Week 7 sees the increasingly lazy candidates called to a Wholesale Warehouse in Essex at 5pm. Surprisingly it’s not Amstrad HQ, but a dodgy shed full of tut in boxes (just like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, if it was set in Brentwood) where Lord Alan tells them they will be starting “a business from scratch” (just like every week) by using £150 to buy stuff, selling it at a choice of Essex locations and then “smelling what sells” in order to wisely replenish the stock. The team with the greatest total assets (sales plus assets) wins. Lord Alan tries to wake us up with another team reshuffle – so Steve joins Nick, Jenna, Gabby and Ricky on Sterling, whereas Laura goes to Pheonix with Azhar, Tom, Adam and Jade.

Lord Alan drops a none too subtle hint that anyone who hasn’t been Project Manager yet should think about volunteering, which, as the boys lead by Azhar have already pointed out means Jade. She duly puts herself forward and nobody objects.

Meanwhile Ricky jostles for pole position on Sterling (“I want to do what Lord Sugar did”), but much to the fin-headed tits chagrin, he’s gazumphed by a stuttering FlopsyNick, who actually manages to quickly decide on locations (Romford Market and Romford Shopping Centre) and get the team checking out products. Steve bizarrely guarantees he can sell a flimsy looking “beard trimmer” for a tenner. Jenna offers her Northern fake tan selling skillz (“Essex girls like to be really dark”). Overseeing their antics is Nick Hewer who’s impressed by their efficiency, despite their key product being “ghaastly fake tan”.

Jade’s getting a bit rattled by Azhar continuously challenging her authority by using big words (mainly the word “strategy”) organised into largely meaningless sentences like he’s in a real world team meeting. He then starts banging on about working out whether to buy cheap products and only travel a short distance or expensive ones and go further. Erm wouldn’t just working out the nearest place to the warehouse with a decent footfall and then working out what might sell well there make more sense? Sterling are already at the checkout and Jade’s still dithering away with a map in her hands until randomly Azhar suggests Pitsea market (about three times as far as Romford) and Ilford Shopping Centre, which leaves them 10 minutes to do a haphazard warehouse sweep, only aided by Tom working out that the hot water bottles have a pretty good margin.

FlopsyNick seems pretty on the ball, taking Jenna and Gabby with him to Romford Shopping Centre to set up a beauty product stall, and consigning Ricky and Steve to a doomed bromance selling household products in the market.

Jade however decides to take only half of their random shit (and Adam) to Pitsea even though it’s sodding miles away (to be fair, Azhar does try to warn her, but the magic of the word “strategy” means that neither Jade or I hear what he says as little bunnies in pinstripe suits dance in front of our bewildered eyes). Tom, Laura and Azhar get to make Ilford shopping centre look even messier than usual whilst Adam and Jade set up stall, realising belatedly that Pitsea is full of cheap shit too. “Do yer wanna look at what we’ve got today?” Adam bellows enticingly to passing women. “No” comes the instant retort. “Thanks” he perseveres.

Steve has worked out a Brechtian dialogue to perform through their protesting PA system to help sell “Supermops”, whereby Ricky convinces Steve (feigning a spinal injury of some sort) that the extendable (and most usefully, blue!) mop will solve all his back problems and make him more attractive to women and or men. The grannies lap the mops up.

I’m not convinced by FlopsyNick trying to flog hair trimmers for a fiver, whilst sporting a barnet so apparently untroubled by trimming that it’s probably got green belt status. However Jenna is certainly shifting the fake tan at a tenner a can. “Soon everyone in Essex will have them” Nick Hewer shudders, troubled by visions of a white stillettoed Terracotta army rising from Canvey Island.

Unsurprisingly Tom is finding the weird mix of products hard to shift at Ilford, but Jade’s ignoring any phone calls from her subteam in case she has to hear the word “Strategy” (arggh!) again, and she concentrates on slashing all her prices so that she and Adam (who’s turned into a Ginger Del Boy) run out of stock, reduce their margins and have to shut down the stall and go to Ilford via the warehouse because it’s too far away to simply restock. Ruddy and happy at having proven his barrer boy potential, Adam even tempers his sexism with what he feels is generosity and offers Jade a job with him on his market stall for not having answered back to him or anything.

Happily it starts raining on Ricky and Steve in Romford, and as the market empties, Ricky calls Nick who advises them to go to the warehouse and buy all the fake tan they can find then come back and help sell it after a little training from Jenna (Hissy Fit Ricky “How hard can it be to sell a bit of tan?!”). In the absence of bronzing elixir, Gabby’s forced to try and market the beard trimmers as bikini line trimmers. After a nightmare journey our shoppers arrive at the warehouse to find there’s only 84 bottles of tan left. Gabby looks like she’s about to have a nervous breakdown, but Nick simply plumps for hot water bottles as well.

Jade’s back at the warehouse and gets to talk to Tom, who thinks the little toy bugs are selling well and have the best margin. “It’s good to have different things though” barks Jade, completely missing the point of the task. Azhar gets on the line and says strategy again, and it’s back to the dancing bunnies.

After two hours stalling punters waiting for fake tan before they drift away like beige zombies, the boys arrive with messy great boxes of the stuff and Jenna’s immediately flogging it to gullible Essex girls. Almost immediately it’s time for a second restock and Nick asks our hapless market traders to go back to the warehouse (“I feel bad asking”). Ricky’s nose is now well out of joint (“Me and Steve are the best sales people”) but he still goes, well, flounces.

