Cash mobs have been adopted by communities and occupiers alike. Participants organize independently of the store's knowledge and flood it randomly with customers. The businesses that benefit from cash mobs are often agreed on by all participants. They tend to be examples of businesses that do more than sell items; they give back to the community and are actively involved. Each customer typically commits to spending a certain minimum, say 10 or 20 dollars. These micro-purchases, when completed en masse add up to a lot for a local business.
Cash mobs were the initially the idea of blogger Chris Smith who described it as a reverse Groupon. Instead of offering a large group of people a bargain, participants pay regular prices that more accurately reflect how much an item costs to produce and sell locally. He created the first cash mob at a local winery in August 2011. A Cleveland blog has been started on the subject that outlines how to organize a cash mob, mob rules and more. http://cashmobs.wordpress.com/rules-2/
Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg and Saint John all have cash mob organizers working at building a following. Though there have been several successful cash mobs in Canada, many activists are still getting the word out. Support buying local and sustainable goods by following cash mob groups on twitter. And don't forget to support March 24 as national cash mob day.
Cash mobs are typically organized through social media, in nearly the same way as flash mobs with one key difference: people are spending money at a local business. In tough economic times, cash mobs are used as a sign of solidarity, a way to create new customers and a clever way to support a local business. They also lend media attention to a small scale business that might not have a large marketing budget. Communities can change how people think about shopping locally by exposing a lot of people to the wares and plight of a local business owner.
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