Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Guest Post: Murphy Rants About ... The Apprentice S11E8

I feel like this series is the one with the most collateral damage. Not long ago we had the disastrous handyman business, and now we have this one, a party-planning business: Usually, that means a high-society garden party or a tour group. This time, it meant a child’s birthday party. The parents had volunteered £2000 as a budget, with the stipulation that they could ask for a partial or total refund, which is kind of the epitome of ‘a race to the bottom,’ because it’s essentially a challenge to see who can piss off the parents the least.

I do have to wonder what kind of parents have two grand to use on a kid’s birthday party, but apparently care so little that they’d leave it in the hands of Apprentice candidates. That’s an odd mix of rich, involved, and apathetic they’ve got going on there. Then again, possibly it came with an offer to have Lord Sugar pay for a second, better party for their kids. Or maybe it was neither of the kids’ birthdays at all, and their parents were just like “Hey, kid, find nine friends and invite them to a fake birthday party, this is going to be fuckin’ hilarious.”

Anyhow, Selena became the project manager for Connexus, and Gary once again became project manager for Versatile. Selena also got to choose someone from Versatile to join her team, and for some baffling reason, chose Richard. This would turn out to be a mistake.

The fun immediately started when Versatile was told that the mother of their party childling had a severe and deadly nut allergy, because it was obvious, from the moment she said that, that they’d end up getting food with nuts in it. And what do you know, they did! Well, nut traces - the kind of warning that gets put on most things as standard, if only because traces of nut might have ended up on factory workers’ hands or suchlike.

This moderate but salvageable fluff was then exacerbated dramatically when Gary was asked if he’d brought Nutella - which might I remind you is made out of nuts and has the word ‘Nut’ in its name - and replied that yes, he had. This wasn’t actually true: The team had bought Cadburys’ Chocolate Spread, but by the time he bothered to check and find out, the damage had already been done, and the poor mother had spent about half an hour sitting three-hundred metres from the party, terrified of actually attending her own kid’s probably-not-actually-birthday party.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Putting together a set of party bags, Versatile then tried to sell them back to the client for fifteen quid each. They were eventually pushed down to nine quid, which is still an extortionate amount, especially when the party bags were not actually very good. One thing they had in them were these glo-stick necklaces, but it wasn’t long before the candidates were talking about how they could just use the glo-sticks and forcibly place them around the throats of the young boys and girls in their care, and then demand that the parents pay for them and the rest of the party bags.

(They did, in fact, try that plan, but forgot to actually perform the racketeering step, instead just using up the glo-sticks from the party bags and then limply failing to even try intimidating the clients into paying for them, which is a failure on their part, but also probably better than the alternative?)

Versatile did have some great ideas, like an outdoor adventure park and a barbecue, but ruined those ideas by a) Being the most boring people in the known universe, literally draining the hope and joy out of the children with every passing moment, and b) Failing to barbecue things promptly.

Connexus didn’t do much better, starting with a disastrous interview with the client where Selena took her enthusiasm to terrifying levels, pretty much talking non-stop and at one point wheezing “I KNOW HOW TO FIRE BREATHE,” at them. Things got steadily worse when Connexus decided that theri clients’ birthday party would be hosted at a gym.

A gym.

Connexus was rather insistent on calling it an ‘athletics centre’, which I suppose is somewhat apt since it also had a running track, but it was, nevertheless, essentially just a gym. They decided this based on the party child mentioning in passing that she was interested in sports. I mean, dear god, people, there are other ways to use that: Go to a water park with skiing and tobogganning or something. Have a swimming pool party. Endless possibilities.

Connexus also forgot to take their clients’ phone number, which meant that when they decided that they too were going to put together ridiculously expensive party bags to sell to the client, they didn’t have any way to gauge whether the client would be even remotely interested, and so just bought a bunch of stuff hoping they could sell it.

The client did (I think, it was a little confusing) buy the party bags for ten quid each, but she was visibly irritated at being put in that position at all.

Picking Richard also turned out to be an absolute failure as, after being put in charge of the food, he was only starting to get burgers out by the time the first girl was leaving; and he had not only failed to come even remotely close to finishing the cake by about half an hour before the party was due to end, he screamed at Vana like a spoiled child when she asked him about it.

Richard really needs to go.

In the end, Versatile lost, largely due to the party bag fiasco, which means that Richard survives another week despite everybody hating him. David was fired instead.

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