November 6, 2009 / 12:56 PM / 8 years ago

Hundreds vie for lucrative NY toilet jobs

<p>Three of 20 free public bathroom units that will be open for the holiday shopping season in New York's Times Square, November 20, 2006.Mike Segar</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wanted: outgoing and enthusiastic applicants to work as restroom ambassadors in central New York location. Good pay.

Amid a struggling U.S. economy, hundreds of jobseekers applied on Thursday at the open auditions for the opportunity to interact with guests at the Times Square restrooms, lured by the promise of $10,000 for six weeks' work.

In addition to greeting guests the five lucky applicants will comment and blog about the experience on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

"I'll glue myself to a toilet for $10,000," actor Carlos Lozada told the panel of casting agency judges who will select the winners of the national search.

For the past few years toilet paper maker Charmin has set up the toilets to provide relief for the throngs tourists in Midtown Manhattan during the holiday season.

This year the company wanted to enhance the experience with five bathroom ambassadors. The winners will be announced at the opening ceremony of the toilets on November 23.

Competition was cut-throat, with some candidates arriving at 4 a.m. for the chance to wow the judges with demonstrable enthusiasm for all that goes on behind stall doors.

Bathroom humor was in abundance and costumes were elaborate, including toilet-paper dresses, a pair of superheroes and at least one claim to royalty by a self-styled potty-paper princess.

Aspiring actors vied with students trying to raise tuition money and even a businessman hoping to seed his enterprise.

The company estimates that about 500,000 people a year use the toilets, which are open during the last six weeks of the year.

The lucrative contest came as the U.S. economy was still shaking off the effects of the worst recession in decades, with nearly 10 percent of the nation's work force without a job.

"With like 10 percent of the public out of work Charmin thought ... why not elevate it to a situation where we could employ five ambassadors and really give them an amazing salary for an amazing job," said Phillip Sontag, senior vice president at MS&L, a public relations firm working for Charmin.

The company also employs up to 150 people to work in the washrooms, presumably at a less lucrative salary.

Editing by Michelle Nichols and Patricia Reaney

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