I am Womad, hear me bore.
Hello everyone. Just before we start, I should probably announce that Original Flavour Monkseal is indisposed this week, what with it being office party season and the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final. So instead you’ve got me, Occasional Guest Recapper Steve, to guide you through this week’s happenings on Apprentice Babies. I can only hope that I will live up to the standards set by the great Monkseal himself, and also hope that Lucy Beauvallet doesn’t get fired this week, because if he ends up missing his last chance to recap her amazing adventures, he’ll be most displeased.
Anyway, let’s get on. Interestingly, we pick things up with the remaining candidates at 4pm, as Andrew and Steven return from the boardroom, their bromance presumably in tatters. (Or is it?) Lucy Beauvallet gives Steven a big hug, and Ashleigh does the same for Andrew, while Maria and Patrick hang back a bit, preferring not to indulge in the obvious weakness of human empathy. They settle down for the usual bout of lolling on sofas while the recent returnees try to make themselves seem less pitiful than they actually did in the boardroom, but little do they know that this is far from an ordinary afternoon, because the Sugarmobile is on its way. As Maria talks about how much they all want to win, there’s a knock on the door and Steven gets up to answer it, giving him a crucial last-minute lead in Phone-Answering/Door-Opening/Tablet-Holding Wars, as the stats stand as follows:
Steven : 2
Andrew : 1
Ashleigh : 1
Lucy Beauvallet : 1
So that’s Phone-Answering Wars now officially joining “the entire show” in the List Of Things Patrick And Maria Probably Shouldn’t Expect To Win. Mind you, I didn’t think Tom or Ricky Martin were going to win either, so you should probably not place any large wagers directly inspired by my expertise. Obviously, it’s Lordalan, Nick and Kaen at the door, with Lordalan gruffly barking “hello!” and Steven hilariously purring “oooh, heeelllllooooooo” back at him like Frankie Howerd on a phone sex line. The reactions of the others are equally brilliant: Andrew’s jaw drops open so far that you almost expect the tiny man that’s been controlling him for the past eight weeks to emerge waving a tiny white flag, while Maria decides that the appropriate response to the arrival of your potential benefactor is to booty-tooch. Ashleigh and Patrick take their time, but also manage to muster minimal enthusiasm.
Lordalan tells the remaining sextet that for their next task, they’re going to be selling useless crap at a festival. I believe that’s one of the skills listed under the job specifications for the role of A&R for Mumford and Sons. Anyway, festivals bring £1bn of business into this country’s economy, because people go there “not just to listen to the music, but to actually go and buy things off the stalls”. Are there really people who go to festivals with the specific intention of paying well over market rate for quasi-holistic tat? Actually, there probably are. Lordalan tells the candidates that they must treat this as though it’s their own business (presumably right up to the point where they’ll have to jack it all in immediately if their mum thinks they’re falling behind on their homework), and he’s going to give each team £1500 seed money. Quite possibly for literally buying seeds with, since it’s a festival. So this is going to be one of those tasks where it’s not just the amount of profit you make on the day that determines the winner, but also the value of the stock you still have in hand at the end that you can potentially go on to sell later, so “the team with the largest amount of assets wins”. As opposed to last week, when the team with the largest amount of asshats won. Lordalan then informs them, Columbo-style, that there’s just one more thing: two members from the losing team will be fired to give us our final four.
Maria interviews that the reality of two people getting fired makes her feel “slightly uneasy”. That’s quite the accomplishment for her self-belief, considering it should really be making her feel like there is an enormous target on her back, since she can’t just rely on having Patrick on her team as a firing-cushion any more. Andrew’s worried that only one person will survive from the losing team, but he’s confident that he’s going to win. After all, he’s been on the losing team five weeks out of six, the law of averages means he HAS to win this week, right? Right? Guys? Hello? Steven, on the other hand, interviews that he’s desperate to win because he’s pretty sure that’s the only way he’s making the finals. Well, at least we know who the sensible one is in that relationship. I bet Steven does all the cleaning and makes sure they never run out of toilet paper as well.
Over some shots of My Own Personal Hell – otherwise known as a festival – we’re informed that there are over 800 festivals each year in the UK, and Lordalan has secured the teams pitches at world music festival Womad. Back at the house, everyone’s changed their clothes, but the teams themselves are unchanged from last week, so Ashleigh, Maria and Patrick (white shirt with a fishes-and-feathers pattern on it, some sort of cravat inside his collar, navy formal shorts) are on Platinum, while Andrew, Steven and Lucy Beauvallet are Wetsuit Kimono. We go to Platinum first of all, where Maria asks if any of them have actually heard of Womad. Surprise! None of them actually have, although they make the fairly reasonable assumption that it sounds “folksy” and “like a farmer’s market”. Over on Wetsuit Kimono, there are glum faces all round as Lucy Beauvallet establishes that she and Andrew have never been to a music festival before. Steven has been to a couple, but never one that’s “middle-agey”. I hope this means that they’ve totally misunderstood their market and are expecting to turn up to some sort of Renaissance Fair-type festival, armed with a Drench-a-Wench booth and some homemade Orange Omelettes for Harlots and Ruffians.
