It’s Whiff Whaff morning in the Bayswater luxury pad as the candidates enjoy their morning off knocking balls about, only to be rudely and predictably interrupted by a request to meet Sir Alan at the Old Cinema in Chiswick pronto, sending them into a panicky blur of blusher and aftershave. The Old Cinema turns out to be a posh furniture warehouse, setting the scene for today’s task; buying a load of retro furniture tutt (furnitutt?) and flogging it to over-moneied headcases in two shop spaces on Brick Lane in two days team; biggest profit wins.

Lord Sugar mixes up the teams like a fruit machine addict looking for a perfect grouping of lemons. Ricky joins Nick, Duane, Laura, Jenna, silentGabrielle and Jane on Sterling. Meanwhile Jade is assigned to the ranks of Pheonix with Katie, Azhar, Adam, Steve and Tom.

Duane wants to Project Manage yet again as he’s convinced that the lowly beings on planet Sterling have come to view him as a GOD. However Laura also volunteers and everyone votes for her, even the boys. “Thanks guys” laughs Duane at his vote of non confidence. Over on Pheonix, nobody bothers challenging Tom, who feels that his experience flogging wine despite him being “only 23” makes him a “well rounded individual” and therefore ideal for the task of flogging furniture.

Tom does seem to be treating this task just like selling wine. He knows that there aren’t enough tramps actually in Brick Lane to get away with any cheap crap, so aims for a stylish, classic feel to the store. The rest of the team are tasked with selectively buying treasures that only Tom would approve of, with Katie, Adam and Steve sent to an auction house in Greenwich with only £200 to spend whilst Tom keeps his beady eyes on Jade and Aznar at a car boot sale, poopooing almost everything the others present to him (Team: “We won’t have enough stuff!”; Tom: “I don’t really like it”) and absently mindedly rolling his fixated eyes when Jade accidentally smashes something vaguely valuable. It’s how I imagine the French do micro-management. I kind of warm to Tom’s jib. He’s clearly an annoyingly stubborn obsessive young man who knows what he likes and won’t be swayed by any other pleb. And he still looks like a young Stewart Lee. The rest of the team are understandably going spare though, although as Nick points out they didn’t argue hard enough with their mild mannered yet surprisingly steely manager. The auction team only manage to win three items thanks to Adam making wanker signs whilst talking about Tom’s strategy and how empty the shop’s going to look. Nick sneers and hides behind sunglasses as Adam rummages happily in the skip behind the auction house on the way out coming out with a broken metal wine rack/do it yourself abortion kit.

Sterling seem to be on a mission to recreate Reggie Perrin’s “Grot” shop, with Ricky enthusing about “buying crap” and “upcycling” (ugh) it into stylish products. Ricky’s been watching too much “60 Minute Makeover” – the reality is that if you buy crap, in two days you might be able to make it into shit. Laura takes an opportunity to offload a massive amount of responsibility by telling silentGabby that she is the creative team. Gabby silently assents, but she still looks tired and confused after her meltdown in the boardroom three weeks ago. Giving her creative control could lead to wonky chairs with little tampon tassels attached if we’re lucky. In Tooting Laura allows Ricky to run amok in junk shops (“we’ll take the broken table”) like a coked up womble. They leave the shop with enough gear to generously refurbish a Premier Inn and even Laura stammers “Um we’ve bought a hell of a lot of stuff haven’t we?”

Sterling seem to be confused as to whether they’re “upcycling” (arrgh!) or doing “Shabby chic” (giving things a good rough sandpapering). Somehow the latter sounds cheaper and more promising to me, but without any remit or budget restrictions from Laura, Gabby’s got a reupholstery catalogue from somewhere and is mentally shouting out things for Jenna to order. Shit loads of things. Oh creativenotsilentGabby! Just because your purchasing team has come home with a load of turds does not mean you have to personally polish and “brand” every single one. Especially not with numbers in big blobby letters. It’s just weird. Although I am liking the suitcase with legs as it reminds me of the weird creepy hybrid toys in Sid’s bedroom in “Toy Story”.

Looking at the tiny circle of furniture in the huge warehouse-like Pheonix pop-up shop I wonder if Tom’s brilliant strategy is to get arts council funding, as it certainly looks like something that would. Adam and Steve go off on a mission to find some more stock and find a secret room full of treasure too special to try to sell to customers at the back of a junk shop. It’s even got a wonky wine rack in it, and Adam can’t get enough of those bad boys. I love the fact that Junk Shop Bloke even haggles with the boys just for fun, shoutily forcing them up from £25 to £30 and making Steve think he’s done a Jedi mind trick in closing the deal with the slightly odd “£30 from a North Londoner to a South Londoner” (surely the only true response to that one is “Fark off from a Sarf Londoner to a Wanker!”). As they leave, the Junk shop bloke chuckles “They picked all the rubbish stuff”. Maybe they should have politely asked his advice. I bet he’d still have been a bastard mind.

