The Apprentice blog: Episode 10 Series 7

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

This week’s task, like the Piccadilly line and David Jason, begins in Enfield. In a wholesale warehouse. Imagine the drug dealing scene from the Bourne Ultimatum, but with fewer members of the Yakuza and more bulk-bought sponges. The Bourne Scrotum, if you will.

“There’s profit to be squeezed from every product,” says the voiceover-man. Good luck squeezing those chandeliers.

“This place brings back memories for me,” yaps Lord Sugardengnome, as his disciples sit around on cardboard boxes, like a particularly sombrely-dressed collection of tramps. Memories? Really? Did Lord Alanstrad spend his childhood skipping about on baggage cranes and feasting on duvet sets?

“I expect you to smell which one is the best-seller,” says the Monster Munch-headed manager. “Smell what sells,” is right up there with “Touching base” and “get the juices flowing,” isn’t it?

Susan is moved over to Venture, while Helen is thrust in to the mad twatters tea party that is Logic. Both teams are given £250 of wholesale goods, thrown in to a battalion of Addison Lee chariots and launched upon the wallets of the capital.

In Covent Garden, Greyhound Jim is selling nodding dogs to tourists like a Ryan Air stewardess selling life jackets. A nodding dog for £7.50? Ooooh yes.

Over in West London, meanwhile, Susan is trying to sell sponges and phone chargers door-to-door. Now, call me a snob, but I wouldn’t buy my own mother off a stranger standing on my doorstep. I doubt I’d even bother coming down to slam the door on them in person. Which is probably why door-stepping has worked precisely never in the history of The Apprentice.

Team Logic, on the other hand, have struck upon the platinum-plated idea of selling their wares to pound shops. But these aren’t just any old pound shops. These are pound shops situated opposite a graveyard full of glue-sniffing, knife-sharpening Hackney dossers. They are trying to sell £50 watches to a man whose stock consists of multi-pack lighters, Rizla and paper plates. Forget bringing a gun to a knife fight; she’s brought an Aston Martin to a cake sale.

Tom, meanwhile, has been sent to the Southbank by Melody. “Sales are not what I’m best at,” admits the chinless wonder. What are you best at Tom? Apart from having a head the shape of a speech bubble? Oh, being out-haggled by six-year-olds. I see.

After a sleepless night (spent, presumably, staring at Black Swan Helen in the mirror) our business ballerina attempts to overthrow strimmer-voiced Melody. “I feel like I could give a better overview while you’re shifting stock.” Ouch.

Jim is selling umbrellas and dogs at Shepherd’s Bush market. Imagine Rodney Trotter, but with the cold, dead eyes of a killer. Surrounded by nodding dogs. “Come to Papa,” burrs Jim as ovaries across the nation spontaneously leap out of fallopian tubes in horror.

In Portobello Road, Susan is selling “pearl necklaces”. Sadly, Susan’s teeth are so white they they’re making the pearls look like strings of rabbit droppings.

“I’m being very directive” says Natasha, who’s wearing a jaunty hat. Now, I have a first class English degree and I have no idea what “I’m being very directive” means. “I think I’ve put a couple of people’s noses out of joint today.” With her level of testosterone I imagine Natasha has spent the morning knocking a couple of teeth in too, just for good measure.

And so, Helen goes on a jolly four hour round trip to not sell some duvet covers, Jim channels a thyroidic Gene Kelly by running around town with 23 unsold umbrellas and Natasha refuses to purchase any stock.

“Smelling what’s selling. That’s the point of this task,” honks Lord Sugaga. Smell what sells. That’s what my granddad always told me. Mind you, he was a vet.

So, Sugargoyle is understandably upset when it emerges that Venture didn’t smell what was selling. They didn’t smell anything. They basically filled their noses with the Vicks inhaler of commercial reticence and reinvested in a shedload of fuck all. “I purposefully put my neck on the line for this task” says Natasha. I can’t wait for her to say that she personally put her balls in a vice.

However, despite the £100 fine Venture receive for ignoring the rules of the task, they still managed to make £23 more profit than Logic. So, they invested nothing and made more money? Surely this proves that Lord Alanstrad’s business model is about as profitable as a grow-your-own-soil factory?

The winners are sent home without any supper, while the losers are sent to the Café de Despair, where Erik Satie is always on the jukebox, the coffee cups are modelled on toilet bowls and ketchup is delivered through a squeezy nipple.

Helen is getting extremely upset and anxious about losing. Lady needs an emergency biscuit, and fast.

Back in the boardroom Melody busts out some of the best corporate speak since Stuart Baggyballs Baggs. “They say the best things in life are free. But I believe the best things in life are earned,” says Melody, who presumably pays her family for affection and throws tenners in to the air every time she fancies some oxygen.

“You’re right up my alley,” S’r’Alanstrad tells Tom. If Lord Sugar told me I was right up his alley, I’d go hide in a Biffa bin. Indefinitely.

So, who’s for the chop? Is it duvet-dithering Helen? Nodding Tom? Of course not. It’s Melody who – according by her defence speech – has been running the UN since she was 13.

Well, at least the Dalai Lama will be pleased to have his assistant and inspiration back by his side.

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