by Lauren Way (San Diego)
There are two real questions here, for me. Because, in my understanding, the Cash Mob movement is about shopping locally and supporting the economy of the community, but it’s about more than that. It’s about the mob itself.
So, first, why shop locally? Because walking down a street with diverse and interesting storefronts is fun; those shops can only stay open if we patronize them. Because you can get to know your neighbors, have conversations with store owners who’ve been in your community for years or those who are just starting up. You can get insights to happenings and fun things going on down the street that you wouldn’t have heard about before. In San Diego, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and not know your neighbor’s name. It took us having a massive power outage for me to learn who lives next door, that was a huge wakeup call. Because it’s political action. Nothing is louder than the almighty dollar, and where you spend it speaks volumes. Visiting the local café, the neighborhood boutiques, the little corner bookstore is a way to keep things at home, to keep our neighborhoods unique and vibrant and diverse, to let our local economies thrive.
Relevant to this, also, is why “Mob”. Why follow all of those silly rules? Because it’s a party! You get a whole bunch of people together. Some know each other, some don’t. And everyone is there to make a difference. We’re all there with the same goal, and we’re all on the same adventure. There is buzz, there is energy. Where are we going? What’s this mob going to be? Will I be adding to my library? Record collection? Wardrobe? That’s part of the fun! And, when you have fun and make new friends, you’re far more likely to keep things going. I know I’ve become far more mindful of where I spend my dollars AND I’ve had some wonderful conversations with some wonderful folks thanks to this first event. By getting a bunch of people together at once and all going to one place, the impact is tangible. We all need a little instant gratification now and again, and seeing the line of people in the little store that’s never before had a line and hearing the grand total of the night makes the difference feel more significant. And, hopefully, that joy stays with at least some of the mobbers, and they carry it on to the future. Or, maybe they saw a couple of other nearby shops, and want to check them out. Or, maybe they are reminded of another local shop on their block or by their work that they’ve always meant to visit but never actually checked out. The mob is the chance to grow and celebrate community. The movement is about supporting our local community. All of it is about fun.