Winning is better than just “taking part!”

Young stylish businessmanSince the dawn of the professional era in sports the focus for the spectator has generally been on the spectacle of the event, whether it be football, motor racing or even darts. And as media has become more sophisticated and accessible there is hardly a gap when sport of some kind is not available to be watched and enjoyed.

So you can imagine the outcry across pubs and sitting rooms across the country when ITV decided that switching from the last tension-filled game of the French Open final wasn’t a priority so they turned it off. A “spokesman” was quick to point out that things had gone “… over the scheduled broadcast time etc etc” … but cynics may suggest that there was some technician sitting in front of a darkened console, who was not interested in tennis, who merely just flicked a switch according to the roster he had in front of him instead of actually thinking about the result of his action – after all, public relations aren’t his responsibility.

Perhaps there will be a different, tennis-loving “techie” on duty at ITV while Wimbledon is on.

Gone are the days too, when the result of a match tended to be played along the lines of the Olympic Creed, “The most important thing … is not to win but to take part …” This won’t sit well with many supporters of some teams at the World Cup in Brazil. You won’t get much of a smile from Roy Hodgson’s lads by telling them that it was only a game, and wasn’t it nice to take part?

Professionals who strive for success in any field will tell you that winning is everything. Even in the hospitality trade, success is measured in results and successful results usually translate into profits. Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers can show you many examples of this truth. You can make the best soufflé in the world but if you’re not selling it for a profit it’s not contributing to your success.

Occasionally some strive for success without proper planning or attention to detail and then are found wanting. Like the holidaymakers who thought that climbing up a mountain in the Nevis Range was a bit of a stroll and had only packed their enthusiasm. They had to be rescued. If you happen to find a pair of flip-flops on the side of a Aonoch Mor sometime, they will be the ones a rescuer chucked away in anger as he had to carry their owner down on a stretcher.

But planning and strategy, while vital in any business, can be a bit like smoke-and-mirrors if you’re not careful and want to give the impression of prudential management, while in reality nothing changes. The prime example is the FIFA Exco (sport, again) who have decided that the recommendation of the Ethics Committee should be adhered to and that the awarding of bonuses should be banned. So they have stopped taking bonuses. Instead they have given themselves a 100% pay rise.

One punter commented, “Nice work if you can get it … but why do we even have FIFA Exco members being paid a salary? Oh yes, it’s for the love of the beautiful game.

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Allergic reaction? Some Twitterers are … to bunnies!

These days you have to warn people about things like nuts and or mushrooms in their food. Or whether the chicken was slaughtered in a particular way. The reason for this is that there seem to be a lot more people suffering from allergies or else they’re sensitive to the way their meat is killed and prepared. Or they’re sensitive as to whether their food even contains meat, or protein or dairy.

It must be a restaurateur’s nightmare trying to prepare a menu. But what if the chef also has a problem? Not with the food – but with the kitchen! In Scotland, Cameron Robertson has had to give up his career as a chef because he’s allergic – to the pots, pans and utensils. And now he’s had to give up his culinary dreams. Perhaps with the development of more implements made from silicon instead of metal and with the reintroduction of granite counter tops he’ll find his way back into the kitchen?

Image: Photonut

Image: Photonut

Some of award winning author Jeanette Winterson’s followers were aggrieved when she didn’t give too much warning before posting images of a recently-deceased parsley thief that she had dispatched in anger. Some of her 32 000 Twitter followers didn’t like seeing what she had done to ‘bunnikins’ who had been conducting an ongoing assault on Winterson’s garden. Eventually it was too much for her so she trapped, killed, prepared and ate the culprit. Some of the followers were more outraged by her comments about using the head as a glove puppet than they were about the slaying!

There was a furious Twitter-war raging between Winterson and some of her various followers. With two camps having a go at each other about the origin of food and its preparation. One angry follower wrote that she “… would never read a word you write. Rest in peace, little rabbit.” To which Winterson retorted, “Do you only read vegetarians? …”

Some establishments might consider asking their stocktakers to source a copy of the REAL health and safety regulations in case one of their customers wants to check up on things their staff (or themselves even) might have thought was in or out of the rules. A customer was told in no uncertain terms that her child couldn’t use a staff toilet in a Specsavers as it was “contrary to ‘elf-and-safety regulations” – but this was debunked by the Health & Safety Executive as nonsense. There are a whole lot of other misconceptions too, but it has been very convenient for establishments to use it as an excuse to say “no” to something. Like having to produce ID to buy Christmas crackers. Or being prevented from taking photographs of your child at a sports event under the Child Protection Act. Also rubbish.

Just as well, then someone was “breaking the rules” at a rugby game in the Herts Shield junior cup final when an unsporting parent was snapped deliberately tripping a player to prevent him scoring.

Jon Rutter and his team of professionals will tell you exactly what is and what is not permitted in the establishments that they look after – and contrary to the opinions of some, you CAN take photos of the food you’re about to eat and post it to Twitter – even if it’s rabbit!

Rules are made to be broken, said Bernard!

