Saturday, 5 May 2012

Strategy seems to be the hardest word

Week 7 – 2nd May 2012 

Last week the fools’ parade went all the way up to Edinburgh, where a trailer selling food was rebranded a mobile restaurant and despite there being a marvellous opportunity, Azhar’s shirt remained resolutely ON, much to the detriment of the losing team and the entire nation. Adam’s meatballs flopped and even on the winning team the numbers were all wrong. Stephen dropped everyone in it but himself and Katie got fired for not assassinating anyone when that was what has been clearly written on her tin since day one.

To this week’s action. It’s 5.30pm and they haven’t had a task yet. Everyone sits on uncomfortable looking trendy furniture that looks like it’s been directly lifted from an early Big Brother house. NotNickHewer is eating something and Azhar is lying in bed. Clothed. There’s an ominous shot of the phone before it starts ringing. The voice tells them to meet Lordalan in a wholesale warehouse in Essex. The cars will be there in 20 minutes. Everyone scrambles to get into their SrsBznz clothes.

NotNickHewer brushes his teeth whilst Adam burbles something small minded ignorant about getting a spray tan while he’s down there. RickyMartin polishes his shoes, Jenna puts on her lipliner whilst Jade says that she’s not bothered about who’s under her as project manager, as her staff are not her friends, just people that she has to utilise to get the best result. Jade, I love you, please don’t screw this up today. And why is your hair wet? You only have 20 minutes to get ready for this. Priorities please.  Gabrielle points out the elephant in the room – no PM’s have been sacked yet. It’s weird for us too.

In the back of the car, Azhar points out that the only person not to have been project manager yet is Jade. Stephen and Adam, surely the most godawful duo in the history of the competition agree that she’s got to do it this week. Jade looks like she knows this too, but she looks like the readiest person in the history of readiness. Azhar wants to see how good she really is. CLUE – she’s better than you.
Nick and Karren stand looking uncomfortable in a wholesale warehouse in Essex. The purpose of a wholesale warehouse is read out to us by the voiceover man.  Thanks for that! We’re told that they’ll find everything they need to turn a profit here. The action moves to the floodlit car park. It’s all a bit unnecessarily shady, everyone standing round, backlit by car headlights. It’s like the whole segment is directed by Guy Richie for no discernible reason other than to create a bit of drama from buying some stock. [You mean some Lock Stock? ...I'll get my coat. - Steve]

Lordalan wishes them a good evening. He introduces Essex as his manor and says that the warehouse is a similar environment to where he started his business. I’ll check that in his book later. He informs the candidates that they will be starting their own business from scratch. Apparently, the warehouse is full of goods. Who knew? He’s given Karren and Nick £150 each to dole out to them and they have to buy stuff to sell in Essex. This task, he says, is about “Smelling What’s Selling”. [As opposed to the Lush Cosmetics task in series five, which was about selling what was smelling. - Steve] Some of their stock may not sell, but they’ve got to recognise what’s selling and they can come back to the warehouse to replenish. This episode, stuff left over at the end of the day counts as profit. PAY ATTENTION AT THE BACK, THIS IS IMPORTANT.

So basically, the task is buy some stuff, then use the money to buy more of the stuff that people seem to want. Money made and stuff left over at the end of the day will count towards the final result. Seems pretty clear, right? [Well, clearer than last year's attempt at this task, anyway - Rad] Seems that that can’t go wrong, right? We’ll see.

Lordalan moves Stephen over to Sterling and Laura over to Phoenix, to share around the remaining four women a bit. How did that happen? Lordalan pointedly looks at Jade and says that the people who haven’t been project manager yet may want to put themselves forward. Jade licks her teeth at this. She’s ready.

The SRSBZNZ meetings take place in an aisle of the warehouse on plastic chairs. Jade puts herself forward for PM of Phoenix. Adam asks if everyone is behind her, mainly to disguise the fact that he probably isn’t, and possibly also to cover the fact that he’s crying inside to be separated from Stephen.
Jade interviews that she is a born leader who leads by example and it’s about solutions and not problems. Oh Jade. That’s straight out of the ApprentiScript. I thought better of you. Jade and the rest of Phoenix are deciding where to sell. Azhar comes up with the completely pointless conundrum of selling closer at a lower value or further away at a higher value. Eh? Adam wants Azhar to tell him where the busy places are.

