I had to laugh when I read this BBC article – Major city ‘flash mob prevented’;
Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre said it stopped a major ‘flash mob’ exercise involving dozens of people. But members of the group said the event, in which people froze for five minutes, took place and images went on the social networking website Facebook.Â The Bullring said it prevented a “major blockage”. A spokesman added that the shopping centre “could not afford customers not being able to get past”. A spokesman for the ‘flashmob’ said they had not intended to annoy people.
And then it gets better:
The Bullring’s general manager, Tim Walley, said on Saturday lunchtime that security had spoken to a group which had assembled outside and was told they would reconvene in smaller groups in the shopping centre.Â He said: “We saw one of them with a loud-hailer. “We couldn’t afford customers not being able to get past. We’ll be looking at 180,000 people coming to shop on a Saturday.”
What’s a flashmob? Well,Â ‘a flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief period of time, then quickly disperse.’Â What’s so harmful about that? I was shopping in the Bullring last Saturday, and let me tell you, there was PLENTY of space for people to walk around – more than enough space for a few dozen people to do five minutes’ worth of Pythonesque comedy. If they’d been juggling fire or whipping round on rollerblades to the music of Starlight Express, then fair enough, I’d probably expect them to be moved on too – but standing still? How square do you have to be to not find that a bit of harmless fun (and amusingly odd?)
If I’d been in Birmingham this weekend, I would’ve taken part myself, Flashmobs are really nothing more than a bit of painless, hassle-free fun which provide great entertainment value for observers. In what way is it obstructive or harmful to shoppers? I think we can determine from this that the Bullring security staff (and the managing director) could be accurately described as humourless, revenue-driven employees who seek to disrupt peoples’ fun at every opportunity possible.
We need to have weekly Flashmobs in the Bullring from now on. 😉