Straight Poop On Saturday Market

GUARDIAN reader Hillary got our attention when she wrote about the overflow demand for “services” at the Saturday Market on 8th street.

Never one to suffer in silence, Hillary wrote to the CCDC about increased fees for vendors at the market to cover the cost of those plastic phone booth style restrooms known as Porta Potties, Li’l Johns, and several other names. She didn’t like the thought of using an alley facility for pit stops–even in the plastic enclosure.

Some permanent merchants are reluctant to open “facilities” to the masses of Saturday shoppers who don’t necessarily spend anything with them. CCDC runs the show and told Hillary the public restrooms at the Center on The Grove are open…two blocks can be too far for the urgent neeeds of some folks.

Forget about Saturday Market–are there adequate public restrooms downtown? Go to the mall or any of the big box stores and you don’t have to hold it all day THEY let people do what they gotta do.

Downtown merchants would do well to adapt the policy we saw on the door of a San Francisco restaurant: “Restrooms are for our CUSTOMERS–past present and future.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. “Restrooms are for our CUSTOMERS–past present and future.”

    Ya know, that just might encourage me to become a “future” customer!
    What a great idea.
    (An aside: A coffee shop in Oregon had two one-person restrooms. Instead of “Men” and “Women” or somesuch, the sign on one door said, “People”; the sign on the other door said, “Other people.”
    Solved the idiocy of several people of one gender waiting outside a busy room while the other room sat empty.

    As for the business that won’t let people use restrooms unless they buy something: I once got run out of the parking lot of a store I had frequented quite a bit by a rent-a-cop who said I couldn’t park there because I wasn’t a customer. I told him I was. He told me I couldn’t be because the store was closed. True, I couldn’t shop there right at the moment, but wanted to go into a nearby business. I considered myself a customer because I shopped there other times. He told me sternly to go away — so I did, and never went back.
    I think some business people just don’t realize how much difference a little courtesy and consideration can make — affecting not only the people to whom it is given, but everyone they tell about it.
    The restrooms or the parking lots, if they won’t let me use them when I need to, I won’t ever need to use them to patronize that business.

  2. Mike Murphy for Mayor
    May 7, 2009, 9:08 am

    The Saturday Market runs along the CCDC’s 8th Street from Bannock to the Grove Fountain where the “Public” (Gbad owned) Restrooms are. They’re not two blocks “away”, the market is two blocks long.

    And regardless of how many merchants have restrooms they can make available to the public (not all do ya know) – no less are willing to – volume dictates the necessity of Porta Potties as this event continues to increase it’s draw.

    The other reality?

    If so many people – of EVERY socioeconomic stripe – weren’t such inconsiderate pigs, I suspect more merchants would be willing to open their restrooms up.

  3. Obviously CCDC has failed in spending the property taxes (TIF) that it collects. Every parking garage in Downtown should have public restrooms. Other public restrooms could have been made available in a multitude to the office buildings/developments that CCDC has had their hands in. It seems CCDC exist to develop downtown only and not for the greater good of the people.

    As for the bathroom facilities during the CCDC/DBA sponsored Farmers Market, let CCDC solve it, not the private business’s.

  4. Just playing devils advocate, the costs of more public restroom facilities, if built, are going to be passed on to the taxpayer. There will not only be the initial cost, but perpetual maintenance and 24-hour a day security issues that will have to be dealt with.

    That is why they don’t have more of them NOW. The question becomes, do the benefits justify the tax burden?

    As for Hillary, she needs to get over herself. We all pay for restrooms in one way or another, be it increased taxes or increased prices at the market or at existing businesses. She should just be damn grateful there is any place to go at ALL.

    Americans are so incredibly self-centered and spoiled it’s no wonder the rest of the world thinks we are mad.

    EDITOR NOTE–In this economy the city and coppers can make $$ with “public urination” and “indecent exposure” tickets and fines too! There is admittedly the potential for “toe tappers” in the stalls as well.”

  5. More than a few large cities around the world have public restrooms at strategic points in their cities. They range from filthy to very clean. Point is they realized they had to do something about the”call of nature” for people and did something to accomodate a “pressing need”.

