diatribes

Dallas valet: Excessive and out of control

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Dallas is a great city. In the short time we’ve been here, we’ve watched new parks, festivals and other community unifiers sprout up weekly. But, I like to be realistic about the negatives. I have fun criticizing what I deem stupid. This post’s target: Dallas valet parking. It’s excessive and dare I say, wrong (I do). The rest of Texas views Dallas as pretentious, and it’s not without reason.

Before moving to Dallas I never gave valet parking a second thought. I understood it. Valet parking shows a touch of class. In other cities, it exists in places where parking is scarce or distant. Valet parking for restaurants in crowded cities is great because you don’t have to drive around for an hour and then get towed or pay a fine when you don’t make it back in time (I’m talking to you Philadelphia!).

Valet parking is used at hotels to make it easier for people to get their bags to their room. It’s used for the elderly patrons at old-school Italian restaurants with big parking lots. Currently, our apartment building mandates valet because space in the attached garage is too tight. I understand the need, but even in the case of our apartment, it’s almost always more of a hassle than a luxury and I avoid it when possible to save money, get the exercise, and protect the car.

Dallas doesn’t understand any of the above. They stick valet nearly everywhere because, apparently, many people here are too lazy. They have valet at the movie theater– a regular movie theater, plenty of spots, but they have valet! They have valet at the mall– not a special mall, the kind with a JC Penny’s  and a Macy’s. Again, plenty of spots, but valet parking! Dallas isn’t short on space like other cities. There is almost always plenty of street parking within a block and good sized parking lots attached to most restaurants– but guess what? Many still have valet!

It’s not that all restaurants have valet or even that most restaurants have valet. It’s just that I’ve never seen so many unnecessary examples of valet in one city. Surely there are other cities and I’m just inexperienced, but what does this say about the people who live in places like this? What type of person doesn’t see the frivolity in paying $10+ to avoid walking 50 ft? Sure, it helps the economy. NJ mandates full-service gas stations. Other states build toll-booths. But aren’t there better ways and better things to spend money on?

Valet like this screams, “I’m too selfish and ignorant to figure out how to better spend my money.”

Tyler Samien has a BA in English/creative writing from the University of Tennessee. He enjoys writing everything from scathing online reviews of companies that displease him to nostalgic memoirs of childhood experience. His blog, ReluctantChauffeur, is about to get interesting as he travels the United States with his wife and goofy-faced puppy.
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