Shark Tank – Season 5, Episode 509– Live Blog and Discussion

Although it’s already begun, we’re jumping into Shark Tank–HAHAHAHA, yeah, sorry, that was too easy–now that Master Chef Junior has concluded, because there are just so many shows I can blog in a given week. Admittedly, that doesn’t stop me from gaping at the TV screen for hours upon hours like I oversee security for the Federal Reserve, but still. Anyway, it’s fine because every week on this show is fresh, non-linear fun.

According to TV Guide, among tonight’s presentations is a device that allows homeowners to figure out who’s ringing their doorbell–yes, I thought, IT’S CALLED A WINDOW, until I continued reading this part: even if they aren’t home. Because people aren’t mindlessly distracted enough by their technology. Then there are some sisters with a subscription gift service that offers some kind of creative outlet for kids. Maybe monitoring their parents’ phones for visits by Jehovah’s Witnesses when they’re on vacation. There’s also a woman who’s got a a slaw/salsa condiment, which sounds kind of wet for chips, and a meta-seeming app that enables users to create and sell products. I guess that’s separate and apart from from an MBA.

The show opens with a guy named Jamie knocking on the doors to the suite, forcing the Sharks, with pained looks, to ask who it is. He points out that the humble doorbell has not changed since it was invented in 1880. Now I want to know when the knocker was invented. Thus was DoorBot born. That and a lot of nosiness.

Jamie’s got a model of a red front door in the room, on the side of which is mounted a TV that shows what the device, which has a camera and intercom, transmits to your phone. “Who will be the first to ring my bell?” asks Jamie. He does research on the history of doorbells, but fails to take public speaking training. Lori asks if a burglar would just rip the thing off the wall, and Jamie says they’re too polite to ring doorbells. This does not account for flashers who will take advantage of the technology in a different way.

On to the numbers: You know, this part is always too difficult for me to follow. He’s doing pretty well, though. When asked if his device will be trumped by another technology, Jamie insists the doorbell is eternal. Robert Frost wrote a poem about that very thing. Anyway, Jamie’s going to be shit out of luck when they finally figure out teleportation.

Mark wants the company to eventually be worth $80 or 90 million. That’s a lot of Avon Ladies, so he’s out. Daymond can’t see where it’s going to go in the market, or else he has a concierge in his building, so he’s out. Robert thinks the price has to drop, since who in their right mind spends over $100 just so you can tell if Mrs. Kravitz has come over to borrow a cup of sugar while you’re in Vegas, so he’s out.

It’s now down to Mr. Wonderful, who grins his evil grin. He’ll give Jamie $700,000 for a 10% royalty, 5% of the equity, and his first-born. Jamie is dismayed. There’s countering discussion of reinvestment needs and venture debt. Jamie declines the deal and leaves, never to darken their DoorBot again.

Next we see some footage of Barbara at her house on Fire Island, purportedly hosting a retreat with some entrepreneurs she claims to mentor. It’s really to shill the new Shark Tank book. They all romp in the surf and drink champagne on her porch, likely because they are not permitted to go inside.

A unique alternative to “conventional” condiments is next. Finally responding to the great hue and cry that 38 types of mustard are not enough, Julie is offering Slawsa, which sounds like a Polish labor leader. It’s hard to imagine that a combo of cabbage and salsa could be that spectacular, other than adding some personal embarrassment to your social encounters. As Julie is explaining her prolonged agony of fiscal prudence as she built the business, she starts to cry–a red flag in the Shark Tank. The room goes quiet. Lori looks disgusted, but maybe she’s having a reaction to the Slawsa she tasted. Julie has not been taking a salary, she says dramatically. A Shark asks how she and her husband have survived, making us wonder if he doesn’t work at all because how much salary could a $2.25 jar of cabbage generate in the first place.

Robert finds Slawsa too sweet, so he’s out. I hope that wasn’t his rationale for not investing in Coke. Daymond says the impressive sales figures make it moot whether or not he likes the product, but he’s out anyway. Lori likes that Julie got into Kroeger–which I always found a challenge, too, their aisles are so narrow–but she’s out. Mr. Wonderful doesn’t think she’s worth a million-dollar investment. “You could walk out of the Shark Tank tonight and be run over by a bus,” he declares in his usual bloodless way. So although she leaves empty-handed, they all love how frugal she was as she grew the company. Then they’d adore my grandma, who reused ice cubes and wore the same housecoat for 20 years.

Next we have a trio of dark-haired fellows with Magic Moments, which is some kind of Cafe Press app. You take a photo on your phone, upload it to the app, and stick it on a shirt, mug, or other useless item. Then you can sell it, since of course there’s a raging demand for hats with photos of people’s waffles on them. Mr. Wonderful asks about copyright issues; even as he is sneering at the inadequate reply, Robert questions the getting releases from people appearing in pictures. Oh, so they use Cafe Press’s legal team. Oh, so they are Cafe Press’s mobile app! These guys are terrible salesmen. And are people really in such a hurry these days that they need to make custom tote bags from their phones?  All the Sharks are down on these idiots. They leave in shame.  Maybe they can partner with DoorBot guy and create an app where you upload pictures of people who rang your doorbell to put on t-shirts.

Rosie and Donna are sisters who escaped wartorn Lebanon, only to end up in the boring wasteland that is Canada. They’ve invented Surprise Ride, a monthly box of interactive educational activities that gets mailed to kids like Fruit of the Month. It seems like it’s for parents who are too lazy to take their kids to the library. It also has a very dreary logo. Seriously, a square with “SR” in it?  The surprise is that a graphic designer gets work with that kind of portfolio.

The business is scalable, whatever the hell that means. A chyron does tell us what convertible debt is, but I can’t type that fast. Apparently, it doesn’t mean what you owe after buying a car with a retractable roof. They all hash out the numbers. The gals are MBAs, former investment bankers, and lifestyle marketers, despite looking like undergrads headed for a night at the club, so they can talk the talk. Daymond and Mr. Wonderful pass. Robert points out the great “executional” risk, but has high hopes for success anyway. He offers them $110,000 for a 25% stake. Barely acknowledging him, the girls look to the other Sharks. Lori says she sees herself in them, and therefore thinks they should do it on their own. Some mentor. Mark is out, too.

But now Robert is angry and withdraws his offer, saying they had a deal in hand and ignored it. You tell ’em, Rob. Nobody disses you. “You got a Surprise Ride,” Mr. Wonderful tells them gleefully.  The girls try to spin the situation as Robert not being serious about his offer in the first place, so they would not have benefited from his participation. Ladies, those greenbacks were as serious as a process server pressing your DoorBot.

And that’s the show for tonight. Oddly, no one went home with any money. Story of my life.

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.