The Apprentice 4, Episode 6: Friggin’ Slaughterby Betsy Wasser -- 10/28/2005
Previously on The Apprentice, I went on vacation and Jenn Brasler stepped in for me as the Bill to my George. Thanks, Jenn! I did, of course, watch the show last week. Jennifer should feel incredibly lucky that she botched the task so badly and still didn’t get fired. It amuses me that each and every week, Capital Edge claims to have one team member who is hurting them, and if that one person would just go away, they’d all be okay. Last week it was Kristi, but before that they just needed to get rid of Toral, and before her, Melissa. Funny how the problems continue.
The candidates are waiting in the suite to find out the results of the Boardroom. Felisha and Alla hope that Jennifer will be the one fired. Alla says that she needs to be project manager next, and she knows how to use Kristi. Felisha says that if Kristi doesn’t walk through the door, she will be devastated. Well, prepare to be devastated, Felisha, because here comes Jennifer. When she walks into the suite, candidates welcome her back with wildly varying degrees of enthusiasm.
Jennifer says in an interview that she made mistakes in that task. She was genuinely worried going into the Boardroom, but at the same time, she was confident. She knew she was better than Kristi. She talks to her team and says that they are starting this task with a clean slate, and that now that Kristi is gone, they will be “unstoppable.” Huh, that sounds familiar. Could it be because they said the same thing last week? Alla says in an interview that she has not led the team yet, but she will in the next task. She’s confident that she has what it takes to make the team finally gel.
The Trump Phone rings, and Clay gets it. Rhona tells him to have the teams choose project managers and meet in the Boardroom the next morning. Clay thinks the choice of the Boardroom is “interesting.” In an interview, my boyfriend Josh agrees. He thinks that “something funky” is about to happen. Oooh, maybe George Clinton will be there! That would be funky.
The candidates gather in the Boardroom, and we’re treated to a long, lingering shot of Trump’s door. Carolyn finally breaks the silence, telling the candidates that Trump and George are away on business, so she and Bill will be in charge. She moves over to Trump’s chair and says it feels good. Carolyn reports that Capital Edge has been decimated, and in the Trump organization, when something doesn’t work, “we fix it.” Project manager Alla must choose the three members of her team who have contributed the least and send them over to Excel. Alla hesitates only briefly before sending away Jennifer, Rebecca, and Marshawn. Marshawn? Marshawn is one of the best ones!
My boyfriend Josh is the project manager of Excel. Carolyn says that although he has a successful team, surely there are weak links. He’s to choose three people to go over to Capital Edge. I go ahead and write down “Markus” as one of the people he’ll choose. Naturally, he does, along with Clay and Adam. Since Josh is not a fan of Clay’s bitch coat, and because I keep forgetting there’s a guy named Adam on this show, those seem like good choices.
Carolyn explains the task. The teams will go to Dick’s Sporting Goods, where they will create an interactive event based on the sport of their choice. They will have the services of contractors to help them build whatever they want. The team that creates the biggest increase in revenue in their given sport’s equipment wins. Because Brian was granted an exemption by his team last week, he is safe. She sends the teams on their way.
I have to say, Carolyn is a natural in Trump’s role. They could ditch The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and replace it with The Apprentice: Carolyn and probably do great. Carolyn rules.
Capital Edge (Alla, Randal, Felisha, Clay, Markus, and Adam) quickly learns that none of them really play any sports. Markus suggests that they go with golf, and the team quickly agrees to go for it. Golf is a great choice. Both men and women play the sport, there is tons of golf merchandise to sell, and people who play golf definitely spend money on their hobby. Clay says their concept will be a “golf makeover.” They’ll sell clothing, accessories, and equipment. Alla interrupts to ask what they are going to build. Clay says that Alla is demanding. In an interview, he says she’s not concerned with any of the logistics, just the big picture. Clay wants to build a big enclosed area, but Alla shuts that idea down. In an interview, she says that they shouldn’t close off access to the merchandise they’re trying to sell. The task, she reminds us, is all about sales. In an interview, Clay says that Alla ignores other people’s ideas. Gee, I think these two might not like each other very much.
