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So anyway,
Because what the Net really needs is another person sharing his uninformed views
SMELL MY STRATEGY! 
3rd-May-2012 01:57 pm
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This week it's The Apprentice's "smelling what's selling" task, in which LdAlan says "smelling what's selling" a couple of hundred times, then Barren Krady says "smelling what's selling" as well, and finally Adam thinks he might have worked out what the task's about, and it might be about "smelling what's selling." How he hasn't just automatically won the whole show from that glorious bit of insight is a mystery.

This task, which first appeared last year, seems to be really unpopular. I actually quite like it, if only because it makes some tiny gesture towards real-life business, where having some stock at the end of the day isn't a bad thing, because other days are available. And if you don't make these little concessions to reality you get disasters like last week, when the Blonde Assassin realised she was on a game show, and had to be fired before she spread the word to the other contestants.

Anyway the Apprenti are all lounging about at the flat again because this series they're all a bunch of layabouts or something, and shouldn't Nick have used the indoor pool by now? I suspect his body's not as pretty as his hair, which is why he's been holding out on us. Finally the phone rings, which the Apprenti totally haven't been expecting what with the cameras filming them, and Toothlicker gets a phone answering point. They're to go to a wholesale warehouse full of tat in Essex, where LdAlan will tell them to smell what's selling, and then tell them to smell what's selling again, and while they're at it they should smell what's selling. Toothlicker and Laura swap teams, LdAlan "subtly" informs us that "some people" who are Jade haven't been PM yet, then leaves them to pick their tat. Jade informs us that she's a "born leader," which is presumably why she steered clear of doing any kind of leading until she was basically forced to. Anyway she's Phoenix PM because LdAlan said so.

On Sterling, Ricky Martin, Nick and Toothlicker all want to be PM, but kingmaker Gabrielle anoints Nick as leader, by stroking his thigh. O RLY? They choose where to set up their pitches (an unspoken rule seems to demand there's one shopping centre and one outdoor market per team) then go round picking tat to flog. Jenna suggests some fake tan (sorry, some GHASTLY fake tan, per Hick Newer) since they're selling in Essex after all. So they pick that, and some other bits and pieces. Phoenix, meanwhile, who didn't even have to spend time picking a PM, have still faffed all their time away choosing their pitches so their product selection basically resembles Supermarket Sweep, as they run around the warehouse chucking the first thing they see into their trolley. Jade hasn't actually worked out the figures in all this, it's been left to Tom to do as usual - "thanks god someone is," says Barren Krady. Tom either going to have the easiest win of all time, or be a shock boot next week because there's been such unsubtle emphasis on how he's the only person there who has any idea what he's doing - a running theme that just goes into overdrive this episode. Jade, on the other hand, has no "strategy," a word that Azhar will attempt to say more times even than LdAlan says "smelling what's selling."

On Team Nick, fake tans are a big seller in Essex SHOCKA! The beard trimmers are less of a hit since most of the shoppers are women, and Gabrielle says she managed to sell a few by claiming they're bikini line trimmers, but we're not actually shown this. Maybe nobody signed the form allowing the BBC to broadcast them saying "At last! Something to tame my uncontrollable muff!" They run out of tan quickly, and with sub-team Ricky Martin & Toothlicker having been rained out of their market stall, they're sent to restock instead. Nick chooses not to have them dump the stock in their car boot with the main team before going back to the warehouse. This provides false jeopardy that this might cost Nick the task when they get stuck in traffic, leaving the shopping centre team without stock for an hour or so. But frankly they'll need to try harder to make it look like Nick might lose because Team Jade is currently mainly managing to sell weird toy cockroaches, which at £3 are still overpriced, but cheap enough for people to buy as a souvenir so they can say "hey, that Apprentice lot from off of the telly were in town, I bought this piece of crap off them!" The PM herself has a market stall with no prices on it, just the words REALLY CHEAP! on boxes of tat, because at this point they'll accept payment in magic beans if necessary. Her own restocking process involves getting the same mixed load of stuff as before, with no real concern for what they can actually get rid of. Like the cockroaches with the huge markup for example, let's not go nuts and actually buy loads of them. Azhar tries to get her to amend this by monotoning the word "strategy" at her down the phone, a technique which for some reason doesn't solve anything.

When the teams finally reach the warehouse, there's very little fake tan left because of Essex's insatiable desire to be orange, but the teams take what's left, Nick keeping prices high to the end because he remembers that leftover stock will count towards the total, Jade slashing hers because there is literally no part of this task she has understood.

BOARDROOM! LdAlan has a bit of a go at Nick for not taking Ricky Martin and Toothlicker's leftovers while he could, because he already knows he won't have a chance to have a go later. It's "shameful!" apparently, which presumably means LdAlan doesn't like Nick's business plan so will bring this up next time he's in the firing line as an excuse to get rid of him. Meanwhile Jade took the "hint" that she should be PM, and look what happened there. £838 in cash and stock as compared to Sterling's £955, that's what happened there. So Team Sterling have turned £150 into £955 in a day, which LdAlan holds up as an example of what, even In These Difficult Times, anyone can do with £150 and a van. And a staff of five who don't need paying 'cause they're being fed and housed by the BBC. And exclusive late-night access to the warehouse, arranged by the BBC. And fuel for the van, paid for by the BBC. And a number of prime selling pitches, found and paid for by the BBC. And lots of interest from passing customers because the whole thing's being filmed by the BBC. But you know, apart from that, it's totally a business model than anyone could copy with £150, a van, and a day to spare. Anyway their prize is to drink some cocktails. Jesus. Next week's prize: Special Brew and a wank under a bridge.

In loser cafe, Azhar tells us that Jade'll "fart her corner, as she always will," which is one boardroom technique I suppose. Actually Jade's boardroom technique turns out to be bringing back Azhar because he told her all the right things to do, but in such a boring way there was no chance of her paying attention. And also Tom, because she looked around at the rest of her team and he was the first person she saw. When she chooses him Tom bitches "even though I made the right decisions..." but soon amends this to "I don't mind" as it's that obvious he's going nowhere. Indeed it's then repeated by Barren Krady and anyone else in the vicinity that if it hadn't been for Tom, Jade would have lost with a much bigger margin, so it's clearly between Jade and Azhar, with LdAlan letting Tom off the hook pretty early. Jade wants to stay in because she wants LdAlan to see her business plan - er, didn't he say he'd already seen them all at the start of the series? LdAlan wants to know why he shouldn't terminate her existence. STEADY ON LDALAN! YOU'RE NOT THE BLONDE ASSASSIN! He fire-teases her but this series is such a sausage-fest already he can't fire another bladdy woman just yet, and since firing Tom would make no sense it has to be Azhar. Outside Tom hugs Azhar, fanfic is written. Jade does not hug anyone.

Azhar grumbles in the cab home but his own voice bores him so much he starts to fall asleep. He dreams, and in the mist sees a figure in a stripy jumper, razor-sharp claws coming out of her fingers, and long blonde hair under a grubby fedora. Aargh! A Nightmare On Shard Street!

Next week: "selling" "urban" "art."
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