The Apprentice, Week 9 – Skeletons and Diamonds

THE negotiation task has to be one of my all-time favourites – one day to find nine items for the cheapest price possible.

It always results in teams racing around like headless chickens towards the end of the day, and this was no exception.

As The Apprentice celebrates its 10th birthday this year, the nine items had all previously appeared on the show, so they had it much easier than last year – chasing around Dubai to find a falcon’s hood!
With this task, arranging your time is critical – going out without a plan will see you fail to target the cheapest areas of town, while over-planning could see you miss the deadline set by Lord Sugar.

With heavy fines imposed, it’s certainly something you do not want to do! With this in mind, it was hilarious to see the teams, especially the boys, take time over their hair – great use of your precious time!
Ultimately, the task came down to a single purchase. Felipe’s suggestion to save money by interpreting the definition of ‘anatomical skeleton’ would be both his, and the team’s undoing, and would create the hashtag #Skeletongate.

Thinking outside the box is exactly what Lord Sugar is looking for, but there is a fine line between that and taking the mickey, and providing a paper skeleton definitely falls in the latter category! Sometimes you have to look at Lord Sugar as a customer, and if you’re providing a product for a customer, you simply don’t cut corners.
However, I did feel a little sorry for Felipe in the boardroom. Though it was his mistake, and he probably should have gone regardless, it was unfair to see the team turn on him. When the idea was initially floated, the entire team thought it was incredibly clever, so really should have taken more responsibility.

It’s also interesting that Daniel has been in the boardroom four times – he’s certainly the cat with 109 lives! Lord Sugar clearly likes his resilience, as it’s an important trait in the process and business in general!
Having said that, it was nice to see how well Tenacity worked as a team this week. We had been all too used to seeing them at one another’s throats, with Daniel and Mark clashing particularly strongly.

However, under Daniel’s leadership, the team really pulled together. There was even a bit of bro-mance in the air, with Daniel and Felipe holding hands to cross the road – touching!

Felipe even went as far as to say that ‘Daniel had become a man’ in the boardroom! It was a shame to see the purchase of the skeleton lose the task, as they had been by far the stronger team until then.
One other moment from the episode also stands out. Roisin, who has been one of my picks for winner for some time now, pulled off an incredible example of negotiating skill. The art of negotiation is an incredibly useful skill to have – being able to influence your client’s way of thinking is often invaluable. She gave negotiation two or three goes, being successful in getting the price of a £150 diamond down to just £50! The vendor seemed dazzled by Roisin’s blonde hair, comparing it to his wife’s – I’m sure his wife wouldn’t have been happy watching that!
As usual, there were plenty of funny moments. Solomon demonstrated his understanding of the English language, being unable to pronounce ‘anatomical’. I also loved that he asked for the ‘skeleton department’!

Sanjay’s belief that you can get scallops from a fish and chip shop was also hilarious – I don’t know what high class chippies you get down in London, but you wouldn’t find that up North! Finally, Felipe’s comment in the boardroom, made completely without irony – ‘my attention to detail is unique’! It probably is Felipe, but if ‘unique’ is a paper skeleton, I think I’ll pass!