The apprentices confuse themselves in this task.
As Sir Alan puts it this is a straight forward sales job. Although once Ignite and Empire get started on it it’s obvious they’re clueless. And they’re in the Manchester Hilton which is a very nice place to stay! But not the best I hasten to add.
The Sales Task
The task is broken down into 3 parts:
- Choose 2 inventions from a list of 10 to sell in Manchester, Liverpool and other bits of the Northwest.
- Try to sell the chosen items to the 2 firms (Liverpool hardware store and Heal’s: a Manchester designer furniture store) that Sir Alan has picked for them
- Try to make other sales on the following day
The team who makes the most sales wins, of course!
Naturally the teams ignore the hint that Sir Alan gives of a hardware store – think what does it stock, or could usefully stock. And also Heal’s – what would a designer furniture shop stock? Well one item would have OBVIOUSLY been the designer coat rack that one inventor brought along!
Another obvious item for the hardware store was the drill dust catcher or more likely the stability legs for a ladder. Still the teams don’t think to take hints do they?
A Tiger is Chosen as Ignite’s Project Manager
Lorraine Tighe canvases opinion strongly to take the project leadership role. Everyone seems keen to let her dig herself a hole, so she gets her wish and is the PM.
The thing that always continues to amaze me is how some of these supposed high-flying managers and business people have abysmal people skills. Which Lorraine amply demonstrates when she talks down to Yasmina because Lorraine wants to get business by doing a pitch. Then Lorraine tells Yasmina that. “I’m your boss.” Of course the only problem with that approach is that it puts Yasmina’s back up.
Lorraine and her team choose The Cat Fire Engine and the Expandable bike bag.
Expandable Bike Bag
The expandable bike bag looks quite snazzy. It’s meant to carry shopping home from the supermarket. However, I can’t believe that someone who is that serious about using a bike wouldn’t splash out on a pair of panniers. Plus how many people would be able to cycle with a weeks worth of shopping on their bike?!
The Liverpool hardware firm is underwhelmed, however, Heal’s over in Manchester give it a cautious welcome.
Cat Fire Engine
This is a cardboard cat toy. And when Lorraine and Yasmina present it to the hardware store set-up by Sir Alan the buyers are astonished to find that Lorraine suggests they can sell 400 of them per week! When questioned Lorraine glibly says, “I believe you would do!” What she bases that assertion on we are given no clue.
The team goes around trying to sell this cardboard box (fairly unsuccessfully). Lorraine and Yasmina do manage to sell 50 to a very dubious Pets Superstore buyer.
The following day when one small shop suggests that he has no need for them the tired twosome decide that it must just be because wages are that bit lower up North! Do all apprentices have the sensitivity of a brick wall? Can’t they see that the retailer is genuinely at a loss as to why he should buy when he already chucks out loads of cardboard boxes every week?
Meanwhile Phillip, Kate and Ben are unable to convince anyone at all that they need the cat toy, in any form. So no sales there!
Mona Wrests Project Management for Empire
Over at Empire Mona makes an impassioned demand to be project manager. And she also is allowed to take the position.
The two items that Empire choose are The Silk Bag and The Lover’s Lead.
The Silk Bag
The silk bag is basically a sleeping bag with arms and legs. Or as Howard says it has, “individual leg items.”
Neither store lined up by Sir Alan is impressed by the Silk Bag, particularly as it doesn’t fit with their product lines!
The Lover’s Lead
The Lover’s Lead lets two people walk the same dog at the same time. And in its favour Battersea Dogs home has endorsed it and 10% of the earnings go to the home.
The Lover’s lead isn’t much use for the two stores either. however, the following day Empire do sell a large number of them to smaller retailers.
Back To The Boardroom
Finally the teams return to the boardroom. The two stores chosen by Sir Alan bought nothing from Empire, whereas Ignite do manage to get some orders from them.
However Empire make £4,501 on their second day’s sales. Meanwhile Ignite make just £1,302 overall.
As Sir Alan points out Ben, Kate and Phillip sold nothing. And Sir Alan reiterates that he was looking at individual sales figures – a clue was that each Apprentice had an order book with their name on it.
And just to check Sir Alan had some of his own staff ring up and made appointments, something that the Captain Squawk sub-team couldn’t manage. Even though Phillip vocally points out that he and Kate are so much better at sales than Lorraine.
Lorraine chooses Kate and Phillip to accompany her into the boardroom. Where Phillip gripes about Lorraine, and then chips in sniping at Lorraine at every opportunity.
Lorraine’s “Slow burner in the thought process” comment concerns Sir Alan. I suspect that will be a comment that comes back to haunt her in another task. Also he notes that she seems to alienate people – and he hasn’t heard about the argument she had with Yasmina about pitching.
In the end Sir Alan tells Phillip he’s fired because he suspects such an opinionated, arrogant and fiery character won’t it into his organisation.
Was The Apprentice Firing Fair?
I was willing Sir Alan to fire Lorraine because she demonstrated how completely rubbish she is at handling people. I’m sure she’ll have another opportunity to demonstrate it.
However, Sir Alan has got Phillip right and on balance it was better for the Bulldozer to go. He certainly did himself no favours in the way he taunted Lorraine during the boardroom threesome.
Who’s The Favourite To Win At The Moment?
Kate Walsh held her dignity when Lorraine attempted to bring up the fact that Kate and Phillip were an item which she suggested meant they hadn’t really committed themselves to the project.
Sir Alan commented that Kate has done well in the other tasks and she’s still looking the most likely of the current crop.