The Apprentice, Episode 10: Rickshaw Cowboyby Betsy Wasser -- 03/12/2004
Previously on The Apprentice, Omarosa got fired. Remember that? It was great, wasn’t it?
But the candidates don’t know that yet. They are in the suite, waiting for the results. Troy says that Omarosa plays good defense, so she has a good shot at surviving. He says that it would be hard to see Kwame go, since they’ve been together from the beginning. Katrina says that if it were up to her, she would fire Omarosa because she doesn’t like the way she conducts business. Kwame and Heidi return to the suite, and there is much rejoicing. Katrina hugs Heidi, and Troy shakes Kwame’s hand. In an interview, Heidi does a happy dance to celebrate Omarosa’s departure, a much nicer happy dance to watch than the one Big Tom did when Sue left on Survivor last week. Amy comments, “Look how much stronger your team is.” Troy agrees. Kwame is less sure. He says that Omarosa had her good points – she was very detail-oriented, for example. But she did bring conflict and friction.
The next day, while the other candidates sleep, Heidi goes to visit her mom in the hospital. She says that it was a relief to see her mom and to know that she’s okay. Visiting her mom puts the game in perspective: Family is the most important thing.
Kwame answers the Trump phone. The candidates are to meet across the street from the Plaza Hotel at a rickshaw stand. Trump arrives and tells the candidates about the challenges of transportation in New York. They’re about to enter into a small part of it – each team will manage a fleet of pedicabs (or rickshaws) for an eight-hour shift. The team that makes the most money at the end will win.
Remember the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer and Newman get the idea to hire homeless people to drive rickshaws? Luckily, no one proposes that idea.
Protégé – now consisting of just Troy, Heidi, and Kwame – meets to make a plan. Troy is project manager this week because they take turns and he’s up. They brainstorm ideas and decide to sell a pre-paid punch card for multiple trips. They can get a volume discount from the rickshaw company and sell the punch cards at all of the hotels surrounding Central Park. I think it’s a great idea. They only have one day, and they only have so many rickshaws, so this way they can sell rides for more than just one day. And targeting hotels is also a good idea, as I suspect rickshaw rides are more of a draw to tourists than to native New Yorkers.
Versacorp researches the rickshaw company online. Somewhere, Ereka, who wanted Nick to do online research for the water challenge, is fuming. Bill says that he won a coin toss, so he is project manager. He suggests that they pull the rickshaws in costumes, like Disney characters, maybe. Katrina says that they have their costumes already: Ben Affleck and Sharon Stone, indicating Nick and Amy. Does she mean that Nick and Amy look like those two celebrities, because I’m not seeing it. No one else seems impressed either, so her idea is dismissed. Bill thinks that they should have Katrina and Amy drive rickshaws because people will want to get a ride from an attractive woman. I would object to that, but since Bill saw the women use their good looks to their advantage so many times, I can’t blame him for thinking it. Katrina suggests that they sell tickets at the tourist ticket center outside of Planet Hollywood. No one responds.
Then Amy chimes in with a great idea: They can sell advertising space on the rickshaws. Bill loves the idea, and thinks they can cover every inch of the rickshaw and of the drives with logos, just like in NASCAR. Bill is confident that they will win. It is a brilliant way to add some extra money. There’s only so much they can do to get people to ride the rickshaws. This way, even if they don’t sell a single ride, they’ll still make money.
Meanwhile, Protégé prints out their punch cards. Troy is pleased and thinks they look very professional. They then start thinking about how to sell them. Heidi doesn’t think phone calls will work; people will just hang up on them. In-person meetings will be more successful. In an interview, Kwame says that he really feels for Heidi and can understand many of the emotions she’s going through. His own mother died of cancer when he was 15, so he knows that it’s always on your mind.
Versacorp heads out that night to sell advertising. They go to three restaurants that they already have relationships with from previous tasks, and two of them agree to buy advertising. Amy calls her contact at Marquis Jet, and he agrees to buy ads provided she and Katrina wear Marquis Jet hats and t-shirts all day. She agrees.
Back in the suite, Bill gets a phone call from the owner of the rickshaw company asking if they’re selling big ticket items. I have no idea what they’re talking about, and it is never explained. He goes into the kitchen to talk to Katrina. She tells Bill that Heidi and Troy are not riding rickshaws, and in fact, will not be anywhere near them all day. She knows because Heidi told her, and says that she knows a lot more, if they’d just ask her.
