Inquisitive Elks

The rambling scrawlings of a modern cave-painter.
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HARD ROCK CAFE – NO WAY!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

I have another blog which is my “main” one – a lot more updates, here – http://inquisitiveelks.blogspot.com/ and I have no control of which adverts pop up  - but recently I have noticed that HARD ROCK CAFE have been taking over my page – so with that in mind I would like to re-post this blog from a while ago, all about Hard Rock Cafe – enjoy!

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Not everyone is aware, but workers in Sweden are protected by many laws and rights. However just because they are written down doesn’t mean that everyone follows them or won’t find a way round them.

Today I will do my own little expose on one of the world’s most popular chain restaurants and how they work/treat their staff in Stockholm Sweden.

THE HARD ROCK CAFE.

Most of you will know the Hard Rock Cafe started off in the 80s with a fun idea in London and then spread all over the world. Some world tourists must find a Hard Rock Cafe as soon as they visit a new country. So, Hard Rock Cafe was founded on certain principles, however…”the man” runs it now. The following is true of the Hard Rock Cafe in Stockholm when I worked there a few years ago.

All Hard Rock Cafe’s have the following mottos:

SAVE THE PLANET

They have no recycling program. Receipts are printed in triplicate, the third one if thrown away. Bleached, white paper napkins are used. Plastic cups are used, these are disposed after use. Waste food is thrown away. Take-away boxes are made from Styrofoam. Most packaging is plastic or paper.

ALL IS ONE

Immigrant staff are preferred, especially English, American, Australian etc. Partly because of the amount of tourists that visit the cafe. However, speaking Swedish is not a requirement. Since this is one of the only jobs a non-Swedish speaking immigrant can take the powers that be have control. More on this later.

The cleaning staff and kitchen staff and all “lesser” jobs positions are held by Asian, Hispanic or black workers.

By the way, these sayings all come from one of the founder members (Issac Tigrett) guru. Issac is a Hindu and a member of the Audarya Fellowship. It was a requirement that there was a picture of Vishnu in every Hard Rock Cafe. However, after 911 HRC in Stockholm took Vishnu away because they wanted to avoid anything that might be seen as connected….


…yup. Muslim, Hindu…it’s all the same right.

TAKE TIME TO BE KIND

All employees of HRC are expected to be able to fill several roles. In fact in the handbook it tells us that “that is not my job” isn’t a phrase used at the Cafe. However this is often used as an excuse to have the the staff do all manner of shitty jobs that really shouldn’t be their job, leaving them overworked and rushed. Some do in fact find the time to be kind, most are just stressed.

The average worker has no control over their cash register and to do anything such as a return, a refund, a discount etc it demands a manager to enter a code. The managers are rarely available when they are “on duty”, they are usually doing “important manager work” which is usually sitting on the internet or eating. This holds up the customers for a long time, making everyone more stressed.

The managers also train in Hard Rock Cafe standards. These are however catered only to the Cafe’s in America and therefore do not always work in Stockholm. For example, we had shelves of T-shirts that fit, folded onto our shelves. The HRC “standard” was to fold them to X=cm. However this was because that was the size of THEIR shelves. However, we still had to do it. Making our tees fall over every 5th minute.

LOVE ALL – SERVE ALL

Lets go back to how one is employed at the HRC. Now, when I first moved to Stockholm it was impossible to find work. However, HRC and just opened up a new tourist store that was in a separate location to the Cafe and the boss was also from the UK, he took pity on me and offered me a job.

  • My wage was 85 kronor an hour. Before tax. There is no minimum wage in Sweden yet this is very much under the average. The overtime was also based on the restaurant overtime, despite it being a stand-alone store. After a while myself and some of the other workers were approached by a shop union who saw how our wages and overtime was a complete joke. The staff worked long hours, evenings, weekends and “red days” (holiday days) without legal overtime or pay.
  • The bosses caught wind of us speaking to the union and told us that anyone who joined the union would lose their job. They also told us that they would add a Coke machine or Snack Machine to the shop so they could class it as a restaurant and therefore avoid paying us the legal wage for shop worker.
  • In an attempt to be a good worker, when I worked at the other shop (located in the cafe) I offered to learn the booking system so that I could help out a bit more. This was an act of help and I made it clear I would do it to help and not as a part of my job. Sometimes I was asked to clean the windows, tables etc after this. I did complain that I had my own job to do. Future shop workers signed a contract telling them they were required to also clean and help out in the cafe.
  • When my boss left I was put in charge of inventory and training new staff. I never received a pay rise despite asking several times.
  • Promotions were always hired from outside. For example, despite having several English speaking employees they hired a “PR” woman who went straight onto a managers wage. Her sole job was once every few weeks to design a poster to promote whatever event was coming up. Every time the spelling and grammar needed to be changed, after they had printed up a batch.
  • After working for three years I trained up a guy from a rich background, who then became my boss.
  • There was at one point a mugging in the shop at night. A young girl was held at knife point and forced to hand over all the money from the cash register. To combat this in the future they bosses decided that every time we got a 1000 or 500 Kronor note we should take it to the safe. This of course, protects their money, but not their staff.
  • If the money at the end of the day didn’t add up, it was taken from the staff’s personal wages.
  • To protect the safe and money, CCTV cameras were placed in the store. There was also one secretly hidden behind the air vent in the room with the safe. This was also the room the staff used as a changing room. This is illegal in Sweden.

