Patt Morrison for April 18, 2012

Cash mobs hit LA

Tupalo.com/Flickr/Creative Commons

Shoppers in Vienna, Austria, at the city's first cash mob, March 23, 2012. Image courtesy of Tupalo.com.

You’ve heard of flash mobs, but have you heard of cash mobs? While Republican and Democratic politicians continue to squabble over tax hikes, some Americans have chosen to show their support for the country’s small businesses the old fashioned way: by lavishing them with cash.

Cash mob members pledge to spend at least twenty dollars at a local business, to be decided on by local chapter members. The call goes out, and the mob shows up…in a more or less orderly fashion, at an agreed upon time. Stores visited by cash mobs have reported revenues of up to $9,000.

About 248 so-called cash mob chapters have started across the country, mostly made up of young professionals who organize online and usually say their reasons are as much social as they are philanthropic. Andrew Samtoy, the Ohio attorney who cofounded the movement, stated that he was looking for a way to make flash mobs creative again, as well as help small, struggling businesses.

Last week, in Los Angeles, a cash mob reportedly spent $1,200 in about an hour at the newly-opened store of the Downtown Women’s Center, Made by DWC.

WEIGH IN:

Have you participated in a cash mob, or do you own a store that has been visited by one? Are cash mobs a great idea to boost revenue at local, small businesses, or could they still lead to flash mob type mayhem?

Guests:

Andrew Samtoy, Ohio attorney, San Diego native and cofounder of the worldwide cash mobs movement

Lisa Gilmore, coordinates Los Angeles cash mobs on Facebook, Twitter and Meetup, and has organized four Los Angeles County events since December

Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance


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