The Apprentice Recap: Screw You, Lord Sugar
Welcome to our weekly recap of The Apprentice. This week, Lord Sugar invites the candidates to the former home of Samuel Johnson.
Samuel L Jackson, asks one candidate?
No, Samuel Johnson, says Sam. Our resident wordsmith would of course know who Samuel Johnson is. For those who don’t, he was an eighteenth century writer who basically founded the dictionary.
And what dictionary-related task has Lord Sugar got in store for the would-be Apprentices?
Why, selling products for pets at a pet show, of course! Samuel Johnson was ALSO a cat lover! How obvious – I can’t believe I didn’t see that one a mile off.
Here’s the statue of his cat, which is the second thing you think of when you hear the name Samuel Johnson (after, you know, thinking of Samuel L Jackson).
Since the girls’ team absolutely suck, Lord Sugar has decided upon mercy for Connexus and mixed up the teams again. Charleine, April and Vana will move over to Versatile; while Gary, Brett and Scott are to bat for Connexus.
My personal favourite Ruth is the first to pitch for Project Manager for Connexus, she says “I’ve sold exhibition space before. I know how to get people’s attention.”
However, Scott is also quick to make his mark on his new team, also pitching for PM.
“I have a little dog,” says Scott.
SCOTT FOR PM, cries Brett. And the group follow suit. Sorry, Ruth.
On the other team, there’s no argument. David is “really passionate” about this task. He doesn’t mention if he is a pet owner or even if he has any skills useful for the task. But he does “really want it”, so that’s enough.
Next, choosing the products.
David makes his mark as PM by immediately suggesting Versatile should sell human products at the pet show. T-shirts always sell at any event ever, he insists.
Let’s go and meet the sellers and see some awesome products for pets, then.
She’s modelling a high visibility jacket for chickens, and she’s pretty adorable.
“Is it about protecting the chicken crossing the road?” says Vana.
Henrietta doesn’t think much of the joke.
Next up, the t-shirts have arrived.
As expected, no one is more enthusiastic than David, the world’s biggest t-shirt fan.
“You can wear them with anything!” he gushes to the supplier, “you’re wearing it with jeans and I’m wearing it with a suit!”
And doesn’t that combo look fetching?
Meanwhile, Connexus PM Scott tells Brett he needs to be to-the-point and ask the suppliers plenty of questions with no waffle – a task Brett takes too much to heart.
Brett basically terrifies the poor eco-friendly poop bag guys with the sort of questioning technique usually seen in Prime Minister’s Question Time (before Corbyn’s new Question Time, that is).
Meanwhile, the other halves of the teams are off to the Excel to pick up some high-end products to sell at the convention. Get ready guys, this is going to be Harrods pet store worthy.
I introduce: luxury sofas for dogs.
Fit for the Queen’s corgis themselves, we have the ultimate luxury for your puppy pals. Sam and April are immediately entranced, and then share tales of man’s best friend.
Then there’s customisable cat towers.
These are undeniable awesome, and a proven high-seller. While they’d expect to sell 10 of these products, which sell for between £400 and £600, a day, one time they sold a whopping 19.
“19!” exclaims a shocked Gary.
Now to decide which high end products to buy. In Versatile, David says go for the dog sofa, while Charleine says we can sell more cat towers.
As is always the case whenever Charleine says anything, she is immediately overruled.
In Connexus, the girls suggest buying the a rabbit mansion (sorry, high quality hutch) over the customisable cat tower. The majority of the group’s opinion is not enough for PM Scott however, and he asks only man in the group Gary for his opinion instead.
Gary says cat towers.
Looks like it’s cat towers then.
Back in the less exciting products for animals room, we see a microwaveable cushion for all animals (but mainly slavedriver cats).
There’s also a toy for cats with a cool LED light.
However, everything else is blown out of the water though by…
THE MOST INCREDIBLE BALLOONS I’VE EVER SEEN. DAVID LIKES THEM. I LOVE THEM. EVERYONE LOVES THEM. APPARENTLY THEY SELL LIKE CRAZY. I NEED ONE IN MY LIFE.
I need one of these little guys in my life. It’s like having a pet, but short-term, cleaner and requiring no responsibility. Perfect.
Next to view the balloons is Connexus. Brett does his unenthusiastic questioning. I am thoroughly appalled. They are in no way deserving of the wonder that is those balloons.
ANYONE COULD BE MORE ENTHUSIASTIC THAN CONNEXUS.