So, pretty much – MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS – GENOCIDE OF THE STARVING NATIONS!

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GOOGLE + I LOVE YOU!

Friday, August 5th, 2011

….so far!

Well it was a time before, long ago and Myspace was the leading social network. It was a nice simple place where you kinda had a picture of your face, maybe a few more pictures, a bit about yourself, your friends and kinda that was it.

Then they started making pages that people could use for their bands, I think mostly prompted by the whole pop-culture around it. Was that a good idea? Fuck yeah! I think it almost single handedly wiped out the need for bands to have their own websites – and as soon as people realised you could piss about with the layouts and HTML, well you had a swish looking page for the world – good stuff! Myspace was great, you could find people chat, start groups that actually meant something, in fact I spent many a day and night just hanging out on Myspace. I made friends that I am still friends with today despite never meeting them.

But something happened right…one day we all opened up our Myspace and it looked different. None of the buttons were in the same place and nothing was how it used to be….in fact, it was awful! And then you had to wade through the pages and pages of mails and adverts for bands before you could see what your friends wrote to you…..then Myspace started adding more and more frills and trinkets until it took you an hour just to open up the page….it started to fizzle….

As if answering the call, Facebook popped up and it was just what we needed! A bit hard to start off with but after a while that was it – we had lift off! Fucking FACEEEEBOOOOK! It was good stuff, and the features were simple and easy to use.
Hard to say when it started but bit at a time Facebook started to add a bit here and a bit there…a bit like stacking wobbly bricks on a solid foundation. Quite early on I discovered BETTER FACEBOOK which is an application for Firefox, Chrome and Opera that allows you to sort out your Facebook so you can get rid of a lot of the things you really don’t need. Constant suggestions of people you might want to be friends with that you are avoiding…past status updates you want forgotten, pictures you really, really want to tag, events on the other side of the world, help me build my cow, quizzes for no reasons at all, more and more and more rubbish upon rubbish, adverts and then PLACES!!! People can tag you depending on where you are! Fuck that.
The final straw for me was recently when they changed the way the chat function works and how the messaging system works – last straw. Fuck you Facebook. Learn from past failures, really, it’s like trying to go in and take over Russia, learn where others failed and don’t make the same mistakes! Stop fucking about with the stuff that works….. because this is happening!

 Oh yes – GOOGLE + (or G+ or GOOGLE PLUS) has answered the call and come up with a Facebook-like social network. I’ve been on it a day now, and I’m a little bit in love already. It’s clean, simple, not a whole bunch of mucking about add-on crap, but just the stuff you need.

If you too are getting sick of Facebook – go check it out. You’ll need a Gmail (or Google) email account and an invite and after that…you’re good to go! I recommend it, it’s nice, it’s clean, it’s the new wave – fuck you Facebook!

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THE TRIED TO MAKE ME GO TO REHAB…

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

…and of course “yes” would have probably been the better option.

Amy Winehouse, found dead – many say drugs, are we shocked? No. Neil Young said “every junkie’s like the setting sun” – we all know, especially us that grew up in an 80s UK where Zammo told us “just say no” that if we do loads of drugs, we die.

Sympathy? Nope, not me. Regret, yup, that it was her and not fucking Pete Docherty – I hope he’s next.

Why we idolise those wrecked and wasted I don’t know – time to stop and see the truth maybe.

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TRASH BREEDS TRASH

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Today I was walking home over the lovely bridge that goes over a lovely lake with a little waterfall type thingy and witnessed some young chav-like….I can only use the word “skank” finish her can of coke and then toss the empty can directly into the water.

