Shark Tank – Season 5, Episode 510 – Live Blog and Discussion

Tonight the Sharks consider throwing money at two fashion items: knee-high boot socks that would be far too expensive to risk losing one in the wash, and a ladies’ clutch for “essential items,” which seems a superfluous descriptor since rarely does one carry, say, a Faberge egg or a pair of pinking shears on an evening out. Then, in the dining category, there is some kind of way for kids to design their own lunchboxes, which I hope doesn’t turn out to be crayons and a paper sack, as well as foods including customized chocolate bars, artisan cheese, and glazed donut sandwiches. None of the latter can be carried in the former, since they do not adhere to the First Lady’s nutrition standards.

Meanwhile, the New York Times huffs its disapproval that Mr. Wonderful has effectively entered the loan shark business by investing in a company with the delightfully euphemistic title of “merchant cash advance lender.” I huff my disapproval that the New York Times allows the use of the spelling “O.K.” in its pages. I also note that all articles attacking the morals of reality television show participants begin with the author explaining that he or she was watching the episode with his or her children. This one also turns out to be a thinly disguised plug for the writer’s own loan brokerage business. Marketing through cultural criticism, everyone’s doing it.

An all-new Shark Tank starts now! Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness, Robert scolds in an opening clip. And don’t mistake Mr. Wonderful’s functional spleen for humanity.

Our first presenters have a better solution for a “school-day dilemma.” They’ve figured out what to do about Common Core? No, these helicopter parents decided to find a reason to bitch about their kids having to tote their almond-butter-and Ezekial-bread sandwiches to class in a mere fabric lunch carrier. So they created Yubo, an eco-friendly, BPA-free lunchbox with a faceplate panel that can be personalized with one of their clip-art designs, since that improves a child’s mid-day eating experience as much as a quinoa cookie. But the model without all the fancy dining accoutrements, like an icepack, cheese plane, and grapefruit spoon, is $21.95! For that kind of money, the kid can go to Micky D’s all semester.

The pair have a greater vision for their product than just annoying all the other parents who think a Ziploc  full of graham crackers works just fine. Like the Cafe Press app guys, they want people to put their own photos on the lunchboxes, specifically at Disneyworld. Must every moment be not merely documented, but uploaded somewhere for profit? Pretty soon we’ll see people’s endoscopies on t-shirts and mugshots on mugs.

The Sharks are intrigued, though, and start wrangling about the money. There is talk of a perpetual royalty, like the Windsors. Mark is disgusted. Barbara decides the lunchbox is too big, so she’s out. That’s because her child’s lunch, like her own, consists only of celery sticks and raisins. But Mr. Wonderful likes the product. So does Robert. So does Lori! It’s a meal container fight that will be almost as epic as when my friend Carolyn and I fought over whether my Monkees lunchbox was better than her Banana Splits one.

The dickering grows complex, or else I’ve zoned out with all those numbers flashing on the screen. Lori grins smugly as she brandishes her Walmart connections. Mr. Wonderful reduces something in his offer, so Lori bristles and issues the couple a deadline–accept mine now! Robert joins forces with Mr. Wonderful and the deal is done. A lunchbox empire is launched. The wife screams with triumph. Just wait til the first kid brings a Yubo to school with an offensive faceplate on it.

Two “typical LA girls” are next. They work in PR, so they’re also girls who went to inferior colleges and drink too much. They claim their product keeps all the essentials at your fingertips, kind of like, I don’t know, a purse? In fact, it’s called PurseCase, a name as redundantly descriptive as Challah Bread or Brie Cheese. A tiny handled purse that perfectly fits your iPhone and hangs from your wrist so you never have to put it down,  it looks like a designer-knockoff handbag for Chatty Cathy. Do PR party girls in LA not have pockets?

Robert says he saw the same thing in Italy, and they’re cheap there. The PurseCase costs $38 online. Either people have a lot of disposable income, or they think these things come with the phone already inside.

Lori says she sells something very similar on QVC. Barbara thinks the design is poor. For someone who’s had the same hairstyle since the 90’s, she’s really ragging on design features tonight. Mark does not trust the whims of the technology accessory business. He has a point. I mean, I still have bottles off White-Out lying around. Mr. Wonderful wants a dollar a unit until he gets his investment back. What, now Lori loves it? She makes an offer. The girls go for it and all happily embrace. I go into the workshop to begin design on the TrouserPant.

Now we have another customized item, Chocomize, the worst name for a product since PurseCase. It sounds like the candymaker is either economizing or giving his confection a lobotomy. Customers choose a shape for their chocolate, a type of chocolate, and then a message or edible logo to make it their own personalized candy gift or branded item. Personally, I think every piece of chocolate has my name on it. The Sharks chow down on samples as they discuss the numbers. Mark doesn’t see how this guy would be a great acquisition target. I don’t either, he’s nothing to look at and lacks charisma.

Mr. Wonderful makes an offer, $500K for 25% equity! Lori giggles. Robert doesn’t share Choco guy’s vision for the market. If I were the market, this would be a runaway seller, because chocolate. Barbara thinks the packaging is ugly. Again with the design being an issue for her. How did she ever sell a damn apartment? Lori likes the name. Figures, she liked Pursecase, too. But she’s out. So is Mr. Wonderful. None of the Sharks broke them off a piece of the Chocomize bar.

A husband and wife team are next, with Grace and Lace, which takes the boring sock we all know and don’t care about, and turns it into a fashion statement we don’t need to make. That means it’s still a sock, but the part that sticks out of the top of your boot shows some lace that’s been attached to the top edge. It seems idiotic at best, but the product is selling like pet rocks, despite costing $34. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE. SEW YOUR OWN LACE ON A DAMN SOCK.

Lori cannot relate to the product, which I have no idea what that means. She doesn’t wear socks? She hates lace? She’d prefer it were named SockHose? I know I can relate to money, lady. Barbara makes an offer to Rick and Melissa, so the design must pass muster with her even though it’s the stupidest one yet tonight. Mr W. also bids, and then Robert, who offers the couple exactly what they asked for at the outset. They say they want to hear from Mark. That annoys Robert. Mr. Wonderful relishes the drama with impish glee.

Robert pressures Rick and Melissa for a reply. They refuse to accept right away, so he’s out. That’s the kind of spine that makes you a Shark, people. Do sharks have spines? They’re not invertebrates, are they? Mark makes an offer next, also with a demand for an immediate answer, and again the sock pair (hee!) want to discuss it alone first. They argue with him about whether they are indecisive. Now Barbara changes her offer. These two so-called business people need to be strangled with a lace-edged sock. But they end up accepting Barbara’s investment. She’ll probably make them redesign the stuff.

Well, there were in fact no artisan cheeses or glazed donuts tonight, but there was plenty of cheesiness and glazed expressions. See you next Friday, kids!





About E.M. Rosenberg 240 Articles
Favorite 40-volume series issued by Time-Life Music: Sounds of the Seventies. Favorite backsplash material: Subway tile. Favorite screen legend I pretend wasn’t gay: Cary Grant. Favorite issue you should not even get me started about: Venal, bloodsucking insurance industry. Favorite character from the comic strip “Nancy”: Sluggo, or maybe Rollo. Favorite Little Debbie snack: Nutty Bars. Favorite Monkee: Mike.