Sunday, 26 May 2013

My milkshake brings all the boys to farmyard.

Week 4: 22nd May 2013

Last week Steve talked you through literally thinking Outside the Box as the good ship Endeavour trounced Evolve with an adult high chair.  Ludalan loved it and Sophie fell on top of the TidySidey and wheeled herself off into the taxi of doom.

This week’s episode begins with the designer phone ringing at 5.20am. Natalie, who is handily sleeping in her bra, rushes to answer as everyone else makes their hair directional. DaddySugar wants them to meet him at Surrey Docks and the cars will be with them in half an hour. Luisa stands behind all “WHAT DID THEY SAY I MUST KNOW” and Natalie replies that they’re going to Surrey Docks in East London. I always thought Surrey Docks were in South East London but I’m splitting hairs. Luisa skips through the house in annoying slippers telling everyone to get up and Kurt ponders whether its worse having to get up or having Luisa wake you up. Oh you pretty idiot. OF COURSE Luisa makes stuff worse. Jordan walks around with his top off for a bit which is LOVELY as the girls ponder whether they’ll be selling fish or Meat. Zeeshaan thinks the teams might be getting shaken up a bit today. Luisa doesn’t want to work with Zeeshaan as he’s full of bullshit. He thinks that he could be the girl’s saviour. I do love the smell of bitching in the morning.

Nightime Londonporn as Natalie and Uzma try to better each other over who’s been in the board room more and how that makes them better people as Luisa yawns in between them. Natalie thinks that it’s made her try more and Uzma thinks it’s made her see the bigger picture. Look ladies, it’s not a competition. It’s a PROCESS.

Everyone tries not to get animal poo on their designer BIZNIS SHOES as they arrive at Surrey Docks Farm which is very definitely in South London because I work a ten minute walk away from it.  Daddy Alan is waiting for them at a farm because Farmers Markets are everywhere all over the world annoying all of us with their £10 sausages and he wants a slice of that, please thanks. [The farmers markets in Sheffield are very non-farmer-y. About five farm stalls usually and the rest are European confectionery, pic'n'mix, tagines or overpriced bags - Rad ] Their task is to open a Farm Shop. He wants them to source stock and sell it to the public. The winning team will obviously be the one making the most profit and the losing team will contain the firee. He’s going to mix the teams up first though. Uzma and Natalie are going over to Endeavour because eyes are on them.  Myles, Jason and Jordan are going over to team Evolve. This will facilitate a lady being on the winning team. This pleases Lord Sugasugasuga as he’s been disappointed thus far and it’s time for the GELS to show him what they can do because he hasn’t seen it thus far.

It’s then explained to us what a farm shop is and why they are important. Trendy middle class guilt isn’t mentioned. The team’s task is going to be to source stock from the South East and sell it.  The teams decamp to separate sheds to plan their respective attacks.  The ladies are welcomed to team Endeavour in the most patronising way. Over at Evolve, Luisa puts herself forward because she has a shop and sourcing local produce is what she does. Rebecca does smell the fart acting at her and says that she would like to be project manager because she’s interested in farms.  Myles asks her if she’s got any experience. She says no but it can’t be all that hard, can it? Myles takes charge and nominates Luisa then congratulates her because he’s a patronising arsehole. Luisa then interviews that she knows about shops even though her shop isn’t a farm shop, but a cake shop and it’s still local produce. She’s looking forward to leading Evolve to their first victory.  They then decide what to try to hawk. Jordan suggests Buffalo meat because there’s always more excitement around meat someone hasn’t tried before because it feels unusual. [Jordan's brain is an interesting place.  Buffalo meat, nettle beer... - Rad]

FNARFNARFNARFNARFNAR. I’m sorry. I can find innuendo in most things but that’s just tipped me over the edge. Jordan then goes on to say that he had a van that came round his school that sold ostrich burgers and that always created lots of excitement. Francesca gives him a look that is worthy of that statement. The van that came round my school sold Wham bars and single cigarettes which is probably why I’m not a SRS BZNZWMN. Myles is worried that Buffalo meat might not have universal appeal but they decide on it.  Jordan also suggests introducing a takeaway element to encourage turnover. They all agree. [Why on earth didn't they sell buffalo burgers as part of their takeaway going on Jordan's logic?  That would seem like an obvious opportunity missed - Rad]

Over on team Endeavour, Neil has put himself in charge and is wondering what will make the highest profit. He interviews that he knows nothing about farm shops and farming but is a born leader. BOKAY THEN. They discuss that they might want to sell something with a high profit margin. Kurt suggests milk. Just milk. The dick. Zeeshaan suggests that milk might not exactly be a unique selling point. EvilAlex, who is wearing a red tie today and who I have recently decided looks like John BARROWMAN after a botched facelift pipes in and says that people don’t generally pop out to buy milk because they have milk at home. Where does he think it comes from? He suggests that maybe they should sell cheese on toast at their farm shop because everyone can eat it. I don’t even know what this programme is about any more. Kurt then pipes in and says he’s in the milkshake business and the produce is cheap for that. Neil doesn’t want any arguing, that’s what they’re doing. Uzma immediately tries to argue and she’s shut down. EvilAlex agrees.

Both teams are on the road by 10am and out into the countryside in the Home Counties to look for produce. Francesca suggests Apples and satsumas because they’re in season. [Satsumas in season? In the UK?  Bokay then - Rad] The other team try and fail to read a map.  Neil doesn’t care where they are as long as they get the blueberries except he actually means blackberries.  Meanwhile, with Evolve, Leah is trying to pin down Luisa about how many potatoes they will need and ponders how many are in a kilo. On team Evolve, EvilAlex says that he really doesn’t mind dressing up as a scarecrow. That is very, very specific, EvilAlex. [I assume one of those creepyass scraecrows from Doctor Who.  - Rad] Neil gives him a look of WTF and nothing more is said.

Luisa and half of her team arrive at a buffalo farm and Luisa remarks on how much she enjoys the smell of shit. Figures. Meanwhile Jordan is encouraging some buffalo to work it as he takes some pictures. They look at buffalo kofte in the farm shop but Rebecca points out that they might want something with a higher mark up such as buffalo sirloin and filet. Luisa wants to know what the wholesale price is and apparently you can buy it for £28 and sell it to the right people for £45. Over to Nick who manages to inject so much hatred into the word ‘Buffalo’ that it’s a thing of wonder. He’s disgusted because even though it’s high cost and medium margin, Evolve are falling for it because it’s DIFFERENT and that’s going to attract people. Nick thinks that it’s high risk but he’s going to have to wait to see if it’s going to work, even though everything in his manner suggests that he doesn’t think it has a hope in hell of succeeding. They order the meat. 

Over on Endeavour, Neil, EvilAlex and Natalie are heading out to a dairy farm to get milk for milkshakes. Kurt thinks they’re going to need 250ml per milkshake and reckons he could sell 200 of them. Zeeshaan thinks that this might be a bit over ambitious. Kurt disagrees. Zeeshaan plays the “it’s your game” card.  EvilAlex works out that this is a milkshake every three minutes but ploughs on regardless into a Hampshire dairy farm, announces that he’s from Wales and orders enough milk for enough milkshake to bring every single boy in the world to the yard.  EvilAlex shouts some numbers at a lady until she sells them an amount of milk that I still don’t understand even after three viewings for £40 and they do some cow milking. Natalie cringes at every animal whilst shouting that she’s not an animal person whilst EvilAlex chases after a cow. The voiceover man tells us that their £40 has bought them 100 litres of premium Jersey milk.

Meanwhile, the other half of Evolve, Myles, Francesca and Jason, are bulk buying vegetables in Essex. Jason helpfully re-explains that vegetables can be cooked and sold on at a high mark up. They buy some cabbage and some beetroot even though the trade price is only around 10% less. Francesca reports back to Luisa who thinks that they should only be buying a small amount of vegetables to put on the shelves to make the shop look rustic. Myles then does that thing where he gets the project manager to reiterate what they’ve just asked him to do so that he can throw it back at them in the boardroom and asks Luisa if she’s actually asking him to buy stuff that’s just to look nice on the shelves rather than be sold in the shop. She reiterates that this is exactly what she wants and the real money is going to come from the burgers and the jacket potatoes and the veg is to make the shop look more local. Francesca snarks that they’re hardly going to be able to dress a whole shop with six corn cobs. Luisa wants them to spend £40 and tells them to engage their brains. Francesca tells the boys that this is why they lose tasks.

Meanwhile, in Kent, Uzma, Kurt and Zeeshaan are buying fruit and taking pictures. Neil is giving them a budget of £100 so they can buy more but Kurt doesn’t think that this is a good idea. Neil presses on regardless and they go off and buy more fruit. Over with Francesca’s Evolve Subteam, Jason still isn’t sure that six corn cobs is enough to dress an entire shop and gets Francesca to phone up Luisa to ask to spend more because the shop needs to look like it’s got something in it. She asks for £150 to buy cabbages, broccolis (sic) and 100 corn cobs. Luisa mouths “one hundred corns?!” in disgust. Francesca’s point is that the shop needs to look like it’s got something in it. Myles then comes over all alpha male and says he’s making the call and he’s going to buy it, which makes Luisa go all “buy it then, I’ll just have to come and save the day and sell it” whilst Rebecca looks at her clipboard and imagines that she would have dealt with this shit entirely differently. Leah is worried about the cost but Luisa decides to take the path of least resistance and makes a mental note to sock it to them in the board room for it if it proves to be a mistake. Myles makes the deal at £146, a mere £106 over budget. His logic is that if they didn’t put things in the shop, they wouldn’t have anything in the shop.

Over with Endeavour, Kurt, Uzma and Zeeshaan are buying fruit and veg. Zeeshaan and Kurt can’t agree on anything. Karren gives us her theory that because Kurt wants to go in to the Milkshake business with Ludalan, he’s using this task as an opportunity to show off his milkshake skillz and won’t look at anything else but the bigger picture is about the farm shop.

Back to Evolve, Myles, Francesca and Jason are trying and loving some apple juice so they phone up Luisa to ask if they should spend £75 instead of £50 on the apple juice. Luisa reminds them that they have a budget and they shouldn’t spend any more and they are now finished. Francesca interviews that she doesn’t get why they’re not out buying more and she’s concerned that she’s not got enough to sell.  The other half of Evolve are buying potatoes. Luisa thinks they have more than enough stock because their shop is going to be more about takeaway food than produce. Jordan then hilariously tries to get a bag of potatoes which is taller than him into the back of the van whilst Leah and Rebecca laugh at him openly.

EvilAlex, Neil and Natalie of Endeavour are at a farm shop in Surrey buying blackberries for milkshakes. They haggle a bit but Neil wants to check in with the others about how much they’ve bought. They’ve only spent £33 of their £100 budget. Neil and EvilAlex make unhappy faces. Neil demands to know what they’ve bought. They look at each other and shrug, then say 10 cabbages [For £33?  Bloody London prices - Rad]. Neil is concerned that they will sell out and they could sell more. Kurt explains that they are going to make ALL THE MONEY from the milkshakes. Neil isn’t so sure and stomps back into the shop to buy stuff from the farm shop at retail price.  Natalie handily points out that it was the subteam’s job to buy all this stuff and Neil points out that the point she is making is a good one. Neil interviews how he’s annoyed with the subteam and he’s got to get on with it tomorrow and sell the stock at the best margin.

7am the following day and the teams must sell their farm bought stuff to the public. Neil announces to his subteam that it’s D-Day. They discuss Uzma and how she never sells. Uzma tells Kurt and Zeeshaan that this kind of task is her thing and they’re going to see her in action. They’re going to be selling in well known centre for hipster helmetry, Broadway Market. Luisa’s team shop is brilliantly named Buffalocal and she gathers round Evolve to tell them that the buffalo meat is their USP, but it’s the takeaway food that’s the moneyspinner. She wants to sell 150 jacket potatoes and 200 portions of soup. Myles handily points out that everyone has to sell one of these every ten minutes. Not that he’s trying to take over or anything, but he takes over about six times. They are assigned their tasks and get ready for the day.

Team Endeavour have opted to name their shop Fruity Cow [BLEE - Rad] and EvilAlex is admiring himself in a hairnet on the poster. Neil doesn’t think they’ve got enough fruit and veg and he’s not happy with the subteam for not buying enough. He hopes Kurt can live up to his milkshake promise. Back over at Buffalocal, Jordan asks Myles to hold him tight as Myles grabs his bum and I weep again for the end of TV Burp. The first customers arrive and Leah tries to sell them a £20 buffalo steak and the woman actually chokes. Luisa thinks that they shouldn’t drop the prices yet. Fruity Cow still aren’t ready as Uzma dresses the shop.  Uzma wants to make it perfect but Neil isn’t interested.

Buffalocal aren’t doing well with their soup. Nick is worried that they won’t be able to shift it. Myles doesn’t want to give out free samples because it isn’t’ very nice. Way to get behind your product. Fruity Cow are doing better with their milkshakes and the orders are coming in ‘thick and fast’. LOL KARREN U IZ FUNNEH. Karren is worried that Kurt might not be able to live up to his bold milkshake claim. [Why do they only seem to be selling one milkshake flavour?  And why is it apple and blackberry, which sounds vile? - Rad]

It’s finally lunchtime and Buffalocal sell £100 worth of buffalo meat to one man, but they are having problems shifting the soup. They decide to bring it out front so that people can see it and want it. Fruity cow are still selling lots of milkshakes down the road, but Kurt wants to diversify a bit and start selling carrot juice. Uzma, Neil and Zeeshaan go off to get some apple juice to mix it with. Uzma has the temerity to ask what’s going on and they are so unbelievably rude to her that she calls him out on it. They continue to ignore her as they pop up to Costcutters for apple juice. Kurt declares it “alright” before giving it out to customers.

