OK, right. Last week the task was some kind of horrific Boot Sale Challenge writ large, where the teams had a selection of items that they had to sell for more than the asking price or make a loss. It wasn’t made clear to the viewers, and possibly not the teams (though I am inclined to blame it on general Apprentice incompetence) that for everything they sold, the book price would be deducted from the money they made, thereby resulting in a massive loss on all the high-value items the teams understandably focused on selling when they would have been better served on making a tenner on the cheap crap and not selling expensive stuff at all, avoiding the crushing losses they ended up with. Stupid show. The teams – and who even knows which is which any more? – split into two Power Teams of Awesome (Howard and Kate; Yasmina and James. Final four please) and two conglomerates of people who are either hateful, suck, or are hateful and suck. As with Boot Sale Challenge, losses were inevitable, but Ben’s team lost more worsererly, and he brought back Noorul and (showing a remarkable ability to read the room, normally lacking in contestants) Debrabarr. Despite Ben sucking hugely in the boardroom, saying little beyond spluttering protestations of ‘let me finnush!!’, Noorul got fired because he really serves no discernible purpose. In the show/life.
The boys [in clothes! - Rad] all camply fight to answer the phone. Howard gets it, wearing a strange jungle print hoody. They have to pack an overnight bag; promptly everyone is like ‘Hey! We’re going to Ibiza!’ and they’re off to meet Sralan at the London Gateway. Nobody knows what the London Gateway is. Phil goes on about bikini-clad women, because he’s a gross cliché. Ben says ‘Gateway suggests it’s a gate to somewhere.’ James pulls ‘are you for real?’ face. They see a sign and realise it’s the London Gateway Services. Kate says ‘mmm, a service station!’ in that voice she does.
They get out and meet Sralan in a car park, in the rain. It’s all very Deep Throat. Or would be if it was dark. If you’re looking for power play indications: Phil holds an umbrella over himself and Mona; Howard over himself, Kate and Lorraine; James over himself and Yasmina; and Debrabarr over herself and Ben. Phil – that’s his idea of being a gentleman; James – actually a gentleman; Howard – partially gentleman, partially Kate probably wouldn’t hold it because it would ruin the line of her all black suit, and Lorraine can’t be trusted to hold an umbrella without getting something wrong; and Debrabarr probably just went ‘Give me that!’ and snatched it from Ben’s nerveless grasp.
You’re going North! They all lol. Sralan has laid on 12 companies (deluded individuals); they choose two to represent, and sell their products in Manchester and Liverpool. Everybody must sell. He doesn’t want to hear they were doing marketing. As ever, this is the Sellprentice. Mona and Howard go to Empire. Ben and Yasmina go to Ignite. STOP IT.
Ha! They drove all the way. Lorraine think it would be embarrassing if they lost and Kate says she’s very confident in the team’s ability. Ben goes on about Kate being good at sales and Phil says ‘I’d buy anything off her’.
Mona wants to PM for James, Howard, Debrabarr and herself. James say he’d be happy to, but it looks like she desperately wants to. Mona gets all pissy up in his grill, saying ‘it’s not desperation, to correct you, James’ and he’s all ‘chill, lady, I was just saying you seem keen’. Lorraine puts herself up for PM. She goes round and gets a consensus on it, quite effectively – Phil saying that he’s been told off for not giving her a chance before so he’s happy to here. She explains she’s a gut feeling kinda gal and a slow burner in terms of her thought processes. She hasn’t driven her ideas through, but she will now that she’s PMing.
Manchester Hilton. Twelve up and coming designers. Bastardised Dragon’s Den. Drillmate to catch your drilling dust. LoJo ball, a kind of beanbag seat thing. The two stores Sralan has lined up are a hardware superstore and a home furnishing chain (Heals). A coat rack made of pipe with taps and nozzles on. Lorraine loves it – ‘I’ve got a great instinct from that one’. Yasmina says are you mad? Ben says it won’t make much money.
