I’ve just returned from the 5th Enfield Shock Cash Mob. The aim is to gather a (friendly) mob and get them to meet in a pre-arranged place, each with a minimum of £10 in their sweaty hand (or is that just my hand?), and descend on a local shop to spend the money. The mobsters don’t know in advance where they’re going to, and the shop isn’t expecting them. The idea is to support the high street, independent traders and buy locally. All are in the hands of the organiser. It’s simple and brilliant – and in Enfield, it’s growing.
Enfield’s ring leader is Karen Mercer, who also runs My Coffee Stop on Enfield Chase station. She got the idea from a similar scheme in Haringey, but the origins are in the US. Karen’s approach is different because of all the mystery in advance. Previous shock mobs have primarily focused on food stores, but as 16 people gathered in Enfield town centre this morning, Karen informed us of where we would be descending.
Cosy Cove, in Burleigh Way, Enfield, is a pop-up shop run by 16-25 year olds and backed by Retail Ready People. It’s a 12 week volunteering and training programme designed to give young people a chance at getting some retail experience, but is also designed to rebuild the reputation of both young people and Enfield after the riots last summer. Karen explained that not only does today’s cash mob support small town centre shops, it also supports young people and the charitable efforts behind the shop.
After an opening day on Saturday, attended by the local MP, Nick de Bois, the descent of almost 20 people at once into the small space must have been a welcome relief on a crisp late autumn day when trading in the morning looked to have been quite slow. Mobsters were treated to a range of locally produced and sourced t-shirts, hoodies, cards, tote bags and toiletries. The cash register was sent into a joyous spin and there were happy faces all around.
The shock cash mobs are proving to be very popular, and Karen – with her infectious energy and optimism – has drawn praise from traders, crafters, the shops themselves and has even caught the attention of the BBC and appeared on News 24 to discuss the idea. It looks like it may go from strength to strength over the Christmas period.
More can be found about Cosy Cove here.
More on the Cash Mob here.