Meanwhile, Buffalocal haven’t sold any hot food. Jason is in the kitchen bitching that all their hard work in the kitchen is being ignored. Myles is handed some baked potatoes to sell and is unhappy with them, as he is with everything. Over at Fruity Cow, EvilAlex is shouting about fresh produce in the middle of the street whilst holding a basket, saying he’s only here for a day in a very threatening manner. Uzma weakly holds out some milk and Neil tells her to walk around a bit. She decides to talk to a couple of guys who clearly aren’t the Broadway Market type about the special milk. Neil doesn’t know what Uzma is for as she walks up to people on the street, offers them blackberries and giggles.  EvilAlex walks around like a circus ringmaster.

This happens just as Buffalocal start to sell some leek and potato soup. Myles starts shouting at Jason in the kitchen as he can’t get the lid on some soup and then goes outside to interview that he’s not really sure what Jason is for and calls him a ‘Trickless pony’. Luisa has a go at him for not being quick enough but Jason just seems to be having what can only be described as a posh daze.  Luisa wonders how he functions in his everyday life. I wonder that about every single person on this programme to be fair. Neil then tells EvilAlex to sell his fruit and veg as a box load. Karren thinks the milkshakes are holding their own but they’ve still got loads of milk left. Uzma comes with another idea that we don’t get to hear as she’s shot down by Neil.

Both teams give a final push on the sales. Evolve aren’t selling many baked potatoes and they’re declared by Luisa to be an Epic Fail. Francesca is glad that they overstepped the mark as regards stock otherwise they’d have nothing to sell.  They finish off selling the potatoes.

With Endeavour, Neil is confident that he’s led the team to the best of his ability and has driven the sales and has done enough to win. With Evolve, Luisa says that her original plan was takeaways with stock to make the shop look full but it didn’t work so the lack of stock may be the team’s downfall. BIZNIZ MINDZ.

There’s some sunset Londonporn to denote that some time has passed before we’re all at the boardroom. Daddy Lordalan arrives and wishes them all a good afternoon. He tells them that what they’ve been doing is bringing fresh farm food into the city. He starts with Evolve and asks them what happened. Luisa replies that she was the project manager and that the team quickly decided to go into the buffalo market. LordAlan begins to take the piss but Jordan jumps in and says that buffalo meat is trendy and he believes him because he has fancy glasses and directional hair so he must know what’s in. Ludsugar doesn’t want to lose face though so he makes a crack about cowboys which everyone pretends to laugh at. Myles then asks him if he’s tried buffalo meat and if he hasn’t, maybe he should. This is followed with an uncomfortable silence. Ludsirsugar asks the team if they thought they were being clever and Luisa answers that unusual meat creates a buzz and this brings them in the shop where they can sell them soup and jacket potatoes. DaddyAlan wonders if this is what people expect from a farm shop. Luisa says that she was keen to sell soup because it was low cost and she would make her money on that. Rebecca says that their target was 200 soups and 150 potatoes but Leah reveals that the number was 70 and 20 respectively. Everyone makes a face at this. Luisa explains that she adapted the strategy as soon as she realised that the baked potatoes weren’t selling. Nick then drops her in it by saying that she didn’t want them to spend as much on stock as she did. Francesca gives Luisa the side eye when she says that she thought she could stock a shop without having to buy that much stock. Ludalan gets the feeling that she wanted the other team to buy window dressing and nothing to sell. Myles confirms this because he is a disloyal, two faced git who is really making me angry today for some reason. Ludalan asks them if they were sent home and Myles drops her in it even further.  The Good PM? Question is asked and Myles keeps stirring the pot by saying that there was no strategy, no direction and no budget and he had to rely on his own initiative.

Over at Endeavour, SugaDaddy is happy that Neil was the project manager as he was sick of him being the backseat bridesmaid and never the bride. He asks what the strategy was. Neil replies milkshakes because Kurt has knowledge. They decided that they were going to make Apple and Blackberry milkshakes basically so that Ludalan can make a mobile phone joke. Ludalan asks how much Kurt pushed the milkshake angle. Neil replies that it was totally his idea to use all the wikid skills that his team has and capitalise on his very own milkshake expert. Alan asks if everyone agreed on the ‘Milky thing’ and singles out Zeeshaan. Zeeshaan keeps it diplomatic and says that he didn’t agree with the amount projected. Kurt jumps in and says that he thought that he could sell £500 worth of milkshakes on the day. Ludalan then moves on to Neil’s management style which he describes as ‘dictatorial’. Karren is a bit more tactful with ‘direct’. Ludalan then points out that Neil’s surname is Clough and wonders if he’s related to Brian. Neil says that he isn’t but he is quite similar. He then asks the team if they’re happy with their manager. They all mumble that they are, apart from Kurt who felt like some direction was missing at some points.

Numbers! Karren is first with Endeavour. Their total sales on the day was £1,097.82 on sales and £558.50 on stock giving a total profit of £539.67. Nobody dares look happy. On to Evolve. They made total sales of £1,249.52 but spent £618 generating a profit of £631.82. Jordan does some extremely undignified celebrating and is summarily told that he’s not at a football match. Neil makes a noise like a punctured football.  Alan isn’t sure why there’s such a big celebration as there’s only £91 in it, but makes a crack about Luisa having herded her buffalo well. She said that it wasn’t so bad after all, and Alan reminds her that if it was up to her, she would have lost. Their treat is tea at a restaurant called the Tram Shed. Jordan is still cheering when they get out back.

Back in the boardroom, Ludalan is berating the Milky cows for losing and tells them that it’s fine to concentrate on milkshakes if they sell enough, but they didn’t so they’ve got to come back.  The winning team go out for tea in somewhere that looks only slightly more luxurious than the loser’s cafe and Jason gets to show off his newfound catering skills. Luisa interviews that Miles pissed her off in the boardroom too because he made it seem like she had no control over the team and they only never said that she was good because they thought that they had failed.  They’re all happy now however.

Back in the loser’s cafe, Neil looks like a forlorn Danny Dyer as even EvilAlex’s eyebrows don’t seem as perky. Neil wonders aloud whether they went in the right direction. Zeeshaan wonders whether Kurt’s mind had been addled by milkshakes. Kurt doesn’t think that they sold what they had at the right margins and that it’s all Neil’s fault because he was in charge of sales. Neil looks like he’s going to cry as he explains that he doesn’t like losing and it’s all Kurt’s fault because he promised the milkshakes were a winner and they weren’t.

Back at the boardroom, the candidates all go in. Uzma looks like she’s going to vomit. Alan begins by saying that the milkshakes took over the task. Zeeshaan agrees that the focus was lost to milkshakes at the beginning. Neil argues that he went with the expertise of his subteam leader, Kurt. Ludalan then goes on to one of his analogies about going on a trip and realising that you’ve cocked up and needing to change your plan but you didn’t. It makes no sense.  Karren then chimes in and said that they diversified a bit by adding in juices. Ludalan asks about the juice. It was carrot, apple and pear. He wonders where the Apple juice came from.  The reply is Costcutters. Alan sad. Alan Angry. Alan say that stuff should be handpicked and fresh and not from supermarket. Neil can’t speak. Neil said that he would love to take responsibility but it’s all Kurt’s fault. Kurt hits back by saying that he raised half the profit himself with the milkshakes and everyone else only raised £200. Ludalan reads the figures. Milkshakes and juices made a profit of closer to £400, but Neil sees his escape route and starts shouting that he was promised SIX HUNDRED POUNDS WORTH OF MILKSHAKE. Kurt and Neil then get into a scrap about whether that figure included outlay or not but Kurt keeps coming back with the fact that he sold 2/3 of the day’s stuff himself. He also says that he could’ve made more milkshakes if Neil’s team had sold more. Alan then gets sick of this and wants to know what Uzma was doing all day because he said that he wanted to keep an eye on her.  Neil jumps straight in and says that Uzma is the worst on the team and not only was she pointless, he could’ve done better without her. Neil also says that Uzma’s team didn’t buy enough stock for them to sell and Kurt didn’t want to buy more, leading to them having to buy stock from the farm shop. The subteam say that they were not given clear direction about what to buy. At this point EvilAlex crawls out of Neil’s backside and says that OF COURSE they were given clear instructions. Neil jumps on this and says the task failed because Kurt isn’t a milkshake psychic and the subteam didn’t buy enough stock. Neil thinks the responsibility lies with Kurt for not selling enough milkshakes. Kurt looks ready to kill. He’s bringing back Kurt and Uzma. Uzma doesn’t understand, but that’s for later.

Ludalan wants another chat with Karren so everyone is dismissed for a moment. He’s wondering whether Neil was browbeaten and what Uzma is for. Karren wonders the same thing.  They return. Ludalan begins with Uzma and wants Neil to explain why she’s back. Neil thinks that she’s the weakest and it’s unsurprising that she’s been in the boardroom so often and she asks stupid questions. As far as I can see today her questions have been relevant, but it’s not my gameshow. Sorry! Process. Neil thinks that she’s definitely the weakest link and he half arsedly apologises whilst she says that she welcomes his criticism.  Ludalan would like to know why she keeps coming back into the boardroom and what it is that she gives off that makes people think that she’s doing nothing. Neil immediately begins to talk over her as she says that she’s an easy target and yet again she’s not being allowed to talk. I think it’s a fair argument. She says that she’s back because she’s under his eye. Neil says that he knew that she would say that and if that’s the case he’d have brought Natalie back but she worked hard. He then goes on to say that she’s clearly out of her depth and she won’t win. LordSirAlan reads from his REZOOMAY which says that he’s happy to trample over people and wonders if this isn’t just an incidence of this. OF COURSE IT IS. Then the Lord points out that there’s a difference between confident and cocky and maybe Neil should have a look at this, because he seems to think that what he says goes. Neil says that even though he seems to be outspoken, he’s still delivered results. Kurt is next in the firing line because he convinced the PM to sell milkshakes and made the fatal error of naming a number. Ludalan’s problem is that although everyone is picking on him for pulling a number out of the air, he’s supposed to know what he’s talking about. Kurt argues that he does know what he’s talking about, and he outsold everyone by a large margin. I watch him say large margin a few times because it’s pleasing with a Liverpool accent. Neil still tries to pass the buck but this just makes Ludalan wonder whether he can be talked into anything.  Neil strenuously denies this.

Like the rest of the entire world, Alan is now sick of talking about milkshakes and wants to know why Kurt thinks that he shouldn’t be fired. Kurt thinks that his mistake was putting out a number, but he thinks that Uzma should be fired. Uzma thinks that Neil should be fired and Neil thinks that Kurt should be fired because he’s responsible for the failure of the task, but also thinks that Uzma should be fired because she’s the weakest link. Ludalan rightly says that it’s his job to spot the weakest candidate, and it’s Neil’s job to point out who is responsible for the failure of the task. This is Kurt and this is still down to money. Ludalan shushes them.

He gets down to the nitty gritty. He tells Kurt that if today was about proving the viability of a milkshake business he’s failed because he can’t guess how many he’s going to sell.  He doesn’t want comments. He’s suspicious that Uzma is in the bottom three again and that everyone says that she doesn’t do anything. This is backed up by Nick and Karren. Finally, Neil. Neil got browbeaten and he shouldn’t blame everything on Kurt. Neil hasn’t got any room left for mistakes. Kurt needs to learn a bit of humility and Uzma must be bad at bizniz because there’s no smoke without fire.

Bye Uzma!

Uzma Taxiterviews, in a coat that matches her contacts, that Ludalan hasn’t seen the FIRE that the smoke comes from and she’s going to make millions. Back at the house, Zeeshaan is saying that Kurt messed up on the milkshakes but Neil shouldn’t have relied on him. Jason wonders aloud whether Neil can actually drive a CAR OF BIZNIZ. It remains to be seen.  Neil thinks the decision has been made.  Luisa hopes that Neil has been knocked down a peg or two. He hasn’t. JOY.

NEXT WEEK! Finding stuff task. Join Rad to see how they get on. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Thinking inside the box

Week 3: 15 May 2013

Previously: BEER, and the discovery that the Kent Beer Festival is not actually in Kent. Honestly, it's like Leeds Castle all over again. Led by Tim, Evolve had some production difficulties that led to the creation of a beer with a proof so intense it could only legally be sold in Mexico, while the Island of Misfit Apprentices over on Endeavour somehow thought trade buyers could be convinced to purchase their product by sniffing an empty bottle. That's really the sort of thinking that only comes when you've sniffed a few too many bottles yourself. In the end, Endeavour sold cheaply on the South Bank and brought home a handy win, while Evolve went to the boardroom and Rebecca accused the others of all being in cahoots like treacherous owls, because they had the temerity to point out that she'd been lying about something. Ultimately, however, Tim was fired because he was cast for his hilarious flailing and not his business nous, and also because the programme's insurers pointed out that sooner or later he was probably going to accidentally hit someone in the face due to his lack of control over his limbs, and they'd prefer not to receive any calls from InjuryLawyers4U.

