The Apprentice 3, Episode 14: Teed Offby Betsy Wasser -- 04/29/2005
Magna hangs out in the suite, wondering what is happening to Alex and Bren. As Craig shines his shoes, Tana says she doesn’t think the boardroom will be too vicious. Kendra thinks it’ll be interesting having the two attorneys go head to head. In an interview, she says that she hopes Alex is the one fired because he’s tougher competition for her than Bren. Well, she’s out of luck – Alex is back. Tana gives him a hug, and Kendra says she told him to pack light!
Alex says he’s feeling pretty down. He’s now lost four times in a row. But in an interview, he says that because he now has nothing to lose, he’s dangerous. Strike him down, and he’ll become more powerful than you could ever imagine. He confides to us in an interview that he’s going to let his opponents think he’s weak, philosophy straight out of The Art of War.
Kendra and Tana hang out in the bathroom and talk, as we women do. Kendra figures that there will be a corporate restructure. Tana does too, and wonders aloud what would happen if Alex put her on his team, leaving Kendra and her nemesis Craig together. “Is Alex mean enough to do that,” Tana asks. Kendra says that it would be a smart move on his part strategically. She looks worried.
Craig answers the Trump phone, and the candidates go to meet in the lobby. Poor Alex is standing all alone! Trump, George, and Carolyn arrive. Trump congratulates them on making it so far, and says “there are no losers,” but that the reality is, three of them will lose. He lets Alex choose a new team member, and, being no fool, Alex chooses Tana. Kendra looks visibly unhappy.
This week’s challenge involves Hanes T-shirts. The teams will design shirts celebrating “50 years of T-shirt culture,” using the art of top pop artists. Magna will work with Romero and Net Worth will team with Burton. They’ll produce their shirts and sell them at Scoop. The team with the most money wins. Fantastic- I like challenges that are objective, not some “create the most buzz” nonsense.
Alex says that as soon as he heard that this was a clothing related task, he knew Tana should be project manager, since she owns a clothing business. He also noticed that Kendra looked “crestfallen” when she realized she was stuck with Craig, a fact that makes him laugh.
Alex and Tana design a logo for their shirts. They’re calling themselves Rock Star Couture, which is fun. Burton arrives and shows off his portfolio. Tana and Alex tell him about some ideas they had, which he sketches out in more detail. He draws a star with an American flag motif with wings… it’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s cool.
Kendra and Craig share a cab with their artist, Romero. The tension between Kendra and Craig is palpable. Kendra says in an interview that she needed to be project manager in this task so she’d have some control over what happened. If she let Craig be in charge, he wouldn’t listen to her and “we’d lose.” Smart thinking, Kendra, and since Craig was project manager last week, he really can’t argue with you. They arrive at Hanes, and Kendra has Romero’s assistant email 3,000 collectors of his work to tell them about the sale. Brilliant idea. This guy has a fan base, so why not use it? Romero shows them two concepts – a heart and a star. You’ll never believe this, but Kendra and Craig disagree! Kendra likes the heart, Craig likes the star, and Kendra’s in charge, so the heart it is. Craig is annoyed and says in an interview that Kendra only asks his opinion so that she can choose the opposite. On the upside, he adds, this project is pretty much Kendra’s vision, so if they lose, it’ll be her fault.
And now it’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Keep your eyes on the prize.” Trump tells us to stay focused on your goal – don’t let yourself be sidetracked. As for the Betsy Lesson of the Week, I had a great idea for a Betsy Lesson this morning and I totally forgot what it was going to be. Of that, this week’s Betsy Lesson is born: use a notebook, calendar, or similar to jot down all of your ideas, plans, and reminders, or you will forget them just as I forgot the original Betsy Lesson.
Tana and Alex check out the art for their t-shirt, and they love it. They kick around the idea of adding some studs to it, and Tana says excitedly, “The Beadazzler is coming back!” She tells Alex that she once made $10,000 using a $10 Beadazzler. I believe it. She starts making phone calls looking for a Beadazzler and is striking out all over town. Probably Maria from Season 2 bought them all up to put studs on her suits. Finally, she finds a place in Staten Island that has the beads but not the machine. The two of them hop in a cab. Alex says, “Dude, that’s hell far.”
Still, why not make use of the time spent in the cab? Alex says that they need to think about marketing. Tana suggests that they hire someone to work the streets. Alex sniffs that that idea is “a bit pedestrian.” It is, but I don’t see Alex coming up with any other ideas. Tana takes a quick phone call, then tells Alex that she will be ready to talk about marketing on the way home. Apparently she needs this time to focus on buying the beads? I don’t know… after the Trump Lesson, I’m a bit worried about Tana. They finally arrive at the store and Tana buys her beads. Under his breath, Alex says that they went to a lot of trouble for such a little thing. In an interview, he says he has been keeping a list of Tana’s “decisions,” decisions that will look like mistakes if they have to go to the boardroom. This trip will especially look like a waste of time.