Guy brings Lovers’ Lead – two-handed dog lead so you can both walk the same dog. He demonstrates by cuddling Yasmina. Yasmina loves it. The lead, not the cuddling. Lorraine says it’s embarrassing. Over with Mona et al, the guy says that 10% of lead sales goes to Battersea Dogs’ Home. Oh! Those cardboard cat boxes – like a fire engine and a plane for the kitty to play in. Lorraine’s team likes it; it has a big mark-up and Lorraine thinks it will sell a lot.
Expandable bag – The Pod – for a bike. It clips on the side and holds your shopping. Yasmina asks if it drags the bike down. The guy says no, they’ve tested it and it’s fine.
Next, something that I only hear as Lippy Silk Bag, which I’m sure isn’t right. It’s a sleeping bag suit, with arms, legs and a hood. Mona says she has to try it and gets in, loving it bigtime. I can’t think of anything more upsetting! I would get so hot and panicky. She gets consensus on the lead and the Lippy Silk Bag. Howard says – what about these stores we’re seeing? They won’t buy them. Mona says yes but we can coldcall tomorrow so it’s fine. Margaret makes Howard’s point again.
At the sales meeting, Lorraine starts off sucking as usual. Yasmina gives a very neat little pitch. The guy says what about making the bike wonky? Yasmina says ‘Buy two and balance’ rather than, ‘it’s been tested and it’s fine’. Lorraine then says ‘let me introduce you to the cat playhouse, for CATS!’ You can’t introduce people to inanimate objects, Lorraine. And then tells them to buy 6,000 cat boxes. Yaah. She says in the cab it was her worst pitch in twenty years. Some exercise shops would disagree.
Mona lines up a meeting. Debrabarr and Howard go to the hardware store. The guy doesn’t seem keen on the lead. The sleeping bag doesn’t fit their price range or product range! Howard tries but… he says it has ‘leg items and arm items’, but gets points for saying ‘different from’. They want to sell it for £89, and the lady’s like ‘erm, how much does a sleeping bag cost?’ and Debrabarr and Howard don’t know and the shop folk are like ‘you FAIL’, but it’s kind of the fault of the show, given that they’re not allowed the internet and stuff. I mean, they could have phoned around for prices, but that would be pretty low on their priority list. Heals tell Howard and Debrabarr that the products don’t their brand values and are not stylish. They’ll have to sell tomorrow instead.
At Heal’s, Yasmina and Lorraine pitch. Yasmina says, ‘let me introduce to you The Pod’. It’s contagious! Yasmina does specially well with selling the Pod, focusing on its design fitting the Heals brand, though she does stumble on her words a bit. The lady says ‘both could have a place’.
Kate Ben and Phil try and to put together the cat box. Lorraine calls (‘Hello, Kate speaking!’) and asks how the meetings were. They’re like ‘there were meetings? We were playing. Soz’. They got one meeting from 10, no 12, um 15!, no more like 20! phone calls. They blatantly phoned one person. Lorraine isn’t impressed cos she would have had to do more in telesales.
Next day. Mona and James got to a camping store. Mona becomes sales GENIUS. She tries to sell him the Lippy Silk Bag. She says the minimum order is 24 at £49.50 although the guy doesn’t want to take a massive amount. He says bring the price down? She says buy more? He says how many? She says ‘I won’t say 60, but can we say 50?’ (Talking herself down to seem reasonable. Clever!) He says 40. She talks him into 45 at £48. To secure a £1.50/item discount, he agreed to buy another 21 of them. Dude got snowballed. [Best negotiation since the heady days of The Badger - Rad]
Phil and Kate flirt in the car. Ben’s secured a meeting with the UK’s biggest pet retailer. Yasmina tells Lorraine she’d like to share the pitch; Lorraine is like nuh-uh I’m boss. Yasmina gets a bit snippy – basically to say you suck at pitching. It’s kind of ‘as PM, I’ve decided…’
‘… with all due respect’
‘I’ve made a decision’
‘Without listening to me?’
‘I’m very good at sales’
*rolls eyes* ‘So am I’
‘Tough shizzle, I’m pitching’.
