“Cash mobs” are the latest version of flash mobs; a large group of people getting together to perform an apparently spontaneous action. Unlike most flash mobs, a “cash mob” helps the economy. Thanks to media such as Twitter and Facebook a group of online activists has been targeting locally-owned stores in cities around the world, with a goal to provide small business with an economic stimulus.
One of the victims on Saturday, March 24th was Nature’s Bin, an organic grocery store located in Cleveland. Andrew Samtoy, the movements founder told the crowd that there were only three goals he required form participants, “You have to spend at least $20, meet three people you never met before and have fun.” In just a few short hours 120 people had spent approximately $7000.
The 32-year-old lawyer dreamed up the idea for cash mobs after spending time in Britain during the summer riots. His first organized “cash mob”, last November, was in Cleveland and brought around 40 shoppers in to the Visible Voice book shop. Within and hour-and-a half each shopper spent an average of $40. “We are kind of slow in November so I wasn’t going to turn it down,” said the independent book store’s owner, Dave Ferrante, who estimated he made about eight times his normal take on that day.
After the original Cash Mob other groups started picking up the idea and it spread nationally. Cash Mobs have occurred from Los Angeles to New York and it looks like they might be here for a while as they continue to support small businesses and provide minor boosts to the economy.