Excel, now made up of my boyfriend Josh, Mark, James, Jennifer, Brian, Marshawn, and Rebecca, brainstorms about their sport. Rebecca suggests soccer, but James prefers baseball, and the team loves the idea of a day at the baseball field. Each base will be a selling station devoted to a different kind of merchandise. That’s a very clever idea – I love it. They’ll also have a batting cage, which sounds awesome. James loves baseball and says that he’s very passionate about this task. “It’s a homerun,” he says with a smile.
James, Mark, and Jen return to the suite, and Jen talks about her plans to sell lots of radar guns. She doesn’t think the eight they have in stock will be enough. James and Mark seem a bit dubious of her ability to sell such a big ticket item. I’m right there with them. She’d do better if she focused on selling, say, baseball gloves, which are a far easier sell. Who needs a radar gun? In an interview, Mark says that Jennifer believes in her selling skills, which is great, but now she has to prove herself or she will be very vulnerable if they lose. Jen says, “I love the radar gun. Is that what it’s called?” Oh, Jennifer.
It’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week: Take it to the limit. Trump says that in business, you must all challenge each other to be better. And now for the Betsy Lesson of the Week. This week’s Betsy Lesson is that if at all possible, you should always have something to read with you. You never know when you’ll get stuck waiting in a long line. If you have a book or magazine with you, you’ve got built in entertainment.
It’s the morning of the task, and Josh is “fired up.” They go into the store, and the baseball diamond looks awesome. Regretfully, no one says “If you build it, they will come.” But before the event starts, they need to set up the batting cage. It needs to be big – 12 feet by 36 feet. Josh thinks the batting cage will be the centerpiece of the event and will drive sales. The problem, Marshawn quickly points out, is that the batting cage takes up a lot of space, so they can’t really set up the stations at each base like they’d planned. The product that they’re supposed to sell is hidden, a fact for which she blames Josh.
Capital Edge’s golf course also looks great. Alla explains that they have three stations – Fashion, Function, and Family Fun – a putting course for kids. Clay bickers with Felisha and Alla about where to put some of the merchandise. In an interview, Randal says that Alla is discovering what he’s known for quite some time, which is that Clay is hard to work with. I wish we saw more of Randal, because he seems incredibly sharp. Clay pulls Alla aside and says that he is not happy. She put him in charge of merchandising, but now he’s finding that his displays are changed. Alla says in an interview that Clay is like a little kid, always pounding his chest and wanting his way. She says, “Clay is not a man. He’s an insecure, bitchy woman times a thousand.” Wow, did Clay get a whole bitch suit to go with his bitch coat? And if so, where can I buy one? Alla says that if by some chance they lose, she will bring Clay to the boardroom for sure. Clay continues to argue with her, to which Alla simply responds, “Cut it.”
Excel’s event is packed with kids in the batting cage. James watches and gives them tips on how to improve. Josh feels great about the crowd they’ve drawn. Bill arrives to take it all in and watches as Randal sells a bat to a guy who looks like Michael Moore. Brian and Rebecca are not so happy about the batting cage and think it’s taking attention away from sales. Bill must be thinking the same thing. He talks to Mark, who is busy feeding balls into the batting cage at Dick’s. Feel free to take a moment to giggle about that last sentence. I’ll wait. Anyway, Bill aks Mark how the team is doing. Mark admits that he’s so focused on working the batting cage and coaching the kids that he has no idea. Meanwhile, Brian notices that Jen is busy hawking lemonade, hot dogs, and pretzels, rather than selling those $150 radar guns or $300 batting cages. In an interview, Bill says that Excel is not focused on sales. They’re doing a great job of teaching kids how to play baseball, but that’s not what it’s about. “It’s not about batting practice,” Bill sighs.
