Strangers in My Underwear – My Case Against Valet Parking

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.

This post just might contain affiliate links. Fear not, they’re non-spammy and benign. Hey, I have to keep this thing running somehow!

By Wandering Justin

Writer. Traveler. Gastronomic daredevil. Fitness fan. Homebrewer. Metal dude \m/. Cat and dog lover.


  1. YES. Postino is another offender. And Cheesecake Factory at the mall? Really?

    Valet has no purpose here except to make people feel that they’re eating at a Fancy Restaurant. It’s trite.

    (BTW, this is the best IP address your blog will ever receive.)

  2. Right on, Stace, to all of that. And yes, Cheesecake Factory. I guess that does need some dressing up to sucker people into thinking it’s fancy. Generic baby food for adults. Bleh.

  3. I don’t trust strangers driving my car, even if it is to simply park it. They could break a handle in the car, bump into another car in the parking lot, or worse, use the car for illegal purposes while I dine.

    Sometimes with valet parking it actually takes *more* time to pick up or drop off your car because you have to wait for one of the attendants who is busy parking or returning several cars. Three drivers can pick up their car from the parking lot by themselves simultaneously. Make those same three drivers wait for the valet to retrieve three cars and it takes significantly longer.

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