money sends you into the Casino. There you somehow need to find an automate where instead of your money, you get a plastic card as they didn’t allow to get the money via the paper ticket, you NEED the plastic card, which serves like a chip for card games or roulette! With this card you then have to go through the Casino surrounded by slot machines, just like passengers in airports are lured through the luxury items of the duty-free section to reach their gates… It takes a long journey through the colourful and warm atmosphere of the slot machine area, drizzled on with soft music and a sweet smell in the air, before you find the cashier booth to finally exchange the card with your money! At least FOUR levels from purchasing the ticket to getting back your money and in-between trap after trap after trap after trap…

 

Trump pocket

I should have complaint to the NYC bus company or whoever is responsible regarding the ticketing for wasting my time and trying to lure customers to gamble. And of course Trump being a king in New York, he must have made many dodgy deals like this. But it’s incredible what length they go through not only to pull money out of your pocket, but what made me even more angry is, that they want people to get or remain hooked to gambling. I felt for gamblers who try to stay away from these destructive businesses that destroy lives. A recovering gambling addict could have fallen straight into their trap, and the only thing that person did was just to buy a BUS FARE!! That is the audacious and sneaky Trump trap and the money hungry deals between companies!

 

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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.

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Pret Floyd “Another Crack in the Wall”

 

crack-695010_960_720

 

 

Natasha’s flown across the ocean
Leaving just a memory
Snapshot in the family album
Pret-A, what else did you leave for her?
Pret-A, what’ya leave behind for her?!?


All in all it was just a lack on the label.
All in all it just leaves cracks in the wall.


“You! Yes, you! Stand still Clive!”


When she grew up and went to Pret
There were certain allergen that would
Hurt the children any way it could
By scrutinizing on her decision
Upon anything she ate
And exposing every weakness

However carefully hidden by the labels


But out of the middle of a baguette
When she got on a flight, the fact
and anaphylactic shock would thrash her
Within minutes of her life


We don’t need no execution
We just need more food control
No stark labelling chasm on the products
Pret-A, leave them kids alive
Hey! Pret-A! Leave them kids alive!


All in all you’re just another prick in the mall.
All in all you’re just another prick in the mall.


“Wrong, Do it again!”

We don’t need no exploitation


“If you don’t label yer food, you can’t have any reward!”

We just need more food control


“How can you have any applause if you don’t label yer food?

No stark labelling chasm on the baguettes


“You! Yes, you behind the suit, stand still Perkins!”

 

Pret-A! Leave us kids alive!
Hey! Perkins! Leave us kids alive!

 

All in all you’re just another prick in the mall.
All in all you’re just another prick in the mall.


We just need more education
No stark labelling chasm on the salad wraps
“The Pret-Bulls are already out there”
Pret: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgh!”
“This French Baguette bakery thought you’d like to know.”


I don’t need no charms around me
And I don’t need no thugs to harm me
I have seen the writing on the label
Don’t think I’ll need anything at all
No, don’t think I’ll need anything at all


All in all it was all just mimicks on the wall
All in all you just got cracks in the wall


Goodbye, cruel Pret
I’m leaving you today
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye


Goodbye, all you people
There’s nothing I can say
To make you change your labels
Goodbye

 

 

 

In memory of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse

 

 

Natasha-Ednan-Laperouse-inquest

 

(I rewrote the lyrics from Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” inspired by an article of NewStatesmanAmerica covered in A Chink in the Armour of a Firm)

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

A Chink in the Armour of a Firm

 

or as I call it a crack in the PR(et) facade!

 

With plenty of press on Pret now this one I’d like to put my salt on in-between some sentences of this article:

“It’s difficult to say when, but at some point over the last ten years Pret A Manger became ubiquitous.”

It’s very easy to say when, it was indeed 10 years ago when Bridgepoint bought Pret and set the target of opening shops at 15% per year. I can still feel it in my bones and mental health how we were driven while staff were cut to increase profit and a 7 times return for Bridgepoint’s investment and £30 million for CEO Clive Schlee.

 

“Pret’s coffee is organic, its sandwiches are handmade, its marketing is self-aware and it wants you to know that doing the right thing is “what makes Pret, Pret”.”

Handmade by human machines while “doing the right thing” ignoring numerous warnings from customers regarding allergen and labelling, bullying staff to the point of suicide including bereaved staff. It what makes Pret, Pret.

 

“There’s never a shortage of “avo” at Pret.”

And never a shortage of complaints how hard the avos are. I only copied this complaint as an example how Pret is kissing butt while a customer offends shop staff with the C-word. But there were many complaints on hard avo. Amazing also how some people’s days are “ruined” while others lose a child and a mother to Pret products. Poor pepo!

