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The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 2: Bathtime Blues for Team Sterling

Posted: 29/03/2012 12:25

This week, the Apprentice candidates had to design a 'useful' household product then pitch it to well known retailers Lakeland and Amazon.

It sounds so simple, doesn't it? But bear in mind that these are people who couldn't find their rear ends with both hands, a sat nav and a detailed guide to human anatomy.

It was always going to go wrong.

When you think of a household product just waiting to be invented, most people (ie me) would come up with a robotic wine waiter linked by Wi-Fi to an intelligent glass that notified it when your drink was almost empty. Or possibly a small personal helicopter to transport you to the kitchen.

Not the Apprentice candidates. The girls' team (Sterling) reckoned that the biggest problem facing householders today is the potential for toddlers to get water on the bathroom floor while you're washing them. They decided to market a Perspex splash screen that you attach to the side of the bath, making the entire experience not unlike visiting your child in a very small, damp prison.

If you think that's silly, don't worry: the boys weren't far behind. Duane came up with a desktop composter that looked like a cross between Darth Vader's helmet and a Bodum Express coffee maker. Because that's what you want on your desk: rotting vegetable waste.

And you thought your colleague who eats mackerel for lunch was antisocial.

Adam had a marginally more innovative idea: marigold gloves with scourers attached so you could wash up while you...er...washed up. He was overruled, possibly because the name he had chosen ('Magic Hands') sounded a bit like an edited extract from some sexual harassment case notes, and also because Azhar claimed that something like that had already been invented.

So they went with their entirely unique and innovative 'bin' idea instead. Write that word down: b-i-n. You've never seen anything like it before.

The boys trundled off to pitch their cabbage-cafetière, but the girls got there before them, hitting Amazon with a wildly ambitious minimum order suggestion of one million units for their 'Splish Splash' bath screen.

That's the equivalent of one screen for every resident of Birmingham with about 30,000 left over: roughly enough for the inhabitants of West Somerset. Luckily, they thoughtfully included cider can holders in the screen design.

Oh, sorry: those are for waterproof crayons, apparently. Never mind.

Team leader Jane also became flustered about numbers and pricing, something that's happened at pretty much every Apprentice pitch since the series began. Future candidates please note: it might be a good idea to brush up on your GCSE maths before applying.

Team Phoenix didn't fare much better. It took approximately three seconds for the Amazon buyers to point out that bins already exist. I know? Can you believe it? If only I'd known about that product sooner: I've been storing my rubbish in the washing machine for years.

While all this was going on, Lancastrian Jenna and extravagantly eye shadowed Maria had a spat over minimum order quantities that set the tone for the entire second half of the episode.

Viewers would have been forgiven for thinking they'd tuned into an all-female version of Fight Club, although thankfully the girls all kept their tops on. The arguing continued in the board room, because (predictably) Team Sterling lost.

Apparently people already have Perspex screens to prevent bath time splashing. They're called shower curtains.

Jane brought Maria and Jenna back into the boardroom. Maria because she fell asleep in the car, and Jenna...actually, that wasn't very clear. Possibly because she looks like a woollen version of Catherine Tate who's been shrunk in a hot wash.

Maria was fired, but all in all it was a very poor show indeed. The lack of product innovation combined with the girls' near constant arguments and the boys bland approach to pitching meant they all deserved to spend their evening in the Café Of Failure. Instead, the boys got to go to celebrity hangout The Ivy for dinner, although they were confined to a private room.

Next week's pointless prize from Lord Sugar: an invisible unicorn.

 

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