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Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Great Experiment

One of the things about Cash Mobs is that every one is different, and the organizers each put their own particular spin on things.  Experimentation and learning are a critical part of this whole adventure.  Sometimes it works out great – for example, Chagrin Falls announced their target in advance and got 200 people to show up.  Sometimes it doesn’t work out – another organizer tried to get a mob to meet at 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon when lots of people were working and it didn’t go so well.

Next Tuesday, Cleveland is going to be trying a “Cultural Cash Mob” out.  Understanding that the Creative Class can have an extremely positive impact on our communities and economy, and that they need our support to continue to be creative, we are going to go to a show featuring local performers; we’ve negotiated it so that $20 gets each mobber admission and three drinks.  (If you’re under 21 you get admission and some swag.)  The details are here; we’ll let you know how this variation goes when we’re done!

Also, for everyone else, what variations have YOU tried, and what went well/should be avoided in the future?

Advice

TO EVERYONE WHO HAS ALREADY HELD A CASH MOB:

A lot of new mobs are forming.  Is there any advice you’d give the new organizers of things that went well or didn’t go well for you?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!

100?

Folks, if I’m counting right, we just hit 100 Cash Mobs.  I don’t even know what to say right now.  It is incredibly humbling and inspiring to see so many people deciding to take action to help out their communities like this.  I think a celebratory high-five is in order right about now to each of you.

Mobbee Perspective – Big Fun Toys, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

On Thursday February 9th, Andrew Samtoy, along with co-conspirators (I say this in a positive way) Lindsay Fello and Ashley Sparks, rallied a group of 65 community-minded souls together in Coventry Village in Cleveland Heights to cash mob my business, Big Fun. What an incredible feeling it is to watch five dozen plus people rush in your front door with smiles on their faces and with one and only one idea: to support a local business. No discounts, no special deals – that’s not the mission here.

For me, an independent business owner, it means much more than that the dollars that were spent in a 75-minute buying frenzy. I am very thankful for this cash infusion.  Many of the cash mob participants had never been to my store, let alone Coventry Village. Afterwards, my wife, Debbie and I joined up with many of the cash mob participants at another locally owned place, La Cave Du Vin, for a beer and some engaging and inspiring conversation. Again, many had never been to this award winning bar, known for their specialty wines and beers. Debbie and I made new friends that night from this group of cash mobbers that grew out of Bridge Builders, a Cleveland based young leadership organization. It is this cash mob group that has accomplished what too many only talk about: making change by taking action. Action is stronger than words. This strong young group made a change in my business and others on Thursday night. The group’s positive cash mob has now caused this incredibly creative and yes, grassroots idea to spread throughout small towns and big cities here in the US. The cash mob events are also happening in other parts of the world.

People are now actively supporting Mom and Pops and other local independently owned businesses. Cash mobs have become a buzzword and has become a movement. It has helped bring back the culturally important idea, of supporting those who support you.

Keep it local. It feels good.
Ghandi put it simply and so powerfully…
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
I’ll see you all at the next cash mob.
~Steve Presser

National Cash Mob Day

Last week, as luck would have it, Columbia, South Carolina, Cleveland, Ohio and Austin, Texas all had Cash Mobs at the exact same time.  It was kind of fun to know that other people were mobbing.  Then I remembered someone else suggested that we do a National Cash Mob day.  At the time, it would have been just 15 cities, but now…

But now.

On March 24, 2012, we invite you to a little National Cash Mob action.  Organize a mob in your community for that day.  It can be all day (like Chagrin Falls) or more Flash Mobbish (like Bellport, Long Island, New York). If you haven’t yet planned a mob in your community, try to get one together in the next couple of weeks to get comfortable with it, then plan another for March.

New mob or old, we hope you will join us on March 24, 2012, and know that thousands of other people are doing the same thing as part of this Cash Mob Community!

Question

I just got an email from the son of a small business owner who wants to organize a Cash Mob to help his father’s business.  He wanted to know if I thought it would be in poor taste for him to do so.  I know my own opinion, but I wanted to get other Mobber opinions: do you think this would be acceptable or would it be a bad idea?

