The Apprentice S10 Ep9: The skeleton in the closet

It was all going so well for Tenacity. They pulled together as a team, achieving the rare feat of securing every item in the discount buying task. But then in the boardroom it all fell flat – literally – as their gamble of buying a paper skeleton backfired, with Felipe Alviar-Baquero paying the price for his failed tactical masterstroke.

Roisin uses all her charm to drive a hard bargain (Image: BBC)

The tortoise and the hare

Buy nine products, lowest price

Roisin pulls a diamond heist

Felipe’s skeleton, paper-thin

Costs his team a certain win

The candidates are awoken by an early morning house call from Lord Sugar at the Apprenti-Mansion. With the dishevelled candidates assembling in their pyjamas, Mark Wright at least hasn’t forgotten how to be a good host, suggesting that someone should offer him a cup of tea.

Sugar informs them that this week’s task is discount buying – find nine items, all of which have featured in previous seasons (many of them infamously), for the lowest possible price, and get them to the boardroom by 6:30pm. The list is:

  • A diamond
  • An anatomically correct human skeleton, at least 150cm in height
  • Three packs of Nigella seeds
  • One usable secondhand Belfast sink
  • Oud oil (this featured in the Dubai task last season, although the item required then wasn’t oud oil but an oud, a stringed musical instrument)
  • 1kg of fresh king scallops
  • 300g of pu-erh tea
  • 1 metre of old rope
  • One whole kosher chicken

Yep, kosher chicken – the infamous item from season four that elevated “good Jewish boy” Michael Sophocles to the heights of infamy. Remember this?

For Tenacity, both Mark and Daniel Lassman put themselves forward as project manager, as both have good knowledge of London. Katie Bulmer-Cooke also volunteers on the grounds of her organisational skills. Mark reluctantly agrees to let Daniel lead, with the new PM apparently turning over a new leaf as he seeks to repair his damaged relationship with Felipe and set a positive example for his team.

Sanjay Sood-Smith steps up for Summit on the basis of his knowledge of London – and wanting to repair the damage to his reputation from last week’s boardroom. Fellow Londoner Bianca Miller does not volunteer, just in case they have to go near Westminster again.

There’s an immediate contrast in styles. Daniel quickly splits the items between the two halves of his team and hits the road by 10:30am. Meanwhile, Sanjay’s team are still at the house planning and making calls an hour later.

As project manager, Sanjay spent too much time planning and not enough doing (Image: BBC)

Bargain hunt

By the time Summit set off, the Jewish Daniel has already picked up his kosher chicken in Golders Green, while Mark and Katie have secured their sink at a scrapyard for £75 and attempted to persuade the dealer not to give the other team a good deal. (Sneaky, but hardly season four Jenny Celerier-level bribery.) However Bianca is still able to purchase one – dinged up but usable, barely – for £60.

It quickly becomes apparent that the supposedly organised Sanjay is anything but, and has no coherent plan whatsoever. He stops to try – unsuccessfully – to buy a skeleton that Roisin spots in a random shop. Eventually he leaves it to the combination of the verbose Solomon Akhtar and the more direct Bianca to get one for £230 (down from £260). Meanwhile Felipe tracks down a flat-pack paper skeleton for £14. Daniel applauds his out-of-the-box thinking and backs him all the way, while Mark and Katie cautiously approve on the proviso that it meets Sugar’s criteria.

Solomon had trouble with his ‘antamology’ (Image: BBC)

The rest of the day sees both teams dashing furiously across London as they try to secure all nine items. A few notes:

  • Sanjay has to spell out ‘kosher’ over the phone to an unseen vendor. If you have to do that, you’re probably not going to be able to buy it from them. There must be something about him though, because when he asks one fish dealer where to buy fresh scallops, he’s told to try Sainsbury’s.
  • Both Solomon and Bianca and Mark and Katie are able to procure the Nigella seeds at a garden centre and get the rope thrown in for free. However, Solomon gets it cut to a metre length on the spot, whereas Mark and Katie do not.
  • Honestly, Solomon, is ‘anatomical’ really that difficult to pronounce? He keeps pronouncing it ‘antamological’.
  • Daniel and Felipe crossing the road holding hands – how sweet.
  • At the jewellery dealer, Daniel asks, “Do you mind if I take a seat?” but not until after he has already sat down.
  • Nearby, Roisin drives a hard bargain for her diamond from a starting price of £140-£145, ending up at £50 – below even her original asking price of £65-£70. It’s amazing what’s possible with a pretty woman and a camera crew. As Karren Brady notes:

Roisin, I mean the guy was just putty in her hands. There’s charm and there’s *charm*.