Meanwhile, Kendra and Craig talk pricing. Kendra is thinking that they’ll price the short sleeved shirts and $20 and the long sleeved ones at $25 “or something.” Craig pounces on that “or something” (which admittedly sounded pretty dumb) and asks her what she means by that. She says she doesn’t want to go high, and Craig counters that they don’t want to go too low. She offers to meet in the middle with $25 and $35 price points, adding that they can always change the price the next day if they want. But Craig says that once they set the price, it needs to stay. Why is that exactly, Craig?
As the two head home for the night, Craig says that she manages time poorly. Kendra asks if he wrote a to do list, and if there are things on it that didn’t get done. Craig says he did, but he refuses to tell her what was on it, because that’s “irrelevant” now. I’d say if the stuff still needs to be done, it is indeed relevant, so I do believe Craig is full of crap here. Kendra says that if there were things that needed to be done, he should have told her. Craig counters that she doesn’t listen to him anyway. To make matters worse, this entire argument takes place in front of Carolyn. Carolyn says in an interview that if the two of them continue to bicker like this, it could really hurt them. In an interview, Kendra asks, “Is it just me, or is Craig just a butthole?” NBC censored the word “butthole,” but I think you people can handle it. She says that now that there’s no one else on her team, she can’t see if she’s nuts or if Craig is. The two of them fight all the way home.
The next morning at the store, Kendra and Craig seem to have called a truce. Kendra talks to some customers and tells them about how the shirts are a very limited edition. In fact, there’s a little limited edition logo on the back of the shirts, which is cute and a good idea. George comes to visit and learns about how they marketed to their artist’s fans. Indeed, the collectors seem to be pouring in. Craig sells two long sleeved shirts to a customer and gives her a break – two for $60. He whispers it, but Kendra hears him. In an interview, she wonders how it is, if Craig is such an awesome salesperson, that he’s giving away discounts that people aren’t even asking for. She tells him not to do it anymore. Craig then claims that he was trying to appease her concern from the day before about the prices. Oh, please – he was not. His customer accidentally didn’t give him enough money, and he just let it go.
Meanwhile, at Net Worth, Craig sets up a big sign outside the store. Tana says the rhinestones are a great addition to the shirt and make it “a little fancier.” Alex works the street, trying to get customers to come in. Inside, Tana sells like crazy, offering to stud a customer’s shirt for her. Their pricing is much higher than Magna’s – George comes to visit and learns that men’s shirts are $42.99 and women’s are $54.99. He believes that pricing will determine the winner of the task, though he’s not sure at this point which it will be – high price or high volume.
At the end of the day, the two teams head for the boardroom. Trump asks the teams how they did. Craig says confidently that they were better. Trump asks who did the selling. Craig says he did, and Kendra looks a bit taken aback, saying they both did. Kendra thinks she was the better seller, and naturally, Craig disagrees. Alex, on the other hand, says he and Tana were a great team – he got people in the door and she closed the sales.
Now for the results. Net Worth sold 33 of their more expensive shirts for a total of $1,147.95. Magna tapped into the artist’s fan base and sold 101 shirts at $2,705. Trump wonders if Net Worth is just a loser team. It doesn’t matter now, though, because the teams are dissolved, and from now on the candidates will be fighting it out individually. The reward will have a similar theme – Kendra and Craig will get to go up in fighter planes for a dogfight. That sounds fun! Trump says he doesn’t know if they get airsick, and Kendra jumps in that her dad was a top gun instructor. Craig says his dad was in the Air Force. Kendra laughs and almost hugs Craig. Wow, could they be bonding?
Back in the suite, Tana is devastated. She hates losing and has no desire to put on her happy face and be social. Alex thinks the odds are against him, since he has had four losses in a row. Can he change his fate?
Hey, remember when Kendra and Craig were getting along? That’s over. Kendra says that she and Craig were fighting like cats in the task, so it’s only appropriate that now they’ll be dogfighting. Craig says that he doesn’t need a plane to shoot Kendra down. The two get in their planes with the instructors, and Kendra takes out Craig. In an interview, Kendra says, “I will smoke you every time.” She adds that now she only has two other opponents to beat, then she’ll be the Apprentice.
