Amuse Bouche

A-B wants to know when fine dining started taking its cues from the airline industry. The object of her ire? Valets who ask for payment upfront. You’re keeping her car, for chrissake, which is not a 2009 model, true, but is nonetheless worth more than 8 effin’ dollars. Chances are she’ll return and pay you so she can get her keys, and ride, back for the drive home.

A-B doesn’t object to paying for parking, self or valet. It’s sweet when it’s comped in exchange for her business, but that money has to come out of someone’s pocket, so the “free” valet is probably getting passed along in the drinks or meal. (A-B does agree, though, with a fellow diner’s complaint about the false parking crunch created at chains such as Wildfish and Fleming’s to push valet service.)

What A-B can’t stomach is the valet who asks if she wants change when she’s already paying upfront. Generally speaking, a tip is for a job well DONE — past tense, as in you returned her car without a scratch. Otherwise it’s a bribe, as in please don’t send her luggage to
Uzbekistan. What’s next? A handbag handling fee?

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