RickyMartin puts himself forward as team manager of Sterling because he wants to do what Lordalan did. Bless his expensive wankersocks.  Has NickHair been project manager yet? I can’t remember. [He PMed the men's team in week one. - Steve] NickHair mumbles rather nervously that he would like to be Project Manager and RickyMartin gives him the death stare. I think someone’s getting a Chinese burn later.  The poor lamb can’t offer any reason so Gabrielle pats him on the leg and says “Let’s just go with you” <3. RickyMartin’s eyebrows connect with his hairline and he looks like he’s about to GOSMASH.

NickHair interviews that it’s a simple task and he hopes that he won’t get too much challenge from the team members, apart from RickyMartin who might be difficult to manage. Nick Hewer does a face at the lot of them. Nick’s team book the locations then look for the product, which seems a bit arse backwards but since when does that ever stop anyone? Stephen wants to buy beard trimmers. RickyMartin wants fake tan because they’re going to Essex. Jenna pipes up about being in the beauty industry, which is fast becoming her “My Mother, who’s a nurse”. Little 80’s reference for the grown ups there.  I can’t help it. I’m in a reflective mood. Its fifteen years since I left school this month and I’m struggling to cope with it. Don’t mind me.

Nick Hewer interviews that Team Sterling are behaving briskly and efficiently. Jenna is playing a key role in picking “ghastly” fake tan and things you stick on your nails. Apparently, this shows promise.
Meanwhile, Team Phoenix are still picking locations whilst Karren looks pointedly at her watch. Adam has now gone bright red and now they only have ten minutes to pick their stock. They spend a good portion of this ten minutes playing with a toy bug. Laura thinks fake tan is risky. Karren describes them as a “bun fight” and Jade wants more hot water bottles. Tom is the only one who is thinking to keep a note of what everything costs. I smell doom in the air. Not Jade, she’s been awesome so far. Don’t ruin it now.

Sterling are at the checkout, and NickHair reveals the strategy. It could fit on the back of a fag packet, but it’s a strategy nonetheless. Household items for the market and beauty products for the shopping centre. That’s world dominating stuff there, Mr Hair. NickHair’s products are great and they have good margins so he’s feeling good.

Over with team Phoenix, their products are a bit more mixed but they don’t have a strategy other than take a bit of everything to each location. Azhar suggests taking more stuff to the location that’s further away, but Jade ignores this. Why is she so bad at this and so awesome at everything else? It’s NOT FAIR.

Azhar interviews about Jade ignoring him.  Back in the car, Adam looks at Jade with some more barely concealed disgust and asks her how she feels about being project manager. Jade answers that she loves it and she’s just going to buy more of what’s selling.

It's 6.30 the next day and everyone’s back to Essex. Stephen and RickyMartin do Amy Childs impressions in the back of the car because they are SRSBZNZPPL. Jenna decides to read the back of the fake tan bottles and realises that the tan develops over time, but its ok, because Essex girls like to be really dark. Gabrielle nearly wets herself at this.

Nick, Gabrielle and Jenna set up shop in Romford Shopping Centre selling beauty products. Stephen and RickyMartin are at Romford Market selling household goods. They make a plan to be cheeky chappies. Again, more amazing business insight.

Phoenix are in Ilford, with Azhar, Laura and Tom doing the shopping centre bit. The remainder of the team, Adam and Jade have a market stall fifteen miles away. It’s a cheap market and everyone seems to be sneering at their prices. Oh dear.

Back over with RickyMartin and Stephen, Stephen is concocting a script with which to sell his mops. He mumbles something about having a bad back whilst RickyMartin makes WTF faces. They banter with each other wearing microphones and shouting at the same time. It’s painful. Like problem children, nobody is looking at them when they are acting up. They sell a mop to a woman and tell her that getting to choose her own from an identical set of ten is a good thing.

