IamA (former) portapot servicer. AMA!
My short bio: I used to work for a portapot company owned by my step-family. My dad has worked in the field for the past 6 years. I have plenty of stories, both mine and his. AMA!
EDIT: I have to go pick up my wife from work, but I should be back shortly to answer more questions. Keep 'em coming, I'll try to answer all of them!
EDIT: I'm back to answer more questions!
EDIT: Thank you everyone for the questions. I am going to bed now. If you guys want to keep asking questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them tomorrow when I wake up! Goodnight Reddit
EDIT: I'm back for more questions! Like I said, I'll try to answer all of them!
FINAL EDIT: Well, it looks like it has died down. The replies all get sent to my mailbox though, so I will continue answering questions as long as this stays open. Thanks for the fun!
I work IT at a college.
Yes I kind of miss it. I love driving, and the main part of that job was driving for long periods of time and stopping at a location for about 10 minutes, repeat. The only part I don't miss is being the yard bitch when my stepmom's dad (the owner) came back. He didn't trust me enough to let me actually go out, and I was stuck picking up trash and mechanic-ing.
On a side note, they wanted their slogan to be "Yesterday's meals on wheels."
Did you ever run into this guy?
Jesus. How can any amount of pussy be worth that. What is wrong with people.
It seems like porta-potty companies try to outdo themselves with the funniest, punniest names for their company. What's the best one you've seen?
Aside from the one I worked at, I haven't really seen very many funny ones :P
Side note: I won't give out the name of the one I worked at since it is owned by my family and that would lead back to me. Sorry :(
Ah, that's a shame! I went on a cross-country trip a few years ago and saw probably half a dozen pretty good ones.
- Royal Flush
- Scotty's Potties ("We're #1 in the #2 Business")
- Johnny On The Spot
I definitely like that second one :P
Back in the day we always found it absolutely hilarious to drop large rocks (baseballish size) down the vent while our buddies were doing their business causing a splash of nasty liquid and several curses. Now friends and coworkers obviously deserve it so no regrets there. But how much of an asshole were we to the guy who had to clean it out?
Very much. They had to reach their hand inside of that toilet and grab that shit covered rock out of there :( if the rock was light enough, it might even get somewhat sucked up and clog/break the hose.
:( Sorry if you had to deal with that at any green river sites.
haha no problem. I don't think they went to Green River very often so hopefully nobody I knew had to worry about it :P
Have you ever had a port a pot fall over and its contents spill everywhere? How common is this?
Being in Wyoming, the wind was a bitch. We always used metal stakes that we pounded into the ground and bailing twine so that they were tight to the ground, but they would occasionally blow over. It really isn't that common. We (usually) serviced them about once a week, so if it did blow over, it would be dried by the time we got to it. We would just switch it out with a clean one and take it back to the yard where (usually me....) could powerwash them out.
I got really good at holding my breath.
What is the most disgusting story working you could share with us?
Definitely going to a construction site where they were building a new school. Construction workers are nasty mofos. They would run out of toilet paper, and just leave piles of used toilet paper laying around. Also, the smell. oh my god, the smell.
When the bathrooms are built, the toilets are installed before the water is turned on. Doesnt stop dome of those cretins from dropping a deuce or two into a waterless toilet, with no trace of TP in sight.
Funny story. While you are sucking them out, people will come behind you and shit in the empty portapot you just cleaned. There is no water, no toilet paper, and there are portapots that we haven't got to yet about three feet away. It's frustrating because then they get mad at us. You sat there and watched me take everything out of there! Did you see me put anything back in yet? No? Then obviously it's still empty.
What was the least obvious part of your job?
When people throw trash into the toilet, we have to pull that shit out with our hands. Please don't do it. It fucking sucks.
What's the strangest thing you've found in a port-a-john?
Expensive jewelry. Like, something upwards of 3-4 hundred dollars.
There are also a lot of drugs/paraphernalia that people dump :P (crack pipes, bongs, bags of weed, etc.)
So how does your girlfriend like her new necklace?