Time to decide who should be PM: Steven throws his hat into the ring because he thinks Lordalan wants to see him be more serious (so I guess that means either Lucy Beavallet or Andrew has to be the Motley Fool at the Ren Fair), while Lucy Beauvallet is also quite keen to manage this one, meaning Andrew gets the casting vote. Steven invokes the history of their epic bromance by twitching his eyebrows at Andrew suggestively (♥), but Andrew is not the sort to mix business with pleasure and votes for Lucy, because she won as PM last time she tried it. Presumably this means their stall will be called #Gode Tymes. Over on Platinum, Patrick and Ashleigh both want to be PM, meaning that Maria has to decide. Oh, this should end well. Maria’s clearly leaning towards Ashleigh, presumably on the grounds that she doesn’t want to be stood in the middle of a field trying to encourage people to buy wetsuit kimonos (although: does the other team own the intellectual property of Wetsuit Kimono at this point? So many questions), though she phrases it slightly more diplomatically by saying that she has more confidence in Ashleigh when it comes to pricing. Ashleigh, bizarrely, points out that it’s not really her turn as she’s already done it twice (prompting Maria to go increasingly bug-eyed as she insists that it’s NOT ABOUT WHOSE TURN IT IS, CHRIST ALIVE ASHLEIGH WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABORT ABORT ABORT) so if Patrick’s really confident he can win, then maybe he should be PM after all as long as she can have an active role in the accounting side of things. Patrick and Ashleigh shake on this, while Maria scowls in the background. She then interviews that she’s worried about Patrick being PM because she’s worked with him before and he’s a SHEEP, not a LEADER. Yeah, in week one, the wetsuit kimono was totally Andrew’s idea. Patrick was POWERLESS TO RESIST!
As is expected at this point, Lordalan has laid on a mini-expo of eight products for the two teams to attempt to sell at Womad, of which they must select two each. Patrick and Maria head off to view the products for Platinum, with Maria twitching like a werewolf right before a full moon at Patrick’s mere presence in the car. Meanwhile, Ashleigh is going to do – yep, you’ve guessed it – Market Research. She calls Patrick to say that if she were going to a music festival, she’d only have enough money for “food and essentials” (surely Ashleigh would just pack enough jam-and-cheese sandwiches for the weekend before she left?), while Patrick says that he’s planning on not choosing products that relate to the festival itself in any way. By normal earth logic this sounds like a terrible idea, but this is The Apprentice and that’s the sort of thinking that’s probably going to win them this task. Ashleigh hopes Patrick and Maria listened to what she said and aren’t just going to come back with something useless and irrelevant. Well, they’ll be coming back with each other, so…
In North London, at the Netto equivalent of the Dragons’ Den studios, the eight products are lined up to be viewed by the teams. The first item they look at is a solar-powered fan hat at £10 a throw: Maria thinks this would be useful on a hot day, but Patrick points out the downside: you would have to wander around looking like a right choad. Patrick carefully crafts his ensemble piece by piece each morning, Maria! He can’t just go around throwing cheap hats on willy-nilly! Meanwhile, Lucy Beauvallet is trying to get the hat to work by holding it up to a lightbulb, until Kaen informs her icily that “solar-powered” means “powered by the sun”. Don’t forget: these are the brightest minds of the future! We are so very fucked. Next, Lucy Beauvallet and Steven looks at animal-themed onesies (RRP £40). Urgh. I loathe onesies, they’re just a bit too 15-Stone Babies for my personal comfort. Lucy Beauvallet and Steven quite like them, while Patrick and Maria instantly dismiss them as crap. I can’t help worrying when my personal believes fall quite this closely in line with Patrick’s and Maria’s. Next up are springy-trainers (basically a bog-standard set of trainers with Oscar Pistorius’s blades underneath them for extra instability), retailing at £100 plus whatever you’ll have to pay out in later life for extensive ankle surgery that won’t be covered by what’s left of the NHS at that point. Steven tries them on. “Can you walk in them?” asks Lucy Beauvallet, nervously. “Yeah! Really easy to,” replies Steven, right before the obligatory Miranda-style pratfall.
Maria and Patrick look at a £70 umbrella that doubles as a portable seat, then find some vegan face paint kits (£24) that they both agree are perfect for their market because they’re “all holistic” and that. “But you can go to so many high street shops and get that for much cheaper,” cautions Maria. I wait for someone with any sense to reply “not when you’re in the middle of a bloody field, you goon”, but since my only options are Patrick and Nick, I’m naturally shit out of luck there. Lucy Beauvallet and Steven examine a portable toilet (£20), which is basically a cardboard box with a hole in the top and…some liner bags and some fresh wipes? I don’t entirely understand the workings of it, but it really doesn’t strike me as a much more appealing option than festival toilets, given that you’d end up having to dispose of your own excrement.
Meanwhile, for reasons best known to…nobody, Andrew is doing research in a shopping centre in Wood Green. I can give you no plausible explanation as to why he has chosen this location – as far as I know it’s not like it’s just around the corner from their house or anything, and while I suppose the name could be misleading, there is nothing leafy about Wood Green. So he attempts to ask passers-by what they’d most like to buy should they find themselves in the middle of a field: the vast majority walk right on past while flipping him the bird, while the few who do stop reply “what’s a field?” Honestly, this is just pitiful. It makes Melody and Leon hovering around the Paris Metro asking “Avez-vous une voiture? Non? Est-ce que vous détestez les sacs-a-dos? Oui? Ah, bon!” look like a masterclass in finding your target audience.
