Burning Man Tradition Proves Lucrative for Bay Area Car Washes - NBC Bay Area
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Burning Man Tradition Proves Lucrative for Bay Area Car Washes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If your car needs washing, you may want to wait a week before heading to the car wash. Why? Burning Man just ended and revelers need their cars cleaned. Jean Elle reports. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015)

    If your car needs washing, you may want to wait a week before heading to the car wash.

    Why? Burning Man just ended and revelers need their cars cleaned.

    "It was wonderful, dusty – just our usual tight community," said San Francisco resident Maya Capur.

    But Capur brought back more than just memories of Burning Man. She brought lots of dust.

    "It’s in everything," she said. "It doesn't ever go away. That’s the beauty of our alkaline, fine playa dust. You have to embrace it."

    Unless it's on a car.

    Like hundreds of other so-called burners returning to the Bay Area, Capur was at a car wash Monday.

    "We'll see about 500 Burning Man cars over the next week," said Patty Shimek of Divisadero Touchless Car Wash.

    The business has extra staff on duty this week to handle the crush of what they call "ghost cars." The vehicles’ interiors and exteriors are covered in dust and need extra scrubbing, rinsing and detailing.

    "Our policy has evolved and our price has evolved," Shimek said.

    Customers are asked to shell out $100 for the special treatment. But Capur, who recalls paying $60, said, "We are being gouged a little bit at this point."

    Burners are also warned about longer wait times and are asked to get to the car wash several hours before closing. Late arrivals are turned away, according to Shimek.

    "It’s a lovely reminder, you know," Capur enthused. "Six months from now, suddenly you’ll see a little bit of playa dust and be like, ‘What? How is it still here?’"

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