Archives for the month of: November, 2015

Week 8 dawns and the contestants are summoned to the Rolf Harris wing of the Museum of Childhood, where amongst Britain’s largest collection of kiddies things they are greeted by Nookie Bear himself, or Lord Sugar as they must call him, who informs them that parents spend £2billion per year appeasing their malcontent offspring with overpriced parties. Thus they are given a client each to hold a “birthday party to remember” for their sprogs. I’m already envisaging a “Carrie” style bloodbath by the end of the episode. Anyhow the teams are allowed to up-sell, but the clients can demand their money back if they think that the party’s shit or if any children are maimed or permanently traumatised in some way. Most profit wins.

As Selina works in events, she’s made leader of Connexus (Scott, Brett, Vana) and also gets to pick someone from Versatile to balance up her team, so goes for Richard, who immediately starts behaving like this makes him Connexus’s very own independent consultant. “I don’t have children and I don’t like them” Selina declares worryingly before going in to meet 13 year old Nicole and her mum Melissa for “information gathering” which involves Selina coldly barking ideas (“karaoke? Pole-dancing? Netflix and chill?”) at the poor confused child and totally failing to ask the kid what she likes or make eye contact above her fricking notepad with her clients. Even Claude thinks she’s scary. Eventually they interrogate the child into admitting she quite likes sport and the notebook’s closed and they’re off out to plan a “Mini Olympics” party (complete with a terrifying Mr Motivator style drill sergeant to really get those teenage girls – of whom we know only one possibly likes sport – into a celebratory mood), whilst significantly forgetting to take the mum’s contact number to ask any questions during the planning day. Scott and Brett agree to host the mini Olympics day and having failed to argue the price down by 25% they get a slight discount and agree to pay £169 for the day.

As Gary’s business plan is an events company he is asked to lead Versatile (Charleine, David, Joseph) for the second week in a row. Gary’s keen to listen to the clients expectations and Joseph in particular does a great job of chatting relaxedly to young Jamal (“What sort of cake do you want? Chocolate? Excellent!”) and he manages to push the idea of making up party bags for the kids for an extra charge. Jamal’s parents Julie and Yusef are at pains to point out that Julie has a severe nut allergy and if she even looks at a nut or thinks about a Snickers bar it will probably kill her. What could possibly go wrong? Gary at least has listened to the family’s wishes and goes for an outdoor adventure park in Essex. David insists that if they need someone to host the activities he worked at kids camps in the states (The “camp America” connection explains David’s puppyish enthusiasm) and was a “ropes course instructor” (bondage freak) and he “IS that professional to lead this” so they argue the cost down from £260 to £220 (but not the 20% off that Gary was after).

Scott’s just happy not to be PM again, he still has a thousand yard stare from last week.

Richard takes COMPLETE financial control of the task and wants to prevent overspending which he does by sucking any potential joy out of proceedings. Selina’s keen to provide afternoon tea for the girls, but he insists on a cheapo BBQ and refuses to budge even when for no good reason he and Vana are sent to a “top London restaurant” to learn how to make macaroons. So burgers it is. If she can’t have posh cakes on tiered plates, Selina thinks the BBQ should be a posh one, but Richard dogmatically wants to keep it simple. So shit burgers it is then. Whilst Richard goes to Iceland, Selina decides to up-sell nice party bags for the kids, but realises (duh duh DUH) that she doesn’t have mum’s phone number so just gambles that they’ll want the party bags and buys lots of shiny girls things to put in them and plans to charge a tenner per bag. Richard isn’t going to be happy.

Charleine and Joseph are sent to stock Versatile’s party bags, and she tries a bit of gratuitous shit stirring by letting Joseph know that David said he needs to prove himself as a candidate. Therefore Joseph’s unimpressed when David says his chosen party bag items (glo sticks, “tropical style” sunglasses – only £6.50 cost per bag) sound tacky. David insists Gary calls Jamal’s parents to check they’re happy with the party bags, and somehow Gary convinces Yusef that £9 per bag of shite is fair (he was after £15 per bag – the cheeky get!). He also persuades the parents to go for 10 personalised T shirts at £17 each. What the actual fuck?

Richard orders cheapo BBQ condiments online (“these are the tiny little compromises that add up to winning”) whilst pleading with Selina to stop spending money when she asks him to get some glitter to add to the party bags. God he must be a barrel of laughs to go to the pub with.

Charleine mentions blithely that the chocolate cake is being made with items that “MAY contain nuts”, but “everything says that nowadays”. Apart from nut free products you insane murderous hair witch!

It’s Parteh Time and in Essex, “They call me Gary the Giraffe” (“cos I’m a bit tall like that”) and David manage to bring a fun element of controlled fear into proceedings by reeling off a huge health and safety list of things the kids aren’t allowed to do because they might be dangerous. (Karren: “It feels like a corporate away day”). Wheee!

At the Lea Park “mini Olympics” Selina asks Nicole and friends ”how many of you guys here are sporty?” and NO hands go up (the kids are THAT lazy). “OK cool!” Selina intones blandly as she appears to abide by the motto that children should be not seen and not heard. Brett is dressed as a fat referee and injects some much needed humour (“I let my hair down once… and it went”) to general dismay and tumbleweed. Whilst he does get the kids to apparently enjoy competing in tug of wars etc., Melissa the mum looks distinctly unconvinced.

Back in Essex the mood lightens as the kids attempt to drown Gary and David in a ditch. However Gary relays Charleine’s “may contain nuts” message to the parents and manages to completely freak them out by suggesting that the cake actually contains Nutella (what are you saying Gary? Are you mental?) without appearing to notice that not only does Nutella the product contain nuts, but also the brand name fecking well does! Afeared of going all blue and wheezy then stiff, Julie hides outside on a bench whilst Karren insists Gary tries to put Yusef’s mind at rest, but he just makes it worse by being completely clueless and noncommital, until Yusef demands to see the packaging of products used in the cake.

