How Much Do You Tip The Valet

My experiences with valet parking are generally limited to 1) the occasional wedding; 2) the even more occasional trip to Spa Castle; and 3) remembering that priceless piece of dialogue in Clueless: “Do you want to practice parking?” “What’s the point? Everywhere you go has valet.” But people who live in car cultures are surely more familiar with the routine of handing over your keys and, later, redeeming your keys for some token amount of cash.

Sometimes, though, even experienced users of valet parking screw it up. Like Les Moonves. Defamer reports:

Last week Moonves, who made $67 million in 2013 (that’s about $40 million more than the CEO of Goldman Sachs), was filmed leaving the birthday party of his billionaire friend, the 92-year-old executive chairman of CBS and Viacom Sumner Redstone. On his way out, Moonves was briefly forced to interact with a non-millionaire, and was caught off guard.

When it was time to toss a few bucks to the person who had been standing next to expensive cars all night — the soft-spoken, courteous valet — Moonves realized he only had $100 bills in his wallet. Whoops!

“Shit,” swears Moonves in the video, “I only have hundred dollar bills.”

He looks at the valet. The valet looks at him. He keeps looking at the valet, apparently waiting for the valet to give Moonves permission not to tip him.

Hoo boy. This weekend, something similar happened to Ben and me while we were in the Berkshires. We realized, upon packing up to leave our room, that we needed to leave a tip for the housekeeping staff, but neither of us had a bill smaller than a $20. OH GOD WHAT SHOULD WE DO

We did what normal people do! We took five extra minutes to go back to the desk and break a twenty. It was not that hard. Les Moonves, who is approximately fifty zillion times richer than we are, however, chose a different path.

The valet mumbles some words of comfort (what sounds like, in a moment of pure grace, “Get it next time sir, no worries”) to the multi-multi-millionaire chief TV executive, and gently places a hand on his shoulder in support, as though he is sorry to have put Les Moonves in a situation where he almost had to give him $100.

“I’ll get you next time, cheers” nods Moonves, immediately stuffing the money back into his pocket.

“I’ll get you next time.” Yup! Next time. What Moonves should do is send the valet’s kids to college or at least give them roles as extras on “Two And A Half Men.”

This kind of story makes me even more sympathetic to Senator and candidate Bernie Sanders’ proposed tax plan on the ultra-rich:

In the last year of the Bush tax cuts, there were well over a thousand people who reported more than $60 million in earnings but paid federal income tax rates far below 20 percent.

In late May, Sanders called for restoring top income tax rates as high as 90 percent. The graduated income tax system means that policymakers could create new tax brackets up at that level without raising taxes on everyone below whatever level of wealth they choose to target. …

Currently, the highest income tax bracket and capital gains tax bracket each kick in at a little over $400,000 in annual income. But there are nearly 14,000 tax filers who earned more than $12 million in 2012 as members of the best-paid 0.01 percent of all taxpayers, according to the IRS, and about 1,360 who earned over $62 million that year. Their vast earnings were not taxed any more heavily — and indeed, they paid a lower overall income tax rate than their merely one-percent brethren.

People like Les Moonves paid a lower overall income tax rate than their merely one-percent brethren — and can’t even be trusted to be gracious to the Joe Shmoes who take care of their fancy cars while they go to birthday parties for billionaires. Ugh.

Oh, and since I haven’t been responsible for doing it for a long time, I’m curious: how much does one tip for valet parking?

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