Saturday, 28 May 2011

Bullring of fired

Week 4

Transmitted 25 May 2011

Previously on The Apprentice: we got the buying task out of the way, everyone was rubbish, and Gavin didn’t make any constructive decisions, so off he went.
You will have to bear with us folks, your tellybitching team are plagued with illnesses and deadlines, so please forgive me if, fuelled purely by Day Nurse and cups of tea, this starts to become a bit of a spaced-out recap.

The team are due to meet Sralan at the British Museum. Susan asks ‘what’s at the British Museum, like dinosaurs and stuff?’ Oh dear. The worst part, someone on that there internet pointed out, was that she went to university five minutes away from the place. Sralan stands in front of a statue of Aphrodite (alriiiight), goddess of beauty, because this week’s task is all about flogging beauty products and treatments… in Birmingham. That choice of venue for the briefing was a tenuous link even by Sralan’s standards. He makes Zoe move to Venture to become PM, then shifts Jim and Felicity over to Logic and makes Felicity PM.

He reminds them he wants a '50/50 partner' and lies that ‘a big contender’ left last week.

In the cabs, Susan blabs about this being her field, because never have any apprenti come unstuck doing their own job. Ellie tells us she’s not a ‘polished woman’ whilst Vincent tells us he’s the ‘most girlie boy of the lot’. Melody give the team her expert knowledge of Birmingham: ‘the main shopping centre is in the city centre’. Tom points out they have one treatment room if they go for the Bullring, whilst Zoe’s team go for an out of town shopping centre with three treatment rooms.

The music from The Sims plays as they have treatments demonstrated to them. Leon has a ‘molten’ chocolate facial. Sounds painful. A blonde person I don’t recognise, so presumably is a model, is wrapped in cloth like a mummy. Susan loves this treatment, because she loves every treatment because OHMIGODYOUGUISE BEAUTY IS MY LIFE. [Bored of her already but suspect karmic pay off is not far away - Fiona] Two men demonstrate ‘a clip in winge’ – a clip in fringe in colours that match no-one’s natural hair colour, and some curling tongs, which they call ‘wavy gravy’ – because THAT’S what you want to call a hair product.

A make-up lady says their male make-up products are packaged in a very masculine way as she demonstrates them on Leon. Leon snips that he didn’t like it as it was ‘unnatural’. Hate to break it to you Leon, but that’s y’know, the whole point of make-up. He says he can’t sell the products because he has A GIRLFRIEND. I thought gay panic was the domain of a certain other reality show? [His whinging gave me a possibly disproportional rage, and so did no one else seemingly calling him on it - Fiona]

Some women give a shell massage to Tom, through his clothes, which I’m sure has some people weeping and wailing at a missed opportunity, but I expect Tom has a pigeon chest and thus we've been spared. They appear to put some fluid in a shell to do it, which is all a bit too surreal for my fugged-up brain to handle. They say you can charge £1 a minute for it. Tom loves it, and he says the treatment profit has a 96% margin. Felicity is keen on it. [O sweepie... - Fiona]

Glenn receives a ‘cold stone’ pedicure – where stones are slotted between the feet and lotion is applied. Glenn is all excited and ‘ooh my feet are super-cooled down!’ and Susan loves it, of course. For the next pitch, a spray tan treatment, she blabs to the people selling it even before they demo it that she works in beauty and OMG she loves it. Susan reminds me of a performing seal this episode, all big eyes and clapping and practically offering to fellate all the beauty salespeople… I’m kind of starting to hate her. I’m just not a ‘peppy’ person. I’ve only stuck with Glee for so long because of Lauren Zizes, Santana and the vain hope that Mr Schue will one day receive his comeuppance like Tony off Skins did. [If only. - Steve]

The fake tan people then pitch to Logic and Tom works out this will be the best profit-per-minute treatment. The spray tan people felt that Venture were the most passionate. Felicity doesn’t understand how the other team could have been more passionate and Ellie points out that Susan is ‘excitable’ and might have been all ‘wooooh, you know’. Heh. We then get a neat edit to Susan going ‘wooooh’ at the phone call confirming they got the tanning treatment. Nice editing there.

The apprenti then get to practice their treatments. Melody tries to dry Natasha’s hair and fails, while Ellie and Tom massage Zoe and Jim who love the treatment. Susan fails at trying to spray tan a male model, and then it’s Leon’s turn. He doesn’t want to. Susan points out that ‘it doesn’t make you gay’, but Leon clearly can’t look at the muscular man standing in his pants in front of him. Eventually, though, he loosens up and eases himself in there. (Eyethangyew)

Susan calls Zoe and says she’s being “modest” with the figures and can sell three tanning lotions per hour, which equals 72 products. Zoe says that’s too ambitious and Susan’s all ‘that’s what I sell in my day job’ and she’s ‘more than confident’ they’ll sell out. They agree to buy 35 but Susan whines that they can sell more. I’m beginning to suspect that Susan’s ‘skincare and beauty’ business is actually a posh name for selling face-painting at kids’ parties.

