Back in 2009, we published a column discussing why you shouldn't hand over your car key to a valet attendant. While valets do provide convenience especially when you're running late for a very important appointment, there is the ever-present uncertainty as to your car's security in the hands of a stranger. Aside from widespread stories about how valets recklessly drive vehicles to and from the parking lot, there is also the disturbing thought that you are giving someone unrestricted access to your personal belongings.
This latest story seems to bolster our distrust of valet attendants.
A lady by the name of Jill Elicano Tan has posted a video on YouTube which she claims shows a valet attendant of Rustan's Department Store stealing from her vehicle after she had turned it over to said attendant. She says she decided to share the video--taken by her car's inward-facing dashcam--after what she perceives to be a lack of action on the part of Rustan's management.
"I first sent a message through the Rustan's website with our complaint of theft in mid-February," she narrates on her Facebook page. "I received no reply nor acknowledgment of receipt. I called Rustan's regarding our complaint (caught on video) on February 28. I was connected to a manager--a Ms. Manansala--who asked me to e-mail the details to her. She then said that many of the valet drivers are hired through an agency. E-mail was sent the same day. On March 5, I called Ms. Manansala to follow up my e-mail as I had received no acknowledgment or reply. She simply told me that she had shown the e-mail, and that a vice president had said that he/she would take charge of replying to me. She further said that she would follow up, and she reassured me I would get a reply by the end of the business day. She again said that most valet drivers are contractual workers hired through an agency, and that the contract of the particular driver in the video had ended sometime in February. On March 11, I sent a follow-up e-mail. Honestly, we are so disappointed because if there's anything Rustan's was known for, it was its exemplary customer service. I guess times have changed."
If you watch the nearly four-minute video, it is unclear what exactly the valet attendant took, although he could be seen looking around the cabin. Worse, he could be seen picking his nose and then touching the steering wheel.
According to Jill Elicano Tan, the valet attendant took "some cash."
"I know what he took was a few bills and some change," the vehicle owner replies to her friends on Facebook. "Not much, but it's really the principle. We really wanted to just report this quietly so they (Rustan's) could take whatever measures necessary so that this didn't happen again. But the way they handled our complaint just added insult to injury."
Watch the video and we guarantee you will think twice about surrendering your car to a valet attendant again--especially now that we know that service establishments can always just invoke the excuse that these valets are just "contractual workers."
UPDATE: If you can't access the video, that's because the owner seems to have changed its settings to private.
If you're viewing this on a mobile device and can't see the video, please click here.