The Apprentice 5: Why Charmaine Lostby David Bloomberg -- 05/08/2006
Charmaine seems to have been headed towards the door for several weeks now, but she made sure it happened by taking on the role of project manager. She didn’t go alone – nemesis Tarek joined her – but that was probably of little consolation to her. What caused Trump to wash Charmaine out of his hair? Why did Charmaine lose?
This past week was a two-fer, but each will get the same treatment as usual – based on the ten rules found in What ‘Apprentice 5’ Applicants Should Have Learned. Let’s see where Charmaine went wrong.
First and foremost is to show good leadership. It is clear from her last task that Charmaine utterly failed in this area. She did two very blatant things that went directly against the specifics of the rule.
Let’s start with the portion that says, “When you are the project manager, by all means be the project manager. Don’t let other strong personalities overwhelm you.” Yet that’s exactly what happened to Charmaine. In the beginning of the task, she wanted to have a “Grand Opening.” But Tarek kept asking if there was going to be a theme. Yes, the theme was “Grand Opening.” Back and forth they went until finally Charmaine gave in. She said she wasn’t trying to lead by consensus, but that’s exactly what she was doing!
Later, the rule notes that the only thing worse that walking into the Boardroom after having lost is “Walking into the Boardroom and saying, ‘Yes, we lost, but it wasn’t my fault because I had no control over my team.’” So what did Charmaine do? She admitted she could not control Tarek! She even told Bill Rancic that her teammates did not treat her the way a project manager should be treated. When will people learn?
At least Charmaine stayed cool under pressure, following the second rule. I mean, she was so calm during the task that she felt fine just sitting around and getting her hair done. Not a care in the world for Charmaine.
We’ve already mentioned Charmaine’s inability to stand up for herself, which also addresses the third rule, having a backbone. Charmaine complained that her team didn’t treat her like a project manager – well then it was up to her to make them treat her that way. She needed to show that she could actually, you know, manage. Perhaps if she had, they would have respected her. People need to remember that respect is earned, not given simply because you have a title.
The fourth rule says that scheming and plotting don’t usually work, and this episode showed us a good reason why. While it did appear to work against Andrea, here we had Charmaine targeting Tarek and Tarek targeting Charmaine – both of them ended up being fired. The only one for whom we might say it worked is Lee, because he simultaneously took both sides and none. But I suspect that will eventually come back to haunt him.
Moving on to the fifth rule, was Charmaine able to play well with others? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We already know she annoyed the heck out of Lenny, and seemed to do the same with Tarek. It wasn’t that she didn’t get along with people – at least not in the same way as, say, Andrea. But she just didn’t do much to earn their loyalty. Well, I suppose she earned Michael, but that appears to be because they have similar personality traits – remember how he hemmed and hawed over making the simplest decisions when he was project manager on the other team? They’re like twins, separated at birth.
One area where Charmaine definitely failed was in the sixth rule, focusing on the long-term. I don’t care if Charmaine had absolutely no customers coming through the door and there was no chance of anybody ever coming – what on Earth made her think Trump would be impressed by her getting her hair done in the middle of the task? If Charmaine realized she was likely to lose the task, she needed to at least show that she was trying to sell. Maybe Trump would have only fired Tarek. But that didn’t appear to have occurred to Charmaine.
And why did she do so poorly in this task that she had time to get her hair done? Because she blew the seventh rule as well and failed to understand the challenge. The other team knew that first they had to get people in the store, and then they pushed the products as well. Charmaine was more interested in getting all the products neatly lined up on the shelves instead of doing anything that would, you know, get people into the store to see the nicely lined-up product. Furthermore, she didn’t sell any! The other team pushed it and won; Charmaine didn’t and lost. That is not a coincidence, folks.
Also, let’s talk a bit about flyers. Flyers?! Did Charmaine really think putting flyers on people’s windshields would get them to come for a haircut? When I see a flyer on my windshield, I do one of two things – I either crumple it up without looking or I look at it to make sure I never patronize that business. Obviously, neither is a positive result, and I doubt I’m alone in that. Charmaine should have had her team out doing some creative marketing the night before, and then continued into the day. She blew it on all fronts.
The key, of course, is creative marketing, which brings us to the eighth rule. I’m not sure if Charmaine is capable of thinking creatively. If she is, she did a poor job of showing it. Instead, she focused on miniscule – and often meaningless – details. Does it matter if the shampoo is on the same shelf as the conditioner? Maybe it does if you can sell it. But first there needed to be a way to get buyers. The best Charmaine could think of was the aforementioned flyers. Ick.
The ninth rule tells applicants they must be multidimensional. They need to show they can lead, follow, sell, and be creative, among other things. Let’s see how Charmaine checks out on those four: No, no, no, and no. Wow, a perfect score – in the wrong direction. I don’t think we need to say much more about that.
Finally, we arrive at the rule that says to use common sense. Gosh, I can’t imagine how Charmaine will do on this one. Oh, yes I can: Failed. It goes against all common sense to spend hours working on stocking shelves but never coming up with a plan to sell that stock. It further defies common sense to spend those hours when they should have been marketing for the next day.
But the king of common sense failures was Charmaine’s inexplicable decision to have her hair done in the middle of the task. Her claim that somebody had to go through the process in order to sell it was ridiculous on many reasons, not the least of which was that we never saw her attempt to put the supposed knowledge to work! Of course, there was also the fact that if she truly wanted to gain knowledge, she should have had her hair done the night before, rather than during the task, when she could have been trying to get paying customers in the chairs instead of herself.
There were so many things Charmaine did wrong that it’s difficult to pinpoint just one as the reason for her firing. She failed as a leader, she failed in creativity, she failed to think long-term, she failed to use common sense. In many ways, it’s surprising Charmaine made it as far as she did. Charmaine did almost nothing that would be required of Donald Trump’s apprentice. That is why Charmaine lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Apprentice articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent articles on this show at our The Apprentice page and take a look at our sections on Survivor: Exile Island and American Idol 5. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Apprentice, be sure to check out SirLinksALot: The Apprentice!