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Technology & Innovation

Cash Mobs Come To The UK

Last summer, a bookstore in northeast London was the beneficiary of Britain’s first-ever cash mob. Begun in the US, and patterned after flash mobs, it is a growing movement designed to bring people together to support local businesses.

What’s the Latest Development?

Last summer, London bookstore Pages of Hackney found itself unexpectedly filled with a group of about 50 people. Each member of the group proceeded to spend about £20 on books, and then they all drank a toast and walked out. It was Britain’s first-ever cash mob, organized through social media and the Cash Mobbers Web site, which has since gone on to support other local businesses by helping to bring customers together for surprise shopping sprees. Social worker Richard McKeever sums up the mission: “Don’t go to Starbucks…they don’t pay enough taxes in Great Britain. Go to your local stores.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Patterned after the flash mob, the cash mob concept was originally created in the US in 2011 as a reaction to the economic downturn. The amount of money spent and the celebratory toast are part of the ground rules established by a Cleveland-based group. The idea is slowly spreading and has now leapt to other countries, including Canada, Japan, Germany, and now the UK. McKeever’s call to consumer arms resulted in 70 cash mobbers descending upon a bookstore in London’s Harringey borough last month. “[I]n half an hour, they multiplied their revenue five-fold.”

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