Pret A Manger, who I must spend about £1000 a year with for my breakfast in the morning, are facing a trade embargo from... Me!
Why? You may ask?
The answer is simple. Until Friday, every morning I would walk in with a smile, ask the lovely staff for my usual Mozzarella & Tomato croissant and coffee and they would happily serve me. We'd enjoy a little banter and every once in a while I'd even get a coffee on the house!
Sadly all this changed last Friday when they decided to implement operation Pasty Tax.
What they did was to move the croissants from the safe, warm cabinet by the tills to the badlands that are the hot food area in the shop.
Ordinarily this wouldn't be that big a deal, but it now means I lose the friendly banter, have to take the croissant to the till myself and also pay 6p more for an extra bit of card that makes it difficult to eat on the move.
So far all the staff I've spoke to have said they think it's a stupid idea and I should complain. So I did. Called head office and asked for an explanation. They were quite helpful and I'm hoping to see some positive action, but I also complained on twitter. Sadly the response from whoever controls the twitter account was something along the lines of "all our branches have a different layout but we've taken your feedback on board" which was rather disappointing.
Anyway, I refuse to eat there until they resolve the problem :)
Update! Day 2 and I received a letter from Pret Customer Services. A rather patronising letter. Contrary to my own investigations and what the twitter account said, the letter told me they ran customer trials and received positive feedback, the placing of the croissants with the other warm food is in line with other bakeries and is in accordance with health and safety regulations. They also blamed the 6p increase in price on the cost of rent. So it tells me that the level of customer service at this company has dropped a lot since I last contacted them.
But I have NEVER seen croissants out in the open on the bottom shelf of an open full height cabinet before. They have no wrapping on them and it's quite nasty thinking about what might land on them, including the dust from people walking in and out of the shop. And so far all the other branches of Pret I've looked inside have the croissants in the correct place by the tills with the original price.
Update. I did finally get the call from the CEO. He completely appreciated my complaint, but the problem is their sales have gone up by 20% since they made the change, and he has a business to run. So I’ve given up. I don’t eat there as often anymore, but when I do I still have mozzarella and tomato croissants. I just pick the one from right at the back. And ask them to remove the box. I hate losing, but nobody wins everything, every time!