This is something that I have noticed when it comes to trash…rubbish on the street. Next time you see some, what is it?

It’s ALWAYS something that would come from a trashy person, not to say these things make you trashy (god knows I consume enough of them myself) but you’ll see what I mean.

It’s always, a cigarette packet, or a coke can, or a beer can, or chocolate wrapper, or McDonalds (or some other fast food) wrapper…right? It’s always something that trash consume and then throw away. There is certainly a connection between people who consume these things and those who throw shit on the floor without thought.

You never see like…anything else!

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I THINKS ITS CALLED “FOOD LIBRARY”

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

I’ve lived in Sweden now for more than 7 years – which is quite a long time eh. I am not the worlds best in the Swedish language, in fact I think to Swedes I sound a bit odd.

But I have been to school and hold certificates in SFI (Swedish For Immigrants) and level one and two in Swedish as a 2nd language. In fact, apart from the odd phone call from my parents, I don’t speak English ever. So I can’t be so bad, it feels natural for me to speak it, sometimes more natural than English.

So today one of my pet peeves cropped up again. Something I hate although I know I really shouldn’t – when I go into a store or cafe or something like that, order something in Swedish and get a reply in English. Then I reply again, in Swedish (I always assume to clearly state this is the language I am capable of and wish to speak) only to get another reply in English.

I hate it!

Why do they do this? Well I have a bunch of theories, and I know it shouldn’t bug me. It’s usually always other immigrants so my first assumption is that maybe they don’t speak Swedish. Then the guy behind me comes in and orders in Swedish and gets a reply in Swedish. Or maybe my accent is difficult for people from some countries, or maybe they just wish to be nice?

It’s irritating though!

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CHRIS ROCK vs HITLER

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

“Hi! I’m Chris Rock, wow look at me, I am black, nigger nigger nigger. There are some other people who are white, cracker, cracker, cracker. White people eat this food and we black people eat THIS food….white folks see, they go HERE on holiday, but we black folk go HERE on holiday”.


….and that’s pretty much Chris Rock.


I can’t watch Chris Rock! Please, is it me? am I wrong or does he just HAVE to bring up colour and race every few seconds or his head explodes? Is that his only thing? Is it not 2011?

OK, experiment – I’m just gonna type in “Chris Rock quotes” into Tha Googlez and see what comes up:

  • A white boy that makes C’s in college can make it to the White House
  • Black people dominate sports in the United States. 20% of the population and 90% of the final four.
  • Every town has the same two malls: the one white people go to and the one white people used to go to.
  • Right now, my job is that I’m like an ambulance chaser. I’ve got to look for movies with white guys falling out of them.
  • School shootings were invented by blacks… and stolen by the white man.
  • Yeah, I love being famous. It’s almost like being white, y’know?



OK so….that’s pretty typical. Now lets see if I can randomly go to Tha Googlez for some other quotes from “like minded” people:



JIM DAVIDSON:

  • You’d make a good burglar – your arse would rub your footprints out.
  • I went into the bar and asked for a Bloody Mary and they thought I was being blasphemous.



Hmmm…ok….



BERNARD MANNING:

  • A secretary ran into the bosses office and said “Can I use your dictaphone?” He says, “no, use your finger like everybody else”
  • I once got sacked for laughing … mind you, I was driving a hearse at the time.



You see where I’m going here right? OK, lets get right to the mothership.



HITLER:

  • Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice
  • If today I stand here as a revolutionary, it is as a revolutionary against the Revolution. 



OK, so I think I have really said what needs to be said. Chris Rock = more of a racist that Jim Davidson, Bernard Manning and Hitler.  


I look forward to a world where people are people and race is no longer an issue – until we stop segregating race….it ain’t gonna happen. 


So seriously Chris Rock…..change the record.

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THAT GIRL WITH THAT DRAGON TATTOO

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Since this blog doesn’t like me trying to add videos you can see the trailer for the US-version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO…

BY CLICKING HERE

This is gonna be hard to enjoy no matter how good it is right? Or am I just speaking to the Swedes now and those that are able to read and watch a film at the same time (like most of the world apart from England and America).

Most people I know in Sweden have seen the films (the original Swedish versions) or read the book or both. Stieg Larssons “Millenium” trilogy are possible some of the best written, most gripping books ever written (¤). Turned into some awesome Swedish movies, that to be honest lost pace as they went on but none the less were superb. How I can ever see anyone else than Noomi Rapace as Salander is gonna hurt.