Both team’s have a party bus. Selina’s is pink, and Brett and Scott are on hand to massacre “Hit me baby one more time”. It shouldn’t work but the girls seem to enjoy it.

Gary’s party bus is grey. Enough said. Jamal and his buddies sit on it looking uncomfortable until David decides to “get the party started” by demonstrating how the glo sticks (from Joseph’s party bags) work. Now the kids look bored and patronised and Yusef begs them to just play some music and Gary uselessly looks to David for help. Cue David singing the hokey cokey whilst sat down and waving glo sticks about. Now the kids look bored, patronised and excruciatingly embarrassed, so at least it’s livened up eh? “Do you like that?” David asks Jamal eagerly. “No” comes the emphatic response.

It’s nearly 5pm and still no BBQ as Richard bosses Vana about in a kitchen from hell and she does mad things like putting knackered bits of burger bun on top of the salad bowls (“to keep it fresh”). Crazy yanks!

Versatile take their kids to the beach and Charleine shouts at them and makes them run about. Meanwhile David divides his time between tampering some more with Joseph’s party bags, adding sweets and toy guns to replace the glo sticks, and making T-shirts using that shit sticky iron on stuff that (in my experience) ALWAYS fucks up the T-shirts. It also means that the words “Happy birthday” end up transferred backwards onto the horrid creased sloppy T-shirt fronts. £17 each remember. Somehow this has all cost Versatile £175. Eh?!!! Yusef quite rightly declares them to be T-SHITs and refuses to pay. The party bags are also unsatisfactory and Gary has to drop the price to £6 per bag to stop Gary blubbing. “We’re making a loss” Gary sighs.

Selina gets thoroughly burnt when Melissa says she didn’t want goody bags. “B but they cost us £10 each” Selina’s lip trembles, but Melissa is adamant that her “instinct is to say no”. Connexus are having a cake crisis of their own as it’s too hot to ice. Brett suggests they put it in the freezer, but it’s Richard’s kitchen and he’s not listening (“You are constantly moaning about the cake!”) and Vana decides she’s had enough (“Richard made me feel like a waitress”). Richard still thinks his tightwad party has offered “good value”, but worries that if the parents want refunds it would cut into “the savings I’VE been pushing for”. He’s such a team player!

Back in the boardroom, Selina is relieved that Richard was irritating as “the task is about numbers and if he gave me creative rein I may have wanted to book unicorns” (you’d be lucky to get fricking corn plasters out of Richard, love). She’s asked if she was happy choosing Richard in the end. “Yeah VERY happy” she snaps brittle and unconvincingly.

David insists that he “managed to engage all the children”, but Sugar reckons Versatile’s party sounded like an Ofsted inspection. Although Karren pointedly reveals that “Gary had the clients contact details” (Miaow! Take that Selina! How dare you be a woman in this boardroom!). David admits “WE made a few mistakes” with transferring the photos onto the T-shirts (it’s always “WE” when it’s just your mistakes on this show), but he tries to successfully transfer some blame at least by whining about Joseph’s party bags (Joseph “You didn’t offer any solutions”). The cake of death also gets a mention.

Anyhow results are in – and Versatile spent £1150, but the client only paid £1546 so they made £396 profit. Connexus spent only £1051 thanks to Richard and the client paid £1665 making £614 profit. Richard looks insufferably smug and Connexus get to go snowboarding whilst he waves his business willy about (“I can’t remember what it’s like to lose..”) and Vana rolls her eyes about (“I think he’s on a power trip” – NO SHIT!).

In Sad Café, Gary surprises nobody by telling David he’s coming back into the boardroom (Gary: “David left a sour taste in the clients eye” – ugh!).

Joseph’s narked that Gary scared the customer about the cake of death, and will never forgive David for taking the glo sticks out of the party bag (he doesn’t let this lie throughout the subsequent boardroom). He has also worked out the client “was pissed because the T shirts were SHIT!”

Back in the boardroom and Gary’s again castigated for giving the clients an air of uncertainty and possible doom over the death cake and it’s revealed the clients asked for £150 off for the lack of entertainment on the big grey party HELL BUS.

Gary chooses David to come back in as warned, but gets all dithery over his second choice (“I need someone to say who is accountable for the cake and party bags” Charleine: “We did it all together, sorry Gary the decision’s yours”), until Sugar has to go all Paxman and force Gary to make a decision (“I’ll bring David and Joseph… unless there’s any further feedback…” everyone else: “Oh do get ON with it”). Charleine starts legging it blithely for the door, but is checked by Sugar’s “Where are you going?” and sits back down guiltily (“Oh! Do I not? Oh er sorry…”). Ha! Take that! Sugar decides to bring all 4 back in to punish Charleine for presuming she’d got away scot free.

Gary’s slagged for poor decision making, but he reckons he must be ok as he spent 6.5 years working for a “major retailer”. “With the greatest respect, massive corporate organisation people walk around with dustbin lids on their arses not making decisions” Sugar suggests mysteriously.

Gary admits he “felt very exposed” when asked a simple question about whether his cake would kill the birthday boy’s mother. Joseph only takes 50% of the responsibility for cake gate (I’m unsure why he needed to take ANY as it wasn’t really a cake of death after all), but he thinks David should go (Charleine’s stirring seems to be working well).

