The expensive car is gone. And Harrah's is getting hit with negative publicity about it.
It comes down to poor management. That's why valet workers give their customers' cars away to the wrong people. Sure, it's the valet's fault for not verifying ownership. But the bulk of the blame is on management for having a valet on staff that wasn't trained well enough, or incentivized enough to do the job right, or to care enough.
Giving a car away without verifying ownership is the mark of an amateur, unless the valet is 100% certain that a particular customer and car go together as a result of on-going, repeat valet transactions, where the customer and the valet are familiar with each other.
I actually gave cars away plenty of times without checking the claim ticket. If the people acted like it was their's, I gave them the keys... especially when it was busy and I didn't have time to stand around waiting for them to find the claim ticket.
I did it that way because that's how the other valets handled it. When I was new to the business, I followed their example.
It took a while for me to get wise to things. Yet even when I did make strong effort to demand claim tickets, when we got slammed and the valet operation was on the brink of going down in flames, I simply could not wait to see a claim ticket that a customer should have had in their hand and ready to show me.
We needed that car gone. We needed the space. And I needed to run my ass back to the garage as quickly a possible to grab the next car.
I was gambling with the valet's company's reputation and bank account. I knew it. But there were moments when it had to be done.
Plus, those cheap bastards paid me just $3.83 an hour. The bulk of my earnings came from the customers, the ones with gratuities in their hands. My employer didn't give a shit about me. Frankly, I don't know why I cared so much for what I got in return.
And it probably is like that at many other valet parking companies.
It's a situation where underpaid, unappreciated workers just don't hang around very long. They leave!
That's another problem with the valet business: the workers have a short life-cycle.
When lousy pay and a lack of appreciation flushes experienced workers out, the brand new rookies come in. And that's where things get dicey.
Rookie valets are more likely to damage their customers' cars, and more likely to give them away to the wrong people and make other dumb mistakes, like lose keys.
After they make a ton of mistakes, they quit or get fired for something, then more rookies come in.
Get the picture?
There is a widespread lack of professionalism because the workers generally do not stay with their jobs for long.
When I was a new valet, my training period was 3 days. That was it! Then I was "in the cut" (participating in the tip pool) and moving cars.
At some places their training might last one day, or less.
And since valet workers are mostly young men, a lot of them lack confidence in challenging a customer for a claim ticket.
Good valet workers are special talent that need to be retained. Those workers are valuable. But because of this industry being the way it is, they just don't stay. Instead, they move along to better opportunities.
And then bad things happen, thanks to their replacements.