Sales & Marketing

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The Apprentice: babies and Ben

7 Mins

(That’s the technical term for tired, by the way.)

The teams – led by Lorraine and James by virtue of the fact their loins have produced fruit – had to source two products and sell it at The Baby Show in Earl’s Court, a hothouse of fecundity that draws thousands of parents and soon-to-be parents with an eye for a bargain.

The task allowed James to wax lyrical on pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood in front of his Empire minions, Debra, Yasmina and Ben. My particular favourite comment of his was about breastfeeding. Apparently if a lady isn’t comfortable, the taps get turned off (turned off! I tell you). We also heard that the presence of a Play Station 2 in the birthing unit would have made his wife’s labour more interesting for him. James – do you have a brother?

Lorraine’s team – Ignite, the other members of which were Kate and Howard – elected to peddle the pop-up pushchair and a child protection cap for the paranoid parent.

James’s team went with a inflatable birthing pool (is it just me or do those things gross you out?) and a rocking horse that retailed at – wait for it – between £1700 and £4000. With no room for bargaining.

Hmmmmm.

You can see why Empire opted for the rocking horse (aside from Debra’s deep, abiding love for it. Makes me think *someone* didn’t have a pony when she was younger). However, it was a risky strategy. If just one person buys the thing, you’re in. If no one buys, you’re going to have to shift an awful lot of birthing pools (second question about birthing pools: once you’ve popped out your sprog and cleaned it [the pool, not the sprog], can you use it as a paddling pool?)

There was the usual moment of drama ahead of the selling; in this case it was Ignite stressing about someone else with their pushchair at the expo. But it wasn’t really that dramatic, kind of like the episode, really.

There were also the usual cringe-worthy moments. Most of them came from Lorraine and her inability to grasp the concept of her collapsible chair. Honestly, Lorraine, I would have thought you’d have mastered this before the event. Spent the night before practising putting the chair up and down? But no…

It was pretty clear who was going to win. There was another moment of near drama when Debra came THIS close to selling a rocking horse. But the bloke wanted £214 off the asking price and she couldn’t give it to him. In the boardroom it was revealed that Empire posted sales of £722 while Ignite’s were over £1600. Lorraine, who in previous episodes has been cocky and combative, was demure and slightly nervous in this boardroom appearance, then humbled and clearly very relieved to have won. She also attracted the praise of her peers for stellar team leadership.

Sir Alan was also a changed man. He was rather subdued, seemed a little tired and a little worn out by the boardroom. Could this be the beginning of the end?

A man who wasn’t changed was Ben. Now, my thoughts on this chap are well documented and I stand by what I’ve said in the past. This week he was, again, bolshy, arrogant and he spouted the same sort of rubbish we’ve regularly heard from him for the past two months or so. I mean, he brought up the bloody army scholarship. Again! I don’t know whether this puff from Ben is because that’s who he really is or whether he’s hiding behind this bravado because he’s just a scared little boy. Either way, it’s annoying.

James played the “I’m a good, people-person kinda guy” card, while Debra did her line in ruthless, take-no-prisoners cow. In the end. Suralan decided that despite the fact Margaret and Nick despise Debra, it was Ben he could deal with no longer (praise the lord!). So he gave him the boot after telling him: “I think you think quite a lot of yourself”.

*snigger*

Then, surprisingly, there was some emotion from old mate. The man of Sugar revealed this was not a “nice” decision. He even praised Ben, saying the lad “done [sic] alright to get to this stage”.

All-in-all it was a ho-hum episode. The task wasn’t inspiring and not even Sir Alan could muster up some enthusiasm. Next week sees the candidates going all ‘home shopping channel’ on us, which should prove more entertaining. I’ve always wanted to appear on one of those shows…

Related articlesThe Apprentice: Sir Alan Sugar’s search continuesThe Apprentice: the tale of the seer, the strongman and the snitchThe Apprentice: Pants Man gets the boot

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Wednesday, 20 May 2009
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