 

PretBehaviour01a

 

 

“The people at Pret are always happy, so happy that they might give you a free sandwich if they like you”

So happy. 🙂

 

“In fact, the staff at Pret are so happy that in 2013, the chain was accused of using “emotional labour” tactics – monitoring staff to ensure they retain a cheerful demeanour – on its own workforce.”

Correct. Staff are being bullied, ordered into the office when the Mystery Shopper, or as I call them the Misery Shopper, commented that the server didn’t smile. A good telling off in the office with plenty of fear management and fear for job security. Then the staff is send out and ordered to smile! Even during illness having a cold and during bereavement!

 

2014-12-01 MS cough

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

 

The worst telling off I experienced was when a line manager, who himself never smiled, held a sermon in the kitchen with us team and said that smiling is part of the uniform! He then finished his speech and said that if anyone wants to say anything to say it ‘now’, then and there, or otherwise we shouldn’t come to him later. I lifted my hand and mentioned that I rather want to tell him something in private as I didn’t want to confront him in front of my team as I was their team leader wanting to lead by example not embarrassing the boss in front of them. But he maintained to speak up now and that later would be no opportunity.

So, I did. I said, “So-and-so, you never smile! (when serving customers)” … At least he changed a bit, but I certainly did not make friends saying this. Neither did I care.

 

“…the list of “behaviours” staff must exhibit reportedly contains over 50 items.”

Correct. A list of brainwashing that some staff threw into the bin.

 

“Pret ran into trouble earlier this year, when the Advertising Standards Authority took issue with two ads the company had run in 2016. Pret was found to have been “misleading” in its claims that products were “good natural food”. Whilst this didn’t grab headlines, it was a chink in the armour of a firm that’s clean and ethical image has been a source of its success.”

I appreciate the writer pointing out this being the “image”. It used to be quite dirty in Pret with pest problems that turned Pret into Pret A Mice until an EHO closed a shop and Pret only RE-acted, whereas before ignored staff’s and internal pest control people’s concerns.

 

“It was an early caution, perhaps, to the crisis that has engulfed the firm in the last two weeks where two of its customers were believed to have died after allergic reactions to is products.”

Plus one assistant manager who died by suicide last year that is known of within Pret and my repeated approach to confront Pret internally on this when I still worked in Pret, and now publicly, as I almost ended my life as well during my ordeal in Pret.

 

“It follows the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who passed away in 2016 after eating a Pret baguette that did not have any allergen labelling on its packaging.”

Not only on the packaging, but the fatal Sesame Natasha died of was missing on the fridge label of the “lovingly made” PR(et) baguette that Natasha and her dad read …

 

No Sesame on Label

(Sesame info missing)

 

… while each product that is given to charities for the homeless and people in need is being labeled with allergen info since years:

 

2018-10-20 Pret charity labels2

(Products with allergen labels for charity)

 

 

“Her father accused the chain of a “complete dereliction of duty””

… as well as being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, and rightly so.

 

All in all you just got another crack in the wall

 

crack-695010_960_720

 

“Pret CEO Schlee said that the chain would “ensure meaningful change”, and will start “trialling full ingredient labelling, including allergens, on product packaging” from November.”

Trialling from November. Starbucks closed 8000 stores in the U.S. After their incidence with racial issues, training their staff. ACTION is the best PR! But Pret is going full steam ahead doing business as usual, trialling…….! A death, let alone TWO the public knows about doesn’t mean anything to this sweet-talking company. If that doesn’t tell people something of the reality behind the “doing the right thing ” with even the arrogant slogan that Pret’s HR has of “doing the right thing naturally”, then I rest my case!

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

“’We cannot begin to comprehend the pain the family have felt, and the grief they will continue to feel,’ said Schlee.”

He certainly took two years to “begin” to realize that he can’t begin to imagine and finally wrote to Natasha’s family!

 

“Was Pret too late to act? It is not legally required for stores to put allergy labels on food made on site, but the warning signs were there. According to the Times, Pret “ignored” nine cases of allergic incidents related to sesame, including six related to its “artisan baguettes”.”

More than nine!

 

“The lawyer for the Ednan-Laperouse family told a West London court that there was a “clear concern being repeatedly raised that artisan baguettes were causing sesame seed allergy problems, which were not properly responded to by Pret”. Pret’s compliance director said the firm responded appropriately to each individual complaint at the time.”

The Director of Risk-taking and Complacency did not respond properly.

