Icon Parking Accidentally Reveals Why Their Service Is Cheap

Eli Lansey took photos of recent Icon Parking ads on NYC subway cars and posted them on his blog. They promise customers “$10 for up to 10 hours” of parking at various lots in the city. Wow, that’s a good price! On the same ad they have a help wanted section that says they’re looking for employees, “no experience necessary.” Ah.

Now, maybe it doesn’t take an expert to park cars, but I fit the “no experience” bill and I can promise you I’d scrape off a little of your paint or ease your car into a support column. My first job in the city was as a driver for a film crew, and I managed to back a rental van into the corner of a building my second week there.

Apparently someone at Icon Parking figured out that maybe this isn’t the best way to instill confidence in your services, because Lansey posed a third photo showing that they’ve update the want ad—now in place of “no experience necessary” it reads, “Paid training.”

“No experience necessary” [Lansey Brothers] (Thanks to Daniel!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. frodolives35 says:

    Uh parking cars. Theres not an associates for that now.

    • jag164 says:

      @frodolives35: Nope, no associates. But they do offer a bachelors program with one pre-req at some of the southern schools and USC; you must be on a football scholarship.

  2. shepd says:

    Somehow, I’ve managed to pay for parking plenty often enough, but I’ve never once had someone park my car for me. Unless, of course, I had lent it to them. I can’t fathom *why* anyone even needs this service!

    Oh well, what can you expect, it’s NYC…

    • youbastid says:

      @shepd: Many parking lots maximize the space they have by blocking in cars and using tandem spaces. If that’s the case, they need to park your car and get it out for you.

      • reynwrap582 says:

        @youbastid: I showed up to a really nice lodge with Valet parking for my wedding in a rental car. It’d been a really long day so I opted to leave a couple things in the backseat (including my inkjet printer so I could print out the programs that night). I had a spare key so I figured I’d just swing by later and grab the rest of the stuff… That’s when I learned why the place hires the SKINNIEST men I’d ever seen in my life. There were literally only a few inches between the cars. I had to go up to the valet and ask them to pull my car out so I could get my stuff, which was sorta embarrassing and resulted in a pretty nice tip for the valet. They easily fit 50% more cars in their lot by doing this instead of letting people park themselves, which is good because of the very limited parking in the area (Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls, WA).

        • James Babiak says:

          HAHAHA. That’s so funny. As I began to read your comment about “a really nice lodge with Valet parking”, it reminded me of the time I too spent a week at one for a business trip. I also had a rental car, and it pissed me off that the valet parking was mandatory. You COULD NOT park your own car, hence even a short layover at the lodge required (by custom) a tip to the valet people. As I was coming and going a lot, this added up. On a few occasions I made it clear I would only be a few minutes and did not want my car parked, just left at the curb. I found it a bit annoying though that valet was not a courtesy offering, but a mandatory function, without any self-parking being offered. That lodge I stayed at? The same as you. Salish Lodge at Snoqualmie Falls. Small world. Amazing place though. Loved the fireplace and jacuzzi in the rooms, and I just had to partake in the ‘pillow menu’. Too bad I was working most of the time and couldn’t really enjoy the area.

  3. Chris Walters says:

    @shepd: due to space constraints, most parking lots and garages in Manhattan have you drop off the car at the entrance, then they decide where to put it. A lot of lots park cars several vehicles deep, and a lot of garages use special elevators to move the cars to different floors. So it’s not a luxury or a convenience, just a necessity.

  4. Chris Walters says:

    por ejempio: [www.flickr.com]

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Chris Walters: OMG. Scary.

      I’ll stick to whining about having to park half a block from the courthouse downtown on a weekday here in Real America ™. :) And pay a QUARTER to do it! The nerve!

  5. rpm773 says:

    But do you get a free Jiffy Park T-Shirt?

  6. humphrmi says:

    Zaphod: now will you please tell us where you are?
    Marvin: I’m in the car park.
    Zaphod: The car park? What are you doing there?
    Marvin: Parking cars, what else does one do in a car park?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  7. youbastid says:

    What experience would be necessary? Do you have a license with a clean record? Then you have experience driving and parking cars.