Sterling muscle in on a house clearance for a dead person and flounce around respectfully taking anything that isn’t nailed into a coffin. Although Duane can’t imagine buying any of this stuff, at least it’s free. How’s that old saying go Duane? Oh yeah “Don’t look a gift horse in the eye”.

With a little bit of jiggery pokery and some pensive lip fingering Tom has transformed the empty space of Pheonix’s Vintage shop into a Hoxton twat’s idea of a Bond Villain’s lair. There’s even a brilliant round leather chair – and an ash tray shaped like a rocket. If I was a privileged child I would have liked a place like this as my den.

Sterling are still murdering stock, but on the plus side Nick and Duane look cute in dungarees. Karen wonders if the “upcycling” is actually detracting from the rubbish items value as Gabby insists on painting union jacks onto perfectly acceptable chairs as though she’s anticipated the interior design branch of the EDF having a rally in the vicinity (silly girl – they’re all at Homebase where ironically they are buying furniture produced by the Muslim Defence Front – that is what MDF stands for isn’t it?). Ricky and Duane are endearingly unconvinced by the patriotic furniture – mind you most of us have a mad nan who’d love this stuff – especially if you pretended you painted it yourself as they still think you’re five. Laura gets wind of this and manages to stress Gabby out about it. Just paint all the chairs different colours (one red, one white, one blue if you must) and if you really want to get wacky paint some Cath Kidston style dots onto them – the Yummy Mummies will go wild women of wonga for stuff like that.

Despite Tom’s efforts, on the Harry Enfield “I saw you coming” scale Sterling are winning so far.

It’s selling day, and aware of the achingly cool aspirations of Pheonix’s shop, Steve has put on his coolest grey cardigan. Sizzle! Already the annoying beautiful people with silly hair are loving the shop, with one customer declaring “Not too cluttered but all pretty special”. As more things sell, Nick points out “there’s a difference between minimalism and emptiness” (Maybe they’re going for nihilism?) and Katie timidly asks if they should get more stock. “Stock” mumbles Tom, a man controlled by forces beyond our ken. “Stock.. stock” he rubs his fingers through his hair blankly. I really hope he’s just putting this on for the clientèle.

Sterling open up shop late and are still figuring out the pricing. Nick can’t help with pricing as “I don’t buy this shit”, so touts for trade by the door, scaring businessmen away. Duane does a better job by telling customers that he doesn’t get the items in the shop (“You’d have to be really cool to get that… clearly you are.”). Jane meanwhile shows them how it’s done; slapping on her fake beatific smile as another potential victim approaches before swooping on them like a snarling banshee demanding “What about a chair then?!!” Laura must have picked up on this as she sends Jane out to do flyering (which she can barely disguise her contempt for), mind you Laura sends the competent Duane out to flyer as well. He does better at giving pieces of paper away than Jane too. Laura thinks she will be pleasantly surprised when everything’s totted up. That’ll be until you see the bill from Hobbycraft, love.

Finally Tom agrees that that Steve Jade and Adam can buy more tutt at a car boot sale in Battersea (they’re half way there in the car when they ask) – relinquishing briefly the control of his personal aesthetic vision. Actually they do quite well, annoying one car boot lady into giving them a load of cheap chintz (“You can have it for a pound…as long as you promise you will go away…”). Sales continue apace despite Steve dropping one customer’s bagged purchase (“Shit!”), and even Nick apologises for sneering at what he thought was poor product selection (“What do I know?”).

With one hour left everyone’s dropping prices to get a sale, apart from Jenna who engages in a pointlessly annoying Mexican stand-off with a foppish boy (“£9.50”, “£9.25!”, “£9.50”, “£9.25!”, “£9.40”, “£9.25!”, “£9.30”, “£9.25!”, “Er £9.25”). The Union Jack stuff doesn’t sell well with one customer saying it’s just cheap and tacky to buy things with flags on. She’s not American or German sadly. Gabby has an almost scary mental moment at a couple buying a table, but somehow gets a pity sale. Appropriately, as Sterling’s shop closes – the woman who bought the scary suitcase with legs realises that the legs have a tendency to fall off in the middle of the road.

So it’s boardroom time and Laura claims that Gabrielle was her team’s advantage (cue Gabby looking utterly defeated). Lord Sugar’s confused by some of the high faluting concepts being flung around such as “Shabby chic” and the difference between Vintage and Retro (Sterling were apparently aiming for the latter). Let me sort it out for you Al. If a shop scatters leaves around the floor (“Like Oxfam in a hurricane”) and they aren’t selling squirrels then they’re likely to be crap and overpriced. Lord Sugar asks Laura who most impressed her with their sales. “I was quite impressed by myself to be honest” she smugs endearingly.

