Monday, November 28, 2011

You're Invited to a "Holiday Cash Mob"

I haven't been posting much lately, in part because I've been busy with Occupy Brookings, which was formed just a few weeks ago. Today I'm writing to invite you to a special OB event that I've been helping to organize--a “holiday cash mob” in downtown Brookings, this Saturday, Dec. 3.

What's a "cash mob"? It's a utilitarian take-off on the "flash mob" idea, with which you might be familiar. A cash mob is a group of committed citizens that visits a locally or regionally-owned business or eating establishment to spend their money, en masse, as a little bit of economic stimulus for the community. Cash mobs have now been organized in a number of cities around the U.S. and are quickly spreading to other countries.

Saturday's event will probably be the first cash mob in South Dakota. Its purpose is not to solve local economic challenges in one day, but to demonstrate support for locally-owned businesses that keep wealth in the community and region in which they have a vested interest.

If you want to participate on Saturday, show up at Cottonwood Coffee at 10:30 a.m. We will then select two shops and one restaurant to “mob.” To be targeted this week, a business must be either locally or regionally owned; be situated downtown, within walking distance of other establishments to be mobbed; be a positive presence in the community; and have items for sale under $20.

After deciding which businesses to “mob,” we will then visit them on foot, en masse, according to a prearranged schedule. (If for some reason you need to use a vehicle, please do.) The Cash Mob will patronize two downtown shops before eating lunch at a downtown restaurant. After lunch, those who are interested will proceed to the Brookings Public Library for the next Occupy Brookings assembly meeting, to convene at 2:00 pm in the Cooper Room.

To be part of the Cash Mob, you won't have to spend money at each stop, or at any stop, for that matter. Your mere presence will say a lot. However, we're encouraging those who can to spend $10 to $20 at one of the targeted businesses and to eat a meal at the designated restaurant.

We want the Cash Mob to help generate some excitement among Brookings residents to support their neighbors’ businesses. Some of us may even end up visiting a shop or eatery we’ve never been in before. The Cash Mob is also meant to be a fun way to socialize with other members of the community.

We hope that the OB Cash Mob will inspire other individuals, friendship circles, co-workers, or civic organizations to organize their own cash mobs in town. OB plans to sponsor additional Cash Mobs itself, including some in the mall areas.

If you're unable to attend this week’s Cash Mob but wish to be supportive, please choose to shop and eat locally during (and after) the holiday season. Don’t forget to tell the owners and staff of the establishments you patronize why you’re there. Share your experiences at

Hope to see you Saturday!

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