  • Sanjay’s decision to travel right across London to buy the oud oil in Stratford means that he and Roisin purchase only three items all day (oud, diamond, scallops). Meanwhile, Katie secures the oil for less than half the price from an online dealer on a dodgy-looking council estate. It’s hard not to wonder whether he also trades anything slightly more illicit.
  • It’s implied rather than stated explicitly, but it appears that both Summit sub-teams miss the 6:30pm deadline. Sanjay and Roisin are definitely late by a considerable margin.

However, the single most shocking event on the task is Mark’s phone conversation with Daniel as they are heading back to the boardroom:

Daniel, you’ve been a fantastic project manager, mate.

Hang on, is this the same show we’ve been watching for the past eight weeks? In fairness, Tenacity visibly set their differences aside and worked well as a team, with Daniel taking a mature and sensible approach to leadership throughout. With one crucial exception.

Stop the presses! Mark in ‘saying nice things about Daniel’ shocker! (Image: BBC)

Boardroom Brouhaha

Task over, the boardroom takes on some of the aspects of a grand Shakespearian tragedy as Daniel’s team praise him for becoming a man (Felipe) and turning over a new leaf (Katie). Sanjay looks worried when he realises Tenacity obtained the full list and also how much less Katie paid for the oud oil. But concern soon turns to sniggering amusement as Sugar questions why Mark and Katie couldn’t have found someone with a pair of scissors to cut their rope. And then there’s the skeleton, which Sugar is most definitely not amused by. Felipe claims it meets the written specification while Daniel says they were trying to think outside the box. Sugar dismisses them, scowling:

It’s a skeleton that’s been run over by a steamroller.

Summit’s debrief starts with Sanjay stating that he has good organisational and logistical skills – which he patently failed to show on the task itself. Solomon and Bianca both accuse him of being disorganised, testimony further underlined by their fines for missing out on the chicken and their lateness.

The team’s slowness to focus on Hatton Garden for their diamond is offset by the revelation of Roisin’s incredible deal. An impressed Sugar notes:

Normally jewel thieves wear masks.

And a black-and-white stripey top, and they carry a sack with ‘SWAG’ written across it in huge letters. Obviously.

On to the results. Including fines, Summit’s spend tots up to £644.97. Tenacity’s is £399.59 including a £52 fine for the rope. But then Sugar penalises them for their skeleton stunt, adding on the guide price of the skeleton (£310) to reverse the result and give Summit victory by a little under £65.

Summit’s treat is to drive single-seat racers at Silverstone, where Sanjay proves to be the fastest of the four.

In the Cafe of Broken Dreams, a devastated Mark and an angry Katie are – correctly – quick to identify Felipe and Daniel’s skeleton purchase as the reason for their defeat. Back in the boardroom, Felipe puts his hands up but tries to defend himself by saying he was working within the rules. Sugar is unimpressed:

This is not a legal loophole, it’s a noose.

Good job some rope was on their shopping list, eh? Daniel does his best to back away from the scene of the crime, but Mark also highlights the diamond as a key failing – a £122 swing that was nearly double Summit’s final margin of victory.

It’s obvious Daniel has to bring back Felipe but, stuck between a rock and a hard place, he chooses a furious Katie over Mark to stay in the boardroom. Was this an objective decision or an attempt to show that, by freeing his nemesis, he could be even-handed? Probably a little of both: while Katie and Mark were equally at fault over the rope, it’s hard to argue against Mark’s eye-catching sales history, and bringing him back in would have laid Daniel open to accusations of personal vendettas.

Anyhow, it’s all academic as Katie, despite comments that she may not have much going for her other than common sense, is never going to be fired. Instead Felipe gets the boot for trying to be too clever.

Felipe tried a clever gamble – it failed (Image: BBC)

Fair enough. You could make a decent argument that Daniel, on his fourth time in the final boardroom, had run out of lives and should be held accountable for allowing Felipe to jeopardise the outcome of the task but in truth Felipe, while a lovely guy, had shown little other than being likeable and possessing decent organisational and people skills. Those are all good – but an investor looks for more commercial acumen than that in an entrepreneurial business partner.