Bill asks her what she means. She says that no one asked her opinion, and every time she made a suggestion, they blew her off. She thinks that they just use her for her looks when it is convenient. Bill is aghast, and says, “Are you saying that you don’t use it yourself? Are you kidding me?” He says that they are a team and will win or lose as a team. Katrina tells him that she’s successful for a reason, and it’s not just for her looks. Since he isn’t going to listen to her opinions, she’s done offering them up. In an interview, she says, “What about my ideas? I’m not a pin-up doll.” She tells Bill that she is offended that he doesn’t seem to think she has any value beyond her appearance. In an interview, Bill says that if Katrina doesn’t like the way he leads, she should step aside.
In any normal situation, I would be on Katrina’s side. Women are not just here on Earth for decoration, and we have lots of great ideas to contribute to the world. However, coming from Katrina, that is just rich. First of all, where were all of the fabulous ideas that the team rejected? She threw out a dumb unformed thought about Bill and Amy looking like Ben Affleck and Sharon Stone. Then she suggested selling tickets at the tourist ticket outlet. That was a decent idea that no one responded to, but she just threw it out there and did absolutely nothing to support it. Anyone who has ever been in a meeting knows that sometimes, you have to say your idea more than once to get someone to respond.
More importantly, wasn’t she at the heart of the women’s team’s ‘sex sells’ philosophy? She was even the project manager at Planet Hollywood when the women tarted themselves up as “Shooter Girls” and sold men shots in skimpy t-shirts. She was the one who went on and on about what a great business model Hooters is. And on the NBC Apprentice web site, Katrina’s pull quote is, “A woman that claims she doesn’t use her sex appeal to sell, simply hasn’t learned to use it to her advantage.” Perhaps the most ironic thing is her claim that she is not a pin-up doll. Recently, Katrina, Amy, Ereka, and Kristi did a steamy, scantily clad photo shoot for FHM magazine. Not only that, but Miss Non Pin-Up Doll? Did it for free. It is completely unreasonable for Katrina to spend weeks and weeks celebrating “Sex sells,” only to call foul when someone else tries to use that same strategy.
This week’s Trump message is “Think Outside The Box.” I immediately groan at the latest business cliché, until Trump says that it is a cliché, but that creative thinking is crucial to success.
Protégé meets with the rickshaw drivers and gives them an incentive program. The driver who makes the most money will get a $100 bonus, and the driver with the most rides before noon will also get $100. Heidi and Troy head off to sell punch cards while Kwame mounts up a rickshaw.
At Versacorp, Bill covers a rickshaw with ads. He says in an interview that he know that as project manager, he needs to hit a home run.
Meanwhile, Kwame rides around New York on his rickshaw, ringing the bell. No one responds. He has no luck at all.
Over at Versacorp, one of the signs is damaged. Nick says that they should give the client his $250 back. Bill thinks that they should negotiate a partial refund, since the ad was up for part of the day. They decide that Nick will meet with the client to give him money back. Nick says in an interview that he thinks business ethics are very important. As he leaves, Bill reminds them that they need all of the money they can get.
Katrina and Amy go to Wall Street, figuring that it will be crawling with wealthy executives just dying to ride a rickshaw driven by a cute girl. It seems like a foolish plan to me. Rickshaw rides seem like something tourists would do, or that natives might do for fun in the park. Wall Street traders, not so much. The women approach two men and offer to give them a ride for $10 each. The men scoff and say that for 20 bucks, they can walk two blocks. Amy says, “It’s supporting a great cause.” What great cause? You’re trying to make money so that you can work for Donald Trump; it’s not exactly a charity. One of the men calls her on it and asks exactly what kind of a good cause Marquis Jet is. In an interview, Katrina says that Amy is too pushy. She thinks every man is in love with her and every woman wants to be her best friend, and it’s not true.
Troy and Heidi are struggling. They went to appointments at the W Hotel and at Tavern on the Green, and both told them to come back another day. Troy realizes that after marketing, they’ve only made $11.25. He calls Kwame and Heidi together for a meeting to come up with a new plan. He says that working separately isn’t working for them, and what they need to do is have some fun. He says that he’s going to change out of his suit and get ready to pull a rickshaw. Troy head to the suite, and, as Kwame puts it, “like Clark Kent in a phone booth,” changes into his cowboy hat.
Troy pulls Heidi and Kwame through some scary city traffic and finds a huge group of tourists. He declares himself the “rickshaw cowboy,” and completely charms the crowd. The three of them are having fun again, and they sell some punch cards.
Nick meets with the client whose ad had been damaged and tells him that he is there to return the full $250, not to negotiate terms. The client is grateful. Nick tells Bill on the phone that he wouldn’t feel right about giving back any less money than that. Bill, Katrina, and Amy look unhappy with Nick’s giving back so much money, but they are hopeful that it won’t matter.
