Outside services for camps in 2018

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some seeing eye
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Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by some seeing eye » Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:01 pm

To respond to Plug and Play -PnP- camp expansion the BMORG is capping outside services.

Outside services deliver PnP RVs, generators and more. They are https://burningman.org/event/camps/deli ... providers/. BMORG thoughts on limiting (yippee-ki-yay) is explained at

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by teppy » Tue May 01, 2018 10:38 am

This is an interesting economic experiment - it is an upper-limit on supply with no change to demand. That, combined with the rule that no additional suppliers will be licensed for 2018 should produce a predictable result. Here's a thought-experiment:

Suppose you had a business that was allowed to do no more than $1M in sales, and you are guaranteed to have competitors with the same restrictions. Your goal is to maximize profit in an environment with high demand. A rational actor would search for the smallest amount of goods/effort that they can provide to customers in exchange for $1M.

So while this will reduce the amount of outside goods and services that are delivered to the playa, it will be a goldmine for those companies that have previously been permitted to do this business.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Dr Helix » Tue May 01, 2018 10:43 am

Which is the perfect argument for NO outside services.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Jackass » Tue May 01, 2018 11:09 am

outside services are completely unnecessary when you're actually self reliant. They were the on the block next to us last year, I coudn't believe they were allowing people to set up shop like that and milk attendees for money blatantly... There were people looking to pick up their bikes that these guys were taking out of boxes and putting together on the spot for these prepaid customers.

Un fucking believable... A whole city block of this kind of crap

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Ratty » Tue May 01, 2018 2:29 pm

They can't jack up their prices. Only a tiny bit or they're out too.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by BBadger » Tue May 01, 2018 3:58 pm

I'd like to see mass transportation services, both ground and air, ended as well. These services serve only one purpose and that is to get more people into the event because of road limitations. That end-goal, however, I don't see as necessarily a good thing.

By enabling any person to attend who can't drive in their own gear, we're only encouraging more PnP-type camping. I'll acknowledge that some people can and do bring their own stuff on the bus or plane as well, but how many do not? Can't drive yourself and your gear in? Don't know people who can do it for you or with you at a personal level? Too bad. Go through the effort or make the personal connections.

Subsidize something and you get more of it. Mass transportation subsidizes groups of people who can't pay in terms of time, transportation, and planning. Yeah, it can suck having to pack tons of shit, drive for hours with it, set it up, tear it down, and pack it all out again. That's part of attending an event in the middle of virtually nowhere. That struggle was why obtaining a ticket was supposed to be the easiest part of attending this event.

No buses for transporting people except for those used for MVs, transporting gear, or as RVs. No chartered airplanes or transporting more than your own small group. Green Tortoise? Burner Express? All these need to go. Not reduced. Not the exclusive domain of one company. All of them ended and banned.

On-playa bike rentals should go too. Going through the effort of obtaining, building, and transporting your own bike to the playa should be part of your experience attending the event. You can go rent a bike from some service outside the event, but nobody should be picking up a bike transported to the playa via some sort of service. Again, truck it in, or make personal connections and have help that way.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Jackass » Tue May 01, 2018 4:35 pm

I heard people bitching that they didn't get the trim packages on their brand new e-bikes that they had agreed on and paid for... like, really.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Popeye » Tue May 01, 2018 10:17 pm

I think the limit on Outside Services is aimed at plug-n-play and drop off of campers etc. Which is a good thing.
With the change larger camps are looking to purchase generators and other infrastructure. They will need to maintain them which opens up possibilities for Gerlach, etc. Last year price for water and waste water was just below where camps would find it more economic to buy than to bring their own.

When you eliminate the Burner Express you limit access to BRC to those who can drive in. You effectively limit access to those who live between California and Washington AND those who have enough money to rent a vehicle for a week-10 days to let it sit for that time plus pay for airfare. So people with money and those who live nearby. Yes, I know there are a few who drive from the east coast. Catching a ride with someone means you are more a helper than a doer- nothing wrong with that but it does limit you.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by BBadger » Wed May 02, 2018 3:01 am

So be it. Even with those limitations there will be no shortage of people who will fly in nearby and drive themselves to the event. We had people from Austria do that, and met a solo kid on a motorcycle from Australia. People had been doing that for years.