Nice to the end, Felipe climbs into the Taxi to Obscurity and refuses to bad-mouth anyone while continuing to refer to himself in the third person:

This is not the end of Felipe. I have so many plans for the future. But at the end of the day I showed what Felipe is capable of. I believe that I am a winner.

There are some candidates we can’t wait to see the back of. It was Felipe’s time to go, but he’ll go down as one of the few candidates I’d happily accept as a colleague and go out for a drink with.

Task analysis

Let’s start with the detail of how the task was won and lost.

With both teams obtaining the rope for free, Tenacity achieved lower prices on the majority of the other products. Despite Roisin’s diamond deal, thanks to Summit’s fines had they bought a standard skeleton for the same price as their rivals, they would have won by £30. Even a £1 discount off the standard £260 selling price that Solomon and Bianca were quoted would have been enough. As it was, they effectively paid £324 (£14 for their paper skeleton plus the £310 guide price), costing them victory.

Roisin’s diamond heist emphasised the fact that the discount buying task, while always tremendous fun to watch, can be easily skewed by random elements. Would she have achieved the same level of success had she been dealing with Daniel’s dealer, or did she just get lucky? How was it that the fishmonger who Sanjay and Roisin found was selling scallops at £26.50/kg whereas Felipe and Daniel’s was £38.90/kg – and, despite that, how on earth did Felipe manage to negotiate a price £5.50 cheaper than Sanjay which, aside from Roisin, was arguably the most successful negotiation of the day?

A good performance as PM by Daniel was spoiled by one moment of madness (Image: BBC)

However, although random luck does play a role, there are some key skills and tactics which can maximise a team’s chances of success. Although Daniel dismissed the relevance of Katie’s organisational skills to managing the task, poor organisation can have disastrous consequences as Sanjay so nearly proved.

There’s value in doing some planning up front so that at least the first couple of purchases can be made quickly, but excessive planning soon becomes counter-productive. On this task, the teams spend a lot of time in the cars. This is dead time that can be used to plan the next one or two moves, reducing the need to work everything out in advance. We’ve seen on many occasions in the past that a team that spends too long planning ends up buying fewer items and/or being late to the boardroom, as was the case with Summit here. As it was, Sanjay seemed completely haphazard anyway.

Balance is also vital. Work out which the big-ticket items are likely to be, divide those between the two sub-teams and prioritise getting those as early in the day as possible. (Both teams appeared to do this reasonably well.) Avoid long trips to pursue a single product, particularly later in the day when rush-hour traffic becomes a factor. (So, Sanjay going to Stratford – not clever.)

Where time and location permit, visit multiple vendors and play them off against each other. With the diamond, it should have been possible to visit two or three dealers in Hatton Garden and haggle between them to achieve the best price. It’s possible one or both teams did that, but it didn’t look like it and it particularly cost Tenacity, where Daniel spent more than three times as much as Roisin.

Ultimately, Sanjay lucked in. He did pretty much everything wrong as a project manager, whereas Daniel ran a tighter ship but was let down – not for the first time in this process – by his tendency to over-reach when a more conservative approach would have stood him in better stead. Nonetheless, he survived yet again. This was unquestionably a better week for him, but he’s still living on borrowed time.

Next time: The candidates must come up with a range of puddings. Who will get their just desserts?

The Apprentice season 10 reviews

Ten years of selling

Wearable technology

Home fragrance

Online video channel

Coach tours

Board game

Advertising – New York

Country show

Advertisements

30 Comments on The Apprentice S10 Ep9: The skeleton in the closet

  1. I don’t get why Sralan couldn’t see the skeleton as a creative solution. Felipe didn’t deserve to go because of it. The boardroom was a farce this week. It looked like a fix to me.

    • I know a lot of people believe Sugar’s decision was unfair, but I happen to agree with it. Firstly, Felipe knew full well he was playing with fire – yes, he appeared to be following the letter of the task rules, but he was clearly violating the spirit of them. If I had asked him to buy me a skeleton as cheaply as possible and he had come back with a paper kit saying “well, that’s what you asked me to get and I’ve saved you 200-odd quid”, I would NOT have been happy.