D Day CollageAccountants and stocktakers like Jon Rutter will tell you that there are rules for a reason and that they should not be broken. Like making sure that for every credit there is a corresponding entry in the debit column, or something like that. He will tell you that without the rules in place the wheels of a business can quickly fall off.

Sometimes ordinary folk will look at rules as something some “jobsworth” has invented to spoil our fun and restrict our freedom. One of those occasions is the ruling that has put a stop to what has been going on for 900 years – yes, Morris dancing cannot continue from Nottingham to Southwell. The Nottinghamshire County Council traffic manager has said, among other things that“…a need to recognise the complexity of managing old events safely on today’s roads which carry high volumes of fast-moving traffic.” Why they don’t just close the road like they do in Monaco, or on the Isle of Man or in half of France when sporting events happen. But then I don’t suppose Morris dancing brings in as much cash as racing does.

Sometimes the rule breakers just take the view that they’re going to do it anyway and the consequences be damned! Like Bernard Jordan who told the staff at his care home, “I’m going out for a while …” after they told him that he couldn’t go to Normandy for the D-Day memorial events. But he went anyway and those who told him “no” welcomed him back with applause! Bernard’s day out saw him negotiating a bus and ferry trip to pay his respects to those who fell in the events and after D-Day. No regulations and rules were going to stop him – that’s the spirit that won the war! If some of the present day ‘elf-and-safety’ crowd were around in 1944 they’d have had the whole fleet wearing high-vis jackets and “Mae Wests” in case they fell overboard en route to the Continent.

It is also fitting that Mr Jordan hails from Brighton and Hove – the town where Rutters Stocktakers is head-quartered. Mr Jordan was also mayor there once and moves are afoot to have the Freedom of the City bestowed on him. I suppose it was easy for Mr Jordan to sit at the care home and ponder his moves seeing as you can virtually see Normandy from Brighton. Sometimes breaking the dictats of others is a no-brainer.

One wonders what the safety officers will make of the chef in Grantham in Lincolnshire who has invented a curry that is three times hotter than pepper spray. Apparently the customers who want it are made to sign a disclaimer warning of the consequences of eating it. For those hot food aficionados, this brew is 12 million on the Scoville heat measurement scale. What other stocktaker has to include goggles and gloves for the chef and gloves for the customers in his customer’s inventory?

It would be curious to know why people put themselves through that type of heat-experience … but hats off to the chef whose seen ‘an opening‘ in the market for this type of nuclear curry dish, boldly going where no gastronome has been before.

Bins, beer and regulations – it’s tough being a politician!

Don’t you just hate dodging bins and bags that are left out all over the pavement waiting for collection? It’s dodge this one and step into the road to miss that one – all as a result of the regulations (don’t even mention Brussels) imposed on the consumer. You can’t do this and you must do that in an effort to recycle or eradicate waste. After a long campaign it appears that plastic bags are now going to be charged for at the supermarket – at 5p a pop – in an effort to deter people from using new ones each time they shop.

They say that the money raised will go to charity. But, small and medium sized businesses with less than 500 employees will be excluded in order to protect independent retailers. What happens when these retailers get so busy with extra customers seeking to avoid the charge-per-bag that they have to hire more staff to cope and then exceed the magic 500 number? But I’m sure the regulators have thought that one through.

Image: Denis Slogar

Image: Denis Slogar

I wonder if Jon Rutter and his team of professional stocktakers are having to start suggesting to their customers ways they can provide packaging that meets all the regulatory requirements but still keeps the customers happy and prevents their purchases from falling on the floor at some inconvenient time?

Having dodged all the bins and bags on the way to work, can you imagine the irritation commuters faced when they had to dodge a hoard of press photographers sprawled all over the pavement outside a pub in London the other day? The gentlemen of the press were excluded from entering as some politicians were in there – no other punters either mind, just the politicos and their entourage as they sought to put on a brave public face in the wake of the election results. Nick & Vince were all smiles and even had some froth on their lips from the different brews they were sampling, mild and bitter.

The pub had possibly agreed to host the event on the off-chance that the press corps would surge in afterwards to take shelter and fortify themselves for the next stage in their busy day of seeking news once the main players had departed in their limos. I suppose the landlord of the Queen’s Head in London had told his stocktaker to factor-in an empty pub for the chaps do their photo-op in, ‘but make sure the keg of bitter is fully charged AND that the press lads have plenty of snacks and ale available for afters!’ It just didn’t seem to be as jolly an affair as when Nigel visits a pub, though.

What the England Football squad will have plenty of though – their stocktaker has seen to it – is their favourite sauce and butter, if they want it. Gone are the dietary restrictions imposed by the previous coach. Roy has rescinded the ‘no sauce’ ban and ketchup is back on the list. Some of the lads also like fast food and it appears that’s okay too. So hopefully, with their concentration off “what’s for dinner, coach?” the games will deliver the desired results too.

Roy might even throw in some of the prize-winning pies from The Chestnut Horse to keep the boys on track. Jon Allen has just won the “Pub Pie of the Year” with his Welsh cob pie (Wayne Rooney would like that). The pub has 42 pies on the menu – all named after breeds of horses!

How does Tom Kerridge get to be a judge at these events, lucky chap?