People will catch rides with other people in cars, not hop on a bus or plane. It's not like those on the latter will be any more doers than helpers than the former. It's a ride either way, but eliminating mass transportation helps reduce mass attendance. This should be an event that you drive yourselves and your gear to, not hop on a tour bus to stay at your prepared lodgings and use a rented vehicle (bicycle).
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by BBadger » Wed May 02, 2018 3:13 am

I'm not even saying people who take mass transit to the playa are bad people or fine citizens. It's just that mass transportation enables and encourages people to attend an event that shouldn't be easy to access and should favor those in close locality to it. While the event shouldn't discourage people from trying to attend, it shouldn't make special accommodations for them to attend just because they don't have the benefit of living close to the event.

It's a struggle that people will take on, just like having to suffer through the inhospitable wastes of the playa, or ruining gear and building structures that will only be used in that place, just to enjoy a week at this unique event.

If it favors those with greater means that's how it goes too. I'm less worried about rich people being able to attend things than making everything too affordable. The more something costs, the more people are going to find their own way of avoiding that cost through ingenuity, or reuse, or working together and building communities. That also means time, transportation, etc. People should be planning and preparing all year, not just scheduling their flight to coincide with hopping on a bus.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Netty58 » Wed May 02, 2018 6:05 am

IMHO, I think that many people who avail themselves of the Burner Express do plan all year, knowing fully that they are limited in what they can take. While I see the overall point and certainly agree with not providing people a bike-in-a-box, excluding those who devote themselves to the type of planning and packing that allows them to cram themselves and their crap onto the bus seems contrary to the concept of self-reliance.

The folks who fly in and present themselves in all their feathered and festooned glory to their delivered RVs...now they're twats.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by some seeing eye » Wed May 02, 2018 6:12 am

I would doubt Outside Services supports many BxB. BxA likely.

I was familiar with the old list of service providers. It was container delivery, RV/trailer/mobile office delivery, generators, heavy equipment and water. RV delivery does have the advantage of having the RV owner fully bought into the dust. Same with heavy equipment and generators.

Personally I have no problem with those services and no problem with reasonable growth in those services.

The BORG has themselves to blame for adding food delivery, AV services and yurtBandB, domez-r-us, tents-r-us, event production and construction. And they have themselves to blame for janky leaky RV delivery. To date bicycle rental is not covered by Outside Services, nor for that matter Black Rock heard wear on-playa delivery. The Commissary/LEO/ESD caterers (?) can send their own staff with a minivan to the grocery to restock.


Black & grey pumping may fall under the umbrella of public health mandated by the BLM, so that is a different discussion. I would take a close look at the EIS when it comes out. The range fire blocking 447 is sure to be covered which may impact BxX and the vehicle pass numbers.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Ratty » Wed May 02, 2018 8:38 am

Black & grey pumping may fall under the umbrella of public health mandated by the BLM.
There is not supposed to be any money changing hands on the playa. All services should be prepaid. If you're RV is full use the portos.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by XPTom » Wed May 02, 2018 10:22 am

Ratty wrote:
........ There is not supposed to be any money changing hands on the playa. All services should be prepaid......
Potential problem is current guidance in the sanitation section of Black Rock CIty Guide says "....Just flag ’em down!...." and "...... Keep in mind that the sanitation vendor only accepts cash so plan accordingly...."

