Week four sees the candidates summoned to Samuel Johnson’s (sadly not L Jackson’s) house. “He’s a poet” Sam the Wordsmith intones solemnly. I end up having to answer an urgent email for most of tonight’s show, so I miss quite a lot of the finer points, but I do enjoy Sam showing off his literary skillz.
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” Vana reads stiltingly from the plaque in Gough Square. In year’s to come there may well be a similar plaque replacing the words London and life with “Vana”.
Anyhow Lord Sugar manages another tenuous task link worthy of the Bat Computer by explaining that Samuel Johnson, famous for his dictionary, has a statue commemorating him which features his beloved cat, and thus the candidates have to pick pet pampering products from a selection of dangerous lunatics to sell at the London Pet Show. Most sales win.
To spice things up Charleine, April and Vana are moved to Team Versatile, whereas Scott, Brett and Gary move to Connexus.
Vana’s already all about the kitties (“A lot of single women have cats”). Brett however is more interested in the “rabbit sector”.
Ruth’s keen to lead Connexus as she wants to share her “techniques” (I’m presuming in sales”), but she’s gazumped by Scott as he has “a little dog” and also is ace and skill at everything and has been on the winning team three times in a row, as though that means anything.
David’s really passionate about everything and the only person daft enough to volunteer so gets to Project Manage team Versatile.
Next we have an assortment of animal loving weirdos including an ageing hipster selling Hi-Visability Chicken Jackets. David’s tactic is to be mega enthusiastic about every product (actually not a bad move) which means you can’t really tell if he genuinely is creaming his pants over those freaking close-up photo of hamster T-shirts, or if the nurse doesn’t need to be summoned to close the screens at this stage.
Next Charleine inspects “Cat Towers”, a Ballardian feline castle incorporating a pillow atop a scratch post. Whilst she ignores the suppliers pitch, when she hears Richard is taken with the high end Dog Sofas (what better way to discourage dogs from getting on your sofa by giving them their own model to practice on?), she’s all about the sales record for cat towers and gives David evils when he ignores her and goes for Richard’s choice.
Ruth still wants to go for the Rabbit Revenue, but Scott realises that she is a woman so decides he isn’t interested in the luxury hutch and instead trusts Gary on his choice of Cat Towers. Ruth’s typically unphased “I don’t know anything about cats, but I do know about selling”.
Scott puts Army Dreamer Brett in charge of arguing prices with the suppliers, which doesn’t go down well, especially with the animal balloon retailers, who prefer it when David rubs himself all over their legs and purring.
After much faffing, Scott decides that balloons might be a good cheap product to help attract customers (“It’s a call we’re all going to make”), but unfortunately by then the balloon people have gone for David, who has frotted so many balloons that his hair has gone all Gary Rhodes. So Scott’s forced to go for the “feline market” of Cat Towers, weird LED cat toys and erm something else, apparently “cat throws”, which sounds um fun.
David’s team end up with balloons and Hamster T-shirts (£25 a pop to look like a member of the Richard Gere fan club!) and those dog sofas that Richard thinks are a piece of piss to sell.
Several hours later at the Pet Show and Richard’s desperation is thinly veiled , “It’s always better in the afternoons” he comforts himself. “I’ve set myself a personal target of 4 because I want to overachieve”. Richard seems to be morphing into David Brent since his one victory as PM.
Whilst rabbits on leashes hop over fences; Ruth rues missing the bunny dollar and takes out her neediness on any nearby potential customers by talking to them to just about EVERYTHING (the price of fish, their sex lives, their inner leg measurements, whether a jaffa cake is a biscuit or not) EXCEPT selling fricking cat towers.
Selina’s doing no better and with a crowd of customers interested in buying a customised cat tower she does a blank when they ask her about price so goes to interrupt Scott (busy with another customer) to ask for help. Give him credit, he does, preventing her customers from wandering off bored, and she takes the sale. “It was my sale!” she insists loudly and I go right off Selina.
