New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free Advice

Many years ago I had an idea to sell advice on the streets on New York City for $1. I proposed this to two friends, and they really liked the idea. Both had experience in therapy. We all had diverse backgrounds, strengths - most importantly we felt we also shared a lot of life experience. And it would be fun.
I thought it was a novel idea - I was a little disappointed when I found out that three women had done it years before and had written a book about it. Amy Alkon, Marlowe Minnic, and Caroline Johnson were three ad agency people who started giving free advice on the streets of SOHO in 1988 and published a book - Free Advice in 1996.
We plied our trade a few times. It was a lot of fun - we wanted to do more but never did.
So when a friend and I were strolling through the park and came across this fellow, I was quite startled to see him doing the same thing. For free.
Now when I did this with my two friends, we had long discussions about charging money or doing it for free. Our feelings were that people take things more seriously when they have to pay for it - it's about commitment. And the seller takes it more seriously too - we did. The dollar transaction made a difference. We only did it a few times and planned to again but never did.
We were surprised to see how young this guy was and wondered how qualified he would be to advise on issues like relationships. I was going to try him out but didn't get the chance. Let's hope that in this case you don't get what you pay for, but that the best things in life are free :)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

2 gentlemen gave out free advice in Literary Walk/the Mall before it's renovation. Since then, I have not seen them since.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohadby/26927295/

Sherry said...

Ever since seeing a photo of a similar "Free Advice" setup in Central Park, I've really wanted to go to one! You three should set up shop again. Maybe I'll be one of your customers. :-)

By the way, I love your blog. I've been following it for a while but this is my first time commenting.

Chuck Pefley said...

Reminds me of several people I saw with "Free Hugs" signs at the Spanish Steps in Rome. They did not have people lined up to get a hug from a stranger, but certainly found takers every now and then. Both are fun concepts. Good post!

Andrew said...

I guess sometimes you don't need to be qualified, you just need to be there and to listen. I think we all like someone who will listen. Agree with you completley about the small payment making a big difference.

Good luck to them.

If you do it again I'll come to New York to give you a $1!!

Great blog.

Jeremy said...

Brian ./.. and absolutely awesome moment in time ... even though its free ... it speaks volumes .. kind regards , jeremy

Kate said...

Well, Brian, as the old folks say, "Free advice is really cheap!"

Blogger is being temperamental and is giving me a hard time uploading my images, and just when I'm approaching my 500th post!!

DwD said...

i'd love to try it! getting new perspective from stranger just off the road lol! i wonder, has there been a movie made about this?

brohardphotography.blogspot.com said...

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-kelli- said...

I find it interesting that most comments refer to getting the advice, him giving the advice, but not the stories some certainly confide in him. For him, payment enough, I'm sure. ;) Stories based on encounters like these will keep him the life of the party for years. ;)

-kelli- said...

Further, I'm intrigued about the type of advice he gives. I'll look for him next time I'm in town. I mean, who couldn't use some good advice, right?? =)

Jilly said...

People need to talk but one hopes the guy knows what he's doing.

Eric S said...

LOL that is priceless. (literally)
**groan from the peanut gallery**