Ashleigh, on the other hand, has correctly presumed that she’ll be far more likely to find crusty festivalgoers hovering around Camden Lock Market. She stops a guy with a killer mohican and asks if he’s ever been to a festival. He responds in the affirmative, and she replies “of course.” Heh. When asks what he spends most of his money on at festivals, he replies “beer”, to which Ashleigh replies “stupid question.” Camden Stereotype gets a rather cross look on his face, like he’s just realised he’s being filmed for the sole purposes of being a Camden Stereotype and now he’s wondering where it all went wrong. Another couple of guys tell her they’d buy ponchos if it was raining, as Ashleigh interviews that this invaluable market research will help her advise Patrick and Maria which products to go for. And if that all sounds far too sensible, of course it is, because Patrick and Maria have already decided they want the seat umbrella and the portable toilet, and they’re going to book the appointments for those first and then ring and tell Ashleigh that’s what they’ll be doing. Because Ashleigh really strikes me as the sort of person who loves to find out they’ve wasted a morning on pointless busywork. So after Ashleigh finishes talking to another Camden Stereotype (wherein she learns that he wants “handcrafted” products and no corporate sponsors – smash the system!), Patrick and Maria call her to inform her that her efforts have been entirely worthless. Ashleigh is, understandably, quite peeved by this, though Maria just declares that she’s “causing a drama” rather than, y’know, raising a legitimate grievance. Whatever line of business Maria ends up in, I hope she hires a really good Human Resources manager, because I have a feeling she’s going to need one.
So, Ashleigh is frustrated that her market research has been deemed totally irrelevant…and speaking of which, Andrew’s still in a mall in Wood Green. He calls Steven and Lucy Beavallet to inform them that despite having his nose in the dirt all morning, he’s not unearthed any truffles, so he just asks them to tell him about the products. Steven tells him about a self-powered washing machine (RRP £60), which Andrew thinks will go down well with the “glamping” crowd. Apparently Andrew’s been glamping before. That paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it? Steven and Lucy Beauvallet also like the onesies and the portable toilet, which Steven explains to Andrew thusly: “it’s a cardboard box, you attach like doggy bags to it, you do your dump, and then take the doggy bag out and put it in the bin or whatever.” Well, if that’s his sales pitch, they can’t lose. So the portable toilet is a definite yes, and now it’s between the onesies and the washing machine. Lucy Beauvallet points out that the portable toilet goes well with the washing machine (yeah, if anyone doesn’t buy the toilet, they can go back to them later after they’ve soiled themselves and offer to sell them a washing machine). Andrew agrees that it increases the “comfortability” of camping, which is what everyone complains about.
So now it’s time to meet with the manufacturers, and everyone’s talking figures. Lucy Beauvallet is hoping they can offer £1000 for 100 toilets. Over on Platinum, Ashleigh thinks the portable toilet is the crucial item to snag “because we’re going to sell a lot of them”. Patrick tells her that they’re going to go for 80 toilets, and he wants Ashleigh to try to get them for £10 apiece or less. Trainee accountant Ashleigh spots that this gives her a budget of £800 maximum, and is concerned that the other team might be offering more. Patrick informs her that he knows that, but he’s worked out the best budget and that’s what he’s decided, SO THERE. Somehow I suspect this isn’t quite how Ashleigh pictured having an active role in the financial side of things for this task. Lucy Beauvallet calls Andrew and tells him he’s going to see the washing machine manufacturer at 1:30pm, and Andrew groans and asks if he can’t go to the toilet one instead. Lucy Beauvallet tells him no, because that’s the one they’re buying most of and the one they’re most excited about. Andrew grouses that he’s excited about that one too, though. I think the problem here is that (spoiler) the six candidates may be hogging the UK’s entire allocation of excitement over a cardboard shitter, and there’s not going to be any left for the festivalgoers. Lucy Beauvallet says she thinks the other team will be trying to get this one too, so she as PM wants to be there to ensure that Wetsuit Kimono wins the rights to sell the toilet. Andrew acquiesces, wishing them luck and saying “get those portable toilets!” Lucy Beauvallet and Steven assure them that they will, with all the doomed confidence of Team Rocket trying to snag a Pikachu for the 98th time.
After a weak gag from the narrator about both teams being “desperate for the loo”, RDRR, Steven and Lucy Beauvallet go in to meet the investor, with Steven leading the negotiations for Wetsuit Kimono. Steven goes straight in with the numbers, asking what the retail price is (£20), and what the wholesale unit price is (oh ho ho, well, that depends, you’ll have to make me an offer, how long is a piece of string?). The inventor of the portable toilet looks like a slightly taller Dominic Littlewood, and has a personality to match. In a bid to nail down some firm numbers, Steven asks what sort of deal he could do for 10 units. Toilet Man huffs that 10 units would hardly be worth the bother, but he could do £11.94 each for 10. Steven asks what it would cost to get 100, and this time the very best price would be £9.95. Steven asks if he could do £8.50 each for 100, and gets a very firm no. He asks what the maximum number of toilets he can get for £900 is, and Toilet Man says he can have 80 for £828, or 90 for £932.40. A bit of cursory maths reveals that there are no savings to be made by going for 90 rather than 80, because it essentially works out to a unit price of around £10.35 either way, so really it’s just going to come down to how many Steven and Lucy Beauvallet think they can sell. Steven asks if there’s any way at all “you can just cut the 32 quid off” and give them 90 for £900. Toilet Man laughs in his face. Having apparently mistaken this for the Felicity Jackson memorial you-must-negotiate-at-least-one-penny-off task, Steven asks if they could have 90 toilets for £930, earning them a saving of £2.40, and Toilet Man hems and haws before saying that he could probably do that, but he also has a meeting booked with the other team so he can’t give them a definite answer either way yet anyway. “If you feel like they’re enticing you more, chuck that two quid back on,” says Steven magnanimously. The camera swooshes to Kaen, who’s pulling her very best did-that-actually-just-happen face. Toilet Man says, under the circumstances, it might not actually be worth haggling over £2.40. Kaen grumbleterviews that even though this was Lucy Beauvallet and Steven’s top product, they got caught up in the minutiae of negotiating for a price that the vendor wasn’t going to shift on, and as a result they forgot to act interested in the product, which as we all know is a mortal sin, so unless Ashleigh asks for a demonstration and then empties the contents of the portable toilet over the man’s head, Wetsuit Kimono are probably going to have to go with their plan B.
