The first task, before they even unpack their bags or change out of their best clothes is for each team to sell a van loaded with £600 worth of fish over the next 10 hours.
To help them they’re given fishmonger clothes, a set of plastic fish identifier pages, the wholesale price of the different types of fish and 4 markets they could sell at.
Obviously from that they were meant to identify what fish each insulated box contained. At the same time they could work out the cost per pound and from that work out the price they needed to sell it at to make money. Then they could go and set-up their stall and start selling.
And finally, of course, the team that comes back with the most money wins.
Apprentice Fishmonger Girls
The girls spent a little time discussing their team name before plumping for the insipid, “Alpha.” They then all took a step back leaving Claire Young to volunteer to be their project manager. She lost no time in sending a reconnaissance party to a shop to find out what was thought to be the best market in the area. The shop keeper was bombarded from all sides before he could get out the words, “Islington.”
So Claire immediately got the girls and their van and zoomed off to Islington market.
When the girls arrive they set-up without identifying their fish, without working out how much they should be selling them for and without getting changed into fishmonger attire.
Eventually Claire manages to get the fish priced up and there’s no doubt they’ve lost money on their initial excited deals. What’s more they spill at least two squid on the pavement – which immediately cuts the amount of cash they can make.
Towards the end of the selling period Sara tots up how much they’ve made and discovers it’s only £440, less than the cost price and they’ve sold 3/4 of their van.
So Claire takes half the girls to sell in a more upmarket area. They manage to persuade a restaurant to buy their remaining fish for £125.
The girls selling had been absolute chaos. But they had started to sell early and once they’d sorted out their identification and prices and realised they were undercharging they got into the swing of selling the fish.
Cut-price Lobster and Monk Tails For Renaissance
One stupid quote I heard early on was from Michael Sophocles, a telesales executive, when he said, “Selling is my crux.” What on earth does that mean?
Anyway, back to the action…
The boys took some time discussing a name. They eventually decided on Renaissance and after much discussion, during which at least two of the boys tried to persuade Raef to be team manager. Luckily for him he’d probably seen last years episode when the first project manager had been manipulated into taking the job and into a firing. In the end Alex Wotherspoon took the project manager mantle, after all as he pointed out he’s a regional sales manager who manages 4 teams – I hope those words don’t come back to haunt him!
To be fair the boys seemed better organised, although they couldn’t make up their minds as to which market to go to. After a lot of discussions they too plumped for Islington and dressed in fishmonger attire eventually arrived, long after the girls had set-up and were selling.
Raef was given the task of identifying the fish, which he was not particularly good at. In fact he mis-identified 3 boxes of fish, including the highly expensive Monk Tails.
Nick worked out the prices for the fish and made a massive error by working out that lobster should be sold for £4.90 each. Having said that it should have been obvious they were massively undercharging when one lady appeared to be buying a lot of their lobster stock. But it didn’t click and they cheerfully suggested she have another one. To which (big clue here) she said something like, “I don’t want to rob you!”
Fortunately Nick decided to go and check the girls prices and in doing so noticed that their lobster was priced nearly 5 times their prices. Oops!
Having said that I would’ve looked around for another “real” fishmonger and checked his prices. Because after all why would the girls have any better prices than the boys?
In the meantime the mis-identification meant Monk fish tails were selling as turbot and therefore at a much lower price that they should have been.
Towards the end of their selling period Alex splits the boys and they go a solicitors office to sell fish. Why? restaurants, fish shops, cafes yes! Solicitors?
The net result is the solicitors office manager realises that the boys deadline is near and beats them down to £50 and doesn’t move from it. So they sell for £50 fish that Alex says they should have got at least £130 for. By the way Alex made sure that the cameras had an eyeful of him berating Nick for mis-pricing the fish.
Back To The Boardroom
The girls team are pretty unified when asked about their project manager. Whereas the boys split with Raef and Nick having a good go at Alex, because they both realise they’re in the firing line.
Nick and Margaret report the takings:
- Renaissance make a pathetic £632.69
- Alpha make an appalling £753.98
So the girls win, although making such a small profit would probably make the real fishmongers watching wince.
Interestingly Nick Hewitt notes that on a normal day the place where the girls were pitched outsells the boys 5:1
That means the boys could have won if they’d got their skates on and got to the market first.
During the apportioning of blame Raef notes he mis-identified one box of fish, which Margaret corrects by saying it was actually 3 boxes he got wrong.
Nick bleats about the pricing and in a way that makes you wonder how he managed to become a pass the bar exams. He certainly didn’t seem to have prepared for the accusations that would fly his way. Or worse have nothing to point the finger at Alex or Raef. Then he really manages to stir things up by saying it came down to a split between the educated and uneducated – which was an assumption he’d made. Which turned out to be completely wrong. And he finally and neatly seals his coffin by saying that he finds it difficult to have a conversation about football – to a known Spurs fan!
Raef tries to make sure he’s put in a good light and claims he can talk to prince or pauper! at the moment he looks as though he’s playing a political game and is probably one that everyone else needs to be cautious of.
In the end Nick’s rubbish pricing is judged to be a glaring fault and he’s fired.
Was The Firing Fair?
In the end there’s no doubt Nick was flailing around. His education hadn’t helped him price up the fish correctly to make profit. I wondered whether he’d actually added a profit to the prices he’d put against each fish!
Raef made a major mistake that he seemed pretty complacent about. His card is marked and we’ll see how next week goes for him.
As for Alex, he managed the boys team fairly well, they’d been clothed properly, they’d identified and priced the fish. The part that really let Alex down was having drawn out postmortems during their sales period and in particular not getting off the mark quickly enough, and so losing the best pitch to the girls. After that it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
Nick did deserve to go because he hadn’t thought to quickly roughly check prices against what seemed most logical, or against another fishmonger. If he’d done that he would have been bullet proof. He did help the boys recover from his mistake but it was too late.
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