However, they still see that the balloons are clearly a huge seller, and Connexus decide they want the balloons and heatmats.
Versatile want the balloons and t-shirts (obviously, as David was PM).
Gee, I wonder who will the supplier will pick…
Connexus are forced to go for the LED cat toy instead.
Meanwhile, I’m really upset this pet show has already happened. I want a balloon…
It’s the day of the convention, which is what the task is about. Not the balloons. They’re selling stuff.
I’ve been unsure about Scott during The Apprentice so far, but he really is in his element selling cat towers. He seems to be having absolutely no problem selling these very expensive items. Need a sales assistant, Harrods?
Not everyone is having Scott’s level of success however. Selina nearly jeopardises her sale by admitting she can’t do maths and asking Scott for help (in turn, damaging Scott’s chances of making a sale).
Meanwhile, the balloons are selling themselves.
Brett and Connexus are doing a little show on the brilliance of their cat toys to drum up sales.
This is Santosh the cat, who likes Brett about as much as I do.
It’s all going swimmingly, until Brett forgets where their stall is located. You know, the ENTIRE POINT OF THE DISPLAY.
Apparently it still leads to a surge in sales though. There’s probably not much crossover between pet lovers and cynical television recappers.
The other half of their team, apart from Scott, is having less success.
Ruth in particular is struggling to make sales. So far, she’s made none, but no one will say it was for lack of trying.
Actually, some might say it was for trying too hard.
“What she needs to do is shut up a little bit more and sell that product!” says a frustrated Claude.
Versatile’s Richard has made a dog sofa sale and he’s suddenly in a fantastic mood.
“I think people like my cheeky chappie style,” he exclaims, demonstrating no understanding of what that term actually means.
On the other team, cat tower sales are dwindling and Selina’s ready to call it a day.
It’s time for the boardroom! Who will emerge triumphant?
PM for Versatile, David, is up first. He admits the balloon selling was completely chaotic, and too many people were selling the lowest margin product.
With a manner I can only describe as trying to get your schoolmate told off, Charleine immediately butts in and says the cat towers statistically sold more than the dog beds but Richard still picked the dog beds to sell as Versatile’s high-end product.
You can’t blame her for the sudden outburst of resentment, as no one ever listens when she speaks.
The Connexus team are next and get grilled over their unenthusiastic, accusatory tactic for landing products, which… didn’t land products.
They also discuss their lack of sales. Namely, Ruth’s lack of sales.
Scott clearly likes Ruth because this is The Apprentice and he doesn’t take the very easy opportunity to throw her under a bus here.
Connexus made £1221.20 on cat toys and heatpads, and £1807.20 on their cat towers, making a respectable £3028.40.
Versatile made £1589.50 on balloons and T-shirts, and £2462.12 on dog sofas, netting them an even better £4051.62.
Versatile win an Olympic training session with none other than Mo Farah!
Now, I love Mo as much as every other Brit, but I think I’d rather go back to the boardroom than run alongside one of the fastest and fittest men in the world…
Meanwhile, Connexus are back in misery cafe again. Perhaps they should consider permanently reserving a table?
Whose fault was the loss? They re-hash all their problems: not getting the balloons, Ruth’s complete lack of sales…
Lord Sugar basically repeats them. We know what the problems are at this point. Ruth’s selling, Selina’s laziness and Brett’s terrifying questioning of suppliers
Lord Sugar brings up Ruth’s day job and suddenly EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE. Non-stop talking and that dress sense? She works in telephone sales!
Scott decides to bring Selina and Ruth back into the boardroom. Brett gets a lucky escape.
Finally, Selina emerges like a very hungry tiger shaken from a nap, turning angrily on Scott and Ruth. She’s frustrated she is sitting there when both Ruth and Gary (who joined the high-end sales task later in the day) made no sales. She’s proud of her one sale.
Then, in a weirdly self-discriminatory way, Selina says Scott is crap because he picked her to be in the high-margin product sales team.
Lord Sugar can’t get past Ruth being a sales trainer who couldn’t sell anything, however.
NOOOOOOOOOOO RUTH IS FIRED!
And Selina gets a last chance? Even though Claude and Karren apparently dislike her as much as I do? And, if you didn’t realise, that’s dislike WITH A FIERY PASSION.
What the hell! Screw you, Lord Sugar.
The Apprentice airs Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One. This wholly unsatisfying episode is also available on BBC iPlayer.