Hold the personality please, Pret a Manger - I only came in for a sandwich

The eyes of sandwich-eaters have been opened by this unseemly spat over the dismissal of an employee

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The Independent Online

How invested can a sandwich vendor really be in my well-being?

Sure, they ask me how I am, but they don’t really mean it. If they meant it, they wouldn’t ask me as they were taking money off me. That’s not how real friends behave.

But now I know that you can be hired by Pret a Manger only if you are pathologically perky. Before, I just suspected this was true. In an unseemly spat about the dismissal of an employee (unconnected, apparently, to his attempts to set up a union), the eyes of sandwich-eaters have been opened. And what they have seen is that getting a job at Pret requires more interpersonal skills than I even knew existed. (What do you want from me? I work from home. Frankly, you’re lucky I’m dressed.)

Things they “Don’t Want to See” – 17 of them – include being moody or bad-tempered, being someone who annoys people or being someone who’s just there for the money. I think it’s worth pointing out that if I was using these kinds of rules for admission into my social circle, I’d have no friends at all. Must we dismiss all moody people as being a bad thing? Mightn’t they just be having a difficult day? Or be, say, Kierkegaard?

And really, what kind of mercenary goes into sandwich-vending just for the money? Is it possible these fiends walk the same streets as my mother? I’m horrified by the very idea. Although, of course, if they were wanting work just for the cash, then Pret wouldn’t be the best place to go for it: one of the things the proto-union is aiming for is a living wage – well over a quid an hour more than the Pret starting salary.

I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I would rather sandwich-shop staff were a bit grumpy sometimes than eerily polite all the time. It makes me feel like I’m living in Stepford, but with more mayonnaise. And who knows? Maybe if they earned a bit more each week, they might not feel so grumpy.