Carole Middleton is a rude boss, claims unnamed Party Pieces employees

It’s been a weird few months for Carole Middleton. Out of nowhere last December, she granted two extensive interviews. She had rarely offered public statements before, so the royal courtiers were reportedly “baffled” by why Carole was suddenly so keen to be heard from. Then last month, there was a flurry of rumors about the state of Party Pieces, the Middleton’s family business. Reportedly, Party Pieces is in financial trouble and they’re laying off staff right and left. Reportedly, office morale is at an all-time low. And now it seems like the recently fired ex-employees are spilling some tea about what Carole is really like as a boss. The Mail on Sunday did a lengthy story about Carole the Evil Boss – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Employees felt terrorized by Carole: One employee is said to have received 71 emails from her in one day, an amount many might consider excessive, even for a busy working office. Other staff said that she would occasionally click her fingers to get someone’s attention when she was under pressure, which was seen as irritating. For some staff even the ‘sound of her Range Rover pulling up’ outside the office was enough to set them ‘on edge’.

How Party Pieces operates: The business is a 15-minute drive from their home. Staff arriving for work are required to enter a personal code into a computer. It logs exactly when they come and go and ensures that they have worked their allotted hours. The company accountant may then send Mrs Middleton the names of anyone who might have fallen short of their quota. Sometimes they may be emailed and given the choice of having money deducted from their pay or making up their hours.

Trips to the dentist: Even time off for a dentist appointment might count against staff, claimed one ex-employee. ‘I could understand having to clock in if you are being paid by the hour – but we were salaried staff,’ he said.

No Christmas decorations: One former staff member said there wasn’t so much as a bit of tinsel at the office. He added: ‘It was miserable. You would think a company selling party items would be full of cheer. Carole once spoke about us playing rounders in a field near her home, but it failed to materialise.’

Carole snapped her fingers: ‘Once she clicked her fingers wanting someone to come over to her desk, which I thought was demeaning and unprofessional. I saw her doing it to others as well.’

The late-night demands: ‘Mike would be full of praise and appreciative of our efforts. She would expect us to respond to emails at seven or eight at night. And they weren’t simple – it would be her demanding, something to the effect of ‘I need you to do this and send it back to me tonight. Often we would have to work late or over the weekend because she hadn’t signed something off until very late. She insisted on signing off everything but often she would disappear for hours. She was once needed desperately to sign something off but no one could get hold of her. I then saw her on the TV at Wimbledon. Carole’s main job was to produce the quarterly catalogue – and she did a good job of it, but there were two occasions where people had to work throughout their weekend putting it together because she insisted on last-minute changes. There was never an apology, she just expected people to do it.’

Party Pieces is struggling financially: While Mrs Middleton has wisely avoided exploiting her quasi-Royal status, the business – for a while at least – unquestionably benefited from it. Staff say sales ‘soared’ after Kate and William’s wedding in 2011, for instance. But an insider said the company is now having to contend with the buying power of Amazon and Tesco, both of which are selling party goods. One staff member said: ‘Recently there were bans introduced on buying new stock – there was no money to buy anything in so we had to try and get rid of the stuff that hadn’t sold, rather than buy in what was popular.’ One senior manager who spent two years at the firm said that the pressure-cooker environment eventually forced him to quit in 2014.

[From The Daily Mail]

There’s more in there about Carole being extremely rude or curt to her employees and how Michael Middleton is lovely, and how he’s the one everyone loves in the office. I mean, some of this is just sexism, the kinds of tone-policing bullsh-t that female bosses get constantly. But some of it feels like… Party Pieces is crashing and the crash is messy, and people are letting go of years of pent up resentment and anger. I’m very curious as to why Carole did those interviews last year and why we’re hearing all of this stuff right now. Hm.

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