The Apprentice 2011 – Week 7, Episode 8

Froideur 
‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, it was time to take some leading edge British product innovation to some chic shops in Paris; time for some young and rare business roast beefs to get the grenouilles on board.  Now down to the last eight ‘crème de la crème’ of budding entrepreneurs, our faux amis needed to hide their innate and developed froideur and just get on with it.  Difficult though eh?  (As can be seen in the pic above.)  We may have suffered endless opening streams of their raison d'être for being on the show, where they have professed their savoir-faire with no attendant humility, but now it’s the practical and the talons are out.

With the teams of four apiece sorted with their project managers, they split in half with two heading off to Paris for some market research while the remaining two started on the product selection.  And the set up was remarkable on more levels than the re-developed St Pancras could offer:

  • Susie, who knew *nothing* about France or the French put herself forward and was accepted as project manager for one team.  But she does a lot of product selection with her own business.  Mon dieu!
  • Tom, project managing for the very first time, sent Leon who could not speak any French, over to Paris to do the market research.  Mon dieu again!
  • Melody professed her expertise for this task time and time again. She runs a GLOBAL business, don’t you know.  That’s a GLOBAL business in case you missed it the first time.  And the second and third and…  Well, we can all expect that France will feature in GLOBAL somewhere, d’accord?

Now it’s time to cut through the merde, especially Melody’s, on the product research and selection, allowing for the fact that we are given edited clips.  Melody encountered two people who thought the rucksack car seat booster was a good product before one arrived to cast doubt on it.  So did she deliver results of market research free from her own prejudices?  No she did not.  (It appeared.)  This was her  idée fixe moment.  She also relayed to Tom the fact that the Metro was chosen over driving in Paris.  And this from a place of market research that appeared to be a Metro station?  Well that’s a credible piece of market research then…

Congratulations to Tom who, having been the recipient of such dubious market research results, explained why he went for another product over the car seat.  He wanted his team to be fully behind the sales of the selected products and was prepared to ditch his intuitive decision to achieve that.  Tom is democratic and logical, but that may not win the day, oui?  And non, sadly it didn’t.

Leon was a surprisingly early one to declare himself hors concours and hors de combat in his behaviour.  For Leon, not speaking the language meant it was left up to the boys, in his case the very loud but disharmonic chord that was Melody (with a testosterone-fuelled determination you could find in a boxing ring).  Comme ci, comme ça, as they say.  And if you’ve breached the banks of these shores we say ‘You’ve made your bed so lie in it.’  Leon did and was called into the boardroom by Tom.  The insouciant found his true home and was fired.

This may have been Tom’s force majeure in the way it hit him in the end, but he has survived and I hope he has learned from his mistakes to be more au fait with the programme.

Last thoughts: Melody is not so much vin de pays as vinaigrette or possibly a deadly vinegar.  Très bien, her time will come.  The only real fault here was Lord Sacch’s inconsistency of thought.  He rated her for her bollocks and forcefulness.  Eh?  Get with the original programme LS!  You normally hate those who tread all over others…

And Tom darling, more spine if you please.