The Apprentice 11 – Week 7 : Discount Store

A store where discounts can be obtained.

Poker In The Back, Literature In The Front : We began yet again this week, not with the shrill sounds of the Apprentuphone, but with a slice of life from Apprentice Mansions. The Manly Men Clique

playing poker in the living room with Joseph yet again dressed as a minor Dick Tracey villain. It’s an aesthetic I guess. (This part of the tableau also afforded us lots of shots of these guys fingernails up close as they played with their chips which…frankly their upkeep is about what you’d expect). Richard polishing his shoes (in pyjama bottoms, wearing a very expensive watch) and smugging it up to David about how awful that Triple Firing must have been to watch. Vana and Sam reading

a fashion magazine and Anna Karenina respectively. Vana quite happily chirping away about having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from…I don’t know, being near some people who lost a game show as Sam was probably choking back tears as poor Anna hurled herself under that train car. Meanwhile Selina and Charleine

yeah, that.

This meant that Phone Answering Wars became Door Answering Wars for one week only, as Lordalan himself made his annual trip to the house to catch the lady candidates in their jimjams.

It didn’t really work out for him. Gary takes the point, making our leaderboard :

Natalie : 2
Joseph : 1
Charleine : 1
David : 1
Gary : 1

Anything For A Pound Lordalan’s first order of business? After the absolute pasting Team Powerbottom took last week, Lordalan was left with no choice but to even things up by porting Gary right into their midst, leaving our line-ups looking like this :

The Sugababes

and Team Powerbottom. I feel like we are perilously close to a situation where Charleine refers to her team as “Her Boys”. Next up Lordalan explained to the teams that over the past ten years “Discount Stores” have taken over high streets, by luring customers in with recognisable brands at low low prices, then making up their profits on other items. Also by being fronts for local gang activity. But mostly the former. Honest. The task? Set one of them up. Teams would be given £500 seed money and tasked with turning it into as much cash and stock as they could over two days. Basically “Smell What’s Sellin'” again, and we all know how much I love that right? Oh and it was to be in The Norf, because we’re just throwing random task twists into the pot now and dealing with whatever comes out. Sadly no Shopping Channel was involved at any point, more’s the pity.

Bosstin’ : Despite the fact that every single other Powerbottom had already PMd (and PMd a win, and so really had nothing to prove), Gary still had to fend off a challenge by Joseph for the throne before being ensconced in the role. And thank God for that, because other than his toy dinghy triumph, Gary really has been somewhat of an enigma so far, so this was a good chance to find out what he’s about. His first interview as PM featured him gleefully announcing that at his workplace they call him THE POSTMAN.

Because he’s a postman. Oh ok not really he’s a

whatever one of thems is.

The line was in fact, as I’m sure you know “they call me the postman because I always deliver”. Who knew that in 2015 reality tv contestants would still be delivering lines that sounded tired coming from Victor Ebuwa in 2004? (Don’t try to think too much about Big Brother 5 being in 2004, it’ll make your head hurt). Of course once in post, Gary’s natural…background noise ness rose to the fore and he pretty much did nothing throughout the entire initial brainstorming session as he got subsumed under the roar of Charleine reeling off all the things she loves buying from discount stores. Candles, towels, body wash, gifts for friends, bits n bobs, liquid napalm, maybe some soap, dishwasher tablets, and a chocolate orange? Joseph wanted to stock fans, David wanted to stock bubble guns so he could run around squirting people in the face with them (of course he did)…Gary appeared to just want a kip. Meanwhile Scott, as self-proclaimed King Of Sales, was put in as Sugababe Supreme, and decided to stock his shop mostly with electronic goods, including handheld food blenders, speakers, and (ugh) selfie sticks. This was after a slightly excruciating session where he asked his team what they personally buy from discount shops and Vana and Selina both bashfully admitted to buying…cleaning products and plates but nothing important. Like we’re still well posh and succesful ladies who only wear designer and live the hih life in Dubai. We definitely don’t live off Heinz Big Soup or owt. THESE FURS ARE REAL. AND NOT FROM CATS!

Brett Wins Friends In The North By Imitating A Typical Mancunian

If any gays reading the blog can think of any alternative uses for that picture, possibly created via photoshop, go ahead.