It's 6pm back at Entrepreneur Estates, apparently after a day off, and Luisa is painting Jordan's toenails. Everyone acts like this is the most transgressive thing that has ever happened, because in business it is still 1982. The Sugarphone rings, and there is an actual race between Alex and Natalie to be the one who gets to answer it. Alex nominally wins because Natalie is a moron who can't navigate a staircase, but he lets Natalie answer it anyway, either through chivalry or because she stuck a stiletto in his solar plexus at the last moment. NotFrances tells Natalie that Lordalan would like to meet them them at Angel, Islington, and the cars will be arriving in 30 minutes. Natalie squeals "oh my god!" and hangs up without saying thank you. I'm sure I'd be willing to make a £250,000 investment in the business of a person who has yet to master basic telephone etiquette.

Everyone rushes to get back into their business finery. Myles parades around in a thong, because of course he does. There isn't even any time to clean off Jordan's toenails, so he's going to be wearing black nail polish to a business meeting like some sort of MADMAN! The men think a team shuffle may be on the cards, since the women have been failing so relentlessly thus far, and the women discuss how the men are obviously talking smack about them behind their backs. Well, at least that's one thing they've got right so far this year.

Islington. Nick and Karren waiting on a balcony as Lordalan arrives and sings 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina'. After that, he announces to the remaining candidates that they're in the home of the Design Council, because flatpack furniture is a growth industry and that is to be their next challenge. They must design, prototype and pitch an innovative flatpack item. The team that gets the most orders will win, and the losing team will lose a member. He adds that the women have been a bladdy shambles so far, and it's time for them to show him what they can do. I think they've already shown him what they can do, and it's "underperform on every challenge while bickering incessantly".

The voiceover man fills us in on the minutiae of the challenge: it's a two-day task, and the item must retail at £75. Also, he totally says "before pitching it to benders". I know the furniture retail industry does employ a lot of gay men, but that still seems to be a rather sweeping generalisation. As always, the first job is to pick a leader. Natalie volunteers to lead Evolve because she likes designing and having ideas, and since she's apparently running unopposed, she gets selected. Her business idea involves designing and manufacturing garments, she tells us, so we all know Evolve are losing again. SPOILER ALERT! Francesca suggests they come up with a space-saving item that would appeal to people like her: modern having-it-all types who pay a small fortune to live in a shoebox in the city and have nowhere to put all their crap. [I want it all and I want to put it all in a shit box! I AM WOMAN - Helen]

We don't get to see the leader selection process over on Endeavour, only that the eventual winner was Jordan. Kurt has already come up with one of the worst ideas in the history of this show: a chair that doubles as a recycling container, so underneath the chair cover there are different chutes, for want of a better word, where you can put all your different papers and containers and things. My thoughts on this:

2) Who the hell wants to sit on their recycling all week?
3) Who the hell does their recycling in the living room anyway? Surely most people sort the majority of their recycling in the kitchen.

Nick refers to this in a later interview as "a particularly horrible idea", and it seems like everyone else agrees [Shame.  It was so awful that I would have loved to see the car-crash of them trying to pitch it - Rad]. Alex's idea is a chair that turns into a table with storage facilities underneath. And it's a pen, AND ALSO A CLOCK. To be fair, it seems like a decent idea: it's not earth-shattering, but it's simple enough that they can prototype it in the time that they have, and it's an idea that you can get across fairly quickly, so they won't have to waste lots of time explaining their concept to retailers. I mean, it's a chair and it's a table. Badabingbadaboom. [Am I the only person that genuinely doesn't understand the point or appeal of the table-chair? - Rad]

Over at Evolve, Francesca suggests a cube-shaped storage unit. "You could turn it around one side, pop up, that's your laptop, you turn the cube over, okay, that's got a dip in that side, you can put your drinks in that one, you flip the cube over..." ...and you spill your drink? This seems...flawed, at the very least. Also, I'm really not seeing how "somewhere to rest your laptop and drinks" relates to the initial idea of storage. Nonetheless, everyone else seems to really like it, and Natalie declares that they will do "a multifunctional cubed-shaped (sic) table". Dr Leah suggests they incorporate a wine rack (????) and everyone starts jumping in with their own additional suggestions. Karren interviews that the initial idea for the multifunctional cube was not without merit, "but it's becoming very embellished". Luisa wants the cube to always remain upright. Rebecca can't make herself heard (that's how you know this meeting is out of control). In the Apprentaxis on the way home, Sophie and Rebecca grouse about the lack of teamwork on their team.

9:30am, the next day. Endeavour are fine-tuning their idea, and Alex suggests naming it "Foldo", which seems a bit cutesy (or a bit Lord of the Rings) for my tastes, but they go ahead with it anyway. It's odd how they never seem to take my personal feelings into account when they're designing products. Over on Evolve, Sophie is put in charge of market research, which she is happy about because she admits that she doesn't "do selling". Uzma says that she knows a lot about design, and their product has "got to look nice in a room". Thank you for your input, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Rebecca says that a cube is going to be cumbersome and they should be thinking more along the lines of a table. "Yeah, but we're thinking of storage, and on the wheels," Natalie counters. Well, you can't argue with that. Admittedly, mostly because it barely makes sense.

It's 10am now, and Evolve are in East London to meet with designers about their cube. Their sketches are horrifying, by the way. It looks like K-9 without the head. The designers seem slightly baffled by the logistics of the whole thing, and Luisa explains how you need to be able to take the top off and sit on it when you've got friends over. On their way to conduct market research, Sophie, Francesca and Rebecca are still grumbling. "Everyone's obsessed with the cube," moans Rebecca. Well, that Phillip Schofield is darned charismatic, it's hard to deny that. Rebecca's plan seems to be to steer the market research group as far away from anything cube-shaped as humanly possible.

They start their market research in a furniture boutique in Shoreditch. The owner (I assume) isn't fond of the cube shape because he thinks it's both boring and impractical, since it's not really the right height for a table, "and if you're bending over on a sofa, it's not that comfortable situation." But it's still a hell of a Saturday night, right boys? Right? Oh, never mind. He thinks they should have something that's desk height, and something you can get your feet underneath. So...a desk, then. They call the other sub-team to report their findings, but Natalie and friends are unimpressed. "If they want a table, why wouldn't they just buy a table?" Luisa duhs. Why indeed? Rebecca points out that they did like the idea of combining storage with office functionality in your own home, and Natalie blurts "okay, thank you for your advice" in the same way that one might say to a PPI cold-caller. Luisa thinks their initial idea is more practical and has more functions, so they plough on.

Endeavour have forsaken trendy east London for a workshop in south London instead, where Alex pitches the idea of Foldo to their designer. Jordan interviews that the product is very much Alex's idea, and he thinks it's a very simple, easy-to-understand idea. Meanwhile, Myles, Kurt and Zee are off doing market research, where one man says he'd be "puzzled and troubled by it". Puzzled and troubled by a chair that converts into a table? Heaven help him if he ever watches Transformers; he'll be weeping in a corner after about ten minutes. (Actually, so will most people, but that's Michael Bay for you.) Myles pitches their slogan to two random guys at a bus stop - "Foldo chair: sit, fold and hold" - and gets laughed at. This ends your scheduled weekly misdirection. Seriously, the guys are so winning this.

Natalie rings the market research team back to essentially say "thanks but no thanks" regarding their input. Both sides of the team seem to be struggling to communicate what this cube actually is and what it does, and this really should've been a big red flag to them that their product is NOT GOOD. If the people who are designing it don't understand it, what chance do the rest of us have?

It's lunchtime, and Myles' team are still looking for feedback on Foldo at the bus stop. One man wants an upholstered cushion for comfort. They report this back to the design team, where Jason reveals himself to be fundamentally anti-upholstery because it's complicated, it adds cost, and also some upholstery stole his girlfriend in 2008. Neil and Alex, however, are pro-upholstery, and vote to go with the market research and, more importantly, to ignore Jason. So Zee, Myles and Kurt head to a fabric shop, and Zee selects a mint-green fabric for the upholstery.

Back in east London, Evolve brief their designer: a cube to retail at £75, easy to assemble, and per Uzma, "preferably toolless". Fnar. Luisa suggests that the only screws are in the bottom to support the casters, and the rest of it could just slot together. The designers show them how this would look, and it's not pretty: they'd essentially have all the edges jutting out past each other to enable the interlocking, and Natalie says that's not what she's looking for at all. I think this is largely because she doesn't really understand how "interlocking" works. She wants rounded corners, like dice! One of the designers tries to tell her, as politely as possible, that this cannot be done if they want it to slot together. Karren interviews that it's all going abysmally, because they've designed a product that none of them actually like, and nobody's shown any real flair for design or manufacturing. Uzma reminds everyone that the design element is crucial: "it has to be, like, wow." Again, we truly appreciate your expertise, Philippe Starck.

4pm. Endeavour are finalising their design. Alex refers to himself as "the lead designer". There's a lot of business involving the height of the chair which involves the men squatting and measuring the length of each other's thighs. We don't actually see them whip their dicks out and measure those too, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. I mean, at one point Jordan says "we're talking single centimetres" and Jason agrees "it makes such a difference sometimes." Nick interviews that Alex "pushes so hard that they're making mistakes". Well, that's buttsex for you, it's a complicated operation. Also, line of the night goes to Jason when Jordan tries to sit in the chair to demonstrate...something and Jason pushes him off saying "not you, Jordan, someone average-sized." SHADE. [This moment made up for the entire episode -  Helen]

Over at Evolve, their design is still a shitty box with lots of bits jutting out. Uzma attempts to fix it by sticking on a cushion. She interviews, once again, that she knows all about design and she's very good at visualising things. Like cushions. They decide to colour their cube in grey. Because when you're worried that your product is a hideous monstrosity that will make small children cry, painting it grey is the obvious solution. Meanwhile, Rebecca, Francesca and Sophie are in Homebase trying to find interesting casters. It's going about as well as you'd expect. Natalie calls and tells them they need to get a cushion upholstered, and Rebecca asks why they're ignoring the market research (/one guy in one shop) that called for a very simple IT desk thingy with legroom underneath, and Luisa tells them that she's concerned that they're making it all too complicated. Oh, now she's worrying about that? Sophie asks a pretty good question: "are you listening to the market research, or are you listening to Luisa?" Listening to Luisa, apparently. Francesca tells Natalie that they will not have time to get a cushion upholstered: can she just velcro an existing cushion instead? Yes, that's fine apparently. Except it appears that Homebase does not have a single cushion that's the right size. Francesca interviews that they've done the best they can with the information they had, considering the specs of the product changed every five minutes.

Designing ends! Overnight, the prototypes will be made, but for now, all they can do is wait.

8am. Prototype delivery. They arrive pre-assembled, which seems to defeat the point of it being flatpack a little bit. Evolve's cube, branded the "Tidy Sidey" (ye gods) arrives first. It is an affront to God. Foldo, on the other hand, is a bit cheap-looking for £75 but does at least look like an actual piece of furniture rather than a piece of the set from an Alien movie. Evolve can barely get the bubble wrap off Tidy Sidey without it falling apart (it's going so well!) and there's a note inside from the manufacturers saying that the cushion was too big to fit so they'll have to do that themselves. There really needs to be a slide trombone sound effect here just to truly communicate the abject failure of this entire project. This is a product not even a mother could love. Sophie interviews that she hates the product and would not pay £75 for it. Natalie starts pulling fluff out of the cushion to make it smaller until the room looks like the site of a Muppet massacre. Uzma wonders if they even know what they're doing. "I've done a fashion!" she insists. I'm not lolcat-ing her speech there either, she really did say "I've done a fashion". Egad.

Meanwhile, the men experiment with putting Foldo together and Jason says "that goes clickety-boo", which causes Jordan to erupt into hysterics and ask if they can put that in the instructions.

Francesca finally gets the cushion down to size and attaches it to the underside of the Tidy Sidey's lid. "That looks better than it did," says Luisa, which is probably the kindest way of describing it. Uzma addresses the elephant in the room by pointing out that they have built an ugly piece of shit that they're supposed to convince people to spend £75 on, and she gets accused of "passing the buck", not what that is. They try to establish what it actually is. "It's still a stool, it's still a lap it still a lap table?" wonders Dr Leah, before declaring "it's a nice, multifunctional, sturdy item". Well, that's a sales pitch. Karren interviews that they have built the New Coke of furniture and they haven't got a hope in hell of selling any. At least, I think that's the subtext.

Jordan sets out the day ahead, giving everyone a chance at pitching somewhere. Zee objects to this, on the grounds that this is communism or something, and it should go to the best salespeople. Jordan asks Zee how he'd feel if that meant he didn't get to pitch at all and Zee throws an actual tantrum, all "NUH UH BUT I AM GOOD AT SALES I DONE LOADS OF SALES AND EVERYTHING!" Jordan says that everyone's comfortable selling, so everyone's going to get a chance.

The first appointment laid on by Lordalan is in The North, so half of each team goes thattaway, while the rest of the candidates try selling to individual retailers. Zee takes the first one for Endeavour, where the buyers in question think the chair is too high. Zee tries to convince them otherwise by showing them how he can get his legs under their table while pantomiming eating his dinner. Oh dear. Is there a version of He's Just Not That Into You for businesspeople? If so, I think Zee needs to read it. It's a polite no from this retailer. He calls Myles, Neil and Alex in the northbound Apprentaxi, and they laugh at him for being such a shyster.

