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The Apprentice: let’s go shopping!

8 Mins

It was reasonably similar to last week’s show: pick a few products then flog ‘em, this time during primetime.

Sir Alan says this is one of his favourite tasks: it’s about picking the right product for the right audience and then selling said products under intense pressure. He told us he was looking for someone with “business flair”.

Howard led the team comprising Lorraine and Kate while Yasmina and Debra had a mini spat over who would be team leader of the trio with James. Yasmina said this was something she really wanted to do but Debra “I want to be team leader every week” had a bit of a strop. The girl seems to be getting crankier and crankier as the weeks wear on.

Off they trotted to search for wares. James again showed how he likes to get very involved in product demonstrations, playing with the grabosourus (sp?) – a contraption to pick up leaves in the backyard – with the same gusto in which he pretended he was a pregnant lady giving birth in a birthing pool last week.

As expected, the real entertainment came when the teams did their on-screen rehearsals. Lorraine was, by her own admission, “absolutely awful”. Kate wasn’t much better. Howard, however, was really quite good. “The camera likes you,” insisted Lorraine, much to Kate’s disgust.

Kate, who’s obviously used to being the prettiest girl in the room and I’d put money on the likelihood that she harbours dreams of a career in front of the camera, didn’t like not being the TV superstar. To say she was put out is an understatement. Lorraine’s compliments towards Howard drew this statement from blondie: “Comments like that are disruptive to the team.” Careful now, Kate. Your business-minded, lovely, friendly girl-next-door façade is slipping.

I’ve always harboured doubts about Kate but this episode confirmed that she’s actually a bit of a bitch. They say Debra’s ruthlessly ambitious; I think Kate is exactly the same although she tries to hide it.

To products… Howard & co went for a pricey and disgustingly tacky “leather” jacket (the lining was polyester but the shell had 100% leather gold, silver or bronze leaves on it…words cannot describe how hideous it was); a low fat chip fryer for £139.99; a craft cat that you stick sequins into (*cough* *cough*) and a toy air guitar that was actually quite fun.

The other team’s items weren’t as ‘big ticket’. They took the grabosaurus, a polo poncho (100% polyester! Wow! Give me ten!), a remote control car and elasticised hairclips. Volume, not risk was the strategy (perhaps with the rocking horse debacle in mind).

And so with Sir Alan watching from his plush office, the cameras started rolling.

There were some early nerves from James but, to be honest, I thought he and Yasmina worked quite well together, selling the car and hair pieces. However, it was super saleswoman Debra who sold the show. She was a natural.

The other team did OK. But that was about it. Not outstanding, not groundbreaking. Just OK. Lorraine wasn’t as terrible as she threatened to be in the beginning and Kate amused everyone with her rock chick routine selling the toy air guitar.

But it turned out Howard et al actually did quite badly. They sold £1376.73 worth of stuff while the others moved products worth £1541.88. There were two chip fryers in it.

Special mention was made of Debra’s selling prowess. She apparently sold a tremendous quantity of ponchos (how? How??) and the channel said she was almost as good as a professional presenter. Debs… if life with Sir Alan doesn’t pan out the way you’d like, I reckon there’s a job at the shopping channel with your name on it.

The boardroom showdown could only be described as civil. In the café beforehand, Lorraine pledged to talk only about herself and not sling mud at her fellow competitors. “I’m I bow out, it will be with a bit of dignity and grace,” she said.

She stuck to her word even when Kate and Howard ganged up on her a bit. I tell you, I’m onto Kate’s game. And it seems so is Sir Alan. He told her she looked like a robot when she first came onto screen (the man speaks the truth!) and that, basically, she’s not as good as she thinks she is.

It was pretty clear who was going to go. Howard. The chap’s a grafter: very good organisational-wise and a nice bloke but with no business flair. Nick had him in his sights with some pretty pointed remarks: “You’re not a brave warrior… Your actions lack ambition… You’re not a big guy.” And then this from Sir Alan: “You’re a Steady Eddy.”

Howard…. You’re fired.

Interesting comment from Sir Alan right at the end; he basically said that in these tough economic times, he hasn’t got time for ordinary people.

During a recession, extraordinary personnel is the means to survival.

Five people left: four women, one bloke (James: “I feel like Hugh Hefner!” Catherine: [vomits a bit in her mouth]) It’s interview time next week and two will go. Who will it be? And what are the odds one of them will do a Lee?Do you agree with Sir Alan’s comments about ordinary people? Do you have time for such creatures in your organisation? Let us know using the comment button below.Related articlesThe Apprentice: babies and BenThe Apprentice: Sir Alan Sugar’s search continuesThe Apprentice: Pants Man gets the boot

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009
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