Buddy, Can You Spare a Quarter?
Although the myriad of things to do and places to go gives Los Angeles its personality and culture -- the continuing expansion has taken one thing away from its citizens. No, it's not affordable housing...it's parking spaces.
But just like a species of animals who adjust to their environment, so too have Angeleno businesses, which compensate for the lack of parking by increasing the number of valet stations all across town. Now, if you go a week without giving your keys to some stranger in a monkey-suit, you're obviously a homebody.
LAist, however, isn't as concerned with the actual act of valet parking itself. We're more concerned about the underbelly of said valet parking, where quarters, dimes and nickels (and sometimes pennies) are stolen from your change purses and your ashtrays without you even knowing it. One day you're content in knowing you have enough change to feed twenty meters -- the next day you've got nothing but lint. It's a problem, and nobody seems to be doing much about it.
We've written letters to local politicians about this problem in the past and encouraged others to follow our lead. Yet our lawgivers remain unmoved. Local leaders and their offices have fired off responses simply informing citizens that they are aware of the problem and trying to do something about it. But here we sit, years later -- our coins being consistently snaked from our vehicles without much recourse whatsoever.
And the valets know what they're doing. For even if you count your change before handing over your vehicle, then return and count it again -- determining that six quarters and two pennies have been lifted while at dinner... Even then, will you be "that guy" to argue about $1.52 in front of the rest of Hollywood? Will you sit there in the cold night air in an attempt to get to "the bottom of it all"?
No, you won't.
And that is why such blatant petty theft is, in our opinion, worse than a straight-forward mugging or purse-snatching. It is being done to you knowing that you will probably figure it out and never do a thing about it for fear of looking petty, silly and cheap.
LAist doesn't necessarily have a solution (barring the contruction of crude shock therapy for repelling klepto-valets by wiring ashtrays with electricity) that will stop these crimes, but maybe just the simple vocalization of such crimes will alert those slippery-handed valets that, yes, we are watching. That yes, we are aware...
And that, yes... We're probably never going to do anything about it.