It’s Week 4 and our feckless chancers are kicked out of bed at 5.45am to head to the Drapers Guild with none of them having a clue what a guild or a draper is. In the ornate environs of where London’s wool and cloth merchants gathered together to sell different fabrics (a bit like C&A used to be) Sugar tasks the candidates with running a department in the impossibly dinky Liberty of London, selling a new product line and offering a personal shopping service. Sugar’s clue lies in that customers expect “excellent customer services” unless they’re buying Southern Rail season tickets or Amstrad products. Most sales win as usual.
Sofiane, who reckons he can “PM all day long”, takes control of the Titans (followed this week by Karren) claiming that working in posho shops is “What I’ve been doing the last five years”with support from Dillon, Alana, Trishna, Jess, Samuel and Courtney. Sofiane wants a strong subteam leader and Dillon (who works on a fucking fashion magazine) politely suggests that he wants to “maximise my creative input” but he’s slapped down by Sofiane (“I don’t think you’re a very strong leader”). Courtney as usual waits till Sofiane’s out of earshot before griping that Sofiane will just act like a “one man band”.
Grainne, a make-up artist who clearly specialises in heroin chic is determined she’s “not going to that café again” and volunteers to lead Nebula as long as Frances (who to be fair has done fuck all since the show started) is subteam leader as she has store experience too. But there’s a bombshell as Aleksandra announces that she’s really sorry but she’s leaving the process (“I’m just not enjoying this”). Everyone thinks it’s a joke, except Mukai who’s just an utter prick (“It’s not exactly the ideal moment”), but Aleksandra is off to see her husband and kids and get away from all the stress (good on her), leaving them only with a shit team name and a vague sense of misplaced superiority (Grainne “She obviously didn’t think she was strong enough”). Well played Aleksandra on a full on decunting of your environment.
And like that, she was gone.
So 9am the teams check out the stock at Liberty and Mukai’s very keen on handbags as he used to work in leather as a high-end gimp. Meanwhile Jess is amazed to learn that Liberty scarfs fetch £75 to £1200 (WHAT?!) . The Titans agree that Liberty scarfs are the key brand. On Nebula it’s split as Paul and Frances fancy scarfs but Mukai is all about the expensive allure of leather (as though having pricier items will make them easier to sell). They all vote with the majority wanting to go for scarfs but Mukai does weird jedi mind control on Grainne who sends the team to check out luggage and handbags for their key new product. The look on Paul’s face as a woman earnestly explains the creative concept (“inspired through architecture, travel and colour”) behind the bags Grainne ends up selecting is a particular joy.
Dillon takes a shine to some scarfs shaped like cats (“That’s an interesting twist on the pussy bow”) and he manages to convince Sofiane (Dillon: “They look so cool could be worn by either sex depending on how brave you are!” Sofiane “er yeah scarfs ok”).
The teams get a crash course in window dressing which of course is interactive at Liberty and the window dressing lady explains how customers expect a bit of theatre and that having a real live person in the window can uplift sales by up to 50%. Dillon embraces this idea wholeheartedly designing a set where Jess hangs out of a frame in the window (and therefore not being “mad me” on the shop floor – clever!) draping cat scarfs about with the emblem “Cool for Cats”. Samuel doesn’t get it (“That doesn’t make sense!”) and Dillon sings a snatch whilst Trishna and Alana harmonise along to a completely different tune. “It still doesn’t make sense!” bellow Samuel and Dillon explains it was a famous song in the “80s” as though he’s Simon fucking Schama explaining something from history and I feel very very old.
Mukai wants to put Rebecca in the Nebula window display as a live mannequin (actually scrap the “live” bit she’s not that convincing) but Grainne acts as though he is suggesting some sort of Amsterdam Red Light District lower middle management trafficking horror and gets all stroppy about Mukai taking over (which to be fair he is a bit).
Frances calls clients for the Personal Shopper service and does quite well at establishing rapport whilst getting essential details like budget and sizes, special occasions and favourite brands and looks (customer “I like to look a bit weird”) . Alana does the same job for the Titans and acts like she’s breaking news of a bereavement (“Erm anything you want, ok nice talking to you”).