 

“Schlee, who is reportedly set to pocket a £30m windfall when the JAB sale goes through, didn’t write to the bereaved relatives personally until this August, the family claims. Not a good look for a brand that trades on an image of wholesomeness and honesty.”

Anyone in business who claims honesty should always get a closer look!

 

“Despite being undoubtedly the biggest crisis in its history, no one expects the burgundy star to vanish from the high streets anytime soon. Its ruthless expansion under private investment is widely expected to continue stateside thanks to JAB’s experience in the American market (JAB also own Douwe Egberts coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts).”

Yes, that’s true, they will not vanish and I appreciate it being coined as “ruthless” expansion. They will just go through a year of a little nose-dive in profits and will re-emerge with more bull-crap PR. But I lived long enough to know that when people are lucky enough to be on their death-bed and able to look back on their lives and “achievements”, I don’t want to be in their skin.

 

“If the chain loses its avocado-driven charm, no number of free coffees will pep it up.”

That’s true, but also the time is coming when even Pret workers will start standing up with Unions and demand respectful treatment, apart from the poor wages and the brainwash they’re subjected under.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Ten

 

2018-10-12-wrong-label.jpg

Link

 

A Smoked Salmon Artisan Baguette that contains Sesame from which Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died of with the wrong label of a VEGGIE Avo & Herb Wrap…

 

One of the responses to this I made:

 

2018-10-12 Wrong Label2

 

And THIS is where the greed of Pret, or any company, is now paid for with the lives of customers as seen repeatedly in the Pret Staff Complaints collected from various Employment Review sites, YouTube, Twitter etc. as well as my experience as a Team Leader …

 

When profit counts more than life:

 

 

 

A collection of Allergen & Label Warnings.

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

 

Quotes of the Decade – Pret A Slave

 

slave-2614959_960_720

 

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

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement

Quote from the Introduction on page 3:

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

 

We know there’s a lot to do?

 

Rephrased: “We have modern slavery in Pret, but we work on it once we get caught. We stay quiet until it becomes public and in the meantime make a statement in advance to cover our shiny PR(et) facade.”

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

 

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

 

Some selected Quotes:

NEW Slave’s company (18. Oct. 2018)

Modern Day Slavery (2nd Oct. 2018)

Workers are slave (June 2017)

Slave-like environment (Oct. 2017)

Felt Like A Slave (Nov. 2014)

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

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

Advice to Management

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

 

Slavery hasn’t been abolished (Oct. 2017)

Leaders treat you like a slave (May 2018)

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

 

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

Hellhole!”

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

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

 

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

Horrible Company Pret

 

 

On Andrej’s Pret Union video more comments:

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments1a

 

… and further …

 

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

2012 Andrej Stopa Video Comments4

 

etc. etc.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

Pret Allergen Deaths & Customers Repeated & Ignored Warnings

 

seeds pexels-photo-1296262

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

And another-two (CEO’s poor response to allergic customer’s warning)

And another-three (Sesame reaction 13 months after Natasha’s death)

And another-four (Lack of labelling even after Natasha’s death became public)

And another-five (Customer hospitalized after allergic reaction)

And another-six (Still lack of labelling after Natasha’s death became public)

And another-seven (Misplaced Sandwiches without labels)

And another-eight (Sesame)

And another-nine (Pine Nuts)

And another-ten (Mislabeled product: Salmon Artisan Baguette with Sesame having a Veggie Wrap Label on 12. Oct. 2018)

 

to be continued …

 

A tutorial for Pret A Manger:

Labelling for Dummies

 

2014-07-21 Contains Nuts RFH

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

 

 


 

UPDATE

07. Oct. 2018

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

And Another-Eight

 

2018-09-26 Sesame Tony_h7

 

Link

 

Other customer complaints and concerns regarding labelling issues in Pret.

 

 

 

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

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And Another-Nine

 

2018-10-04 PineNuts IceQueen2912

 

Link

 

Other customer complaints and concerns regarding labelling issues in Pret.

 

 

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

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

 

IMMEDIATE PR[et] vs Labelling DELAY

 

hourglass-620397_960_720

 

At 1:29 Natasha’s mum is absolutely right, change can come IMMEDIATELY! I worked in Pret for 10 yrs and have my own story of survival on a different matter!

On the subject of “immediately”, here are 3 “IMMEDIATES” that I have witnessed Pret implementing:

 

1.