    • henwy says:


      This is step 1 of Chris’s scheme. The next is to start an internet university that offers degrees in parking. Then, profit.

      • huadpe says:

        @henwy: You cannot fill in the question marks on the form!! No, the plan must be

        1. Criticize parking companies for not requiring experience.

        2. Make internet parking university

        3. ???

        4. Profit!

        There, fixed it.

  8. illtron says:

    I saw subway ads for Icon at least two years ago that had paid training on them. Move along, nothing to see here.

  9. krunk4ever says:

    “No experience necessary” doesn’t necessary mean they won’t train you…

    That’s like when McDonald’s puts out a help wanted ad for flipping burgers and they say “No experience needed.” It’s not like they’re going to stick you in front of the stove immediately. They’re going to teach you how to flip the burgers, when to put the cheese, what to look for before taking it off the stove, etc.

  10. N.RobertMoses says:

    I always wondered about these ads for parking on the subway, since their target audience for the parking doesn’t seem the kind that would be riding the subway. Metro-North from Westchester or Connecticut, maybe.

    I understood the half with the ad for getting parking attendants, which I think also has some Spanish text, too. Not like I am actively paying attention to these ads, but you know it is the whole captive audience thing.

    • huadpe says:

      @N.RobertMoses: As a suburbanite who drives in now and then, the subway does make sense. If you’re going to more than one spot in the city (like most tourists), what you’ll often do is to park in a garage near the first thing you’re going to, and take the subway for the remainder.

      Commuters aren’t the best market to get with advertising for parking anyway, they’ll probably just park at wherever is closest to work. Leisure visitors will be going to various spots and hunting for garages/street spots. They’re who you want to hit with adverts, and the subway can be as good a place as any.

  11. OsiUmenyiora says:

    I don’t know about you guys but I always require at least five years experience and two professional references of the guy who parks my car at a garage. {jeez}

  12. EdenBabararacucudada says:

    parking company uses ambiguous phrase in ad, consumers laugh, parking company updates text of ad to more accurately describe what they mean, consumerist claims conspiracy.

    I would _MUCH_ rather have my car parked by “never done this before, but I was trained professionally” than by “uh.. yeah.. sure.. I do this all the time? just give me the keys”

  13. ajlei says:

    I think the bigger point here is the fact that they changed the sign afterwards to omit the “no experience necessary”.

    And, I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t trust anybody but me to drive my car. Even though it’s over ten years old and not a luxury car by any means, I love it dearly and would not hand it over to any old untrained parking expert, only the finest professionals.

  14. harlock_JDS says:

    @ ajlei

    which is untrue. i’ve seen both ads running at the same time.

    As for not trusting people, in NYC (and in most big cities i’d guess) it’s not an option. They are set up to maximize space by parking cars so they block other cars, you can’t just go in and park/unpark yourself).

  15. Adrienne Willis says:

    I was just reading this ad on the subway this morning and wondered where in the theater district (or anywhere in manhattan south of 110th street) can I park my car for $10.

  16. Daveinva says:

    The good news is, “paid training” means “we hire you without experience, but we still pay you for your first day of work.”

  17. econobiker says:

    We are now offering Degree Certificates in Vehicle Storage Management with focuses on storage space maximization, rapid pace steering wheel and seat adjustmentation, stealth removal of coinage from automotive holding bins, vertical height estimation of sport utility vehicles, and high performance piloting of luxury sports cars in quarter hour increments.

    No experience necessary.

  18. acwatts says:

    Ummm yeh…. There may be better uses for that guy with the PhD from MIT than parking my car… As long as the parkinglot has insurance and the attendant is legally able to drive and not currently using drugs or drunk it sounds like a winner.

    • tgpt says:

      @acwatts: having worked with PhDs for almost two decades now, I’m going to have to say that they’re the group of people I’d be least likely to hand my car keys too.

  19. cuchanu says:

    Anybody else that lives in Seattle know why every parking attendant in the city is Ethiopian?

  20. nanoalpha says:

    This practice is, sadly, not limited to the parking attendants. Many service agencies that hire contractors will have “help wanted” ads going “no experience necessary.” The training that the agencies will give them would be minimal.
    And you check out the agency websites… ta-da! “Experienced personnel.”