Friday, February 22, 2008

Valet Service

Well, I meant to continue writing about our Los Angeles trip but what with one thing and another (that's code for a bunch of 1940's movies recorded while I was away) I didn't get around to it.

One of the things I noticed was just how much valet parking there seems to be in LA. We have it here in Scottsdale to a small extent but nowhere near as much as I saw over there.

I'm not sure I get the why of it here. You have to understand, if you've never been to Scottsdale/Phoenix, just how large the car parks are at the malls. At the local strip mall across the road they have a Walmarts, a Bashas Supermarket and various smaller businesses spread around a car park that's at least twenty times larger than the floor area of the businesses themselves. I've never seen it anywhere near capacity, not even on Christmas Eve.

They don't do valet parking over there but that's illustrative of the sheer size of the car parks here. Over on Scottsdale Road, at one of the restaurant strips, they have similarly large car parks and yet somehow it seems to be acceptable that the restaurants will cordon off a couple of acres or so of nearby parking and insist it be valet usage only. Of course that means that those of us who choose not to use valet service have to park a considerable distance away. Because, of course, the catch to using valet service is that one is expected to pay someone you've never seen before to get into the drivers seat and park it god only knows where, in hopes that upon emergence they'll find it and bring it back.

Having surrendered the ticket to the youth to reclaim your property, you stand around like a spare part waiting for it to arrive. And when it does arrive you have to tip the guy. Now payment for services rendered I understand. I even understand that this whole valet thing is (or is at least seen as) a service. Hence the payment. But it seems that one has to nonchalantly slip the five bucks or so over while you and the recipient both pretend nothing has happened. Is the taxman watching? Is it technically illegal and are we in fear of arrest? I have no idea but I fear I've never learned the art of slipping someone a tip and making it look like nothing's happened.

Like I say, I just don't get it. Doubtless, when I've graduated to my walking frame, it might make sense but for now it's just an exercise in trust that I get to pay for!

I shouldn't be too superior about it though; one of the nice things about staying in Las Vegas on the strip is that one pulls in to the front of the hotel, hoists ones suitcase(s) out of the boot and hands the keys over. They park it god knows where and you don't see the car again until it's time to leave three or four days later. Of course, in Las Vegas you don't *care* where the car is at the time.

Los Angeles takes the valet parking thing to greater extreme but I can partially understand why; space is at much more of a premium and there's merit in the idea of paying someone to park ones vehicle in a crowded car park whilst one is doing something more enjoyable. I imagine it decreases the incidence of dings as well; do you really want some careless slob parking by ear?

But what took my breath away was when we passed Longs Drugs on Lincoln Blvd; there, at a damn chemists shop of all places, they have valet parking!

1 comment:

Colin Angus Mackay said...

Interesting. It would appear the benefit is also the disadvantage.

You said: "there's merit in the idea of paying someone to park ones vehicle in a crowded car park whilst one is doing something more enjoyable."

But you also admitted: "Having surrendered the ticket to the youth to reclaim your property, you stand around like a spare part waiting for it to arrive"

So you are just moving around the point where you are doing something less enjoyable.