David tries to justify his T-shirt and party bag mishaps whilst Charleine yells meanly over him until Sugar has had enough (“Can you just chill out… let him talk. If you have criticism you can tell him afterwards”) and when she leaps in again for a delicious second I think Sugar is going to sack her on the spot (“Interrupting in the manner you’re doing and shouting loudly is something I don’t like”), but sadly he lets it go, and whilst being concerned about Gary failing at an events task and being “the big corporate man”, he sacks David for the £175 wasted on T-shits. Gary and the others get another chance, Charleine’s voice cracking with emotion as she thanks the walnut faced peer.

In the Taxi of Tears, David whinges that everyone ganged up on him. Aww!

Back at the house, they’re having a barbecue of all things, and bizarrely they seem to be allowing Richard to cook. There’s jolly japes as Gary hides at the back and leaps out when everyone thinks he’s gone (Scott is overjoyed bless him!), and then pretends he was all cool and decisive in the board room. Selina is delighted to hear of Charleine’s presumptuous card being well and truly marked.

Next week the candidates have to sell dream homes for big money. There’s fights, there’s boardroom “shocks”, but not too many as there’s still too many people in the “process”.

Liking:

Joseph

Warming to

(Bullshit) Scott

Not convinced by

Gary

Irritated By

Richard

Disliking

Brett
Charleine
Vana
Selina

Bye Bye:

Dan, Aisha, Jenny, Ruth, Natalie, Elle, Mergim, April, Sam, David

My Tips for the Final

Joseph, Charleine, Scott

Looking Foward to

More unwitting campness from Brett, who this week sat about bitching about the other candidates whilst wearing the world’s fluffiest bathrobe.

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And Lo it was the Seventh week and a “Day of Rest” was declared by the Lord Sugar for the candidates.

And as always they never seem to have watched this show before, so of course when they’re wanking about in their Pjs and onsies, our favourite Nookie Bear faced Business Bollock pays them a “surprise” visit, jiggles about with the teams (Gary’s moved to Versatile) and sets them the task of starting Discount Stores with £500 capital. The big hint is they need to tempt punters in with cheap branded goods and get their margins with none branded goods – and as cash taken and stock are both counted as assets they need to replenish stocks.

They’re sent to Manchester as Sugar says they have an “excellent array of wholesalers” (and that’s where Sugar thinks all the poor people live).

Joseph’s so keen to run a Versatile comprising of Charleine, Gary, Richard and David (“I love selling so much”) but Gary has experience of working with a retailer and has never been PM. In the end Richard waves his magic willy wand and despite Joseph “really really” wanting to do it, Richard votes Gary to PM. “I’m known as the postman, because I always deliver” Gary boasts (and not because he puts shit through your letterbox).

Scott heads Connexus (Vana, Selina, Brett, Sam) and Vana’s keen on finding items which will sell at higher price higher margins (Selina gives her a hacky look). They end up going for “electronics” and Karren Brady gives a silent observing “WHYYYYY!”. Selina then moans that all the electronic items the team chooses are “male” and there’s no rampant rabbits, tasers or Jeremy Kyle approved Lie Detector Tests (surely there’s a Poundland market for these? You can have the idea Poundland).

Over on Versatile Charleine is OBSESSED by fricking scented candles and poopoos the electric fan Joseph fancies and David’s bubble blower whilst Gary is just befuddled by the constant stream of crap ideas coming from his team (and Joseph shakes his head like a silent Cassandra).

Everyone goes up North, ordering branded goods on the way, with Brett practising his most dated Manchestaaaar accent. Selina just naysays every suggestion, winding up even lovely Sam along the way in what must have been a very long 5 hour drive!

At 10am the teams head to those famed (?) Manchester wholesalers. Scott looks for tech items and Vana tries to help pricing “Let’s put a 180% mark up on those selfie sticks” (serve those vain twats right eh?) and Selina carries on whining. Sam, yet again, fails in maths and Scott ends up looking like a bit of a twat at the checkout and having to take two items off (we’ve all been there – but if you’ve been there over body butter and scented candles get help).

Versatile adapt a more random approach to wholesale buying (though obviously candles feature). Charleine and Joseph attempt to negotiate a BOGOF deal from the wholesaler where none existed and Claude winces (“asking for that is completely absurd”) but he’s wrong as it gets them 5% off and potentially 10% on future bulk purchases.

The teams set up their tables to test out their merchandise before buying up the best sellers.

Charleine continues her war against Richard using guerilla tactics (every time he’s in danger of selling she runs up to his punters and makes them sniff her candles, which they buy to make her go away). When he rightly complains, she blithely states “If you snooze you lose” whilst admitting to VT that the idea of Richard looking pained just makes her want to “smash him all the time”. It’s great, but awful, how utterly evil both Charleine and Selina are coming across in tonight’s show.

In Piccadilly Gardens, Brett and Vana (Vana:“I can’t believe made me sub team leader of a two person team”) attempt to tell people that the “mobile devices” they are selling have had their prices seriously dropped – which is kind of technically illegal so seeing as it’s on film Karren Brady pulls them up on their fibbing and makes them sort out their pricing.

Scott meanwhile is failing to sell or even engage people and sings “Everyone wants to ignore me….” (I think Mancunians can sense sales bullshit). Selina acknowledges he has been a good seller in the past, but “If he’s having a bad day tomorrow maybe I’d be less understanding”. Selina is all heart.

On Versatile’s stall Joseph is doing well (“If I wasn’t selling it I’d be buying it that’s how good it is” – oh you smooth talker!).

Both teams work out the hot sellers and restock with Connexus (Scott) going for more high margin tech goods) and Versatile back to the wholesalers for more value for money.

