Retired ‘old coots’ set table up every Saturday – to give free life advice to strangers

Sometimes, we all need a little advice. Whether we’re thinking about taking a new job, ending a relationship — or simple, less ‘significant’ things like should we remodel our kitchen, there’s a huge array of questions in our lives that require a certain amount of thinking.

I for one do tend to seek the advice of my family and friends — even if I know ultimately do what I really want at the end. Of course, I realize this can be very frustrating for my family and friends sometimes.

But what if you got your advice from someone more objective than your nearest and dearest? Better yet, from someone with a lifetime of experience? And to top it all off — for completely free?


That’s what a group of seniors from Salt Lake City, Utah, decided to do. The group of retired friends have long been convening once a week to hang out and chat.

But they found themselves rather bored one day. So rather than play bridge or chat about nothing much, they began to think that perhaps, they could do something more productive with their time…

An Impulsive Idea

“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,” said Tony Caputo, 69.

The group agreed and that was that — they formed the ‘Old Coots’ and within a short time, they set a table up at the farmer’s market. A hilarious large sign stood above: “Old Coots Giving Advice — It’s Probably Bad Advice, But It’s Free”.

Then, they awaited their first ‘customer’.

Image of Old Coots

Most Popular Booth in Town

Little did the seniors know that their little idea, meant mostly as a joke, would become so popular.

“It started as a joke, but it’s become a phenomenon,” Tony said. “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.”

The Old Coots have continued to set up every Saturday at the market to give advice, with about 30-40 people a day coming by for their valuable tips about anything and everything. The only rule is that they won’t respond to religious or political questions — but beyond that, every question is welcome.

“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.”

What a great idea! I would absolutely love to visit this booth and chat with one of these wise seniors, wouldn’t you? There’s no doubt in my mind that they surely would have great advice to give. Share this story if you agree and think your community can use a group like this.