‘You’re extremely patronising!’
‘I’m leading you can help!’
‘Okay, let’s go!’
For about twenty minutes.
Debrabarr and Howard go to the pet store. The same pet store! Dun dun duh! The lady says she likes the lead – it’s a new lead, which she thought wasn’t possible – but that doesn’t mean it will sell, and takes 200 on trial. Debrabarr leads the pitch, Howard says 200, it’s hard to tell who really makes the sale.
Philip, Kate and Ben go to Chester for their one appointment, a cycle store for the POD. Guy’s like it’ll get in the way. Kate says inventor says no. Phil cycles up and down to prove the point. Guy’s like no, anyway, don’t want it, bye.
Yasmina and Lorraine chat on the way in, seemingly getting on, all shall I say hello first or you? Maybe we can have a little cake afterwards. Ooh, that’ll be nice. They expect to sell 20,000. It’s the same main lady from the pet store, but a different second lady. ‘Introduce you to…’ again. Lady’s like ‘who’ll buy it?’ Lorraine’s like ‘it’s a gift item’. That doesn’t answer the question, though. She then goes on to say ‘how many do you want, then?’, which can work if it’s jovial, but it totally wasn’t. They want 50 on trial. LOL. Not really 20,000, now is it? [This show and animals is never a good combination. Cat calendars and dog walking 'straps', anyone? - Rad]
On the phone Lorraine tells Ben et al she expects a sale or it’ll look poor in the boardroom. Ben and Phil bitch about Lorraine some. Kate rubs her temples like she’s got a headache.
Lorraine says to Yasmina, ‘I want t know what’s causing distractions on the other team, and I just hope, for Kate, Phil and Benjamin’s sake, that it’s not Kate’s beauty’. Yasmina pulls an AWESOME ‘true dat!’ face and soars back into the lead as my favourite.
James and Mona try and sell more. Debrabarr and Howard go on to a meeting that Debrabarr set up. Howard asks for the sale so he can have a sale. Debrabarr says no, because why should she, but we’ll get more and the next one after this will go to you, we’ll both get sales, promise, which is actually fairly reasonable. Howard moans a bit more and she goes, ‘look, there you go’ and hands him the phone and says set up more meetings, ‘go for it’. Then Howard says it’s not about Debrabarr making the sales, it’s about the team, and threatens to subdue her with the lead. Then hush! Because if it’s about the team, your individual sales don’t matter either. Bad fishy.
Another pet store. Lorraine calls it an extraordinary treat for a cat. Dude’s like ‘it’s a cardboard box. I have those’. Yasmina and Lorraine judge northerners for a bit. Unsophisticated coal-eating bastards.
At a ‘top city centre department store’ (apparently not ‘top’ at all and rather a giant Poundland, pretty much). Kate tries to pitch. Told no. Nick says it’s like getting in the cat plane and trying to fight Battle of Britain; bit laboured Nick. Analogy fail.
Back to London. Lorraine has A Feeling that Heals will do well.
Sralan asks if Mona was a good team leader? People are like yeah. She says the team co-operated. They did the lead and sleeping bag. Sralan’s like but I got you these big stores yeah? Mona’s like yeah but we liked these products. The big stores took nothing. Zero. Sralan’s like ‘It was a waste of my bladdy time to lay these meetings on! It’s like a bet – you’ve got to bet on what’s going to go well, and you DIN’T!’.
You’re not going to sell a sleeping bad in a hardware store, he says. Unless it’s a hardware stores that sells camping goods. Which is loads of them. And a really fucking stupid point to make. He says this about fifty times for about six hours. I’ve précis-ed for you.
Lorraine? Good leader? ‘Lacked some structure, I would say’ says Kate, and that Lorraine relies on instinct. Which Lorraine said herself and can’t complain about. Fuck, Kate gives good boardroom. Sralan asks if they paid attention to whether the products would sell. They did get some orders from Sralan’s magic meetings of joy.