Over in the Bullring, Natasha tries, and fails, to flog a ‘winge’ by calling it ‘a bit like a pet hamster’. To be fair, maybe that’s the market they should have gone down – remarkable pet hamsters that don’t need feeding or cleaning. I’m sure some parents would have gone for them to shut their kids up. Ellie, Tom and Natasha set up their single room. Team Venture are in the large out-of-town Westfield centre. Zoe reminds Susan she wanted to buy double the products so they should sell out.

In the Bullring, Logic are selling products from one of those weird ‘Soap and Co’ places you get in shopping centres that everyone tries to run away from. Every time I run past the one in Meadowhall I wonder if the people there trying to flog unspecified beauty stuff are secretly Apprentice candidates, so it made me chuckle that sometimes they actually are. [You mean the ones that tried to sell me shampoo just after I had all my hair shaved off? Maybe they are filming the next series already.... - Fiona] [The Soap & Co in Westfield White City actually did coerce Chris and I into buying two extortionately-priced pots of salt. They were actually pretty amazing in terms of softening hard skin, but I was still fleeced whichever way you look at it. - Steve]

Felicity tells some people a winge looks a bit weird, but when it’s on, it looks great because the hair is ‘such good quality’. Nick reminds us that the treatments make a load more money than the products but Logic are just selling products, not treatments. Felicity phones Ellie and Ellie says they’re fed up because they have no customers. Felicity says they’re going to send Tom down but ‘on a positive note, the products are selling really well’. Ellie and Melody beg Tom to send people up.

Over at Venture, Helen gets a tanning customer but can’t work the spray machine. She then realises she hasn’t switched it on. [Can I facepalm? Thanks - Fiona] Zoe gives a woman a cold stone pedicure. In the centre, a still silent Edna (sans gloves, and therefore sans power), Glenn, Susan and Leon are flogging tanning lotion and nail polish. Susan is struggling to sell anything. Karren reminds us that ‘if you set yourself up for something you’re not’ (burn!) you’re due a fall. Vincent sells a woman a massage for £30 which is less than they cost ‘in London’ where people will spend a fortune on a dribble of sweaty orange juice.

Tom is back down with Logic selling products and Nick tells the camera that Tom had all the figures and knew where the profit was, yet he’s selling bows because it’s easier. Melody and Ellie come down to look for something to do. Felicity sends Ellie back up and says she doesn’t understand why no treatments have been sold – erm, because you haven’t been flogging them? Rocket science it isn’t.

Leon gets over his gay panic by flirting with female customers to sell products and does what Karren describes as a ‘weird finger trick thing’ involving him linking pinkies with girls… I don’t even know what that’s about. [Because there's nothing even remotely gay-looking about walking around with your little finger in the air. - Steve]

Edna tells Zoe that Susan’s only sold three products. Zoe reminds Susan of the phone call where she wanted to buy loads. Susan puts a little girl voice on and whines ‘this is really unfair’. I hate Susan you guys, sorry. [Nope am right there with you - Fiona] Zoe says it’s not unfair, Susan made her bed. Susan says ‘I gave you advice’ and Helen says ‘that advice was wrong’. Susan whines about it being ‘so unfair’ and ‘I DO sell skincare for a living, I do, honestly, really’.

Ellie gives a massage to a woman who says she’s never had a massage from a woman before. Ellie asks if she’s had one from a bloke. The woman: ‘yeah, it normally leads to something else, dunnit?’ Ellie: ‘well it won’t do this time’. More gay panic! Although it’s kind of hilarious for Ellie’s face, as she clearly doesn’t know how to respond to girlie banter.

Logic eventually start to do more treatments, with Melody, Tom and Ellie all up there talking to clients, which can’t be very relaxing for the massage victims. Venture have £80 of leftover stock.

Sralan welcomes them back and makes a terrible ‘beauty and the beast’ joke which I won’t repeat and says that this is right up his street because if he wasn’t in the electronics business he’d be in the beauty business. Didn’t he make poor old Tim try and launch some weird electrical beauty device when he worked at NotAmstrad? Leon, resplendent in pink, doesn’t accuse Sralan of being gay for making this admission.

Venture say Zoe was a good PM, but Leon says she didn’t give him enough morale ‘but it didn’t matter because I was an acey-pacey salesman’. Zoe said she heard he’d done well though she hasn’t seen the sales figures. Sralan points out that they had Susan and Zoe says she regrets taking Susan’s advice. Helen says Susan was too ambitious and doesn’t seem to know her own business. Susan whines but doesn’t really have a comeback. Felicity’s team say they wanted the tan and massage but lost the tan. Sralan says ‘looks like Vincent already had one’. Ellie says the other team had ‘more girlie girls, no offence’ but it’s not clear if the ‘no offence’ is aimed at the girlie saps over on Venture or the butch dykes in Logic.

Figures time! Venture spent £734 and made £937 for a profit of £203.01. Sralan is distinctly underwhelmed. Log spent £924 and sold £677 for a £246.28 loss. Those figures don’t add up, Nick and Karren. Sralan calls out Susan for the rubbish profit margin and if they’d bought all the products she wanted, they’d have lost. HA-HA. Their prize is dancing with Katya and Robin from Strictly. Michel Roux Jr, Strictly dancers… the prizes are getting better (last week’s abomination aside).