Next day in the Arndale the teams find their patches. Charleine rushes straight in like Han Solo and Chewbacca ducking under the opening security gate at the empty shop that’s erm right by the pound shop. Nice work there. She sets up straight away putting the impulse buys by the till. Chocolates next to mouth wash… well I can sort of see the logic. Versatile concentrate on pricing up stock rather than inviting people in with low prices.

Meantime Connexus set up the cheap crap near the front and try to keep prices low. Poor Sam doesn’t seem to understand how discount shops work (“You wouldn’t come in, grab something and THEN go shopping” – I beg to differ with the wordsmith here). The team all start barking confusingly divergent opinions again and Selina whinges some more and poor Scott tries to hold it all together by asking Brett and Vana to stay outside and get people into the store (which makes them paranoidly convinced they are being set up for a fail). Whereupon they both sulk dramatically (Sam “It’s a vital role”, Vana “Sam why don’t YOU do it?”)

Gary seems less bothered about getting passing trade in (by say offering lower fucking prices than the pound shop he’s almost next to)than by organising the “Customer Journey” (“Let’s form an orderly journey… this is our toilet world..”) although presumably he spots what Connexus are doing and sends Richard and Joseph out in “Discount Store” T-shirts to direct people into the store. He just ends up in “bants” with Vana and Brett who are sulking at being taken away from pumping up their sales stats and just stare over the balcony at what Versatile are up to.

As a result of watching Versatile’s progress, Brett panics and demands that Scott puts baskets of some of the cheap shit out the front of the shop for a quid. “I want that stuff in there” Scott insists (not totally unreasonably) but Brett’s not happy. “Speak to me like that again?” he barks threateningly and when Scott challenges this he insists Scott should have said “I’d like that stuff like that”. Brett is a bit fricking mad isn’t he? Anyhow to try and control escalatingly mental team dynamics, Scott sends Selina and Sam out and brings Brett and Vana back into the store. And Selina promptly throws an almighty strop. And another one when Scott asks her to help restock in the middle of the day. I’m sensing that Selina is definitely not a team player or a people person. Vana moans that all Selina does is complain. And somewhere a pot is moaning about a kettle. Brett and Vana go on to do really well in the shop, with Vana somehow managing to be charming and sell in Japanese, which really impresses me despite how annoying she is. Funny how much she’s cheered up now she thinks she can attribute sales to herself though. Almost as though it’s not about the team.

Joseph plans to do a bulk buy offer and goes for one on “mouthwash toothpaste a can of drink and biscuits”. Which, whilst I can see the internal logic, doesn’t necessarily work.

Karren Brady totally has it in for Sam, who is currently shouting at a beeping till (“Oh shut up!”), but as Karren Brady hates poor people enough to vote to cut tax credits whilst raking in millions, I don’t give a flying squirrels tit what she thinks.

Whilst Scott has already restocked in plenty of time for Connexus, Gary from Versatile’s gone into hiding to work out what stock he needs whilst everyone’s snowed under with customers (oops) and he leaves it till an hour to go to get in new supplies.

I think the main difference between the two in terms of ambition shines through when both teams have dropped prices and Gary is selling a candle or something “What? £2? OK quickly then..” whereas Scott manages to motivate his massively recalcitrant team the whole way.

Back in the Boardroom and Sugar re-iterates it was “nothing too complicated: buy, sell replenish” before an inevitable fucking barrow boy story ensues.

Claude seems to forget the whole “You don’t ask you don’t get” ethos by having a pop at Gary for not getting BOGOF but instead just getting lots of discounts from the wholesalers for just being a bit cheeky. However Sugar points out that Gary screwed up by not lowering the price on his branded products and putting them out front to get people in, especially being down from the pound shop.

Karren dobs Sam in for bad maths because she clearly fears people with an intellect, and accuses him “crawling around on floor with his calculator”. She also gets Brett and Vana more correctly in trouble for dodgy price claims (Sugar “It has to be on sale for 28 days before you can say that the prices has been dropped from).

Scott is dismayed at how the team dynamics changed to individual selling rather than actual team work, but Brett points out there are stats raised on performance in this show (Brett: “Everyone’s gotta self preservate” um yeah). Sugar insists it is about teamwork (“If the manager hadn’t sold, it wouldn’t matter to me one little bit” and everyone smells BULLSHIT.

Anyhow scores time:

Connexus had cash in the till of £592 and stock to the value of £369, and end up with total assets of £962

Versatile had till cash of only £497.65, but stock of £1013.52, proving that the whole point about the task is the first replenishing (although I can’t work out how stock worth is calculated if the team is either price dropping or brought low). Anyhow Charleine looks smugger than the Cheshire Cat on cocaine holding a winning Euromillions ticket and versatile are sent up the top of the Shard to drink champagnes whilst watching businessmen pooing in the lower floors.

In Sad Café Scott is annoyed by everyone trying to cover their arse rather than working together. Cue an argument (Sam: “I don’t want to be part of all this arguing!”)

Back in the Board Room and Selina looks so fricking angry, mussy haired and flushed that she may well pull a gun and take out whoever wronged her.

Vana insists that Selina is a bitch, but Scott points out they both didn’t listen…and neither (before they can get smug) did Brett and Sam.

Sam’s grassed on by evil Karren for screwing up calculations again, but he insists his attitude was “positive”. However Scott scents blood and asks “where were you when your team needed you?” Sam rightly blames Selina for poor team spirit, but she’s not “gonna make personal comments”, but thinks “there are selfish people I shouldn’t be so sensitive about”. Sugar’s rightly unconvinced about Selina’s recurring sensitivity.

However Scott appears to miss this completely and chooses to bring back Sam and Brett, letting Selina off Scott free. He justifies this by claiming Brett is bullish and aggressive (true) and said he would smash Scott’s face in (UNTRUE and even Sam points this out, justifying my earlier prefix of “Bullshit” for Scott).

