A lack of entrepreneurial spirit, and a lousy product for Staples, irks Donald Trump

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 22, 2005 08:30 AM
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/NBC Universal

As Thursday night’s edition of The Apprentice kicked in, there were five left: the Net Worth team’s Alex and Bren, and Magna’s Kendra, Tana and Craig.

But when the desk clutter cleared an hour later, Bren was left to face the exit music, leaving the four others to continue in the game of who’ll be hired by Donald Trump on the third-season finale May 19.

The teams’ mission this week: to invent a new office product for Staples that would ease desk organization. The key to victory, said Trump, is “to blend innovation with practicality.”

Bren and Alex bonded over cigars, with Alex, who became project manager, declaring: “Bren is my oasis in this vast imbecilic land.”

Over at Magna, Craig became project manager and made direct contact with Staples executive – a smart strategic move, as they learned that rather than come up with a new gadget from scratch, they should simply improve an existing one.

Although Craig and Kendra clashed, the team came up with a product based on putting four stackable holders into a single container. In their final judgment, the Staples execs found this to be “innovative,” “practical” and just what their customers wanted.

Net Worth didn’t rate so highly. Alex and Bren’s new take on the inbox and outbox was deemed unwieldy by Staples and “a piece of crap” by Trump.

Trump criticized an already defensive Alex for not meeting with the Staples executives in person, and called both Alex and Bren “lousy.”

What seems to have finally sunk Bren, a 32-year-old assistant district attorney general from Memphis, was his admission that he was still learning to take risks, prompting Trump to say he lacked an entrepreneurial spirit.

While kindly suggesting that Bren would be a big success someday, Trump finally declared, “Bren, you’re fired.”