Before I moved to L.A. I thought of valet service the way that any self-respecting adult would which can be summed up as:
“Why can’t people park their own fucking car?”
I’m still asking myself that question.
Now, of course I use valet. I have no choice sometimes.
Regardless, here are the top reasons that Valet is stupid.
1) They steal.
I recently went to a wedding. I pulled up to this huge villa which, like most businesses, had a parking lot able to accommodate its normal capacity.
Upon entering the gate I was instructed to pull up to a valet station, in which I would have someone park my car in the lot right in front of my face.
Sometimes in this situation I ask them if I can just park the car myself.
Your average valet attendant is the size of a German Shepherd. I hate adjusting the seat after they are in it.
So they say, sure, go park the car yourself.
I pull it into a spot near the back of the lot.
Explain to me why these guys are necessary again?
I’m walking back and the guy says,
“Hey, we need the keys just in case we have to move it.”
Oh, you need my car keys? Since when did this become acceptable? Yeah, guy I’ve never met, I guess I trust you with my car, driving it and everything, because… you’re wearing a black jacket?
Not worth arguing. Give the guy my keys. Come out after. Pay the guy even though I didn’t use the service.
“Do you want me to tie your shoes for you?”
“Okay, five dollars.”
Whatever. Get in my car and my cell phone is gone. I always leave it in the center console at weddings and such. I demand the phone back. They say they don’t have it. I say give me the phone and I won’t ask any questions, I won’t even report it. Get the phone back and immediately call the police. Don’t know what happened, probably nothing.
I’m pretty sure even people I know steal quarters, so they obviously do that too.
Two side notes:
I don’t mean to generalize but obviously the Mexican guy parking my car doesn’t own a car. Isn’t him driving my car payment enough? Howbout we just do a tradeoff. I need to park, you need a car. I’m going to be at this game for two hours, you take the car, pick up your kids, get your dry-cleaning, hit the bank, whatever, and we’ll call it even.
Secondly, why do I need a ticket? You approached me, why don’t you keep track of the car? Just remember where you parked it asshole. I lose the ticket one hundred percent of the time. Yet, I still have my car.
2) Valets ARE the reason that they are necessary. Just as new prisons are needed only because of our country’s drug laws, valet services are needed only because they just get people’s cars and park them at parking meters where you yourself could have parked had valet not existed.
I’ve caught them setting up parking cones at open meters in Hollywood around Vine.
“You can’t park here man.”
Oh, sorry, I didn’t see your cone. Do I look like a fucking moron? You think I don’t know that anyone can buy a cone at K-Mart? I’ve called these people out on multiple occasions.
Apart from charging you for your own potential parking spot, their monopolization of parking just leads people to drive around more and more looking for parking. Studies have shown that up to thirty percent of street traffic in popular areas is actually people driving around looking for parking.
Why can’t we go back to a free-market system here? If you want to visit an establishment, you park in their lot if there’s space. If not, you find somewhere else to park.
Furthermore, why not establish a system giving businesses incentive to keep their lots open if they’re not being used?
I’m paying ten bucks to park my car outside of the Wendy’s on Alvarado, meanwhile I’m staring straight across the street at a Yoshinoya which nobody has ever visited. If City Hall really wanted to do something about traffic, this would be at the top of their list.
Secondly, on a more neighborly level, why not share the wealth? If your company has mostly daytime visitors, and your neighbor mostly nighttime, just trade off. If people can get to your business more easily, you’ll get more business, right?
Instead the absurdity of human nature comes out, and any given business delights in having competing business’ customers towed from their lot.
I suspect this is all by design, as the city of Los Angles makes roughly 30 percent of its revenue off of parking violations. But I’m pretty sick of it.
Something should be done about it soon, but in the meantime, at the very least, don’t respect the cones.