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Cupcake craziness and school-boy/girl errors

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Things are hotting up on Junior Apprentice – and last night we waved goodbye to not one, but two of the little business star wannabes.

This week the focus was on selling cupcakes, being creative and knowing your limits – something which the young ‘uns are learning week by week.
After a tentative start to the day which not only saw the phone left to ring for yonks as the teens lazed in bed but also the disturbing image of Tim’s futile attempt to tame his unruly mop with a pair of straighteners *shudders*.
The teams were taken to the Swarovski Crystal shop in the West End (I love the Shug’s ambiguous links with the tasks) where they were told that embellishment is big business, and they are going to be making and selling cupcakes in Selfridges’ flagship store on Oxford St. But before they rush off, the Lord swaps Arjun for Kirsty so the teams are two boys and two girls apiece.
On to the delegation of the project manager role and, unsurprisingly, Tim wheedles out of it faster than a rat up a drainpipe, claiming that cooking isn’t his thing before promptly putting himself in the back kitchen to errm, cook. Nick is not amused. It is decided over at Instinct that the PM-ship should be given to either Kirsty, the mono-toned Scottish lass who needs a fringe trim, or rubbery little Rhys, both of whom help run their parent’s restaurants. It becomes clear pretty soon on that Rhys has been plucked to do the job, while Hannah, Kirsty and Tim are happy to sit back and let him. I already get a mounting sense of foreboding.
Over on Revolution, my spidey senses are telling me that things may kick off between the two alpha females, Emma and Zoe. Both, it seems, have the right skills to sell cakes, but Zoe wants to lead, and I get the impression that what Zoe wants, Zoe gets. Emma relents and agrees to head up the back of house (aka the cooking and icing area).
Both teams have to decide on a theme for their cakes. Revolution settles on the cutesy ‘I heart…’ theme where customers can add whatever they want to the end of the statement, while Instinct decides that fashion is their bag  – although what that entails no one seems to know. What’s more, one glance at the group's attire tells me they have the collective fashion sense of a partially-sighted hermit.
It’s time for some market research so the teams split up and head off to cake shops to suss out the pricing. It seems that for around £2.50 you can get a pretty, little embellished cupcake and for £3.50 you can get a personalised version.
So when it comes to the teams choosing their trimmings and practising their icing suddenly Adam is not looking too perky. He’s sleepy, huffing, puffing and generally looking a bit baggy-eyed. The poor lamb doesn’t know if he is coming or going. He and Emma are given a quick lesson in icing, the results of which looks as though they had been created by a rabid, one-armed maniac with a nose-bleed. “They look great!” coos Emma. Are we looking at the same cakes?
Over on Instinct, the rather pointless fashion theme is causing tension: no one really knows what constitutes a fashionable cup cake. Tim thinks bogey-green icing with an edible dandelion on top is retro, while Rhys drapes a few sorry strands of pearls over the stand to make it more ‘fashiony.’ Neither girls, Kirsty or Hannah offer any tips on how to improve things but then mum's BHS cast-offs are hardly good taste, are they?
Rhys is fading fast. The team are quickly losing faith in his tentative attempts to whip them up into a state of frenzied enthusiasm and he seems a little out of his depth. Like vultures circling the wounded gazelle, they stand back and accept the inevitable #fail.
Time for the big sell. Zoe dons a cup-cake outfit and bounds off to bully customers into selling with her own imitable (shouty) style. Their cakes are retailing at £2.20 personalised or otherwise, while Instinct have a variety of pricing options thanks to uber-brain Arjun and his calculations. For Revolution the orders start coming in but Emma and sick-boy can’t make the cakes (or have nose-bleeds) fast enough and customers are left waiting for up to half an hour. Customer service is not at its best over on Instinct either when disagreements over orders are left unresolved. What’s more, by lunch time, they have only sold a paltry nine of their fashion cakes. Things look bad, but none of the team is willing to make the effort. I am particularly unimpressed with Kirsty who just moans constantly that Rhys is letting her do everything. He is running about like a blue-arsed fly between the kitchen and shop floor, reduced to a skivvy and as the day winds to a close, it looks as though Revolution has it in the bag.
Boardroom time, and the candidates come in one by one. The Lord asks if Zoe was a good project manager, they agree she was. He points out that they neglected to price up the personalised cup cakes and judging from the blank looks all round, this is one school boy error to chalk up to experience. Instinct publicly maul Rhys for his poor leadership skills, and his little face looks all crumply. He explains that they were all too happy to let him fall flat on his face, good job he's made of rubber then, eh?
In a weird moment that makes you feel like you missed a whole section of the episode, Lord Sugar randomly dismisses Adam and tells him to go home to his mum and dad. Eh? I thought he just had the sniffles. Makes you realise what a sensitive little lot they really are, bless. So ta ta to Adam. Your golden moments will n’er be forgotten!
The figures are in: Revolution makes a profit of £15 and Instinct lose around £80. Off skip Revolution to schmooze over afternoon tea with the lion-mained one, Richard Branson while Instinct are forced to reflect on where it all went wrong. “Let’s not get into the nitty-gritty, we didn’t sell enough, that’s the fact!” says Rhys, as the others polish up their special back-stabbing blades.
So, asks the Lord, why didn’t they do something when sales were down? Why did Tim shirk the leadership for a third week, and why doesn’t someone cut Kirsty‘s swingy fringe? Tim offers to be PM on the next task (clever move, young sonny Jim) and Hannah says that she’s got so much to give, she’s passionate, just so, darn passionate. While Kirsty says something that’s so monotone I fail to hear it.
It’s down to the wire – can Rubber Boy save his bacon? Nope he can’t. The Lord knows that actually, the remaining candidates have just a bit more about them, despite Rhys being ‘special’. I’m not sure if that’s not an insult in today’s youth-speak, Lord Shug. Still he’s gone. He was a sweet lad but again, not quite up to it.
Next week it’s an arty task (yesssssssss) and as we know from previous series (remember Tre’s excellent bullsh*tting about fish and feminism?) there’s loads of opportunity for talking tripe! Love it!

 

This blog is reproduced from the original post from Verity's Apprentice Blog on BusinessZone.co.uk

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