The week when Brexit was voted for, within THAT week Pret implemented Brexit champions in each area to assist employees regarding how to stay in the UK, because Pret got scared to be losing many employees who mainly come from Europe, in particular Eastern European nations and are known for their hard work under immense pressure. The hardest working colleagues I have ever worked with come from Romania, Ukraine, Czech Republic etc. These people waste no time, often they don’t speak English well, so they won’t know where to complain to when they encounter problems with managers and they certainly won’t know their rights. Hence, Brexit Champions were very quickly trained to help non-British workers stay in the country and therefore in Pret to continue like “machines” to increase profits.
Andrej Stopa, the first person to PUBLICLY challenge mistreatment by managers paid with his job for it. He was dismissed under the “Pret”ense of allegedly having made homophobic remarks TEN MONTHS before getting fired! But in reality he got fired for having started a Trade Union. He confronted Pret on the reason for dismissal.

 


 

2.

Within a DAY of the Grenfell Tower fire, Clive Schlee, CEO announced (or rather bragged, typical PR) that Pret is giving £100,000 to the Evening Standard Trust for Grenfell, that was decided within a 24 hour period of the tragedy when the tower was still smoking and parts burning! A typical emotional RE-action and decision Pret’s CEO makes because he had a visual and was overwhelmed for a minute. Super-fast IMMEDIATELY.

 


 

3.

And the most amusing IMMEDIATE was when Pret became aware of my blog on the night from 28th to 29th of May 2018 and Clive Schlee making a £1000 announcement for all staff where it would take 10 years of service to receive £1K, this carrot is now thrown at everyone as Brexit is advancing fast and Pret has already lost staff (in 2016 the CEO was still speaking about 20K staff, now it’s 12K?).Only he knows if this £1000 idea was born on that night out of becoming aware of my blog, but I am certain knowing how he RE-acts to confrontation, that the timing of the announcement in the night to 29th May was due to their discovery of my blog in that night!

So, I am delighted of having been part in staff getting a financial boost, even though this only serves as a carrot. And interesting enough, an immediate RE-action to my blog that lead to this announcement did not bring an immediate action, as employees are still waiting for the £1000 to “moneyfest” (sorry, I couldn’t resist this wordplay!) and the CEO’s premature announcement adds now to the pressure.

 

I could go on an on with 4. and 5. … of RE-actions to being caught like when an EHO closed down a Pret shop due to pest, whereas before this close-down Pret ignored our complaints to please solve the pest problems. Internal pest control people worked hard but could not fix the issue until an EHO closed a shop after a routine visit finding evidence of pest. ONLY THEN was an outside pest control company commissioned to tackle this.

I asked for a transferal to another shop as the mice issue in my then shop was unbearable. One person shot this video in the U.S. of mice activity and it brings back memories! It’s the night shift working in Pret A Mice! High activity when the shops were closed and quiet, but in the shop I worked in the mice were so bold, they strolled along under the barista cupboards during the busy coffee rush in broad daylight! But I couldn’t take it anymore and asked for a transferal. That was before the EHO closed a shop, and then Pret went into panic-mode sacking people, disciplining managers, reverting managers back to assistant managers even thought GMs weren’t trained properly… all that changed with a shop closure when only then a proper pest control company entered the scene!

Bottom-line why I speak out so openly whereas before I used to be very discreet and professional: it ALWAYS takes a dramatic happening before Pret responds! And with these deaths, there is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE that people had to die! Absolutely unnecessary! Unacceptable! Complete negligence on Pret’s part!

 

 

12K vs 20K

(Suddenly they “matter”, hey?)

 

Staff are still waiting, getting confused and impatient, while Clive Schlee does the usual thing: “blaming downwards”. He makes the announcement but then refers to the shops… as usual. And the team members get more and more confused. So, I help a bit by pushing on the rusty PR(et) machine!

 

 

1000 announcement still waiting 2018-08-29

 

 

… and still waiting …

 

 

2018-09-16 my response to £1000 29May announcement

 

 

… and still hoping …..

 

 

1000 announcement still waiting 2018-09-24

 

 

… and still (yawn) waiting …

 

2018-09-30 1000

Link to £1000 Tweet

 

while Pret customers were also still waiting for full labelling of EVERY product to safe lives! ……..

 

Of course by now all the staff have been briefed to please not tweet anymore as I haven’t been silent! But as soon as the £1000 is paid to all staff this will be big news! Forget labelling and customers dying, as long as the PR(et) machine keeps working, everyone’s happy!

 

Back to the IMMEDIATE:

Not having labels with FULL ingredients and allergen info after repeated warnings and complaints shows of the carelessness and complacency. I know Pret, they do NOT care until caught at worst, or until something is to their benefit and PR at best!