Alex talks to Kendra about his strategy for the boardroom. Kendra asks if he has enough against Tana to make his case. He says that on this task he definitely does – she made huge mistakes. Meanwhile, Craig coaches Tana on what to do. Craig says that if Alex was in charge of marketing, the loss is his fault. Tana also thinks that the fact that she has a better track record will save her. Before heading to the boardroom, Tana and Alex hug. There’s not much love there, though – Alex says in an interview that he seems nice, but in the boardroom, he “can whoop you,” and that all of his past opponents there were surprised by him.
The two arrive in the boardroom. Trump asks Tana how Alex did. She says he was just okay, but not great, and not a great seller. Alex says that the trouble with Tana as a leaders was that they didn’t focus on their objective and that she was terrible at delegating. For example, no one was in charge of marketing. George asks, with only two people, just how much delegating she should have had to do. Alex says that he did signs and flyers, and that the reason they lost was because they sold t-shirts, not art. I’d say that was a huge part of the problem. Tana says that it honestly never occurred to them to contact the artist’s collectors.
Tana thinks that the T-shirt was great, and says that by adding the beads, they were able to sell them at a higher price point. She is confident that the beads made a difference, and adds that if they’d sold just 20 more shirts, they would have won. Carolyn says that they spent too much time on design, not enough on marketing.
Alex says that he told Tana they needed a marketing plan, but that she just wanted to focus on design. Tana argues that she knew Alex had done marketing in previous tasks, so she thought he knew what he was doing. Trump asks who was in charge of marketing. Tana says Alex was, but Alex says no one was. He sends them to the lobby so he can talk to George and Carolyn. As they walk through the door, Tana says quietly that they didn’t like her beads.
George says he thinks Alex showed more fired. Carolyn says that Tana is great at sales and is a very nice person. Why do I think that wasn’t exactly a compliment? Carolyn adds that she can’t see Tana running one of Trump’s companies.
Tana and Alex return. Tana explains that the other team won because they emailed the artist’s fans. Trump asks her why she’s not defending herself, and she says very clearly and simply that she blames Alex, because he was in charge of marketing.
Alex then tells them about their field trip to Staten Island for the Beadazzler. As you might imagine, Trump, George, and Carolyn think Tana is nuts for going that far for beads. Tana tries to explain, fairly weakly, why it was so important to get these particular beads. Carolyn asks if they ever stopped to think that this was a diversion, not important? It’s five little beads. Tana maintains that they made a difference.
So, why didn’t they market to the customers like Magna did? Tana says that the idea “just never hit our brains.” She thinks she and Alex are equally at fault, and Alex agrees. Trump tells Tana that working for him is not about putting beads on shirts – can she handle it? Tana says she’s not intimidated by anyone, and that she’s started an array of successful businesses. She may be nice, but she’s a fighter.
Then, Tana does some fighting by saying that she has a better record than Alex does. As a matter of fact, one of the times she won as project manager, it was against Alex. That’s true – it was in the American Eagle challenge, for those of you keeping score. Trump asks Alex about his record. Alex says he’s won twice, lost once as project manager. Trump says no, Alex has lost as project manger twice. He’s right - Alex lost the American Eagle challenge and the Staples challenge. Trump can’t believe Alex can’t remember his own record. Alex says that after five consecutive losses – and I missed the rest because I cannot believe he was so dumb as to bring up the fact that he’s lost five times in a row. He then goes on about some football team that Trump bought, and I lost interest.
Trump says that Tana had no trouble remembering her own record. Alex hasn’t won, Trump adds, since the graffiti task eight weeks ago. Trump says that Tana was terrible in this task, but that she has a good record. Plus, Tana came up with most of the ideas and did most of the selling while Alex seemed to sit back and wait for her to fail. Because of that, Alex is fired.
This wasn’t an easy firing, and I really thought Tana was in trouble. She made some really huge mistakes in this task. Not thinking to use the artist’s fans was a huge misfire, but Alex was equally responsible. And Tana’s field trip to Staten Island for rhinestones was a huge waste of time. As Trump pointed out, surely they could have found beads that would work somewhere in Manhattan. However, Alex talked about wanting a marketing plan, but he didn’t actually come up with any ideas. But even more importantly, Tana has a solid track record, whereas Alex has been pretty shaky lately. You can review the track records of all of the final four candidates right here in my final four article. It probably would have helped Alex!
In his cab ride home, Alex says that he realizes now that the win/loss record is important to Trump, though it’s not important to him. He adds that he can’t wait to go home and get to work, because now he has a ton of business ideas. He feels “released” and is ready to get started.
Next week, the final three candidates go through interviews, and in the first half hour, the final two will be determined. Go, Tana!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com