BLADENBORO — Starting Friday, the Potty Patrol is back, now in its third year of delivering the flower-filled, purple-painted potties to unsuspecting residents in Bladen County.
“Someone saw the idea on Pinterest a few years ago and we decided to start trying it,” said Claudette Guy, organizer of the effort. “The first year we had 10 or 12 potties and made around $12,000, so we kept it up.”
The organizers added more toilets when they saw an apartment complex remodelling and throwing out old units, and they have even stopped to pick up potties that are sitting on the side of the road to be disposed of.
Not only have they added to the number, but they have also spread out in area. What started out as an event focused mainly on Bladenboro with a dozen units has grown to encompass Elizabethtown, Tar Heel, White Oak, Garland, and Bay Tree, with 30 toilets covering the area.
Five team members select people that they think will be good-natured about having a toilet in their yard, and members set about delivering the units. Potties are set up in the most visible section of the selected person’s yard with a sign giving contact information and explaining how the process works. $10 will get the toilet removed from the yard, $20 will get it removed and placed in another friend’s, family member’s, or business’ yard, and $30 will get your name on a “don’t come back here again” list. As a grand finale, Guy and her team will deliver to one innocent, and, hopefully, amiable person all 30 toilets at one time.
The organizers maintain a list of all the places that have been visited so that they don’t hit the same place twice during the course of the month-long effort.
“Most people were very responsive to it last year,” said Guy. “We only had a couple of people (complain), and I think they didn’t know what it was. If you don’t want it in your yard, it’s no big deal — we’ll just go back and get it. We don’t put it there to force people to pay. If they don’t want to, they don’t have to, but it’s for a good cause.”
Though the cost the get the humorous eyesore removed is only $10, understanding people have gotten on board with the effort and donated $100 or $200, and the event last year raised around $20,000, reported Guy. All proceeds are used to benefit Relay For Life, a program with which Guy became involved when her son went through a bout with cancer.
Guy wants people to exercise understanding and to keep one thing in mind: “The more we move it, the more money we make. If it just sits in somebody’s yard for two or three days, we’re not making any money.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.