Lordalan’s Discount Warehouse – Not Just Any Old Tut : To stock their shelves, the teams had two major sources – first branded goods which they could order over the phone in advance, and secondly random crap that they got from warehouses. Tying in with Smellin’ What’s Sellin’, the latter of which could be replenished over the course of the two days of the task, the first of which would be spent street selling, the second in a pop-up retail space in the Arndale Centre. For those wondering what level of tat was being held in these warehouses

there’s your answer. He is called Arkady, and somehow, sadly, he is this week’s Incidental Character Boyfriend Of The Week. Oh The North. Less full of hot men than you’d hope. Team Powerbottom’s warehouse strategy was to buy lots of disparate and cheap stock and hope to sell it in large amounts. The Sugababes warehouse strategy was to put Sam in charge of numbers, overspend as a result, and then have to go around putting stock back on the shelves. Kaen’s warehouse strategy was



to pull as many stupid faces over this mistake as humanly possible. (LOL at even Vana clocking them and being slightly baffled at the big production number she’s putting on). It was left to Claude to show her how it’s really done, pulling out a classic Claude Face (probably the first he’s managed all series) as, on Gary’s instructions

Charleine and Joseph randomly decided to walk up to the warehouse manager and ask if they could have a 50% (!) discount for absolutely no reason. The warehouse manager declined.

Day One Sales : The first day served as a sampler – four hours of street selling to see which of their initial product lines sold well, and then tto use this information to decide what to boost their supplies of for Day 2 (what do you mean selling off a table in the middle of the street is so inherently different from selling in a retails space in a shopping centre as to make this fundementally useless as an exercise beyond just taking money? Surely not?). Both teams were split in half with Gary/Richard/Charleine and David/Joseph being the subteams for Team Powerbottom and Scott/Selina/Sam and Brett/Vana being the subteams for The Sugababes.

As you might expect, whilst Joseph and David worked well together, Richard immediately became the Buttmonkey of the main Powerbottom team, with Gary

accidentally on purpose smacking him in the face with a box and Charleine

making sure to be as performative as possible about just how much she hates him. Again. Apparently not having reflected on how indulging herself down this particular path made her look on the Children’s Book task. Anyway, Charleine apparently wants to “smash Richard all the time” which…I think we could all go down the Freudian route at this point and are better off for not doing so right?

The Brett/Vana half of The Sugababes meanwhile were causing a scandal with their initial pricing strategy of

inventing “previously sold at” prices apparently out of thin air (also nice of Mergim to come back to write up those price stickers for them wasn’t it?). Kaen thankfully saved us all from having to watch such a shameful display of immorality by intervening to give them both a lecture about how much Lordalan values honesty (except on your CV) and how they must change their prices forthwith lest the entire team be disqualified. The other half of the team meanwhile saw a significant change in fortunes for Scott as, in direct contrast to his performance on the Pet Show task, he was outsold by Selina who didn’t at all

do a smug little dance about it (<3). She did say though, that as he’s been the top salesman in the process so far (…fairly sure that’s my Richard, with an outside chance of it being Charleine), she will forgive him. How magnanimous. She then pondered “what would it be like if we were all shit?” though which…I think will be the show’s official motto from next series onwards. Scott’s sales technique definitely seemed to desert him on this task, unless angrily waving a selfie stick in people’s faces and muttering “oh right, just ignore me then” and “I’ll just talk to myself then shall I?” is a recognised sales tactic now. Whatever, it didn’t work for me when I tried speed dating, and it didn’t work for Scott here.

The Actual Most Offensive Thing I Have Ever Seen On This Show Even More Than Adam Corbally’s Attitude To Women, Even More Than Paul Tulip Using The Word “Faggot” (yes in that context), Even More Than Katie Hopkins’ Very Existence :

Team Powerbottom trying to sell a bag of Haribo Starmix for £2. This, with a Poundland only a matter of metres away. Still, they weren’t quite as screwed location wise as The Sugababes who found themselves parked next to a branch of Ann Summers. People walk fast enough past Ann Summers as it is without some gonk leaping at them asking if they’ve ever considered buying a selfie stick. Fortunately though Team Powerbottom had a much more enticing propsect than that drawing people in



DICKY! Dicky Dancing, Dicky Pretend Ice-Skting, Dicky Pinching His Nipples By The Looks Of It… All in a pair of trousers of a shade of blue so retro that even Jeremy Clarkson would reject them. It was an all-round late-night ITV2 Roulette Phone In Show Host of a performance, one disparaged sneeringly by Brett and Vana (wandering around the shopping cenre on behalf of the other team, doing very little) as being “very David Brent”. You’d think they’d be less apt to criticise someone for being like a sitcom character than most, so uncannily do the pair of them resemble Battery Sergeant Major Tudor Williams and Amy Brookheimer, but here we are.

