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Chloe's The Apprentice Blog - Shop 'til you drop (S16 E9)

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Chloes The Apprentice Blog - Shop til you drop (S16 E8)

This week the teams are tasked with selecting products to sell live on a TV shopping channel – the team that generates the most money wins. 

The PMs

It’s quick work deciding team leads, as Brittany’s passion lands her the role for team Infinity and Akshay steps up as PM of team Diverse, just as he promised Lord Sugar last week.

The Products

Each team splits up, with half choosing the star product and the rest selecting three other items to sell in their hour TV slot.

Both teams want to land the high-ticket ring – with a minimum sale price of £899.99, you can practically see the pound signs in their eyes. Brittany and Aaron focus on buttering up the client with compliments and charm, while Kathryn and Steph get down to business on numbers. Infinity’s tactic serves them well; everyone knows that flattery gets you everywhere. Brittany and Aaron get to sell the ring; Kathryn and Stephanie begrudgingly take the air fryer.

The teams then have to film a promotional video for their products. As Kathryn repeatedly tells her to smile and look up, Steph looks ready to strangle her. Meanwhile Brittany and Aaron shoot an M&S style ad for their blingy ring. They’re now ready for their tv slot.

Live on air

The teams live on air segments can easily be described in a few words: cringe worthy, chaotic, embarrassing.

Hapreet became louder and louder, screaming at her teammates on screen but not providing any helpful information about the products. Even worse was team Diverse – who were shambolic. Steph looked thoroughly hacked off and swore live on air, she and Kathryn were constantly talking over one another, Akshay dropped every product to the absolute bottom price. And to top it all off, they sold a product made of snails as vegan friendly.

The employment element this week

If that were a real life work situation, I’d expect disciplinary action to follow swiftly – for Steph’s swearing live on air and for Akshay’s inexcusably poor performance - instructing Kathryn to tell untruths about the products being sold. It’s unlikely either of them could be fairly dismissed, but a warning would be justified. 

Swearing is an interesting one though – many people will assume that swearing in front of a customer is gross misconduct and could justify dismissal. However, the level of disciplinary sanction against an employee who swears will come down to the precise circumstances. What was the context? Was there any actual reputational damage or loss of business? Is there a culture of bad language in the workplace? Are there clear policies in place about standards of conduct? Was the employee repentant? Did they apologise? It’s not always as straight-forward as it seems!

The quotes

This week was a great episode for quotes; here are just some of my favourites:

Akash: “when you go to meet the products today…” “that doesn’t smell like snail

When Harpreet is asked what the features of the inflatable flamingo are: “all the air goes down

Aaron: “It’s handmade, by hand

And, my personal favourite, when Aaron is live on air attempting to sell a set of bedsheets with Harpreet screaming in his earpiece: “stand up and interact with those pillows!

The boardroom

Let’s face it, no one was surprised that Diverse lost – not only based on their performance but before we watched anything we knew what the odds were: Akshay was not only on the team this week, he led it! 

Infinity were saved by the equivalent of one ring sale. But the facts were undeniable: Akshay has lost 8 out of 9 tasks. This was his sixth time in the final 3. Lord Sugar couldn’t not fire him. I think Lord Sugar has a little soft spot for Akshay though, it’s the first time I’ve heard him say as a candidate leaves: “keep in touch”.