When you go to the mall, you hand your car key to the valet, get out, and go about your shopping. When you’re done, you hand them your ticket stub, they retrieve your car, you pay and tip the valet, and then you carry on with the rest of your day.
Most of us don’t give a second thought to valets and the people handling our cars. While it may not seem like the most interesting subject, valet parking is a world in itself. Here are 9 facts about it that may surprise you.
1. Valuables Aren’t Safe in Your Car
This one may not be so shocking. While it’s nice to believe that all valet drivers are honest people, all it takes is one bad apple to cause trouble.
If you need to leave valuables in the car, at least put it somewhere where it’s not out in the open, such as between the cushions. It’s best if you remove all temptation for your drivers to steal from you.
2. Your Privacy Will Probably Be Invaded
Valet drivers are human, and some of them will be curious about what car owners are like. If you use valet services frequently, you shouldn’t be surprised if things look a bit askew when you get your vehicle back.
Some drivers will look through every compartment they can. Not to steal, but just to satisfy their curiosity. While this may not be a big deal to some people, for others, it can feel quite violating.
3. The Valet Parking Industry Is Male-Dominated
Throughout the years, the valet parking industry has been male-dominated. Even though women tend to be better drivers, you don’t see very many women, valet drivers.
The thing is, no one really knows why this is the case. While you see fewer women who drive buses or cabs, there’s still a decent amount of them.
But when it comes to female valet drivers? They’re practically non-existent!
4. Some Valet Drivers Earn Very Little
Many companies hire valet drivers illegally, which means they work under the table and for cash in hand. Because of this, these companies exploit their workers by paying well under minimum wage. The companies reason that the drivers can make a lot in tips if they work hard, so they refuse to pay them higher.
In fact, some companies are so unscrupulous that they don’t pay their drivers any wages at all. They tell their drivers to earn a living off of tips only. They know their drivers are often illegal immigrants who can’t ask for their rights.
Because of this, you should make sure you tip well if you receive good service. This money may be how your valet driver’s putting food on the table at home.
5. Your Behavior Affects the Service Given
Many valet drivers are used to being treated rudely by their customers. But just because they’re used to it doesn’t mean they don’t secretly take a stand against it.
Some valets will make entitled customers wait longer when they’re retrieving their cars. So if you want polite and quick service, make sure you treat your valet with respect.
6. Some Valets Don’t Have Drivers’ Licenses
This one is probably one of the most shocking facts about the industry. Some of the more shady companies don’t care about licenses since the lot they own is very small.
While some people can be great drivers without having to pass any tests, that shouldn’t be a chance you should be willing to take with your pride and joy. Not especially since some of the worst valet companies don’t even test their employees on their driving skills!
7. Some Take Your Car for a Secret Spin
It may seem like this only happens in the movies. For the most part, it does. But once in a while, some daring valet drivers will take their customers’ cars out for a spin.
Whether it’s to run an errand while on the job or to test drive a vehicle they can only dream of owning either way, they’re doing so without permission.
Always make sure to check your odometer when you get your car back. Just in case.
8. Some Companies Have Fitness Tests
While some companies don’t care about who they hire, others care a lot. In fact, some administer fitness tests to ensure their employees can reliably take care of the valet services without getting tired out.
For example, AmeriPark tests their workers by having them run on the property for 2 minutes, as well as navigate up and down the stairs. If they can’t do it, then they don’t get hired.
9. Valet Doesn’t Just Mean Parking Cars
We know: this list is about valet parking, but valet can have other meanings too, such as rental services.
For example, check out this company. They’re called “Bike Valet,” but they don’t park bikes. Instead, they rent and sell them, as well as offer tours.
Now that you know a bit more about valet parking, your next experience is definitely going to be different. If you’ve spent lots of hard work and money on purchasing your car, you might want to think twice about using valet parking.
But we don’t mean to scare you off the service at all. If you’re a frequent customer of a particular shopping center and you’ve always gotten good service, it’s most likely not a problem to continue using them. Just make sure you tip well!
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