Tales from my youth - "A lesson in frugality"

Blair Gowrie By Blair Gowrie, 1st Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>True Stories

A meeting with a millionaire showed that millionairs become millionaires by being careful with their money.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

The office was in one of the many buildings in the city owned by this family. On the second floor, we had been told, but on arrival we found that the second floor was a car park. However, looking around, we saw that at one end there seemed to be some kind of office.

We pushed our way through the glass door to find ourselves in quite a large room, furnished as an office, but largely unoccupied. The atmosphere was stuffy, as if fresh air had not circulated for some time, and this was probably because the air-conditioning system was not turned on – very unusual in a tropical city where working in a non-air-conditioned office was unheard of.

A woman clerk coming up, we informed her of our appointment and she led us to a small meeting room in the middle of which was a conference table seating perhaps ten people. She then asked us to wait a moment and left the room without enquiring if we would like some coffee or tea, which was the customary practice when a company or organization had visitors. Inside this room it was quite warm as, again, the air-conditioner was not turned on.

A few minutes later, our host arrived, a small, thin man of about thirty years of age, who, after greeting us genially, walked to a switch in a corner and turned on the air-conditioner, and when our talks had come to an end, was careful to turn it off again.

On the way out, one of the members of our group suddenly remembered that his host had yet to give them any name-cards, as in any business meeting it was customary for everybody to exchange cards. In response to our request for cards, our host told us he would have to get them from his desk. He then walked into his small office which adjoined the main room, and came back with one card – yes, one card for four people!

What did we make of all this? An office in the centre of the city, but largely empty, with no reception desk, few staff, the air-conditioning turned off, no refreshment for visitors, and only one name-card for four people.

Well, we realized that the habits of frugality and thrift, handed down from generation to generation in this family, remained intact, even though they were no longer small textile traders, but had become multi-millionaire real-estate owners.


Air-Conditioning, Frugal Living, Frugality, Millionaire, Name-Card, Real-Estate, Refreshments, Thrift, Tropical City

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author avatar Blair Gowrie
Author of fiction, poetry, musicals and song lyrics.

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author avatar Val Mills
1st Aug 2011 (#)

You've given us all something to think about. I wonder how many of us can actually say we don't waste money.

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