Empire made £4,501. Ignite made £1,302! Fuking heck. Debrabarr says ‘Thank God!’ VIP Rolls Royce-type helicopter over London at sunset. Pretty cool. [So they can share in the London porn all the rest of us get bombarded with! - Rad] Compared to some of them, anyway.
Only Lorraine and Yasmina made any sales. Sralan tuts. Lorraine made £800-odd and Yasmina £500-odd.
It looks like the helicopter only seats four, so it’s a good thing Ignite didn’t win, really. They toast Team Empire! as if that means anything this season of shuffling.
Dingy café of death. Lorraine says one appointment? She and Yasmina made five the next day and sold at four of them. Phil’s like ‘oh, that bitch is going down, bitch, mystic Meg is back in the crystal ball’. Yasmina says ‘oh well, It’s what we signed up for isn’t it, a bit of pressure.’
They go back in. Sralan’s like you didn’t sell you didn’t sell you didn’t sell for about six years, all ‘Donna Noble has left the library’. Philip’s like I was told off for being bolshy before, so I kept my mouth shut. In front of customers?! No, no in front of customers. Then what are you talking about!? ‘It wasn’t for want of trying’, Phil says.
Phil says they are three of the best sellers. Lorraine’s like ORLY? Is that a fact? An Sralan’s like ‘clearly it’s not a fact!’ Kate says she’s good at selling so far, but they couldn’t get their foot in the door. Margaret’s like ‘that’s part of selling!’
Sralan says never underestimate me. I want to make sure it was fair. Sralan had SPIES phoning to find out if they could get meetings. And they could! So you suck! [I loved this bit. Sralan's not usually so sneaky or competent - Rad] Lorraine didn’t sense any urgency – did you Yasmina? Yasmina’s like, no, no I did not sense any urgency, Lorraine. We had the same problems, but we managed to get some meetings. Ben’s like ‘I got meeting!’ Lorraine says yes, you did, it was great and you can so tell that Ben is broken, because that’s the end of it whereas before he would have just gone ‘Let me finnush!’ a thousand times and said again and again ‘I got that meeting, so how can you say we were bad? That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said’.
Sralan picks up on Lorraine wanting them to buy 5,000 catboxes. She says she messed up. Phil says, ‘what did your instinct tell you?’ because he’s a douche. Lorraine says she got it wrong. He says ‘mmmm, not for the first time!’, because he’s a douche. He says a chimp in a pair of dungarees could have sold better at the big pet store.
Phil says again about how he’s better at selling than Lorraine and he and Kate could have done better. Sralan’s like how do you know that? Phil just knows. Lorraine’s like ‘you know nothing about my sales technique’, and well, I do, and it sucks, but Phil wasn’t there so can go suck a fuck. [I presume Philip's sales technique would just involve throwing a tantrum if people look like they might not buy - Rad]
Lorraine says Phil puts her down all the time and he says, ‘look what happens when I don’t, we lose.’ Which makes no sense. Yasmina’s like Lorraine did great, actually. Phil’s like I could have done better. So could Kate. I just know. Margaret says ‘you just know?!’ in full ‘A handbaaaag?’ mode.
Sralan turns to Kate; at the department store they couldn’t sell anything. Kate’s like the other places had more potential. Kate’s like ‘it’s a cheap shithole’. Nick’s like DO NOT MALIGN THE BEATUIFUL STORE. YOU FAILED. Lorraine says she didn’t sense urgency; and Sralan asks if she is suggesting deliberate lack of support. She says ‘I’m very straightforward’ (and for God’s sake please stop introducing people to inanimate objects and saying ‘Oh, I am this and this but hopefully that won’t upset you’ because it’s passive-aggressive and gross. Phil is a dickwad, but Lorraine is pretty useless and just incredibly offputting as a human being) but she thinks that they wanted to lose so that she’d go home.
