Friday, November 15, 2013

Porta-Potty Ettiquette

I’ve spent some time recently addressing Porta-Potties at my jobsite. We share a construction site with another project (we are building on different parcels) and are having to address site logistics such as dust control and restrooms. Both contractors are claiming that the other’s subcontractors are using their toilets. It got me to thinking about Porta-Potty etiquette.

While it is a common courtesy to only use one’s own restrooms onsite, I realized that there are many other courtesies that one should follow. Additionally, there are some other basic parameters that should be followed. Like many others, I avoid having to use Porta-Potties but sometimes we need to bite the bullet. Below, I offer what I think is the most complete guide to Porta-Potty use ever written. Enjoy.

Plan ahead
The best thing to do is to avoid having to use Porta-Potties. Use the restrooms at home or nearby before you leave for work. I sometimes commute with my wife and drop her off at work. She works for a large Silicon Valley tech firm that has the nicest work restrooms that I have ever seen. We’re talking heated seat, music-playing, with built-in bidet status restrooms.  I use those restrooms as much as possible.

Be prepared to be offended
I’m a big boy and have heard my share of foul language. However, the worst, most foul, most racist, horrible, disrespectful things I have ever encountered were written on the walls of a Porta-Potty. Be prepared.

If you don’t believe me, I found a Tumblr page while researching this article. I will warn you that the site contains foul language and that the views presented at Racist Portapotty in no way reflect my beliefs. I only share it with you as an example of how horrible Porta-Potties can be.

Women get all of the perks
Many contractors have Porta-Potties dedicated for women only. These tend to be nicer in quality and come equipped with locks. Legend has it that these Porta-Potties are immaculately clean.

Bountiful Toilet Paper
When you get down to business, feel free to use as much toilet paper as you want. There are no attached plumbing lines to clog so go wild!

Do not bring your valuables with you
I mean it. Do not do it. Leave your phone, sunglasses, notebook, pens, keys, tape measure, etc. in the trailer. Taking these items inside with you only serves to (exponentially) increase the risk of dropping these items into the “waste receptacle”. Don’t come whining to me when you choose to not heed my advice.

If you have to violate Rule #5 and you bring your valuables with you, you need to make sure that all pockets are zipped up so that nothing falls out. I always check zippers as I walk to the Porta-Potty.

Close the Lid
Following up on the valuables item, Porta-Potty etiquette dictates that you close the lid to the toilet before leaving the Porta-Potty. There are two reasons for this. First, you help prevent others from dropping their valuables in the toilet. Second, you spare others from having to see the horrible things inside the toilet.

Mornings are best
The afternoon sun heats up Porta-Potties and makes the interiors 10 degrees warmer than the outside. Not only is the increased heat uncomfortable, but the smells become worse as well.

Day Time!
If it gets dark early and you know that you’ll be staying late at work, use the restroom while the sun is still up. Porta-Potties are not illuminated! It is nearly impossible to use a Porta-Potty in the dark.

Learn the Clean Out Schedule
Inside of the Porta-Potty, there is a tag that shows when it was last cleaned. Study that tag and you will see the frequency that the Porta-Potty is cleaned.

Leave these habits on the jobsite
Once you get home, don’t forget to flush the toilet. Your significant other will thank you.

And finally, a little bit of clean humor to end this article. This is a safe link with nothing obscene… Put the Lid Down