If too many people with full tanks get surprised by new rules things could get messy. Maybe best to announce in 2018, but change in 2019.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Jackass » Wed May 02, 2018 10:52 am

If they were to not offer flag down pump out option, that would legitimately create a full blow catastrophe. That one in my book, would be a very necessary evil.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Papa Bear » Wed May 02, 2018 1:45 pm

Ratty wrote:
Black & grey pumping may fall under the umbrella of public health mandated by the BLM.
There is not supposed to be any money changing hands on the playa. All services should be prepaid. If you're RV is full use the portos.
If that were completely true, you wouldn't be able to buy ice at Arctica. I've heard (though never have seen it confirmed) that one of the reasons the ice exception exists is that food poisoning could become a public health issue. So black & gray pumping might well fall under that same carveout.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by BBadger » Wed May 02, 2018 3:15 pm

Netty58 wrote:IMHO, I think that many people who avail themselves of the Burner Express do plan all year, knowing fully that they are limited in what they can take. While I see the overall point and certainly agree with not providing people a bike-in-a-box, excluding those who devote themselves to the type of planning and packing that allows them to cram themselves and their crap onto the bus seems contrary to the concept of self-reliance.
I'm sure there are many who are hauling in their own accommodations and resources and being self-reliant to the extent that they can given that mode of transportation. Yes, there is self-reliance to that extent, and for the most part I assume that these are good people.

I also think, however, that many do not, and the existence of a mass transportation service like BxB encourages people to join existing camps with services, even if they're not PnP-level. A big part of going to the burn is, in my mind bringing your stuff and setting up your own camp. It also facilitates bringing extra stuff besides the stuff you're living in, or establishing your own camps later.

Plus, all this acts as a big filter. There's a higher bar to reach than packing your stuff on a bus, which while a pain in its own right, is less an investment than transporting all you need to the burn, coordinating with others for transportation, etc.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Ratty » Wed May 02, 2018 3:29 pm

Papa Bear. Two things that I know are required for the event are ice and potties.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by BBadger » Wed May 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Were flag-down pump services ever really a "sanctioned" service, or more some greasing of palms that gradually became commonplace and ignored?
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Papa Bear » Wed May 02, 2018 5:19 pm

Ratty wrote:Papa Bear. Two things that I know are required for the event are ice and potties.
Yeah, I'm not saying that gray and black water pumping are required, just that the thought that they might be seems fairly plausible.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Papa Bear » Wed May 02, 2018 6:36 pm

BBadger wrote:A big part of going to the burn is, in my mind bringing your stuff and setting up your own camp.
Emphasis mine, because I think that's the part of your post that really matters. You have your vision of the right way to burn, but it isn't the only one.

I remember days not all that long ago where people ranted against the presence of RVs at the event, because the people in them obviously didn't understand the burn since they didn't have to set up a tent and had heat at night/AC during the day, and they obviously didn't contribute as much as people in tents and domes. That was nonsense then and it's nonsense now - some of those people in RVs choose them, in part, because being able to roll up with their personal living space already set up allows them to spend more time on their other contributions to the city. I've never gone that route, but I've certainly considered it.

The current crop of anti-BxB complaints strike me as just more of the same - lots of overly broad assumptions and unjustified dismissals. I know plenty of people who ride the bus in, and none of them are unprepared sparkle ponies relying on cushy camps they've paid dues for to take care of them. I'm not saying such people don't exist, but I don't think it's as big a percentage as you think, and I don't think the bus is the cause of it.

Sure, in most cases that means someone else is hauling the bulk of their stuff for them, but so what? That's no different than what people did for years long before the bus existed, and continue to do today. People have always worked together to get stuff out there, whether that meant sharing space in a rental truck, or getting a big group together to pay for a shipping container from the east coast.

If they're carrying the same stuff that last hundred miles anyway, why should it matter whether they do it in a shared or rented car vs riding a bus?
BBadger wrote:There's a higher bar to reach than packing your stuff on a bus, which while a pain in its own right, is less an investment than transporting all you need to the burn, coordinating with others for transportation, etc.
That doesn't really add up. People have been flying into Reno with what they need and renting cars in Reno for years. If there's a difference between packing that stuff in a car in Reno vs. riding the bus, it's that riding the bus is *more* of a challenge because of the smaller baggage limit.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Token » Thu May 03, 2018 10:46 am

To summarize, the old wisdom of:

10-20% bust ass and make special shit happen.

Another 10-20% kick ass and add flavor to make TTITD more better.

The rest are there to party, take selfies, namaste the fuck out of my harsh, and generally be annoying new age hippie ravers.

