Valet parking is often a nightmare. But a nightmare for whom, exactly? That depends on which side of the transaction you sit. Recently we caught up with several current and former professional car-parkers who gave us a behind-the-scenes look at what pisses them off the most—many of their (extremely justified) responses may surprise you.
Employ valets often? Maybe time to leave the two-seater at home, rich dude.
1. Lose your ticket.
Your ticket is just a tiny sheet of paper that you should put in your wallet right away, no hesitation. If you somehow lose it during the course of events, you'll still get your car, but you've just made everything that much more complicated in an industry where complication is the enemy.
2. Keep entirely too many things on your keychain.
A keychain like this tells your valet you're much less likely to tip well than someone who has just the necessary keys. No, that 40-year-old mystery key isn't going to open some magical safe full of Scrooge McDuck's fortune. Lose it, and that USB drive you never use, too.
3. Ask your valet why he or she didn't wash and wax your car while you were gone.
Seriously. People do this. People you shouldn't be friends with.
4. Ask your female valet if she can drive a stick.
Either you're making a poor attempt at innuendo and are sexually harassing her, or you're insinuating that, because she's female, she can't drive a manual transmission. Either way, dick move, and you shouldn't be allowed in public.
5. Make any reference whatsoever to Ferris Bueller.
These jokes got old about 25 years ago.
6. For girls: don't forget underwear.
We're just going to quote directly on this one: "If your girl is wearing a dress, the valet just saw her underwear, or her womanly parts."
7. Make the valet return to the car to pick up or drop off an item.
You couldn't have planned just a little bit ahead?
8. Run off with your key fob.
You'd be surprised how much this actually happens, especially with newer cars that don't require you to put a key in the ignition.
9. Leave your cigarette butts in the ashtray.
You have the right to smoke in your car, but when your valet gets in and the A/C blows all that stale smoke and ash right back in his or her face, you're the jerk.
10. Stiff them on the tip.
We really thought this one would've been obvious. Valets aren't parking your car out of the kindness of their hearts.
11. Point to an old scratch and joke that it's new.
You envision fits of laughter. Your valet envisions looking for a new job, because people get fired for that. You are not funny.
12. Tell your valet to "park it close"...but don't tip.
Your valet is more than happy to park at the closest possible spot if you're more than happy to pay for the privilege. Otherwise, your car's getting stationed in by the Chili's across the street in the snow.
13. Roll up in a car that's trashed.
From our valet: "Picking up this car is 10 times worse than parking it. The heat will activate the filth, causing it to go airborne, so when you hop into the 110-degree, sickeningly sweet smelling driver seat you're instantly covered in the pestilence. It's sort of like getting out of your car in the Everglades and becoming instantly soaked with sweat, only infinitely stinkier."
14. Point at a Ferrari, pretending it's yours.
Your feet kind of give it away. Ferrari owners don't wear Birkenstocks, okay? Also, again: you are not funny.
15. Drive a two-seater sports car.
"Two-seat sports cars are for smug, prematurely balding middle-aged guys...They are what Jettas are to teenage girls. These people act like it's a privilege, but nobody wants to drive their stupid car.
Any valet who has worked for more than a week has driven something much more exciting. The only silver lining to parking some guy's sports car is his date/wife's inevitable look of embarrassment when he makes some dick-ish remark that's related to Ferris Bueller."
Bonus: How do you get on their good side? Don't hide your weed.
Chances are they're going to find it anyway. Leaving it where they can find it basically amounts to an extra tip.
Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. The last time he let a valet park his car was in the spring of 2001, and he hated that car anyway. Follow his long walks from the parking lot on Twitter.