• DFWMAS Cash Mob

    Nearly two years ago, I wrote an article about why we as hobbyists should support our local fish stores, even if it costs us more for those items. It had been weighing on my mind for quite a while, and I'd actually sat on the write up for several years. I'm wasn't alone in this thinking, as most of the feedback I received was positive.

    Roughly three years ago, a friend of mine in our club suggested that we mob a store with business. It took time for his spark of an idea to gain traction, and finally last weekend we saw its fruition. Cameron felt strongly that our wallets should show tangible proof that we appreciate our local fish stores, and the idea was for a bunch of people to show up with signs and matching shirts ready to spend money and fill the store's register. Using our club's discussion forum, ideas were presented with what was to be the best plan of action.

    In a nutshell, a single store was selected and the date and time was set. T-shirts were printed up for anyone that was going to be an "activist." Each person committed to spend $50 that day. The club paid for the shirts, and everyone showed up just before the store opened to collect and don their shirt proudly.

    Saturday July 21 at 11:00 a.m. the store was full of Cash Mob shirted hobbyists looking for new additions for their reef tanks. We shopped through the abundant choices of corals, fish, invertebrates, and of course drygoods. We were delighted to watch the huge puffer inhale silversides with his tankmates. The giant Palani tang in the 550g was also fed while we watched (video below). The register was running non-stop for about an hour and a half, and our goal was accomplished. We got some new stuff to enjoy, and the fish store brought in some extra income. I was told what we brought in was close to what they normally gross all day long, and the store still had about seven hours until closing time.

    I was happy to get an Acropora, some zoanthids, a red mandarin, and some glass cleaner. I had to get out of there before I overstimulated the local economy. Between 20-25 of us went that morning, and left with smiles on our faces and coolers full of livestock.

    Our club has 620 card-carrying members. If small groups can agree to mob the various stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with the same $50 commitment, the club can clearly show their appreciation for the fact that we have stores to turn to when we want to shop locally.

    The Cash Mob idea is a good one. If every DFWMAS member wanted to participate, we could 'mob' 25 times with each person only doing so once - without it being a burden. If you need test kits, fish food, or are ready to buy one coral or fish, waiting until the next mob event is a pretty cool idea. 25 times is more than two per month without breaking a sweat, and could infuse the local stores with $30,000 to $50,000 annually.

    The shirts sent out a great message:

    Stimulating the Economy One Fish Store at a Time

    Some might ask why we did this. The relationship between clubs and fish stores are often strained, especially if the store owners feel that club members direct potential customers to shop online almost exclusively. We all enjoy saving money when we can, but nothing compares to going into a fish store full of aquariums to pick out livestock, selecting the one item with the best color, the one that appears to be quite healthy. And when Murphy strikes, those local stores are there with the parts we need to resolve those little emergencies like a cracked bulkhead, a broken light bulb, a burned up pump or a faulty heater. The stores are there to answer questions, suggest solutions, and carry inventory that we often need on the spot -- like more salt! I shop online for some products, but I frequent my local fish stores and buy locally as well. My hobby would be more difficult if I didn't have local fish stores to turn to when the desire arises.

    Maybe your club would like to try mobbing a few stores as well?

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Snakebyt's Avatar
      Snakebyt -
      great idea, glad it worked out well for both the club and the LFS. Would love to see a write up like this each time you attend one of these events. Might have to set one of these up at our local club
    1. Sisterlimonpot's Avatar
      Sisterlimonpot -
      Yeah, I love this idea, I hope it catches on, I'm going to try and get my club involved in something like this as well.
    1. michika's Avatar
      michika -
      I love this idea too. Great grass roots idea with superb execution. I hope you guys can keep this up!