Over at Romford shopping centre, NickHair is advertising free haircuts for life with a hair trimmer. Dude, you are not the guy to be advertising hair products. You look like Justin Beiber in a force ten in a land without combs. Jenna and Gabrielle are selling the fake tan very well. Nick Hewer interviews that Essex loves fake tans, women love shopping and a shopping centre in Essex is a good place to sell fake tan. He reveals that they are making £8 profit per bottle so there’s very little chance anything can go wrong.

In Ilford, they’re not selling much. Laura interviews that that it’s hard to sell mixed stock. Azhar tries to sell a beard trimmer to someone that hasn’t got a beard.

Over with Jade and Adam at the market, they’re having to slash prices to fit in with the rest. Adam is actually quite a good seller, much as it pains me to admit it. Karren is impressed at Adam’s market skillz.

RickyMartin and Stephen have to stop selling mops because it’s raining. They decide that because they don’t want to get wet they should go and get some more stock. NickHair wants them to put all of the  spare cash into fake tan. Stephen wants to drop off what they’ve got first, but NickHair doesn’t want to wait ONE SECOND LONGER THAN HE HAS TO for the fake tan so they run straight off. No word on where the stock is or what they’re going to do with it. EssexPorn!

With Jade and Adam, they’ve run out of stock. Adam thinks that he has proven that he can sell anywhere, and wishes that he could have stayed all day and was only foiled by the lack of stock. Adam offers Jade a job with him and she laughs at him. At the shopping centre, Azhar phones to find out the strategy for the day. Jade replies that she wanted to stay at the market but they’ve run out of stock. Azhar just keeps shouting about strategy. Jade shouts about her strategy which is spending their profit on more stock. She doesn’t ask what stock. This would be a strategy. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME JADE? STOP BEING CRAP. Jade bitches to Adam about Azhar, and Azhar does an interview where he describes the importance of strategy by saying the word strategy three times in a sentence.

Over with NickHair, Jenna and Gabrielle, they’re still waiting for the fake tan so decide to screech across the shopping centre about their beard trimmers. NickHair’s strategy involves finding people with beards and shoving the trimmers in their face. Jenna’s strategy is to tell a man without a beard who is SPEAKING SCOTTISH that he must have a friend with a beard.  Gabrielle has noted that most of the shoppers are women so is rebranding the beard trimmers as ladybeard trimmers. [OUCH. - Steve] [But also a good stretegeh given LordSrAlan's love of the beauty industry.  She's probably rethinking her bizness plan as we speak - Rad] It doesn’t work.

Over with the opposite team, Laura interviews that the toy insects are selling well. Someone buys some to prove the point. Jade remembers to check with the other team about what is selling, but ignores them about the bugs and thinks that it would be a good idea to buy some other stuff too. The despondent look on Azhar, Laura and Tom’s faces is beyond what I can paint with words. Karren points out the obvious flaw in this. They’re scattering their net too wide and says “smell what sells” again. Has Lordalan copyrighted it or something?

Over with RickyMartin and Stephen, they’re stuck in traffic and the fake tan is too. NickHair has a posh panic and tells them that they are selling out of everything and reinforces that they need ALL THE FAKE TAN. He makes the mistake of telling the RickyMartin and Stephen that Jenna will show them how to sell the fake tan. They scoff at this, saying that it can’t be that hard. It really is getting hard to tell who is the most odious out of Stephen, RickyMartin and Adam.  NickHair is chewing a pen because they’ve sold out of everything.

Adam and Jade are heading back in the car when Azhar phones them again to ask about strategy. Adam looks like he’s been taking going red lessons from Phil Mitchell. Azhar says strategy a few more times before Jade removes the phone from her face. Azhar tries to tell her again about what to buy but they’re already on their way back from the warehouse. STRATEGY.

RickyMartin and Stephen make it to the warehouse and buy all the fake tan that the warehouse has. He rings NickHair to tell him and they can’t decide what to buy instead. Cue much hand wringing and posh panicking before settling on hot water bottles.

On Jade’s team, she and Adam run to replenish the stock in Ilford. Tom tells us what he’s smelling to indicate that he actually understands the task. HE’S SMELLING BUGS.  There is a predictable rush for them. He reiterates that they should have put all the money into bugs.

Team NickHair, they’ve been without tan for two hours and the demand is high. Nick Hewer looks absolutely bemused at the rush.