At 7am Mukai’s concept window display is unveiled and it’s a load of bags on white pedestals which he claims represents New York and Spain. Poor Rebecca still doesn’t have a clue what she’s meant to do in the window (perhaps she could try to mime what it fricking allegedly means to passing customers including a singularly unimpressed Claude).
Sofiane is astounded by the sight of Jess in a frame pointing at scarfs (“That’s the best thing I’ve ever seen I swear” poor Sof, you haven’t lived mate). As a reward Sofiane sends Dillon to lead the personal shopping subteam and Dillon’s cheered up until Alana admits how little insight into the customers she has gleaned. He manages to get the client onside with some arty selections and canny questioning (“can you direct us in what way your budget is going”). Meanwhile Sofiane focuses on getting the least engaged members of his sales team Courtney and Samuel to get familiar with one section of their product. They look at him blankly.
Grainne decides she Paul and Mukai should lead on sale and sends Frances to run Personal Shopping with K as her “runner” with the strict instructions to “listen to Frances”. At first this doesn’t bode very well with K getting involved in selecting clothes (“dress, shoes.. headband”) and asking Frances questions like “wouldn’t this make her waist look big?” but bizarrely enough when the client has come in and rubbished Frances’ selections (“I hate that colour on me. Hideous. .. that might me look like a fat aunty..”) K is charm on a stick even getting the woman to accessorise (“You know what that needs?” “A necklace?” “Exactly madam”). Even Claude is impressed (“Suddenly he’s a fashion guru!”). “What is money compared to happiness?” K cajoles holding a posh handbag, “It’s a mere £1030”. She nearly fricking falls for it too. Bloody hell! His next challenge is a gaggle of teenage girls, but he’s unabashed (“The ability of a fish should not be judged by how it can climb a tree” Deep).
Mukai and Paul hassle Grainne to stick Rebecca in the window, but Grainne’s not prostituting her teammate out just yet (“This is a sales task. I’m OK if Mukai thinks it failed because I didn’t put someone in a window”. Oh dear). Fortunately Paul manages to sell a handbag despite having no knowledge of the product (“I like it cos it’s embossed as well”) and even gets the customer to sign up for the personal shopper service. In fact only Mukai the alleged bag expert is failing to sell.
On Sofiane’s team only he is failing to sell and it’s becoming obvious that his big store experience might be more Big Yellow Storage Unit than Selfridges (“Err yeah we do av black scarfs; there’s one exactly similar to wot you are wearing over there” . It needles him so much that every time Jess returns to the floor and flogs a pricey scarf he sends her packing back to the window. He holds a team tactics talk and Dillon pipes up that he would like Jess to come up and help him serve a female client as she has a clothing line and which point Trishna gets all arsey (“Not to be disrespectful, but me and Alana are here. What’s she gonna do we cant do?”). Sofiane decides not to rock the boat and Trishna and Alana sulk in the background whilst Dillon looks after the client by himself and JD lingers clumsily hoping to be sent on a tea run. Sofiane decides to drum up more footfall and sends Jess to the window but wants Samuel to go there too. “You go there!” Sam suggests helpfully. “I’m selling” Sof insists to Sam’s amusement. Fortunately Sofiane does get a pity sale before trading ends at 6pm.
In the boardroom and Sugar makes light of Aleksandra’s departure (“If you can’t hack it, get out. On a positive front I’ve saved myself a cab fare”)
Sofiane’s still insisting he worked at a high end retail store, but Sugar’s not pleased with the low selling cat scarfs (“I’m used to dealing with fat cats not flat cats”) and Sof finally vaguely admits he might have been slightly out of his comfort zone (i.e bullshitting). It transpires that Jess was the highest seller on the team. Dillon gets flack for Alana’s failure on getting John the customers budget (Yes I have no idea why Dillon couldn’t have asked this either, maybe he would have had less to complain about in the boardroom), as it turns out that although Dillon sold over £1000 worth of posh shit John’s budget was actually £5000. Alana’s all proud that she sold stuff to John’s daughter until it’s revealed that for three hours of chatting she sold the girl an eyeshadow (definite pity sale – I bet that’s how Alana sells her cakes on her market stall). Poor JD gets stick for how he (as he admits) “struggled to find a place” but Karren at least points out he made “a mean cup of tea”.
