The Apprentice: Why Ereka Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/01/2004
Well, I fully expected this to be the long-awaited “Why Omarosa Lost” column. But Troy saved her ass by pulling out a win for the team. Maybe next week. In the meantime, we have to take a look at Ereka, who has gone from winning while selling lemonade to losing while selling water. She probably doesn’t want to have to sell drinks for the rest of her life.
At the very beginning of the first challenge, Ereka had found herself in trouble already. She obviously didn’t feel comfortable taking charge of Protégé, but she was indeed the team’s first manager. All of the women were talking at once and no decisions were being made. Ereka was getting over-emotional and was even getting teary-eyed. As recapper Betsy Wasser noted, “In general, the women’s team is a disorganized mess.”
Luckily for Ereka, the women’s team was saved by Versacorp’s poor decision on where to sell and, more importantly, by what would become the women’s secret weapon for several weeks: Sex. If the women had not used themselves as tools to increase sales, Ereka might well have been gone in Episode 1.
In the next episode, the big Ereka-Omarosa feud began. While I put most of the blame for this on Omarosa, who is certainly the designated bitch for this series, the fact is that some of the other women managed to at least get along with Omarosa without increasing the level of drama. Ereka, however, seemed determined to do the latter. Then, when Omarosa finally seemed to get the hint in Episode 4, Ereka said Omarosa was just acting! As it turns out, we’ve seen that Omarosa is quite good at acting through the whole plaster-on-the-head incident. But still, Ereka wanted her to be nicer, and then when she was, Ereka was upset about that too.
We didn’t see much of Ereka again until the seventh episode, when her team lost the apartment challenge and she joined Manager Katrina in going after Bill for his failure to get a higher price for rent – despite the fact that Katrina was the one who put him in charge of that task and she works in real estate. Katrina didn’t choose Ereka as one of the people to bring to the boardroom. This is important because on her final task, Ereka was back in command again and tried to tell Bill that he was never meant to be on the hot-seat, despite the fact that both she and Katrina tried to blame him for their previous loss. Bill, however, didn’t buy it and vowed not to trust them again.
This, of course, brought us to the episode in which Ereka was fired. As the Manager, she should have been open to ideas from people who knew how to sell – like Bill. Instead, she dismissed his ideas and came up with the brilliant concept of selling water by telling people they were creating a buzz. It seems to me that you should just create the buzz, not tell people that you are doing it. And apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that way – after one sales attempt, the would-be customer asked incredulously, “And that’s the pitch?” At that point, Bill stepped in to discuss dollars, which is of somewhat more interest to a businessperson than “buzz” that hasn’t even been created yet. At the time, Bill noted that it’s about numbers, not “you should buy this product because I’m cute,” which is essentially how she and her team succeeded in selling lemondade.
Then we have the way Ereka acted when it was time to do the paperwork. Despite her attempt to blame it on Bill, the fact is that she was not ready when Carolyn showed up. Then she was completely frazzled and unprofessional in front of Carolyn while trying to get it all together. She could have said, "Carolyn, I am so sorry, but I'm going to need another few minutes to have this paperwork ready for you." She might have thought that wouldn’t be a good idea because she would have been putting off Carolyn, but the way she did handle it was much worse. Instead of simply delaying Carolyn a bit, she instead once again allowed her emotions to run away with her, thus solidifying her image as a poor leader. Indeed, it is worth noting that at the end of the episode, Carolyn said it was not a hard decision to make.
But before they went to face Trump and the others, Ereka told Nick and Bill that she would be taking them – after consulting with Katrina. There is a rule in my column, What Survivors Should Have Learned, that says, in part, that players should not let the potentially doomed know that they are going to be targeted. The same applies here – Ereka never should have told Bill and Nick that they were going to the boardroom. Quoting from that rule, “There is no reason to alert them to their impending doom – it only gives them time to plot their own counterattack.” Two weeks prior, Omarosa had not told Jessie or Heidi that they would be picked to go to the boardroom, and both of them kissed up to her (though Heidi changed her tune after she was chosen). Had she told them, they might not have been so nice. Also, what if Katrina had said something about Ereka that made her want to take Katrina along? Now she would have to publicly change her mind. Overall, not a smart thing to do.
So Nick and Bill were ready. Each time she tried to blame Nick for something, he had an answer. He pointed out that she got emotional – which Trump could see right in front of his face – and that she was frazzled in front of the troops – which Carolyn had seen when they were trying to tally the sales. Bill was also prepared to put the blame squarely on her shoulders because of the warning she gave him.
Katrina made things even worse for Ereka when she opened up her mouth and said that Ereka was not taking the two guys just because she and Ereka are friends. Uh oh. This planted a seed in Trump’s mind and it grew. Ereka didn’t have any good reason not to take Katrina – in fact, her reasoning, as it was, basically went that Katrina didn’t have a leadership role and therefore didn’t really do anything, so shouldn’t be held accountable. Now some of us might think that the person who did the least should shoulder some blame, but in her attempt to not appear emotional, Ereka only succeeded in showing that her decision was in fact made by emotions.
That wasn’t the only way that emotions hurt her in the boardroom. As recapper Betsy Wasser pointed out, Ereka might have had more success if she had actually presented a rational case against Nick. She could have noted that he promised he could do the selling so she relied on him. But she allowed herself to be flustered, which was exactly what Nick was trying to do.
Ereka and her all-female teammates could sell lemonade using sex. But when it came to water without having sex as a weapon, it wasn’t so easy. She claimed that Trump Ice was the reason she lost, and also blamed Bill for turning on her. But the fact of the matter is that she set up the entire situation. First, she had attacked Bill and then expected him to defend her the very next time. She allowed her emotions to take over while she should have been leading, and then later in determining who would come to the boardroom with her. She was not a good leader and she couldn’t present good arguments as to why she should stick around rather than somebody else. That is why Ereka lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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