Evolve are in Dwell on Tottenham Court Road, pitching the Tidy Sidey. Leah leads the pitch, and the man in the shop says that he likes the concept, but in design terms it's not right at all, adding that the cross-hatch designs on the side "make it look like a garden planter" and it would be best suited to "a part of the house that you couldn't see". Ouch. Francesca rings Natalie to inform her that their product is not good or glossy enough.

Milton Keynes. Both Endeavour and Evolve are pitching to Argos. Luisa leads the pitch for Evolve, while Natalie, Rebecca and Sophie put it together behind her. Because nothing says "easy assembly" like the sight of three people visibly struggling with it. Also, their assembly manual is hilarious - SO MANY SHOTS OF SOPHIE'S HEAD IN IT. Luisa invites them to feel the wood that the box is made of (it's wood? Fucking hell, it looks like cheap plastic) and the Argos panel ask her questions such as: why this colour? ("Because white is common!") Isn't it just a box on wheels? ("I know you are, but what am I?") It's actually not that bad a pitch, considering the monstrosity she's trying to sell: she's being flirty and funny but not unprofessional, and she mostly has good comebacks for all of their questions. Karren interviews that the product is ugly as hell, but the pitch was convincing so they might just have hoodwinked themselves a sale.

Endeavour pitch next, led by Neil. "The Foldo gives the solution to that common problem of people running out of chairs." Yes, by giving them another chair to purchase. I think the market already has that covered, actually. Alex assembles the chair in front of them, except he does so by standing between the panel and the product and making them stare at his formidable booty the whole time. I mean, it's not quite Simon Ambrose wanking off a trampoline, but it's definitely one of those "do you have any idea what this looks like?" moments. Again, Argos are concerned about the height of the chair. Nick interviews that the panel did not want to see Alex's arse, and it was "a very clumsy effort on his part".

Jordan goes to Dwell now with Foldo. They're happy to do a trial for 200 units, and Jordan interviews that he thinks he made the right decision today to stay with the London team rather than going to Milton Keynes. Absolutely: who would ever want to go to Milton Keynes if they could avoid it?

Francesca pitches the Tidy Sidey to an independent retailer and convinces them to take four. Incidentally, their prototype looks really grubby at this point. It's got a big black smudge on the side. Has nobody got a baby wipe? Francesca leads another pitch at decidedly non-trendy furniture store where she markets it as "a box on wheels" and secures another deal for 20. Another independent shopkeeper is impressed and takes 50 of them.

It's mid-afternoon now, and time to pitch to John Lewis. Rebecca leads this pitch for Evolve, extolling the virtues of the rivets in the design (you can keep your pens in them!). Myles, meanwhile, heads up for Endeavour, selling the solidity and ease of assembly of the product. Once again, the height of the seat is criticised by the buyers. Asked who he's aiming the product at, Myles says 16-to-40-year-olds. The John Lewis buyers question whether many 16-year-olds have £75 to spend on a chair.

6pm. Jason manages to shift "two or three" units at another independent store. Zee asks for another attempt at pitching, and Jordan good-naturedly ribs him about being careful not to get "two ducks in a row". Unfortunately for Zee, his second attempt is with a seemingly high-end retailer who are demonstrably not interested, and reject his attempts at opening negotiations by saying "I think it's more your British Home Stores". Ouch. Jordan interviews that he's disappointed with Zee for not delivering on the sales front. In the car, Jordan assigns the next pitch to Kurt; Zee pleads for a third shot at selling, only to get shot down by Jordan. Kurt takes the pitch, and manages to sell 12 Foldos.

Dr Leah leads the last pitch of the day for Evolve, and manages to sell 100 Tidy Sideys to an independent shop. She calls the other half of the team to inform them that the sales tally has gone up from 4 to 174, and everyone screams in delight even though that's...still not an awful lot. Both teams have to wait for the results of their pitches to the department stores, obviously, because otherwise there'd be no suspense.

The next day. The boardroom. Everyone files in, and eventually Lordalan deigns to appear. Both Foldo and the Tidy Sidey are also in attendance. It's the first time the teams have seen their rivals' products. Lordalan opens with Evolve, and Natalie explains that Francesca had the idea for a cube. Asked what the multifunction aspect of it is, she explains that it's got storage, a laptop tray, and a cushion and whatnot. Luisa says that their main selling product was the lack of screws needed to assemble it, and Lordalan approves of that. He asks for the description in a nutshell, and Natalie replies: "The Tidy Sidey - a multifunctional...side table", because they still don't know what the hell that mess is.

Lordalan says that when the prototype turns up, that's when you know if you've got a goer or a lemon, and asks if everyone was happy with the finished item. Rebecca admits that she wasn't, because she didn't want a box, and Dr Leah admits that they all knew it "wasn't aesthetically wonderful". Natalie says that she took her best sellers to the retailers, so she took Rebecca and Luisa with her. And also Sophie, but she doesn't get mentioned. Good team leader? Yep, everyone loved Natalie and her management. Apparently.

Over to Endeavour. Jordan says he wanted to have a structured session to allow everyone to get their ideas across, but Alex's idea was so well-realised so early on that they went right with it. Lordalan raises the issue that it's too tall, and Nick says that it "looks like an electric chair". Lordalan asks who went on the pitching trip, and Jordan agrees that it's important to send the best sellers, which is why he assigned Neil and Myles to that particular task - and while, like Natalie, he wanted to be part of the team pitching to big retailers, he felt he was more useful, as a strong salesman himself, going off to the independent retailers. Jordan says that he put his trust in the others, and he's confident they did well. Myles brings up the issue with the target demographic as discussed at John Lewis, and Nick states that this knocked the credibility of their pitch. Good team leader? Yes, very organised and structured.

Numbers, anyone?

Evolve's subteam sold 174 units on the day to individual retailers, while Endeavour's sold 216. John Lewis weren't keen on the styling of Endeavour's product but liked the concept and have placed an order for 500, pending a few revisions, while Evolve got no orders. Finally Argos liked Endeavour's product and ordered 2500. Over to Karren to find out how Evolve got on: "They really loved your pitch...and they really liked you guys...but they hated the product, and they didn't place any orders." The way Natalie's face falls in that final clause is truly spectacular. That was some magnificent expectation-building from Karren right before she crushed their hopes and dreams. This is why she earns the big bucks, kids.

So to summarise Endeavour sold 3,216 to Evolve's 174. That is a TROUNCING, y'all. Endeavour's reward is to climb the O2 Arena, and as an extra special present, Lordalan tells Alex that the product is one of the best one's he's ever seen in the boardroom. What, even better than Secret Signals? Surely not! Meanwhile, at least one of Evolve is getting fired.

Endeavour ride a riverboat to the O2, laughing at Evolve for building a box. It's mean-spirited, but they're not exactly wrong. They climb the O2, and celebrate at the top. That's pretty much it. [Worst reward in quite some time - Rad] Jordan interviews that the women must be feeling pretty crushed after three losses on the trot.

Loser Café. The women are feeling pretty crushed after three losses on the trot. Luisa interviews that she delegated and trusted everyone, but ultimately their product sucked so they lost. Sophie interviews that she thinks they tried to incorporate too much into one product. Luisa thinks Sophie should be fired because she's done fuck-all since she arrived. Sophie's case for the defence? "This task wasn't really anything I do: I don't design, I don't manufacture, I don't sell, and I don't pitch." What exactly is she doing here, then? [Being fodder? - Rad]

Back at the boardroom, and NotFrances sends them in. Lordalan rips into the Tidy Sidey. "Wishy Washy, Poxy Boxy, that's what I'd call it, because it is." Francesca tries to explain that this isn't what she originally envisaged when she came up with the idea, and Lordalan asks what the colour is, and Uzma admits it's just "grey". Lordalan asks to be taken through the design process, and Natalie explains that she tried to listen to everyone's expertise: she listened to Uzma, because she done a fashion, and she listened to Luisa. Lordalan asks Uzma if the Tidy Sidey is the result of her design work, and Uzma says "not really". So whose is it then, Lordalan wants to know. Uzma hedges her bets saying that she "pushed her ideas forwards", and was keen on both the criss-cross design and the interlocking system. Karren adds that Uzma wanted the product to be glueless. "More like bladdy clueless," barks Lordalan. That really couldn't have been more set-up if it tried, could it? Although it really shows a lack of attention to detail, because I believe Uzma kept requesting it be "screwless", which also rhymes with "clueless". Whether to blame Karren as the straight man or Lordalan as the banana remains up for debate.

Natalie says that they were really keen on it being toolless, and then Uzma tries to claim that as her idea, and Luisa says that she like totally can't claim it as her ideeeeh because it wasn't her ideeeeeh, and Natalie screams that Uzma tries to "pass the buck and then you jump on a good idea!" Clearly "passing the buck" is this week's "in cahoots". Lordalan asks how she's passing the buck, and Natalie whinges that "she just always passes the buck!" That compelling and reasoned argument was brought to you by the Christina Cha School of Debate:

Uzma asks for further explanation, and Natalie says that she's always blaming everyone else when things go wrong, and Luisa leaps in to add that Uzma claimed to be a designer. Uzma says that she told them they had to have a "wow factor" and aim it at "a target market". Luisa points out that these are the most obvious things anyone could possibly say, and she's not wrong. Lordalan interjects that a strong team member should've told the leader that the product was crap, REBECCA. Natalie snits that at no point did Rebecca ever tell her she didn't like the product, which is complete horseshit, because that was basically Rebecca's entire narrative for this episode. Lordalan points out that Karren's feedback is that Rebecca was the only person who objected to the cube right from the outset. He asks why it wasn't shut down instantly, and Dr Leah posits that the problem was they didn't have any better ideas. Karren adds that their bigger problem was trying to incorporate everyone's ideas into one product.

What of the market research? That's what Lordalan wants to know next. Francesca and Sophie report that they had feedback about needing more height and legspace, and Natalie screams that YOU CAN'T HAVE LEGSPACE AND STORAGE!, can, they're called "drawers" and they go in the bits that your legs are not using. Admittedly there might not be room for them in a cube, but I think we've all established at this point that the cube itself is not an idea worth protecting. Lordalan decides that the market research is wrong because it wanted the product corrected. I don't really get his thinking here, but then I often don't.

We're told that Sophie did her dissertation in market research, so why wasn't she better at it? What were her clear, defined recommendations? Sophie says that they were told ease of assembly, good-looking design and functionality. Also, DON'T BE A CUBE.

Time for Natalie to decide who she's bringing back, and it's a no-brainer: she's bringing Uzma and Sophie. Lordalan lectures the other women on how they must all be embarrassed to be so hopeless, and he tells them he doesn't want to see them in the boardroom again. The others are sent back to the house, while Uzma, Sophie and Natalie wait in the anteroom.

Lordalan chews the cud with Nick and Karren. He says that Natalie wants to design and manufacture with him in her business, but has displayed no aptitude for it. Nick is disappointed in Sophie, whom he had high hopes for initially (...really?) but seems to be neither use nor ornament. Lordalan thinks Uzma thinks she's never wrong. Karren says there have been problems with Uzma on several occasions within the team, and Lordalan is all "well, that's women for you." #everydaysexism

NotFrances sends the unfortunate trio back in. Lordalan cracks the "you're supposed to think outside the box, and all you thought of was a bladdy box" joke that he's been itching to make all day, and asks why Uzma and Sophie are here. Natalie says they hide away from responsibility - she brought back Uzma because she trusted her input on design. Uzma asks why, if that's true, she didn't take any of her suggestions on board. Natalie insists that CrapBox is what Uzma came up with. "That's really unfair," responds Uzma. "I DON'T CARE IF IT'S UNFAIR, IT'S THE TRUTH!" screams Natalie. She is really not good under pressure, at all. Lordalan says that Uzma's REZ-HOO-MAY lists her skills as marketing, branding, web design, and keeping up to date with current design trends. "That's exactly what I did," she insists. "I did not design that! I helped design it!" Nobody seems to want to take responsiblity for CrapBox at this point: Natalie insists it's all Uzma's fault because she was the designer (now who's passing the buck?) even though, as Uzma points out, as PM Natalie had the ultimate sign-off. Uzma asks why Luisa isn't here, since she also did a lot of the design work. Natalie insists that "Luisa, with me, came up with the only thing that was good about that." How very convenient.

Natalie tells Uzma that she's too scared of coming up with an idea that's fully her own in case she gets held responsible when it goes wrong. Uzma counters that the look is all-important ("I'm in the look good industry," she says, straight-faced, as her ratty extensions sit on her shoulders) and that she tried her best to make it look good. She thinks that Natalie as PM should've listened to her. She and Natalie scream over each other a bit more, and then Lordalan asks what Sophie is doing here. Haven't we all been asking that since episode one? Natalie thinks Sophie stays safe, and they could've done the entire task without her. Sophie says that she doesn't design or pitch, but she does market research, and she doesn't think Natalie would've listened to her either way because she was JUST LUISA'S PUPPET! Lordalan asks her if she's "Sophie Staysafe", and she says that she's not a creative person because she's just a restaurateur. First of all, I'd say running a restaurant is a fairly creative job, and second of all, saying that market research is the only skill you have to offer in this process is not likely to endear you to Lordalan.

Natalie would like it to be known that she's not a designer, even though she wants to be in a design and manufacturing business with Lordalan. Lordalan thinks that truly creative people can adapt their skills to more than one field. Natalie clarifies that the inspiration behind her business plan is not that she's a designer, it's that she has an eye for business. Uzma snots that Natalie just let Luisa do all the deciding for her. Natalie says that she "did the best I could do with the tools I was given". I like the implication there that she's referring to all her teammates as "tools".

