Cash Mob: Support your Community’s Small Businesses and Have Fun

Cash Mob: Support your Community’s Small Businesses and Have Fun

A few words about how you can enjoy your weekend time and help the others

The Editorial Board of the WPF DoC web site pays special interest to different initiatives aimed at promoting and developing the dialogue principles in all the variety of public and social life. We wish to share with our readers the information about one such initiative - the Cash Mob

         Last year an interesting social phenomenon appeared in the United States – Cash Mob. The name comes from the well-known Flash Mob. Cash Mob movement is aimed to support local/family businesses which have hard times competing big retailers.

The main idea of Cash Mob: an initiator informs his acquaintances about forthcoming Cash Mob event via internet. Participants usually live in the same community, but they may not know each other personally. The number of participants may vary from few persons up to several hundreds. At a designated day people attend a specified business and everyone spends small, but fixed amount of money (usually it’s 20 dollars but everybody is welcome to spend more). The more active the engaged persons are on the Internet, the more numerous the Cash Mob is. If the event becomes popular (even if the information support is only posts in blogs), the mobbed business can expect additional customers in the future.

         There are no strictly defined principles in Cash Mob, and yet Cash Mobbers tend to adhere to several rules:

-         They agree to meet at a set place and time, but the particular business they are going to mob is announced only when they meet;

-         The business aimed to be mobbed should be locally owned;

-         The business should sell goods/provide services both for men and women;

-         Cash Mob is agreed upon with the business owner in advance;

-         The mobbed business should then favor the community in some way;

-         Cash Mob is usually fixed at weekends and after the action participants are welcome to hit the bar (preferably locally owned either).

Since Cash Mob is a rather new phenomenon, some other rules could be elaborated.

Originally developed in U.S., Cash Mob has already appeared in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, South Korea and Sweden. New countries are obviously on the way. This year “International Cash Mob Day” is going to take place on March 24th.

Both Flash- and Cash Mob are typical for information society. Either appeared due to Internet-based technologies. But instead of Flash Mob, which is aimed at entertainment especially, Cash Mob has a direct societal function: Cash Mobbers undertake conscious activities aimed at preserving social environment dear to them. It is possible of course that in some cases a kind of friends’/relatives’ businesses promotion may take place. And yet the original impetus remains positive while Cash Mob is enriching community’s life. The very appearance of Cash Mobs reminds us that small/local/family businesses need support. And everyone has a handy opportunity to entertain him/herself and to contribute to his/her social surroundings.

Some experts argue that today the state institutions do not give enough support to small businesses. In the given situation society is trying to complete this task on its own. But, what is even more important, the Cash Mob contributes to local integration. This is the social significance of Cash Mob as the phenomenon born by civil society.