The facts speak for themselves. Elayne Aion cozied up to the mob on Saturday afternoon at her innocently named gift shop on Glenside Avenue (would you believe Dovetail Artisans?), and it wasn’t even about protection money. They came in strong, credit cards blazing. She offered up everything on the shelves. And the gang was more than receptive, downright polite, and they couldn’t wait to unload their wallets.
This magnanimous mob rule appears to be catching on, not just around here but across the country and even internationally. It figures, right? Just when things were starting to get sorted out. Strictly business, survival of the fittest, only the strong survive, too big to fail, the invisible black hand, shut up and deal; and now: waltzing into a store to brighten somebody’s balance sheet – just because they can. Scary stuff and more than a mite disorienting.
If you’ve followed our story, Cash Mob Boss Shaz Kojouri put out word of the Glenside hit. That was all it took. Aion surrendered her store to some 60 people that day, and it was like Christmas on a drab Saturday in March. Naturally, somebody tried to pull a fast one and called up to buy a gift certificate, merchandise sight unseen, and yup, Aion fell for it. Oh, and they were paying by check (might as well send a Spauldeen or Pensy Pinky).
Kojouri and Aion were practically ecstatic, one because her posse is growing and spreading the gospel of local business and social responsibility and the other, a natural networker, loved the buzz, in addition to the ka-ching.
“It felt like a party,” said Aion. “People who came in were happy and people connected.” Not surprisingly, illicit conversation seemed to dominate, with lots of talk about “fair trade” and promoting local entrepreneurship. No arrests were made, however.
If the Glenside scene was any indication, “International Cash Mob Day” came off without a hitch. According to Reuters, some 200 mobs across the U.S. and Europe flashed their cash while talking up community economic development. National organizations such as the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, founded with the guidance of Philly’s own Judy Wicks, longtime owner of the White Dog Cafe, who built the Sustainable Business Alliance of Greater Philadelphia provide the inspiration for the storm troops at Cash Mob. You could say it’s about looting in reverse.