Before we can get to Ashleigh’s inevitable triumph, however, we must see Andrew engaging with the footpump-powered washing machine. (Interesting, the voiceover refers to it as a “washer-drier”, which will be important later.) The inventor demonstrates it for Andrew, showing how to spin and stop the machine and how it’s just like a normal washing machine. Andrew enthuses how it will “add to the glamping experience.” Then Maria and Patrick head over to pitch for the umbrella seat, with Patrick asking to buy 28 of them for £700. Remember the RRP for this was £70, and this would mean Platinum were paying £25 per umbrella. I think even Yasmina, Goddess of the Holy Margins, is looking down from her celestial cloud at this and thinking “I can’t see him going for that.” The rather flustered-looking inventor says he can’t do 28 for that price, but he could do 18 (which would make them £38.89 each). Patrick asks if they could do 23, and the inventor says that would be well beneath his usual price. Patrick and Maria go for a two-pronged attack, with Patrick taking “getting it out there to a whole new audience” and Maria swiftly following that up with “30,000 tickets have been sold!” The inventor mulls this over, at least. Pairing Maria and Patrick up might have been a smart idea – I can see people agreeing to whatever ridiculous demands they make just so they’ll go away.
Finally, Ashleigh goes to meet Toilet Man, and succeeds where Steven failed by (a) getting a demonstration and (b) actually looking interested. Clearly Toilet Man likes her a lot more. Ashleigh schmoozes him a bit about how much they want it, and then gets down to figures. She tells him she’s got £800 and wants 100 toilets, which she thinks is reasonable, “considering I’m ordering 100.” Toilet Man points out that it’s not reasonable to him, but the jovial manner in which he does so suggests Ashleigh’s in no danger of wearing out her welcome just yet. Presumably a fair bit of unseen bartering goes on before Ashleigh ups her offer to £10 each for 80 toilets. Once again, Toilet Man tells Ashleigh he can’t give her an immediate decision, but he says that he loves her enthusiasm for the product.
Waiting. Tension. The Wetsuit Kimono phone rings, and it’s Toilet Man (at which point we learn that his name is Michael and his company is called The Brown Corporation. A bit of googling reveals that the portable toilet appears to be branded the Shit Box, so I suppose that explains why he’s so keen for people to be enthusiastic about it). To increase the TENSION, we cut to Maria and Patrick answering Ashleigh’s call, as she tells them that Wetsuit Kimono have offered him more money. However, we then cut back to Wetsuit Moneybags where Toilet Man says “although your presentation was very well put together”, and Lucy Beauvallet immediately slaps her forehead because she knows what this means. He’s decided to go with Team Platinum, because they were just that little bit more enthusiastic about the product. They hang up, and Lucy groans “oh god” while Steven kicks it pre-watershed style: “Bottoms!” Then we see Ashley telling Patrick and Maria that they landed 80 toilets at £10 each because “because of me enthusiasm and personality.” So essentially if the accountancy thing doesn’t work out for Ashleigh, she’s going straight on to the stand-up comedy circuit. Patrick tells her that they got the umbrella seat man down to £30.40 per unit, which according to my sums means they got 23.02 umbrellas. I’m sure that two per cent of an umbrella seat will be the clincher when Lordalan comes to count Ver Assets at the end of the task. Ashleigh is proud of them all for getting everything they wanted within their budget, especially since they beat the spendthrifts over on Wetsuit Kimono.
Speaking of which, Andrew is standing in the street holding a portable washing machine, so I think we know that his pitch went well. Lucy Beauvallet calls to break the bad news, insisting that it’s totally fine because they can still win this! The expression on Andrew’s face begs to differ. Andrew managed to get 16 washing machines at a wholesale price of £35 (making a total spend of £560, meaning that Lucy Beauvallet and Steven now have £940 to spend one bloody onesies). Andrew hangs up and sighs “dash!” I am loving the PG-rated cursing in this episode. It’s all very Downton Abbey meets Dennis The Menace. As the Wetsuit Kimono Apprenticar rolls on, Steven laments not asking for a demonstration of the Shit Box (although he probably did the right thing in not asking for it in precisely that fashion) since he thinks that’s where they lost the guy.
At 4pm, Lucy Beauvallet and Steven have a last-minute meeting with the onesie lady, who’s every bit as irritatingly twee in her appearance as you’d expect. Lucy Beauvallet enthuses about how they REALLY like them (just not enough to make their initial shortlist), especially the fact that there are adult and kid sizes, and the inventor points out that some grown women wear the children’s sizes as a “petite” size, because some people really are just that awful. We see Lucy Beauvallet clinching a deal for 41 onesies (which, if she spent all her remaining money, means she paid around £23 wholesale per onesie), and interviews that she was disappointed to miss out on the Shit Box, but the onesies have a great margin and should be easy to sell. This is where a crossover with America’s Next Top Model would come in handy, because I bet Lucy Beauvallet could use some Excite-To-Buy Intoxibella power right now. Coupled with Andrew’s obvious 30-Never power, they’d be unstoppable. (And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, the answers are all in Tyra Banks’s young adult novel Modelland. I wouldn’t recommend actually reading it, because it’s ATROCIOUS, but the answers are in there all the same.)
