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The Bizarre Business Of Professional Line-Standing | News

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The Bizarre Business Of Professional Line-Standing
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- If you wanted one of the coveted public
spectator tickets to the Supreme Court's health care hearings, you had
to camp outside overnight.  That is, unless you enlisted the services of
one of D.C.'s professional line-standing companies.  This bizarre
business was born from necessity:  high- demand hearings on Capitol
Hill.   

"This line standing business, to my knowledge, only exists in
Washington, D.C. Nowhere else," said Mark Gross, owner of
Linestanding.com.  "Our clients are industry associations, lawyers,
lobbyists, people
in the financial industry, anybody who is concerned about what's going
on on Capitol Hill."

To reserve one of these professional line-sitters, all you have to do is fill out a
reservation form on their website.  You can even request "front of the
line" service for an extra fee. 

"Our clients need to get into those hearings and they're willing to
send us hours, sometimes even a day in advance," said Gross.

In the case of the Supreme Court health care hearings, Gross says they
used about thirty line-standers working in shifts to hold fifteen spots for
three days.  Linestanding.com charges $36 per hour with a 2-hour
minimum.  A competing company, Washington Express, charges $40 for
congressional hearings and $50 for supreme court hearings. 

"We used to have line-standing wars between competing companies," said Gross.

Nowadays, these companies are more worried about Capital Hill Police and the weather. 

"Can you imagine being out here during Snowmageddon?" said Gross. 
"We don't charge any hardship fee, but it's rough out there." 

Gross says the going rate for one of his professional line-standers is between $10 and $15 an hour. 

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