It turns out that Grainne used to do shifts at Libertys so she gets a rightful bollocking for going with Mukai’s handbags. Mukai insists the handbag knowledge with him is strong as he worked in “Italy in leather goods” (maybe he provided entertainment at Berlusconi parties) and has been to other countries too (erm because that involves looking at bags going round on conveyer belts in airports). “So you know your Helmut Langs from your Vera Wangs” says Sugar just so he can crowbar Helmut and Wang into the same sentence and make the Finbarr Saunders in me snortle. Mukai is forced to admit his window display was a bit too “abstract” (posh talk for “shit”) and Sugar suggests it may be a Turner prize contender.
Frances brags that she got her personal shopper lady to spend twice her budget and K chips in (not for the first time) that he nearly sold her a £1000 clutch bag.
Anyhow it’s money time
Nebula’s personal shoppers sold £1200 and the shop floor took £3172.99 so the total is £4377.99
The Titans personal shoppers sold £1264.38 worth of cat scarfs and the shop floor made £3995 so their total is £5259.38 and the winners are sent to a house in the country to play croquet (Dillon “I feel very regal doing this… and slightly glamorous”).
So Grainne is sadly back at the Bridge café and everyone’s still telling her they should have had a window display but she insists it wasn’t worth taking someone off the shop floor to WHORE THEMSELVES and she blames Mukai for bigging up handbags despite her having final say and her team voting for scarfs.
Back in and Rebecca gets flack for not being in a window and selling the least. “I engaged a lot! I didn’t want to do the hard sell” she bleats until Sugar points out Liberty is “not a museum”
Grainne decides to bring back Mukai (who of course whines “I helped you throughout the two days”) and K (Grainne “I’m finding it hard to place you” well on the scrapheap by the look of things). “Is that what you’re saying” Sugar asks impatiently as she dithers and she actually changes her mind to bring back K and a mortified Rebecca. “Sorry, um” Grainne vacillates and changes her mind again to bring back Mukai and K whilst the entire viewing audience screams FUCKING SACK HER NOW! (Or was that just me?).
Back in and Sugar points out that Mukai is a perennial loser having been in the final three every week and we can’t just blame it on the dicky bow now, although let’s face it that was a warning sign. Grainne insists Mukai told us he was an expert in “visual merchandising” (which he denies) but has she ever just simply LOOKED at him?
K admits he “can’t cope with someone in a position of power above him” which explains a lot, but insists that he’s “flexible and lean” (“If you put water in a cup it becomes a cup” eh?) and if Lord Sugar lets him be a leader he will strap his jackboots on and by thunder everyone will listen to him then (Oh no they won’t). Sugar confides in K that the reason he got “shoved into a corner” is because “they don’t trust you”. Nope not a flicker of recognition.
Mukai is ultimately fired for “talking like a consultant” (best reason yet), but Grainne gets away with murder because Sugar thinks she “has potential” (to make a bigger tit of herself) and K’s card is well and truly marked (“I’ve got my eyes on you”).
In the taxi to Jobcentre Plus Mukai is typically arrogant (“Lord Sugar makes a mistake”) and the house generally rejoices, especially angry Paul, to learn that he is gone. He doesn’t even turn up to the You’re Fired show, letting Aleksandra take the rap because he’s moved to Japan having made himself unemployable in the UK.
Grainne wastes no time in bigging herself up (“He said I’m staying cos I have potential”).
Next week the teams run a crowdfunding campaign. There’s matching outfits and enforced jollity in the street. It looks horrible.
They Should Win: Sofiane
Liking: JD, Dillon (at least he knows “Cool for cats”)
Mate just chill: Angry Paul
Warming to: Frances, Jess (again!)
Bit of a ShitWeasel: Courtney
Losing Love for: Alana, Trishna, Samuel
Being of Beige: Rebecca
An utter nightmare but can’t help warming to him at times: K
Totally rubbish: Grainne
Bye Bye: Michelle, Natalie, Lovely Sausage Olly, Aleksandra (Conscientious Objector), Mukai (Utter Twat in a bow tie)