      Sanjay was VERY lucky to survive this week – he continues to be awful, even worse than Daniel. And I certainly don’t think Felipe was the weakest remaining candidate. But at the same time, on the basis of what I have seen to date, he had ZERO chance of winning, so there’s no injustice. He’s a lovely and very smart guy and an accommodating leader, but did I get any sense of sharp commercial skills or entrepreneurial drive from him? No.

  2. Sugar should have given clearer criteria then. At least he should have seen that his list was open to interpretation. I know he’s geting stick on Twitter for not being specific enough. I agree it’s unlikely Felippe would have won the competition, but I don’t believe he should have been fired on for the decision about the skeleton, as it did actually fit Sugar’s criteria.

    • Let’s be clear about this, though. Sugar doesn’t set the criteria for the tasks – the production team do. It’s merely Sugar’s interpretation of them that is law. That may seem unfair, but that’s life. Felipe made a judgement call – it was the wrong one. I noted at the time that this was a decision that would be contentious in the boardroom – had it been me in his shoes, competitive though the situation was, I wouldn’t have made the same decision Felipe did.

  3. So what exactly was wrong with the paper skeleton? It was a life-size, anatomically-correct version of a human skeleton, as was the other team’s, which also wasn’t a ‘real’ skeleton, despite Sugar referring to it as such.

    • As I’ve said, if I asked for a skeleton I would not expect a paper skeleton. In the same way that if I asked someone to buy me a new car, I would not expect them to come back with a die-cast model even if I had not explicitly said so. Is it really that difficult to understand? Pedantry (Felipe’s defence) is the enemy of common sense.

  4. But a plaster of Paris skeleton is ok? You’ve illustrated my point. The criteria for the task was open-ended and dependent on interpretation. If Sugar didn’t want a paper skeleton, but an actual human skeleton, he should have clarified that. It is arguable that the other team also failed the task. If you don’t want a die-cast model of a car, then you say exactly that. I agree Felippe probably wouldn’t have made the Final, but firing him for achieving the criteria (albeit not to Sugar’s unspecified expectations) of the task was unfair. It seems Sugar wanted to fire Felippe, and used it as an excuse, or overlooked the fact that his brief was too vague and was embarrassed.

    • I repeat: it’s not Sugar who sets the criteria for the tasks, so blaming him for them being open-ended is wrong. Stick to the facts of the task rather than hypotheticals: Felipe produced a paper skeleton that was unacceptable.

      Also, looking at the bigger picture, if Sugar allows one team to exploit a loophole in the rules, then it sends a signal that it’s okay for others to try it too and we would descend into chaos with task rules becoming so complex that it would take teams an entire day to read and absorb them. What we never/rarely see as viewers is that the teams are already issued with big sets of instructions laying out the rules of every task. To cover all eventualities as you suggest simply isn’t practical. Are we to expect the teams to absorb a 500-page dossier of dos and don’ts at the start of every task? Would that be ideal, to remove any grey areas? Yes, of course. But feasible? No. There will always be grey areas where common sense has to be applied.

      • I have done the calculation below – John Bell & Croydon, biggest pharmacy in London, sell the skeleton at £260. The fine is £50 as usual (rope fine = £50 plus £2 guide)

        • Ah, that may well be right, thanks John. I heard Sugar talk about ‘guide price’ and then specify £310, but your £260 RRP plus £50 price makes a lot of sense. Either way, £310 it was.

  5. You haven’t really answered my question: how did the plaster skeleton trump the paper one? What exactly is unacceptable about the aper version compared with the plaster skeleton? I don’t recall Sugar specifying why it wasn’t good enough. And why such a random, high fine?
    It’s irrelevant whether Sugar actually sets the criteria, as he relays the information to the candidates as he sees fit, so it is down to him to decide what the candidates understand the criteria to be. And yes, if you are given a brief, you seek to answer the brief within the time and financial straits laid down. If you design a brief, it’s up to you to communicate your requirements as clearly as possible, so it isn’t misinterpreted. Who mentioned a 500-page dossier?
    I thought Sugar liked people who could think ‘outside the box’? Wasn’t Felippe doing exactly that?

    • I haven’t answered it because it isn’t relevant to the events we watched. And, as I’ve noted in my review (and was stated clearly in the episode), the fine wasn’t random – it was equivalent to the guide price of £310 laid out in the task rules, and similar to fines levied for items that haven’t been bought or bought correctly in the past.

      Anyhow, this is a blog and not a forum so I’m closing off this conversation now. We will just have to agree to disagree.

