Jon Stewart's rally porta-potties trickling in now
Days before prospective users arrive, porta-potties have started trickling in for Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the Mall this coming Saturday.
WaPo TeamTV's intrepid correspondent Emily Yahr went back to the Mall Wednesday morning - one day after going there to cover AMC's zombie rally at the Lincoln Memorial -- to report on the three portable toilets sitting by their lonesome selves on the edge of 3rd St., on the Mall.
Those potties were being used by the crew hard at work in the torrential rain to set up the stage and fence off the designated rally area -- Madison Dr. to Jefferson Dr., between 3rd and 7th Streets.
After suffering agonies of embarrassment over a news report the Marine Corp Marathon had rebuffed the RtRSa/oF's offer to join hands and share potties this coming weekend -- the marathon is set for the next morning -- the organizers of Stewart's rally have rebounded in a big way, hiring what may be the largest portable toilet company in the country, United Site Services, to provide relief to Saturday's rally attendees.
USS vice president Bob Barton tells the TV Column that the order was placed a mere two weeks ago, for 450 of your basic portable johns, another 50 handicapped-accessible toilets, and one Platinum Luxury Restroom Trailer, which appears to be destined for use by Stewart and entourage.
"Some of these things get booked a year in advance. This is short notice. We will often, on some weekends, be sold out in a particular location," Barton said, explaining it's difficult "and not economical" to ship toilets from, say, Boston to Washington.
Which is why Barton thinks that Porta-potty present Larry King presented Stewart on "Larry King Live" last week -- when Stewart made yet another pilgrimage to CNN to sneer at the network and sell some books -- is pure hooey.
"Nobody would ever ship a toilet that far," Barton said dismissively. While he admitted he did not know exactly what it would cost to ship the toilet from Los Angeles to Washington -- because he's never attempted anything so hare-brained, he noted, "It's a big box of air and weighs between 200 and 300 pounds and is seven feet tall and roughly four feet square."
Meanwhile, to rent a single portable toilet for a back yard barbecue, a wedding, or a rally to restore sanity, depending on what market you live in, only costs you about $80 to $120.
It's unclear which Platinum Luxury Restroom Trailer Stewart's camp has secured for the rally -- the company has several models among its fleet of 150,000 portable toilets. The company's Web site says its Platinum Luxury Restroom Trailers "offer the ultimate in elegance with interiors that provide all the comforts of home."
"Featuring finishes such as premium wood, faux marble, Corian, and richly stained wood paneling and cabinetry, these trailers will delight guests at even the most formal events. Porcelain toilets are fully enclosed in private stalls and urinals are partitioned. Heating and air conditioning, powered ventilation, concealed plumbing, hot and cold running water, decorative mirrors and accents, make these restroom trailers the perfect option when you want the very best," USS says on its Web site.
"They're usually for VIPs," Barton explained.
Saturday's rally is a pretty small-ish job for USS, which services 24 states. To give you an idea, the company provides the roaming restrooms for the Rose Bowl Parade and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena -- including servicing all those tailgate party, and VIP tent needs.
But the company does a lot of business on The Mall -- it was one of the porta-potty suppliers for the Obama inauguration.
"We supplied a good chunk for the Obama inauguration," Barton said. "We did about 1,200 toilets and dozens of restroom trailers."
The Obama inauguration, he said "cleaned out every portable toilet in the D.C. market to cover that one."
"As far as we know, it was the single largest portable-toilet event that has ever happened in this country."
Lisa de Moraes
| October 27, 2010; 6:23 PM ET
Categories: Local TV, Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
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