    Rest stops on highways recognize this need. Why can’t cities figure out a fix for this problems.

  6. I’d be nervous to use a public restroom downtown. give me a porta potty out in the open any time.

  7. “Downtown merchants would do well to adapt the policy we saw on the door of a San Francisco restaurant: “Restrooms are for our CUSTOMERS–past present and future.”

    And more often than not are magnets to the city’s beloved homeless population.

  8. oh no, porta potties, how North E…….errrr….Bohemian. If ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

    Won’t use a Honey Dipper? Should I stereotype by name(comment directed at complainant).

  9. That’s one thing (among many) that I like about Nevada — one can walk into any casino, and almost any bar or restaurant, and head directly to the restroom. Nobody stops you to ask you whether you’re gonna buy something later.
    The theory seems to be that they’d like you to stop in, and they hope you’ll stick around and buy something or drop some coins in the slot machines, etc.
    Does make ’em seem friendlier and more like a place you might want to patronize.

    A lot of it, of course, is because of the casinos.
    But other businesses seem to be well aware that if they don’t let you use a restroom or give you a drink of water or whatever even if you haven’t spent any money there yet, you’ll just head to the nearest casino, where you know you can “go” == and probably will stay there to eat and drink, too.

  10. If two blocks is too far to walk to the restroom then you need to either stay home or wear a diaper.

  11. If I owned a business, I would never open it to the public. I went to a doctors office last month and a patient (perfectly competent and functioning) s*** ALL over the bathroom, then went back to the waiting room for his appointment as if nothing happened. I heard a scream from the nurses in the back and then they came out to ask the human pig if he was ill or needed help. He said “no, I’m fine, I just missed the toilet.” He then went back to reading his magazine and didn’t bother offering to help clean it up at all.

    That is what the general public is….. filthy and disgusting. Catheter yourself if you can’t hold it or if you have diarrhea, stay home.

  12. Grumpy ole guy
    May 8, 2009, 3:46 pm

    Another case, probably, of no single “right” answer. combine several of these excellent suggestions – YES the parking garages should have public restrooms and yes, those rest rooms should have baby changing facilities. Yes, merchants could do themselves a favor by not being such (or, dare I say hard-asses in this connection) about use of their facilities and yes, port-a-potties are ther for use and if someone has some sort of phobia about using them, let them use another facility.
    Stressing the old portion of being a grumpy ole guy I can say that there is rarely such a thing as too many facilities, too close to the need.

    CCDC should address this, so should the organizers of the Saturday market and the solution sould be a combination of satisfying long-term and occasional high volume need. It is just plain common sense.

  13. B.A.T.— As I get older I gain more understanding of people who can’t make it 2 blocks all the time. Lighten up a bit.

  14. While passing through Mt Home for a little camping at the sand dunes, I noticed a farmers market/flea market at the city park. It looked very informal with people just selling what they brought from their cars or a table set up. As BG has preached before, this is what Boise needs. The city of Boise has indicated the parks are not there for other people to profit from. Maybe Ada County would step up and offer the fairground parking lot for such a venture. Charge a small fee($5-10) for a “booth” to pay for cleanup.

  15. I suspect that some of our donated city parks have restrictions via the bequest on use.

  16. So “Hillary” asked a question and got the answer. Now that this info is printed, we know where to “go” should we choose to spend time at the Saturday Market.
    However, I do find it odd that the downtown area does have so few public rest rooms. They do not have to be open 24/7, but “as needed” by events such as the Holiday Parade. Who would pay? Perhaps pay toilets are the way to “go”.

    thanks H for digging up this info

  17. sam the sham
    May 11, 2009, 8:56 pm

    I understand that Nampa’s farmer’s market, also on Saturday, costs less and is close to The Flying M … I will check out the potty situation if you are interested – or even if you are not.

  18. Ah, where there’s a will, there’s a way — or when there’s a need, there’s an answer. I’ve found ways to cope most anywhere I am (even midtown Manhattan) and downtown Boise is fairly easy and pretty hospitable. Although once in Brooklyn, I bought a really bad coffee in Starbucks so two of us could use the facilities on a really cold windy day. (We poured the coffee out; it was undrinkable.)

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