  6. Hi all ,
    Those things are fiddly to build . I ‘m sort of in the half way house with this one – The skeleton was unpacked and un assembled , so was just some paper .
    You could have spent another 20 quid getting a student to build (and if you had that idea do it first thing – like I said they are fiddly) , or better find someone with one and swap with some beer vouchers .

    Can’t fault the PM on this one on what we saw he was good (enough) . Katie would be a raw choice as that’s her first appreance and boy you don’t want her there judging by that.

    .

    • I think Daniel should have applied some common sense and stopped Felipe in his tracks, but ultimately the blame lay with one person and one person only: Felipe.

      • I don’t think Felipe going was wrong for the “losing” Team , only that the result was rules lawyered (in that, while meeting the brief, was immediately the reason they lost , despite winning on pretty much every other respect – in other words, an excuse ) .

        However you are right , the spirit of the task was broken but the penalty was rather harsh – maybe see who won after taking that item out would have been fairer. Either way, there seems to be some reason to keep Sanjay – ( good interview fodder ? Hopefully not another Jordan, more James McQuillan, but he doesn;t seem that interesting ) at least for now.

        • I don’t think it was really an excuse and the fine wasn’t random – Sugar applied the standard rules for fines, and it swung the result of the task. As I’ve said, I think it was important that he laid down a marker to stop future contestants trying to get away with exploiting loopholes. It was unfortunate that it lost the team the task, though. In an ideal world Sugar would have levied the penalty and Tenacity would still have won.

          I don’t think Sanjay was kept in the process deliberately. Sugar clearly has his card marked, and neither Nick nor Karren are impressed with him. If he is on the losing team next week, he is surely a goner.

  7. Hi, Tim, I agree with your interpretation regarding the skeleton. As soon as Felipe made his case I thought that he was being too clever by half. It was a high risk strategy which failed, but I think he was desperate to show he was more than just a lawyer. Ironically, it was his legal mind and his mistaken interpretation that cost him. So, not only was he a poor candidate (little commercial acumen on show) but he’s a poor lawyer too!

    You can read my thoughts here

    http://markdecosemo.com/2014/12/04/the-apprentice-2014-week-9-paper-scissors-bone/

    • We appear to be in a minority, Mark! Many people seem to support Felipe, applying the pedantry defence. I don’t dispute that he met the brief technically, but he missed the point of the task – and as you say he seemed to ignore how big a risk he was taking. Did the paper skeleton pass the “is this what the customer wants?” test. Not for me. Not even close. I know the brief didn’t specify that it couldn’t be a paper skeleton, but a big part of being a senior person in business is to be able to take a vague brief and turn it into something sensible and practicable (which Felipe did not do). In real life in business, unless you are in a very technical function such as legal, there simply are no instructions telling you what you can and can’t do. I’m frequently asked to do something via a short conversation – I then use my skill, experience and business sense to work out what’s reasonable to do and what isn’t.

  8. I thought that the skeleton was genius when purchased but that is because I am a pedant! However, I do see the reasoning behind Lord Sugar’s decision though part of me wonders whether, if Filipe had a better business plan, the decision would have been different? On You’re Fired Filipe explained what amounts to a social enterprise and I don’t believe that would have flown. That is not to say that Lord Sugar is not philanthropic, I just think he would keep such ventures separate to business.

    The double sacking was definitely on the cards in this one with Daniel escaping by the skin of his teeth. Is that down to business plan again?

    I don’t think that Katie was really harmed by her visit to the boardroom: yes, her skills were dismissed as “just common sense” but in this group of people that is a rare commodity indeed, and the boardroom is not a place where Lord Sugar will praise anyone, he had to pretend, at least for a minute, that there was a chance that Katie was going (and not back to the house).

    This was, without doubt, the poorest purchasing task I can remember. The nine products were all readily identifiable (unlike the Nigella seeds first time around, or the cloche) and it is easier to buy a Kosher chicken in London than in Morocco! That was a cheap product and was never going to win or lose the task, provided you did not fail to buy it (£4 or £10 is irrelevant compared to a £50 fine). The teams are based in Highgate and it is no distance at all to several Jewish centres so this was a poor omission by Sanjay.

