Books [Fighting Ben]
When he was asked if he succeeded in getting the promotion, his answer was, “I di-didn't miss it.” And Ben Thorp soon won the reputation of being one of the most successful and daring installment collectors in Columbia. Honest buyers respected and trusted him. But when the dishonest buyer saw Ben and his rattling flivver come their way, they knew instinctively that it meant one of two things - pay, or Ben gets the goods. His greatest weakness, or maybe it was his strength, as a collector, was that he often permitted the hard luck tales of the unfortunate to stand in the way of his progress.
Ben Thorp and his flivver traveled early and late, “beating the bushes” in search of a collection on an account, or else in search of a party who had moved away and was in arrears on an account. He worked eight years with the Palm Furniture Company. During his eight years experience as collector, he coined a number of expressions now in common use among installment collectors: “Alley bat,” for an inhabitant of the alleys and back streets; “furnisher crook,” for one of unethical practices in the furniture business; “constipated gentleman,” for one living in splendor but slow in meeting his installment payments; “skilley vitch,” for a woman who resorts to the use of charm and physical attractions in lieu of the contracted payments.
At the beginning of 1932, according to Mr. Thorp, the old flivver which he had obtained during the better days had become worn out. He then had to walk the rounds in making collections. This, he decided, was too much