Whilst poor Sam fundamentally believes in his business plan, you can tell he’s doomed (although he makes a good point when Scott admits he didn’t trust his team (GASP! How very DARE you!), that this made their failure a self-fulfilling prophecy).

Whilst Sugar isn’t sure he can deal with someone blunt and straightforward that alienates people like Brett (because that’s Sugar’s job) he predictably fires Sam, who, in the taxi of regret insists that “integrity is the key” and finds Scott’s boardroom backlash “deplorable” before zooming off to become Morrissey’s ghost writer.

Back at the house Selina stirs shit against Vana (“Scott said you were difficult to work with”, Vana: “No YOU said that!”, Selina “No Scott did!”).

Next week the teams have to plan children’s parties and Selina sets up a back street abortionist instead or something.

Liking:


David
Joseph

Warming to

(Bullshit) Scott

Not convinced by

Gary

Irritated By

Richard

Disliking

Brett
Charleine
Vana
Selina

Bye Bye:

Dan, Aisha, Jenny, Ruth, Natalie, Elle, Mergim, April, Sam

My Tips for the Final

Joseph, Charleine, Scott

It’s Week 6 and the Twat Phone demands the candidates convene in Balham in Hi Viz jackets and steel toe capped boots which they have all miraculously packed for the occasion.

Brett’s well excited “It’s either making something or constructioning” and David points out that “Elle is in construction and hasn’t won a task yet.”. Mergim’s high on his faint praise from last week and wants to be PM, but Joseph isn’t convinced.

4 white vans await the candidates but rather than a kicking from disenfranchised Sun readers, they are given vans full of tools to run a handyman (SEXIST KLAXON!) business for two days – and the most profit wins. Elle’s put in charge of Versatile (Mergim, Joseph, Richard, April, Charleine, David) and Brett leads Connexus (Vana, Scott, Gary, Selina, Sam). On hand to follow their antics are Bulldog Claude and Karren Brady, keen to nick any tax credits they might earn.

Elle’s quite confident she can do anything, but (apparently) wisely asks her team what they are capable of. David admits he can “just about put together a flatpack” (I think he means flapjack) and Mergim proudly states he’s never held a screwdriver in his life but boy is he keen. He shares that he used to make a “fortune” (£20 a day) windowcleaning and he is dying to “take up the sponge” again. Plus Mergim shares the tearjerking tale of coming to the UK as a refugee with his family on the back of a lorry from Albania. Unfortunately Elle spends so much time consulting with her team that she misses the deadline for producing flyers (“OK my fault, sorry guys!”). Big D’oh! April whinges about it being a huge setback, but Mergim, bless him, decides the only other option is to handwrite flyers, but April gives him an “I just saw a poo” look and suggests that customers will see this as unprofessional. “But it’s the only way we can do it” Mergim points out, quite rightly.

Brett’s talks a load of bollocks about always going with customer satisfaction and Connexus get their flyers out on time, before going on to a pre-set lead at an East End Theatre, where Brett goes a bit Harry Enfield Four by two by builders , whilst poor fragile poet Sam attempts to keep up and fails slightly in front of the unconvinced theatric client. Brett stresses his “years of expertise.. I’m like an expert within my field” before knocking Sam’s estimate of £777 up to £887, whilst the potential client swoons erm theatrically..

Versatile head to a Sarf London footy club where David (“I’ve worked at grounds like this”) gets to run the pitch and attempts to prove his inner blokiness by asking the Footy Ground chap “How did you get on this season?” and disproves his inner blokiness by commiserating sadly when the Footy guy says the team finished forth. David quotes £500 and Footy bloke drily agrees to get back to him.

Connexus arrive at the footy club next and Brett gets all blokey measuring up, and between himself, Sam and Selina (who Brett can’t hear because she is a woman) they work out a proper costing that sounds like a GCSE maths question (3 people for 5-6 hours at 20 quid per hour per person). Somehow they come out with the figure of £480.70 after all this malarkey. Selina’s pissed off )”That was a great conversation”, and the cheeky footy ground guy still just promises to get back to them.

Mergim is loving the window cleaning jobs he got with the makeshift flyers that April sneers at. April decides that “personal diy” would be more profitable, so at their next job, she offers a shop lady £10 per hour to fix shelves. Unfortunately that works out to £3.33 per person and well below the legal minimum wage. So the shop lady snaps it up and April is possibly facing a plum job in Conservative central office. Fortunately April’s drastic underestimate proves appropriate as Mergim’s shit DIY skills become more apparent. (April “What are you doing?, Mergim:”Screwing a nail., April: “I don’t think you screw a nail”. So despite the cheap price, they only end up getting paid for cleaning the windows and run away before the windows start falling out.

On the other subteam, Joseph is most unimpressed (“Putting up a shelf is one of the most basic DIY jobs there is “, other than wanking I reckon).

Connexus’s sub-team of Scott, Gary (who spends the episode looking insanely bored) and Vana drives around Dulwich distributing flyers with Vana deciding she needs to do some market research instead of getting jobs and making a profit, because Vana is insane.

Versatile head to the theatre and Joseph essentially goes into trade mode (he has plumber skills) and takes over (“We need screws, hack saws…””). His decisiveness seems to finally screw over Elle’s confidence and she lets him take over, even with the costings. Having worked it all out Joseph offers a quote of £560 and the naughty theatre man moans that this is “considerably high” (despite it being nearly £200 lower than the other team’s quote.) but agrees to get back to them.

Connexus’s subteam check out a garden that looks almost Buddhist in comparison to mine, but the fussy woman wants a new retaining wall. Scott goes into his trademark bullshit mode (“I can build you the hanging gardens of Babylon and a peace pagoda! I can imagine it looking amazing!”) and despite Vana’s concerns he insists “It can be done”).