Tom is open and clear about his strategy and states he doesn’t have a bad word to say about anyone in his team (as they all did his bidding). Bless him.

Anyhow the scores on the doors are:

Pheonix sold £1423.50 worth and spent £360.10 making a profit of £1063.40

Sterling sold £1444.42 worth and spent (surprise surprise) £660.76 making a £783 profit

So it’s a 1940s style vintage party for Pheonix, who get taught how to swing by Sam and Nicky before getting drunk, turning all the lights out and getting pregnant.

Meanwhile violin music accompanies Sterling on their well worn way back into Losers Café (soon we’ll have a clip of the café manager saying “Same again?”). Nick, graduate of University of the Bleeding Obvious, hits it on the head “The problem was costs – but with higher sales that wouldn’t have been an issue”. Ricky scents blood and blames Gabrielle’s design, but she sticks up for herself claiming that maybe some of the other items bought were too expensive. Sadly that doesn’t explain why the arts and craft gumph cost a third of the total spend.

Anyhow back in the boardroom, Laura’s very keen to blame the upgrading and creative team (i.e. Gabrielle), despite not having to anyone’s knowledge having given Gabby a budget. Karen clarifies the situation (“None of you knew how much you spent”). Laura starts making screeching Scottish mountain lion noises as Jenna chips in and things inevitably descend into an incomprehensible bitch scrap.

It transpires that Laura, Ricky and Duane bought over 200 items from the junk “dealers”, but Laura still tries to offload the blame onto Gabby with her “concern” over the Union Jack stuff. Gabby finally comes out fighting and makes some sense, holding her hands up to having had a lot of responsibility, but asking Laura “if I am taking responsibility for a lot of this stuff then what are you taking responsibility for?”

We discover that Gabby actually sold the most for the team (£414 worth) with Jenna the next highest (people bought things to make her and her voice go away). Jane’s people skills got her £10 worth of sales, with Karen describing our favourite evil Nolan’s sales technique as “desperate”.

Laura brings back Gabby and Jane, only for Lord Sugar to reiterate Gabby’s question to Laura, “What did you do?”

Ever modest our favourite evil Clare Grogan points out that “I did a good job” and “I did manage the team well” on top of which “I motivated the sales people” and also “They sold well… apart from Jane obviously.. oops!” (Too late, Jane’s eyes have gone Hulk Smash and she sides with Gabby against their rubbish Project Manager).

Sugar asks Laura why she didn’t set a £50 budget for upcycling gubbins, and she sneers in response “I was hoping a small amount of common sense would prevail”. “Some of that should come from you” comes the righteous Sugar slam.

Gabby’s having another moment and starts unnecessarily echoing Lord Sugar echoing her… “OK you gave good speech now and again” she slurs ironically, “but what DID you do?”

Laura retaliates in full on blank cat faced patronising mode, like an infant school teacher talking to children (who we already know she doesn’t really like). “THAT was a very good speech. That’s commendable. Thank you very much. Yes you put masking tape on a window. Well done you!”

Imagine this bitch selling you a wedding dress. Ouch!

“The point is, you have to delegate” Laura adds, conveniently missing the “everything” off the end of her sentence.

Jane gets picked on for her sales performance, but she points out that despite not being a “market trader” she was “out in the street for most of the day”. Blimey that’s dedication. Both Jane and Gabby think Laura should go. Laura thinks that everyone who isn’t Laura should go. “I have been successful in everything I have ever done” she gloats. “Not this week you ain’t” Sugar shoots into the open goal.

Sugar does his summing up and goes all noble, allowing Gabby to stay as she’s been picked on and blamed too much this week. Laura tries to interrupt but gets shut up, but sadly Sugar’s attention turns to Jane, who Karen’s been telling him ain’t all that despite the CV and fires her (gasp!) for being on the losing team three times, even though she was on Duane’s winning team last week and every other woman in Sterling has the same fantastic record.

Poor Jane. I’m going to miss hating her. She has a blub in the taxi of despair, but assures us all that she will rise again and destroy us all (or that Lord Sugar will be sorry he fired her). Most of the girls back at the house seem to have expected Jane to go (although Nick reassuringly thinks Laura should go) so there is much faux rejoicing on the return of Laura and Gabby (who now looks completely frazzled – someone slip her some Kalms please!).

Next week I’m hoping it’s TV selling of gym equipment, but to be frank I couldn’t figure out what they were doing. It certainly looked ahem interesting though.

Liking lots: Duane

Liking: Tom, Jade, Katie, Azhar

Feeling sorry for, but annoyed by: Gabrielle

Still not sure about: Steve and Steve’s cardigan, Nick

Disliking: Adam, Jenna, Ricky

Loathing: Laura

Bye Bye: Jane, Michael, Maria, Bilyana

 

This Week’s Favourite Gratuitous Man with No Shirt On: Azhar

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