August 24, 2003 in Current Events

Flash Mobs

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A new phenomenon is storming the globe. Personally, I think these people have way too much time on their hands.

A Fast-Moving Fad Comes Slowly to Washington
‘Flash Mobs’ Gather, Just Because
By Jackie Spinner, Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 21, 2003; Page A01
Their watches synchronized, about 75 young professionals swarmed through the doors of the Books-a-Million store on Dupont Circle at precisely 7:28 p.m. on Tuesday.
They drifted to the magazine racks and grabbed copies of GQ, Out, Budget Travel, PC World and Modern Bride.
Six minutes later, everyone swapped magazines and began to read aloud. Sixty seconds later, they cheered and high-fived as puzzled customers stared. Then the pack walked back out the doors and dispersed onto the surrounding streets.
This was not a Washington protest. This was a “flash mob,” the latest fad among the digitally connected, people eager for whimsy in this summer of suicide bombers and war, looking for a chance to do something wacky.
Like eating bananas in a department store in Berlin. Or banging their shoes on the street in Sao Paulo. Or swarming the student store at Harvard University to ask for a card for a friend named Bill.
Don’t try to get the point.
“There is no point,” said Tom Grow, a Florida-based Web developer who is attempting to become the official historian of flash mobs by documenting the craze at “It’s catching on mostly because of the spontaneity. With world events the way they are, people look at it as an escape. It’s just for fun.”

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