Anyhow at 6pm Connexus get the footy club deal, whereas Versatile get a call from the theatre asking for a mahoosive price drop. Elle goes a bit more rubbish (“I have no experience in negotiation”) and Richard takes over, but is beaten down from £525 to £375 (“If your hand was here I’d shake it”) by the canny representative of the arts. Joseph’s already calculated how much money per hour that represents and insists “It has to be precision, no toilet breaks. Solid yeah!” I start falling for Joseph a little bit at this point.

Anyhow next morning Elle attempts to check how her subteam are going to operate. Mergim’s confident “I’m not gonna let a screwdriver defeat me mate,you must be mad!”, but April’s pulling pained hacky faces.

Brett gets his team to work on the footy stands (Sam: “This is so gross! Oh bloody hell there’s so much crap”) and, priding himself on “quality”, insists that Selina chisel all the chewing gum off the stands, despite this not being part of the requested work (Brett: “You’ve got a fully sharp chisel, get your back into it!”). Sam gets to do the power-washing and despite his wordsmith ways it clearly (like anybody of any gender handed a power tool) makes him feel LIKE A MAN! GRRRR!

Elle basically hands over her PM hat to Joseph at the theatre and he doesn’t just take control, he brilliant manages everyone including his erm manager (“Richard you’re going to have to help her”), whilst doing all the practical stuff with a “piece of piss” practical person’s glint in his eye. “What else can I do in the meantime?” Elle asks him, and you know she’s doomed. Joseph, I must admit is amazing, and even if he gets fired in future shows he can use this episode as an advertisement for his plumbing business. He susses out that David has been cutting pipes to the wrong measurements (“Sorry Joseph, I thought I got it right”)

The subteam aren’t faring as well, but bless Mergim, he’s eager (“I might not be able to use a screwdriver but I can definitely sand!”). He still manages to screw up a clients windows and she takes £30 off the price. April gets a dig in (“As usual Mergim does what he does best and costs us money”) which is rich from less than half minimum wage woman.

Back at Scott’s Garden of Delights, Vana manages expectations (“We probably couldn’t do all the promised work in one day.. I know I am the bad cop, but what are your priorities”) and she somehow manages to renegotiate from Scott’s offer of building the hanging gardens of Balham to just tidying up a bit for a tiny discount, and the Garden Woman is hugely sated. Even bulldog Claude is impressed. They manage to get another job although Vana struggles with the weeds (“Too much weed!”) and Scott needs a hand with the bush (“Too much bush!”).

Brett’s still at the footy ground and realises he can’t paint the stairs as they’re wet, but whilst Selina’s keen on just doing the job and fucking the standards, he “would rather be up front and honest with the client “. It transpires that the Footy Ground bloke didn’t even expect Selina to be chiseling gum and he offers them £420 for their hard work, which Selina manages to argue up to £440 (bargain!). Brett still thinks he’s “shown leadership and a high standard of work” and insists he “would quite happily” put his “head on the block”

Theatre job completed, Elle’s clueless as to what to do not and Joseph has to urge her to “make a decision “. Do you want to regroup with subteam to see if they need help?” he suggests. As it turns out they do and eventually Elle decides “we need to help them out”. Joseph arrives at the latest job (where April agreed to clean and repaint some massive windows) and figures out that the subteam had seriously underestimated the task (Joseph, looking perturbed “WHO SPOKE TO THE LADY??!” ) and somehow he manages to organise the rest of the team to help out, although it still all looks a bit messy.

Anyhow, back in the Boardroom and Sugar explains that this task came about because he wouldn’t ask anyone to do something he can’t do. Apart from sell shit email phones.

Elle bigs up how exceptional Joseph was, and Sugar ultimately tells Joe he’s safe. Only Charleine has anything positive to say about Elle as PM (“She kept the enthusiasm going”).

Mergim has to answer for his DIY woes and even blames a woman’s wall for his shit job.

Anyhow, here’s the scores:-

Versatile took £652 but spent £121.99 so made a profit of £530.01

Connexus took £ 170 but spend £119.92 so made a profit of £1050.08

So Brett’s slightly more realistic (and intransigent) pricing won him the task and his team get to travel to a Spa to watch him getting beaten with a bush.

There’s not even a sojourn to Sad Café and Elle seems to be ready to go (“I just ballsed it up”).

In the boardroom Sugar asks what Elle actually does, and it transpires that she is mainly office based, but gets to put a hardhat on and get patronised on site once a month. Sugar rips her apart for letting Joseph organise all the practical shit, and she massively cops out (“With all due respect, that’s a foreman’s duties”). Karen points out that Elle was equally poo at strategy and failed to get her flyers out and Elle practically falls on her sword (“I don’t stand here proud”) and is promptly fired, before even getting the opportunity to bring in fellow candidates. Bless her she even says he made the right decision in the taxi of Grrrrr!

“It don’t end here “ Sugar warns, whilst asking Mergim as “sub team leader” to decide which two remaining candidates to bring back to the final Board Room. Bless Mergim he actually asks Joseph who did what in the other half of the team, and Joseph can’t forgive David for fucking up his pipe lengths (missus) whereas he’s warmed to Richard for being less of an ignorant twot and working hard.

Mergim unsurprisingly brings in April and David ( Karren argues that David has no DIY skills, which makes “The Apprentice” sound more realistic, I guess).

Back in the boardroom again Mergim plays the (poignant and laudable) refugee card, but Sugar still fires him with “sincere regret” and promises to stay in touch. Bless him, he’s determined to crack on with his dream in the Taxi of Regrets, and he agrees that he has a lot to learn.

