The Apprentice 5, Episode 8: P’eatzza My Mindby Betsy Wasser -- 04/11/2006
By now, I’m sure you’ve read my recap of the last episode, so let’s get right to it, shall we?
Synergy has a team meeting while Gold Rush is in the boardroom. Andrea tells Michael that she didn’t like his not making decisions. Michael disagrees. Roxanne says they’re lucky they won, because they should have lost. I have to say, if I were on a team that spent 9 hours choosing paint colors, I’d be surprised to win, too. Allie agrees that they should have lost, and Michael gets up and leaves. He says in an interview that they’re turning on him, a blow to his character. Gold Rush returns without Lenny. Everyone’s disappointed, but not really surprised.
Lee looks really sad. In an interview, he says that he has lost the one person he could trust. Charmaine goes to talk to him and says that this is the first time he has shown his age. She thinks it was stupid of him to say that Trump should fire her over Lenny. Lee says that friendship and loyalty are important to him, and maybe that’s a weakness of his. Charmaine encourages him to be more objective. Lee says he likes to speak up on principle. “I like Lenny” is not a principle.
The candidates sleep as the Trump Phone rings. Charmaine finally drags her bleary eyed self over to answer it. The candidates have one hour to meet Trump in Central Park. It would be awesome if they all showed up in sweats, baseball caps, and holding coffee cups, but no such luck. Trump arrives in some sort of silver Car of the Future with doors that open like Marty McFly’s time machine. He says that Gold Rush has lost three tasks in a row. Would anyone on Synergy like to move over and make them winners? Michael volunteers. Allie says in an interview that they were all psyched. “How can we lose?”
This week’s task is to promote the new P’eatzza sandwich for 7-11. Each team will have a promotional giveaway item based on 7-11’s new sandwich and their racing car. The team with the greatest increase in sales wins.
Lee is happy to have Michael on their team. As they walk away, Lee pats him on the shoulder, probably wondering if Michael can be his new Best Friend Forever since Lenny is gone.
We begin with Synergy and with the p’eatzza. The sandwich consists of two slices of pizza with sandwich filling in between. In totally unrelated news, there is an obesity epidemic in the United States. Andrea is project manager basically because she loves being in charge. In an interview, she admits that she’d prefer to be project manager always. They start to brainstorm ideas – cups, drink holders, hats, keychains – and Andrea is totally stuck on hats. In an interview, Andrea says that people have accused her of being a total control freak. But she figures she has a nice life, so things are going well with her in control. It’s not a problem for her. Sure, but it might be for anyone who comes in contact with her, ever. The rest of the team makes an argument for cups- it would tie in well with the sandwiches, but Andrea won’t hear of it. She tells them, “I’m letting you know right now, it’s hats.”
And now for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Know Your Customer.” Trump says that his father used to talk to people on the street and design buildings to meet their needs. This week’s Betsy Lesson of the Week: when NBC sabotages your sleep schedule by putting two episodes of The Apprentice on in a row, plan extra time the next morning for a Starbucks run.
Leslie is finally the project manager at Gold Rush. She wants to pick the promotional item, then choose the price point for the sandwiches. In an interview, Lee says that since she’s waited so long to be project manager, it won’t look good for her if she loses. He tells everyone that he is their target customer, and in fact, he knows the neighborhood. It’s right near City College of New York, where he went to school. The team chooses a 6-pack can cooler as their giveaway, figuring they can price the sandwich higher because of their cool gift.
The team goes to 7-11, and Lee asks the manager if they can remove all of the other sandwiches the day of the event so they can push the p’eatzza harder. He agrees. In an interview, Lee pats himself on the back hard, saying that’s the kind of thing that Trump would do.
Over at Synergy, Allie and Sean do a photo shoot with the race car driver eating the sandwich. Their tagline is “Tasty Food for Life in the Fast Lane.” They pass out flyers to promote the sandwich. I am so sick of candidates on this show passing out flyers and calling it marketing. In an interview, Sean admits that people probably aren’t going to put those flyers under their pillows and come in the next day, but it’s worth a shot. He suggests a $4 price point, and Andrea is fine with that. Sean thinks their plan is good, but if the other team has a better giveaway, they’re in trouble.
