On your bike, Ruth! Lord Sugar’s ex-Apprentice on her next opportunity

Ruth Whiteley with yellow bike, at the time of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year
Ruth Whiteley with yellow bike, at the time of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year
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Selling luxury cat towers is a task many might find a challenge and it proved a creature comfort too far for Yorkshire Apprentice candidate Ruth Whiteley as she used up the last of her nine lives tonight.

For the uninitiated a cat tower is used by feline friends to sharpen their claws and in tonight’s BBC One show The Apprentice, Ruth, from Harrogate, was fired after failing to sell any of the luxury items which retailed at high-end prices as contestants found themselves plunged into the pet market.

She said Lord Sugar told her: “I spent too much time talking and not telling people where to go if they could not pay for things.”

Alongside Selina Waterman-Smith and project manager Scott Saunders, Ruth faced Lord Sugar in the boardroom after their team lost the pet product sales challenge. She received criticism from Lord Sugar for “zero” sales, despite her enthusiastic attempts to woo potential customers.

The 47-year-old, who has a background in telephone sales, speaking after her firing, said she believed Selina should have gone and she was hoping Lord Sugar would cut her some slack despite her lack of sales.

“Lord Sugar would think it was fair,” she said of her firing. “But, no I do not think that I should have gone,” she added.

Ruth Whiteley (centre) taking part in the latest Apprentice challenge.

Ruth Whiteley (centre) taking part in the latest Apprentice challenge.

“I just had a bad day at the office.”

During her time on The Apprentice Ruth’s love of cheerful brightly-coloured outfits, including a rainbow tartan suit, have generated plenty of comment on social media but yesterday she said she wasn’t planning any wardrobe changes and joked: “I have got to tell you my future is bright.”

She is planning to continue her business interests and hopes her time on prime-time TV might lead to some public speaking opportunities.

Lord Sugar tasked the members of Connexus and Versatile with selling pet products to visitors at the London Pet Show after a re-shuffle mixed up the boys and girls teams. They were split into sub-teams, with one half obtaining and selling cheaper accessories, and the other focusing on a high-ticket item.

Candidates Natalie Dean, David Stevenson, Mergim Butaja, Richard Woods, Vana Koutsomitis, Ruth Whiteley, Scott Saunders, Charleine Wain, Jenny Garbis, Brett Butler-Smythe, Elle Stevenson, Sam Curry, April Jackson, Joseph Valente, Selina Waterman-Smith, Aisha Kasim, Gary Poulton, Dan Callaghan, with Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner

Candidates Natalie Dean, David Stevenson, Mergim Butaja, Richard Woods, Vana Koutsomitis, Ruth Whiteley, Scott Saunders, Charleine Wain, Jenny Garbis, Brett Butler-Smythe, Elle Stevenson, Sam Curry, April Jackson, Joseph Valente, Selina Waterman-Smith, Aisha Kasim, Gary Poulton, Dan Callaghan, with Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner

Ruth was already known for her enthusiastic sales technique from the first episode. Watching her successful attempts to sell fish lunches to office workers in the street - which included feeling a man’s biceps - Karren Brady said of her: “She has a slightly creepy sales technique and is a bit odd in the way she approaches people. But it seems to be working.”

But the fired candidate doesn’t hold this against Lord Sugar’s aide: “Karren gave me that beautiful phrase, didn’t she? ‘Her sales technique is slightly creepy but it seems to be working!’ You’d pay for that, wouldn’t you?”

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