Nick’s decision brings up that sticky Apprentice issue of short term versus long term gain. To just win this task, Nick would have been better off just giving the client a partial refund (or none at all) because he did get advertising for part of the day, every dollar counts, and at 6:00, the need to have a relationship with the client ends. But in real life business, Nick’s decision was unquestionably the right one. He showed himself to be an upstanding guy, so he improved his relationship with a client. As the game gets closer to the end, Nick’s decision to be more honest and ethical will probably prove to be the right one, as it will impress Trump. Often, the actions that will win you an individual task (like, say, wearing tight t-shirts and flirting with customers) will hurt you in the long run (like when you decide that you want to be respected for your ideas over your appearance). Nick is thinking long-term, and I believe Trump will respect him for it.
Furthermore, as Versacorp themselves showed – the relationship with a client can continue. They used contacts from previous challenges to get their advertising. Maybe they can do it again, and if that’s the case, you don’t want to have somebody turn you down because you screwed them in a previous challenge.
Troy, Heidi, and Kwame try to sell more punch cards on the street. Heidi calls after a person asking if they’d like to buy a rickshaw ride for a loved one “or a lover.” She gets frustrated and a little bit crude as Carolyn looks on. She tells the guys that people need to have more sex so that they’ll loosen up. Troy spots a Versacorp rickshaw and notices the ads on it. He says, “That’s a great idea. I didn’t think of it.” Then, in typical colorful Troy fashion, says, “We were looking up the ass of a dead dog with fleas if we though we were going to go up against them.”
At the end of the day, Versacorp collects money from the drivers. It’s not a lot, and Bill is worried. Katrina says she thinks they won, but Bill’s not so sure. In an interview, Katrina says that she’s certain Bill will take her to the boardroom, and if he does, she’ll tell Trump he was a horrible project manager. Meanwhile, Protégé thanks their drivers and passes out the incentive money.
The candidates file into the boardroom. Trump asks the project managers how they feel. Bill says that he is cautiously optimistic. Troy is too, and adds that they had a fun day. Trump asks if they’ll still think it was fun if they lost. Troy says yes, that nothing can take away the good times they had. Trump says, “I’ve never liked losing, personally.” Heh.
George says that Versacorp brought in $651.29 in cab fares, but made an additional $3,450 in advertising revenue. Carolyn reports that Protégé had transportation only, and brought in $382.68. Ouch. And I guess Nick’s $250 didn’t make much of a dent. Troy says that Protégé didn’t think of selling advertising. Trump says that the winners will take a yacht trip around the city, and the losers will come back to the boardroom. He’s not impressed with their performance and says, “I may just fire all of you.”
Versacorp climbs aboard the yacht. Bill says that it’s nice to be able to just enjoy their victory. Amy and Nick flirt over breakfast. In an interview, Katrina wonders who is playing who. She thinks in the end, Nick will win. Is it crazy to think that no one is playing anybody, and they just like each other? Amy tells Nick that he is hard to read at times. She asks him if he’s intimidated by her, and he says that he is, but then says he was being sarcastic. In an interview, Nick says that it’s good to be “semi-aligned” with Amy because she’s very sharp. Nick tells her that the competition is getting fierce, but Amy says that she still feels like she’s in partnership mode. Amy say in an interview that now that she has had ten straight victories, her goal is to make it to the end without losing a single challenge.
Kwame is doing pull-ups under the basketball hoop. Thank you, editors! Troy says that he and Kwame have no alliance, just a warrior’s vow: If I cut your throat, I’ll make sure the sword is sharp. May the best man win. Kwame says in an interview that all three of them are at risk of being fired – Troy because he was project manager, him because Trump may be sick of his (bleep), and Heidi because she has yet to show a compelling reason she should stay.
Heidi has a cigarette outside with Katrina. She tells Katrina how her mom is doing. Katrina says that she doesn’t want Heidi to go. Yeah, because she’s such a good friend that you’d rather talk about the competition than listen to her talk about her mother with cancer. Heidi says that she’s not worried, and she’ll be herself. And she reminds Katrina that there are some things more important than the competition, like family. She’s not worried about the boardroom because they’re not going into it like a back-stabbing Omarosa, but as a team. At this moment, I’m pretty sure Heidi will be the one to go. It’s like on Survivor when you see a castaway talking about how much they miss their family, you know they won’t be around for long.
Troy is talking to Amy about the boat trip, and Heidi reminds him that they need to get dressed for the boardroom. Troy tells Heidi the bad news: the two people he’s taking to the boardroom are her and Kwame. They both laugh. A few moments later, the three of them are ready to go. Troy says, “We’re going in as a team.”
It’s time for the boardroom. Trump tells them that their performance was abysmal, and that they had no creative ideas. Troy says that he was proud of his punch card idea so that they could get several days worth of fares all in one day. He says that Heidi sold well and that Kwame did a fine job of handling their finances. He admits that the punch cards might have been a great idea, but Versacorp had a brilliant idea to sell advertising. I like Troy here because he owns up to their failure, respects the other team, and makes no excuses.