Gold Rush works on trivia questions to attract passers by. Tarek suggests, for example, to name the four basic food groups. He admits that he does not know them, and before you laugh at the Mensa member for not knowing that, laugh at him harder for his not knowing that the USDA no longer goes by the basic four, but rather by a food pyramid.
Charmaine, Lee, and Michael return. They need to come up with a price. Leslie is thinking $7.99. Lee thinks that’s too high. Charmaine is annoyed- she thinks that Lee is just having the opposite opinion of everyone else so that if they lose, he can say I told you so. Leslie declares that the sandwiches will be $7.99 each, two for $8.99.
You have got to be kidding me. Who in their right mind is going to pay eight bucks for a sandwich wrapped in cellophane that you’re going to eat either in your car or standing outside the 7-11? You could get an entire value meal from McDonald’s for less than that. Leslie is nuts if she thinks that’s a good price.
The next morning, Lee sets up the sandwiches. Leslie says she’s determined to win, and is confident that her team will sell well. Michael has a tray of free samples, and Tarek is out on the street trying to get people’s attention with the trivia questions. He is getting no response, not even when he promises, “Your lives will never be the same,” if only people will try this sandwich.
Lee tells Leslie that he heard two managers talking, and they agreed that the price was too high. Leslie doesn’t want to hear it- now is not the time. Charmaine says he’s being totally negative. She thinks he’s going to sulk rather than sell since Leslie told him no.
The Synergy team starts out all enthusiasm and new hats, but they’re not getting much traffic. Someone tells them that they’ve got the wrong market for racing caps, which I suspect is true. That might play better in the country than in the city. Carolyn doesn’t like the gift, since there is no connection between hats and sandwiches. Allie and Roxanne run into a guy watching a bunch of dogs who they gave a flyer to the night before. In fact, several people come in who they’d given flyers to. Looks like I will continue to be frustrated by flyers used as a marketing tool for a while longer. In an interview, Roxanne says that Andrea was the only one not selling well. Now, Roxanne is not an Andrea fan, but it does look like she’s out of her element. Roxanne says that if they win, it won’t be because of Andrea.
Meanwhile, Leslie can’t find Lee. It turns out that he is talking to a local businessman about a big sale- 1,000 sandwiches big. Lee is proud of himself again and calls the deal “very Trump-like.” He talks to Leslie about how much he can offer the sandwiches for in the case of a big sale like this. She says $3. The guy counters with $2. Lee acts like a car salesman going to talk to his boss, talks to Leslie, and offers $2.50. It’s no deal, and with that, Lee’s big deal falls through. Leslie says that at least he tried. Charmaine isn’t so pleased- he spent an hour on it and it didn’t work. Nevertheless, she feels confident that they’ll win. She hopes they will because the next day is Leslie’s birthday!
The candidates meet in the Boardroom. Andrea admits that she didn’t try the sandwich because she is a vegetarian. Trump says George loves them. Gold Rush says that they liked having Michael on the team. He says he hopes he broke their losing streak. Gold Rush had an increase of 608%. Wow, that’s really good. Synergy, however, had a 997% increase. Wow, Gold Rush loses again! Synergy’s reward will be to fly to Washington, DC in a private jet for a breakfast meeting with Senator Chuck Schuler.
Synergy agrees that a private jet is a great way to travel. Sean recently got his green card and is excited to see the capital city. They meet the senator at the Hay-Adams hotel. Senator Schuler says that the Hay-Adams is the most famous hotel in Washington, obviously forgetting about the Watergate. Allie says that the hotel has the most beautiful view of the city, though she’s obviously never had a drink at the Hotel Washington. But enough nitpicking. The candidates are happy to meet with Schuler, who has known Trump for a long time. He advises them to ask on Monday mornings if they really want to go to work. If they do, they’re in the right job. After breakfast, the candidates go to see the White House. Everyone is under umbrellas but Sean, who is apparently so happy that the sun is shining on him alone. Sean says that though he’s a proud Brit, this is his home, and it’s a great experience to see the White House. Andrea says that all of them are living the American dream.