6am the next day, the candidates get up early to endure the 100-mile drive to Womad. Maria tells Patrick and Ashleigh that confidence is key. Lucy Beauvallet interviews that she and “the boys” really want to win this task, so they’re “literally just going to put a hundred and fifteen million percent into it”. The misuse of “literally” alongside a clear abuse of percentages puts that in the running for the most reality-TV thing anyone has ever said. All it was missing was a “fustrating”, or possibly an “I’m not here to make friends.” On the way, Andrew amuses his teammates by revealing that he’s got some “gasoline” in his bag: “let’s see how far those portable toilets go when they’re on fire!” To be fair, I would expect Ashleigh’s response to that to involve rebranding the portable toilets as a cost-effective source of light and warmth for overnight campers. Meanwhile in the Platinum-mobile, they’re speculating what the average Womad-goer is like: Patrick is anticipating kaftans and tie-dye t-shirts, and Ashleigh is expecting dream-catcher earrings. Back in the Wetsuit Kimono Car, Lucy Beauvallet says she’s expecting “loads of hippies”. I’d admonish the show for pandering to such obvious stereotypes, but we all saw what it found when it went to Camden for the morning.
The teams arrive at Womad, where we see people chilling out, kids playing with diabolos, and – rather pointedly – a shot of a long row of portable toilets. Patrick and Maria are setting up their stall and hanging their hand-painted banner, where they appear to have written Fakea Seaf. Apparently it’s meant to say Take A Seat, which is the one-day-only brand that they’re using to unite the umbrellas and the portable toilets (inspired!), and the narrator informs us that Patrick is targeting middle-aged revellers. Ashleigh suggests “do your business in comfort!” as a slogan. I’m assuming this was after they’d decided “crap in a box” was officially off the table. Elsewhere, Wetsuit Kimono are going for the glamping market with their onesies and portable washing machines. Lucy Beauvallet is displaying the onesies on a rickety-looking rail when it falls on her head. Steven asks if she’s okay, and Lucy Beauvallet says something in response that sounds suspiciously like “Fuck. Yeah, I’m fine” – but surely Lucy Beauvallet would NEVER say such a thing. Especially when obvious potty-mouths Steven and Andrew have only gone as far as “dash!” and “bottoms!” in this episode.
Back on Platinum, Patrick sends Maria and Ashleigh out to sell the toilets, while he stays behind at the stand to sell umbrellas. I’m not saying Patrick’s lazy, but…actually fuck it, I am saying Patrick’s lazy, because once again he appears to have given himself the least-demanding role. I’m surprised he isn’t actually keeping all the umbrella seats for himself so he never has to stand up again. Patrick interviews that he thinks the toilets will sell really well, so they’ve priced them at £5 above the RRP “to increase sales and just make our profit margins even larger”. I feel like I’m missing the logical step here between “increase price” and “increase sales”, but I suspect Patrick probably is as well.
Ashleigh and Maria go out as a team to hit the revellers, wowing them with statistics such as the Shit Box’s ability to support 20 stone in weight (I’m quite impressed that, by phrasing this more as “you can stand on it and it won’t buckle!”, they manage to get their potential customers to disregard the stealth insult). However, it proves a tougher sale than they were expecting: apparently people aren’t keen on the idea of having a shit in their tent, otherwise known as the place where they sleep. Feedback includes “it’s pretty cool, but I don’t want one”, “it’s a £25 cardboard box” and “I only go to the toilet about every four days”. Someone needs some Bran Flakes and a banana, stat. Maria realises that this approach is not working for them, and declares that they need a new plan rather than wasting the next four hours trying to sell shit (boxes) that nobody wants.
Meanwhile, Lucy Beauvallet is doing a brisk trade in Bloody Onesies with Steven’s help. It’s a sales ploy as old as the hills: drag the kids in first, and then try to charm the adults they invariably bring along with them. Lucy Beauvallet’s refrain of “how cute is that?” whenever the little moppets dress up as a piggy or a kitty or a honey badger or whatever the costumes are seems pretty impossible to resist. One man seems particularly thrilled that his bee-onesie has a little stinger on it, but I think it’s best we don’t delve too deeply into why this might be.
Andrew is having less luck with the self-powered washing machines; apparently festival crusties aren’t that bothered about washing their clothes. Who knew? One woman snorts that “it’s a glorified salad-spinner” (she’s completely correct, and it’s barely even glorified), while another woman says that she usually just washes her clothes “in a stream”. I bet she does. I should probably point out here that Andrew is wearing a smart shirt and business trousers, and I can’t help feeling that his attire might not be helping his case here. The clincher that this was a bad investment comes from one bloke who points out that nobody at festivals really cares about washing their clothes because they’re not going to be there very long, so they’ll have just brought enough clean clothes with them. In another, more long-term camping environment they might be interested, but not here. And since you can almost certainly buy this product significantly cheaper from a more reputable-looking retailer at another time, then it lacks the impulse purchase status that the teams really need. Nonetheless, Andrew soldiers on and tries to pitch it to another group of campers as a “luxury” item, only to be told that the luxury of camping is in not having to do basic household drudgeries. Another woman says that she actually likes being mucky at festivals: “I don’t really wash me, I wouldn’t wash my clothes.” Even listening to this sort of talk is making me itchy; I am really not an outdoorsy person. There’s a truly tragic shot of Andrew wheeling his cargo up to a big batch of apparently-deserted tents, mumbling that it’s a “dead-end”, and turning round and heading back again. All it’s missing is someone following him playing the violin mournfully.
Patrick, meanwhile, is attempting a very laid-back sales manner with the umbrellas (of course he is), telling one potential customer that “we’re looking at around the £70.50 mark, but that’s very much open to negotiation.” Maybe festivalgoers appreciate that sort of haggle-inviting setup, but personally I’d just think “if you don’t really think it’s worth that much, then why are you expecting me to pay that for it?” I mean, half the fun of haggling is surely that you think you’re scoring some sort of victory over the retailer; if they come to you essentially informing you that they expect you not to pay the asking price, it doesn’t feel like much sport. Patrick also doesn’t appear to be much good at negotiation: one man offers him a clear lowball of £40, which he then ups to £50 and refuses to budge, while Patrick just flails with various higher counteroffers, and inevitably gives in at £50 because he wants the sale.
