CANDIDATES FROM the hit TV series ‘Young Apprentice of the Year’ have been among the latest customers of The Secret Garden.
Their visit to the garden centre – which nestles out of sight behind the Phoenix Centre on Westow Street – was shown on BBC last week.
The BBC had rung The Secret Garden the week before the youngsters’ visit. Sam Hackett, head buyer and self-styled ‘house plant queen’ who took the call, said: “They didn’t tell us it was going to be the Young Apprentice. “It was ‘can we film some kids buying some plants?’ and I said ‘no problem’
Boss Roger Cocks didn’t know a TV crew was coming. “She didn’t tell me. “They came in and said they wanted to buy an olive tree. “We often get calls from TV companies who say ‘can we have your stuff for free? – we’ll give you a credit’ but I say ‘no’ and we never see them.”
The group of four contestants – who had arrived in a big black car – asked for a discount. Roger recalls: “I said ‘No. ‘Why should I give you a discount? ‘I’ll go and ask the staff if they can take a drop in wages’,”.
Eventually Roger did give them a discount* but as he says: “It’s not just for the benefit of the Young Apprentice if you say that. “It impinges on the business if you sell things at cost. “Then I got really fed up with them and gave them a 10 per cent discount off the olive tree.
“They’re young kids trying to make progress. “I wouldn’t employ them.” (How much of this is banter by Roger and how much of this is real is difficult to tell.)
The programme featuring The Secret Garden was screened on Thursday 15th – and is bound to be repeated at some point in the future. Last week’s show was preceded by TV and radio plugs with Roger’s voice just saying: “DISCOUNTS!!!?”
Said Roger: “There’s been a lot of interest and banter. “One of my customers who’s in TV says it has an audience of six million. “”That’s scary. “It’s worrying how many people watch Young Apprentice.”
* The Secret Garden doesn’t offer discounts but has a loyalty card where members shopping there on Mondays get a 10 per cent discount. Membership is not automatic – if you join on a Monday it’s valid for the next Monday. But if you were to sign up this weekend your loyalty card would take effect on Monday 26th).