Some of you may have already heard
the story of Michael Jenkins. He was the unemployed man seeking employment at Microsoft.
The story that has been distributed regarding his story of how he couldnt get a job
because he didnt have email was meant to be inspiring, unfortunately, it is horribly
inaccurate. The corrections and detail have been added to the story so the record can be
An unemployed man (Michael Jenkins, age 36 laid off from Boeing)
goes to apply for a job with Microsoft as a janitor (he went there to apply for a
job as a warehouse supervisor.) The manager there arranges for him to take an
aptitude test (the test indicated to the Human Resource official that Michael would be
suitable for the janitorial staff night shift.)
After the test, the manager says, "You will be employed at minimum wage, $5.15 an
hour. Let me have your e-mail address, so that I can send you a form to complete and tell
you where to report for work on your first day. Taken aback, the man protested that he had
neither a computer nor an e-mail address. To this the MS manager replied, "Well,
then, that means that you virtually don't exist and can therefore hardly expect to be
Stunned, the man left. Not knowing where to turn and having only $10 in his wallet, he
decided to buy a 25 lb. flat of tomatoes at the supermarket (Michael wasnt very
bright. See, he had a wife and children at home who could have used that $10 to buy food
for a week. At least he didnt spend it on booze like he normally did, which was one
of the reasons he lost his job with Boeing.) Within less than 2 hours, he sold all the
tomatoes individually at 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day,
he ended up with almost $100 before going to sleep that night. And thus it dawned on him
that he could quite easily make a living selling tomatoes. Getting up early every day and
going to bed late, he multiplied his profits quickly. (It was on the sixth day of doing
this, a merchant on the street Michael was selling the tomatoes on called the police. It
seemed that Michael never bothered to get a license to sell fruits and vegetables. Michael
was heavily fined for his violation of the law, leaving him with a scant $150 to his name,
enough to buy the license, but not enough to pay the rent on his familys apartment.
He ended up selling his car to cover rent and get some groceries. Finally he broke down
and visited a loan shark and took out a $500 loan to restart his money making scheme.
Unfortunately, he barely could stay ahead of the interest and the loan shark began to take
over half his profits. Michael was still making money though.) After a short time he
acquired a cart to transport several dozen boxes of tomatoes, only to have to trade it in
again so that he can buy a pick-up truck to support his expanding business.
By the end of the second year, he was the owner of a fleet of pick-up trucks and
managed a staff of a hundred formerly unemployed people, all selling tomatoes. (Unemployed
isnt exactly the right word. These were illegal immigrant workers which Michael and
his loan shark partner paid less than $1.00 an hour. The workers were also required to buy
the tomatoes from Michael so any spoilage or lost sales were the responsibility of the
worker instead of the management.) Planning for the future of his wife and children,
he decides to buy some life insurance. Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an
insurance plan. At the end of the telephone conversation, the adviser asks him for his
e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically. When the man replies
that he has no e-mail, the adviser is stunned, "What, you don't have e-mail? How on
earth have you managed to amass such wealth without the Internet, e-mail and e-commerce?
Just imagine where you would be now, if you had been connected to the internet from the
very start!" After a moment of thought, the tomato millionaire replied, "Why, of
course! I would be a floor cleaner at Microsoft!"
Moral of this story:
1. The Internet, e-mail and e-commerce do not need to rule your life.
2. If you don't have e-mail, but work hard, you can still become a millionaire.
(Just so long as you are willing to screw other people over like youve gotten
screwed over in the past.)
3. Seeing that you got this story via e-mail, you're probably closer to becoming a
janitor than you are to becoming a millionaire. (Or, more likely, you arent
interested in risking your familys life and comfort for some money making scheme.)
4. If you do have a computer and e-mail, you have already been taken to the cleaners by
Microsoft. (Or you run Linux and are laughing all the way to the bank.)