Maria is hovering by the festival toilets, peering into one and emerging with a look of disgust on her face: not because it smells bad, but because it doesn’t. “We’re at a festival with completely clean toilets!” she complains to Ashleigh. “Any other festival usually has absolutely rank toilets.” They’ve been going for two hours, and sold no units at all. Andrew returns to Lucy Beauvallet and Steven, grumbling that he “couldn’t pay people to take them off me.” Maybe he should try selling one to Patrick; you could probably start by offering to pay him to take one and he’d end up giving you £25 for it. Kaen interviews that normally “a good salesman can’t blame his tools” but in this case Andrew can, because people don’t come to a festival to do their washing. Except Andrew and the rest of Wetsuit Kimono actively chose this product to sell, so it’s hard to see how it’s anyone else’s fault. I think Kaen’s developing some sort of Stockholm Syndrome at this point. Wetsuit Kimono elect to do the only sensible thing here: give up the washing machines as a bad idea and focus on shifting the Bloody Onesies. Steven attempts to sell someone that he’ll look “dashing” in a onesie. Onesies make you look many things, but “dashing” will never be one of them, unless you count dashing away from people who want to beat you up for looking like an absolute fool.
Still struggling to shift units mid-afternoon, Ashleigh decides to plonk one of the Shit Boxes on the ground, sit on it, and yell “COME AND HAVE A LOOK AT OUR CAMPING TOILETS!” I consider myself fairly enlightened, but I can’t really see myself wanting to do business with someone who looks like they are mid-defecation. Maria complainterviews that Ashleigh’s approach is all wrong, because this is a calm and laid-back festival and she’s treating it like a market stall. Of course, she doesn’t actually say any of this to Ashleigh, that would just be silly. Ashleigh’s patter then goes on to inviting people to “have a go”. Again, I’m thinking that’s unlikely to end well. Maria interviews that not winning the toilets was probably a blessing in disguise for Wetsuit Kimono, because they’re not selling. Indeed, imagine how completely and totally boned Wetsuit Kimono would’ve been if they’d got both of their first choices and turned up with the Shit Boxes and the portable washing machines. Something tells me Andrew might still have come up with his “let’s set fire to all the boxes” plan, but for very different reasons this time. Mostly insurance fraud.
Patrick now appears to be doing quite well, possibly because he’s tapped in to a customer base of middle-aged women who want to mother him. “Your shirt’s amazing,” says one happy customer. Nick gives a truly baffling interview about how there’s “a big ol’ currant bun in the sky” and how it’s a time for selling ice creams, not umbrellas, but Patrick’s doing well all the same. Where to begin?
1) Nick, please never say “currant bun” again unless talking about an actual, literal currant bun.
2) Selling ice-creams was not an option that the teams were presented with.
3) Patrick is not selling umbrellas, he is selling umbrella-seats. Surely the whole point of them is that you use it as a seat when it’s sunny, and an umbrella when it’s raining?
With one hour to go, Platinum try a different approach – Maria sets up camp at the stall with Patrick in the hope that people might want a Shit Box to go with their umbrella seat, while Maria remains peripatetic, only this time she’s a bit more flexible on price. People seem a bit more enticed by the Shit Boxes at around the £15/£16 mark, and finally Maria starts to get shot of them. I really like how Maria’s order book has “LOO’S” written on it in big giant letters: there’s something wonderful and deeply sad about that all at the same time. Maria interviews that if the result is decided on effort alone, she definitely deserves to be in the final. Because of all that time she stood there bitching to the camera about how Ashleigh was being loud and obnoxious instead of actually intervening.
Nick interviews that “this is the semi-final of a long, drawn-out process” (PREACH), and everyone has to shine by selling. And probably smelling what’s selling. Ashleigh yells that Platinum’s products “will be back up to full price in the morning”. Steven continues to shift Bloody Onesies. Patrick sells another umbrella seat for £35, pointing out to the customer that they’ve basically got it for half the price it would cost online.
SELLING ENDS! Lucy Beauvallet (in a pig onesie) and Steven and Andrew (both in bee onesies) have a team hug. I assume there’s some sort of internet fetish site hastily screencapping this moment.
BOARDROOM TIME. Patrick interviews that Platinum’s negotiations went well and they got good unit prices, but sales weren’t as strong as they should have been. Steven sits in the antechamber, his left leg shuddering violently. Lucy Beauvallet interviews that she’s more nervous than ever because of the double firing. Ashleigh interviews that Patrick is the weakest remaining link and should be the next one fired, but she doesn’t actually want that to happen because that would mean her team actually losing and either her or Maria following him out of the door. Imagine the indignity of being on a team where everyone got fired except Maria.
Lordalan asks which team wants to go first, and Patrick meekly volunteers. Lordalan asks how Patrick came to be PM this week, and Patrick explains that he felt like he hadn’t shown Lordalan everything that he can do, so he wanted to have another go at managing, “and Ashleigh said that would be all right.” Showing off his leadership colours there. Lordalan pounces on this, of course, and Patrick clarifies that it was between him and Ashleigh, and she gave in without even noogying him or anything. Patrick explains that he and Maria did the product viewing while Ashleigh did market research, at which point Ashleigh chimes in that Patrick and Maria had already made their decisions before they spoke to her about her findings. Lordalan asks what the point of the market research was, and Patrick apologises for this error “on my behalf”. Lordalan asks of the seat umbrella “what if you want to rest and it’s raining?” Ashleigh giggles that “everyone said that”. Oh, I bet the laughter never ends at Womad. Lordalan grumbles that if he wanted to sit in the rain and be bored “I’d go to West Ham”, and Kaen groans appreciatively. (Not in a porno way, I hasten to add.) At least we’ve got our obligatory reference to Kaen’s other life as a Woman In Football out of the way for this series now.