Sralan welcomes Vincent to ‘team Titanic’ despite the fact that, possessing a penis, he’s been part of Logic twice before, so it really should be ‘welcome back’. It does amuse me that Logic have lost 4/4 tasks though. Sralan keeps calling Tom and Vincent his stalkers for always being part of the losing team and Vincent and Tom acknowledge it was a shambles.

We see the dancing, but Katya is sadly sans hat. Susan whines that there are ‘no friends in this place’. Gah. I just want to punch her. Repeatedly. [I'll help. - Steve]

Loser cafĂ©. Vincent says he needs to be PM so he can win. Ellie reminds the women that they’re not ‘girlie girls’ and Tom reminds Felicity that she said she’d ‘got it covered’ on the treatments. Felicity deludes herself that they’re all equally responsible because in the boardroom the others said she was a good PM.

Sralan reminds them that they didn’t sell any treatments until 3.30 in the afternoon. Felicity says ‘exactly’, apparently adopting the suicide PM strategy. Sralan and Nick call Tom out on not selling treatments. He asks if Ellie and Melody were just sat waiting so they wouldn’t get the blame. Tom tries to blame the location. Melody snaps ‘don’t blame the location’. Sralan says they should all have asked what was going on. Natasha says there was no strategy. Felicity says there was a strategy, which was to sell a product and then sell a treatment on the back of it. Sralan asks why they didn’t grab people by the arm and walk them to the treatment room. Erm, because that’s kidnapping? Sralan asks what Jim did, Jim said he sold two massages for £7 each, and you know why it was only £7? Nick interrupts ‘because you didn’t sell it for more’. Nick and Karren have sharpened their claws today, haven’t they?

Felicity seems stunned when asked to bring two people back and she chooses Ellie but is ‘worried about my second one’. She says she doesn’t think Ellie is a team player and then flaps about a bit and eventually brings in Natasha for not selling enough. Natasha says ‘I sold more than Jim’. Yeah, but Jim’s the solid favourite, and we need three female firings in a row to make up for the clam bake the show’s becoming.

Karren tells Sralan Natasha is all talk and no action. Sralan asks Ellie what she’s doing here. ‘I want to be your business partner’ <3 Ellie. She says she doesn’t understand why Tom’s not in the boardroom because he wasn’t selling the treatments. Sralan asks why Ellie was brought back. Felicity says it was because Ellie wasn’t enthusiastic enough in the pitches. Ellie says Natasha didn’t let her get a word in edgeways and Natasha says Ellie was sidelined on the task. Ellie asks Felicity why they spent so much on hair products that wouldn’t sell. Felicity said she thought they could sell three items an hour per person. Ellie asks Sralan if he wants to go into business with someone who can’t do figures. Mind you, Tom could do figures and look where that got them.

Natasha and Ellie then go in for the kill, as Natasha points out some people were given free treatments. Felicity says this was a SRS BSNS strategy as they got a few minutes for free and then they could pay for more. I know nothing about business except for what I’ve learned from this show and whatever remnants of my Business Studies GCSE are lurking in the darkest recesses of my subconscious along with 3D trigonometry and an understanding of arable farming, and I can safely say that is the worst. strategy. ever.

Ellie says they were students who were just there for a freebie. Sralan asks why Natasha didn’t protest. Natasha says she did and Felicity denies it and goes for ‘everyone said I was a good PM’ as her defence. Ellie says ‘I only said that to be nice’. Sralan says it’s not a game (er, I believe it is) and they should be honest. Felicity says Ellie just moans. Natasha bitchfaces for her life.

Sralan says that ‘there ain’t no team’ with the person he’s partnering with, they’re on their own. SO much for 50/50 partners, Sralan. He says Ellie shouldn’t have stayed in the room and he doesn’t think Natasha understood what was going wrong until she got into the boardroom but there weren’t any decisions made so Felicity is fired. She gives a thank you for the opportunity. The others don’t even shake her hand, say goodbye or anything. Ouch. [Bye then sweepie. Thought the lack of farewell from the others was just mean - Fiona]

Coatwatch – grey with an overabundance of sporty scarf. Her cabterview consists of saying the others stabbed her in the back by saying she was a good PM then saying she wasn’t. Fail. Back at the house they said that they didn’t say goodbye to her. Vincent looks shocked. Natasha unconvincingly spiels that ‘this ain’t a popularity contest, this is about business’.

Next week: They make their own pet food. Bleeeeeeeee. Join Steve then!


Anonymous said...

Jim 4/11 fav
Melody 9/2
Helen 16/1
Orlando 25/1
Zoe 33/1
N’tasha 40/1
Glenn 50/1
Susan 66/1
The Evil Floella Benjamin 100/1
Ellie 100/1 (cut dramatically due to fabulous arguing in the boardroom. Reminded me of the Office sketch when Gareth is investigating the porno pic of Brent and interviews Tim and Dawn: "In this room I have special..." "Needs?"
The Curious Orange Vincent 100/1
Captain Scarlet 250/1

Rad said...

I <3 Ellie. But I think Jim is still a good bet, with Glenn as an outsider.