Hahahaha. I would never take anything home that has been covered in shit. My dad, however... Once he found a really expensive knife, washed it off, and now he uses it for everything.
What was the grossest thing you have ever seen while moving them?
On the Mormon trek. I'm pretty sure they all got their period at the same time. bloody murder scene in the toilet. They only use pads, and they get stuck in the wand.
I just remembered a story that my dad told me. They do rendezvous every year, and everyone who goes there gets drunk. Apparently some drunk people like to smear shit all over the walls.
Also, drunk women take out their tampon and draw on the walls with them. What the hell.
Have you ever heard of one of the trucks used for moving the waste getting into an accident while it was loaded? Did shit get everywhere?
They get into accidents quite frequently, actually. I haven't heard of any of the tanks rupturing, though. They are made, usually, with pretty solid steel and it would take a lot to cause a rupture.
Did you ever get into an accident while driving one?
No. I didn't get to drive very often, but when I did I was extremely careful. We always had someone outside of the truck while backing up, and took several safety precautions while driving.
Cool. Thanks for doing this!
No problem, glad you liked it :P
What is the retention rate of a portapot servicers? Are there people who are servicers for life?
Where I'm from, there aren't much other jobs available. They tend to stay unless they get a job out at the mines ore (haha) they get fired. My dad has been there for quite a while and I'm pretty sure he is going to work there until he retires.
You said you have lots of stories. What's your favorite?
My dad and co-worker were coming in because their tank was full, and I guess that the drain pipe was clogged. My dad went back into the truck and started up the pump but put it in reverse so that it would build up pressure, and waited about 5 minutes.
After he turned off the pump, he went to the back and the co-worker told him, "Okay [my dad], turn the handle slowly." My dad, for whatever reason, decided not to listen to him. He cranks the handle open, and shit ejects out of the tank completely covering the co-worker.
He was completely drenched in shit. In his mouth, his eyes, up his nose, drenched. They still had to go do more sites, but the boss took one look at the co-worker and told him to go home and take a shower because he reeked. He had to drive home, so he also covered the inside of his truck in shit.
TL;DR Dad doesn't listen, covers co-worker in shit.
Was at a festival where there were lots of rain causing mud. This made every portapotty seem like a bad accident. How do you clean that up?
If it is super bad, we just take a bucket of water and splash it around in there. After that, we spray disinfectant and wipe everything off.
What's the weirdest thing you saw someone do/ saw the result of, in a port-a-john? Also, how'd you get into the business?
Well, while I was there my coworker and I were in charge of servicing about 50 portapots for the Mormon trek. Imagine this. Tons of hormonal teenagers, all stuck together for about a week. We would service a portapot, and there would be shoeprints on the toilet seat, or spread so that they were on either side. We could only assume what was going on, but it's not hard to guess.
I got into the business because my stepmom's family owns the company, and I was tired of fast food. Plus, it paid pretty damn good for someone right out of high school.
Oh that's nasty. You say you used to work in the port-a-john industry. What do you do now, if you don't mind me asking?
I work in IT at a college. Smells a lot nicer :)
Idk man, nerd sweat tends to be pretty acidic.
Have you gone in a portapot at a construction site? Nerd sweat smells like roses.
For the shoeprints, at least on my job sites a lot of south american workers stand on the top of the tank and squat over the seat to offload
But yea I don't think that's why they were there :P it was mostly overly Mormon people that wanted to "Get in touch with their faith" and I doubt they would be doing that.
Just on the seat? Could have been a bunch of kids wanting to see if they could all fit inside.
It definitely could have been. Didn't think of that. But, on the other hand, why would they want to see how many people could fit inside of a portapot?
From the bottom of my grew up at horse shows and rodeos heart, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
Also I'm so sorry for all those assholes who put their sanitary products and trash in the tank, who draw in the plastic, who graffiti them, who smear them with foul substances, and who can't fucking get their shit and piss in the right hole (you have ONE JOB people lol)
You are my working out at the far end of rodeo parking and braiding/manscaping horses at 0300 potty saviour.
Did you like the driving around to different locations part?
Did you have any favourite locations or customers?
