Posted by: Paul | October 21, 2010

The Apprentice – Week 3

There’s really no point in watching The Apprentice until 9.05 unless you want a half-arsed rehash of the previous week. So with Spurs being hammered on the other side I left it until the last minute until switching over!

I’m beginning to get the hang of the candidates now. I might even be able to give more than half of them names at this point. Not their actual names, you understand, more cruel nicknames based on their appearance and the boneheaded things they come out with. And the blokes still all look more or less the same – just as all the city boys do on commuter trains all over the south east. I don’t know how they tell themselves apart from the one they’re standing next to. It’s like ‘I Robot’, only with suits.

Anyway this week, funnily enough after the comment I made last week about them running out of ideas, was almost identical to week 1 in that they had to make a foodstuff and flog it – either to put-upon hotel chains only there for the publicity, or unfortunate passers-by, only there because they have a camera stuck in their face. This time it was bread related products.

The teams were mixed up – earlier it seems than in other years – and Shibby and Melissa duly elected themselves project managers, much to Jamie’s chagrin. He seems absolutely desperate to have a go, like the schoolboy at the back jumping up and down shouting ‘pick me, pick me!’

The show tonight played an interesting game of bait and switch – Shibby’s team got off to a roaring start, making seemingly sensible decisions fast and getting on with things straight away. Whereas Melissa procrastinated, prevaricated, and just plain faffed about. I swear the woman has never finished a sentence in her life – when asked a direct question about pricing during a pitch, she responded in the vein of ‘Well right now I’m looking at something in the region of offering you a deal along the lines of what we’ve been discussing amongst ourselves in order to mutually agree the best offer we can provide you with…’ She’d make a great politician.

After a frankly embarrassing pitch which ended with Melissa asking £1.82 per bread roll (has she never been to Tesco?) and the buyer accusing her team of being disrespectful, they somehow began to get their act together – largely due to military Christopher’s military operation in the bakery.

Meanwhile, on Team Shibby, things were rapidly falling apart. After a promising start, the selling team began to get a little too ambitious, which made the production team start to drag their heels (even more than the uncooperative Sandeesh was already doing). They committed to an order for a hotel which they were obviously going to be unable to fulfill, and things turned from bad to worse when the promised 1000 bread rolls became a paltry…16. Fair play to Shibby though, he had the guts to turn up the following morning and let the guy know in person that he was, in fact, a useless cretin. The client promptly fleeced him for £130 in ‘compensation’. As if he didn’t have a plan B.

Anyway, after the requisite desperate high street flogging scramble, it was back to the board room, where neither PM received a ringing endorsement – and rightly so. Neither did a particularly good job, though Doctor Shibby had a bit more of a mare in the final analysis. Even without the compensation paid to the disappointedly breadless hotel chef, they still would have lost the task. ‘A win’s a win, so well done Mel,’ said Jamie on their resulting evening out – through gritted teeth.

Shibby rather inadvisedly dragged grumpy Sandeesh and battling Aussie Paloma in with him for the final showdown, and was promptly booted out – though not before Paloma had shown herself to be a duplicitous back-stabber. Honestly, how is it possible for these people to forget they’re bing filmed? When asked something they know to be true, why lie about it? It just makes you look even worse!

Still, Shibby’s occupation at least allowed for Lord Shoogah to crack out a few dodgy one liners: ‘I’m afraid it’s not good news…’ Never mind, Shibby. We’re far more in need of Doctors than we are jumped up wanabee entrepreneurs.



  1. Melissa claims to have been a big success in the food industry. Er, I don’t think so. I’ve worked in that trade and given her inability to do basic maths or conduct a professional negotiation, she wouldn’t last 5 minutes.

    I have to say, Ihave a little (but not much) sympathy for Shibby. He was right to walk away from the second order because he was aware of the team’s capacity issues. The way he handled it, however – changing his mind in front of the customer – was appalling. He should have had a plan beforehand to manage the situation. Personally, I would have bumped up the price to the customer and limited the maximum volume. That way, if you lose the order you do so without losing face, and if you win the order, you maximise profit and prioritise that order over the other one without killing the ‘factory’.

    Generally speaking, the commercial deals were a bit of a red herring. Hotels & retailers are always going to squeeze suppliers on margin, so the teams would not have made much profit for a hell of a lot of work. It would possibly have been better to ignore the trade deals altogether, and focus on producing muffins (and maybe croissants) for the consumer market – tempting impulse purchases (if you were wandering through Covent Garden, would you buy a plain roll or a baguette on spec like that?) with enormous mark-ups.

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