Firing time! Natalie may or may not be a designer, and may or may not be a manager of designers, but either way, she came up with a crap product. Nobody likes Uzma and she's a bit of a shirker. Sophie relies on market research to get out of being responsible for anything important. It's nearly Natalie because the whole thing was an "unforgivable disaster", but ultimately Lordalan decides that Sophie should be fired. So it was actually a forgivable disaster, then? He tells Uzma that only her credentials are keeping her around, and that he's got his eye on both her and Natalie.

Post-firing hugs. Coatwatch: black, double-breasted, brass buttons, accessorised with a pink scarf. Sophie says she feels hard done by because she did what she was told, but it was hard to be heard over all the other stubborn characters.

Back at Entrepreneur Estates, Jordan is wearing a really nice jumper. Just getting all the important facts on record. Rebecca expects Uzma to be fired. Luisa thinks Sophie will be fired, but that it should've been Uzma. Natalie and Uzma return for awkward hugs. Luisa says she thought Natalie would have brought her back, and Natalie admits she was thinking about it. "But you knew I'd annihilate you," crows Luisa. Hee.

Next week: setting up a farm shop! Also: team swaps! Finally.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Beer here now

Week 2: 8th May 2013

Last week!  The teams had so sell a ‘mystery box’ of items (i.e. a load of old toot).  Both teams had their share of comedy, but the women (aka ‘Evolve’) lost due to not giving a shit about cat litter (ho ho) and PM Jaz was fired for not paying due deference to LudSralanSugaSugaSuga.  And also for being crap.  But mostly the deference thing.  Helen recapped it for you all here.

This week!  6am at Apprentice towers and Jason and Luisa are up to answer the phone to NotFrances – Luisa remarkably sprightly for this time of a morning, Jason looking like he’s just stepped out of a 1980s toothpaste advert in his stripy pyjamas.  They’re being sent to a pub, ‘The Old Bank’, in Fleet Street.  Luisa is very excited about the prospect of BOOZE, possibly casting her mind back to last year when Ricky Martin and Adam spent all the day getting plastered.  She screams in everyone’s ear to WAKE UP and you just know she is the candidate whose mug is ‘accidentally’ getting dropped during the washing up later. [Oh Luisa, you really don't know how to make friends, do you? - Helen]

Sralan welcomes them by saying the pub used to be part of the Bank of England, which is fitting because they’re now going to be making money selling beer, which is Britain’s favourite alcoholic drink with sales of 18 billion pounds a year.  Thanks for the facts, Sralan!  But do you know how many cat-lovers there are in this country, hmmm?

Thanks to his boardroom outburst last year and his business plan being about ‘some sort of drink’, he gets to be PM for Evolve and thus give them one more team member than Endeavour for some reason, whilst Kurt gets to lead Endeavour because he’s ‘in the drinks industry’ (health drinks apparently, surely the antithesis of BOOZE but anyway…).  They have to make a flavoured beer and sell it for loads of monies.  Yay, the recipe challenge!

Kurt thinks chili and caramel is a good idea.  Now I’ve seen chili and chocolate, chili and lime, but chili and caramel…?  Kurt interviews that he is ‘glad’ to be PM and not at all worried that LudSuga always fires PMs who underperform in their specialist area.  Alex says chili is perhaps too adventurous.  Neil suggests chocolate orange, whilst Jordan wants to ‘make the case for nettles because it’s adventurous, it’s exciting, daring, unusual.  When you see it on a label you’ll be like maybe I should try that, is that going to sting my mouth?’  This gets exactly the kind of response you’d expect (and wouldn’t it taste a bit… salady?  The last thing I want beer to taste of is salad…) [Who on earth would want booze that hurts? - Helen]

Tim is excited to be on the girls’ team, because on the boys’ team everyone talks over each other.  He says he wants to ‘target the female market with something healthy.  Is everyone in agreement with that?’  Cue unanimous ‘no’s, a Tim interview saying he’s a ‘team player’ and everyone talking over each other.  Flavours mentioned include champagne, acai berry (blee) and rhubarb and pepper (umm?).  The women shout that ‘mass market is men’.  I would think that flavoured beers probably lean more towards women, or at the very least, appeal to both sexes fairly equally, but what do I know?  I only drink the stuff.  Tim then says he’s going to overrule himself because he made a rash decision before.  Karren then says ‘it depends who’s got Tim’s ear, the decisions he’ll make during this task.’  I suspect Karren has been doing some ‘market research’ at the beer pumps already.

The men are talking all over each other again and Zee takes the huff that Kurt has assigned him to go to the factory.  He’s clearly afraid that, given his height and the chocolate-themed beer, someone will mistake him for an Oompa Loompa and he’ll never get out again.

In the cabs, Rebecca, Tim and Stella Francesca debate going to a beer festival, the ‘Kent’ beer festival, in, er, Putney.  They ring the sub-team and Uzma says she doesn’t think that’s their target market.  This may be important later.

Back at the factory and Zee’s sub-team are tasting beers, but then we cut to the other sub-team who have already decided they want a chocolate orange bitter regardless of what the factory team say.  Kurt rings the factory team up for a list of ingredients and they’re all ‘woah, slow down we haven’t tasted anything yet’.

Kurt says they’re going for the amber bitter.  Jordan says they’ve tasted the amber and the stout (which kind of contradicts their whole ‘haven’t tasted things yet’ spiel) and the stout tasted nicer – as I’m sure it would – and Kurt snaps him down with ‘well, we’ve gone for the amber.’  I love that Kurt’s A-team is the groomed likes of him, Myles and Neil, by the way, with all the misfits assigned to the factory.  It’s like Mean Girls, Apprentice-boy style.  Alex tells them they can’t decide what to use when they haven’t tasted it.  Kurt says ‘we’ve decided, it’s done’ and hangs up on them.

Evolve are doing their tastings and flavours such as bacon and blueberry are provided, whilst a brewer looks on, entirely unable to control his mirth.  Oh, incidental characters, don’t give your game away so fast.  Francesca asks if anyone ever did chemistry.  LOL.  They start measuring quantities of rhubarb but find it very bitter.  They add in caramel and say it’s nice. 

Uzma’s subteam (Luisa, Sophie and Leah) are with this week’s token put-upon graphic designer.  H’s talking to Uzma about colours on their ‘Rhubarb and Riches’ label (which looks surprisingly nice given the standards of ‘graphic design’ we often see on this show – although I blame the candidates, as I imagine the usual creative process to go something like this) when Luisa shouts over them that they should focus on getting the label finished first rather than talking about ‘10% blacks or whatever’.  She and Uzma then have a fight whilst David the designer looks half-offended, half-bemused.  Luisa then snarks that the label isn’t ‘beery’ enough, whatever that means and Uzma snaps ‘well, who’s the sub-leader’ and Luisa strops ‘well, lead then’ and then gives a look to camera that suggests she’s very well aware of what she’s doing and how much camera time it will get her.

Back with the Plastics, and they’re coming up with names.  Kurt suggests Bitter Zest, Myles ‘Bitter Blends’, Kurtm ‘Bitter Swirl’.  Neil suggests ‘A Bitter This’ which doesn’t really suggest anything chocolatey or orangey – it’s like one of those jokes Sralan is going to make regardless of whether or not it will work in context (of which: one later).  Myles says ‘it’s not bad, you know’ and Neil declares it ‘brilliant’ before bragterviewing that he’s doing all the leading and behind every good PMr is a Neil Cross (stabbing him in the back).  From the candidate photos alone, Neil had looked like a possible tip to win.  LOL WRONG.

At the factory, the teams are working out the formula: 1/1000 is the flavour mix according to the men.  The women seem to have come up with 1% and not 0.1% and Francesca’s head is MESSED UP with litres and grams.  They decide to go with 1% in the end.  Then they say they’ve gone with a 100% dilution – whatever they’ve done, they’ve made a poisoned drink that is unsafe and ruined two batches of drink due to quantities being wrong in a manner reminiscent of SANDALWOOD. [I was a bit disappointed no one suggested sandalwood beer, to be honest. - Steve] They ring Uzma’s sub-team to break the bad news and Luisa mugs for the camera some more.  We then see both teams attempting to bottle the drinks with beer spilling everywhere.  Tim hopeterviews that they’re salespeople so they will make that work for them over the 150 lost pints.

The bottles arrive and the men like the taste of theirs.  Neil says there are only 100 so it’s ‘a collector’s item, one day only’.  The Rhubarb and Riches design doesn’t look much (/at all) different from Dave’s original and they  have a banner and pump clips.  They have 134 bottles and just over 500 pints to buy after the lost 90 litres.  Tim then shuffles the team around again and again and some more and again to try and send them out.  Luisa tells him he didn’t appoint a sub-team leader.  He suggests Rebecca.  Her sub-team of Uzma and Natalie scowl at this, whilst Leah looks out of the window with the face of measured disdain combined with rising above it she’s making an art form of.

In one of Endeavour’s cabs and Alex and Zee are putting Jason on logistics and not sales.  Alex tells him to focus on what he’s good at, and Jason, waving an open bottle of their beer, slurs ‘are you over-ruling me deliberately’ like they’re Michael Howard or something.  Oh, drunk posh Apprenti, how I love thee.  Zee thinks it’s hilarious, whilst Alex screeches ‘Jason, will you be quiet, you silly shit!’

Endeavour Plastics, now with added Jordan, are at the St Alban’s beer festival.  Now this is where the logic of this episode fails me.  As (SPOILER ALERT) a beer festival is claimed to be part of the losing team’s downfall, it seems odd that they’ve clearly had it pre-arranged for each team to be at a beer festival as part of their strategy.  Although why I’m looking for internal logic and consistency in this show, I don’t know.

 Jordan tries to tap in a pump to the barrel and gets splashed on (insert filthy joke here).  Kurt prices is at £4 a pint, £2.60 a half and £4 a bottle and he’s had a look around, some places are cheaper, so they  need to keep an eye on sales.  This is the rare sight of a sensible comment not often spotted in a week two Apprentice episode.  Myles is offering taster cups to some people who look disgusted by it.  Nick interviews that they have to compete with all the other beers.  Yes, Nick.  It’s a beer festival.

Evolve arrive in Putney – I’m wondering if the problem with this beer festival is meant to be Putney?  Anyway, it’s fairly deserted.  Rebecca’s sub-team go to sell their beer to a pub who like both the drink and the pump clip and buy four casks.  Rebecca attempts to bargain with them, whilst Uzma tries to jump in, and Rebecca shuts her down.  Uzma bitchterviews that Rebecca likes to put her finger in people’s faces ‘when they try to interrupt’.  I’m team Rebecca on this – she was a bit rude to Uzma but only because Uzma was rude to her.  Oh week two Apprenti.  Always SO PROFESSIONAL.  They make over £300 anyway and head to their next appointment at the Everyman cinema.  Uzma criticises Rebecca for asking the location and then they have a pointless argument.

Not as pointless, however, as the Endeavour Misfits’ next appointment, at a pub with no product to show – they do have an empty bottle that the pub people can sniff though, so that’s good enough, right?   [That...seems strangely sexual. - Steve] They’re roundly dismissed and Alex pulls some epic failure faces as they leave.  They ring Kurt who snipes at them not having any samples.  Alex whines that they were given an empty bottle from Neil and that was it.  Neil is shaping up to be the classic villain of the series, isn’t he? Kurt whines that one of the others will have to send them six beer festivals.

At the ‘Kent’ beer festival and Tim interrupts Morris dancing to scream ‘I don’t know if you’ve heard of us’ – well, no, other than as generic Apprentice candidates, they won’t have – and tells them the beer is rhubarb and caramel, which is met with some derision.  Tim says ‘you haven’t tried it sir’.  To be fair, I’d probably try both teams’ beers, although I’d prefer the chocolate orange as a stout.

In the beer tent and we see they’re selling pints for £3.60 and halves for £2.50.  Customers seem to quite like their beer and Tim says ‘we will saturate this market and then move on’.

At the other beer festival, Endeavour aren’t selling many.  Jordan says they’re selling theirs at a higher price than everyone else, at which a random drunk woman comes up and screeches ‘you’re lowering the prices?  Excellent!’  BRITAIN’S BINGE DRINKING EPIDEMIC!  Myles wonders if they should move and Kurt suggests the South Bank Festival.  Neil points out that it’s quite far away and thinks they should do another hour.  Kurt says another keg and then they’ll move on.

Back with the Endeavour Raggy Dolls and Zee’s attempt to flog beer is asking two publicans what they normally pay, and, when they say £80-90 a barrel, telling them their beer is £95 a barrel, but if they buy two, ‘maybe’ they could buy at their higher end price.  Jason says maybe instead they could do one at £80 and one at £75 (which makes no sense, but hey).  Zee snaps ‘how are you doing that?  You can’t do it at that price’ while Jason snarks that he’s not in charge of figures.  The pub men laugh.  These incidental characters are far too knowing this week.  It’s like in the later series of The Secret Millionaire when the millionaire went ‘I have a confession to make’ and the faces of the charity workers were all ‘OH LOOK I WONDER WHAT THAT COULD POSSIBLY BE’.  The men then have a row and they all agree to sell one cask for £75 and suddenly Zee is happy with that.  Outside Zee snaps that he’d agreed £80 for two and then Jason jumped in and lost them money, which… he had?  They row again some more and Zee says he made them look stupid whilst Jason poshterviews that they’re the most moronic people he’s come across in a long time.  Oh, broken biscuits sub-team, don’t you realise this is what the perfectly groomed want, to drive you against each other?  Unite and resist!

