Saturday, March 21, 1998

Hartford: Fastest Flush In New England

Hartford viewed from the Charter Oak Bridge

I found this 1998 article from the Hartford Courant in my files. I took the photo above when Marcia and I rode the bike trail over the bridge years ago.

Hartford: Fastest Flush In New England

by Jim Shea, Courant Staff Writer
The Hartford Courant, Friday, 3/20/98, B11

There is great temptation to relay the region's latest coup in terms of sophomoric cliche.

To say, for example, that we are flush with success, or bowled over, or we all have to go sometime.

But this would be immature. Why not just come right out and state the facts: People from the Hartford area go to the bathroom faster and less frequently than anybody else in New England.

According to a survey just released by Florida-based Ulrich Research Services, the average Hartford area resident makes an average of 5.1 trips to the bathroom during a 24-hour period, spending a total of 36.7 minutes.

In comparison, people in Portland, Maine, spend more time in the bathroom (46.2 minutes), and make more trips (7.2) than other New Englanders.

The other regions surveyed -- note the absence of talk about bringing up the rear -- were: Boston (39.4 minutes, 5.8 trips), Providence (42.5 minutes, 5.9 trips), and Burlington, VT (35.9 minutes, 5.7 trips).

In general terms for the region, the survey also found that women frequent the bathroom more than men (6.7 trips daily to 4.5) and spend about 15 minutes more per day.

The Ulrich report was commissioned by Linters Inc., a Seattle company, which is launching a new bathroom tissue made from cotton.

Nancy Ulrich, whose company did the 500-person, $10,000 survey, said one of the reasons for the differences between Hartford and Portland might be traced to setting.

"This is just a personal observation, but I think people in more urban areas have less opportunity and time to go," Ulrich said. "People in Hartford may spend more time commuting, have less time at home."

Deborah Cook, president of the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce, offered another example for her community's superior go-to-it-ness.

"I don't know if there is a connection or not, but Maine has the highest number of reading groups in the country, " Cook said. "Of course, no one is sure which came first, the number of readers or the frequency of trips."

The research lends support to Cook's view.

According to the survey, more Portlandites (36 percent) said they read books in the bathroom than those from any of the other regions.

Overall, the preferred pastime publication by a wide margin was the magazine, followed by the newspaper.

Although Portland leads the region in the books-read-in-head category, Hartford was No. 1 in overall bathroom readers (40 percent).

Given the rate at which Hartford folks go about their business, this statistic might also suggest we are also New England's fastest readers.