Joe lost his job when his factory closed and he was desperate to find any work he could so he could feed his family.
He saw an ad for a janitor at a large bank in Dublin city centre. He sailed through the interview easily and was offered the job sweeping floors on a minimum wage of €9.25 an hour.
Everything was going fine until the personnel director asked him for his email so he could forward all the paperwork. “Oh I don’t have an email,” said Joe. “I can’t afford a computer.”
“Oh, in that case, I’m sorry but I can’t offer you the job. All our communication with employees is done via email. We don’t have time to talk to people.”
Joe was distraught but there was nothing he could do. As he trudged home he passed a fruit wholesaler’s warehouse. It was late in the afternoon and the wholesaler was selling off large trays of grapes, plums and other soft fruit cheap because he wanted to shift them before closing.
Joe spent his last €20 on a tray and went back up to O’Connell Street to try to sell them to passers-by on their way home from work. To his delight, he sold out within an hour and had made €40 profit.
He decided to try the same thing the next afternoon and it went equally well. He started doing the same thing every day working from dawn till dusk. Business boomed. Soon he had a market stall, then a shop. He opened more shops and took on hundreds of staff.
Within a few years, Joe was one of the most successful fruit and veg suppliers in all Ireland.
His company was doing so well that the bank that had turned him down for the janitor’s job asked if they could provide him with a business account on highly attractive terms.
Joe bore no grudge so he went along to see what they had to offer. It was a good deal and he decided to accept. All was going well until the account manager asked for his email to send on the paperwork.
“Oh I don’t have an email,” said Joe. “I never got around to using computers.”
“What,” said the manager. “You’ve built up one the biggest businesses in Ireland and you don’t even have a computer. Just imagine where you’d be if you did have one.”
“Oh I can answer you that,” said Joe. “I’d be sweeping this floor for you at 9.25 per hour.”