    The skeleton purchase did throw some light on the guide price and fine structure: I said last week that the skeleton purchase appeared to be in John Bell and Croydon, which is one of London’s leading pharmacies. Their list price of £260 would appear to be the guide price plus the £50 fine? The rope would be a “fail” and therefore had a guide of £2 which seems reasonable enough.

    The main excitement for me was to see the shopping at our local high street – I am thinking of a walk up there tomorrow for some scallops and expect a decent price!

    • I thought the same of Felipe’s business plan. Worthy? Absolutely? Investable? No (at least not in the context of this series).

      I seem to be in a small minority, but I’ve been arguing until I’m blue in the face that Sugar simply had to come down hard on Felipe to set a precedent that pedantry (although an admirable creative solution) cannot outweigh common sense, and loopholes have to be closed down. To let Felipe get away with it would be tantamount to saying that all future contestants should have a go at trying it on if they can find similar ways to stick to the letter of the law while violating its spirit. The discount buying task is messy enough as it is without people playing the rules against themselves too.

      Also, while the paper skeleton meets the pedantry test, it fails the “is this what the customer wants?” test. They might just have gotten away with it if they had delivered the paper skeleton fully assembled but – to twist Sugar’s cake analogy a bit – it was like me asking for a birthday cake and being given one that has been unbaked. I shouldn’t have to ask – it should be obvious. Felipe took a gamble, it failed, and he was NEVER going to win this competition based on the amount of business acumen he had displayed to this point. As I’ve said – lovely guy, smart and probably great to work with, but not an entrepreneur for me.

  9. Good review Tim!

    As my brother said about the diamond: ‘Daniel’s only mistake was not being a gorgeous blonde woman.’ A little unfair; Roisin is undoubtedly pretty and charming but has plenty of skills, but it does highlight the luck element.

    Katie wasn’t terribly likeable this task (neither was Mark, but I’ve never found him likeable.) I should say that I think she is probably the strongest candidate and while I prefer Roisin I think Katie has a better chance of winning. Nick was completely right that both Katie and Mark put up no fight over getting the paper skeleton for all they feigned it later.

    Also maybe it was just me, but in Daniel’s shoes I would have found the ‘became a man’ and ‘turned over a new leaf’ spiel deeply patronising.

    • Roisin was also lucky insofar that she met with a dealer who was susceptible to her negotiating skills/charms. If she had had Daniel’s dealer, I doubt she’d have gotten very far. Luck played a role here, for sure.

      Agree that Katie remains a strong candidate, although it was interesting to see that here – the first time she has been in genuine danger – she turned quite petty and personal towards Daniel. It wasn’t edifying (although, of course, we’ve also seen much worse from others in the past).

      Also agree that Felipe and Katie’s comments about Daniel were patronising in the extreme – and indicative of how lowly they rate him.

  10. The wrong team won. Decadence (as I still like to call them) were far better organized and got most of the most impressive deals (like the oud oil). Roisin’s diamonds was just pure luck (if Daniel had gone to the same dealer and said the same things as Roisin, he wouldn’t have got anywhere near the same discount, and if Roisin had gone to the same dealer as Daniel, she wouldn’t have got anywhere near the same discount!) I don’t know what arbitrary number Sugar plucked out of thin air to fine summit for being late, but I suspect he made it just low enough to allow them to still win so he could punish Felipe for his cheek. He really doesn’t like candidates who think they can outsmart him!

    The wrong PM most definitely won, Daniel had easily his best week to date (not that that’s saying much) and Sanjay is well past his sell-by date. He’ll be gone if he’s on the losing team next week, if not then the first to go in the interviews. I though it was Roison’s least impressive week for some time with the oversight with Hatton Garden, aforementioned luck not withstanding. But she’s still looking strong overall. I would say:
    Favourites: Katie, Roisin
    Dark horses: Mark, Solomon
    No hopers: Sanjay, Daniel, Bianca

    • Agree with much of what you say, although I have a sneaky feeling Bianca is a dark horse. I think we have to give some credit for being persistent and continuing to push for a better and better price – below even her ‘open extreme’ starting offer, but I totally agree that if she had had Daniel’s dealer she would have probably ended up with a similar price to him.

      How Sanjay survived is beyond me – although ultimately that underlines the folly of the risk Felipe took. Even if he and Daniel had gone to the same shop and negotiated just a £1 discount off the £260 RRP, they would have won the task. I know many people disagree, but I think Sugar had to move decisively to ensure Felipe’s stunt wasn’t allowed to pass. He violated the spirit of the rules of task (though not its letter), and if Sugar had allowed the loophole to be exploited it would have set a precedent encouraging candidates in future tasks to chance their arm too, which would just result in chaos.

