Saturday, 21 November 2015

Manchester's Discount Flaw

Ten things about... Week 7 Discount store challenge

Broadcast 18 November

1. Our annual trip to the North.  The teams decamped to Manchester (aka the one place in the north the show has heard of) this week because it has a lot of poor people warehouses.  The task was essentially 'smellin' woss sellin' in disguise, although the phrase wasn't really mentioned except for a subtle 'last chance to sniff out top sellers' comment from helpful voiceover man at the end of day 1.  The idea was that they sold their products on Day 1 via the medium of tressle tables hastily assembled in the street to as closely resemble things that fell of a lorry as possible, and on Day 2, they restocked with the best sellers in a here today-gone tomorrow (literally) discount store in the Arndale centre.  For some reason the restock involved a lot of running to and around the warehouse, presumably because this show would fall apart if it didn't give the impression of everything being last minute, all the time.  The shops were branded with those nasty disposable signs you get on those shops that sell sheddable tinsel and felt Santa hats in the run-up to Christmas and the idea was that the teams 'pile em high' and 'sell em cheap'.  Given this show usually relies on 'mark-up as much as possible to respect the HOLY MARGINS' some of the contestants - notably Gary - were a bit confused by this.  Connexus had a shop called 'Discount Haven' whilst Versatile had 'Manchester's Discount Store', a pandering to local pride name that implies the whole thing was a stitch up from the start.  Perhaps.  It also looked like, on day 2,  both teams were selling very similar stock which makes day 1 seem a bit futile.  Such is this show, I guess.  LdSralan also lied that he wouldn't have cared this week if the PM sold anything or not.  Sure, Sugs, whatever you say.  The best-selling products, by the way, seemed to be phone chargers, should you wish to replicate this task at home.

2. Manchild(s), will you ever win? This series might be notable for MAN POWER but the men are becoming like little boys more and more each week (with the exception of Uncle Gary and Grandpa Brett).  We started out with Joseph whining that he didn't get to be PM despite the pitch of 'I really really really want to do it'.  He later, when selling ugly soft toys, declared that if he wasn't selling it, he'd be buying it. I'm wondering if the show is trying to make him some sort of idiot savant though, with last week's super special immunity for being a good boy, and this week's 'sell five items for £5' idea being shown as a key win for his team.  It's not just him though, we had David wanting to blow bubbles, Sam's 'MINE' approach to the catalogue when Selina wanted to have a look, just like your little brother being precious over who got to look at the toys page in the Argos catalogue first, Scott's general toys-out-of-pram antics (see later) and Richard's well... Richard, which we'll also return to.  It's unclear which, if any, is a potential winner at this stage (I am leaning towards Charleine taking it at the moment but we'll see).

3. Vana de cash generator.  Vana's edit has been a bit unclear so far - some weeks a motormouth moaner, others an under-the-radar goddess.  This week she was portrayed as a dynamic selling machine - she and Brett were basically credited with every good thing that happened in their team, and her skills even extended to selling in different languages.  Could we be seeing a potential winner here?  Would Sralan really let a forrin win the show?

4. Tricky Dicky.  Oh Richard, such an enigma.  He has been everything this series, from a grouchy villain to a misunderstood savant; from a bully to being bullied.  Tonight he was sidelined by Gary into rubbish jobs, got into a passive aggressive candle-off with Charleine, wore some 80s-dad pastel blue trousers (possbly jeans?), and skated around the shopping centre making fishing rod motions, twizzling his nipples, moonwalking and singing hoping it would attract customers.  Brett's snide 'He so reminds me of David Brent' finally utters one of the obvious but unsayable truths about the appeal of this show, ie everyone is like David Brent, every series.  Heck, Lee McQueen did a 'reverse Pterodactyl' and WON with that shit. Still, I can't see that being quite Richard's trajectory somehow.  I just hope he flames out massively rather than getting a lukewarm redemption arc and a 'with regret'.

5. Viva Versatile.  Despite Gary receiving a lukewarm PM edit (late to restock the shop, dithering over decisions, pricing too high), he led Versatile to a win. They priced their stock too high, selling things for £1.50 or £2 that you could get in Poundland for, you know, a pound.  This made Claude 'livid' apparently.  Oh, for the days when the advisors would raise an eyebrow or drop in a sly 'I'll leave that with you'. Claude also got snitty at Charleine trying to get a big discount from the wholesaler, even though if she'd succeeded, you know LdSralan would be all over that.  They won, allegedly due to their strategy of selling homewares, toys, and  candles.  However, for some reason, Charleine was rocking a one shoe on, one foot bare look during the set-up of their shop and  I can only assume this was some kind of good luck voodoo ritual that was actually responsible for the victory - coming out with a £1511.07 value (cash plus stock - Connexus's business value was £962.04)  because of having higher valued stock than the others despite having less cash.  They won a trip up the shard but all the innuendo of that one was bled out in previous years, so there's no fun to be had here.

