Sir Lord Alan Bloody Sugar and the Corporate Cock-Up

Colonel Alex

I don’t know whether or not I can say the 6th episode of The Apprentice was interesting, but I certainly learnt something from it tonight; if I’m ever at a hospital or GP’s surgery and Leah comes out to see me, I’ll be off quicker than Usain Bolt running away from Richard Branson. I’d sooner cut my arms, legs and head off than have her see to me in a hospital or a GP’s surgery.

Anyway, about last night’s episode of The Apprentice. Usually, I would have finished this and published it last night, but it took longer than I anticipated.

It’s such a pain in the arse when these episodes are as dull as they generally have been this series because it makes it difficult to do one of my write-ups. I don’t even know why I do a write-up after each episode but it may have something to do with the fact that I once enjoyed watching The Apprentice. Personally, I think the format has become a bit tired.

In summary, each team had to arrange a corporate day out for a large client which included team-building and other such exercises. Leah was in charge of Endeavour and Francesca was in charge of Evolve. Each team had a £5,000 budget and the team which made the most profit and received the most satisfaction from their day out were the winners.

I wish SLABS would stop saying “let’s mix the teams up a little bit” because after mixing the teams up a “little bit” so many times, surely it’s not mixing them up a “little bit” any more?

Luisa, who was part of Evolve, kicked off by making it very clear that she was anti-coporate, as corporate types were boring and dull. What a great way to show your willingness to take part and succeed, right?

Evolve decided to base their corporate day out on a school theme, which would include wine-tasting and chocolate-making. That’s right… wine-tasting and chocolate-making for a school-themed corporate day out.

Meanwhile, Leah decided that Endeavour would have a history theme, despite calling a vote and the majority choosing a school theme (what is it with school themes??).

By the time the sub-team had arranged archery lessons (and negotiated very well on the price), Leah had decided that their theme will now be army-based instead. The archery lessons were still included in the corporate day anyway, despite not being an army thing, but it would have been nice for Leah to inform the sub-team that the plans had changed. Leah changes her mind more often than the person who invented the hokey cokey, which was later to be the butt of one of SLABS’ jokes later in the boardroom.

The two clients for this task were Barclays UK Retail Banking and LastMinute.com; I’m

Arctic Nick

surprised that Barclays agreed to appear on The Apprentice as although they no doubt arrange corporate days out on a regular basis (it genuinely is important for team-building and morale-boosting), nobody likes to hear of money being spent within the banking industry because of the recent bad press. Can you imagine if RBS or Lloyds had appeared instead? Imagine the backlash! It’s not as though the banks haven’t had enough exposure on the BBC recently as it is- we can always rely on Watchdog for that.

I didn’t understand how either team can pitch an idea to a client without first pricing things up. Each team knew they had a budget of £5,000.00, but surely they should have had the meetings after costing up so they had a better idea of what they could offer? This seemed a bit backwards to me.

Karen's death stare

Endeavour pitched to LastMinute.com and Evolve pitched to Barclays, once they’d finally turned up. Their lateness was caused by a last minute discussion in the corridor about what they were going to pitch and Karen made it very clear from her trademark, icy glare that she didn’t feel the pitch was going very well. In their defence, as stated above, it must have been tricky putting a pitch forward without having the chance to make any real preparations.

Nick was obviously very cold throughout this task as he didn’t take his scarf off at any point. I don’t remember exactly, but I think he even wore it during Evolve’s pitch to LastMinute.com.

Luisa and Jason visited someone on behalf of Endeavour to get some prices for a chocolate-making session. Whilst initially discussing the idea for this during brainstorming, Luisa reminded the others that she makes cupcakes for a living. As mentioned the other week, if someone in your team has a specific skill or trade, it makes sense to exploit that and use it to your advantage. Luisa and Jason made the decision to not go with the chocolate-making idea on account of the expense and the fact that Luisa is perfectly capable of showing people how to make cupcakes instead of having someone show people how to make chocolate. This was a good decision. What wasn’t such a good decision was asking the chocolate-making woman if they could buy some piping bags from her, after telling her that her services were too expensive and that Luisa can make cupcakes.

Evolve spent £300 on props for their school-themed day, none of which bore any relevance to any school, anywhere in the world, ever, just in case you were wondering.

It may have been the wine-tasting or cupcake-making that gave it away. Or it could haveSchool Flamingobeen the pink flamingo, which was one of the props they used.

Endeavour had some great ideas, which included blind-croquet and other team-orientated tasks. I wasn’t keen on Alex coming out as Colonel Alex, complete with face-paint and dressed accordingly, as he’s not really the shouty, dominating, army type. He couldn’t even get his words out properly, so made the least-intimidating colonel ever- he was even less intimidating than Colonel Sanders.

Neil did the motivational speaking bit and did a fantastic job- he really was brilliant, but I can’t help wonder if part of my appreciation was out of sympathy, triggered by his reference to his dead father.

Horse WomanEvolve had no idea what was going on and I think that Francesca had failed right from the start to grasp the whole concept of a corporate day out. Jason was in charge of the wine-tasting, where the participants had to sample various wines and list them in order of value. For a genius such as Jason, he cocked up the scoring system quite spectacularly, to the extent where a horsey-looking woman even snorted with displeasure.

The best thing about Evolve’s event was the motivational speaker whom they hired- he was very good. It’s just a shame that hiring him cost them money and was further evidence that they didn’t have a clue about what they should be doing.

As you can probably guess, Endeavour won the task, which is a shame because I’m beginning to dislike Leah very, very much.

Francesca brought Luisa and Rebecca into the boardroom with her (I’d forgotten all about Rebecca- was she even in this episode?) and Rebecca ended up being fired. I had a micro-sleep during the final boardroom meeting, so don’t know what SLABS’ reasons were, but they were probably justified and were probably partly to do with the fact that she’s a bit of a non-entity. I think you’d only notice Rebecca’s absence once she’d returned, if that makes sense?

Anyway, Dr. Doom is still in the process and Invisible Rebecca has gone.

Neil now only has a 90% chance of failure. I know that you think I’m picking on Neil, but I like to report on his chances for failure (or, lack of success, if you’d prefer) because he stated in the beginning that he’s “here to win”. Maybe he will win, making me look stupid for saying that he won’t win just because he said he would.

Between you, I and the internet, I quite like Neil and hope he does win.

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

Did you feel motivated after this episode?

About Ninja Hedgehog

I’m Ninja Hedgehog, the creator of the Ninja Hedgehog website. I've written various things over the years but started Ninja Hedgehog in October 2011. I write about all kind of subjects but will never write about sport. Ever.
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