Managing the shop…after a fashion, was Gary who behaved pretty much as you’d expect a corporate supermarket manager to do. Big talking set-up first thing in the day, creating the floorspace and talking about a “shopper’s journey” incorporating Kitchen Land, Toilet World, and Jammie Dodger Junction, then stepping back and taking input from his staff on which special offers to create and then finally

jogging off to the back to spend most of the day doodling pictures of himself a pirate with a flying ship, then emerging at the very end of the day to do a quick restock an hour before the end of the day. It all fit with Gary’s edit for the series as a whole to be honest. You could probably splice in that footage of doodling on the floor from half a dozen other tasks and people would accept it.

The Sugababes Dissolve If Gary was serving a purpose of The Sugababes it may well have been the laid back burring Brummie glue that held the team together, as without him





this was not a team of happy campers. The blame for this, I think, other than with certain candidates natural temperaments (say, the fact that Selina and Vana have been aching to slap one another silly since France), lies squarely with Scott, mostly for creating the role of “subteam who walk around the shopping centre doing nothing” which…doesn’t seem to have been a requirement on Team Powerbottom, so this is all him. First Brett and Vana (culminating in Brett all but (but crucially, not literally) offering to take Scott outside for a few words with Bertha and Martha (that’s what Brett calls his fists, I have decided)) and then Selina scratched and yawled and pled in a meta fashion about what this would mean for the Boardroom, in order to avoid being tasked with walking around doing nothing, rather than selling. They all phrased this in terms of it BEING A TRAP to make them look bad but really, I don’t think they were thinking creatively enough. Sam, the worst salesman on the team, who couldn’t even operate a till, and was on his final warning, was left in the shop ALL DAY. Selling NOTHING. Given subsequent events, if this was a trap…I think it’s obvious who the target really was.

Results Time : Lordalan started the Results Boardroom with his usual Smellin What’s Sellin’ spiel about how you have to REPLENISH REPLENISH REPLENISH when…replenishing takes at least an hour, and the team had 8 hours to sell, and had to spare 2 people out of a 5 person sales team to do it. So personally I think both teams’ tactic of one pitstop a-piece was about right. Oh also Lordalan dun this when he was 7 and smelled what selled and turned a fiver into his first million by nap time etc etc. The man is an inspiration to us all. The rest of the pre-numbers was full of even more pointless detours than ever, and was mostly marked out by Kaen being pointlessly douchey to Sam, making a great big meal of how he added up some figures wrong briefly in the warehouse in a way that had no bearing on the result of the task whatsoever. Lordalan then got in on the act hooting that Sam IS SUPPOSED TO BE A PRIVATE TUTOR ISNNEEEEE? Sam said

“yes but not in maths you dickhead” back. With his face. Also, interestingly, Lordalan got incredibly pious over Brett and Vana’s Day 1 discount deal for The Sugababes, stating very specifically that an items has to have been on sale for AT LEAST 28 DAYS before you can start pulling the whole “previously £10, now £7.50” stuff when

these were all over Team Powerbottom’s shop like a rash. Oh and Brett told us all he was a self-preservater, but you could tell that just by looking at him couldn’t you?

NUMBERS TIME!

The Sugababes finished the day with £592 in cash and £370 worth of stock for a total of £962
Team Powerbottom finished the day with £498 in cash and £1014 worth of stock for a total of £1512

TEAM POWERBOTTOM RIDES AGAIN!

It’s hard to really parse out where this win came from other than, despite the hatchet job edit, Gary seems to have led Team Powerbottom quite well in terms of the important stuff, although he did luck out having clearly the three strongest salespeople in the entire process (Richard, Charleine and Joseph) all on his team. Also he didn’t randomly decide to send people wandering off around the Arndale doing nothnig for hours on end Scott

Shard As Nails : The reward for Team Powerbottom for smellin’ succesfully what was sellin, was a trip up “London’s Most Iconic Building”. Big Ben (yes, I know, don’t bother)? Westminster Abbey? The Gherkin? Tower Bridge? Buckingham Palace? The Tower Of London? Canary Wharf? Loser Cafe, to spit on The Sugababes as they entered? Nope it was The Shard, which I would imagine most of these douches will have been up already. Particularly

Richard who was giving the big “I Am” to the rest of the team dressed in truly hideous LA Law casualwear and pointing out all the landmarks to the more provincial candidates, all capped off whim joking to Gary that, as the tallest candidate currently being taken up the Shard, he is now officially THE HIGHEST THING IN EUROPE!

