pas de problemes
Women win again, but Trump tires of their tactics
By Del Jones, USA TODAY
The women defeated the men decisively for the fourth consecutive week on NBC's reality show The Apprentice.
Star and co-producer Donald Trump fired Bowie Hogg of Dallas. The men's team has dwindled to four, which forces Trump to divide them into six-person co-ed teams next week
, retiring the all-female team undefeated and with its original eight intact.
Trump's task Thursday was for each team to run the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Times Square for an evening, with victory going to the team that increased revenue the most over a comparable evening the previous year.
The women went first, which gave the men an extra day of strategizing, but they squandered it in a bonding exercise of basketball and the Donald Trump board game, Trump: The Game.
The women's strategy was to boost Planet Hollywood alcohol sales by any means possible, including getting sauced with the customers. They increased total revenue 31%. The men increased revenue 7%, never thinking to assign one of their own at the bar.
The men focused on hawking Planet Hollywood merchandise and had Kwame Jackson autographing basketballs. Customers weren't lied to, but the implication was that Jackson came out of the NBA, not out of Harvard with an MBA.
The real victor may have been Planet Hollywood International, which managed not to let the contestants drive it into its third Chapter 11 filing in five years.
If reality were like The Apprentice, the actual manager of Planet Hollywood would be an attractive woman. Instead, it's Roland Rutjens, who told USA TODAY that Planet Hollywood often has actors and musicians sign merchandise. But he says he would never allow an employee to mislead customers.
"Maybe that's why (Planet Hollywood) isn't doing better," Trump said in an interview Thursday.
Rutjens says the cameras and lights of the TV crew made Jackson a believable celebrity. Duped 12-year-olds may have the last laugh, assuming his autograph is worth something on eBay.
Rutjens says the men came up with solid ideas for running a restaurant, such as offering motivational incentives to the staff. But the task seemed to rely far more on salesmanship than on leadership. The men could not overcome the appeal of women pushing shots, Rutjens says.
The women called themselves the "Planet Hollywood Shooter Girls," which they said was modeled after Hooters waitresses. Drinking with customers is a "no-no, a terminable offense" in the real world, Rutjens says, and the restaurant would face a lawsuit if a customer was sold too many shots only to get run over by a taxi.
At the end of the program, the women were rewarded with a 30-mile trip to Trump National Golf Club, where Trump scolded them for the first time for relying so heavily on their sexuality. They were warned that the person Trump winds up keeping for a $250,000 job must demonstrate other talents.
Merging the teams means Trump couldn't come up with tasks that the men could win. He should have been watching the women swinging golf clubs.
Corporate scandal was supposed to have made ethics a key part of business decision-making. Yet it took but a simple competition for the best and brightest of The Apprentice to wade into the gray zone. Who knows what they might do in the real world, but USA TODAY's experts say it's safe to assume they're not yet ready for the keys to Enron.