For the most part, I keep rants out of my blog. I like to keep it fun. But man, the proliferation of valet parking in my city is really getting to me.
Valet parking has its place. Like in big cities with labyrinthian parking schemes, draconian parking laws and crappy weather. Here in Phoenix, most places have easily accessible parking. And we get 7 inches of rain a year.
For some reason, though, there are some restautants with fairly small lots that are blocking out the majority or all of their parking for valet parking. This saves their patrons from having to walk, from the farthest space, perhaps 100 feet. I’m going to name names here: The Vig, Tommy V’s/Tomaso’s and Havana Cafe are the worst offenders. Each has a lot the size of a postage stamp. The Vig is particularly offensive – its management forces customers to either turn their keys over to a valet attendant or park across the street for the privilege of dining there. It pains me to say anything bad about Tommy V’s because of its great food and excellent staff, so call this a case of tough love.
I’m going to explain the problem for these restaurateurs: Valet parking is, in essence, like handing my underwear to a stranger, having him wear said underwear while I dine, and then tipping someone for their safe return.
I really, really like my car. Everything about it is exactly the way I want it: the mirrors, the tilt of the seat, the radio station, the loose change, the breath mints. It is a mobile extension of my living room.
Strangers do not belong in my living room. And I am certainly not going to pay for having them there.
Let me add this all up in bite-sized pieces.
1. I can walk. Arizona is sunny and pleasant, and there is sufficient parking to be had.
2. I don’t want someone I don’t know driving my car.
3. If you try to force the issue, you’ve lost me as a customer.
So far, I’ve been to each of these establishments one time each in the five years in which I’ve lived less than two miles from them. Contrast that the uncountable number of times I’ve been to Pita Jungle, Fez and even Parlor. In fact, Parlor has only been open a few months, and I’ve been there more since its opening than the three valet parking offenders combined in five years. Without the valet parking, that would change*. Can you really afford to lose that business for a “service” many people don’t even want?
*Of course, I still consider Parlor far-and-away the best pizza in the area, and far better than the over-hyped and pedestrian Pizzeria Bianco.