The Apprentice: Week 4: Students like the look and leadership of Tom, show sympathy for Jane, and continue to be wow-ed by the men more than the women

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Despite mixing the teams further, in Week 4 students continued to rate this year’s male candidates above their female counterparts, and finally set aside their previous animosity towards Jane feeling that in this instance she ultimately wasn’t to blame.

‘Haha… it’s actually Bargain Hunt tonight!’   /   ‘I can’t wait to see who gets a pasting this week…’

The premise of Episode 4, “Junk Shops”, prompted pre-programme predictions on The Apprentice 2012 thread about where it would go wrong in week 4.

‘I predict…

- item value screw ups being made;

- teams buying a crap-load of junk they can’t shift;

- some of the posher apprentices making condescending comments towards people that buy and sell junk;

- things getting broken;

- lots of talk about MARRRRgins.’

There was also reflection on the more laid back approach of the male candidates this series which seems to be paying off so far, however, week 4 witnessed further mixing of the teams by Lord Sugar.

‘The boys are so easy going this year. And yet they seem to be in the lead…how on earth are they managing that!?’

Round 4 Feedback

  • Leadership

‘What was Duane’s argument? I should be project manager because we can all use our logic to sell?’

Duane offered himself up as project manager for Team Sterling for a second week following his previous success in Week 3, but this time Bridal Shop owner, Laura, took the lead.

‘Adam must be happy now a man’s back in charge.’ / ‘I have a feeling that Phoenix probably win this one.’

Fine Wine investor, Tom, stepped up for Team Phoenix and confessed to having a laid-back leadership style, an approach that some students have felt has been characteristic of the boys’ thus far, and that they predicted may once again work out well for this team. Tom also fell victim to another of the students’ celebrity lookalike references, favourably comparing him to former Eastenders’ actor, Matt Di Angelo.

‘…I have a slight crush on him as he looks a little like Matt di Angelo’

  • Buying…

‘I hope Sterling don’t spend too much money… LOL at how much Phoenix have… Adam is just picking up junk.’

The teams’ strategies varied from one extreme to the other, with Team Sterling selecting quantity over quality and Team Phoenix focusing on a minimal amount of ‘must-have’ items.

‘LOL they think they’ve got gold. when its actually brass scrapings. loool’/ ’toms team arent getting anywhere. wouldnt be suprised if their shop only consists of 5 items. lol’

There were also reservations about Tom, Jade, and Azhar at the car-boot sale where they broke then didn’t buy an item of one vendors’ stock, in addition to only seeking out items that they’d have in their own homes.

‘Wtf? Did they just smash something and run away? If that’s allowed, just wait for the other team to leave their things unattended, and break it all…’

‘Are they really buying based on what items they like?’

  • …and Selling

Paper bag fail.’ / ‘Not once but twice’ / ‘Wow, that was awful bagging.’

‘I’d get so mad if someone tried to sell me stuff like Jane has been.’

Jane was once again under scrutiny, but this time mainly for her aggressive sales technique rather than her interpersonal skills.

‘I just get the impression she isn’t really a seller, so she’s trying to over-compensate.’

Similarly, Stephen’s bag packing service baffled student viewers when he twice failed to bag some books for one of their Brick Lane buyers.

‘Rips a bag, swears (mildly), doesn’t give her a new bag, drops it, then swears again. What’s wrong with him??’

  • Product Placement

‘”Retro Station” and “Vintage Gold”. These people have no class whatsoever.’ /    ’I don’t think the tacky logo on the shop window is helping really.’

Students were once again unimpressed with the candidates’ attempts at creativity both in their shop names, signs, and in Team Sterling’s upscaled, shabby chic showcase.

‘Alls I feel like shouting is WHAT THE HELL IS SHABBY SHEEK SUPPOSED TO BE? And why did they feel the need to ‘upscale’ everything?’

They also shared Nick Hewer’s (Lord Sugar’s aide) concerns bout Tom’s limited stock and compared the display to a minimalist art exhibition.

‘…when I go into these second-hand shops, I like the entire place to be dark, stuffed with shelves, everything all over the place so you’ll never know what you find. Not like something I’d find in the Tate Modern…’

Similarly, Gabrielle’s creative touches may have been artistic but were not liked by TSR members.

‘What’s with the leaves.’  /   ‘Didn’t like the leaves.’ /  ’I don’t think Gabrielle and her awful paint jobs was an advantage, but we’ll see…’

  • ‘MARRRRgins’

When the final costings revealed an overspend on the upscaling supplies, some posts were more critical of project manager Laura for not giving a clear budget than of Gabrielle for going broke in her and Jenna’s shabby chic shopping spree.

‘I’d agree – she said they could spend £200 (or was it £300?), I’d have assumed that meant she was fine with spending that much.’

There were also doubts about drastically dropping the prices in the final minutes rather than still looking to make margins, and shock about Jane’s individually pitiful profits.

‘I’ve heard of firesales.. but selling your goods at £1?! …I’m 100% sure that the team that wins in the end didn’t win by a matter of pounds.’

‘Wow. £10 for Jane. Get her out.’

  • The Boardroom Battle

‘Gabrielle and Jane should be in the boardroom – possibly Jenna will go in instead of Jane (no-one else seems to be commenting on the selling!) I think Gabrielle should go.’

Most of the responses to the final three were in agreement that Gabrielle, Laura, and Jane had all made mistakes during the task. Unfortunately for Jane, due to her performances in the previous three weeks there were hopes of her heading home despite her only real error on this occasion being her sales figure.

‘Lol, at bringing Jane back into the fold’ / ‘GODSEND. Jane please go.’ / ‘Yes, Jane to go with her forceful selling’

‘Sadly, I think Jane might be going on this one. However, if she does, she’ll be good on You’re Fired…’

Gabrielle’s mistakes were acknowledged but many felt that Jenna was a weaker candidate overall. The general consensus was that it was between Jane and Laura.

‘Gabrielle can’t be blamed unless Laura is even more to blame for not giving direction or limits. Hence Laura or the other one (Jane?) to go.’

  • Feedback

‘Wow Jane gone… The girls are so poor this year…’   /      ’No, she was one of my three favourites to win!’

‘Lets be honest the faults that were with the other 2 in the boardroom were more costly than Jane’s. Its ridiculous… Jane saved the last task and took them to victory, pretty much completely overseen by Sugar.’

In spite of criticisms of Jane as an aggressive character in previous weeks, many students always felt she was a strong candidate especially compared to the other female contestants. Thus, despite hopes of her firing, most posts felt she had been wrongly scapegoated on this occasion.

‘Well played Tom. No bitchy arguments within the team and actually looks to have gained a fair bit of respect from them. Seems like one to watch.’

On the other team, Tom was hailed as the new ‘one to watch’ after a victory which was attributed to his leadership strategy over any other factors.