At Capital Edge, Felisha greets customers as they enter the fairway. Adam and Alla then meet them in the apparel department, and customers go through the rest of the merchandise. Markus attempts to sell some new golf clubs to Carolyn, who laughs because she works in golf. She asks him if anyone on the team actually plays golf, and he admits that they don’t. Carolyn says in an interview that the team is certainly winging it, but they have spirit. Alla explains in an interview that the event is set up such that kids can play on the putting green while their parents shop, which is a great idea. Clay is selling merchandise like a maniac, a fact that even Alla admits. She says that it is “one of his few talents.” At the end of the day, Alla feels calm and is hopeful that her team’s numbers will be better.
The teams gather in the Boardroom, and Carolyn gets Trump on the phone. Capital Edge, she reports, increased sales by 74%. Sweet Yoda in the swamp, that is incredible! Trump is impressed, too. Bill says that Excel’s batting cage drew a big crowd, but there was too much coaching and not enough selling. Not only did they not increase sales, they actually showed a 34% decrease. Ouch. Trump calls the loss “embarrassing.” The team quickly grants Alla an exemption, which I think she deserves. Trump says that their reward will be to fly on a private jet to East Hampton for sport fishing and a lobster bake. That is an awesome reward and a big contrast from the pathetic rewards Martha Stewart is giving out. She’d probably let them each choose a golf ball or something.
Captial Edge flies on the jet to their reward. Felisha can’t believe the “slaughter” they gave the other team, a 111% difference. They go on a boat for the deep sea fishing, and Randal is not having fun at first. Adam, on the other hand, is having a blast, thrilled that he’s learned something as valuable as deep sea fishing on this job interview. Clay loves the reward, but loves even more that he can now say, “Josh, in your face,” for sending him to the other team. After the fishing is over, Capital Edge goes to a big bonfire, complete with a raw bar and some beautiful lobsters. Markus has a bottle of champagne and blathers on about how he’s going to saber it open, he knows wine, blah, blah, just shut up and open it already. After several failed attempts, he finally gets the cork out, along with much of the champagne. In an interview, Alla says that Markus is a nice guy “with very little ability to perform.” She simply laughs at his antics because “he is ridiculous.”
Josh and Mark go out for a drink and a talk. Mark says that James had offered to float from place to place closing sales and didn’t end up doing it. Josh isn’t interested in going after James, focusing instead on Jen, who should have been a better seller. Mark cautions him against going after only Jen – if Trump doesn’t agree with Josh’s argument, he has no other option but to fire Josh.
Mark says that their loss was “an ass-kicking of exponential proportions.” Josh can’t believe that he lost to the other team, a group of people he obviously doesn’t have much respect for. Okay, they might have Markus, but they also have Alla, Marshawn, and Randal, all of whom seem really strong. But Josh is upset, so I’m letting it go. He thinks the whole team shares accountability for the loss. They rowed together, but they might not have been going in the right direction or even been in the right kind of boat. Mark says he’s worried about the Boardroom. Josh says he’s not bringing him back, so Mark has no cause for concern. Somewhere, the Irony Fairy stirs in her sleep.
The team goes to the Boardroom, where Trump immediately derides them for the “worst defeat ever.” Josh says they lost because of sales. Trump asks whose idea baseball was, and James admits that it was his. Trump says he’s a great baseball player, but that sure didn’t help them on this task. Rebecca thinks that the batting cage was a draw, but that it hurt them because customers couldn’t get to the merchandise. James admits that this, too, was his idea.
Trump says that James was too focused on coaching the kids to sell. Mark agrees that they had a captive audience that they should have sold to. Bill tells Mark that his being in the batting cage the whole time was a waste of him as a potential seller. Carolyn agrees. She also thinks the food might have been a distraction. Jen denies this, which is funny, given how much time we saw her hawking that food. Marshawn says that the food did take money away from the event. $3 spent on a hot dog could have been spent on a bat.
