I got the following email from someoneback in 2007:
An unemployed man is desperate to support his family of a wife and three kids.
He applies for a janitor’s job at a large firm and easily passes an
The human resources manager tells him, “You will be hired at minimum wage of $5.35 an hour. Let me have your e-mail address so that we can get you in the loop. Our system will automatically e-mail you all the forms and advise you when to start and where to report on your first day.”
Taken back, the man protests that he is poor and has neither a computer nor an e-mail address.
To this the manager replies, “You must understand that to a company like ours that means that you virtually do not exist. Without an e-mail address you can hardly expect to be employed by a high-tech firm. Good day.”
Stunned, the man leaves Not knowing where to turn and having $10 in his wallet, he walks past a farmers’ market and sees a stand selling 25 lb. crates of beautiful red tomatoes. He buys a crate , carries it to a busy corner and displays the tomatoes. In less than 2 hours he sells all the tomatoes and makes 100% profit. Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 and arrives home that night with several bags of groceries for his family.
During the night he decides to repeat the tomato business the next day. By the end of the week he is getting up early every day and working into the night. He multiplies his profits quickly.
Early in the second week he acquires a cart to transport several boxes of tomatoes at a time, but before a month is up he sells the cart to buy a broken-down pickup truck.
At the end of a year he owns three old trucks. His two sons have left their neighborhood gangs to help him with the tomato business, his wife is buying the tomatoes, and his daughter is taking night courses at the community college so she can keep books for him.
By the end of the second year he has a dozen very nice used trucks and employs fifteen previously unemployed people, all selling tomatoes. He continues to work hard.
Time passes and at the end of the fifth year he owns a fleet of nice trucks and a warehouse that his wife supervises, plus two tomato farms that the boys manage. The tomato company’s payroll has put hundreds of homeless and jobless people to work. His daughter reports that the business grossed over one million dollars.
Planning for the future, he decides to buy some life insurance.
Consulting with an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances. Then the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order to send the final documents electronically.
When the man replies that he doesn’t have time to mess with a computer and has no e-mail address, the insurance man is stunned, “What, you don’t have e-mail? No computer? No Internet? Just think where you would be today if you’d had all of that five years ago!”
“Ha!” snorts the man . “If I’d had e-mail five years ago I would be
sweeping floors at Microsoft and making $5.35 an hour.”
Which brings us to the moral of the story:
Since you got this story by e-mail, you’re probably closer to being a janitor than a millionaire.
Sadly, I received it also.
If a company brings in $1 million NET (not gross) and has “hundreds of employees” (let’s say 200), and every penny goes to them, they are making $5000 per year. That’s under minimum wage even if they work only 20 hours per week.
So by not having email, the guy is arrested for illegal workers, and the daughter is implicated for cooking the books, and the whole family gets slammed for tax evasion. They spend every asset they own in court costs, which ends in jail time for them, shame and the poor house for the rest of them.
Maybe being closer to a janitor isn’t so bad …
My point is that a lot of stories sound great to illustrate qa point, but that’s all they are, stories. Not even anecdotal examples, but fictitious hypotheticals.
The next time you hear something about a famous person ranting, or some terrible deed by youer favorite politician to hate, don’t just do the homework, do the math. And sometimes that doesn’t even add up.
“So by not having email, the guy is arrested for illegal workers”
I missed something, where does it say these were ILLEGAL WORKERS?? It only says “Homeless and Jobless”. Does this mean IMMIGRANT to you?? Do you think that only “Illegal immigrants” could be in that type of situation, and not possibly living, breathing God-honest US CITIZENS???
” and the daughter is implicated for cooking the books”
Where did it say that?? I read a young woman, who took it upon herself to better her station in life, take interest and investment in a family business, and put herself through night school, to earn an accounting certification at least, and a diploma perhaps.
” and the whole family gets slammed for tax evasion.”
WHY?? Where does it say that this whole venture was “off the books”??
“Maybe being closer to a janitor isn’t so bad …”
Someone once said “Fortune Favors The Bold”.”
“If a company brings in $1 million NET (not gross) and has “hundreds of employees” (let’s say 200), and every penny goes to them, they are making $5000 per year. That’s under minimum wage even if they work only 20 hours per week.”
This is the only part of the story that doesn’t really come out in the wash. Obviously, this story was related by someoene who didn’t know what they were saying, as this is mean to be a MUCH LARGER number I’m sure, as well as I’m sure it was supposed to be NET, not GROSS. My guess, a Liberal Arts or Applied Sciences (Sociologist, Phychiatry, Philosophy) major must have related this story to you. Someone not really in touch with the real cost of things.
Yes, you missed something. It’s a lot simpler than you’re making it out to be.
(1) If the number was correct and workers were making under minimum wage, they are illegal. I didn’t say anything about migrant workers, which you are confusing with immigrant workers it seems. (2) This means the bookkeeping is purposely inaccurate, either by not recording labor expenses accurately, or — if they DID pay legal wages, then they must have made a lot more (unreported) money to cover it. (3) For anyone’s numbers to be that far off, it would have to be purposeful, and nearly the only reason for such a thing would be tax evasion.
Yes, I thought it could have been an error between Gross and Net, but the story was told in much detail and unless it was passed on between many people before reaching copy-and-paste, some accuracy should be expected. But either way I’m right — either the story is too convoluted between tellings to be accurate, or was fabricated by someone who didn’t have any concern for simple math in their quest to tell a joke or make some (falsely anecdotal) point.
You see, as a business owner, I am in touch with the “real cost of things” AND my degree is in Philosophy (minor in Psychology). That is why I not only caught the discrepancy, but was able to so easily infer the consequences if it had been accurate.
And you missed the whole point of the article. It had nothing to do with the (dis)advantages of email or “fortune favoring the bold”. (I openly admit many a corporation built by immigrant illiterates were eventually destroyed by professionals with MBAs.) No ,it had simply to do with one thing — not taking anecdotal urban legends as truth.