Everyone needs advice at some point or another. Whether it's about love, life, or work, we all need the words of someone else to help us through problems once in a while.
That being said, we don't always have someone trustworthy we can turn to. Our friends will always listen, sure, but someone with more life advice can offer a different perspective. So where can you find people like that?
Why, just outside the farmers market, of course!
Tony Caputo and his friends are becoming famous for the "Old Coots" advice booth that sits outside a farmers market in Salt Lake City, where the group gives advice to people who walk by. There's a giant sign that hangs on their booth, which reads “Old Coots Giving Advice — It’s Probably Bad Advice, But It’s Free”.
So how did the group decided to start the booth?
“We were sitting outside, bored stiff from talking to each other, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to get us a booth across the street at the farmers market, where we can give advice,” Caputo said.
The friends were already sitting around at the farmers market anyway, so they figured they could help some people in the process. They didn't actually think people would come to them for advice, but they soon realized they were a hot commodity. Many people began asking them for advice, with questions like:
- Where can I find someone to love?
- Why does my cat pee on everything in the house?
- Have I put in enough time at my new job to take a one-week vacation?
Caputo and his friends were happy it took off, but were a little surprised.
“It started as a joke, but it’s become a phenomenon,” he continued. “Somebody told us the other day that we’re the most popular attraction at the market. We always listen carefully and don’t give gratuitous advice.”
People have come and sat with the group just to chat, or to ask questions about the problems going on in their lives. Even if they're not licensed professionals, the group loves helping people out.
“To be truthful, I’m not sure that any of us can claim to have much wisdom,” said John Lesnan, another member of the Old Coots, “but it sure has been a lot of fun. Maybe all of us coots really do have more to offer than we thought.”
“People ask us, ‘Are you guys qualified to do this?’ and of course, we have to say no,” said Caputo. “But neither was Ann Landers. Hopefully, we won’t mess people up too much.”
As for the name? Tony came up with something else originally, but Carol Sisco, another member o the group, suggested he change it.
“Tony was going to call [the group] ‘Old Guys,’ but I nixed it because it sounded sexist, although he didn’t mean it that way,” said Sisco, who then suggested that maybe “Old Coots” would be a better fit. “I told him it had more of a ring to it."
One of the most popular questions people ask the Old Coots is how to make their relationship work. That, according to group member Rich Klein, is pretty easy.
"I always tell people that the first thing you do is put down your phone and start talking,” Klein said.
It's so wholesome to see people helping others just because they want to, and not to become famous or anything.