Over on team Jade, they are selling the fake tan for half the price. Facepalm.

On NickHair’s team, RickyMartin is ANGRYSMASH because he and Stephen are the best sellers and they’re being sent to the warehouse AGAIN. Can you smell the testosterone?

For some unknown reason, the action is now being moved to Lakeside for late night shopping.
We’re with Jade’s team first. Azhar still wants to know what the STRATEGY is. Tom really tries to push Jade towards the insects that are selling so well but she completely ignores him again. Laura and Azhar look resigned. She leaves it up to them how much they buy. That’s some brilliant leadership there.

On NickHair’s team, Stephen’s got his microphone back and prices aren’t being slashed. Jade’s approach is to sell the lot at stupid prices. I can’t believe Jade’s epicness is falling apart in front of me. She explains that she’s made a profit on everything that they’ve sold so it all counts and she sticks buy it. NickHair is happy with how he’s done too. We’ll see tomorrow.

Boardroom time, for a game of what my mate Zoë calls “Schrödinger’s Project Manager”, where the project manager is both crap and brilliant until it’s been verified who’s won.  Jade looks icily calm.  
Lordalan walks in and wishes everyone a good afternoon. He likes the smelling task best because it’s how he started in business. To kick things off, he starts with Sterling. NickHair nervously verifies that he was the team leader. RickyMartin says that he worked with them and not against them therefore he was a good project manager. NickHair outlines his strategy which was first deciding on a location and then a product. Excellent strategying there. He explains that they chose fake tan and nail wraps. Lordalan remembers that this is Jenna’s area and points this out. Jenna looks gratified that he remembers this and actually does a coquettish giggle. Lordalan asks if RickyMartin has had some fake tan which he obviously has, but he denies it and says that he only tried it out on his hands. Nick Hewer points out that RickyMartin was very vocal about Essex loving a fake tan.  Lordalan thinks that isn’t giving Essex a good name. I’m indifferent to fake tan myself [yes but you're one of them funny Scots we saw last week so who knows what weird things you like? - Rad]. Lordalan wants to look at it. He examines the fake tan and the nail wraps with obvious fascination and calls it an “Essex kit”. Who’s giving Essex a bad name now? Lordalan points out that the tan and nails were allocated to the shopping centre and the team are pleased to tell him that they sold out. Cue much sideye from the opposing team. Lordalan wants to know when restocking decisions were made. NickHair explains that they’d sold half the fake tan by 11am and that’s when they made the decision to restock and he sent RickyMartin and Stephen because it was raining at the market. Lordalan asks if they took the market stock over whilst they were away but RickyMartin is pleased to say that they were told not to and he puts a big chalk mark next to the reasons he has not to get fired. Nick Hewer then points out that it probably would only have taken four minutes to take the stock into the shopping centre to give the others something to sell whilst the sub team were out buying more fake tan. Lordalan berates NickHair for this and he has another bout of posh angst.

Over with Phoenix, Daddy Alan is pleased that Jade took the PM hint. She smugly explains that she OBVIOUSLY put Adam in the market with her in Pitsea. Alan thinks that’s a bit far away and Karren helpfully points out that it took them ages to come to that crap decision. She explains that they sold false eyelashes and toy bugs that they bought for 60p and sold for £3. Lordalan is impressed by the margins. Karren then starts fluttering her eyelashes at Adam and starts talking about his market patter. Alan asks the team if they felt they were led well and Azhar goes straight in for the kill about not being heard and says something about efficiency. Jade says it would have been nice if he’d have pointed out his issues. HE DID. Tom gives her a really good WTF look that is tinged with exasperation and Azhar talks about STRATEGY again.

Numbers! Lordalan reminds us that leftover stock counts too! Pay attention!
Phoenix - £422.61 in cash and stock £415.60 giving a total asset count of £832.21.
Sterling - £681.30 in cash plus £273.90 in stock giving a total asset count of  £955.20.

