Comment of the Day: What You’re Paying Houston Valets For

COMMENT OF THE DAY: WHAT YOU’RE PAYING HOUSTON VALETS FOR “It dawned on me that when you valet park, you’re not really paying for the service of someone going out and parking your car for you. You’re paying for the right to a primo, reserved parking space that you don’t have to hunt or fight for. Scoff at it all you want, but valet parking seems to be a symptom of a shortage of available parking — or, as is often the case here in Houston, inefficient parking that results from too many businesses declaring the spaces in front of them are for customers only.” [ZAW, commenting on Comment of the Day: Too Many Parking Spaces]

24 Comment

  • This is the comment of the day??–Valet parking??–who picks these??

  • Shannon, the comment is making the point that even with out parking regulations, there is often a lack of parking.

  • I sort of thought valet parking was often a way for a restaurant to make sure a drunk patron doesn’t drive home. I once went to a happy hour at this wine bar that used to be on Durham (or Shepherd, don’t remember) and we were required to valet park. There were only two cars parked in a lot big enough for 30. The valet parked the car right across from the door, where we could have easily parked it. I checked my frustration by reasoning that the teenager working the valet booth probably needed the money.

  • Valet parking is an additional revenue stream for the bar/restaurant owner, you can use your own guys or hire a valet operator which will share revenue for every ticket.
    My only gripe with valet parking is most of those kids can’t drive cars and curb rims, ding doors, and drive the cars rough.

  • Lack of parking space? All I ever see is 15-30 empty valet spots blocked off with cones.

  • Rational or not, valet services for places that have parking in the front still piss me off.
    If you want offer valet services, put the parking in the back. When parking is in front, it cheapens the feel of the establishment, its tacky, and it makes me feel as if I’m being taken advantage of by paying for a service that I could do myself quicker and easier.

  • It’s funny–when my parents come to visit, they marvel at the availability of valet parking. They think it’s a great service–you’d think we were rolling up in a limo. As for me, I had a valet destroy an axle once, I have somewhat mixed feelings.

  • I get the point it’s just a very dull topic, but wherever swamplot has it’s own agenda–75th comment of the day from ZAWS, surely he’s up for some award from Swamplot, maybe a cypress seedling or water Lilly

  • I don’t valet. Period. I’ve had the same unfortunate experience as some other commenters with my car getting beat up followed by rants about how it was “like that already” (No, I’m pretty sure I would have noticed the air dam dragging the ground before) – and once having the valet who locked my keys in the car proudly announce that he had been a cab driver back in (wherever) as he was demonstrating a driving style that made most Houston drivers look tame (he was driving me back home to get the other set).

    So, what do I do? If it’s a place that doesn’t have a bunch of its own parking, I park elsewhere and (horrors) walk. If they DO have plenty of their own parking but require valet anyway, then I will find someplace else to go.

  • Inner Loopers better get used to things like valet, pay parking, parking two blocks away and walking…there’s a lot more folks coming to live, dine and play in the area and there’s only so many parking places to go around in desirable destinations.

  • Or maybe he manages to make a few insightful comments without being a complete sourpuss about every single topic.

  • I used to poo poo valet parking as being absurd when I can just pull into a space in a strip center. I always thought valets were for country clubs and downtown venues that would cut you a break on parking to get you in the door versus going down the street to a garage that charges $6 for the first hour and $29 if you stay over an hour. But, when going to a popular spot, valet parking beats the crap out of worming in and out of a tiny parking lot looking for a space (See, e.g. Chuys on Westheimer) or having to park blocks away after an angry shop owner accosts you for parking in unmarked spaces in a strip center (See, e.g. Poscol). Plus, I like it when other patrons at fancy places give me that “oh, how embarrassing for you” look when the valet brings around my Honda Civic.

  • I love valet, but it does piss me off that they use all the prime spots. I dont know how many times i have paid to have the guy pull my car into a space straight ahead where i gave him the keys.

  • One of the first things I check when going to a restaurant in Montrose or Midtown is if they have valet parking. I always pay $20, no matter how much the fee is. If you pay extra you can usually self park in a valet spot. It’s a small price to pay for a good parking spot. If the place didn’t block off all the spaces with cones they would be full and I’d have to drive around looking for a spot and worry about tow trucks like a peasant. Limited parking means rich people are going to get the good spots. I welcome any opportunity to use money to get an advantage. :)

  • This was a secret? Of course people pay for valet just so they get good spots. Actually, they pay just they won’t have to be bothered with parking. Worth every penny.

  • Then again, I drive a 14-year-old VW Beetle, so what damage could a valet do that I haven’t already inflicted on that little guy?

  • I valet at the med center, because that place stresses me out.

    Otherwise, no valet. Too many bad experiences in my early years to trust them now.

  • @Ian–give it a rest and try commenting on the topic not me–I realize you obviously find me interesting, but give others some love too, you’re starting to make me blush and that affects my bronzer

  • Houston really takes the cake for valets in a sun-belt city. Don’t see it like this anywhere else.

  • People – the initial posting about valet parking was not against valet parking ‘per se’. It was against establishments blocking off the prime spots for parking as designated for valet only. If you’re OK with PAYING to have prime spot, why have a valet at all. Just have someone collecting a parking fee and you park your own car a few feet from the door.

    THE ISSUE is that valet parking is SUPPOSED TO BE for when the parking lot or close spots are taken by other patrons who self-parked there, and you are willing to have SOMEONE ELSE go find a spot areound the block or 2-3 blocks away, and park your car for you. THAT’s what I am willing to pay for.

    The way it is done now you often have a near empty parking lot by the door, while you go park your car two blocks away, and the valets stand around with the fingers up their ass. When that happens that is my first and my last visit to that establishment for allowing that to happen that way.

    As for those of you who are asking, “This is the issue that you want to waste your time and energy on?” My answer to you is, “Well consider what YOU just spent YOUR time on – Complaining about what I spend my time on. That’s a step even lower!”

  • I always try to valet my motorcycle, they are all like, oh, just pull it up over there next to the door.

  • The main reason I valet is for security. Especially when they park it up front, because I know the valet crew is always standing there, which makes breaking into my vehicle much less likely.

  • I’m always amazed at how efficently my car drives right over their f’ing cones.