As I have said before, I really don’t see the point of re-making excellent films with different actors just to pander to the US and UK audience – just watch the original with subtitles! Is it that hard?

Still, a big budget version of this film (that has already been all over the world in it’s original form anyway as far as I know) should be interesting. What we can gain from it I have no idea, yet I will still of course go see it.

One thing….the trailer I noticed is silent (as in no speaking), I have heard that while filming they had special “accent coaches” to train the actors to speak with a Swedish accent. Save me.

(¤) This is of course if we take away that really unneeded first 100 pages or so from the first one when he went into long depth and names and details of this big set up that really had fuck all to do with the rest of the plot and could have been summed up in about 2 pages. Oh and when he goes off into extreme detail about what people have in their apartments, or what they bought from a shop. And if you read it in English…maybe some explanation to Swedish road names and places instead of just listing them out of context. Oh..and for fuck’s sake – the pub is called “Kvarnen”, you can’t sometimes call it “Kvarnen” and then at other times refer to it in the English “The Mill”….that’s just either lazy or downright stupid!

…and Paulo Roberto (wonder how they will solve this in the US-version?)

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SO…THE WORLD ENDS TOMORROW THEN.

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Religious nut-job Harold Camping (pictured below scaring children in a 16th-century wood carving) has placed the end of the world to…this Saturday at 6pm.

The 89-year old’s predictions are based probably around that the fact he also also predicted the rapture in 1994 and figured he might not be around in 2011 for everyone to point and laugh at him…again.

So if you want to go get baptised, now is your chance!

Everyone else, see you Sunday morning.

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THE APE MAN EVOLVES

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Looks a bit like this at Elk’s Cave just now:

This week has seen four big tests at school, history, nature sciences, religion and tomorrow the biggy in biology – why do I get myself into these things? Well, yup, it’s because I don’t want to be a 30-something or even a 40-something dumbass!

Sure I gots the street smarts and I can argue my way out of a steel box but when it comes to just a decent regular education I am fucked! Well, I was, now at least I have quite a bit under my belt! The battle-plan? Become a teacher and even from there go into teaching/helping out younger people with problems, maybe correctional institutions and so on or kids with OCD, tourettes, ADHD – basically those who might not get a chance otherwise.

Studying evolution and all the different strains and species I can see why Creationism became so popular.
Q: “why is..?” A: “God”. Q: “But what about..?” A: “God!” see, easy!

Well, time to get back at it…know where I would rather be…

SOUNDTRACK: FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM – DAWNRAZOR

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HAVE YOU BOUGHT MY BOOK YET?

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

If you enjoy reading my blogs you might be interested to know (if you do not already) that I have wrote not 1, not 2 but THREE books!

I would really recommend my latest to you if you like that kind of thing – it’s called SECOND PLACE HEROES and it’s a true story about myself and the band I played with in the UK between 1996-2003. It was a punk band that started off in a basement and ended up playing in Japan, Norway and all over the UK in front of thousands.

It’s also filled with bands and people/places of the time and also has some of those people chipping in with the writing – amongst the list are: CAPDOWN, KING PRAWN, SNUFF, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, LOST PROPHETS, 4 FT FINGERS, GASH, MUTE CONCLUSION, MR.SHIRAZ, NATURE LIVING, THE SETBACKS, LATE 98 and many more!

I’d pass it on to any young musician that wants an insight into the real climb uphill and what it’s like to be in a band with a record deal and all the trimmings – or to anyone in the scene at the time to recognise yourself!

Some of the things said about it:

“PERFECTLY WRITTEN – HAD ME CROUCHED OVER LAUGHING”

“AN ALL-TOO-REAL YET HILARIOUSLY WRITTEN ACCOUNT OF WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE TO BE IN A MID-LEVEL BAND. IF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN IN A BAND, READ THIS, YOU’LL SEE YOURSELF ON EVERY PAGE. IF YOU WANT TO BE IN A BAND, READ IT AND LEARN THE TRUTH BEHIND THE GLAMOUR!”


“IF YOU WERE IN THIS SCENE AT THIS TIME THEN YOU NEED THIS BOOK!”

“FREAKING AWESOME, A RIVETING READ!”

So yup – you can get it from ZOMBIE ATTACK DISTRO (JUST CLICK HERE) or direct from this link HERE

Treat yourself (oh, and it might help me buy something to eat!)

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