6. What in the name of all that is sacred is this?

7. Justice4Selina.  For all the 'bitch edit' she has had both on and offscreen this series, this episode she looked like a total victim of everyone else's bullying.  She started the episode being snapped at when daring to suggest that going for electronics wouldn't necessarily attract a female customer base; when Sam asked her in the cab which products she'd want to buy and she asked to see the catalogue, he wouldn't let her have it; she got blamed when some stock fell off a table; she was criticised for being negative when Scott walked around with a face like a slapped arse all day, Sam floundered and Brett and Vana griped the whole time.  To ad insult to injury, Vana and Sam declared her responsible for all the things that are wrong in the entire world for no other reason than her being Selina.  Fortunately, she rose above it all, dissing Scott's sales failures on day 1 with a 'fortunately, me and Sam are picking up the slack.  Imagine if we were all shit' and doing a little dance, and then escaping being brought back into the boardroom after telling LdSralan she was a sensitive tortured soul.  Goddess.

8. Not-so-Great Scott. It started out badly with team Connexus as Scott went for selling electronics despite everyone in the team identifying the purchases they would make in discount stores as being cleaning products.  Sam and Scott had maths fail at the wholesaler's, which Sam was roundly blamed for.  They then took to selling products at a 'discount' from a price they'd never originally offered.  However, Scott was a pretty lousy PM throughout, snapping at his team mates every time they made a suggestion - and nearly always a better suggestion than his own ideas.  He snarked at members of the public with a 'yeah, yeah whatever' when they wouldn't buy from him, he pouted and stropped his way through the whole task, he decided Sam had no viable business plan (probably true, but still), he made up that Brett had offered to smash his face in to try and get Brett fired and he even eye-rolled and huffed at StLrdalan TO HIS FACE.  How Scott got away, er, Scott-free, was a mystery.

9. Quotes of the week:
'I wanna be fluent in Mancunian' (Vana)
'That's a nice box.' (Richard)
'You smell of roses, or even watermelon.' (Richard, to two older ladies.)
'You just wanna smash him all the time' (Charleine, on Richard)
'Richard keeps me going' (Charleine, on Richard again.  Feel the sexual tension)
'Do you feel comfortable misselling to the public?' (ethical Karren to team Connexus.  I don't know, Karren do you feel comfortable cutting the tax credits of the so-called working families your political party claims to represent?)
'It's going to be so vital to get customers into the shop.' (Yes, Sam.  Such a journey he's been on!)
'I want them in the centre because it'll form an orderly journey, it'll stop people being like ants.' (Gary)
'This is our toilet world.' (Gary)
'Does Jammy Dodgers go with washing powder?' (Gary again)
'Does this look alright?' (Joseph, putting braces over T-shirt).  'Looks stupid.' (Charleine).  *Leaves it as it is* (Joseph, who at one point managed to change the braces from a one-per-shoulder look to a crossed-over the back style)
'Discount Haven, right over there, next to Ann Summers'  (Varna, to an elderly chap, pointing at her bosom all the while.)
'It's Jelly Belly very cherry body wash.' (Brett)
'Your life will change if you have this.' (Vana - but what was this?  We never found out.)
'Everybody's got to self-preservate' (Brett)
'Do you fancy, when you move to London, getting a place round there Charleine?' (Richard) 'Yes, but not with you Richard' (Charleine).
'You are now the highest thing in Europe*' (*since the days of Trent and Pixie's Amsterdam odyssey in last year's Strictly) (Richard to Gary).
'I don't agree with the whole positive thing.' (mardy Scott)
'To be honest, I don't think people like to hear honesty.' (Brett)
'Throughout this whole process I've said that integrity was key.' (Oh, Sam)

10. Play it no more, Sam.  Oh my Sam.  You read TOLSTOY in the Apprentice mansion whilst the LADZ ON TOUR played cards and I like to think that was a deliberate attempt to troll LdSralan. You had no maths skills, no sales skills and no SRS BSNS attitude but your florid language, dreams of high culture tasks and love of everything that this show is not made you a very endearing watch.  Never mind, we'll always have Snottydink.

Next week!  Giving people food poisoning at kids' parties!  Well, that calamari from week one had to be used somehow.  Join Helen then!


Doodvid said...

Sublime, as always. The comment about Karren and the working tax credits had me guffawing in the style of Saira and Paul trying on a wolf print fleece circa 2005.

Rad said...

I miss the shopping channel task.