Phil’s like ‘why all this defense of Lorraine?!’ Yasmina’s like ‘I’m not defending her, I’m stating a fact.’ Then Phil goes ‘you deal in instinct!’ and just goes off on one for about twenty minutes calling Lorraine a cunt and I can’t be bothered to tell you because he’s vile. Sralan’s like ‘have you finished?’ and ‘I don’t care if three of you get fired today because it makes my job easier.’ Lorraine brings back Kate and Philip, ‘based on facts’.
Sralan says it’s obvious they hate Lorraine. She’s alienated Kate and Philip. Margarets’s like ‘not Yasmina and Ben’ and Nick’s like ‘not this week’.
They come back in. Philip’s CV says he’s arrogant and cocky. Philip’s like he is arrogant but needs it kicking out of him, and he was much better this week and was responsive to Lorraine. Christ, do you think he actually believes that? Scary. Philip’s like ‘I won last week!’ Sralan’s like, nah, you lost less. Philip’s all ‘I can’tdo anything right with you! I call Lorraine a stupid bitch, and you don’t like it! I fail less badly than Ben and you don’t like it!’ Sralan’s like if you could bring me anything that you did this week, anything at all, then maybe we could talk, but you’re just bitching out Lorraine. Philip says she’s trouble. Even Lorraine is like whuh? Sralan’s like the Bodyrocka is great, but you’ve sucked ever since. Phil says ‘I sold three items last week’ as though that’s somehow an achievement. Nick says ‘tell us about Pantsman’. [Moment of the week - Rad]
Sralan – Kate how come you suck now? Trying to oust Lorraine by failing? Kate, again being really really good at the Boardroom, says that she fully expected to be there because it’s unacceptable to have no sales but til now she’s been great and has never been brought to the boardroom before. Sralan asks what she means by slow burner in the thought process. She’s like I get there slower but more CERTAIN. Phil says that he didn’t want to be loud and bolshy because he’d been told off, and I think he genuinely believes that ‘stop being an aggressive bellend and yelling at Lorraine’ means ‘and don’t make any sales, because that involves talking’.
Lorraine says they were having a jolly day out, then plays her dagger, saying there’s a ‘close friendship’ between Kate and Philip. Kate stares venom but then rolls her eyes, it’s like less then a second from ‘you bitch!’ to ‘oh, this is dumb, I’ve got this covered’, as she goes on to prove. She says she wouldn’t let personal matters compromise her business skills, and it’s a cheap tactic to claim that it was. ‘I’ve got no loyalties here, Philip or otherwise’ and then goes on to say at ‘on the same token’, it wasn’t Philip’s best task, he took a step back, but she’s here for the job and she wants to win. I love her. She is so good at this game.
Sralan summarises thusly: Kate you’re good. Phil: You’re a cunt. Lorraine: you alienate people and I don’t want a slow burner. You shouldn’t still be learning because ‘you’re not 22 years old’. [Or 24 - Rad] He’s not clear about Lorraine. But he is clear that Philip is an aggressive dillhole with no manners, so he’s fired. And as if to prove the point, rather than ‘thank you for the opportunity’, Philip mutters, ‘Joke!’ to himself. It’s like, dude. If you hold the entire process and all the people there in such contempt, why do you care anyway? Annoyingly, if that cowardly custard guy hadn’t withdrawn in the first week, he would totally have fired Lorraine as well, which would have been win.
At the flat, ‘Kate will turn on Phil like that’ says Yasmina. Clever girl! Lorraine’s like ‘don’t underestimate me’ as though her being safe was anything to do with her, and not to do with Phil revealing again that he’s a hot spitting ball of rage that shouldn’t be trusted around humans. ‘I was literally being ripped apart’. No. You weren’t. Kate says ‘you played the Kate and Phil card!’ in a seemingly jovial, oh we’re all buddies here way. Everyone’s like WHUH?! Lorraine says she had to. Kate’s then switches to ‘I’m offended you would ever imply my personal life would affect my business’ and then stares hot poisonous loathing at Lorraine. But also kind of stares into the middle distance happily. Presumably planning various methods of torture. Lorraine will not come out well from any future showdown.
Next week: rebrand Margate. ‘Not too much suggestive licking, please guys’.