Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Guest Post: Murphy Rants About... The Apprentice S10E2

 This is going to be a weekly feature from now on, because it's not really part of Murphy's remit over on Fission Mailure.

 However, from next week I'll be posting on Wednesdays too (I've had a rough day),  so Wednesdays will be a two for one deal.

 Onto the post.

 The second of two episodes this week (it will, I’m informed, be moving to one episode a week from now on), today’s episode focused on wearable technology. It wasn’t really clear what the limits of such technology were, which might explain why the contestants went so off the rails. Then again, so might plain incompetence, and there was certainly no shortage of that.

 Disaster started setting in early when, after receiving heavy hinting from Lord Sugar that he wanted fashion designer Robert to lead the boys’ team, said team then proceeded to appoint a very loud man called Scott as their team leader. After some kerfuffle with an overly complicated idea that the manufacturer told them literally couldn’t be done (prompting Scott to scream that he wanted solutions, not problems, and that they should just do it anyway, because the power of positive thinking can apparently compel the impossible into being), they settled on the idea of grey sweaters with cameras in the chests.

 Hidden cameras, I should note.

 The product was bland, drab and threadbare, and the retailers hated it. One retailer rightly pointed out that this was an absurdly creepy product idea, the wearable technology equivalent of sending somebody a letter made of newspaper cuttings, and that it would inevitably be used to record women without their knowledge. They even went so far as to point out that the camera was perfect height to peer down a woman’s shirt. The team’s response? “It’s quirky,” one of their salesmen huffed.

 Further disaster struck when, in the middle of a pitch, another salesman remarked “Obviously, I wouldn’t wear this in public.” While he hurried to cover up his mistake, the damage had already been done. He later denied any of it had happened, despite ironically having been filmed while doing it.

 No retailers bought any of the shirts.

 The women’s team - now renamed Tenacity - meanwhile, had too many ideas. A jacket that regulated heat, would charge your phone with solar panels, and had LEDs that you could change the colour of with your phone. When the product arrived, they were shocked to discover that the solar panels were on the outside of the jacket, having apparently thought that the sun’s rays would penetrate the black fabric to charge the solar panels beyond. That not a single member of that team knew how light works is astounding to me.

 They ended up selling to one retailer, who admitted that they hated the product, but that they were essentially obsessive hoarders who put in at least a small order of anything that comes across their desks. I will note that the boys pitched to this retailer as well, but even they, the company that admits to pretty much buying anything, chose not to order even a single Creepy Camera Shirt.

 Obviously, the boys lost for a second week in a row. Robert, who continued to rant about how he only wanted to design and sell things for the rich and famous, not the filthy proleteriat, was fired immediately. Scott brought in the team’s computer expert and the ‘i wouldn’t wear this in public’ salesman in to the boardroom with him, but ended up being fired as well, partly because he was a terrible team leader and partly because he was screaming ‘I disagree!’ between every word that Lord Sugar said.

 Next week, home fragrances. I love these kinds of creative challenges, I really do, and I look forward to seeing the contestants fail utterly.

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