MCLEAN, VA - "Cash mobs," a much-welcomed relief from the criminal rash of "flash robs," have come on to the retail scene to help out local merchants.
USA Today wrote last week that these organized groups of do-gooders are hitting up small businesses to buy merchandise in cash, which for some retailers is a generous boost to their bottom line during tight economic times.
These flash-mob-type shopping sprees have taken place in dozens of cities from San Diego to Buffalo, notes the newspaper, and are organized on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. So far farmers markets, toy stores and hardware stores have been on the cash-mob hit list. During a spree, mobsters typically spend $10 to $20 in cash.
Cash-mob organizers notified John Reburn three days in advance that his Appalachia Press business, a letterpress and silk-screening shop in Roanoke, Va., would be "hit" by a mob of more than 100 people. During the shopping spree, his store rang up 54 sales in less than an hour. "We did the equivalent of a Christmas shopping day in 45 minutes," he told the newspaper. After the spree, the group convened at a local barbecue joint for drinks.
"There are months when you just wonder if you can continue and if (printing) just has to be a hobby and not your career," added Reburn. "But this little cash mob was just so joyful. Even though it was just one night, it does make you feel appreciated."