Professor: All right, settle down, people. We’ve got a lot to cover, and time is short. There are two kinds of people in business today… the quick and the dead. So, rather than waste your time this semester… with a lot of useless theories… we’re going to jump right in with both feet… and create a fictional from the ground up. We’ll construct our physical plant… we’ll set up an efficient administrative… and executive structure… then we’ll manufacture our product and market it. I think you’ll find it very interesting and a lot of fun. So, let’s start by looking at construction costs… of our new factory.
Thornton: What’s the product?
Professor: That is immaterial… for the purposes of our discussion here… but if it makes you happy… let’s say we’re making tape recorders.
Thornton: Tape recorders? Are you kiddin’? The Japs will kill us on the labor costs.
Professor: OK, fine. Then let’s just say they’re widgets.
Thornton: What’s a widget?
Professor: It’s a fictional product. It doesn’t matter.
Thornton: Doesn’t matter. Tell that to the bank.
Professor: On the board, you will see a cost analysis… for construction of a square-foot facility… which will encompass both factory and office space… and is fully serviced by all utilities… a railroad spur line and a four-bay shipping dock.
Thornton: Hold it, hold it. Why build? You’re better off leasing… at a buck and a quarter, a buck and a half a square foot. Take your down payment and put it into CDs… or something else you can roll
over every couple of months.
Professor: Thank you, Mr. Melon… but we’ll be concentrating on finance… a little later in the term.
For the time being, let’s just concentrate… on the construction figures, shall we? You’ll see the final bottom line requires the factoring in… of not just the material and construction costs… but also the architects’ fees and the cost of land servicing.
Thornton: Oh, you left out a bunch of stuff.
Professor: Oh, really? Like what, for instance?
Thornton: First of all, you have to grease the local politicians… for the sudden zoning problems that always come up. Then there’s the kickbacks to the carpenters. And if you plan on using any cement in this building… I’m sure the teamsters would like to have… a little chat with you, and that’ll cost you. Don’t forget a little something for the building inspectors. There’s the long-term costs, such as waste disposal. I don’t know if you’re familiar with who runs that business… but I assure you it’s not the boy scouts.
Professor: That will be quite enough, Mr. Melon. Maybe bribes and kickbacks… and Mafia payoffs are how you do business… but they are not part of the legitimate business world… and they’re certainly not part of anything… I’m teaching in this class. Do I make myself clear?
Thornton: Sorry. Just trying to help. That’s all.
Professor: Now, notwithstanding Mr. Melon’s input… the next question for us is where to build our factory.
Thornton: How about Fantasyland?
– Back to School (1986), screenplay by Steven Kampmann & William Porter and Pj Torokvei & Harold Ramis, story by Rodney Dangerfield & Greg Fields & Dennis Snee
The Daily Dialogue theme for the week: Lecture. Today’s suggestion by Alejandro.
Trivia: Kurt Vonnegut Jr. played himself in a cameo for the film in which he is hired by Thornton Melon to write a paper on the topic of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. As a joke, recognizing the work as not Melon’s own, Professor Turner tells him, “Whoever did write this doesn’t know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut.”
Additional Trivia: There were a reported 18 writers on this project.
Dialogue On Dialogue: Commentary by Alejandro: “…’rather than waste your time this semester with a lot of useless theories’ nicely sets up the joke. Then Thornton comes up with real life experience and the professor rejects it.”