During an interview I had last week, the subject was talking about a major project taking shape in Jordan that will be offering a valet service.
“Because after all, we are a valet culture,” he told me.
And I’ve been thinking about that statement ever since. To me, and I’m sure to many of you, valet parking has always had a strong ring of elitism to it. Think about it. You often see it in the movies or on TV but the character is always showing up at an expensive hotel or at an elegant party, dressed in a tuxedo. That’s when the guy wearing the white shirt and vest shows up to take your Ferrari to a safe hiding place until you call upon it once again.
I’ve also traveled quite a bit, and I have to say, Amman may be at the top of the list when it comes to number of valet parking services. I’ve seen them at a number of typical and strange venues that include numerous malls, hotels, cafes, restaurants, private schools, banks and even gyms. They have become a fundamental part of opening a service-oriented business in Jordan, and specifically Amman.
Is it because parking spaces are limited? Does it help induce a sense of self-importance? Or is it because we hate walking distances of any sort? Because I’ve also noticed that most drivers seem to despise parking far from the place they’re going to and prefer to circle around till they can park right in front of the place or no more than 20 meters away from it. Is that why valet parking is so popular?
In Swefieh, the Greater Amman Municipality just opened a parking plaza, which I think is a pretty decent idea. Essentially, people can park their car in this several-story building and then either walk to their destination or take a bus that circles around the shopping district and has various pick-up points. I’m not sure if this service is in full effect at the moment, however, I would be curious to know whether people are actually using it or if it has made an impact on the traffic situation in that area. Perhaps it’s too early to tell but it may be the perfect petri dish to discover if people still prefer to circle around and find a parking spot close by, or better yet, use a store’s valet service.
While this might be a culture reserved for west Amman, west Amman’s circumference is growing everyday, and the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants are far from being considered remotely “wealthy”, just simply a little more well-off than others. In other words, how affordable is it to be considered a “valet culture”, and I don’t mean “affordable” necessarily in the conventional financial sense of the word.
What do you think?
Anyone have any “interesting” valet experiences?