I have watched a lot of Shark Tank in my life, and I cannot remember such weirdness as occurred in the first half of last night’s episode, which was episode 5 of season 11.
Someone came in to the tank riding on a toilet, and then there was an extended discussion about pooping, and that was the least-weird thing that happened. Actually, that’s about when the sharks regained their senses, but before that: wow.
Where to start? How about when, in the middle of the pitch for The Bug Bite Thing—a plastic device that allegedly sucks out venom and other irritants after a bug bite, and which I will most definitely buy on Amazon and then never actually use—Lori Greiner suddenly offered a “Golden Ticket.”
It turned out to be a real thing that she held up, a little ticket-shaped piece of gold with “Golden Ticket” written on it. Apparently it is made out of actual gold, which—why?
“So if you want my ticket…” Lori said. For what? A tour of her chocolate factory?
Barbara Corcoran read my mind: “What’s the ticket about?” she asked. And even Kevin O’Leary made me laugh when he made a counter-offer and said, “I will let you write and sign on the contract with my Magic Pen.”
But here’s the thing: Lori never explained what the actual heck that Golden Ticket was. “150 for 10 percent, that’s what the Golden Ticket’s about,” she said, not actually explaining anything.
Guest shark Rohan Oza summarized it well: “They’ve lost their marbles.” But they’d really lost them earlier.
Chef Wonderful, Lori’s samples, and other Shark Tank insanity
Before we get to that, I have breaking Shark Tank news: During several pitches, when the entrepreneurs offered samples to the sharks, Lori took her own samples. Multiple times!
I thought that was not allowed, because every episode where Robert Herjavec is sitting next to her, he leaps up and climbs over a table, clawing at parts of the set, which come crumbling down as he races to grab something off of a tray, just so he can grab the sample intended for Lori before the entrepreneur can do anything.
But this episode, Robert was absent, and Rohan was in the last seat on the right next to Lori. Magically, Lori was able to just take things off of a tray all by herself. How did CNN not break in to its regularly scheduled shouting with a news alert about this?
Shark Tank’s first pitch of the episode was for Knife Aid, a mail-order knife sharpening business.
The negotiation became so competitive I thought someone was going to get stabbed with one of the knives used to demonstrate what happens when knives are sharp. (It turns out that sharp knives can more easily cut through things than dull knives. The more you know!)
Knife Aid is not a bad idea, but its founders were asking for $400,000 for 15 percent, meaning that it has a roughly $2.7 million valuation, I think. They sharpen knives for $10 a knife, with a minimum of $40, and said they did $37,000 in sales in a recent month.
If my math is right, and it rarely is, that would be about $400,000 a year, which would mean they’re asking for about seven times revenue, which seems reasonable.
But the sharks didn’t do this math for us, or at least, the editing didn’t include that, nor did we see any discussion about why the sharks were okay with just the sales numbers from one month. Usually the demand some kind of evidence that sales are more than just a onetime aberration.
In fact, Lori called this “a risky offer,” yet she eventually ran into the hallway to try to get this deal. Got right up and left the big part of the set and into the hallway with the CGI sharks and the fake water features.
Perhaps the excitement was because one of the entrepreneurs, Mikael Söderlindh, co-founded Happy Socks, and his reputation gave them confidence. He turned into a shark himself, demanding not just money, but time: “We need to know that the person that steps on board with us is actually going to give us one hour more than the other.”
Whatever the reason, the sharks were so desperate to invest that when their individual offers didn’t get an immediate yes, they paired off and tried to one-up each other: Rohan and Lori made an offer, and Kevin O’Leary and Barbara upped it to $500,000 for 20 percent.
Maybe it’s just been a while since we’ve seen sharks fighting with each other to land a deal, but it just seemed like a disproportionate frenzy, like throwing a Cheerio into the ocean and watching as four sharks ripped each other to pieces over it.
Lori held up her phone to show off her contacts; Kevin O’Leary talked about his contacts and something else we’ll get to in a minute; and I was expecting Barbara to pull out her laptop and start printing copies of her resume and folding them into paper planes and throwing them at the Knife Aid guys.
After the Knife Aid guys stepped into the hallway to discuss amongst themselves—Barbara gave them 30 seconds to chat out there—Mark Cuban called out his fellow sharks.
“Damn, you guys grovel enough?” he said.
Kevin asked,”Why don’t you make an offer?”
Mark said, “I don’t beg or grovel. I’m a fucking shark.” BURN.
And then Lori just went into the hall, with Barbara protesting (“I thought this was against the rules, no?”) and Kevin O’Leary declaring it was anarchy: “There’s no rules.”
Eventually all the sharks except Mark were in the hallway with the two entrepreneurs, with the negotiations becoming reminiscent of those Survivor Tribal Councils where everyone leaps up and starts talking to each other and no one has any idea what’s happening until suddenly Jeff Probst has been voted out and sent to an island by himself to think about what he’s done.
“I want this deal,” Lori said, and then she got it: She and Rohan made a deal in the hallway—by spending another $100,000. For a company whose valuation was barely discussed.
But friends, I have buried the lead. Because immediately after the Knife Aid founders mentioned their ask, instead asking about that, say, the valuation, Kevin O’Leary—who is still on the show for some unknown reason—started referring to himself as “Chef Wonderful.”
He literally said: “I’m actually Chef Wonderful” and his evidence is that he owns a $3,500 knife. “Chef Wonderful is huge in cakes, chocolates and meats. Google him, he’s fantastic,” Kevin said.
There’s a lot of self-aggrandizing bullshirt that comes out of Kevin O’Leary’s mouth. But I did Google, and holy forking shirtballs, he wasn’t lying.
Kevin O’Leary has a website where he sells food, primarily cake and raw meat, which sounds like the perfect pairing.
He also has a YouTube channel all about cooking. It has three entire videos on it, including one with a title that feels like a rejected Goop article: “This Mediterranean Salad Might Let You Live 100 yrs.” You’ll be so busy living life you won’t even have time to type “years.”
That video is 20 minutes of Kevin making a salad. 20 minutes! And SPOILER ALERT he puts the salad into pita bread! Which means it is no longer a salad!
But a salad in a pita is a good metaphor for this episode, but I won’t explain that until I find out if Lori is giving away her chocolate factory or just giving tours to children and their guardians.