Trump asks Heidi why she’s shaking her head. She says she’s not doing it to disagree with Troy – she fully supported his idea. Carolyn asks if it’s fair to say that they put all of their eggs in one basket, made only a few appointments the day before, and then did nothing after that. Heidi doesn’t think so, and Carolyn asks her what other ideas they had. Troy offers to answer, but Carolyn says she was addressing the question to Heidi. Heidi says that she supported Troy’s plan. Now that they’ve lost, does she still think it was a good idea? Heidi says no. George asks Heidi if it was Troy’s idea, and she agrees that it was.
Troy points out that the other team put all of their eggs in one basket, too. Trump says that was different – it worked.
Trump asks if any of them drove the rickshaws. Kwame says he did, and admits that he was terrible at it. He did not get a single customer, even though he went to all of the locations recommended to him by the drivers.
Trump asks Kwame who he’d choose to go into the boardroom. Kwame says that although neither did anything wrong, he’d choose Heidi for the boardroom because Troy was and has been a good leader. Heidi says that she would choose Troy because as project manager, he should be responsible. Trump asks George and Carolyn if they have any more questions. They don’t.
Troy wonders if they’re going to ask him who should go to the boardroom. Trump says that it will be his decision. Troy looks a bit startled. I think he thought for a moment that Trump was asking him to make the ultimate decision. But instead, since there are only three of them, the project manager must choose just one person to accompany him to the final boardroom. Troy says that he and Kwame have an agreement to always take the weakest link, even if it’s each other, but that in this case, he’s choosing Heidi. I think Troy said that to avoid the pitfall Ereka ran into of allowing Trump to believe that her decisions were based on friendship.
Kwame wishes them both luck, and Heidi swears at Troy for choosing her. She says that she did better than Kwame did in the challenge. I think Troy made the best choice he could. Heidi and Kwame seemed to perform pretty equally in the challenge, so no one was the obvious weak link. But both Carolyn and George seemed to be gunning for Heidi in the boardroom, so she was a safer pick for Troy to have at his side.
Inside, George says that he doesn’t think Heidi did much, but he wasn’t impressed by Troy’s punch card idea. Carolyn says that it might not have been the greatest idea, but at least it was something. She says she hasn’t seen anything impressive from Heidi, and thinks she’s been riding coattails. “I’ve seen nothing out of her,” she concludes.
Troy and Heidi return. Troy says that leaders are born, not made, and he is a natural leader. Trump asks if a natural leader would say that, and Troy thinks one would. He says that he has been selected by his peers three times to be project manager, and he takes risks rather than playing it safe. He says that Heidi is a great salesperson. Trump asks if she’s a great leader, and he repeats that she is a great salesperson.
Trump says that Carolyn had some comments for Heidi. Carolyn tells Heidi, “I have yet to really see anything from you.” Heidi says that she is entitled to her opinion. She says that she too is a great leader, and she’s feisty, aggressive, and a great salesperson. Trump points out that Troy is all of those things, too, so what makes Heidi different? Heidi wants a chance to prove herself. If Carolyn doesn’t think she’s done anything, she wants to show her what she can do. After all, Troy has been in charge three times to her one. Carolyn says that she should have volunteered to take charge, if she really had so much to offer. Trump says that everyone has called Troy a good leader, but no one has said that of Heidi yet.
George says that he has yet to see a spark from either of them. When they asked Troy who should go, he hedged, and a good leader should give a decisive answer to avoid losing power. Troy says that he thought he needed to give an explanation. Trump says that it was long and boring. Trump is ready to give his verdict. Troy has done well, but has been on a lot of losing teams. Heidi didn’t step up as a leader, and barely contributed as a follower. She’s fired.
Outside the boardroom, Troy and Heidi hug. She tells him to give Katrina her love, and then skips into the down elevator. She’s a good sport, and I respect that. Trump tells Carolyn and George that Heidi doesn’t have the leadership skills to win the game. He adds, “I like her, but really, it was time for her to go.” He asks Carolyn and George if they’re happy with the decision. George says, “I loved it.”
Again, I think Trump made the right choice. Really, Troy is one of the best candidates there is, and is my favorite right now to win it all. Trump was pretty much going to fire whichever person Troy put next to him. Kwame would have been just as good a choice as Heidi. The really interesting thing would have been if Trump had to decide between Kwame and Heidi. I think that in that case, Kwame would have been the one to go. Carolyn may not have seen much from Heidi, but I think Kwame has shown us even less. But Troy, the rickshaw cowboy, continues to ride high.
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.
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