Both teams get late night shopping pitches at Lakeside, and Jade asks the subteam what they need for the second restock. Azhar wants some strategy. Tom requests a “large proportion of insects”, but Jade over-rides him saying they should get “Hot water bottles, fake tan and er whatever other things you think” (Either it’s a wonky edit or she’s going to be disappointed). Even Tom looks a little bit annoyed as Azhar declares triumphantly “No strategy!”

Steve’s finally gets to unleash his selling skills indoors for Sterling and he sounds like a bloody Scientologist, yelling “Sometimes in life you make a decision, it may be a good decision or a bad one” at hapless punters. Sterling keep their prices high and still sell, whereas Jade insists that Pheonix try to get rid of everything like it’s got AIDS (“Everything is half price!!! Two for five quid on fake tan!”). As trading ends at 8pm, Jade thinks that although her strategy (arggh!) was risky that they still made a profit on everything so she’s sticking by what she’s done.

Back in the boardroom and Nick Hewer presents Lord Sugar with Sterling’s fake tan and fingernail wraps (“Kind of an Essex kit”), but Sterling still get a verbal spanking for Ricky and Steve failing to drop off their unsold stock with the rest of the team in the shopping centre before they went to the warehouse. Because extendable blue supermops would have really added to that “beauty stall” feel. Maybe Gabby could have marketed them as anal bleaching mops?

Pheonix are mocked for spending lots of time picking Pitsea as their faraway market location, although Karen is worryingly impressed by Adam’s market patter. Azhar thinks it all looks bad from a strategic perspective. “Strategy was mentioned a lot of times by Azhar” Jade snaps sarkily.

It’s time for the scores:

Pheonix made £422 in cash and had £415 worth of stock left, so their total assets were £838

Sterling took £681 cash and had remaining stock worth £273 – meaning their total assets were £955 – so they are sent to get pissed on smoking cocktails in thatLondon, whilst Pheonix weep into steaming bitter beverages in the Bridge Café. Jade’s still confused as she thinks they did really well. Azhar thinks it may have been down to str… oh for fucks sake stop saying strategy!

Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugar gives them a dark Nookie bear stare, pointing out that Sterling’s average selling price was £6.71, whereas theirs was only £3.50. Tom admits he wasn’t sure on the beauty price products so went with Jade and Laura’s advice, and Jade (who pays between £7 and a tenner on fake tan, fact fans) only thought the self tan was worth £2.99 (which lets face it is what Jenna probably thought – but as a beauty professional she wouldn’t think twice about ripping people off with potentially dodgy chemicals).

Next Jade gets some stick for not getting more stock to sell at Pitsea, and she goes into a husky breakdown, babbling about Azhar talking about strategy all the sodding time. “You could have shut him up” Lord Alan suggests, “It’s nonsense”.

He’s still looking for a reason to get rid of Laura who insists that she did as much as everyone else, but as usual doesn’t go into detail apart from excusing herself for buying more of the fake nails she’d complained hadn’t sold because Jade told her to.

It transpires that Pheonix failed to sell out any of their products, suggesting they didn’t smell what they sold. “There doesn’t seem to be any strategy” grumps Sugar, getting in on the act.

Anyhow it’s time for Jade to choose who to face a firing with her, and despite all the obvious hints that Sugar might fire Laura, the silly cow chooses Azhar and Tom, who makes a quiet pop about her decision making skills. Jade just loses it, and it’s clear the word strategy has rendered her, like many of us, a gibbering wreck. Still it’s a bit crap that Tom has to gently tell her he doesn’t mind her wrongly taking him back in. “I don’t know what else to do” Jade gasps pathetically.

It turns out that Jade’s application says her worst fault is making hasty decisions and not analysing things thoroughly (and clearly not being able to count). She admits Tom shouldn’t be there and that she didn’t expect to lose so had to make a decision under pressure. This is embarrassing. Tom asks why Jade didn’t bring Laura in and Jade may as well answer “cos she’s a girl… like me”.

She is right on Azhar though (“He just comes out with big long sentences and no solutions.. it hinders what you’re doing and wastes time”). “I think the word strategy was out of Jade’s depth” slams Azhar.

Jade argues that she should stay as her business plan will make Lord Sugar a group of multi million pound global companies. “I’m thinking about today” retorts Lord Sugar, clearly thinking about the money as although he blames Jade for the task’s “strategy” (arggh!) fail, he admires her plucky spunk (and hypothetical multi millions) and fires Azhar.

In the cab of broken dreams, Azhar isn’t bitter much but thinks Jade should have gone and that the other candidates saw him as a threat. He says strategy only once, but then he says strategic and annoys me again.

Back at the house, Adam’s big stupid twatty red face flushes with joy when he realises that Azhar has gone. “Lord Sugar knows what I’m about” he declares proudly.

Next week it’s buying art, usually one of my favourite tasks. It looks like it could be the best episode of the series so far, but that’s not saying much.

Liking: Tom, FlopsyNick

Sweet, but is she on drugs: Gabby

Meh: Jenna

I know he’s a dickhead, but I find him strangely entertaining: Ricky

Disappointed in: Jade

Disliking: Laura, Steve

Enjoying loathing: Adam

 

Bye bye: Azhar, Katie, Duane, Jane, Michael, Maria, Bilyana

 

 

 

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