Apprentice week four: From rags to riches

Their task was to buy and sell used furniture at a profit. Each team were given a shop to display and sell their stock from and as usual the team with the highest profit would be free to enjoy this weeks teat.

Project managers were Laura for team Sterling while Tom took charge of team Phoenix.

Toms plan was so spend as little as possible but Adam disputed this strategy leaning towards the stack ‘em high sell ‘em cheap philosophy. Also a believer of this philosophy was Laura who seemed compelled to spend as much as possible as quickly as possible. At no point did anybody appear to be holding a calculator or a notepad and pen totting up their expenditure or their forecast income. It just appeared to be a free for all shopping trip!

A pleasant return this week was the many faces of Nick Hewer, which so far this series seemed to be missing in action. I am thrilled as many an episode can be uplifted with just one or two grimaces, eyebrow lifts or squints of Nicks. A particularly good face was presented when he realised that Tom had given his sub-team just £200 to buy items for their shop and that they hadn’t asked for any extra cash.

Lauras team seemed more focussed on up-cycling furniture to create profit rather than buying items that were nice to begin with. In theory this could work well if there was enough time to dedicate to improving the aesthetics of the pieces however Gabrielle settled on painting everything red white and blue. Although the Union Jack design they settled on would be considered topical given the upcoming Jubilee, I doubt that this team has ever heard the phrase, less is more never mind implemented the theory.

A visit to the local car boot by Tom and his sub team saw Jade picking up various, uninteresting items and expressing interest in them. However her voice betrayed her. These were items she should have been excited about selling but judging by the monotone way in which she tried to convince Tom to buy them, she can’t have been that thrilled. She could have sent me to sleep with her boring attempts at trying to convince her PM that these pieces would be worth taking a bet on.

I particularly enjoyed the over use of the term shabby chic in team Sterling. The girls were telling the boys that they were to shabby chic this, shabby chic that and shabby chic the other. The boys clearly had no clue what this particular descriptive term meant and were left looking more than a little confused.

Once both of the shops were ready, it was hard not to instantly feel sorry for Tom and his sad looking stock pile. From the outside there appeared to be very little in terms of saleable items and the premises looked more than a little barren compared to their competitors brimming store.

Duane really shone for me this week, not because of his astounding sales skills or his confidence when putting himself forward for project manager for the second week running but for the sparkling way in which he can pull out some of those wonderful old sayings and add his own little twist. ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the eye’ has got to go down in history as one of the funniest sayings yet.

When it came to making sales during the day Jane was nothing short of abrupt, pushy and rude to any customer who had the misfortune of passing her way. We all hate pushy sales people but she wasn’t just pushy, she was patronising and generally vile when dealing with the general public. Is it any wonder that when the sales figures were revealed she had only managed to secure £10 in revenue for her team? She did a wonderful impression of that one sales person in each store that we go out of our way to avoid eye contact with and scurry past with our heads down.

The boardroom revealed that team Phoenix had won the task with an overall profit of £1063 compared to £783 from their rivals and Laura decided to bring Gabrielle and Jane back into the lion’s den (or should that be Sugars Lair?) with her.

This is where, yet again, the female candidates let themselves down. Every time there are just women in that boardroom, the volume levels are increased dramatically. Any class, decorum or decency immediately fly out the window and the women trapped around the desk begin shouting at each other. Men seem to be able to have sensible conversations in that very room so why does this seem like such an impossible task for women? It’s embarrassing and cringe worthy to watch. Come on ladies, have a little respectability.

Lord Sugar immediately removed Gabrielle from the firing line and was left with choosing between project manager Laura or super sales woman (sense the sarcasm) Jane. His initial speech led us all to believe that Laura was for the chop but much to the shock of the viewers, and even more so to Jane, Jane was sent packing.

With week five on its way and no real front runners in view, I wonder who will be next to hear those infamous words?

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