I love looking at broad trends throughout the culture and analyzing them
While I would like to write and make art that promotes clean fun and positivity, these days I often find myself noticing a pattern throughout the society that disgusts and irritates me & that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
Everybody in America has decided they are a king or queen.
Now, just like any generalized pattern of course their are outliers and exceptions. But overall, due to the relative ease of life in America which I discussed in a past post on this site, the population as a whole has succumbed to sloth.
I think working a job is a great way to be a fly on the wall in different places in society and it was while working as a valet I began to notice this pattern.
The valet company I worked for allowed me to bounce between different locations throughout the city. Some of the locations were downtown where it was legitimately hard to find parking places at times. In this scenario valet has a utility aspect to it.
For example, if a professional sports game is being played, valet may be the only option as all the meters are often taken up.
However, I was perplexed at first when I worked at a few locations in the suburbs. Unlike downtown, street parking is often free and there isn’t downtown traffic and congestion. So why would you want a valet service?
This is a screenshot of a location I worked at. The front door of the restaurant was where the outcropping of curb is on the bottom center of the photo between the handicap spots.
The zone where I would park the valet cars was the two seven car rows of spots directly above the curb where there are two cars parked.
So, if I parked customer cars in the closest of the 14 spots to the curb I where I was stationed it would require 5-10 steps to be back at my valet station.
It was so ludicrously close that I often felt like a clown when they would hand me their ticket and I would go to get their car.
I was worried at first that a customer would get angry they didn’t get adequate value for the tip they were giving me as the amount of effort was laughably low.
To avoid this, some nights I would put the signs that marked the valet zone in the back of the lot just so the car would be further away when I went to get it and create the illusion I was working harder.
But, when using the closer spots this scenario I was trying to avoid never occured, actually the inverse.
People would still pull up to my valet stand at the beginning of the evening before the spots to the left or right of the handicapped ones were taken.
I think there was times when customers were actually walking further by parking their car with me than if they had taken one of those two spots on the bottom left corner.
So, the moment of realization.
I had viewed the purpose of valet from a purely utilitarian perspective. However, I realized the phenomenon I was witnessing firsthand during work was due to a second reason to use the valet service.
People were paying me for the feeling of being served by another human.
The amount of time and effort to replicate what I was doing at this particular location was minimal. I wasn’t saving the customers time in the cold, or steps from the door.
What I was doing though, was giving them the feeling that they were being served, that they had achieved a level of class where they could move through the world having others wait at their every need.
The feeling of pulling up to the curb, leaving your car running, getting out and not closing the door behind you, underhanded tossing the keys to the valet as you proudly say your last name, lock arms with your wife, and walk into the double doors to go drink chardonnay and eat a fancy dinner.
I found this fascinating when I realized what was going on.
While I don’t plan on leveraging this myself using this knowledge you could probably position yourself well in starting a business that feeds this desire in people.
Moving forward from my valet story
I said this was a pattern at the beginning of the post so where else can we observe this phenomenon?
While not as obnoxious of an example, I believe that the popularity of food delivery apps is a good place to look.
When you are paying for delivery via Door Dash, Postmates, etc. You are indulging in…. not one, but two layers of service.
- The food is being made for you by a restaurant
- A person is driving the food to your house and bringing it to your door.
What I have noticed about these delivery apps that I find particularly strange is that I’ve seen people get screwed over multiple times by,
-drivers stealing food
-drivers not arriving till food is cold
-customer service from the apps when example 1 & 2 occur attempting to withhold a refund.
However, from my observation people will continue to get food delivered regardless.
But, not everyone gets food delivered right? What about the people that go through the grueling effort of driving their SUV with heated seats to their restaurant of choice?
Recently, a In-N-Out opened in my area and it’s the closest location of the burger chain by hundreds of miles.
I’ve noticed that people have a weird reverence and almost fetishize In-N-Out as if it’s a religious experience to stuff your face with their food, (which, to be fair, is good)
So an In-N-Out Recently opened near where I stay at and there were news stories about how people were sitting in the drive through line for over half a day for a meal.
I drove past the location and an entire section of the mall parking lot had been turned in to a zigzagging theme park line of cars.
If this doesn’t illustrate the point of this post I don’t know what does. People have the time and motivation to sit in a car for the better part of a day to get a new variety of fast food.
I don’t want to act as if I am looking down on those that pay to be served
I personally would rather go to Chipotle than a sit down restaurant but I was spoiled by growing up in the USA just like everyone else.
I’m sure there are services I use and don’t even think about it that would be inconvenient to live without.
Two that come to mind are dish and clothes washers.
However, this high from being served by others is something I believe more people need to check themselves on.
Do you really need to order Doordash instead of going and picking up the food yourself?
Could you go to Noodles and Co opposed to Olive Garden to save money on tipping a server and suffer through filling up your own soft drink?
We aren’t kings, I’m a normal person and so are you.
It isn’t just about money either.
Doing things yourself keeps you grounded.
Even if you achieve a certain level fortune in this world carrying your own suitcase to your hotel room may pay dividends in keeping a sense of humility for others.