The Apprentice 2023, Episode 4: Beleaguered Basketier

What happens in Brighton, stays in Brighton.

Welcome to the stage, Miss Sahara Desert Rose!

Last week we left on the cliffhanger that the candidates would be sent to terrorise the streets of Brighton and Hove in the annual Buy Things Mostly By Accosting Small Business Owners Who Look Incredibly Uncomfortable. Except this year it came with a new flavour because everyone grew up in the era of Google Maps and clearly never had to do an orienteering day in middle school so they all opined that “maps were a little bit before our time” as though they thought they were going to be given Ptolemy’s World Map and not you know, the Brighton AtoZ

and obviously because Tim had his outing on The Apprentice in 2005, the whole conversation about being map-blind turned him to dust before our very eyes

and I’m sure them calling 1974 ancient history was the nail in the coffin.

As usual they had to source 9 items, this year’s list being:
1. Fresh Asparagus Spears (PICKED. TODAY.)
2. A Dozen Sahara Desert Roses
3. A Resin Cast Of a Team Member’s Body Part
4. A Sussex Trug
5. A Nautical Barometer
6. An Ombre Lace Front Wig
7. A Waterloo Vinyl
8. Palourdes
9. A Puppet

Once Brighton, Twice Shy

As Denisha was forced into the role of PM, her team got a bit of a head start on the planning side of things, deciding to split her team into 2 and making sure she would be around as few people as possible, taking Reece and Sohail with her on the most fruitless quest to find a dozen Sahara Desert Roses – which sadly isn’t a famed duodecaplet of drag queens, they were however convinced they had to be actual roses and only realised that not all roses smell quite as sweet after grilling every single florist in Brighton about them and very nearly trying to rob a restaurant of its table settings just because it was called Sahara

it’s one step short of having a team mate legally changing their name to Sahara Desert and having them buy you a dozen roses.

The not-at-all-roses weren’t the only plants giving them a headache as they turned up to get their 1kg of freshly picked asparagus only to find out it had been picked 2 days ago, the veggie shop man mistaking Reece’s keenness for curiosity in how to tell if your asparagus was picked two days ago

thus forcing Reece to literally call the manager of this tiny farm shop WHILE STANDING OUTSIDE THE TINY FARM SHOP to demand an explanation because Reece believed the manager had said it was picked today, except this is how that conversation went down:

apologies for the tongue action but apparently Reece is very into freshly picked asparagus which explains why he looked ready to watch the entire East Sussex agricultural industry burn to the ground upon finding out he had, in his mind, been mislead

Reece’s use of the phone was a complete disaster – the first florist they had phoned did some second-hand googling for them, informed them she was just seeing pictures of fossils

and Sohail even said “Fossils?”

Reece however misheard it as “thistles” – quite why a thistle would be called a “sahara desert rose” I do not know, but you know what? At least Reece was using the phone because the other half of the team was just barrelling around Brighton from one flea market to another demanding someone tell them what a trug was, which I did think would work a little better in an antiques shop that was literally selling a smoking gun of a trug

and they did eventually have to resort to just running through the street, asking random diners for advice with the same energy as Daniel Radcliffe in Guns Akimbo

which did regrettably actually work

until it didn’t

shout out to whoever gave them that nonsense lead, you did God’s work. HOWEVER, truly the biggest shit stirrer of the entire episode was none other than antiques shop owner and I think strong candidate for Mayor of Brighton, Rachel

she was the keeper of seemingly the only nautical barometer in Brighton and my God did she know it! Simba’s Team was the first team to get wind of the barometer because they actually knew how to work a telephone, so Rachel was holding it for them, however Mark rocked up offering a cold hard £34 in cash so she just about immediately sold it to them and then took a great amount of glee in telling Simba, Bradley and Shazia that she had sold the barometer and watching them all look like their insides had been liquified

and then to maximise chaos, she let Mark buy what was quite clearly not a Sussex Trug at all and she knew it

I did love that Megan and Victoria had to come back to buy the trug and the whole thing looked like they were both about to kill Rachel in the back of this antiques centre

while also offloading a non-nautical barometer onto Simba and Co after they came crawling back to her after going to scream in the alleyway outside for a bit

is it too late for Rachel to win the show? At least give her a BAFTA. (this implies that I think a BAFTA is less valuable than winning The Apprentice… I can assure you I do not.)

When not sniping barometers like they were bidding on Ebay in 2007, Mark, Victoria, Megan and Marnie were on the hunt for a vinyl of the 1974 Eurovision Winning Song, which they believed was a super rare record – Victoria glazing over something fierce at the prospect of having to contemplate anything that occured prior to 1995

she does such incredible Vacant Face, I’m honestly obsessed.
I did very much enjoy the fact they were all gearig themselves up for a high octane negotiation over this rare, one of kind record that then turned out to be Waterloo by ABBA and was relegated to sitting in a ratty shoebox marked £2

and instead of just shrugging and handing the nice man £2 LIKE A NORMAL PERSON, Mark was still determined to knock a few pence off despite the fact this was meant to be Victoria’s negotiation

and despite only paying £1.50, Victoria was convinced she could have got him down to 80p

and this wouldn’t be the only time that Mark would snatch the world up from beneath Victoria’s feet

can you imagine if Mark had had to do that task where they sold fitness equipment at the bodybuilding expo? It would have been carnage.