Over with Evolve and the beer festival team pack up after selling 1.5 casks.  Rebecca’s sub-team all eye-roll and she gives a sarcastic ‘excellent’ on the phone to Tim as he relays this.  However, Tim is such an excitable puppy that he doesn’t pick up on the tone.  Her sub-team have sold all four of their casks for £78 each and want some more stock.  Tim offers them their two unopened casks.  Uzma understates that they didn’t do as well as they thought.  Dr Leah is so over this shit – although why she came on this show is anyone’s guess.

Sub-team Mis-Shapes offer to sell their beer for £75 to another pub who refuse to sell it unless they have a pump clip.  Jason says they’ll go back to the PM and get a pump clip and they then try to sell three barrels.  In the end they sell for £70 with no pump clip.  Nick snipes that the beer costs £53.  Won’t someone think of the holy margins?  Zee and Alex jump down Jason’s throat some more for interrupting.  Sub-team Plastics decide to leave – on a two-hour journey to the South Bank where they need to sell 2-3 pints a minute to sell out.

Evolve are at a wine bar in Richmond trying to flog beer but people don’t want it or like it – Karren shakes her head because wine bar equals wine and never the twain shall meet.  Is that true?  I’m an unsophisticated pleb from DA NORF and it's all just pubs to me so what do I know? [I think it's a bit literal for Karren to assume that nobody at a wine bar would want beer, but I sort of see where she's coming from - there are thousands of actual beery pubs within throwing distance of where they ended up, so it seems odd that they chose a wine bar rather than somewhere where they'd have to spend less time convincing the clientele. - Steve]

The Plastics are at the South Bank, where a tent has been set up for them, so clearly it wasn’t a spontaneous act to come here, and they’re now going for the tried’n’tested end of episode bargain bin clearout, selling their beer at £2.50 a pint.

More selling to bars, the highlight of which is a bar manager offering Zee £65 per barrel and Zee openly laughing in his face.  SO PROFESSIONAL.  The Plastics drop their pint prices to £2 and then £1 and start selling out.  Dr Leah sells two casks for £90, Jordan sells a bottle and is finally allowed to join The Plastics for real and then they’re done.


The disembodied voice of NotFrances (no longer present in a monitor as in the previous episode) sends them through.  Sralan tells Alex off for slouching.  Love it when he’s in posture correction mode.  I wonder if they’re sitting on Tom Pellereau’s business idea chairs.  Sralan points out that ‘A Bitter This’ is a bit of a shit joke.  Neil says ‘I actually quite like it’ (erm, yes, dear.  It was your idea) and gives Sralan a slight bitch-face.  He resembles John Simm a bit, albeit with terrible neckbeard.  Maybe this is just The Master’s latest guise and the whole thing will turn out to be a tribute series in honour of Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary in which Rebecca will be revealed as The Rani, Kurt as Turlough and Zee as a Sontaran.  The Doctor of course will be played by Leah – it’s all there, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT.  

Jason then tells Sralan that Zee’s religious beliefs don’t allow him to drink alcohol so he was no good at the factory task and that he himself doesn’t like beer.  Sralan says they should have sent the right people for the job there even though they didn’t even have to taste any beer because Team Plastics had already decided what they were making anyway.  Kurt pouts in response.  Sralan snarks about the sample.  Kurt then tries to start a fight with Alex over whose fault it was they didn’t take samples.  Neil’s name isn’t even mentioned.  Interesting.  Sralan notes that outside of LAHNDAN they were selling at £4 but inside they were selling at less, when Londonders are used to being ripped off, so they maybe got it the wrong way round.  Jason, Alex and Zee then get into a fight about Jason losing them money and then we get the best boardroom burn in some time.  Jason: ‘Alex disgraced you, LudAlan.  He was swearing at me the whole day.’  LudAlan clarifies: ‘you, not the public?’  This is the case, so he couldn’t give two shits.  Jason then says theyused ‘blatantly deceptive tactics’ (whatever those are) to sell, because apparently he’s never seen this show before.  Sralan basically snorts into his face: ‘you from the Office of Fair Trading are you?’  Alex tells Jason he needs to stay out of the sale and Sralan uses his first pre-scripted line, a ‘Time, gentlemen’.

He talks to Evolve whose mixed messages are that they wanted to be unique and mass-market.  Their bad maths were pointed out and Karren says she’s never seen anything like it.  Nick just sits back and remembers the glory days of SANDALWOOD and shakes his head.  Oh Karren, if only you knew the joys of earlier series.  We then get told how wrong the choice of the beer festival was even though it’s not clear what information they were given (we saw them all with a folder with various contacts in it in the cabs so presumably they had a choice of a small number of venues?).  Some of the women very reluctantly say Tim was a good PM.

Figures time!  Evolve spent £648.67, sold £492 to trade and £555.69 to public for a profit of £399.02.  Endeavour spent £601.40, sold £284.98 to trade and £1147.98 to the public for a profit of £831.56.  OUCH.  Their reward is to go to Belgium, randomly.  Team Plastics are all ‘get in there’ whilst Team Raggy Dolls try to include themselves in the fist-bumping and hugging.

In Belgium, Alex wanders around like some kind of Mafioso with his coat over his shoulders and then they all go and drink beer.

At loser café, they argue about whose idea was sending them to the beer festival.  Rebecca feels they are trying to pin it on her but Luisa and Uzma say the blame can’t just lay with Tim as that’s unfair.
Back at the boardroom and Sralan snipes about them throwing away £123 in their manufacturing error and he wants to know how that happened.  Tim says Francesca was in charge.  She says she doesn’t know about things like kilograms and litres because IT’S SO HARD SRALAN AND SHE ONLY LEARNED HER FIVE TIMES TABLE LAST WEEK.  Sralan moans that the women are being silent like dummies.

 Uzma blames location, Sralan snipes that they were in a ‘glorified pub’ whatever that means and Tim tries to suggest it was Rebecca’s fault, and Natalie says Tim can’t take all the blame.  Rebecca says whilst she says that she pointed at it in the ‘dossier’ that doesn’t mean it was all her responsibility and this is about things that have been ‘building’ outside of the task (i.e. all the other women hating her for whatever reason because WIMMINZ IS BITCHY as we have learned from previous series such as series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8).  Then they all start shouting over each other and Sralan gets annoyed.  Well, you told them to speak up.  He lies that he has ‘never seen such a bladdy mess’ in this process – except for all the many, many losses, Sralan.  Whatever – it’s just a cue for the obvious ‘piss-up in a brewery’ joke he’s been building to all episode.  He says they’re going to struggle in week 8 or 9 if they can’t sort out calculations and locations. 
Tim decides to bring Francesca and Rebecca back.  Sralan tells Rebecca that if she can’t get on with people, it could be a problem and sends them out.  Karren reminds us that STRONG WOMEN fight.  Nick points out she sold over £300 of beer to the trade, more than anyone else.  Karren reminds us that numbers and locations were the problem.  THANKS KARREN!

Sralan says he can detect Rebecca was upset about the last boardroom, but ‘that’s life, that’s the bitchiness of life’ and she needs to show she can put up with that.  HOORAY FOR BULLYING IN THE WORKPLACE!  UP WITH THIS SORT OF THING!  He says Tim might have been walked over by the others in the team, which Tim denies, saying it was all ‘group decisions’.  He says Francesca is in because of the calculations but thinks Rebecca should go.  Sralan says Rebecca sold more on the task than anyone else on any team.  Tim says the location is her fault.  Rebecca says it wasn’t ultimately up to her, he was the PM and Francesca concurs.  Tim says he’s TWENTY THREE [But as this isn’t TWENTY FOUR, no one cares – Alex Wotherspoon] and he won’t make mistakes again, but he already spent his ‘I will learn LudSuga’ speech last week so it doesn’t go anywhere.  Sralan asks Francesca what she did right and she says she priced the bottles.  Really, Francesca?  That’s your ‘save me’ speech?

Sralan says Tim made mistakes but he is young, Francesca made the product and worked hard but got her numbers wrong AND SHE LOOKS LIKE THAT BLADDY WOMAN.  *TWITCH* and he’s concerned about Rebecca being too sensitive to work with in the cold hard world of BIZNESS.  He has a dilemma but Tim’s business plan was about drinks and he made a bladdy mess and so Tim’s fired. [SADFACE. I mean, Tim's firing was inevitable, but I will miss his excitable ways. - Steve] Coatwatch: Long and black with a brown scarf.  Tim cabterviews that everyone in the team messed up but his drinks business will be launching. [Goodbye Tim, we hardly knew you, but what we saw was awesome - Helen]

Back at the house the Uzma and Luisa bitch about Rebecca and say she will be going.  Dr Leah says ‘come on, Rebecca is not responsible’.  Rebecca and Francesca arrive back to hugs from the men.  Neil says there were too many guys in the shower in the morning anyway!  And on that mental image, we shall leave you for this week.  Join Steve next week to see them making their own flat-pack furniture!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Like selling Chinese Cats to a Chinese Man in Chinatown.

Week 1, 7th May 2013

Hello and welcome back to the Apprent-bitch, where everyone’s favourite LORDSugarDaddy is serving up sixteen fresh idiots to fail epically in our faces for our viewing pleasure.  May I just say I’m honoured to be leading the charge on this the Ninth series, and welcoming the opportunity to get my Telly Bitching muscles going again after their extended break.

So anyway, to BIZNIZ. The Shard is predominant in the LondonPorn as the voiceover man reminds us that we’re in a harsh economic climate and start-ups are struggling. It’s ok though! Lord Alan Sir Sugar still has enough moneys that he has to number his Bentleys so he’s here to help. There are sixteen new candidates ready to do battle. Someone is a great of his generation and takes his lead from Napoleon. Someone else is an actual machine. Someone else doesn’t have a gameplan, only effortless superiority. And the best eyebrow since the death of the Gallagher brothers. Quarter of a million pounds is up for grabs to the person that is best at not annoying Daddy Alan. Someone who looks like someone I can’t place takes the SKYRIDE to work thinks he’s a new breed of businessman because he has an old head on young shoulders. I’d agree with that, only he looks like he’s tried to pull the old head young with plastic surgery so his eyebrows unfortunately meet his hairline. Someone else is Business Perfection Personified. Such bold claims. I can’t wait to learn their names so I can hate them more efficiently. Someone else has the sex appeal of Jessica Rabbit and the brain of Einstein. Would it be too cheap to say that she’s got that the wrong way round? And even if it was can I honestly say that I’m above it? No I can’t, readers. You know me by now surely? No gag to cheap, no shot too low, no pun to obvious. The old ones are the best for a reason. Someone else will do anything to win. We’ll see.

But wait! Daddy’s home! He tells us that this isn’t about a job; it’s about him investing in a business. It’s an unbelievable opportunity. We’re reminded again about his East End Boy roots, and that he started with nothing. If they want to be picked, they’ve got to be brilliant. All they’ve got to do to get their hands on the cash is put themselves through a series of humiliating tasks for our amusement. Sounds fair enough. We’ve all done worse things for money. This will happen over twelve weeks and the winner will go home with the cash.

Let’s meet our pet doofuses, shall we? They’re all summoned to the boardroom at midnight, which to me sounds like either the beginning of a sexual harassment public information film or something that would be on Channel 5 in the early hours of the morning. Everyone tries to look the least nervous as Sugasugasuga calls them in.  He wishes them a good evening and tells them why they’re all there. He explains that it’s difficult to get investment in the CURRENT CLIMATE because the banks are all scared. He explains how lucky they are to be his assets. He points to their REZOOMAYS and tells them how they’re all full of BS and he’s sick of their thinking outside the box and their 110% and he wants to see what they’re made of in real life. How disappointed he will be when he sees that they’re made entirely of bullshit and clichés. Sigh.

Ludalan tells them that the point of this farrago is for them to get their Business Plans in front of him so that he can pick the one that he likes, or the person he likes, whatever.  He wants to know what everyone’s ideas are. He starts with Neil. Neil has a designer beard and a quiff. His business is a unique online estate agency. Ludalan quotes Myles’  REZOOMAY that says estate agents are tossers. Myles is the token old one. He also has directional hair. Neil replies that he’s not an estate agent, that’s just his business idea. Even I know Ludalan is going to pick holes in that little fact. Neil is going to win. Jaz is next, she seems nice but she’s the one that’s a machine. Her business is about online learning that will eradicate low levels of literacy. Leah is questioned next. She’s introduced as a doctor but that’s just a foil for the next hilarious contestant who thinks he’s Napoleon.  His name is Zeeshaan and I hate him and his humongous watch already. Jason has never had a full time job. He’s the one with the eyebrow. Ludalan accuses him of being a student his whole life with such venom that you’d think he was a murderer. He agrees that he has spent a long time studying Modern History. He compares him to Jason from the Greek Myths and he hopes he can live up to his metaphorical namesake and get the Golden Fleece. Oh stop being so smug Jason, someone wrote that for Alan. He couldn’t give less of a shit.

