Tacoma Cash Mob: It's attacking right now!

By Volcano Staff on April 1, 2012


Teaching Toys and Books is about to get getting mobbed.

The Tacoma Cash Mob announced on social media that it would gather at 2 p.m. today outside Mason Methodist Church on the corner of North 27th and Madison, then announced what store it would attack, en masse.

The mob chose Teaching Toys and Books in Tacoma's Proctor District.

Melissa Tennille, co-owner of the victimized store, couldn't be happier.

"I think that the social aspect of the fun camaraderie and sense of adventure will bring folks together way that transcends a regular shopping excursion at our store," says Tennille.

Since originating in Cleveland last November, cash mobs have popped up all over the place. More than 100 networks have been set up in U.S. cities - the Teaching Toys version will be Tacoma's first - and others have shown up in areas as far-flung as Scandinavia and South Korea.

The idea is simple enough - a twist on the concept of "flash mob" with one important distinction: This mob intention isn't disruption, destruction and leaving the participants soulless, clutching sad clown masks behind the rhododendron bush. Instead, organizers select a local, small business and urge people via Twitter or Facebook to spend $20 there at a certain time.  In the end, the community-conscious shopping generates more business for the local economy and in the case of Teaching Toys and Books, provides an opportunity to sell a bunch of Wheely Bugs.

Bart and Veronica made the first Tacoma Cash Mob purchase at Teaching Toys and Books, spending $65.54.

Tennille and crew were ready to reward their new social angels.       

"Over the last week, I have gone around to each business in the Proctor District and asked them to help us fill goodie bags for the cash mob participants.  Our store is giving a $10 gift certificate to anyone who spends $10 or more.  We have also put little toys in the bags.  Other merchants have filled the bags with coupons, gift certificates, key chains, cupcakes, jewelry, candy, free karate classes and more," she says.

Look what Christy Reedy scored!

King sweet pea!

Teaching Toys is also raffling off free math classes, dinner at neighboring La Fondita Mexican restaurant and a life-sized stuffed bear. 

Patricia Lecy-Davis and grandson, Skylar, joined the Tacoma Cash Mob.

"Hopefully the fun owl hats that we will pass out at the event that say, 'Look whooooo's great!' will be as big a hit as I imagine," she adds. 

There are no specific rules in founding a mob, Fleming points out. Though the national cashmobs.wordpress.com site offers suggested rules and advice, organizers don't go through any headquarters, or certifying organization. The process is almost as simple as the concept itself.

Teaching Toys and Books owners Melissa Tennille, left, and Valla Wagner.

LINK: Tacoma Cash Mob Facebook

LINK: Tacoma Cash Mob Twitter