If I may be so bold as to stick my oar in here, that seems like a pretty good day on both counts and this seems to be one of the main places where the process falls down. Both teams sold well and made a significant amount of money in one day. The losing team didn’t do badly, yet now we’re about to be subjected to 20 minutes of television where we all have to act like they did something terrible when they made nearly £700 in one day. [I'd be interested to know how they calculated the value of the assets - was it how much they spent on them, or how much they were planning to sell them for? - Steve] However, the only time there’s been any logic on this show is when there was a team called Logic. To the firing!

Alan explains that this task is what business is, there’s no loans or powerpoint involved, it’s about SMELLING WHAT’S SELLING. Alan thinks that this is A MESSAGE TO BRITAIN that they can get a van and £150 and make some money. [If you have a bunch of cameras following you which will therefore attract a lot of attention. Oh, and several pre-arranged selling spots for which you are presumably not paying any sort of hiring fee. Message to Britain my foot. - Steve] They’re winning a trip to a bar to have cocktails. A trip to the pub? Is this what passes as a treat these days?

Alan acknowledges that Phoenix still did well, but they’ve got to come up with reasons why they’re crap anyway. The winners toast themselves in the pub whilst drinking cocktails that have dry ice on them.

Juxtaposed with this, we see Phoenix in the loser’s cafe. Nobody says anything apart from Jade who is buzzing from the task and thought they did really well. She interviews that she’s probably accountable. Laura points out that they did well, they just didn’t do as well. That’s what I said! Adam knows he’s safe because he sold more than everyone else put together. Tom just huffs and puffs. Jade thinks the task was simple and no strategy was needed. Azhar just raises his eyebrows at this and interviews that Jade is probably for the off because there was no STRATEGY but Jade will no doubt fight her corner.

Alan brings them back in to the boardroom. Lordalan has been crunching the numbers and points out that they sold the fake tan for half of what the other team did. He asks Tom to explain as he did the costing and he says that he took his lead from Laura and Jade as he doesn’t even know how much all that girls stuff costs. Bullet nicely dodged there, if not with a tinge of sexism. He then says that Jade dropped the prices at Lakeside to further safeguard himself.

Nick Hewer wants to know how much they sold the fake tan for at the beginning of the day. Jade says between £4-£5 and she judged the price on her own fake tan experience. Lordalan points out that they could have won by charging a bit more for the fake tan. This is ridiculous. They lost but they didn’t do badly. Lordalan also doesn’t understand why they only took half their stock to the market and they should have taken more. Not being psychic is also now a reason to be bad at BIZNIZ. Jade rightly points out the folly and Adam for some reason, backs her up.  Lordalan still presses the point that if they’d have taken more there, they might have made more money. Azhar said he told Jade this. I don’t think he did. He just shouted STRATEGY a lot. Adam then defies my expectations by laying into Azhar and not Jade. I thought it was all boys together? Adam’s logic is that they were both markets and they split the stock evenly. Jade then basically says they had to humour Azhar to get him to STFU.

Karren then points out that they spent so much time umming over the location that they only had a few minutes to chose stock.  Lordalan wants to know what Laura’s contribution was. She thinks its sales. He then asks her if that was all she did. We are really picking holes in nothing now. Laura explains that sales is where she shone, but she was involved in key decisions.

Lordalan then gets on to the real problem, that they didn’t smell what sold, the sub team were just told by Jade to buy what they needed. Then Lordalan starts banging on about STRATEGY. He explains what Smelling and Selling AGAIN and Karren points out that they bought more fake tan even when they had loads left. This does not please Lordalan. He points out that they started with seven and finished with the same number so they definitely weren’t smelling and selling. Laura pointed out that she tried to tell Jade this but Jade just told her to buy everything. Oh dear.

So who are we bringing back? Jade immediately says Azhar, but hesitates on the second and clearly only picks Tom because she has to bring another. Tom points this out and Jade admits that this is what she’s doing. Next comes the reason why I love Jade. Azhar begins to gripe about being brought back and she tells him that all he did was say STRATEGY lots of times to make himself sound like he knew what he was talking about.  Lordalan tells her to assess who didn’t do well and bring that person back. So what if nobody did badly? It’s your rule to pick two. [Given that LordSirAlan basically told Jade that Laura did nothing, I think it was a grave error of judgement not picking her for the final boardroom. She seems like she would've been a fairly robust firing-shield. - Steve]

Laura and Adam are sent home and Lordalan leans over and tells Jade he has a feeling that she wasn’t in control. WHATEVER GAVE YOU THAT IDEA?!!1 He’s going to be interested to hear what she’s got to say for herself. He sends out the three losers.

