Valet in Amman: Ridiculous

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!


Director of Digital Marketing Strategy by Day, Blogger by Night. Mother to my lovely Hana and a food addict.

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  1. sometime what u can do is tell the valet guy ill pay ur 1 jd and ill park my car myself i would rather pay 5jds than to let him park it..

    think abt it, its not his car and the valet company is not responsible for any lost or damage that happens to the car when u give to them so basically hes have a free joy ride with NO consequences to his actions

  2. Hello silly world! The man is lucky yr dad didn`t give him a “real” piece of his mind!

    Hello silly world! R u sure u r sober? 🙁


  3. Valet in Jordan is a temp job, there is no selection criteria and so it is not carried out by professionals,who usually do not deliver a professional service.

    so whenever you give your car to a valet,you must lower..more like have zero expectations of a service, expect your car to be..crashed and denied “happened with someone I know at a 5 star hotel” , taken for a joy ride eating matabat like candy, abused and revved up at max rpm,finally hygiene..
    I once saw a valet guy go to an empty land near the location,and do his natural needs…it put an end for valet for me,for life!

    but to tell you the truth,from time to time there are situations that I’m forced to use it’s horror.

    • Yes, sadly there are times where Valet is the only option, but this makes me wonder, who made valet services the owners of the public streets of Amman? I just dont understand how the word ‘Public Street’ and ‘Valet Reserved’ cross reference in real life 🙁

  4. There is no parking system in Jordan.

    In the US, you are not allowed to park anywhere otherwise you will be towed. Parking is only allowed on the right side of the street, with a 2-hour limit meter so the government makes some money to maintain the streets (in Jordan it would cost 1 JD probably and all the money will be stolen by our corrupt government).

    Parking is also not allowed from the corner down a few meters to the road because parking on corners is dangerous and doesn’t allow cars to turn smoothly and easily.

    Since parking on most public streets is not allowed, it becomes mandatory for people to build their own private public spots and usually have signs that say its a private spot.

    The way they control this is have towing trucks all over, and towing is at the expense of the owner of the car (around $100).

    Some parking spots open and allow subscriptions by having a tag on your car, and if a car does not have the tag and is parked on that specific lot it will be towed.

    Amazing huh?

    In New York City, which has WAY more cars than us, they almost have the same system just a little more regulated and parking is allowed in the public streets between 9pm-8am. There are some rules in order to make it possible for all those cars to fit. However, can you expect Jordan to fix such a problem which by time, it will only become worse due to the increase of cars, when we have 19,000 government cars (the Prime Minister take out 2,000 or 3,000 the other day), when New York City (including its 5 boroughs – Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island) have only 13,500 cabs!! Almost 8.5 million people living there and around 4 million people entering the city EACH day. These numbers exceed all of Jordan all together and not just Amman. However, traffic jam is not an issue in Manhattan and there are over 1 billion swipes over the subway turnstiles per day!

    This amazes me. We are only 1,000,000 people in Amman, and when talking about West Amman the number goes down a lot. And West Amman is fairly spread and we are dealing with such issues that other great cities have dealt with and fixed HUNDREDS of years ago. Its 2010 – I am sorry to break it to you but we are a hopeless, corrupt, hypocrite society.

  5. Very sad!

    A serious parking & general street behavior conversation is long overdue for this city. Valet in the current state in Amman is shameful. In addition to the chaos created and the regular bad experiences like yours, it is simply bad citizen behavior. A valet culture like the one we see here creates yet another social rift, another reason for people to not know/like/respect their city, another reason for people not to improve their socio-cultural relationships with each other, and IMO is the ultimate citizenship insult.

    GAM, the Mayor of Amman, Amman Institute & the Traffic Dept should put this high up on their priority list when aiming to deliver on their promise of a city with a soul. They may benefit from having a sociologist and a behavioral psychologist in the room for such a talk as well.

    As things stand today, our streets and street behavior suck the soul out of a day and a life, making it more and more difficult to cultivate good citizenship.

    • Nadine,

      I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said above, I have always wondering about tackling this matter, but to be honest with you, I didn’t know where to start, which is why I decided to blog about it, usually counts as a first step for me to raise awareness on an issue before fighting it.

      While on the phone with a friend last night, we we’re briefly the valet issue, and she pointed out that it probably will be a lost cause, as more of our high-ranked officials in this county, always demand special parking spaces allocated for them. David Cameron the Prime Minister of England, regularly uses his bicycle to commute to work. In early 2006 he was photographed cycling to work followed by his driver in a car carrying his belongings. So why can’t out Ministers do something about parking in Jordan?! I wish they we’re more simple when approaching life and daily chores.

  6. By a long shot, one of the best article l have come across on this valuable subject. I quite go along with with your assumptions and will thirstily look forward to your future updates.

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