The crowds are going ape shit crazy for Versatile’s £5 animal balloons. Sadly David doesn’t think of actually selling them other products whilst they queue, so it just becomes chaotic, with most of the team inflating rubber giraffes rather than concentrating on the other products.
Ruth’s not sold a single Cat Towers at end of play, but she has got a few phone numbers, and insists that she at least “skilfully tried to make sales”.
Back in the boardroom and David’s typically enthused about being enthusiastic which was “one of the great ideas which I had which I thought was fantastic”. Even Scott has to say fair play to David over his poaching of the balloons though. Sugar seems to be less impressed (“You have to sell 140 balloons to get the same amount as one dog sofa”), but surely he’s missing the point, as David points out “T shirts and balloons are for everybody, not just dogs”. Yeah! David’s applied the same methodology to sales, and believes it makes his customers think he is “one of them” (ouch).
Anyhow Connexis sold £3028.49 worth of crap (£1800 on cat towers), whereas Versatile sold £4051.62 worth (£2462 on dog sofas).
Versatile get the treat of going for a run, some quorn and steroids with Mo Farah, whereas Connexus retire to the Café of Forgotten Dreams.
Natalie blames Brett for browbeating the balloon chaps on price, whereas Brett blames Ruth for not selling and just talking, and Ruth is just stressed.
In the boardroom, Sugar accuses Ruth of “taking the scenic route, with no end result” on sales, and mentions that Scott had to help Selina with her one sale. “He didn’t assist” Selina insists. Ooh you lying get! Fortunately Claude is on hand with a slam “Scott worked out his costings and didn’t need to go to Selina to help so there’s no reason she couldn’t have worked out the costings, she just didn’t” adding “you were on the periphery and not displaying enthusiasm as you should”. Selina’s well and truly nasally disjointed (“I’m disappointed you think that.. I always get my hands dirty”).
Everyone’s sad about losing the balloons and Sugar blames Brett for going in like a bull in a china shop over prices. However Ruth gets more stick for not chasing off “people who couldn’t pay” for Cat Towers and instead engaging them in Relate sessions and seances. “What do I say?” Ruth asks genuinely and lovably. “Sod off!” Sugar informs her.
Anyhow Scott, still smarting from his first loss (“it hurts!”) brings Selina and Ruth back to the Boardroom. Gary sold sweet fuck all too, but he has testicles so that will do for Scott.
Karen Brady worries about Ruth as a business prospect. This is Karen Brady who recently voted to cut tax credits, so ballcocks to her opinion. Fortunately Claude goes against his typecasting and sticks up for Ruth’s enthusiasm over Selina’s apathy.
Selina shouts that she’s “proven” herself in two different continents as though she’s Alexander The Great or Hugh Laurie, before realising it’s not cutting ice with Sugar and switching to attacking Ruth (“You didn’t sell anything and you are very un-concise and difficult to work with”), whilst Scott backs her up.
Poor Ruth sniffs “At least I put myself in a position to sell.. and did my absolute damnedest”.
Scott reckons Lord Sugar will realise how ace and skill he is once he sets his beady peepers on Scott’s business plan, but Sugar can’t give a monkeys. Sugar’s also sussed out Selina (“no smoke without fire”) as two faced, but ultimately he can’t forgive Ruth for running a business training people how to sell, so fires her (boo), and it looks (hopefully) like he might fire Selina too, but she’s spared with one marked card and sent back to the house.
In the Taxi of If Only, Ruth still can’t believe she’s gone on a sales task and magnanimously argues that although Selina is hard work, at least she made a sale. No she bloody didn’t Ruth, and the injustice of tonight’s show will never be forgotten, till at least next year.
Next week the candidates have to create a children’s book (cos there’s no skill in that) and lovely Sam gets to be a wordsmith (“I think language and communication is the key to existence”).
Not convinced by
Dan, Aisha, Jenny, Ruth
Looking Forward To
Sam threading forget me nots in everyones’ pubes whilst reciting Don Juan.