Jennifer says that Josh didn’t give her any direction during the event. Bill asks Jennifer why, if she’s such a selling star, she didn’t do better. Jennifer says that the concept changed from the selling stations at the bases, so it was harder to sell. Bill is incredulous. They had that line of people there and should have been able to convert those browsers to buyers. Who had responsibility for sales? Josh says it was primarily Jen, but that all of them should have been selling. He blames her for the loss.
Jennifer says she is a great salesperson if she’s in an environment where she can work. Marshawn says that she is not a salesperson, but she managed to sell more than superseller Jennifer did, as did Rebecca. Bill commends them for their efforts. Jennifer says that Josh had no plan, and that she asked him for what she needed to sell, and he didn’t give it to her. Josh looks a little stunned and says that she’s lying. He thinks Jennifer should have taken the lead in selling and gotten the rest of the team with her. Other than Mark, Jennifer sold the least. Marshawn sold the most.
Trump has heard enough. He says that since Josh lost so horribly, he’s not going to ask him who to bring back. Brian is exempt, so he can go back to the suite. Rebecca and Marshawn can join him, as everyone agrees that the two of them did well also. That leaves Josh, Jennifer, James, and Mark.
Bill says that as project manager, Josh is responsible for the loss. Trump thinks Josh choked in this task. Carolyn can’t believe they had so few people selling in a sales task. She can’t choose one person to fire. Well, I can. I would fire Jennifer. She has indeed been talking up her incredible selling abilities, but she totally failed. She claims that she couldn’t sell in that environment, but Marshawn, Rebecca, and Brian did. Even if sales were low, if she’s so great, she should have done better than the three of them. Sure, the layout wasn’t what she wanted, but she should have adapted, maybe worked the line and showed merchandise to customers there. Or she could have met them after they used the batting cages and sold them the equipment they just used. Pair all of that with her terrible performance last week, and Jennifer is an easy choice.
The four return to the Boardroom. Josh says that Jennifer was the weakest of them all. Jennifer argues that they didn’t follow the original concept. James agrees that they veered off the path, and much to Josh’s shock, says he would fire Josh. Mark blames Jen. Jen cries, “I got a lot done!” Josh takes my point that she failed to work the line at the cage. Jennifer insists that she could and did sell, but no one is impressed. Josh rolls his eyes to the heavens.
Trump focuses on Jennifer, saying that she needed to show them something after the last task, but she didn’t. Josh repeats to an increasingly hysterical Jen that she failed. Carolyn shuts him down by saying that he failed too, a fact that Josh has no choice but to agree with. Trump now zeroes in on Josh, saying that he was an ineffective leader and made bad decisions. James stuck himself in that batting cage all day, and Mark sold almost nothing. With that, Trump fires all four of them, disgustedly saying, “Go home.” Before he leaves, Mark apologizes for letting him down. Trump says all of them are better than this.
The four former candidates leave, and Carolyn says again that this was the worst defeat ever. Bill says sadly that it “had to be done.” Then, in the most awesome part of this episode, all four of them cram into the backseat of the cab. Instead of hearing an exit interview, they all sit there in fidgeting, awkward silence.
Next week, the candidates try to move on from this huge loss. And in two weeks, there’s a Star Wars task! Two weeks is plenty of time to compare Trump’s hair to Chewbacca’s fur.
I was disappointed by the outcome of this task. It felt like a stunt, plain and simple. As I explained before, I think Jennifer should have been the one fired. But if not Jennifer, then fine, fire my boyfriend Josh. He was the project manager of a team that failed miserably and horribly – he should be responsible for that in a big way. And he was so focused on the success of the cage that he didn’t seem to be focused on sales. Send my boyfriend packing – fair enough. But Mark and James really were not to blame for this loss. Mark worked in the batting cage because someone had to, and because Josh asked him to. James came up with the idea of baseball, but that idea wasn’t what made them lose. It’s not like America’s pastime is an unpopular sport, and his batting cage idea did draw potential customers. Not his fault if the sellers didn’t sell to them. All four of them were fired to create a Shocking Boardroom, no more, no less.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com .