‘Cash mob’ phenomenon arrives in Barking
PUBLISHED: 16:09 31 May 2013
Assemble a group of people each with at least £5 in their wallets and have them descend on an independent shop and purchase something there.
That’s the premise of the new ‘cash mob’ craze that has been borrowed from the US and is in the pipeline of being set up in Barking.
In a time where independent traders are slowly being sucked off the high street and replaced with chain shops, this variation of the flash mob is a way of keeping local business alive and increasing their recognition.
The cash mob revolution is loosely being run by social network activist group We Will Gather and in Barking 23-year-old Seun Oshinaike saw the idea and decided to get on board.
He said: “I felt like it was something that could really benefit a lot of local shops. We can all do it and give something back to our community.”
Seun, who is the co-founder of Barking-based social enterprise Brighter Steppings, organised the first Barking cash mob last Saturday.
The word-of-mouth tactic unfortunately didn’t attract masses of crowds, so instead he and his friend tried a new tactic - they would offer to take someone into an independent shop and buy something for them.
Such a generous offer was inevitably met with skepticism, as one might expect, until a family accepted it, albeit suspiciously.
He explains: “The whole point of the cash mob is to get loads of people together, but without many of us we decided to take random people off the street and into an independent shop instead. We had a camera and went around asking people. Most thought there was a catch and turned us down, but we eventually persuaded a mum and her two kids to come into the QS clothes shop in Vicarage Fields and we spent £20 on clothes for them. It was great that we did it.”
Seun is planning another cash mob in July, and plans to spread the word by text, with each person sending a text message on to five other people, and so on.
The event will also be announced on Twitter and Facebook using the #wewillgather hashtag that is being used for other cash mobs across the UK.
“The whole point is to plant the seed in each community,” Seun says.
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