I’ll Always Burn Brighton

Shazia, Rochelle, Avi, Simba, Bradley, Dani and Joseph had to democratically elect their Project Manager, with Simba, Bradley and Shazia all putting themselves forward – the latter two also immediately making sure everyone knew they didn’t know how to operate a map so Simba it was! And he was keeping Shazia and Bradley close by him, with the other half of the team being Rochelle, Avi, Joseph and Dani.

Like the other team, they too struggled with the Sahara Desert Roses right up until the end when they just started yelling “SAHARA DESERT ROSES!?” into any and every open shop they could find, and I mean EVERY shop

“if we tattoo a bouquet of roses onto Avi’s back and label them as “From Sahara Rose”, does that count?” – Avi was spared an inking because Dani decided to yell a hail Mary into the hippy dippiest shop she could find which stocks them as “helps access past and future lives”

I fear Alan Sugar may be planning to become immortal.

Dani once again proved to be kind of an icon this episode, starting off by assuming the role of war general and plotting out the entire team’s movements like they were trying to lay siege to the Brighton Pier – there was only one thing in their way – a series of incredibly fed up local shop owners, none more so than the poor resin caster who hated both teams with a burning passion, but he hated this team most of all because despite quoting them £160 for a cast of Joseph’s lips, Avi decided to try his luck at £80 and the man looked like he was about to turn Avi into a Damien Hirst exhibit

it was then up to Rochelle to do some damage control, eventually getting the price down to £120 and a very big coffee

so in Brighton that comes to… £160. And I’m sure the man was very disappointed that it wasn’t Avi whose lips he was pouring resin all over

and clearly he hadn’t been given his coffee by the time the other team rocked up

that’s the face of a man that regrets not becoming a doctor like his mother wanted. Sohail ended up getting his bellybutton done for £144 after negotiating 10% off and not having to buy a coffee

there’s absolutely a Fiat 500 couple out there that has a plaster cast of their baby’s bellybutton hanging above their mantlepiece next to a “Live. Laugh. Love.” wall decal.

The increasingly murderous resin caster wasn’t the only person this lot were severely pissing off, as Rochelle (the owner of a hair salon) took on a wig shop owner over the price of an ombre wig

she took the Avi approach of immediately asking for a 50% discount, and remember how she felt about THAT

She owns a wig shop in Brighton – she has fought bigger and meaner drag queens for YEARS over these wigs. They eventually got it for £100 after Joseph barged into the middle of their negotiation – their big mistake being going to a wig shop owned by someone who would obviously know the value of a good ombre lace front and not, like Denisha, seemingly buying the rattiest looking ombre wig from someone’s garage for £27.50

Hey look, it’s Veronica Green!
And Denisha looked VERY smug when Lord Sugar revealed the prices both teams had payed for their wigs

You may have won the wig battle, but you’ll never win the Trug War! Mostly because Simba had managed to find a shop literally called The Sussex Trug Store owned by this beleaguered basketier who looks exactly as I would expect someone who owns the Sussex Trug Store to look

his disdain for Bradley trying to shave pennies off of a wicker basket only being matched by Karren Brady’s disdain for Bradley trying to play 4D chess over a barometer

as Bradley was in charge of the Trug and Simba was busy losing a barometer – it was up to Shazia to take care of the super rare and completely unheard of song by whichever 2-but indie band won what is definitely not the biggest singing competition in the world. If you didn’t win The X-factor in 2009, who even are you? And in order to procure the record, Shazia had to go toe-to-tie with Alex, the second of our Brightonian Legends

it has never been more obvious that Shazia wanted to vomit, and we saw her suffering from heatstroke in Antigua

and oh boy did Alex and his tie know that they could rinse these fools as Shazia immediately opened with a bid of £3.50

*Alex slides the £2 shoebox out of sight*
The final price paid being £2.20 because Shazia was offering to pay with two whole real pound coins

I would consider offering to pay in cash to be a turn off for most businesses nowadays – or do I just have a fear of physical money in a post-pandemic world?

Over all, it wasn’t the biggest disaster we’ve ever seen in one of these procurement challenges – there was no life-sized model skeleton debacle (even if Bradley tried) and there certainly wasn’t a Kosher Chicken Catastrophe. Obviously there was Reece and his fixation on Sahara Desert Roses and the fact Marnie was convinced Palourdes (a type of clam) were an item of furniture and calling this poor furniture retailer a know-nothing dumbass

and sadly both teams had a teammate who knew what an “ombre lace frontal” was, sadly preventing anyone from barging into a clothes shop asking for a full frontal wedding dress.

The Boardroom Blitz

Both teams only managed to buy 6 of the items with both also having one of those items being incorrect (the trug and the barometer) while incurring penalties for the unbought items meaning Team Simba won having only spent £452.89 while Team Denisha spent £511.50. “Win” is a relative term depending on how you feel about having to endure a private performance of the Only Fools and Horses Musical WITH AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

this is my Hell.

It was pretty obvious that Denisha was going to be fired given she had lost a task as PM after being told to step up. However, I do think she could have made a bigger deal of the fact the biggest price discrepancy between the two teams was Rochelle buying a wig for £100 while she only paid £27.50. But Mark and Reece really hammered home the lack of logistical planning on Denisha’s part – although it’s hard to do logistical planning if someone won’t use a phone and the other guy only listens to half a phone call at any one given moment. But in the end Denisha was fired

I can’t say she didn’t deserve it – the task was badly helmed but really any three of them could have gone and it would have made sense but she was the more forgettable of the three and this is a TV show, you either give us a Boardroom Moment when you find yourself in the firing line or you go home.

And so an unlucky 13 Candidates remain…

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