So, there will always be a few of us grisly jaded old fucks that bitch about commodification... airport charters, burner bus, services, etc.

This shit was true 20 years ago, it’s true today.

Solution : Go there for the 4th of July. Load up with fireworks and guns. Soak in the Trego springs. Kill the frog-bat.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by some seeing eye » Thu May 03, 2018 11:28 am

BBadger wrote:Were flag-down pump services ever really a "sanctioned" service, or more some greasing of palms that gradually became commonplace and ignored?
Black Rock City is in the middle of no where. The shit has to be hauled to a sewage treatment plant with capacity. How many miles? As some burners may recall, at least one porto servicing company just quit, "you can't pay us enough to deal with your shit."

The problem is that idiot burners put shoes, cups, trash, clothes and other nonshit in the portos. When the cleanout crew comes, those things clog the sucker hose. Then the pumper has to clean out the clogged hose with gloves on and bring back the foreign objects to dispose. It is well known that a few idiot burners overflow the porto with inches to a foot of poop above the seat, smear it around, poop in the urinal, break the prorto and graffiti it.

The 10 principles are guidelines. If the porto pumpers can collect cash and tips from pumping RVs, I say you deserve it!

No porto vendor, no event. Wild ass guess, that is what keeps the current porto servicingco from quitting.

So to get back to the original thread topic and intent, doubt, in my opinion only/YMMV, that flag-down RV poop pumping is not affected by the updated Outside Services policy.

It would be interesting to ratio the non-retiree take home pay and net worth of burners to poop pumpers servicing the event. So maybe "greasing the palms" is really "paying the rent." In a perfect world, no money would be exchanged on playa. But in a poopy world...
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Token » Thu May 03, 2018 2:34 pm

Back in the day, before United bought JOTS...

All the glorious effluent was pumped and taken by JOTS to a local garlic farm nearby, where it was composted and used as fertilizer.

Aside from stuff clogging the suction hose, things like baby wipes, condoms, tampons and the likes would also clog the equipment on the receiving end at the garlic farm.

As for when the “flagging” down for service of an RV started, it was early 2000s and published by the BORG as a legit option, prices and all. Not a “grease the palm” thing.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by some seeing eye » Thu May 03, 2018 3:12 pm

I'm always thankful for history from fellow ePalayans. In major thread drift, I always thought BMORG should start its own area portopumper for-profit corp.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Ratty » Thu May 03, 2018 4:59 pm

Token, If you want an interesting day on the playa take a trip out to the USS office. The clogging from baby wipes takes place right there. Feel free to ask for a tour. (I doubt if they give tours.) The huge 'gloppata, gloppata' machine spins the shit into gold on site. All the wipes need to be raked out by hand. Would you like to walk into a 6 foot cylinder and rake out shit wipes?

Then it can be transported. PLEASE. NO WIPES IN THE PORTOS.

I did work for Robbi Dobbs for one burn. Portta Pottie Project keeps you in TP all week.
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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Token » Thu May 03, 2018 8:18 pm

Ah, did not know it is on-site.

Alas, 2010 was my final year. Don’t see myself going unless I do big art again.

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Sham » Fri May 04, 2018 12:23 am

Token wrote:Ah, did not know it is on-site.

Alas, 2010 was my final year. Don’t see myself going unless I do big art again.
I think Ratty is giving you your reason for coming back to Burning Man. Who can resist a tour of the centrifugal shit separator? (rhetorical question) :shock:

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by Token » Fri May 04, 2018 9:25 am

Y’all are funny!

“It’s spinning, it’s spinning”!!!!

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Re: Outside services for camps in 2018

Post by XPTom » Fri May 04, 2018 9:39 am

Sham wrote:............. Who can resist a tour of the centrifugal shit separator? (rhetorical question) :shock:


My first desert party some of our troops had the unpleasant duty of burning such waste..... An "unfriendly fire" incident resulted from one unit thinking it was ok to use another unit's latrines..... Shit gets serious when you have to burn it..... Sanitary haulers (and firearms restrictions) are both good ideas.
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