Monday, February 20, 2012

Valet Parking Debacle

Have you ever experienced valet parking?

I went down to the valley for a bridal shower this weekend and had to do some shopping for the bride.  Twice in one day I was faced with the dilemma of having to either use valet parking, or park far away and walk.  This NEVER  happens to me in my "real" life. There is not a single place on this mountain that has valet parking.  But evidently that's how they "roll" in Scottsdale.

I have to tell you that I totally panicked!

I pulled into the parking lot of my first stop and there was a sign that said "valet only". There were six guys waiting to open my door and take my vehicle to an undisclosed location. I started to sweat because:

A. I had no cash in my wallet for a valet
B. I have no idea how much you tip a valet
C. I didn't want to use valet parking.

I was trapped! There was no way to turn around.  I just rolled the window down and embarrassingly told the guys that I didn't need them to park my vehicle. They looked at me like I was a lunatic because there were no other options.  So I practically squealed the tires as I gunned it past the parking kiosk and went down the road. I ended up parking in a neighborhood a block away and then proceeded to jay-walk across a four lane highway to get to the store.

I felt like a total dork/cheapskate/nerd/hillbilly/redneck/loser.

After that humiliating episode, I went to Scottsdale Fashion Square for my very first time to buy a bridal shower gift from her registry at Crate and Barrel.  Unfortunately, the only one I knew of was at the most posh shopping mall in Arizona.  Scottsdale Fashion square feels a bit like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  There are expensive cars everywhere, and trophy wives with designer handbags abound.  As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, there were valet parking signs everywhere and my hands got cold and clammy.  I made a bee-line for the exit and parked in a construction area.  It was a nice day for a long walk.

For some reason, the thought of valet parking brings up a ton of  hidden emotions that I apparently need to work through.

1. I feel like parking in valet is a total rip-off. There are starving children in Africa and people pay $10 to have someone park their car for them. Waste of money!!!

2. God gave me two legs to walk from the parking lot myself.

3. What if they wreck my truck?

4. The thought of valet parking is an invasion of privacy. What if they don't like the country music on my radio? What if they think my truck isn't nice enough when they park Ferraris all day? What if there's a french fry wedged in the back seat? What if they look into the glove box and find the emergency toilet paper roll?

5. What if they steal the change out of the ash tray?

This last question brings up the worst of my issues.  I have a hard time trusting strangers.  In the back of my mind, I think that there is a risk of them stealing something out of my truck. And I'm not just talking about valet parking attendants.  Whether it's at the car wash or the tire shop, I have a phobia about people stealing my junk.  Whenever I have to hand the keys over to someone, I dump all of the change into my purse, take out all of the CD's and my i-pod, lock the toolbox and take out the registration papers.  Over-kill, I know. But I don't get that warm fuzzy feeling about handing my keys over to teenage boys.  I have visions of them joy riding in my Ford with the radio blasting loud rap music, buying their friends sodas from money out of my ash tray....all while I'm picking out dinnerware in Crate and Barrel.

I love to shop, but I've never been so glad to leave a mall before!  I was totally out of my comfort zone!

Do you think my feelings on valet parking are justified, or am I totally paranoid?  How about you? Do you ever valet park?


  1. Ha, we have to get an inspection sticker on our vehicles here in Texas, and you have to let a licensed person to inspect it, of course. They take it in to the shop, look it over, and then go drive it down the road a ways. We are like that, empty it of ALL personal belongings, mostly into the diaper bag, so then I'm sitting there in the waiting room with it exploding over with who knows what. Then, pray that when they go for a cruise, they don't wreck our valuable vehicle! Oh, and I turn the radio off, take the ipod, that way they don't get country music, or the local Christian station jammin' in their ears, and most of the guys look as if they'd rather listen to rap, or something along that order.

    Never have been in on any valet parking, and I think I wouldn't want to. I think of it like you, a rip off, and yes, all those other things you mentioned, as well!

  2. I totally agree with you one hundred percent! I don't even parallel park. In the last month I have had to go to the "big city" twice and there is only parallel parking around the building I'm going to. I park two city blocks down the street in a "normal" parking spot and walk. It's a rather scary part of town and I have to go through a metal detector, so I lock all my valuables in the trunk and only take my keys. Last time I had on a belt with metal grommets, so I had to take my belt off. Nothing like having to undress and dress in public!

  3. Welcome to my world here in New York!!! I feel the same way you do about Valet Parking, which is not uncommon here and which also drives me absolutely insane. I drive a twelve year old Dodge Caravan and proudly park it myself as I wisk by Jaguars, Mercedes and BMW's when I go to a certain mall!! We just got back from NYC today from seeing The Dead Sea Scrolls at an exhibit and had no choice but to park the car in a parking garage (although not "Valet", the parking attendant still has to take your car and drive it away into the concrete sunset). It's very uncomfortable when people have a peek into your life through your car, so I know exactly what you mean!!

  4. We experienced valet parking for the first time this past summer. It was at a hotel in San Antonio.. we were such rednecks! We did the same thing, told them we'd park ourselves, then got the look. It was SO weird seeing someone drive off with our pickup. I didn't care for it at all! And like you, I emptied it of everything!