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Behold the Carrot Mob!

Since companies are so focused on revenue, maybe we can use this to our benefit by organizing where we spend our money.

In San Francisco, an enterprising man did just that and it turned into a movement. After many inquiries (by bicycle) Brent Schulkin found a local convenience store that would donate 22% of its proceeds on a particular day if Mr. Schulkin would deliver hundreds of customers to the store. The first “Carrotmob” descended on that store and within only a few hours spent more than five times the store’s usual daily total. In exchange, the store invested that surplus to do a full lighting retrofit of their store, making it more energy efficient.

That effort has evolved into a network of Carrot Mobs around the globe, from Singapore to Finland. Here’s how they describe themselves on their website, www.carrotmob.org:

Carrotmob asks businesses to compete: Who will make the biggest change to their business in order to improve the world? The winner gets a reward: Our network will show up and spend money to support them. We can entice businesses to make social and environmental improvements if we give them a financial benefit for doing what we want. It’s the opposite of a boycott. Today we do community campaigns, and when enough people join we’ll have the power to change the largest companies in the world.

The Public Radio show Living on Earth recently reported the Carrot Mob phenomenon. Listen to the story and watch the video linked here.

How could we do something like this in Needham?  Any ideas?

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One Comment

  1. Michael Greis says:

    Various business news sources report that Google may be about to pay up to $6 billion to buy Groupon. Groupon’s business model, if you’re not already participating in it, is focused on promoting small local businesses online. Each day, Groupon sends out a special deal for a small businesses (for example, $50 worth of food for $25 from a restaurant). If enough people sign up for the deal that day, it takes effect and all those people get the online coupon to redeem with the merchant.

    Same idea in many ways as the Carrot Mob. The merchant gets a significant stream of business in exchange for engaging in a specific behavior (providing a discount or investing in energy efficiency). It’s local and it apparently works very well. Not clear how profitable the company is, but as it stands, customers seem to like it and respond, and investors are poised to make a killing.