      My preference would have been for Tenacity to have been hit with a big penalty, but one which allowed them to win anyway, with the result being that Sanjay was fired.

      As I understand it, Summit would have received a £100 fine for being late, then a £50 fine for not getting the chicken, plus the guide price for the chicken itself (my maths says that’s a rather generous £11). One of the things that makes this task quite unsatisfactory is that it is often decided not by good negotiation but by a combination of luck and who can avoid the biggest fines. The complexity of the rules and the numbers makes it difficult to follow too. There has been lots of argument online, much of it invoking incorrect numbers. If only they had read my review, they would know what the right numbers were …

    • I have just watched this episode and found it grossly unfair. I would not have turned on Felipe and I would have walked out. It was an absolute disgrace that Lord Sugar fined the team £310 that was totally unfair. If the skeleton had been disqualified they would only have been fined £52. Tim, I don’t agree Lord Sugar doesn’t have a say in his own show. Additionally for the candidates to turn on each other shows precisely what calibre they are. They all should have walked out as they were treated not only unfairly but without just cause. In the modern workplace, this amounts to bullying tactics. I won’t be watching this show again, it has such bias, favouritism and blatant self promotion.

      • In fairness, the £310 fine was exactly in line with the task rules – the retail price of the skeleton plus £50.

        The show is designed to create errors and confrontation, and while I had a lot of time for Felipe – a thoroughly decent sort of chap – I had no sympathy for an appalling business decision which rightly cost him his place. Hiding behind the letter of the instructions was a feeble defence, and anyone walking out of the boardroom would have sacrificed their own chances of winning.

        I don’t see it as bullying – Sugar, as the customer, didn’t like what he was given (if they had at least assembled it, their argument would have been stronger). Felipe tried something he showed have known might cause trouble. If anyone had tried to pull a stunt like that in a real business situation, they would never have been invited in again. He should have known his customer better and recognised the risks.

        Sugar plays no role in the detailed design of the tasks – and the tasks are well established by now anyway. Does anyone seriously think he wastes time doing the production team’s job for them? He’s merely the figurehead – he invests a lot of time in the series just appearing in what we see. His involvement in the rest of the show is minimal to none. He doesn’t promote the show. He doesn’t produce the show. They have outside PR people (Taylor Herring) and a separate production team to do all that. When he says “I’ve laid on X” or “I’ve set up Y”, he doesn’t mean him personally – it’s all the production team, and there is a hell of a lot of logistical work that goes on in the background to make it happen. All that’s required of him is to turn up and film his parts.

        It’s the same with all reality shows. The judges/mentors on shows such as The X Factor and The Voice give the impression that they spend ages with their contestants each week, whereas in reality it’s only a handful of hours. That’s an established fact, as both contestants and judges on these shows have confirmed. Sugar is no different.

  11. Leon Robinson // December 4, 2014 at 6:13 pm // Reply

    A skeleton for putting in front of a class and teaching names and positions of bones? The paper one was fit for purpose. irrelevant that it needs making, the chicken needs cooking.

    • I disagree. The fact that Felipe had to resort to pedantry about meeting the words of the spec was a weak argument. Bottom line: he didn’t deliver what was intended or wanted by the customer, and he knew it. The gamble backfired.

      I have absolutely no problem with Sugar coming down hard on Felipe. Allow one candidate to exploit a loophole and they’ll all be at it in the future.

  12. Blimey, some of your readers take it all very seriously! Great episode, and some epic moments. Poor Felipe, but you can’t be asked for a skeleton and then give a piece of cardboard! Roisin for the win!

    • Hey GK. I thought the episode was a bit messy, as the discount buying task, while fun, is always a little confusing with the way the results work out – this one more than most. Apparently the vast majority of people believe Sugar should have accepted the paper skeleton. With my businessman’s hat on, I simply cannot fathom why this could possibly be considered acceptable except by the most pedantic of sticklers to the rule. I can’t help but feel that this is in part driven by the fact it was nice guy Felipe who paid the price. If it had been Daniel, Mark or Sanjay, I suspect this would be little more than a storm in a teacup. Ah well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: