Monday, December 23, 2013

The Four Cash Mobs of Christmas: A Recap

Well, we did it. I and a group of my friends descended on four locally owned, independently operated stores with our gift-buying money this season, contributing to our local economy and avoiding, in large part, the mass merchandise that we might otherwise be tempted to give our loved ones.

I wrote about the idea for the Christmas cash mob here. A couple of notes:

* Originally, I had hoped for twelve cash mobs. My friends talked me down to four, which in retrospect was super smart.

* "Mob" is a generous term to describe us. On our best day we had six people, which will impress the staff of a small shop but for a larger retail space just looks like Tuesday. Only three of us made it to our last store, Jeans & a Cute Top, which I think we anticipated but which was a little anticlimactic.

* Technically, we didn't shop local. We cherry picked a local suburban downtown area that had enough shops to keep us motivated throughout the adventure. That locality was Downers Grove, the previous home base of our employer, InterVarsity Press, and the community my wife grew up in--so, not completely cut off from our sense of place, but a bit of a stretch, I freely admit.

* We might have ventured beyond Downers Grove into Westmont (current location of InterVarsity Press) or Clarendon Hills (our neighbor to the east), but Downers Grove had these punch cards that enticed us to keep coming back. We actually won a gift bag from our first location, Gabby's Gifts, and we may still win $100 from the Downers Grove Chamber of Commerce.

* I didn't do all my Christmas shopping during these cash mobs. I just couldn't find everything I was looking for. Maybe next year.

All that being said, I certainly enjoyed myself and hope to make the Christmas cash mob an annual tradition. At the very least, it's a way to make Christmas shopping a communal event, rather than a solitary experience, which means you get less lost in it. If you had a similar experience this season, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. Otherwise, I'll leave you with my favorite flash mob video, by Improv Everywhere, and simply wish you a merry Christmas.

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