Back at the suite, there is a cake ready for Leslie, which is sad since I’m 99% sure she’s getting fired. Lee says they need to stop their habit of losing. They have lost 6 tasks. Wow, that’s bad. Michael says that they worked well together and that he fits in better than he did on Synergy. Leslie is bummed about having to go to the Boardroom on her birthday.
In the Boardroom, Leslie says the reason they lost is simple- they didn’t sell enough. She was surprised and thought they’d win. She adds that Lee wasn’t around a lot and spent 45 minutes working on a “shady” deal. There was nothing shady about the deal, and Lee says so. He tried to close a huge sale that would have won them the task, but it fell through. He adds that he thought the price was too high and told the team that. Leslie says that’s true, but she thinks that if they’d reduced the price by a dollar or so, they’d just have lost by a wider margin.
Charmaine says she thinks starting at the high price point was smart, as they could always go down if they needed to. That’s flawed, seeing as how Lee gave her that information about the price being too high and she and Leslie ignored it. Leslie says that they chose the price as a team. Carolyn can’t believe anyone would pay eight bucks for a sandwich at 7-11. Word. Did anyone ask the average price? Lee says that he did, and it’s five or six dollars, including a drink. George says it’s not hard to sell a sandwich, and the price is a determining factor.
Michael says Leslie was a good manager, but that she lost. Lee says that they lost because of price and “overall strategy.” Carolyn liked their promo item, but says their price point killed them. The other team got the price right. George says that the price was far too high for college students. Lee agrees, and George says he wasn’t loud enough. I think Lee was as loud as he could have been. Leslie says that Lee conveniently disagrees so he can cover his own butt and that other than Lenny, he never supports the project managers.
Trump asks Leslie who she’s bringing back. She opts for just Lee. The candidates start to leave, but Charmaine has something to say. Careful, Charmaine- those are dangerous waters. She says that she doesn’t think Leslie should be fired. Lee left, didn’t try to sell Leslie on the lower price, and then didn’t give 100%. Trump thanks her for her feedback.
We get a bonus Trump Lesson of the Week in a “The More You Know” public service announcement. Trump says, “Don’t smoke.” Good advice. And my “The More You Know” this week is this: Don’t let Gwyneth Paltrow name your children.
Trump asks Leslie why she only brought back Lee. She says that Michael, Charmaine, and Tarek worked hard. Lee reminds her that he negotiated for them to clear the shelves. She claims she would have done the same thing the next morning. Carolyn won’t let Leslie downplay it- it was smart.
As for the deal, Lee says he tried to make a deal, and it fell through- it happens. Leslie counters that it took too long and she needed the manpower. I don’t buy that one. How many people do you really need selling sandwiches in a 7-11? You can risk sparing Lee for an hour if the payoff is that potentially big. Lee and Leslie then talk over each other about how long she spent working on the trivia questions and whether or not Lee talks too much. Leslie claims that she spent 30 minutes on trivia, then researched price points. I question that.
Lee says he knows two groups who are extremely price sensitive: college students and senior citizens. Trump says he thought Lee was going to say something else. Was Trump about to suggest something that might get him a smackdown from two men who took off work for Yom Kippur? Keep quiet, Trump.
Trump thinks Lee is more talented that we saw on this task. Trump thinks that deal would have been amazing, and sometimes you have to try thinks like that. The concept was better than anything anyone on either team tried. Trump thinks that the price point lost the task, so Leslie is fired.
This was an easy one. Tarek, Michael, and Charmaine did a fine job as worker bees. Lee was smart enough to remove the other sandwiches, was the voice of reason when it came to pricing, and attempted to negotiate a deal that would have won them the task. Leslie chose the bad price point, so she was the one to go this week, no question.
Leslie and Lee hug goodbye. Trump says he liked her, and Carolyn thinks she’ll be successful. George dares to counter Trump and says he wasn’t as impressed. Welcome home, George!
In her cab ride, Leslie says she thought Lee was the right person to go. She laments getting fired on her birthday and wonders what the odds are of that. She might have to pick up a lottery ticket later.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She is completely without any craving for the P’eatzza. You can reach Betsy with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org