During the first 12 years at Setpoint, all of the collections and much of the purchasing at Setpoint was handled by Joe Cornwell’s father Ben Cornwell. Ben is a crusty retired Allis Chalmer equipment salesmen and manager. Ben is ‘old school’ when it comes to business. If you did not pay a bill on time, you would know about it from Ben. He is a great part of the Setpoint family. While he is not currently working directly with Setpoint Systems, he still manages our building and does purchasing and collections for Joe Cornwell and Joe VanDenBerghe in their amusement park ride business.
Ben could get pretty aggressive when it comes to collections. One time a customer called me to let me know that if Ben didn’t stop calling and harassing his accounting manager about a late unpaid invoice she might end up in therapy. Of course, I told the customer that there was an easy way to avoid therapy for his accounting manager…PAY YOUR BILL. As the company has grown I have loved the persistence and dedication that Ben provided to Setpoint companies over the years. It was also entertaining to hear him on the phone trying to collect or get parts in on time.
After listening to him over the years I finally kept a file of all the things I have heard him say either on the phone or in meetings. Ben is from the south and a lot of his phrases seem to come from that part of the country. Below are some of the most memorable quotes:
The first is a family of quotes to companies usually suppliers and customers who Ben viewed as incompetent:
- ‘We ain’t no chicken S— outfit and don’t intend to deal with any outfit that’s is’
- ‘Let me know what pawn shop your check printing machine is in because I’ll bet our check is still stuck in it and I’d like to pick it up.’
- ‘That company is as screwed up as the a kid who lost his chewing gum in a chicken coop.’
- ‘What are you going to do tie it to a hog’s back and send him here to Ogden?’
- ‘Your word isn’t worth a cup of horse piss.’
- ‘They are so messed up they don’t know if their rear end is punched or bored.’
- When an owner of a vendor offered Ben a job he said ‘If I took the job I don’t think you’d like who I’d fire the first day.’
- ‘We got messed up by that supplier when they went into early menopause.’
- ‘That vendor is harder to get rid of than a summer cold.’
- When a vendor delivered a large component Ben said: ‘Can you believe it’s that big and it won’t even cool beer.’
- ‘If you sweep a skunk under a rug it still stinks.’
- When discussing a problem with collections Ben said ‘It’s just like stirring a turd, the more you stir it the worse it stinks.’
These next quotes are more general:
- ‘I’ll have that done faster than a minnow swims a dipper.’
- ‘We lived so far back behind the sticks no one lived behind us.’
- When asked what he did at Setpoint, Ben said ‘I’m the fender executive, I catch the crap off the back wheels.’
- ‘You can’t win a pissing contest with a skunk.’
- ‘We’re spending money like a bunch of drunk sailors.’
- When Ben was asked how he got married, he said ‘I finished second in a race.’
- When the bank dropped us because they had some loans go bad, Ben said “When Johnny poops his pants I guess the whole class gets whipped.’
- We had hired a new CEO and Ben came in with a band aid on his nose. When he was accused of ‘brown nosing the CEO’ Ben said ‘yeah he made a sharp turn on me’ as he pointed to the band aid.
- ‘We’ll sift all of that rat manure out of the pepper.’
This is just a sample of what I have heard over the years. I’m sure there will continue to be more in the future.