Gratitude from Old Brooklyn, Ohio

But what can I do about it?

by Marty Mordarski

Many people are concerned about something in their community, city, country…there are very few who actually do anything about it.

As Cash Mobs continue to spread across the country and across the globe, it’s starting to become apparent that it is a relatively easy way for people to do something who may have otherwise felt like they couldn’t make a difference or they just didn’t know where to start.

Again, Cash Mobs aren’t the answer to the question of how to fix a struggling economy, but it could be one of a thousand possible answers to another question.  When people discuss and debate concerns about things like dwindling support for small locally owned businesses, perceptions about unfair competition, challenges of a global economy, or a fear of losing a sense of neighborhood or community, how often are those conversations accompanied by rhetorical questions like, “But what can I do about it?”

“Well, for starters, you could Cash Mob.”

Again, it’s not the answer, but it is an answer.  It can be a great way for someone to start learning about how to make an impact, work with different people, develop leadership skills, and make connections with others who are just as concerned about similar things.  It can open doors to other opportunities while giving people a greater sense of empowerment and confidence that they can do something and they can make a difference.

Message from Lompoc, California

I wanted to reach out to you and thank you for your blog about Cash Mobs.  After encountering a link to a news article on our local Facebook page I was intrigued with the idea and began researching the concept in hopes that it would be a positive activity for our community.  I was lucky enough to find your blog and have found it to be great source of information and inspiration.
We held our first Cash Mob last Friday with what I considered to be a great success.  We had almost 50 ‘mobsters’ and the owner of the local business we mobbed was overjoyed with the experience.  Not only was the average purchase above the set minimum of $10 (given the current economic climate in our community we felt this was a better level than the $20 most mobs establish) but some of the participants had never been in the business before despite having lived in the community for 10+ years and the business being established in the community for over 20 years.  Afterwards, those that wished reconvened at a local pizza parlor and we got to know each other a little better.  One couple expressed to me afterward that they made it ‘their date night’ and had a great time.

We are a small community but mighty when we come together.  There is a fierce pride in our city though the reputation with outlying communities perhaps is not the one we would hope for.  With Cash Mob our community made the front page of the Santa Barbara News Press-a publication in a neighboring town that is always considered far superior to ours-with a very positive message.  That in and of itself has made a huge impact on our little town and we are now planning to hold a Cash Mob once a month showcasing locally owned businesses that give back to our community.  As you stated in response to a critical news article about Cash Mobs being a fad, we are not trying to solve the financial issues that our city and business community are facing, but rather to bring the problems into focus and offer some hope in a positive and fun manner.

Thank you again for taking your time to share your thoughts and experiences and being the inspiration behind Lompoc Cash Mob.

Robin Dunaetz
Lompoc Cash Mob

Control?

A few days ago, a reporter asked me how we planned on keeping control of Cash Mobs.  In this age of social media, anyone could potentially organize a Cash Mob in their community without us necessarily knowing about it; wasn’t that a big flaw of our model? On the contrary, I responded, I think that is one of the great (unintended) strengths of how Cash Mobs have evolved. Each person who wants to organize a Cash Mob is encouraged to do so; we’re not trying to oversee them all.

Cash Mobs are organized by individuals in each community who want to do something good. Many of the early adapters like Lauren Way in San Diego, Lisa Gilmore in Los Angeles and Joanne Forster-Coffin in Chicago have long histories of leadership and civic involvement. It is inspiring that they are still so incredibly active in their communities, and that we are now all working on this together. The part of this adventure that has been even more rewarding, though, has been seeing people who don’t have that sort of history of civic involvement hearing about Cash Mobs and thinking to themselves that they, too, could have an impact in their community.  These people inevitably email us to say that they decided to stop wishing that things were different and that they decided to organize a Cash Mob.  This is almost always followed by an email a few weeks later to say that they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and that they were already planning their next mob.

The best thing we can do is help people take responsibility for their communities, and it sometimes feels like we’re giving people the tools to become community leaders. Beyond the short-term cash infusion that a Cash Mob has in a business, I think that helping people become more active in their communities will be the best legacy we can leave.

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