Ten months after Ms Marsh’s death, Pret makes a public statement and sues CO YO. Just after the carpet got lifted and the public is made aware of two deaths. I asked Pret on 30. Sep. 2018 after Natasha’s death became public, how many more people have died, not in my worst nightmares expecting that a second death would be revealed shortly after, and yet sadly I am not surprised at the negligence of Pret A Manger:

 

2018-09-30 My Tweet on death suicide

Link to Tweet

 

I still have the emails regarding Brexit and Grenfell etc. Whatever helps Pret and Clive Schlee’s PR and bragging about good deeds that are obvious and visible and self-serving, that is what Pret acts on IMMEDIATELY.

 

To the BBC News, PLEASE don’t let your reporters say “In the wake of Natasha’s death”… This is in the wake of Natasha’s death becoming PUBLIC! She died TWO YEARS ago and Pret didn’t care, but everyone treats this as from yesterday.

To Natasha’s parent’s her death IS as if it happened yesterday, and will be like this forever. But Pret, Clive Schlee and particularly Jonathan Perkins knew of Natasha’s death for two years, as well as all the warnings before and after, but did not do anything to change!

Absolutely nothing and even ignored repeated warnings!

The hypocrisy of the CEO on his Twitter calling this a “promise” and saying that “nothing is more important to Pret right now”.

 

2018-10 1st death Pret Labbelling Statement

Link to the pinned Tweet having replaced the £1000 Tweet

 

While all the time hanging on to anti-Plastic Bottles and Straws schemes as if for dear life!

 

Clive Schlee Plastic Bottle concern

 

 

So, nothing is more important right now! After two years! What a terrible attempt to keep up the facade! Pret got caught now, and this reshuffles their priority. NOT the deaths, NOT the numerous warnings, but the public exposure.

Pret A Shame on you!

 

Natasha’s mum saying that “action can be immediate” @ 1:29

She further says, “You don’t have to wait for a law change to start putting stickers, listing the allergens on the food that you sell. You can just do it because it’s the right thing to do.

 

 

versus the PR(et) blaa blaaa machine:

 

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

 

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

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

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

 

Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement vs My Comments

 

Food Chains crop

 

 

I commented on the Pret Modern Slavery Statement as this is the usual PR they are so well known for.

My and many other experiences on the work conditions in Pret shops I have extensively written about on this blog. But I decided to comment on their statement within the PDF document.

I understand that this looks a “messy” and it may take a “scholar” to sieve through this, but I decided to do it this way instead of creating a lengthy blog entry with quotes. For anyone who is truly interested in the subject of work conditions, how it really looks behind the PR facade, I uploaded this.

Many people in today’s society won’t bother with lengthily texts, as we are so conditioned with fast Tweets and short statements, unless we admire certain established writers or love to read in general. I am not an established writer, I just have experience that has almost cost me my life working in Pret A Manger. And regardless of the short attention span of today’s age with the overload of information, I want to emphasize what I and many others experienced in Pret.

I gave Pret the benefit of the doubt one too many times, having given my sweat, blood and tears to this company who tricked and trapped me via their toxic HR department and HQ, being bullied by immediate line managers during bereavement; there is NO clear zero tolerance on bullying or “Modern Slavery” as Pret lines out in their statement. The continued staff reviews on Employment Review sites explain this loud and clear, even now in October 2018 which I continue to collect on my blog, continuously updating the list of Staff Complaints.

Knowing Pret’s tactic, their Modern Slavery Statement at the bottom of Pret’s website could also be a clever way of subtly wanting to get people used to Modern Slavery and that Pret is not able to tackle it, but working on it. Clever psychology again and as their usual PR stunt addressing it with “groups” in place. The reality in shops and kitchens is different and the complaints on Employment Review sites continue on the same lines of “Modern-Day Slavery” as this 2nd Oct. 2018 review shows again. Yes, this Modern Slavery in shops may look different than those from the supplier in other countries, but it is nevertheless WRONG as it hurts people mentally and physically. My medical record is long since having gone through my ordeal being bullied during bereavement and the immense story I went through that sounds like out of a Psycho-Thriller!

I almost lost my life, and for many who are familiar with my blog, this is a repeat and I want to thank all the faithful readers and supporters of my blog. It is because I could be dead right now having had a close-call to end my life when I worked in Pret. I cannot be silent even if I wanted to. Others still suffer in this non-rewarding, discriminating environment.

Thank you for reading.

 

9 Page PDF document of Pret’s Modern Slavery Statement with my comments.

 

And an important article on the poverty of Fast-food workers in the USA:

Modern Slavery US Fast-food Industry Thriving on Poverty-stricken Workers

 

 

 

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

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