I grew up poor. That’s no big deal  – 90% of everyone in the world grows up poor, and when you’re a kid, you don’t even notice you’re poor.
So it was a surprise when I left school, became a model, and started making money. I got married young and my husband, the polo pro, earned enough money for us to pay rent and pay our travel expenses (when my husband was playing polo, we had to pay our own travel expenses and rent!)
So, I wanted to raise my kids knowing the value of money, and I was very careful about that.
One day, when I was expecting my third child, we went to a supermarket to shop. My twins wanted some chewing gum so I gave them a five franc piece to put in the gum machine. (5 francs at that time was about 1$ – it would have bought two jumbo balls of gum – outrageously expensive, no?) Well, the machine ate the money and refused to give the gum.
I went to the machine and jiggled it a bit, reached up under the flap to see if I could get the money or the gum. Nothing. So I went to the checkout and said, “The machine ate my 5 francs, I want it back.”
The check out girl said, “That’s not our machine. It belongs to a private company. We let them put the machines there. But we don’t have anything to do with it.”
I said, “Just give me the money back and tell the company they owe you five francs.”
The checkout girl refused. “It’s only five francs,” she snapped.
I was 8 months pregnant, wearing my sister-in-law’s old dress and my husband’s sneakers because my feet were so swollen, and this lady was telling me that it was Only five francs.
I went to the gum machine (it had wheels), and I started to push it out the door.
The checkout girl stood up and said, “Where are you taking that!”
“Home,” I said. “It has My five francs in it. I’m not leaving it here. I’ll give you my name and phone number so the company representative can call me and come give me my money back and get his machine.”
“You can’t do that!” she shrieked.
“What do you care? You said the gumball machine had nothing to do with your store.” I kept pushing.
The checkout girl knew when she was defeated. She pulled open her cash register and ran after me. “Here! Here are your five francs!”
I took the money and thanked her.
My twins have never forgotten the value of money.
The checkout girl now knows when an 8-month-pregnant woman comes in and asks for something, she better get it.