Lordalan asks who negotiated with the vendor (he pronounces it Ven-Dorr, like it’s a creature out of Power Rangers or something) for the Shit Box, and Ashleigh blusters through her anecdote about how Wetsuit Kimono offered the man more money, but he decided to give them to her anyway because he liked her moxie or whatever. LORDALAN CONFUSED! THIS NO SOUND LIKE GOOD BUSINESS! LORDALAN POSSIBLY SPEND TOO MUCH TIME WITH LEE MCQUEEN! Patrick and Maria are united in their praise of Ashleigh’s mad negotiation skillz.
Lordalan asks how things went when it actually came to selling, and Patrick says that he did the umbrellas while Maria and Ashleigh were running around selling the loos. Lordalan asks what happens once you’ve done your business in the box – “do you put a stamp on it and send it to the sewage company?” Patrick says that you just “take it out and put it in the bin.” Lordalan grimaces at this, as I imagine many refuse collectors across the country may also have done. Ashleigh confesses that they didn’t sell as many as they wanted to, and Lordalan asks if they picked the wrong product. Maria says that the problem wasn’t the product, it was the festivalgoers who didn’t want to buy a cardboard box that you poo into. That’s an…interesting way of looking at it. It’s very Maria, I’ll give her that much. Lordalan informs them that everyone who goes to a music festival is a laidback, chilled-out hippy (obviously), so frankly they’ll all just crap where they stand and not even care. Or something.
Nick asks if they didn’t see all the children walking around with painted faces. Well, yes, they probably did, but they’d already committed themselves to two other products by that point – but thanks all the same, Nick, you’re an excellent person to have around two days after an important decision needed to be made. Patrick says that they didn’t go for the face paints because they were in such small boxes (…how much paint does he think you need to draw on a child’s face?) and Maria says the RRP put them off. Patrick says that none of them could’ve sold any better than they did, because they all tried very hard and also at least one of them was Patrick.
Lordalan turns to Wetsuit Kimono, and asks Lucy Beauvallet what happened, specifically why they didn’t get the Shit Box. Steven says that he wasn’t enthusiastic enough about the product, and Kaen excoriates him for being too aggressive and for needlessly haggling over the sake of two quid. Lordalan cautions that vendors always love their product, even if it’s a “cardboard khazi”, and you have to pretend that you love it as well. Steven manages to save his reputation a little bit by putting his festival experience on the table and saying that he’d seen how much a festival goer loves a onesie, which was their fallback item. Kaen concedes that they were “cute” and people liked them. On the subject of the washing machines, Lordalan returns again to the field of Steven’s festivalgoing history and asks if he doesn’t just take enough clothes with him when he goes to one. Steven admits that this was a concern that he had, and Nick says he’d be very surprised if anyone at the festival changed their clothes over three days. I’m sure Womad are thrilled at the stunning PR job this show is doing for them right now.
Now this is where it gets interesting for me: Lordalan asks that even if you were “inclined to wash”, how are you supposed to dry your clothes? Now, the narrator called it a “washer-drier” earlier, and Lucy Beauvallet and Andrew both mumble something about how you could “spin-dry” them, but this all gets rather ignored in favour of Lordalan picking up on Lucy Beauvallet also saying that this was “one of their worries” and therefore asking why they went for this product. Lucy Beauvallet makes a fairly good defence of their decision in that she thought this particular festival would attract eco-friendly types who’d like a product like this, and Andrew brings up the “glamping” aspect once again and the “boutique camping section” at Womad. Lordalan asks how they divided up the sales teams, and Andrew says that he was dragging the washing machines around like “a door-to-door salesman” and how it was incredibly embarrassing at first, but he warmed up to it in the end. Mercifully we’re spared one of Lordalan’s rants about how there’s nothing embarrassing about door-to-door sales and he was selling crinoline petticoats up and down his street by the age of four.
Lordalan points out that this was supposed to replicate starting a business on your own: you know, the sort of business where you have £1500 in your back pocket for no reason, appointments with eight different inventors, and a pitch to sell at Womad that someone else has bought for you. He reminds us that this is based on sales plus assets.
Wetsuit Kimono sold £282.50 worth of goods and have £1,284 in stock, giving them total assets of £1,566.60.
Platinum sold £373.00 worth of goods and have £1,227.20 in stock, giving them total assets of £1,600.20.
(So essentially, one team has £66 in profit and the other has £100. For two days’ work. With no overheads. Split between three people. This does not seem like a sustainable business model of any kind.)
Lordalan congratulates Platinum because “you three, whatever happens, are in the final.” You can almost hear his mounting horror that he might have to give £25,000 to Maria or Patrick next week. There’s no reward other than smugness and the general sense of being safe. Meanwhile, Wetsuit Kimono are sent off to analyse what went wrong, as Lordalan tells them that his firing decisions tonight will be based both on this task and their performance over the past seven weeks. So…pretty much like most weeks, then.
Loser Café. Andrew laments that they were £30 away from being in the final. Lucy Beauvallet points out that that’s one washing machine at retail price, at which Andrew snorts that they couldn’t even sell them AT A DISCOUNT, let alone full price. Andrew interviews that the fault was in the product selection, which was Lucy Beauvallet and Steven’s doing, while Lucy Beauvallet drinks from a cup that still has a spoon in it. She’ll have her eye out, that one. Lucy Beauvallet interviews that the problem is Steven, because he never mentioned that he’s never seen anyone washing their clothes at festivals before. Indeed, that really is the sort of thing that you have to have been there to truly know, and not at all something you could make an educated guess about. Steven tells them both that he still thinks the washing machine was the best product of all eight they were offered. I think he should’ve paid a bit more attention to Lordalan’s obvious business boner for the vegan facepaints.
