You know those emails that you receive after you sign up to something, which persistently and constantly tell you about offers and discounts on ‘Hotel Chocolat’ and ‘Debenhams’, and ‘fish eating your feet’ and things? And no matter how many times you mark them ‘send to spam’, they seem to creep back into your inbox, so much that they actually make you want to find the people sending them and punch them in the face?
Well…this week The Apprentice was that.
The remaining candidates were called to meet Lord Sugar ‘in the city’, which seemed a bit vague to me. London is big, if I remember correctly. On meeting Sir Alan, he explained that this week’s task was all about daily deal websites, with the two teams having to negotiate deals for discounts for high end products and services for one such site. Lord Sugar reminded Slippery Stephen that he was to take the helm of Team Sterling. Oh goodie.
Jade and her voice made it clear that she knew how to send emails, and ask companies for things, so she should be Phoenix’s Project Manager for this task. Fair enough. I have to admit, I was disappointed it wasn’t Adam. It’d have been a clash of the clampets.
After a further briefing by the chap who runs the deals website, the two teams went off to discuss tactics, make phone calls and say ‘margins’ and ‘percentage’ a few times.
Team Sterling were first out of the traps, nipping off down the road to make deals. Stephen was adamant that there was more than one deal to be had in every place they went to. First stop for Stephen and his co-worker, Gabrielle was a dentist. For teeth whitening. A dentist… I use toothpaste. Does the job.
Stephen with his persuasive words managed to bag two deals out of the dentist. Yes… A dentist.
When speaking on the phone to their other team member, Ricky Martin, Gabrielle pointed out some helpful tips, while Ricky responded with a phrase that no-one has ever been able to explain the meaning of to me… ‘ you are teaching me how to suck eggs’. I am proud to say, that in all my years of being on this earth, I do not know how to, nor have ever had to suck an egg. There are plenty of other things I’m able to do really well that could be used as an analogy. I, for instance, know how to put my shoes on. And sit down.
Ricky’s first sales appointment was with a high class restaurant, where he was dragged about by the owner, looking out the windows at lovely views and then being force fed scallops. Lovely. When it was finally time to do a deal, the owner was as stubborn as an old lady who has been short changed a penny. He was having none of it. I think he just wanted his restaurant on the telly box for a bit.
Meanwhile, Team Phoenix were still sitting around saying things like quality over quantity, and making phone calls and booking appointments. Finally, they got up to go to an appointment at a leading spa. Jade and her voice were adamant that she should do the pitch. After lengthy negotiations where they proposed a 50% discount, then 40% and then back to 50%, and then proposed 50% discount again, they finally accepted 50%. They could have agreed that ages ago.
Jade despatched Tom and Adam to a boutique hotel, with Adam wandering about saying ‘Lak, louk at tha. Tha’s loovly tha is.’
There were knockbacks and rejections left right and centre including an awkward phone call to a massage parlour for gentlemen for Jade’ s team…again no joy.
Stephen started to feel the pressure… Gabrielle suggested that they should go with an amazingly exclusive (it isn’t that exclusive) ‘fish eat yer feet’ spa that isn’t available on any other daily deal site (it’s on every daily deal website), and surprisingly (it’s not that surprising) managed to work out a deal (shocker).
Jade and Nick popped into that St Pancras that was featured in last week’s wine episode to negotiate a deal in a posh restaurant with a posh chef man who had floppy Gordon Ramsey style hair. Disaster struck though, as their calculator had ‘gone a bit funny’ (I bet Nick typed 58008 and held it upside down, the scamp). However, Jade explained that she could “work it out if it’s round numbers….” The chef and his hair meanwhile looked unimpressed, and seemed to be a bit cross. It looked as though the roundest number Jade was going to bag was zero. However the chef then finally agreed on a deal and Jade, her voice and Nick were chuffed.
Time pressed on, deals were made, Ricky ate 74 plates of scallops and there were some debates about gyms, golf places, jewelers and some other places (I’m not listing them all. Watch the show.)
Time was then up, and it took a day of waiting around to see which of the negotiated deals the website would accept and then in the boardroom the sales those deals had made for the site were to be revealed.
Back to The Apprentice boardroom and both teams looked pretty defeated, except Stephen whose face always looks like a bewildered winner. But what’s this? No! It can’t be!
Stephen has lost! How is Slippery Stephen going to slide his way out of this one? His condescending and, to be frank, bullying attitude got him nowhere. Lord Sugar raised his finger and revealed that it was Gabrielle who was to be shown the door! She’s out!
Stephen you lucky, lucky do… oh, no… wait… no, he’s fired too. Proper order.
I will miss Stephen’s many facial expressions, and his shiny suit and his massive eyes and his corporate speak.
Next week, the candidates do something else badly.
Return next week for The Apprentice review week 11..