Pret A Manger Mystery Shopper - Emotional Labour forced on staff

I shop Pret a lot. Shoppers are more focused on stock levels during peak periods, not employees.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope

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@expretDOTorg wrote:

Mystery Shoppers are ALWAYS focused on service among the other things they have to check.

Incorrect. Period.
I went to his concert when he was in DC last month! I think the theater was sold out, but it didn't matter because everyone was standing up, dancing and singing along. He started with "Let the Drummer Kick It" and did music from all of his albums.

It was an awesome concert. Pure music, no theatrics. His music truly steps inside your soul.

How did you first find out about him?

@expretDOTorg wrote:

On another note, about your signature, I LOVE Citizen Cope, saw him a few times live, also in Philly! Amazing musician and with very little can put across immense art and emotion.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
RE: Moving on...

Do you have a counselor telling you that this is a good way to "move on"? You are spending a huge amount of personal time late at night (you are in the U.K., yes?) hyper-focusing on this and, largely, arguing with folks you do not know. You have been doing this for some time (as per your interview, conversation with the reporter, blog, etc.). There is life beyond Pret. I am not convinced that this is a healthy way to "move on" from an unhealthy work experience. If you were somebody close to me, I'd suggest that you, at the least, check in with a different counselor and get a different opinion.

Outside of "moving on," I don't get what you think you can accomplish here. If the workplace is as terrible as you suggest, in the States, you would have clear remedy in a lawsuit - suing them for a hostile work environment. I do not know the laws in the U.K. or if that is a possibility? If the issues are as prolific as you suggest, the lawsuit would be pretty straight-forward. (I am fairly certain that you are not engaged in one now as an attorney would be very upset about your blogging about the subject during litigation and might even drop you as a client if you persist.) A lawsuit is the way that such issues are brought to the attention of the public and how companies are held accountable. You stated that they had been sued (and lost) before. One of the things that happens when companies here are sued repeatedly for the same violations is that jury awards get substantially higher each time. (The thinking being that if the company did not change their ways after the first two or three lawsuits, they clearly were not punished enough and required more serious consequences.) Suing is not just about getting money for the plaintiff, but it forces companies to change their behaviors.

Also bugging me: You stated in your blog (I believe?) that you had been with Pret for 10 years. That's a REALLY long time to be sticking with an experience that is that traumatic. Why would you do that?

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
@expretDOTorg wrote:

once you worked in retail and customer service you cannot work as an MS.


Incorrect. Period.
Folks, no one is going to win this argument. Expret's mind is made up. We're all wrong and that's that. Time for us to be the grown ups and respond to other threads on this forum!
Seriously people why are you still replying to this hot mess?

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@bgriffin wrote:

Seriously people why are you still replying to this hot mess?

To show the truth to those that do not know better.

To try to help anyone other than the OP, as helping them is beyond possible at this point.
Those that don't know better aren't reading these freaking novels.
Those needing help aren't reading them either.
The only people who are reading them are the OP and the people who keep replying. It just pushes this stupid thread up to the top and gets it more attention.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I should read through all this at some point. Don't have the energy right now.

It is something that I think about quite a bit. I mentioned this recently on another threat about how noticing changes after a shop. It is not a simple thing. I think the bullying is more about how management uses the information in a shop than how the shops are structured. A person in a service job can easily and naturally be pleasant, thank customers, make helpful suggestions, and hit every point on the form. Anyone who has human emotions knows how this works. So a manager who rails at employees for not smiling is living out the old adage: "Beatings will continue until morale improves."

I don't doubt that some mystery shopping programs can be better. It very well could be a problem coming from the top of management and not just from the middle. However, store managers are not always the most well rounded, caring individuals. That's not across the board. It's just a fact that great managers move up more quickly than mediocre ones move out.

I try to add nuance to my reports. It takes extra work that I am not paid to do. It is easier to write a flat report and not worry about how it affects anyone. I appreciate this post just as a reminder that it can go wrong and that it is worth my time to my job properly.
@nslinhar wrote:

Ok. So why did you post and push the thread up again?

I'm out. Again.


There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I was watching The Last OG on a flight recently. It had a silly mystery shopping scene but one in which tough as nails manager spotted a shopper and totally fell apart. She didn't like it that Tracy Morgan's character took initiative to talk to the shopper. He did everything right. He offered assistance, suggested a pastry, and used the official size lingo. The shop ended with a perfect score. It was redemption for the character who is embarrassingly "real." I liked that scene a lot because it shows what should be important.