Boardroom. Lordalan reminds them that £25,000 of his money is on the line and he wants to make sure it’s going to the right person, which is NOT PATRICK AND NOT MARIA SO WHAT THE BLADDY HELL HAPPENED? Lordalan tells them that “common sense” tells them that people bring enough clothes to a festival so that they won’t have to wash them. FACEPAINTS! YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT FACEPAINTS! Lordalan insists that there were potentially “35,000 vegetarian nutters there” who clearly all wanted the vegan facepaints to cover their children with, or possibly to eat when the snack bar ran out of lentils. Lucy Beauvallet tries the same “ooh, but they were costly” argument as the other team, but Kaen points out that they could’ve negotiated a discount for buying in bulk. Lordalan points out that the solar-powered hats were dirt cheap and an obvious impulse purchase, which they could have sold to “all the zany people” at the festival. So essentially everyone at this festival was a cool, laid-back, vegetarian zany hippy nutter? No wonder the teams had trouble trying to figure out what to try to flog them; imagine what a nightmare it would be trying to buy that person a Christmas present. (Actually, I would imagine that cool, laid-back vegetarian zany hippy nutters don’t DO Christmas ‘cos it’s well commercial and that. They just spend December 25th eating pistachio nuts and making clothes out of wheat.)
Lordalan enquires why Lucy Beauvallet and Steven were the ones who went to the ven-DOOR, and Lucy Beauvallet says that it was their top product, and as PM she wanted to be there to oversee the negotiations. Lordalan asks what she’d do differently given a second chance, and Andrew grumbles “show some enthusiasm.” Lucy Beauvallet counters that they DID TOO show some enthusiasm, they just probably focused a bit too much on numbers, adding pointedly to Andrew that “I think it’s really difficult for you to sit there and say you would’ve done a better job.” Actually, I think it’s very easy for him to say it.
Lordalan decides that it’s pointless to keep banging on about this task now when they know what went wrong (that doesn’t usually stop anybody, but sure). Let’s look at the last seven weeks, and make them all beg for their lives! Steven says that he’s so determined and passionate about making his own money, and Lordalan scoffs that that’s not a good enough reason for him to stay over Lucy Beauvallet and Andrew. Steven is stuck for an answer for an agonisingly long time, but eventually offers up that he’s got more experience than them overall. Lordalan reminds Andrew that he’s been on the losing team six times now, and that Lordalan’s been quite tolerant in keeping him around. Well, Andrew was only in the final boardroom on two previous occasions, and considering it took David four visits to the boardroom before he was sent packing, being allowed to survive twice feels like basic courtesy at this point. Andrew says that he hopes Lordalan will see he’s been a good player in a bad team each time, and the PMs have always seen how hard he’s worked. Lordalan muses that the washing machine was a very bad decision and he won’t necessarily hold the lack of sales against Andrew personally.
Lucy Beauvallet points out that this is actually her first time in the final boardroom, and that she’s shown so much enthusiasm throughout.
Obviously there isn’t a fire-tease as such this week because only one person is surviving, but Lordalan attempts to throw a general sense of jeopardy at Lucy by suggesting that she’s lucky never to have been in the “bottom three” (I love it when this show gets all X Factor) before because she might not have made it out if she had. Steven is the first to get fired, despite being “a very sensible young man”, but Lordalan gives him his card on camera and invites him to keep in touch, and it’s all very dignified and friendly, with Steven thanking Nick and Kaen, and Kaen even thanking him in return. Steven admits that being fired is a weird feeling, but he’s pleased to have made it as far as he did and to have Lordalan’s card now. He can text him any time, day or night! Woo!
One more firing to go, and Lordalan muses that he originally took Andrew for “one of these Cheeky Chappy Chancers” (only from TOMY!) but now realises that he’s just a charming, no-nonsense young man and (here we go) reminds Lordalan of a young him. Lordalan thinks Lucy Beauvallet is an intelligent young lady who talks a lot of sense, but is perhaps a bit too quiet for her own good. Lucy Beauvallet takes the hint and insists that she’s VERY passionate about business, that’s why she sells cakes even though she’s still at school. While it looks dicey for Lucy Beauvallet momentarily, ultimately Andrew can’t overcome his poor track record, so with regret, he’s fired – but told to “stay as you are”, and given Lordalan’s card. He too exits graciously, and gets a “well done” from Kaen. Nothing from Nick, but he’s probably just worried that he was supposed to be on set on Countdown half an hour ago.
So Lucy Beauvallet is in the final, and Lordalan is looking forward to seeing what she does on the next task. Andrew vows to show Lordalan what he can do, and feels very flattered to have got the “you’re just like a younger me” comment. Putting him right up there in the honoured company of Michael Sophocles. I’d like to consider it an EPIC VICTORY FOR BROMANCE that Steven and Andrew went home in the same episode, incidentally. Maybe they sniffed each other’s wrists all the way into the sunset.
Back at the house, Maria has NO IDEA who’s coming back. Judging by the state of her hair, she also has NO IDEA where the conditioner is. Ashleigh says she’ll be upset whoever goes, but she thinks Lucy Beauvallet has a higher chance of going because she was PM. Then LUCY BEAUVALLET RETURNS and gets mobbed. Maria marvels that the four of them are the finalists, and Patrick realises that he’s the last man standing. Says a lot about the strength of the field this year, doesn’t it?
Next time: sportswear, arguing and Rio Ferdinand. Oh, and somebody wins £25,000.