Vancouver Valet Parking: This could be your car

Valet parking is common in Vancouver. Take a walk down Alberni Street any given weekend, and you will find a bunch of guys running around in red jackets, moving hundreds of thousands of dollars, worth of vehicles. The real question is what happens to your vehicle while it’s in their hands?

Over the weekend, I went to “Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Café” on Alberni Street. While enjoying the summer on their patio, I noticed the Valet attendants moving cars, and wondered ” how do they find spots for all them?” (Alberni is a small street). While watching the symphony of cars,  I noticed one of the valets parking a nice BMW. The attendant quickly parked the car and left it – however, he forgot to bring up the passenger side window. I was going to say something at that moment, but the attendant ran across the street so fast, I figured-  with all the valets walking around, I’m sure someone will notice.

After about 30 minutes or so, I noticed the window was still down.  Not completing my one good deed for that day, I felt obligated to say something. So, I finally walked up to one of the attendants and said “Just to let you know, the passenger side of the BMW window is down.” He quickly responded, “thank you, it’s not supposed to be.” and ran to get the keys to the car and correct the mistake.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am in no way condemning valet parking. Valet parking is a service, that when executed correctly, can be very convenient. It gives you the upper class feeling of being waited on. The bad news – your car is now out of your control. As great as valet parking is, there are the occasional mistakes, and valet attendants who mess around with your car during the short period it’s in their “care”. Here are a few examples:

  1. Changing your seat and rear-view mirror settings:  This can be annoying for the common driver.  If you are too short to reach the petals we get it, but at least put it back before you return the car.
  2. Stealing your change or other items in your center console: We are already paying a valet fee, and giving a generous tip to look after the vehicle. However, some attendants feel inclined to steal breath mints and parking meter change.
  3. Messing with the radio: There has been instances where not only valet attendants changed the station, but they actually reset stored pre-sets, which is just ridiculous.
  4. Disabling your automatic headlights: Now I understand this may be a high class problem, so I will dumb it down for us normal people.  When rich people buy a car, they pay extra so they would never have to worry about headlights ever again. Let’s do them a favour and not try to complicate their already complex life.
  5. Disappearing for over 10 minutes before returning with your car:  Like a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off- This one always makes people nervous in a “what the hell could they be doing with my car” sort of way. 

In reality, other people care less about your car than you do. Next to a house, your car is the biggest investment and purchase of most people’s lives. This fact, in addition to the status symbol and the over compensating for men with small penises,  one’s vehicle means that the average person’s car is very important to them. Some valet attendants will pass the car onto you and say nothing in hopes you won’t find out what they did. A scratch, a dent, a peel-out, in any case it’s not good. Once the car is not in their hands, it is harder to prove and receive reimbursement from a valet company.

Ultimately, you have to hope that the vehicle is in good hands when it is driven out of your site. Chances are your car will be fine, but this is a true insight into what can happen.

Follow Felix on Twitter: @TheFelixKay