Cash Mobs Are Way Better At Helping Boost Local Businesses Than Flash Mobs

Who needs a crowd of people dancing to a pop song in an elaborately choregraphed public maneuver, designed only to get attention? Well, sure, flash mobs are fun to watch, sure, but cash mobs — large groups of people descending on local businesses to give sales a push — are a lot more productive in terms of helping a community.

CNBC says the trend started in Buffalo to help a wine retailer out in a tough spot, and now the phenomenon has spread across the country.

Cash mob organizers simply rally the troops via social media, or in some cases, get the word out to local news stations, and tell everyone which day and at what time to show up ready to spend some cash at a small business in the area. Then everyone goes shopping, the store gets a much-needed bit of retail oomph, and everyone wins. Of course, store owners are told ahead of time that they’ll be mobbed, so as not to become overwhelmed.

One current example tipster Anne sent in to us features Brielle’s Coffee and Tea Room in Independence, Ohio that has been in business for 18 years but has faced financial as well as personal setbacks for the owners recently.

In Brielle’s case, FOX8 in Cleveland held a contest for local businesses to be the winners of a cash mob, and they lucked out. Shoppers will descend on the coffee shop Wednesday, Feb. 29 from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and hopefully, leave its registers ringing.

Want to start a cash mob in your area? Click here to check out these handy tips on how to do so or call your local news stations to suggest they start a campaign.

With a Tweet, Cash Mobs Rescue Local Businesses [CNBC.com]
Cash Mob Winner Announced [FOX8]

Comments

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  1. dolemite says:

    I like local businesses, but man…talk about a markup. Like 50-100% in many cases.

    • ethervizion says:

      It’s not generally markup that makes the prices higher. Most small businesses do what they can to survive. It’s the big-box stores that manage to get much better wholesale pricing that small businesses could never dream of.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Yup. Small local businesses frequently have pathetically low margins, because otherwise you’ll go buy your stuff at Walmart instead. And when Walmart is selling stuff (and making a profit) for essentially what your cost is…you’d better hope lots of people just hate Walmart.

      • Actionable Mango says:

        No kidding. In many examples the wholesale prices offered to me were higher than Wal-Mart’s retail prices.

  2. kobresia says:

    On the other hand, flash robs are very bad for local businesses.

  3. 10,000 Hours says:

    Wasn’t there a guy out there who got ‘cash mobbed’ and it ended up doing more harm than good? He either couldn’t stock his shelves in time for the next days worth of sales, or he couldn’t reorder from his suppliers because his account was past due and they wouldn’t ship him more inventory?

    • who? says:

      I read an article awhile ago about how to organize a cash mob. One of the things it said was to make sure the store owner knows you’re coming, so they can be prepared. Probably because stuff like this can happen, especially to small businesses.

    • Amp says:

      That’s more like a Groupon story, from what I’ve heard.

  4. Buckus says:

    Can someone please arrange a cash mob for my bank account? Just walk into a bank and deposit money into my account.

    • axhandler1 says:

      I’ll set one up! What’s your account name and number? Oh, I’ll also need your home address, SSN, and mother’s maiden name. Just SOP for setting one of these up, I’m sure you understand.

  5. longfeltwant says:

    “Then everyone goes shopping, the store gets a much-needed bit of retail oomph, and everyone wins.”

    I don’t get it. The store owner wins, but the consumers are spending money which they otherwise wouldn’t have, and thus lose. What part of this has everyone winning? If people want to perform charity, there are more direct ways to do it.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      How do you know they are spending money they wouldn’t have otherwise? Maybe all these people are making a conscientious effort to forgo Starbucks or McD’s for a day and support a small business instead.

      • longfeltwant says:

        Well, of course, because they weren’t. If the customers were already spending the money, then the whole mob thing would not have been necessary.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          I think at this point you are arguing for the sake of arguing, and I’m not even sure what about. What the hell is your point?

          • longfeltwant says:

            I made my point at the beginning: this is a laudable act of charity, or something similar to charity, but shouldn’t be confused with the normal fair trading of goods for dollars. I object to calling it a “win for everyone”, except in the way that charity is a win for the donor.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              I see it as “Hey, a store I like but haven’t shopped at for a while is going out of business unless I act. I will buy from them either for personal enjoyment or as gifts for others. Then the business will still be there.”

              Also, you’re being somewhat a stick in the mud without seeing it from a positive perspective.

    • who? says:

      Presumably the consumers are buying something they would have otherwise bought anyway, probably at a big box store.

      • longfeltwant says:

        You think? I don’t think you can presume that. I presumed the opposite: that if people were going to buy these things, then they… you know… would have done so. I guess the context of the story made this sound like explicit charity, but hey, charity has its place. This just seems like an odd way to do it.

        • 12345678nine says:

          It is just a way to organize to get you to try out something new. You get introduced to a new store you have never been to and is not in your routine. You discover different things that they have and maybe become a repeat customer.
          My uncle owns a feed and pet supply store in Florida, and their prices are AMAZING. SO much cheaper than any other pet supply store. They just don’t do a high markup, and they have enough business to keep prices to the point where they profit. So many people just hop on over the Pet Supermarket or even Walmart and get crappy food and such for their pets, when you could go to this store and get a 20 dollar 35lb bag of actual MEAT based dog food. No corn additive.
          But the thing is, people don’t know what’s in there because they never go.

    • j2.718ff says:

      Also, the shoppers get to deal with much greater crowds than usual. The only way I could see this being a win is if the owner put things on sale for the mobees.

      On the other hand, were the mob unannounced, and unexpected, the look on the owner’s face when a huge crowd of people flooded his usually-empty store could be worth something.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I also don’t get helping other people. What do I get out of it?

      /Grumpy McGrumperson

  6. TimelessFinanceCom says:

    Fluff piece. Distract from America’s slow dissent into third worldom.

  7. Press1forDialTone says:

    Cash mobs are a way good thing even if prices go up a bit.
    Helps level the playing field with the ginormous mega-corps
    who kill small businesses without even batting a eye (remember
    they are people according to the Supreme Court). Helps folks
    who in many cases are your neighbors. Helps retain the quality
    of life in many areas by reducing the sprawl of “big box” everything.
    It makes you feel good whether you like or not. Conducive to making
    new acquaintances. You sometimes meet and get to know the owner(s)
    and if you’re satisfied, you’ll come back. Every small business loves their
    repeat customers and will go out of their way to make it right if there is
    a problem. They are much much more sensitive to “customer churn” than
    a mega-corp. They don’t give a s*** who you are.

  8. maxamus2 says:

    Let’s cash mob Walmart, yeah, they won’t know what hit them!