First toilet paper, then cleaning supplies, then masks, and now the latest shortage is coins. Yep, that coffee can of loose change is the latest hot commodity.

The Federal Reserve issued a statement in June about this coin shortage:

The COVID‐19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coin. In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees.

Locally, Sauk Rapids Coborn's is feeling the effects of this. I was shopping there Monday, July 6th, and saw the sign in the photo above. I'm an avid "self-checkout person", especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I just prefer to do the checkout process myself.

As I was checking out, I noticed a sign that said: "Cards Only". Nothing new, it is something you see from time to time at self-checkout machines everywhere. As I was scanning my items I noticed that there was more to the sign. In smaller print it went on to say:

No cash back. Due to the shortage in coins from the Federal Reserve.

There was a second sign taped to the machine near the scale:

Due to the nationwide coin shortage, this self checkout will only accept card payments. It temprarily cannot accept cash payments. Thank you!

There was also a little white label stuck to the credit card machine letting customers know that getting cash back wasn't a possibility either.

This doesn't bother me too much, I don't usually have cash on me anyway, but it does make me nervous. A coin shortage seems like something we should be worried about, on top of everything else that has been piled on our plates in 2020. Something we can do to help this shortage end sooner would be to cash in those piggy banks. It will put more coins in circulation, hopefully expediting this shortage.

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