London's first cashmob comes to @Pagesofhackney this Thursday. What's the deal?
By Mike Pollitt
7 August 2012, 10:00
On Thursday afternoon at 1pm a group of people, many of them strangers, will descend on the Pages of Hackney bookshop and embark on a preplanned spending spree. It will be part flashmob, part supermarket sweep.
What on earth is going on?
Ken Banks is the man behind the cashmob. I asked him to explain the idea.
Snipe: What’s a cashmob?
Ken: Our website explains the concept quite well.
“A “cash mob” takes place when a group of people arrange to meet at a local shop or store. When they get there, instead of dancing, singing or carrying out other “pointless acts” [the hallmark of a flashmob], they spend a predetermined amount of money. Cash mobs are generally organised by people who enjoy the fun, excitement and novelty of a cash mob, or others who are concerned about the plight of local businesses and want to do something to help.”
Snipe: Is cashmobbing new?
Ken: We believe this is the first cash mob in London. There have been attempts to get them going in the past but none seem to have got any serious traction. We’re hoping to use the London cash mob as the launch event, and to try and raise awareness of cash mobbing as a way to direct customers back to local businesses, many of which are struggling at the moment.
Snipe: Why Pages of Hackney?
Ken: We were looking for a locally-owned business in an area which was being negatively affected by the Olympics, and to support those which were being by-passed by the crowds. We also wanted a business with wide appeal to cater for a wide range of shoppers. Pages of Hackney fitted the bill on both counts.
Snipe: Should we expect more cashmobs in the future?
Ken: Absolutely! The idea is to use the London cash mob as something of a launch event. Through the Cash Mobbers website people can easily arrange their own cash mobs, and we’re hoping the London event will motivate them to do that. We don’t want to stand in the way of people, so they’re fully in charge of what they organise and how they promote it. Cash mobbing is a fantastic concept, and since reading about it earlier in the year it’s been my dream to democratise it. We need cash mobs in every town.