I’m loathe to wade into this thread but: 1. Handing someone the wrong receipt is poor customer service. Someone may be on a work trip or was simply sent by their boss to get coffee and if the receipt shows the wrong amount it would come out of their pocket when they submit it for a reimbursement. It would be malpractice for a shopper not to report it. In this case there seems to have been an issue with the registers and printers which was later fixed - perhaps as a result of reports from mystery shoppers, who identified an area where the store needed to improve. 2. In the wake of the referenced allergy events Pret is now asking shoppers to make an allergy inquiry and see if best practices are followed. So that aspect of the program could literally save someone’s life.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2019 01:20AM by NinS.
I don't know why I keep reading this or responding, but I do. I've read every single post, responses, replies, quotes, etc. You are one of those people that don't actually listen to the person that you're talking to. You just wait for them to shut up so that you can talk about the same thing that you've said 100 times. WE HEAR YOU!!!! And I'll use caps if I want to, you have made me angry and I want you to pay attention instead of just regurgitating the same thing over and over and over again.

I have been working in some form or another since I was 12 (33 years ago). I started delivering local newspapers, then it was babysitting, clerk in a gas/conveinence station, video store clerk, line cook at a crappy take out place, receptionist at engineering company, outdoor parking attendant at sports complex in rain, snow, 100 degree and 30 degree weather (luckily that turned into me being a business manager for that same company 4 years later, but I digress) waitress at a seasonal pizza place on the boardwalk where I ended up going to the hospital 3 times in 4 months for heat stroke, burns, etc ( it's actually still one of my favorite jobs), clerk at a linen supply company (thank goodness I didn't have to work in the laundry part because it was so hot in there, yet people were lining up to work there from all over this country and those overseas) bartended and waitressed at a place where I absolutely hated the place and the customers, but it was literally the only place in my town that was hiring and couldn't drive anywhere because of medical issues, then the dreaded drug store where customers were amazing and corporate was horrid (if you didn't get a perfect score on the CSE, you were written up, whether you had anything to do with it or not and you were expected to put away an entire 16 palet load of deliveries away in 48 hrs with you as a supervisor and one cashier to my last "regular job" as a bartender who worked a minimum of 8 hours, sometimes up to 14 hours in the summer without a lunch or break, where some of the male bartenders actually peed in a bucket outside because you literally couldn't get out of the bar and where the owner actually threw stuff around when he was mad, one time almost hitting his wife in the head with a tap handle.

Whew...I've worked a lot of places and as it turns out, they were all customer service jobs. What does all this mean? I know what it means like to be judged based on a smile or a comment or a cough or anything. We are there to serve the customer, that's where CUSTOMER SERVICE comes from. I've had times where I've said "Hey, how are you?" only to get the response of "Give me a Miller Lite" or "Give me a menu" or any other thing that doesn't answer how you are or acknowledge that I'm a human. Guess doesn't freaking matter. You're there to do a job. You're there to follow the guidelines that are set up for you by your employer.

Customers that come in to most businesses don't care about you unless they are regulars and then even that's iffy. Customers come in to any place to be served and to get a product or service. They don't care if you're having a bad day, they don't care if your boss is a jerk or corporate sucks or any of that. Most of them don't give a crap whether you or some bozo are there to wait on them. I've heard the "oh it's a shame that you are working on a holiday" while they're also complaining that their coupon won't work because it's a holiday. Nobody cares.

And honestly, as a customer, I could care less if there are smudges on the window, a little drop of tea or many of the other things that a mystery shopping company might tell me to report based on what the company is requesting that we report about, but I'll be damned if I don't do my job when the report specifically asks if there's smudges or stains or whatthefreakever else they ask about because that is my job. It's the one that I choose, because like Bobby Brown, it is my prerogative.

@expretDOTorg wrote:

@Jenny Cassada wrote:

YOU ARE NOT LISTENING! ..., unfortunately, is YOUR problem.

First of all, there's no need to shout at me, just take a chill pill, Jenny and don't take things so personal.

You say you are not micromanaging, yes you are!! You want to spot every smudge and every crumb and dare the busy, stressed, exhausted staff not see it!

There are MS's that are realistic and HUMANE and don't write about every peep and poop, like when staff cough because they are sick and not paid when off sick having to pay the bills. I even remember the MS that I served while coughing, not ONCE did the MS even asked me how I was, no "How are you... why are you not staying home to get well.." etc. I had many chats with customers about all sorts of things including holiday destinations, their job (one MS was dressed as a builder and must have done MS work on the site, so I asked him about his job, he then mentioned this in his report and rewarded me, that's how I realized with the report he was the MS).

So, there are lots of even sometimes personal chit-chat, but the MS didn't even esquire about my well being while I coughed and just commented that staff should not work while ill. Such ignorance in this.

I dare you to sit in a Pret during the busy coffee and lunch rush which in the U.S. is much less busy then in the UK, and just very few customers like I have posted on my blog, notice this and the intense stress staff go through.

So, yeah, do your job, report every crumb because the company wants profits and doesn't care for mental health of their staff. Survival of the fittest, whoever breaks will be replaced. That's Pret also has one question on their return to work sheet after sickness, the question "Are you having work related anxiety".

I had work related anxiety but never ticked the box because of how Pret targets those who break.

I take my hat off customers like this who have a rare "epiphany" on what Pret staff go through!

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