So what’s the task? Well, daddy has bought his directionless children a shipping container each of imported tat and they’ve got to sell it. Do you see? Vertical eyebrows looks horrified. Everyone else puts on their gameface. The aim of the game is to sell to trade in the metropolis that is London and they’ve got to do it all before 4pm tomorrow. The team that sells the most will win and someone will be fired from the losing team. It’s girls v. Boys as usual. Jaz puts herself up for PM because she’s enthusiastic and good at motivating people. Lordsugar comments on her bravery. Jason the student nominates himself to lead the men, which provokes a “REALLY?!” from daddy. Jason says that anyone else can come and have a go if they think they’re hard enough. Nobody else does. Nick and Karren need no introduction, but they get one anyway and we’re reminded that they don’t miss a trick. He’ll see them tomorrow at 5pm.

In the boy car, they do a complicated handshake whilst Jason introduces himself. He interviews that his intelligence is like a machete in the jungle – one swipe and he will get through. Oh poor Jason. Fatherlord doesn’t care about that! It amazes me that some people still haven’t actually watched this show.  His official job is Property Entrepreneur [Does this mean he has a lodger? - Rad] and PhD Student. Neil tells him the reason that he didn’t go for PM was because Jason had real balls. Hmm, ok. He then asks Kurt what he did for a living and he says this and that.

Jaz on the girls’ team is another entrepreneur, but this time an education one. [It was at this point I realised just how much of a wet lefty I am, because the idea of an education entrepreneur made me feel all angry. - Steve] She loudly tells the other ladies in the car that she doesn’t know why she put herself up for PM then interviews that she loves being in charge and bossing people around. Everything about her manner suggests that this is the truth. Back in the car she’s saying to the others that she’s not looking to boss people around. OOH, two faced too. I think I might like this one. Jaz interviews that if any idiots get in her way they will be moved aside. OOH. Think you may be bumping into a few, Jaz.

Next up to tell us what she’s all about is Luisa. She’s got a consumer electronics business and a cake shop. Neil has a 14 year proven sales track record. Eyebrows, who is called Alex, is a company director from Wales, who started his first business from a garage. He says he looks like Freddie Mercury and that’s the nail on the head. [He also looks like Nicechap. - Steve]

On to team names, which is my favourite bit. Leah suggests “something explosive” which to her is Asteroid. It’s better than C4 I suppose... [I was hoping for "Ejaculate". - Steve] This suggestion is met with disdain. Rebecca, who looks like a stretched Grace Dent suggests Alchemy. Sophie Lau does not know what that means. Luisa suggests Evolve because they’ll evolve together as a team. They like that.  Over with the boys, Jason suggests Endeavour for the boys. They all agree then Jason says he picked that name because they’re going to try to win even if they aren’t successful. This is met with several looks of confusion. [Endeavour sounds like such an Apprentice team name that I can't believe it's taken until series 9. - Rad]

The Apprent-cars arrive in Tilbury. Jason has never been to the docks before. Jaz is excited. We’re told that the containers have identical contents, which include Chinese waving cats, water, ukuleles and jackets that Zeeshaan thinks are amazing.  Jaz takes stock – Water, toilet rolls, cat litter, bubble wrap, leather jackets, Union Jack mugs and China Cats. Jaz then asks her team what they expect from her. They suggest delegation, direction and support. Jaz then asks them what they want from her if she does all of the above. This is met with blank faces. Sophie, a restaurateur thinks that Jaz is full of energy and motivational speeches and energy. She feels that there is an element of being patronising but this is because she’s a teacher. This is voiced over as she all but gives them a hug and a thumbs up each over the name choice. She’s gone full Mallett. Timmy Mallett is still safe to talk about right? Can someone edit this if he isn’t? TA. Jaz then instructs Leah to lead the sub team.

Over with Endeavour, Jason is having a bit of a hard time rallying the troops as they all endeavour to show who has the biggest business acumen. They assess the items and Jason urges them to use their inside voices. Karren notices that they’re basically all just having a gigantic pissing contest and she’s really starting to feel for Jason. She thinks it’s going to be a long night. ME TOO. Neil gets made the leader of the sub team which to his business addled brain makes him the real leader, or something. Vans are loaded and everyone makes their way into London at 4.30am.  The boys make appointments in the back of their car whilst Leah directs a subteam. The first person that is pissed off with her appointed task is Uzma, who looks a bit like a Bo Selecta mask of herself. She’s giving daggers at being appointed head of locations, which is basically just looking at a map. Rebecca and her fringe are in charge of selling because she’s won awards. Rebecca shows us that she’s SRS BZNIZ buy telling someone off for talking over her and wearing fierce eyeshadow. She interviews that she’s tough in life and in business and if someone crosses her it’s game over.

The girls plant themselves in an all night pub in Smithfields market. Leah tries to take control because she’s the leader of the subteam but Rebecca has wildly differing ideas and not only takes over the entire operation, but physically spreads her tailfeather of papers all over the table, leaving nobody in any doubt as to who is in charge. Rebecca tries to sell some water to the barman, who says that although he doesn’t want any water he will buy some. Leah thinks that she could’ve sold more.

The gents subteam are trying to flog the water to a coach company. Alex and his evil eyebrows actually wink at him when he says that they get through a lot of water, and he licks his lips in excitement. He wants to sell it at 15p a bottle, the man wants to buy it for 10p. Alex reiterates this and looks lost until the man he’s selling to points out that he’s currently buying it for 12p a bottle. Come on Alex! He decides to match that as long as he buys 1,920 of them. They have a deal. This is also all of the water. Alex thinks he may have given up too easily.  I don’t really think he tried at all, did he?

It’s suddenly the morning and the boys are off to a casino to try and sell the Lucky Cats. Myles is in charge of selling them for £6 each. The casino man thinks that they are tat and will only pay £3. Myles offers him £3.25 with the batteries. Jordan thinks that he just wanted to get a sale in his name, as they don’t even have any batteries.  Over with the girls, Jaz is starting to get slightly insane with lack of sleep. Sophie doesn’t have a clue about what to do with the cats. Jaz starts thinking aloud. “WHAT WOULD BE A PLACE WHERE THERE’S CHINESE STUFF AND SHOPS AND STUFF” and it takes a good few moments before anyone thinks of Chinatown and this isn’t even received as a good idea. Jaz thinks that Chinatown may be closed as all the shops don’t seem to be doing any business. They decide to come back at 10am.

The rest of the girls are trying to get rid of their water. Luisa makes a point of saying that they should sell the water in bulk and Rebecca gives her daggers. Hee! Luisa interviews that although she may look like a bimbo, she’s got a really good business brain and the screen tells us that she’s a multiple business owner. Cut to her getting into an argument with Leah about who should do the next sale. She thinks she should do the selling because Leah is a doctor. Leah disagrees because she has the figures and there’s no way that Luisa could remember the price of some water in time. CHILDREN, PLEASE. Luisa gets it though, and tries to sell some water to an American diner.

The other half of the girls are on Oxford St trying to get rid of the Union Jack mugs. Francesca and her amazing eyeliner feel that the whole thing is going into disarray. It’s also kamikaze and a bit crazy. Jaz stomps into a tourist shop and offers them what they are on the shelf to buy them. The man says that he wants to buy them, hugs them and says he’s just got to ask his boss. They move on. Nick interviews that she was very quick to stick up her hand to say she wanted to be the leader but she seems to have shown no real leadership skills. Well Nick, I’m not usually one to criticise you for you are generally awesome but that’s a bit No Shit Sherlock for someone of your level of insight. He also says that she seems like a pleasant woman but not all that good at business. Again, NSS [Oh God, those three letters are the bane of my life, standing as they do in my sector for 'National Student Survey'.  Just seeing that acronym gives me the shudders - Rad]. Jaz’ plan for the rest of the day is not to look or smell desperate.

Over with the other half of the girls, they’ve managed to flog the water to the people in the diner for more than the boys did. The boys are putting batteries in plastic cats at the casino car park, which affords us some OLYMPICLondonPorn. They’re delivered successfully to the casino so all is well on that score to the tune of £160. Jason wants to take  the lessons learned from the cat catastrophe forward. I judge him for not making the obvious pun. So does Myles.

Meanwhile, the boys sub team are spending lunchtime pushing for sales. Alex talks into a phone without a battery and tells someone that his toilet roll is unused. The other half are trying to flog the mugs and the ukuleles. Jason’s tack is to hold the items like they are professionals and point out the silky lining of the leather jacket. This is the moment that I cry the loudest at the end of Harry Hill’s TV Burp. They then smash the cup.

Over with the girls, they get rid of the leather jacket whilst Uzma looks at the Yellow Pages, They try to sell to a pet shop called the Mutts Nuts who don’t want it. Jaz suggests selling it to Battersea dogs home. I think the clue is in the name there, Jaz. Leah points out that it’s a bit of a trek to Battersea but this falls on deaf ears, but saying that, there’s no thought that dogs might not need cat litter. [To be fair, it is called Battersea Dogs and Cats Home nowadays. - Steve] Jaz suggests calling Battersea, but the boys have got there first. Alex wants to know who has a cat. Neil despises them. It’s at this point that I realise that they have cats at Battersea too, but none of the girls decided to question this so I’m keeping the above in.  Neil begins by lying that he loves the cats and Zeeshaan tries to sell the cat litter. They suggest a start price of £8, but Battersea laugh in their faces. They go off in a huddle to make a plan. Karren points out that Neil completely took over, which is true and calls him a backstreet driver. The Battersea man offers them £5 a bag to take the lot. They manage to haggle it up to £5.20 and Zeeshaan makes a dog eat dog world pun. IT’S ABOUT CATS.  [Always about cats - Nargis] Zeeshaan then phones in to Jason to say that they need to get rid of the high vis jackets whilst Neil has a tantrum because he wasn’t allowed to speak to him. All the while Tim sits in the middle looking like he would rather be anywhere else entirely than in his precise position at this time. He’s actually physically grinding his jaw.

Back with Jason’s half of the team, Alex’ idea is to try to sell everything everywhere. Excellent plan. Jaz’ half of the girls are back in Chinatown which now seems to be open.  Sophie points out the only flaw in the plan, which is that the people in Chinatown may buy stuff from China and it might be quite cheap. They plough on regardless. Sophie tries to sell the plastic waving cat to a Chinese person in Chinatown by saying that she’s half Chinese and she has a restaurant. She offers him £5 per unit but he’s not happy. He tells them that they would be cheaper in China. He’s offered £3 for 10 cats. Nick isn’t impressed and they’ve still got 40 cats. Sophie thinks that Chinatown might be the problem.

In South London, Fast Food Entrepreneur Tim is trying to sell high vis jackets to a trade seller and there’s some bartering before they’re sold for £1.20 per unit. Tim is ridiculously happy to have been given his moment in the spotlight and dances around like half of a flat haired Jedward at his successful sale. Aww, bless him. He goes through all the stages of the sale and does a little dance at his success. [I love Tim so much. - Steve] The boys are all well proud of their empty van and phone up Jason to tell him. Jason reports that they’ve still got six jackets and ukuleles. Alex and Neil have a little bitch about Jason, my favourite bit of which is Alex exclaiming that Jason can’t be that good a project manager as he can’t even sell six leather jackets IN LONDON. Zeeshaan says that he can’t be a good manager because he hasn’t even given them any help or anything.

The girls are scrabbling with 40 minutes to go. Natalie is insistent that they cannot offload the cat litter to one person. Rebecca has stolen the Yellow Pages from Uzma and is looking at it with furrowed brow. Rebecca spots a shop where they can offload the bubble wrap. She makes an offer of £33 and the man basically laughs in her face and tells them that he’ll buy it for £15. She also manages to get him to take the loo roll. Uzma isn’t happy about this basically because her job of being in charge of where to go for a bit is just as important as the job of doing the actual selling. She interbitches that once the sale has been made, all other contributions are forgotten. She rolls her eyes when Leah tells Rebecca that she is proud of her. I think she does this because her eyes are the only part of her face that moves. Seriously, the girl is like Michael Myers.

With half an hour to go, Jason wants to run like hell to sell the Ukuleles and the girls run to sell the cats. Jaz tries to sell the cats to what can only be described as an upmarket pound shop and shushes Sophie when she tries to help. She’s trying to offload them for £4.50. Jordan is trying to sell the ukuleles to a music shop for £6 a hit. Back with the ladies, Sophie offers a risky suggestion and Jaz would like to hear it unless it’s about the cats. She goes for it anyway but Jaz tells her to shut up. Jordan manages to sell the ukuleles for £5 a pop.

Time up and the team take stock. The girls’ main team have sold £272 and the subteam are disgusted by this and Luisa says that if Jaz even dares bring her in to the board room she will be on her like a fly on shit. Jaz asks the girls’ main team for some feedback on her “Project Manager-ship-ism”. Francesca merely opens and closes her mouth.  Neil is in the back of the car mouthing off that Jason has committed business suicide by appointing him leader of the subteam because he’s blown him away.  Jason feels that there’s only so much lion taming that he can do. He’s clearly exhausted. Bless.