What a jaunty pose. Sometimes it’s easier to see why all of the rest of hate him than others isn’t it? (Gary also gave a very cheerful interview about how in the boardroom Lordalan had called him a “classic retailer”. Gary, he didn’t mean that as a compliment, trust me. He also then grinned “RETAIL IS DETAIL!” which leaves me torn between my realisation that Gary is a competent candidate who is being underedited into nothing, and my desire not to have to listen to his Tesco Manager generospeak for a second longer)

Loser Cafe : Can I just congratulate Selina yet again for saving her strongest looks

to grace a Greasy Spoon where all the food is cooked in a microwave that looks like it was manufactured in 2002? The key theme here was that Lordalan had told the team in the Results Boardroom that he wasn’t going to take their individual sales figures into account so everyone started backpeddaling (in the most reasonable possible fashion of course) off their earlier selfishness over who got to sell and who got to wander around Arndale taking the piss out of Dicky. Vana blamed Selina, Selina blamed Sam, Sam blamed the whole nest of vituperative vipers, Brett blathered on some more about his duty to preserverate himself, and Scott wondered he picked this week of all weeks to try to keep all these cats in the one sack.

Boardroom Follies : Obviously wary of his last time there, where he was repeatedly called out for being too nice, too diplomatic, and all round too lovely to be here, Scott staged probably the most dramatic boardroom Heel Turn the show’s seen since Kimberlypuff’s meltdown for the ages teaming up with Selina, insinuating that Sam was there for the fame and the attention rather than because he had a serious business plan (causing Sam to splutter and exclaim and etemporise in a way that nigh on proved this to be entirely true) and most spectacularly of all, claiming that at one point during the task Brett threatened to “smash his face in”. At Brett and Sam both denying this has ever happened, Scott turned to Kaen to back him up which…if this was a lie then at least he was committed to I guess? Because she too said that it never happened leaving Scott

with legs circling in mid-air like Wile E Coyote sprinting out over that ravine. Somehow though, he recovered to deliver the coup de grace and an Apprentice classic :

completely ignoring the fired candidate on your way back to the house. Because yes, Sam’s second chance, like pretty much all second chances this series came to a juddering halt with him having done nothing in the interim to really bounce back, and he was hastily dispatched for…I don’t even know what the official reason was, not being able to add up? Anyway, he’s shirtless all over his Instagram, and really that’s what you’re all here for right? Also

I found it kind of adorable that he actually did his suit button up as he got to leave. Who does that? Sam Curry, that’s who! (Also if you’re looking to employ him as an English tutor for your young’uns, his last words on the show were “Scott was taking a very deplorable tact in the boardroom” so…think on.

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch :

Aww look, they’re all together up on the roof. I bet this is a moment of bonding and sharing and realising that deep down they’re all just people with flaw…oh no wait Selina and Vana are having a snitfit over who it was who said in the Boardroom that Sam was hard to work with and Scott is stomping around everywhere in a huff generally. At this point, the Sugababes seem to be about as happy and productive a working environment as…well…The Sugababes I guess.

Next Week :

David cuts his losses with this bunch and tries out for Junior Apprentice 4.


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14 thoughts on “The Apprentice 11 – Week 7 : Discount Store

  1. Agrippina

    I’ve only just noticed the face David is pulling in his official picture. Sort of aiming for strong and enigmatic, but in reality looking as if he’s just soiled his Pampers and is feeling bashful about it, but also a tiny bit pleased.

    Reply
  2. fused

    Who’d be The Jade in Team Sugababe though?

    When Gary appeared on screen in this episode for a moment I thought they’d started bringing in mid-series replacement contestants. I hadn’t noticed him at all before!

    I kind of liked the part where Brett and Vana saw Richard because of the two teams crossing over within the same task. I mean, I know they usually try and sell to the same people, but it doesn’t seem often the two teams while on the task are talking to each other in the same place at the same time.

    Reply
      1. fused

        Yeah, I can’t say I blame you. I think Jade comes across very well in interviews and so on, and I think she was one our better recent Eurovision entrants, but her replacing the last original member, the whole mess that led up to it and the mess that came after it was when I finally lost patience with the Sugababes.

        I was quite sorry to see Sam go. Like Ruth and Elle, another one who seems like a nice person, but that you can’t really say it was an unfair firing. The contestants do seem to be getting more vicious towards each other though!

  3. Seronie

    Always ‘The Siobhan’ ❤

    Please Scott next week. What a b*tch, seriously. And a deluded nutter by the looks of things. Faced like a smacked okay I'll stop now.

    Reply
  4. boewyr

    So the task producers seem to be desperately resorting to combining three+ tasks in an attempt to be ‘fresh’ – in this case the retail task from series 6, with ‘smell what sells’, and the historic ‘go bring culture to the Norf’.

    The cast is enjoyable but the tasks this series are dire. Has there been a group with such clear distaste for one another since series two?

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Series 3 was an utter nest by the end as well wasn’t it? I have fond memories of them all forming a peanut gallery and basically booing Simon at the finale.

      Reply

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