The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 4

The episode opens with a rare event…a morning off. Azhar, Adam, Ricky Martin and Nick are playing an interesting mix of ping-pong and running around before there is a phone call, and Duane rushes off to answer. Cars will be coming in 30 mins to take them to Chiswick Cinema. As they get ready, the candidates speculate on what the task could be – creating trailers or something to do with advertising? Nope, because that would make sense.

On the way there, Ricky Martin is complaining about Sterling being big headed after their win, and Katie agrees, stating that Nick and Duane need to be brought back down to earth. In the other taxi, Duane says that not everyone is contributing and they need to be exposed, and the camera cuts to Jane – clever editing?

Chiswick Cinema is apparently famed for its furniture and second hand goods. This is how it relates to the task – sell used goods and make the most profit. Sugar mixes the teams again, sending Jade to Phoenix and Ricky Martin to Sterling, the team he bitched about earlier on.

Sterling are contemplating refurbishing products. Jenna says that bins are the way to go, perhaps they could create a  “funky bin”. Didn’t she catch Duane’s EcoPress, the most fashionable and funkiest bin on the scene?

Duane wants to be PM again, but so does Laura. No one wants Duane and everyone else votes for Laura. Laura describes how

being an attractive businesswoman can have its ups and downs

but she is like a “Rottweiller”. Hmm. How lovely.

Tom is the PM for Phoenix. Tom says that “I’m only 23 years old” (Hope he won’t be like “I’m only 23” Alex from a few years back) and that he is a laid back and well rounded individual. He wants to focus on quality over quantity. Adam says that they should buy more more more. Oh and that Tom is wrong. Everyone is always wrong in Adam’s eyes – he likes to complain a lot. I await the day he becomes PM and does a sterling job (oop no pun intended).

Sterling are focusing on quantity on the other hand, or as Ricky Martin puts it

We’re selling crap and turning it into style.

Gabrielle is given the role of heading up the redesigning of the furniture, the creative soul that she is.

Back at the ping-pong table, the next morning Laura gives her team money to spend. She emphasises buying things to customise other objects with, like buttons! Elsewhere, Tom gives Katie, Adam and Stephen (KAS) £200, telling them to spend as little as possible. Minimising spend means maximising profit. They are unhappy at this, and later, Katie criticises Tom’s strategy and Adam says that they “are not miracle workers”.

KAS go to an auction at Greenwich and find it hard to buy things, restricted by the low money they were given. Nick says that they have

committed a number of mortal sins

for example, they didn’t ask for more money and they bid on 4 items and won 3, which was “foolish”. I wouldn’t exactly call that a “mortal sin” but I can see errors.

Adam, the forward thinking guy/idiot that he is goes to look at the auction house’s bins – it has finally come to this. Nick, wearing a trendy pair of sunglasses, cannot believe this, as Adam makes a swift exit with his team, failing to keep hold of the pans he picked up. After that, they criticise Tom some more, with Katie exclaiming

It’s like Tom wants us to lose!!!

Those sunglasses are well trendy

Contrast the two styles of the teams. Laura and Ricky Martin have located furniture to sell and are buying lots of things. Tom is looking at a variety of items at a car boot sale, and hating most of them. The important thing is that it isn’t what you want Tom, it is what people will buy. The segment ends with Tom breaking an item, and the rest of the team walk away without paying…or even apologising.

The concept for Sterling’s upcycling is “shabby chic”. Nick doesn’t know what “shabby chic” is – it is probably the stuff Tom dissed at the car boot sale. I am not sure whether anyone ever told Nick what “shabby chic” is – he might be left in the dark still. Gabrielle wants a brand or stamp on their furniture, which doesn’t sound very unique and sellable, especially if it is a vintage shop no? Karren is sceptical about their upcycling – it needs expertise, and money.