Yea the driving is pretty nice. Usually I would be with a coworker, so we would just BS the entire time. It was good fun.
My favorite location was doing the Mormon trek. It was a 20 minute drive, with 10-30 minute drives between sites. Plus, usually we got overtime because there were 50 pots and it took about 14-15 hours to do all of them.
What are the benefits/downfalls of working this type of job??
Benefits: it pays quite well, plus you are basically getting paid to drive and then do a ten minutes of work at a time.
Downfalls: it stinks. People don't respect you. People are grossed out by what you do. Long days (your day ends when you finish your route. I worked from 8 am to 11 pm multiple times.)
Have you seen Kenny?
No, I haven't seen it. It did bring back some memories though :P from what I saw it's pretty accurate.
Fun fact: In order to climb inside of the shit tanks, you actually need some sort of certification. The gas from all of the shit can actually make you pass out and die.
Have you ever had someone push the portapot over when someone was inside for a prank? Can the chemicals covering someone become life-threatening?
Usually we have them strapped down pretty tight, sometimes so tight that it is pushing in the top :P it would be pretty hard to tip one over because of that.
I don't think the chemicals would be life-threatening, they would most likely go shower or something right away anyway. At least I would...
Do you find cell phones every day?
I actually haven't heard of anyone I know finding phones inside of one. I don't think people just try to get in and out as fast as possible haha
I once had sex in a porta-potty at a rock concert in Timmins Ontario. Did you ever walk in on people doing this, or suspect them? If so, could you do anything other than forcefully ask them to leave?
We never actually saw anyone doing anything in them. However, there were "hints" that it had been happening. I think we would just wait for them to be done and then do our job as usual haha
What's the best or funniest bullshit you've seen written on the walls?
The majority of it is in spanish :(
Other than that, people trash talk their boss a lot. They have whole conversations (kind of like passing notes in high school)
Ha sounds about right. I do construction so i see the inside of portopots very often
How can you see without the smell burning your eyes out..
What is in that blue stuff, and why doesn't it work for smells?
I never really asked about what was in it, but I do know the purpose. It is basically just for breaking down the toilet paper. I would assume it has some sort of acid or base in it. I do know that when one of the pouches breaks open, it gets fucking EVERYWHERE.
They aren't supposed to help with the smell, believe it or not. The thing that is supposed to help with the smell is usually heavily scented air freshener disks or (what we used) scented urinal splash guards. They smell pretty good for a while, but as you can imagine shit smell is pretty strong :P
I actually work for a "blue stuff" manufacturer up in Canada. And ours does indeed help with smell, but we make discs and a wall spray for additional smell cover-up, too. We'll be at the Pumper show in a few weeks in Indianapolis (it's actually called WWETT now), come by our booth!
What are they made of if you don't mind me asking?
I recently learned that the smells would be better if people shut the lid. In your experience did that help?
Not really. The urinal and goes into the same place as the toilet part, and the smell finds a way to get out.
Have you ever reversed your pump on your truck and blew nasty shit water all over an unsuspecting victim, al la Ready to Rumble?
Sadly, no. Usually the only time we are using the pump was when we were actually sucking out the shit, and I had heard enough stories of people having it blow instead of suck and getting covered in shit. I was veeeeerrrrry careful.
EDIT: I don't know why I said sadly. I'm pretty happy it didn't happen
Has one ever exploded? Completely covering you in slimy shit?
Thank god no.
What is something that you think should have existed to help make your job easier? Does this exist now?
The only thing I could think of would be the "blue stuff" that actually isn't blue. When it gets on something, it is extremely hard to get it off. Using water just makes it worse. It can take an extra 5-10 minutes to completely clean it off of everything.
I'd bet that it exists, but I've never seen it so I don't know for sure.
Not that I knew of. I did get sick a couple times, but I didn't worry too much about it and just waited for it to go away so that I could go back to work.
What new job did you get after working with portapotties? Do you miss it? And not really a question but a comment: I saw a truck carrying a tank for pumping septic that said, stool bus - no kids inside. I still think that's funny.
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