(WIVB)–Don’t call it “chump change” anymore. Who would have thought after the shortages of toilet paper and hand sanitizers and yeast, we would be looking at a coin shortage?
Government officials say as fewer folks venture out to spend money, they are “keeping the change.”
You might not have noticed it so much here in Western New York but the number of signs is growing. A coin shortage blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speedway customers are greeted with a sign asking them for plastic, exact change, or round up their payment to the next dollar with the difference going to charity.
Convenience stores, like Speedway, are getting hit especially hard by the coin shortage.
The Federal Reserve is rationing coins to banks, which are supplying fewer coins to convenience stores and gas stations.
A spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores says they are feeling the pinch.
As part of the effort to protect its workers, the US Mint severely curtailed operations, and that made fewer coins available.
American consumers are spending less money, and that is taking coins out of circulation, and retailers have written the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve to put more coins on the street, calling the shortage an “emergency.”
The Fed has responded, but there is no telling when or if the supply of coins will be replenished.
But other regions of the country are having a tougher time than here in Western New York.
Wegmans has not had a problem with the coin shortage, but the largest grocery chain in the US, Kroger, is taking change from cash transactions and applying it toward customers’ loyalty cards, or a Kroger charity.