Just as April’s starting to look smug, having dismissed Mergim’s home-made flyers (which Sugar agrees was the only option the team had), she’s fired too for having done sod all since Week 1. In her taxi moment she proves she hasn’t learned anything (“I didn’t deserve to go”).

David does a little accident in his pants as Sugar reads his CV (“I am a diamond, a rare piece”) and David tries to justify it (“I believe I shine”). “I didn’t see any shining”, Karren retorts, and he’s sent back to the house smelling of fear and wee.

Next week the candidates have to open discount stores in Manchester and presumably everyone fails by charging London discount prices whilst Sam accidentally joins The Fall.

Liking:

Sam
David
Joseph

Warming to

(Bullshit) Scott

Not convinced by

Gary

Irritated By

Richard

Disliking

Brett
Charleine
Vana
Selina

Bye Bye:

Dan, Aisha, Jenny, Ruth, Natalie, Elle, Mergim, April

My Tips for the Final

Joseph, Charleine,  Scott

Well I would like to write an entertaining and informative account of Week 5 of The Apprentice or #RuthWozRobbed as I now know it, but COUGH COUGH I’m so very poorly SPLUTTER

But anyway at 6am the contestants are dragged screaming (“Do you ever wake up and think it’s not worth it” – April) to the London Library on St James’ Square, where in the least convoluted task connection to date they are tasked with producing a childrens book for 3-5 year olds (including an audio book) and then selling it to pro-retailers.

Sam’s moved to Connexus and Sugar clearly has his card marked as a posho academic lyrical motherfucking wordsmith as he hints “this may be time for you to use your talents Sam”.

Fortunately Sam “would love to be PM” as he loves language and has a degree in literature. He is duly elected and embarks on a three hour journey in search of plot (“A story dies without a good plot”) whilst quoting Aristotle on tragedy. Team Connexus go a bit dead behind the eyes.

Meanwhile Charleine, as a mother of young kids, puts herself forward as leader for Versatile, as she doesn’t “have the best vocabulary or literature skills” but she has a working fucking womb. Charleine suggests kids would like a story called “party pooper wee wee” and is unanimously elected as leader. She wants an adventure helping kids to let go of their comfort blankets and Joseph suggests “Buzzy’s Quest For Honey” the story of a humble bumble bee who hasn’t realised that as a single drone his input into pollen production would not be welcomed. Bit like Richard this week then. Anyhow April has a degree in creative writing and suggests Joseph’s bee odyssey is the most adventurous, so Buzzy it is. Richard’s keen on getting the honey story right (April’s also concerned about lying to kids about the origin of honey), but Charleine’s determined to step on his ego whenever possible so makes him the marketing subteam leader to take him away from creative input and fair play the pompous plonker falls for it (Richard: “ I would have preferred to have been on the other side but … ok”). Unbeknownst to Richard, Charleine has a masterplan to use David to pass all information back so she never has to talk to her subteam leader again. Muwahahaha!

Sam’s still working on his epic about a mythical creature surrounded by other creatures and becoming accepted which through his warmly accepted team input becomes a tale of a sneezy dragon crossed with an elephant called Snufflegruffle no Snufflebum no Snifflebottom. It’s all getting a bit Black Books quite frankly. Finally, after several hours Elle forces him to accept Snottydink. “The moral is about acceptance; so a child who is good at rugby but rubbish at chess should not be outed from school” Sam speaks, clearly from slightly altered experience.

The teams divide at 11am with Richard still grumbling that he should have been kept in creative because he wears the reddest,most annoying braces, whilst David yawns unsubtly.

Poor Joseph, like most creatives, watches as his simple Bee tale is taken over by April and Charleine (“I’m thinking ‘swishing and swirling and tumbling and turning’”). Richard calls back from the kids (focus) playgroup he’s attended with David and Mergim to report that mums like rhymes… but Charleine’s having none of it (“Can I speak to David please?” David: “Erm mum’s like rhymes”, April: “Buzzy got lost, after being tossed”, Everyone: Silence).

Sam’s team are finally getting pissed off and realising they need to do some work (Scott: “We need to pinpoint this. It’s not hard I don’t think” Elle: They breathe fire, he breathes water. We just need a clincher”, Sam: “Yeah yeah, we’ll get there”).

Mergim, David and Richard work out a number of Buzzy related songs, the best of which is a Buzz Buzz Buzzy song which has them all falling about laughing like kids, which should be a good indicator, but no, Charleine calls (“Who am I speaking to?”, Richard: “Richard.. would you like me to pass you to David? We’re doing really well”, Charleine: “Can I speak to David please?”, Everyone, including David, “Oh For fucksake!”, Richard “I will just go grab a coffee, seeing as I’m not needed”) . David ends up going for the lame “Little busy, everything is honey” even though anybody with a brain is still singing the Buzz Buzz Buzzy Song. Charleine calls again and Richard requests she stop asking to speak to David. She hangs up.

Sam’s dithering is holding up Selina on the song team (“We can’t write a random song with no relation to the story”) and he rushes out his Opus Sammus, and it sounds quite nice, and a bit Dr Seuss, but Selina and Gary (who apparently struggles with the word ‘duck’ at one point due to being a Brummy – as though duck is a word that couldn’t be understood in any dialect) are converned by Sam’s use of big words like “moisture” and “rife” for 3-5 year olds (maybe this is Sam’s way of releasing a porn epic he wrote at the age of 14).

The teams oversee their designs and Sam has to go for a “mental” (April) looking Snottyding, whereas Charleine, having full control, declares herself happy with her book colours and hopes “we’re beating Shakespeare on the other side”. The products arrive and whilst “Buzzy’s First Adventure looks professional, Snottydink looks like the product of a drug addled bipolar mind which should surely appeal to most parents nowadays.