KAS head off to a junk shop as the pull out some things from the back of the shop that they think they could sell. Junk shop guy offers £50 for their things. Stephen cries out “We only have £25!!!”, then agrees to buy at £30. Junk shop guy tells the camera that the sub-team missed out on the good stuff (usually selling in the shop) and went for “absolute rubbish”. Meanwhile, in the taxi, Stephen is feeling a (misplaced) smugness about how they took the best stuff that was hidden in the back for a good price. he even goes as far to say that he should teach junk shop guy how to run his own shop. Boom.

Sensitive Ricky Martin exclaims “it smells vintage” as he ascends up the stairs with the team to collect things from a dead person’s flat (…) Duane is looking miserable, and has done for most of the task. Could it be due to not getting the PM role? It seems like a case of sour grapes and indicates a bad attitude when he doesn’t get his own way – not good in a team. Anyway, Duane is saying that he wouldn’t want to buy these things they collected from a dead person but it is free, quoting the well-known saying:

Don’t look a gift horse in the eye.

Damn, I have been getting it wrong all these years…

Gabrielle is getting into full flow with redesigning the stock. She has created a contraption that consists of a suitcase on chair legs, which doesn’t exactly look sturdy, or nice.

Gabrielle's suitcase on legs. It's er....different

Gabrielle's idea is similar to this - drawers on legs.
http://blog.jelanieshop.com/interior/oturakast-cabinet-by-rianne-koens/

Another invention is a suitcase on a ladder. Nick doesn’t understand the value of these things (and nor do I) but he has faith that Gabrielle knows what she is doing.

Setting up shop, Phoenix have opted for the minimalistic look (or a another way of saying that they didn’t buy enough). On Sterling, criticism falls on Gabrielle’s redesigns. Ricky Martin gates the Union Jack furniture, and Duane states that

it looks like I painted it, and I can’t paint

ooh.

The next day, the boys are discussing what to wear in Brick Lane, where they are selling. Duane worries that he is really old and doesn’t fit in. Nick laughs at him. Stephen just wants to look cool, but misses the mark somewhat.

Phoenix start off the day well – lots of interest and selling as Tom gets rid of an amaaaazing hole puncher. Woo. Sterling are running late as they try to get ready. Gabrielle tells Nick to scatter old leaves across the shop floor – possibly to fit in with “shabby chic”, but in reality looking more like a mess. Nick is sceptical about the stock, saying “I don’t buy this shit”. Will anyone else though?

When Sterling finally open, we are treated to some of Phoenix’s selling styles. Duane likes to compliment the customers, telling them that they are “cool”. Jane prefers to almost beg for a sale, and then raise hr voice to scare someone into buying. Is it working? Not quite. She shouts “WE COULD DO A DEAL!!! ARE YOU SURE?! (PLEASE COME BACK AND BUY FROM ME! I’M BEGGING YOU!!!)” as a person runs away from her.

Tom realises that he needs more stock and sends sub-team KAS to get more. They go to a new car boot sale or something like that, and a lady says that she will sell a blue thing for a pound if they promise to go away. Stephen thinks that he has scored a massive bargain, which is obviously due to his natural charm (ahem).

Laura decides to offer a 10% discount on Phoenix. A guy on a motorbike wearing a Union Jack jacket drives past. Surely he will want a Union Jack chair? Turns out not, but the discount does bring more people in, and Laura is confident about the day, and spouts out that

she will be pleasantly surprised about the profit.

I am guessing surprise but not sure if it will be a pleasant one…

Phoenix are doing well and Nick takes back his words and sneering, and compliments Tom and his team. That includes Stephen, who slickly makes a sale as he drops the bag, rips the bag and then forgets whether he has given the customer a receipt. Oh Stephen! Meanwhile, Adam is talking to some customers, one of them says  that it looks like the stock came from a skip. Adam laughs, knowingly.

Ricky Martin complains about the Union Jack things not selling and then deeming things with flags as “cheap and tacky”. He has done a lot of moaning in this ep, and not even in a funny way, nor has he contributed much. But he’s still called Ricky Martin.

Sterling attempt to sell the rest of their stock at extremely cheap prices, and are still floundering. Laura offers a glass table for a pound, but the lady says that she lives too far away to take the table with her. Gabrielle is attempting to sell as many things for a pound to a customer who has already bought a table, but he seems reluctant to. Desperate times indeed.

