Sir Lord Alan Bloody Sugar’s Flat-Pack Clap-Trap

We saw the second week/third instalment of The Apprentice tonight and watched the two teams squirm as uncomfortably as a child wearing their older sibling’s, too short, too tight, hand-me-downs. In tonight’s episode, each team had to design, produce and market an item of flat-pack furniture which would later retail for £75.00.

Natalie volunteered herself as project manager for Evolve because she manufactures and designs garments. Perhaps Natalie is a little naive, considering that the girls’ team has failed the last two tasks and that all focus is going to be on her. Oh, and considering that the task wasn’t to design and manufacture garments. Don’t forget, Natalie is the complete package and when it comes to sales, she’s the best. Personally, I’m not sure I’d describe Natalie as being the “complete package” because of her final choice for Evolve’s flat-pack product, but who am I to judge?

Francesca proposed something quite unoriginal and quite dull. Something, which if I was boring enough to design and produce myself, I would market as Box. It was quite literally a wooden box, which could either be a seat or a tray. Or abox. Seeing as you can only use one of the functions at a time, it’s a pretty pointless and useless idea. However, the girls showed their enthusiasm for the idea in their usual way- by shouting and screaming over each other. Luisa wanted to keep things simple (she certainly got her wish with Box) and Rebecca couldn’t get a word in edgeways- further evidence which suggests, as she bleated last week in the boardroom, that everyone is against her.

The market research on this product revealed mixed feelings but in traditional The Apprentice style, the girls went with Box regardless. Actually, they named it TidySidey, but it’s definitely a box. Box.

Jordan headed Endeavour and did a fair job at doing so. Endeavour won, so you can’t do much better than that. Bizarrely, Jordan was told by Jason that he isn’t “average sized” when measuring up for their final product, which looked more like a high chair.

During the brain-storming, Alex suggested a chair which would double as a recycling bin. This idea was shrugged off and fortunately, Endeavour went for the folding high chair instead. I actually quite liked their finished product, but I wouldn’t pay £75.00 for it. It was definitely too tall for a chair.

Sir Lord Alan Bloody Sugar arranged sales pitches with John Lewis and Argos. I always find this part of the show quite sad, because there must be thousands of people out there who have a genuine, viable, saleable product but who can’t even get their foot in the door of these big retailers  because no one who’s high enough to make buying decisions has the time of day for small people. Along comes a little, cockney millionaire waving his cash around, pulling strings and suddenly the big players are happy to go along with the charade for television; all for the sake of a product that we are highly unlikely to ever see in production.

Evolve did a great job on all of their pitches. They were quick to answer questions and really promoted their idea well. Unfortunately, as stated by more than one person, their product looked like a piece of garden furniture; the chosen colour (battleship grey) didn’t help, either. It’s just a box on wheels, which was even used as a selling point in one of the pitches. Box.

Alex attempted to sell Endeavour’s’  high chair to Argos. Their product was named the Foldo, which sounded like a character from one of those boring ‘adventure’ trilogies (you know, the ones which could very easily be made into just the one feature length film without the loss of any vital material).

When I say “attempted”, I mean it in the loosest possible term, because selling really isn’t Alex’s strong point. I almost felt sorry for him and couldn’t help but cringe when, during what was possibly the most vital part of the pitch, he attempted to assemble Foldo with his back to the people whom he was trying to impress.

The other pitches put forward by Endeavour were a little shoddy, to say the least. I couldn’t help but laugh when Myles touted the high chair as being aimed at 16-40 year olds until it was pointed out to him that in reality, a 16 year old wouldn’t be buying furniture, which was a pretty good point. He didn’t really know what to say to that.

The Foldo won this week’s task by a considerable margin; albeit subject to a few modifications (presumably, the removal of about 8 inches from the height of it), meaning that the girls’ team lost for the third time.

Sophie was the ultimate victim, but it’s hardly surprising as she hasn’t stood out much in the three episodes we’ve seen. Perhaps that’s down to the editing of The Apprentice, but I guess we’ll never know.

After this week’s episode, Neil now only has a 92.31% chance of failure. As do all of them.

Alex Mills
Natalie Panayi
Neil Clough
Rebecca Slater
Sophie Lau
Tim Stillwell
Uzma Yakoob
Zeeshaan Shah
Francesca MacDuff-Varley
Jason Leech
Jaz Ampaw-Farr
Jordan Poulton
Kurt Wilson
Leah Totton
Luisa Zissman
Myles Mordaunt

Would you pay £75.00 for a box on wheels or a high chair?

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