Dubai, To Buy, Goodbye, Don’t Cry

What a relief- the 5th episode of The Apprentice was entertaining to watch tonight. We even saw some humour from SLABS and his bum-chum Nick.

Tonight’s task was the traditional shopping task; both teams were sent to Dubai with a shopping list of 8 items. The winning team would be the ones who sourced the most items on the list whilst spending the least money. For each item which was wrong or not obtained, a financial penalty equal to the market value of the wrong/missing item would be added to the total amount spent.

This task was especially important for some reason, because SLABS growled during the introduction that his reputation was on the line. It struck me as rather strange that he would place his reputation firmly in the hands of a group of people who only made it on to the show because of their ridiculous boasts and claims. If he’s going to continue like that, he may as well just sell his business empire and shut up shop right now.

Zeeshaan nominated himself as project manager for Endeavour because of his “local knowledge” of Dubai and the fact that he knew it like the back of his hand, which seemed extremely logical. Leah also put herself forward but wasn’t very happy that she lost out to Zeeshaan.

Leah opted for the next-best thing and took on the role of sub-teamleader.

Much to Zeeshaan’s surprise.

He didn’t really put up much of a fight and in Leah’s defence, I think she would have done a much better job,  despite ignoring instructions, doing her own thing and generally trying to ‘stand out’.

Myles was project manager for Evolve; his only real argument for this was that he lived in Monaco for 10 years. Not the best pitch in the world, but it worked.

One of the items on the list was a standard-sized oud, made from mahogany. Zeeshaan (what with his local knowledge and all) had his team go out searching for this fragrance, which is apparently what the majority of people in Dubai wear to smell nice.

I’m no expert and I certainly don’t know Dubai like the back of my hand, but irrespective of which country I was in and regardless of what I thought I knew, I reckon I’d realise from the very beginning that a scent isn’t made from mahogany. Imagine the nasty injuries experienced by Arabs trying to dab aftershave or perfume around their necks with a piece of wood.

That’s just stupid.

On the bright side, at least nothing else could possibly go wrong for Zeeshaan and his local knowledge.

Myles managed to do some spectacular haggling with a minion at a garden centre whilst trying to purchase a plant. He asked if he could have a discount and was told that he could have 10%, but he managed to increase the discount to 15%. Not bad, but when he asked the minion if she was the manager, I thought that he was going to ask to speak to the manager when he found out that she wasn’t. It turned out to be a moot point, as he didn’t pursue that line of questioning any further and settled for the 15% discount.

I can’t really criticise- I’m not great when it comes to haggling. I would have been happy if the minion had thrown in some colourful seeds or something.

Another item on the list- a UAE flag made to a specific size. Easy peasy.

Myles turned up at a place which makes flags, ordered his UAE flag, paid cash upfront and chose to wait for the quoted hour that the flag would take to produce. This turned out to be an hour and a half which when you think about it, was slightly wasted. You could see Myles becoming more and more uneasy as the minutes slipped by. He looked even more uneasy when Zeeshaan turned up to collect the UAE flag which he had previously had the insight to order over the telephone beforehand.

Zeeshaan is an expert at looking smug. Even when he has nothing to be smug about, he just has that look upon his face which makes you want to kick him in the bollocks. Really hard.

Fortunately for Myles, that smug look disappeared in a split second when Zeeshaan’s pre-ordered UAE flag was brought out to him. Either everyone and everything had suddenly become enormous or the produced flag had suddenly and quite unexpectedly shrunk, because despite Endeavour’s best endeavours, it didn’t look quite big enough. What could possibly have gone wrong?

Kurt went wrong, that’s what. For someone trying to demonstrate his business prowess and  the qualities that would make SLABS want to hire him, it’s ironic that he would mix up centimetres with inches. This was a bit of a faux pas, to say the least.

The look on Kurt’s face was priceless- you could see the very moment that he realised what had gone wrong from the way the blood drained from his face. Ordinarily, I’d feel sorry for someone who made such a catastrophic fuck-up but I have no sympathy for Kurt. I almost did, but then I remembered that he’d stated at the beginning of the process that “I’m an alpha male; I always get my own way and know how to make people do what I want”. The small flag would have been perfect, if he’d have made someone create him a serviette.

Unbelievably, Zeeshaan tried to haggle with the flag maker over the price of the wrong-sized flag- this isn’t really something you can do after you’ve ordered a flag of the wrong dimensions. It’s a little bit cheeky, to be honest.

Once again Rebecca seemed to be invisible during this task. I even had to check and make sure she hadn’t been fired already in a previous episode so dull, I’d forgotten that I’d even watched it. I’d forgotten nothing- Rebecca really is a pointless entity. I’ll be pretty disappointed if she goes on to win this.

In the boardroom, we witnessed two jokes. That’s right, two. Firstly, Nick asked Frank if he’d raised one of “those” eyebrows whilst Zeeshaan was insisting that oud was a fragrance. Frank had indeed raised one of those ridiculous, evil eyebrows and it had nearly taken out the ceiling above them all.

The second joke was from SLABS himself; whilst speaking to Myles, he stated that had Kurt been addressing him, he’d probably have called him Kilometres. Get it? The mix up with the size of the flag, see? I wonder if SLABS writes his own jokes.

Endeavour ended up losing to Evolve and Zeeshaan brought Natalie and Leah back in to the boardroom with him. Leah had stood up to him and had been a bit of a pain in the arse, but she was sensible and I think that if she had been project manager, Endeavour would have stood much more of a chance at winning. It was unfair to bring Natalie back in with him, seeing as he had ignored her input throughout the task.

Fortunately, SLABS made the right choice and fired Zeeshaan, who I think had ultimately out-boasted himself into a hole so deep, even Gina Dejesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry‘s screams wouldn’t be heard from it.

I’m confident that Zeeshaan will do well in business without SLABS’ money. With his local knowledge and knowing Dubai like the back of his hand, he’ll make the perfect Arab cab driver.

You’ll be pleased to know that Neil now only has a 90.01% chance of not landing the coveted business partnership with SLABS.

Frank Sidebottom
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

Do you know your arse from the back of your hand?

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