When I was growing up at Pinetrees, I was always told that the most important thing in hospitality was to say yes immediately and work out the details later. “Just say yes” was something I heard over and over.
No matter what a guest wants, there has to be a way. My mum, Pixie, was famous for giving a guest her own bed. It was summer school holidays and Pinetrees was full. The guest had booked a room with a double bed but, after seeing the room, demanded a queen. Pixie said yes immediately and then worked out that it was her bed or nothing.
The “just say yes” philosophy has been a blessing and a curse for me. It didn’t help me at all in my old job as a lawyer. I was forever agreeing to do things for clients and then realising that the only way to get everything done was to work all night or all weekend – disaster! However, the same approach worked really well for managing Pixie. When I came home to visit, she always told me what to do: “take a jumper, you’ll be cold”, or “ring me if you’re going to be late”, that kind of thing. For years, I would tell her angrily that I could work it out for myself. Eventually - I’m a slow learner - I realised that it was much easier just to say yes and do as I was told. Pixie wasn’t trying to boss me around; she was showing that she cared about me. And most of the time, the advice was right.
I wonder if I’ll ever be able to teach my toddler. At present, her favourite expressions are: “NO!”, “NO WAY!”, “GO AWAY MAMA!” and ‘DON’T WANT TO!”. She may have a good future as a lawyer.