Vana tries to talk Charleine out of doing the pitch, and Richard offers his sales skills, but Charleine is determined to go it alone (“I wouldn’t say English is my strongest point but I’m not that bad of a speaker”). David advises Charleine to get the customers attention in the first 10 seconds, but rather than listen she bores the arse off the Waterstones reps, who find her fembot pitch and the clunky rhyming “cringy”. Meanwhile Mergim begs the owner of a kids cafe (where he and Richard have tested Buzzy on unimpressed kids and parents) to buy three books for a tenner and is unsuitably overjoyed (“That was a cheeky little deal”; Cafe owner “At last, some cheap artisan coasters”). Charleine’s pitching is so emotionally cold she manages to make the word “passion” sound like it’s being croaked from a deathbed into an empty void, but Richard of course is none too secretly loving her failure (“she should have listened to me”).

Sam wants Natalie to help him pitch, but she’s too busy faking a cold and doesn’t want to have to act out a coughing fit mid-pitch so he asks Brett and Scott instead. Natalie then goes to a playgroup (because she doesn’t fear infecting children with her IMAGINERY FUCKING COLD”) where parents tell them that moisture is too big a word for even them to cope with (a bit like contraception). Despite her terrible illness, Natalie goes on to fail to sell to shops with the subteam, and despite Brett rigidly going through pricing options with her she’s incapable of remembering the discount percentage for one completely uninterested storeholder, so collapses into her “oh I’m so very poorly” spiel again (Shopowner “I’m sorry, I don’t think this is for Hackney” – the best alternative way of saying FAIL I’ve heard for a while). Charleine fares somewhat better out in the field after her brain death pitches, as her natural falseness allows her to bully shopowners into buying all of her books.

Sam cleverly bats off Foyles concerns about big clever words in kids books at the first pitch by suggesting the book is a learning tool. They are impressed by the visuals and rhyme, so Selina, having failed to sell 150 copies to them goes straight down to 50, causing Gary and even Sam to audibly groan. Waterstones buy 50 Snottydinks and Sam finally focuses on trying to get the rest of the team to sell every copy. Unfortunately he sends them to the antiquarian book end of Charing Cross Road where shopowners haven’t even heard of the dark magic that is CDs. Selina manages to shift the lot for the grand total of £1.75 per copy (Sam “Selling your baby for £2, God what a heartless mother I am!”).

Back in the boardroom, Sam is lovely and unflinchingly positive about his team. He is pulled up on taking hours to decide on a story and apologises to his team whilst taking full responsibility. Natalie meanwhile is acting out the symptoms of Bubonic plague.

Charleine maintains “Richard works better when he is a subleader and wants to achieve more” because she is a proper patronising beeyatch. Sugar asks Richard why he alienates people and Richard plays a blinder by taking it on the chin (“You don’t always get on with everyone, that’s life”) and bigging up Merkim for selling to the focus group and making all of a tenner. It’s agreed that Charleine made a “bad management decision” by sidelining Richard (who thus goes into smug mode).

Anyhow scores are:-

Versatile sold 210 books making £609

Connexus sold only 205 (despite selling all their stock!) making only £587

Nobody hugs Charleine, who sold 125 in her last minute pitch, and despite the winners’ wonderful (appropriately crap) treat of watching a magician perform in a library, Richard maintains Charleine was just lucky.

Meanwhile in the Sad Café, Sam wants to talk about what went wrong. Six hours later all the other blokes blame Natalie. “But she was ILL” Sam insists over kindly.

Back in the boardroom Scott and Brett grass up Natalie for being shit, and she looks a bit aghast and does a croaky voice. She blames Brett for not managing the financial information, but he points out he gave her that info and accuses her point blank of being a liar. Selina gets stick for leaping from 150 to 50 in her sales pitch, but she turns it on Sam “If you’re so smart you don’t know how tonegotiate” adding that she “didn’t understand the pricing structures” (well guess whose fault that is love).

Sugar accuses Sam of having weak logistics and business acumen before asking Sam who he’s bringing back in, which inspires some epically risky sighing and dithering. Natalie is selected as the weakest seller (she gives a piteous sniff) and after much very noble struggling Sam clearly decides to be a gentleman and not risk looking a bit sexist (as he should have) bring in Selina so plumps for Brett (Sugar: “WHO??” Brett “Me.”).

Back in Sam justifies his second decision by blaming Brett as subteam leader for not sorting his logistics, but Brett points out his team sold in every shop where Natalie didn’t pitch (“I shit you not Karren was there and she fucked it”, Natalie: It’s a fair cop).

Sugar decides that Brett needs more time in the process to make a proper full blown entertaining arse of himself), and he sees Sam and Natalie as immature. Still it’s Nat who gets the chop and Sam looks proper sad (“I’m so sorry”). In the Taxi of Despair however Nat insists Brett should have been fired and DOESN’T SOUND BITTER AT ALL. Much.

Sam, like me, was convinced it was going to be a double firing, so sees it as a compliment that he’s stayed in, rather than a mere controlling of the narrative in order to keep the viewing figures up.

So 13 candidates left in the lazy 8 weeks where next week they are asked to set up their own handyman business. Cue professional indemnity claims rolling in from everyone they come into contact with.

Liking:

Sam

David

Warming to

Joseph

Merg(k)im

Scott

Not convinced by

Gary

Elle

April

Irritated By

Richard

Disliking

Brett

Charleine

Vana

Selina

Bye Bye:

Dan, Aisha, Jenny, Ruth, Natalie

Looking Forward To

Selina and Charleine finally settling differences in a vat of lime green vodka jelly.