Lordalan thinks Azhar says the right things in the boardroom but doesn’t seem to say them on the tasks. Karren thinks that he huffs and puffs his way through tasks and nobody takes him seriously because he’s always moaning so they ignore him. Lordalan’s not sure if Jade organised properly. He also doesn’t know why Tom is there. He’s there because you have to have two people! Sheesh, she said as much! Karren says that if Jade didn’t have Tom with her, she would be in trouble.

Back in the boardroom. In the REZOOMAY memorial section, Alan reads from Jade’s application form and says that she put that one of her worst BIZNIZ SKILLZ is making hasty decisions and not analyse things for long enough. Jade deflects it and pretends that it’s about who she brought back into the board room. She admits bringing Tom in was a mistake and apologises. She says she was so confident she’d done well that she didn’t think about who she would bring back.

Lordalan asks Tom if he thinks he should be there. He seems to think Adam should be and says something about the task not being about selling and other attributes are needed. Lordalan asks why Tom thought he was brought back and he begins to answer but Jade says that she prepares to win, not to lose and turns everything back on Azhar like a pro, saying that he kept phoning about STRATEGY but not about solutions. Azhar says that “lets see how it goes” was her answer to everything. Tom remains quiet and lets the other two dig holes for themselves. Jade continues to go in for the kill with Azhar and says that he only comes up with problems. Lordalan jumps on this and asks if she thinks that Azhar only goes on about what’s wrong. Jade runs with this ball. Azhar jumps in and suggests that STRATEGY may be beyond Jade. Jade asks Azhar what his solutions were. He can’t answer and says STRATEGY three times in one sentence. Tom tries to smooth the waters by saying that Azhar clearly likes to say STRATEGY but he was the one that suggested buying stuff that was actually selling.

Azhar thinks Jade is responsible for failing the task, so Lordalan asks why she should stay. She starts on about her SUPER BIZNIZPLAN and his INVESTMENT and she’ll get him a group of MULTIMILLION COMPANIES. He wants to know why he shouldn’t terminate her existence. He mumbles “in the process” after. She points out that she’s never been in the loser's chair before so that means she hasn’t been entirely crap, even on the losing team and she’s sold all the way through. She thinks Azhar should be fired because he’s not contributed through the whole series and he’s not a good communicator and he doesn’t get on with the people around him. Tom thinks it’s all Jade’s fault for not having control.

Lordalan thinks it’s clear that Tom shouldn’t be there so he’s home free. Jade shows a lot of enthusiasm but on this task she could have controlled things better and he can’t accept she brought Tom back. He thinks Azhar just stands around and moans all the time pointing out what’s wrong without offering solutions. Jade is responsible for the strategy however, so he’s torn between her and Azhar, but her enthusiasm wins it for her in the end and Azhar gets the boot.

Jade ignores Azhar on the way out. Ooh! Tom shakes his hand. Lordalan reflects that Azhar is a nice enough fella but he doesn’t’ t want to go into business with someone that nobody listens to.
Azhar taxinterviews that he shouldn’t have been fired. (Coatwatch – Standard black) Jade had NO STRATEGY and that some people are playing STRATEGIC games and they wanted him out because he’s a threat. The self delusion is strong in this one. Let’s just have a moment to mourn the fact there’s never going to be a topless 4am phone call for Azhar.

Nobody back at the house is sure who’s going apart from Laura who totally sells Jade out. Adam hugs Jade and she admits that she basically talked her way out of it. Adam tells her well done. Could it be the hard man is softening? [I hate the Adam redemption edit and we're only a week into it - Rad]

Next time! The selling of Urban Art. This really is the Hipster series, isn’t it? Join Rad next week to see how that pans out. STRATEGY.

1 comment:

Jonny Truant said...

My head...after playing the Azhar 'strategy' drinking

LordSirAlan has exposed his racism once again. Why is he so prejudiced to people who live north of Oxford?