Everyone waits nervously to be let into the boardroom.  NotFrances tells them that they can go in. They sit down and wait for daddy to come home. Lordalan wishes them a good evening and remarks at the length of the day. He starts with the girls’ team and wants to be told very quickly whether Jaz regrets being PM. She thinks she led the team and the team were brilliant. He wants to know the team name and where it evolved from. (AHAHAHA) Luisa takes full credit. Daddyalan wants to know what Jaz was like as a team leader. Francesca says that she had found her to be motivational and had asked Jaz to be decisive at the beginning of the day. Lordalan asks if she was. Francesca replies that she evolved. Tactical.  He then wants to know what the communication was like with the subteam. Luisa rats her out and says that there was none. Leah goes a step further and says that she felt like she led the subteam on her own and did a lot of the managing. Jaz gives her the stinkeye. The subteam report that they sold out of three of their products. The main team were left with seven leather jackets, all of the mugs and 40 lucky cats. Jaz does an impression of the cat. Nick says that they short circuited a bit on Oxford St and they agree.  They also say that they had the long chat with the hugging man who couldn’t even buy the stuff even if he wanted to. Daddyalan reminds them that the first rule of BZNZ is to ensure you aren’t speaking to the cleaning lady. Natalie says that they learned this lesson but Papa Sugar thinks that it was naive of them not to know this already.

Over to the gents, Ludalan isn’t too happy with the name Endeavour because it basically means to try, as Jason pointed out when he named them. Alan wonders if they’ve got the fleece. Jason thinks that they put in a robust performance and they all did their part from the team. Alan goes straight in and asks Neil why he took over. Neil says he did it because there wasn’t any clear leadership. Ludalan wonders how he knew this straight off the bat. This is met with some extraordinary faces from Jason as Neil points out what a bad leader he is. Jason points out that he was ensuring that they set off on the right foot rather than stomping off on the wrong one only to trip up.  Neil remarks that there was no foot at all. Evil Alex points out that Critical clear concise instructions were left out right from the beginning.  Karren sticks up for him and suggests that everyone was trying to show how good at BZNZ they were at the beginning and Jason was the only one that did any listening. Neil brazens through this and states that his team sold everything so he should have been the boss no take backs. Jordan then pops in and says that Neil is embarrassing and why is he even bringing it up. Yay Jordan! Neil persists in the same line and gets all puffed chest about who sold the most stock.

Jordan rightly points out that it’s not a competition because they’re a team.  Karren then admits that she’s had a whole day of this pissing contest and she’s very bloody fed up of it. Evil Alex then sticks his happen’orth in and says that he’s worked with “Liam” all day. He doesn’t seem even slightly embarrassed to be corrected. Anyway, he’s worked with Neil all day and Neil seemed concerned about Jason’s management style. Myles chips in and says that Jason may be a nice guy, but his sales approach is more Vicar of Dibley than market trader. I see what you did there, Myles. You’ve compared two popular BBC sitcoms. How funny. Lordalan thinks it sounds like a nightmare, but wants to know what they were doing putting BLADDY batteries into BLADDY cats at a BLADDY casino. Jason says that this was Myles’ idea and it was a waste of time. Ludalan wants to know what Tim thinks as he’s been quiet. He replies that he was waiting to be spoken to, but given his spotlight he starts ducking and diving and talking about what it was like not to have been heard. Ludalan reminds him that sometimes you can step back so far you end up over the cliff. Tim replies that he proved himself through sales and sold the lot. He says he sold the high vis jackets. He jokes that he must have seen him coming.

So!  Results! Ladies first and Evolve led by Jaz. Her team sold £271 but the subteam led by Leah sold £839.30 making a total of £1,109.30. Gents next. Endeavour, led by Jason. Jason’s team sold £324.50 and Neil’s sub team £843.40 making a total of £1,167.90. So, victory to the boys by a mere £58.60. They celebrate in an undignified fashion as is the tradition.  Their treat is going to a luxury hangout in Holborn where all the lawyers spend their time and they’re getting a chef from Fortnum and Mason to cook them dinner. Lordalan dismisses them and Tim pipes up that he’d just like to say that he’s taken all the comments on board and although he was struggling at the beginning he’s getting better. This is met with a confused look and the reiteration of the fact that they’ve won and he should shut up. It’s rather sweet. Aww, Tim. [Tim <3 -="" i="" steve="">] The rest of the boys speedily usher him out as the girls all smirk at him.

Ludalan dismisses the girls to the loser cafe and they’ve all got to come back tomorrow to get fired. The boys high five each other in the car on the way home. Alex is looking forward to champagne and caviar. Zeeshaan can taste the sweet victory already. You’ve already tasted it you numpty. They go back to their home which is the reward it seems. It’s all glass and angles. They get their dinner and Jason toasts the Judases with teamwork. How quickly they forget.

Over in the losers’ cafe, someone stirs an empty cup whilst Jaz becomes Captain Obvious by saying that the whole thing sucks and none of them want to be there. O RLY?  Leah doesn’t know what to say. Luisa doesn’t want to pass the buck but the team that she was on sold more than triple of what Jaz’ segment did. Way not to pass the buck there, Luisa. Uzma says that she had a structure and a strategy and they stuck to it. The other team make excuses, including the excuse that they can’t just sell toilet roll to a pub. Hmm, I think you can. Uzma says that she hasn’t finished. We never hear the end.

Leah tells us in the voiceover that she admires Jaz for putting herself forward to be Project Manager but perhaps she wasn’t the best person for the job, but she did do one thing right in  putting her forward to lead the subteam. Sophie thinks Jaz was a motivational leader but didn’t listen to her which cost them the win. Jaz would be quite happy to admit it if it was her fault that the team lost and she would put her hands up but she can’t see that she’s done anything wrong. It’s that kind of business insight that’s going to get you far in this competition. She’s going to fight like her life depends on it, because IT DOES. Oh hyperbole.

The ladies are ushered in to the board room. DaddyLordAlan reminds them that they’ve had all night to consider what went wrong and goes on to say that Jaz picked up the gauntlet of leadership quickly and that this was a brave move. She says that it was brave and that she was trying to be decisive. Ludalan wonders if she was just trying to be clever, which I think is nearer the mark. Luisa rightly points out that her bravery does not automatically save her in the event of her messing up.  Jaz sarcastically thanks her for her contribution and says she put her hand up because she knew that she would be able to lead the team through the night.  Lordalan suggests that her management style was a bit like a netball game and her motivational words add up to jack shit. He would have much rather she dealt in facts. Nick makes an “OOH BURN” face at this and rightly so. The ability to act like you’re presenting CeeBeeBees does not a good leader make. Ludalan suggests she may have been better finding out the strengths of her team members and using those to make her decisions. Jaz says that she did do that too and she would have done things differently in hindsight. Wouldn’t we all?

Lordalan then goes on to ask about the subteam lead by Leah. Leah said that they made all of their own decisions. Jaz says that this was totally what she wanted anyway and she wasn’t sitting down humming a tune herself, she was working too. Leah urges her to take ownership of the task failure and she does. Oh Jaz, just keep agreeing with everything everyone says to you. That’s excellent business sense. Jaz says that she’s a project manager of a team task, not a jack of all trades and she gave the subteam a strategy and sent them off to do it. Leah suggests that she made her own strategy in the subteam rather than following one that was given to her.

Ludalan points out to Jaz that she was supposed to analyse what products she could sell to trades that open up early in the morning so he wonders what on earth she was doing in Chinatown at 9am. She replies that she didn’t know it would be closed but they utilised their location to try to sell to the tourist shops. Uzma then sticks her oar in and says that her team’s stuff wasn’t all that easy to sell. Ludalan thinks that they’re probably easier to sell than Lucky Cats in the home of Lucky Cats.  Jaz sees this as an escape route and says that everyone uses water and toilet roll and bubble wrap. She admits that cat litter may be harder and that’s why she suggested selling it to Battersea dogs home. Luisa says that she was too busy selling stuff to even bother with Battersea.

Ludalan then turns his attention to Uzma and notes that his figures show that she didn’t sell anything. Uzma says that it wasn’t her role to do this, it was her role to look at the Yellow Pages and point. Leah backs this up. Karren wonders why they didn’t get to Battersea then, as they were sure to sell their cat litter there. Alan replies that the boys got there first. Ludalan then wonders what the first thing was that the girls sold. Luisa jumps in and says that she was disappointed that award winning salesperson Rebecca epically failed at selling some water. Rebecca picks up her water glass like it’s full of throwing wine and tells her that she’s happy to discuss the reasons why she didn’t epically fail at great length right now. She doesn’t get a chance now because DaddySugar points out that Rebecca was the best seller in the group and Luisa immediately switches tack and says how well she did.  The eye of Alan then moves on to Sophie who also didn’t sell anything. She said that she tried to pitch an idea regarding the cats but Natalie jumped in. Natalie said that she had to jump in or they were going lose the deal. Sophie said that this was why she didn’t want to sell the Chinese imports in Chinatown. Natalie says that this is news to her. Sophie says that she was saying it all the time.

Enough of that though, who is Jaz bringing back? Well, everyone, she’s using that age old one of “who she felt could have contributed more”. The first one is Sophie. Sophie doesn’t think that’s fair. No shit. Jaz isn’t going to discuss it because it’s her choice. The second one is going to be the person that didn’t think of Battersea Dogs home. Uzma says that if it wasn’t for her the team wouldn’t have sold. Leah says that if it wasn’t for her they would have sold literally nothing. Jaz then goes into full sarcatron mode and tells them that they’re all perfect and none of them did anything wrong. Uzma is still shouting about her plan and the whole thing descends into squabbling before Ludalan has to take control again and demands to know who the other one will be because he’d like to go home. It’s Uzma. He sends the others home and the remaining three outside so he can discuss them with Nick.

As regards the three potential firees, Ludalan thinks that Jaz spent far too much time on motivation the team but one shouldn’t underestimate PM pressure. Sophie was a disappointment to Nick and Karren believes that she was quick to criticise others but failed to see where she wasn’t all that. Uzma was apparently in charge of strategy but Alan thinks the jury is out on that one. They’re brought back in.

Ludalan starts on Jaz. He feels she should explain why she brought them in starting with Uzma. Jaz says that she didn’t sell anything and that being in charge of logistics she should have put the cat litter high up on the agenda. The fact that she now knows that the boys sold to Battersea dogs home and they could have had that sale. Uzma makes some noises but Jaz just wants to know that she at least tried to sell the cat litter. She says that she did. Alan says that he has a vision of Uzma orchestrating a military style campaign. She says that is exactly what happened and without her and her Yellow Pages they wouldn’t have sold anything. Sophie wonders whether Uzma realised that this was a selling task and she should perhaps sell? Dangerous ground from someone who also didn’t sell anything. Uzma retaliates by saying that maybe if they had someone like her on their half of the team they might of actually sold something significant. Jaz said she has no idea how she performed. Sophie then calls Uzma a logistics girl which she takes as some kind of insult and shouts that she is A BUSINESS WOMAN BITCH. Sophie then goes on to say that she didn’t sell anything. Ludalan thinks that Uzma thinks it was a logistics task.

Next up Ludalan wonders why Sophie is here. Jaz says that she was a passenger on the task and that she refused to drop the price on the China cats and that’s the whole reason why they failed.  Sophie says that she didn’t understand why Jaz wanted to sell imported products to the place where the imports come to. Jaz then wonders why she didn’t say something. Sophie says that she did and isn’t it logic that selling Chinese products to Chinese people at an inflated price might be a bit of a fool’s errand? Ludalan points out that selling the cats in Chinatown is like selling coal to Newcastle. Jaz realises that she’s losing and says that no matter what the results, she still led the team and that’s what really matters. The fact that they sold bugger all and lost really isn’t all that important. It’s so unimportant that she’s brought back Sophie and Uzma because they didn’t sell anything. Ludalan points out that Jaz didn’t sell anything either. She glosses over this.

Ludalan then points out that everyone’s main criticism of Jaz is that she doesn’t listen. This is backed up by her REZOOMAY that states that when she has an idea in her head, it’s GOING TO HAPPEN. He asks Sophie if this is correct.  She agrees. He also says that her CV says that she’s always right. She answers this by saying that she’s shown her leadership skills and she’s still got more to show. She’s not giving up and she’s got more to show. She’s only leaving because she’s not good enough, she’s not being anyone’s scapegoat. Alan says the only way he’ll know she’s not good enough is by listening to others and he doesn’t like what he’s hearing. He points out that Sophie says that she’s more culpable than her. She replies to this with an “oh man” and an eyeroll. Ludalan doesn’t like to be called man. He likes to be called LudSugar and he points this out. BYE THEN JAZ. Jaz believes that Sophie is more culpable than her because her task was to lead the team and she did. Sophie disagrees. Oh man, this is BORING. Ludalan has also had enough.

He summarises. He gives Jaz credit for putting her hand up to be PM but he’s not sure that it’s the cleverest of moves. The speed wasn’t clever either. Alan is confused as to why Uzma is brought back as a logistics person can also be the heart of a sales team so she’s safe. Sophie didn’t sell anything and Jaz was adamant she was coming back so she has to give that deep consideration. He thinks that Jaz led the team into mayhem and was a terrible leader who jumped in far too quickly and for that reason, SHE’S FIRED.  She thanks the Sugarlord for the opportunity. He’ll see the others on the next task.

Jaz’ coat is long and black as she strides into the taxi of doom. If she had her time again she knows that she would still volunteer to be PM but she’s gutted she didn’t get the chance to show how great she really was because she knew she would go to the end and her business plan is phenomenal. Bye then!

Back at the house, everyone agreed that it was Jaz’ fault that the girls failed and that Uzma should have been PM. Rebecca thinks that she’s a terrible manager but may have talked a good fight. Everyone is happy with the results. Uzma feels ready to go back into the boardroom after the first daunting time.

Fifteen left! Next time the task is all about beer. Flavoured beer. Join Rad to see how badly they can mess that one up! Hope you enjoyed reading. It’s very good to be back.