I am predicting a win for Phoenix this week, Sterling has put too much effort (and money) in redoing their stock, and cutting the price so dramatically may work against them. Tom hasn’t been the best PM but his strategy has worked and the team as a whole have done well (if you don’t count the constant sniping by Adam and Katie boo)

In the boardroom, Sugar is also failing to understand what “shabby chic” is, and deems the leaves-in-the-shop idea as making the shop look like

an Oxfam shop in the middle of a hurricane.

Why Oxfam?

He asks Sterling’s PM who was the best of selling, and Laura modestly answers “Me!”. Hmm.

Stephen talks about their “success” at the junk shop, and Adam lays into the shop design, saying it had a muddled concept. This provokes a strong defence from Jade and Sugar arguing that you do get minimalistic shops in the area. Adam then states that he doesn’t know Brick Lane well, as he retreats from his comments. Into a hole.

Results:
Phoenix made £1423.50, spent £360.10, making a profit of £1063.40.
Sterling made £1444.25, spent £660.76, making a profit of £783.51.

Phoenix win! And because the task involved vintage, Phoenix are rewarded with a 40s vintage party and a swing dancing lesson. Hmm 4 boys and 2 girls – how will this work? It turns out that it isn’t really a problem, as we see Tom wearing a dead fox around his shoulders. It is worrying that a cool and trendy guy owns something like this. Katie is forced to admit that Tom was a strong (although not good) PM and his risky strategy paid off after her first win. Jade is the only one with a 100% win record. Tom starts talking about his young age again and how brilliant he is.

At the cafe, Ricky Martin blames costings and design, Laura blames the materials as part of the design and Gabrielle blames the amount of stock bought. Gabrielle brings up this point again in the boardroom as Laura blames her for the loss. Gabrielle and Jenna attack Laura for lack of strategy or control. Jenna says that there weren’t give a budget and Ricky Martin points out that they bought a lot of stuff. Certainly, Sugar isn’t impressed, labelling their store as “a shop full of rubbish”. Interestingly, it turns out that Gabrielle and Jenna sold the most, with Jane only selling £10. Jane’s selling style is deemed aggressive but she rebrands this as “overenthusiasm”. Laura decides to bring back Gabrielle and Jane.

Laura is looking like a worse PM by the minute. Whilst she appears to have the style and speech of a good PM, she had no direction or plan like Tom did, even if his leadership style was not as polished as Laura’s. But hey, he is only 23. Gabrielle launches a powerful speech, much like she did in week 1, about how Laura didn’t contribute anything useful. Laura tells Sugar

I am successful in everything I do. Period.

Sugar rains on her parade and promptly adds that she wasn’t successful in this task.

Sugar babbles on about potential: he likes Gabrielle’s enthusiasm so she is staying. Laura was a bad PM but Jane hasn’t shown any spark, so she is fired. A tearful Jane in the taxi is momentarily lost for words before saying that she will be fine and that Sugar will regret firing hr. I don’t think Jane was at fault for the loss the task, I would say it was Laura’s fault, but Jane hasn’t really shone and she has had good opportunity to do so. So, on balance, maybe it was her time to go.

Scary Jane is fired

Next week, the teams are devising fitness classes – Azhar is in retro gym gear, Stephen’s Hip Swing (which looks dangerous) and I wonder is Ricky Martin will incorporate wrestling somehow…he hasn’t really contributed much so far…

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One thought on “The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 4

  1. Tom impressed me. For once, someone had a clear strategy, stuck to it and didn’t have to shout at people to get things done. He almost looked like a proper, professional businessperson!

    Laura was unimpressive. No direction, no structure, no leadership – just lots of empty words about succeeding at everything she does – which Sugar was quick to pull her up on, and rightly so. She’s just a glorified cheerleader, really.

    As for next week’s episode, MUST resist the temptation to make bad jokes about Ricky Martin shaking his bon bon. NO. It’s just too easy … 🙂

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2012/04/12/the-apprentice-season-8-episode-4-junk-shops/

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