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The Apprentice 4, Episode 6 Corner Office and Mailroom Assignmentsby Gil Sery -- 11/03/2005
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This week’s episode was a “frigging slaughter,” to quote one of the candidates. So who was the MVP and who was the LVP this week? Let’s find out.
Capital Edge managed to increase sales in their department by 74%, a fact made all the more remarkable considering that nobody on the team actually plays golf. For being only the second person to lead Capital Edge to victory in the past six weeks (Marshawn was the first person to do so, in Week Two with the Lamborghini task), Alla definitely deserves the Corner Office this week.
On the flip side, Clay was cited by two of his fellow teammates as too much of a whiner. Randal was the more polite of the two, claiming that Clay is a difficult person to work with. Alla, on the other hand, was less euphemistic when she compared Clay to a five year old and called him a “bitchy woman times a thousand.” So it stands to reason that Clay gets to work in the mailroom this week where he can bitch and moan to his heart’s content, about illegible handwriting or anything else he might encounter in the mailroom.
Considering Rebecca’s mobility impairment, I would think she would have been delegated to the pitching machine, where moving around is not really a requirement, but she really surprised me and sold the most out of anyone on her team, and for this she deserves major kudos. For realizing this was a sales-oriented task, and for being the best of the worst, Rebecca gets the Corner Office this week.
Now we come to the history-making section of this week’s task. Since all four people who did the worst on this task were fired, and the other three did well, there really is nobody left who wasn’t fired to send to the mailroom. Instead, let’s see why they all would have deserved mailroom duty if they were still with the company.
Josh was an ineffectual leader. He didn’t realize that this task was more about selling than about baseball camp. If you take a look, about 20 minutes into the episode, you’ll notice that the merchandise displays were placed not at each base as was originally planned, but actually outside the batting cage! This meant that you had to step outside the batting cage to get to the merchandise at an event where everyone was trying to get inside the batting cage. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
What they should have tried to do was tie the merchandise into the baseball cage. For example, they could have had a pinball-style game, where each base had a specific discount, and each customer got three balls to use any bat in the store to try hit the base with the highest discount. This would have achieved several things. For one, it would have let the customers try out the merchandise. Two, it would have involved a fun activity that would have made use of the batting cage, but not made it the central focus of the task. Finally, it would have encouraged customers in the store to use their good-for-today-only discount to purchase items in the store, thereby increasing sales.
One last point about Josh is that, if Jennifer is to be believed, Josh also didn’t delegate specific responsibilities to his fellow team members, although Jen was supposedly the de facto head of sales, considering her numerous sales claims.
Speaking of Jen, she literally promised in the van to sell six radar guns, and unless radar guns these days look a lot like “hot dogs, pretzels, lemonade,” she didn’t sell any radar guns or any other high-ticket items. All we have is her word that she sold some bats because we didn’t even see that.
Also, I have to take issue with the way Jen approached what little merchandise we did see her try to sell. She asked some customers, “Would you be interested?” Now I’m not a “sales king,” or even a salesman by trade (although I’ve had my fair share of sales experience) and even I know never to ask a closed-ended question that can be answered with merely a “yes” or a “no.” If a customer can merely answer with a “no,” 99.999% of the time he or she will do so. The first rule of Salesmanship 101 is to always assume the sale. Contrast Jen’s close-ended question with Clay’s more successful, open-ended questioning where he asked a customer, “What would it take to get you to buy these over your Nikes?” (we never saw what “these” were), and you’ll see a vast difference. Clay asked a question designed to tell him how to sell the customer on the product. This is infinitely more useful than a mere “yes” or “no” would be. It should also be common knowledge to any salesperson, especially someone who brags about her salesmanship abilities.
Turning our attention to Mark, he actually told Bill that he was too busy dropping balls into a machine (something so simple a robot could be programmed to do it automatically) to notice what his fellow teammates were up to and whether they were selling or not. Did he really think that dropping balls into a machine would help him get hired as a six-figure-earning Trump Organization executive? This was just plain lack of foresight and lack of common sense.
Lastly, and probably least deserving of being fired, is James. Sure he came up with the baseball cage idea, but was it his idea to make it so huge and all encompassing? Whose idea was that? We never found out. In fact, I had to read my colleague’s Why James Lost article to come up with some kind of justification for why he lost. The main reason for why he was fired seems to be that he didn’t properly understand the task, and failed to apply common sense to make sure that his team was doing what they were supposed to do, which was sell sporting goods, not train kids.
So, if any of these candidates were still around, they would have gone straight to the mailroom this week.
Week 6 Tally
In her first week with her new team, Rebecca proves her worth and gets the Corner Office. Meanwhile, Alla becomes the second person on Capital Edge to get the Corner Office a second time. Here are the updated results. As always, the numbers in parentheses indicate the weeks in which the assignments were awarded.
Corner Office: Mark (1), Randall (2, 3), Clay (4), Josh (5), Rebecca (6)
Mailroom: Josh (1), Chris (2), Clay (3, 6), Markus (5)
Corner Office: Rebecca (1), Alla (1, 6), Jennifer M. (3, 4), Marshawn (5)
Mailroom: Kristi (1), Melissa (1), Marshawn (2), Rebecca (3), Jennifer W. (3), Felisha (4), Jennifer M. (5)
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other Apprentice 4 Episode 6 articles:
Gil Sery is a freelance entertainment journalist who loves watching reality TV, and loves getting email from fans even more. You can make his day by emailing him at email@example.com and telling him who you think should get the corner office or mailroom.
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