Valet in Amman: Ridiculous
Yesterday morning, before heading to work, I passed by the Jordanian Postal Office in Sweifieh (the one next to Planet Donuts) with my father to pick up many of the billings that are delivered to us by mail, only to realize that the Egyptian man who works as a janitor/door man for the complex where the postal office is located has blocked all parking spots by the pavement with plastic cones, preventing anyone from parking their cars there, when approaching the man, my father rolled down his window to ask him to move one of those cones only to be surprised with the doorman’s answer, “Basha, you want me to park this for you!”
The look on my father’s face was priceless, he scanned the street really fast and said, “No, thank you, move one of the cones, so I could park!” The Egyptian started to argue and just before he could finish his sentence my father interrupted him and exclaimed, “It’s 8:55 a.m in the morning, and there is no one here and the streets are empty, Valet parking is a service to be offered when there is inadequate parking space, and not when you feel like blocking the entire street to offer a service.”
I don’t think I have ever seen my father so disappointed and frustrated with the way Amman has become lately, as an old man, my father is always wise, calm, patient and understanding, if it were me who had exclaimed that “Blocking the street at 9:00 in the morning was ridiculous” he would have lectured me on prejudice, how bad it is, and how I was wrong to assume it was blocked for no reason, he is that kind of man, the man who makes excuses for everyone and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, but yesterday, was outrageous, it was the topic of the day for Dad, he couldn’t stop complaining about how ridiculous it is.
He had pointed out the obvious, but I listened anyway, allowing him to vent for a while, “Valet is Parking is most often offered (and is most useful) in urban areas, where parking is scarce, not when the street is empty! How many times did you watch a movie where the freaking postal office had valet parking?”
Perhaps he’s right, in most films, valet parking is usually available at weddings, top-of-the-notch Black Tie events, fundraisers and cocktails, when it is ridiculous for one to park a few blocks away and walks to the venue. On the contrary Amman, has valet parking all over the place, yes, there are many areas, when valet parking is required, like the street in Abdoun where Crumz, Wox, Salad House and Zee diner are all located? I still think it’s sad and pathetic that they turned a huge land in a “park” where as a high traffic area like that requires massive parking space instead, which brings me to think, why on the face of earth does Jordan have one million and one rules on architecture going down to simple measurements of how wide the pavement should be in front of your establishment, but no rules for businesses or any buildings in high traffic areas to have mandatory underground parking?
Perhaps Valet parking makes more sense in films after all, rather than a service offered at the postal office when you don’t need it. I must point out that I have admiration for malls in Jordan for once in my life, both Mecca and City Mall offer both Valet Parking and massive underground parking space, this is where Valet Parking is actually an “optional” service that you as a consumer might chose to enjoy, while I have to point out that on many occasions their parking services are inadequate.
I was out with a very good friend once to City Mall, and figured hey, we might as well give it to the Valet we’re already running late anyways, so we give it to valet, catch a movie, grab dinner and shop some before heading out. As we hit the main entrance and gave our ticket to the valet guy he politely exclaims “Sorry but there is no key for this ticket, are you sure you haven’t claimed your car already”.
Funny I thought, “Are you sure you haven’t claimed your car,” the only thoughts running through my head at a time where two, all inspired by me over-watching movies of course, it was either stolen, or the valet has taken it out for a joy ride, too bad it’s not a sports car or an SUV, just a regular small economic car. With frustration and anger firing through both of our eyes, we literally ran through the parking space where valet stack up the cars franticly looking for the car, and we found it. We found the car with the driver’s window rolled down and the key still in the ignition. Too much for Valet parking, whatever respect I had for city mall was gone, and decided on never trusted Valet in Jordan ever again, I still admire the mall for offering the optional service, but with most parking tickets with a disclaimer that they are not responsible for any damages or stolen valuables from the car, I learned that walking the extra blocks cannot hurt anyone, unless you’re heading to a gala where you’re over dressed and need to be dropped off at the entrance of the venue, valet has proven to be an unnecessary service.
Unfortunately Amman has become so obsessed with Valet as if it we’re the latest etiquette in living your daily life, most place have space in front of their restaurant/café where you could park your car, instead it has been substituted with signs that read “Valet” which don’t allow anyone to park as it is reserved for Valet Services only. Those streets are public property, its not like those places own the street where you can park your car, it’s outrageous how some cafes and restaurants occupy all possible parking, which usually force you to give it to valet. Can’t valet have an alternative parking space where clients can park up their cars by choice?
I am sure many people find valet convenient at most times, because you don’t have to drive around blocks hoping to find a parking space, and on many occasions it is, but not when valet occupies most public parking spaces for their services, yesterday I headed to Safeway on the 7th circle, and the entire parking indoor parking area which is always cool and shady was blocked by signs “Valet Only”, I am already in your parking lot, looking for space, while give up the good cool shady spaces for valet, where your customers have to go looking for another spaces, is it that impossible to assign the valet service the underground parking lot?
I just wish I could point fingers on this matter, but I can’t, because you know what they say, point your finger at someone, and there are three fingers pointing right back at you!
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