Best Idea Ever – Cash Mob

I told the story of the Cash Mob to my wife this morning. I could be totally off-base on this one (I’m not going to research it and pretend like I knew this time) but here’s how it goes…

One day, a group of friends in NY found out that a local convenience store, Hercules Fancy Grocery, was going out of business. It was just one of those local corner markets you might see on any corner. It was family owned and the owner was distraught that his store was going under.

This group of friends, determined to help in any way possible (or, at least, make themselves feel better), pooled their money (and credit cards) and literally bought out the whole store. They also recorded the whole thing:

If this wasn’t the invention of the cash mob then it was for me. Several months after seeing that video, I started reading about these groups of people in neighborhoods who would come to a local store and everyone would spend a certain amount of money, around $20 or so. These were small, single-door locations that really felt the effect of 100 or more people spending $20 each throughout the day.

There’s two reasons I love this idea so much:

First, I get giddy about the whole “Lotto” effect, like there was this group of people who schemed and planned to make my day/week/month a great one. If I was already having a good day, this would make it epic and I would believe that my positive attitude had brought this great thing upon me. If I was having a crappy day, I’d feel like maybe, just maybe, things could turn around. No matter what the situation, it’s great.

Second, I’ve become more and more aware of the importance of local, small businesses. I shop at Costco, order from Amazon, and can be found in Whole Foods from time to time but I make a point of frequenting businesses in my area. I don’t just do it to be nice, I really love the connection I feel there and hate the distance I feel at large chains.

I buy my bike parts from Free Range Cycles and they know me there now. Their parts cost a little more but they frequently just install them without asking and are always an important course of knowledge. I buy all of my coffee and related items at Milstead & Co. In edition to ridiculously good coffee, these guys and gals really help you learn how to brew on your own and will always spend a couple of minutes describing what you’re about to drink. You just don’t get that at Starbucks.

So, cash mobs, now you know, one of the best ideas ever!

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