CLEAR WATER, Wis. (WEAU) – If your pockets are a bit lighter these days, you’re not alone. It is an unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic which is changing the country. Literally.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States, Americans faced a shortage of toilet paper in supermarkets. Now they face another type of supermarket shortage, this one from the variety of parts. This forces companies to adjust their operations to cope with the shortage.
Stores across the country are asking buyers to pay with an exact currency or card, this is due to a shortage of domestic coins caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Federal Reserve, there are enough coins in the economy, but many places where coins are used for payment have been closed for months, resulting in reduced circulation. Amy Miller is the Customer Service Department Manager for Festival Foods, which is one of several stores in the Chippewa Valley asking people not to pay cash or pay with exact change.
“In the last few weeks we’ve heard of a national coin shortage, a national coin shortage,” Miller says. “But now it gets really close to where we order parts and we don’t get any.”
In grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants, customers see signs asking them to pay with a card or exact change if possible.
“I’ve never seen such a shortage of parts before.” Said Miller. “We were always able to get the parts we needed.”
At Festival Foods, Miller says the cash option at the vending machines has been turned off, as well as not allowing guests to buy rolls of coins in the hopes of stretching every penny as much as possible.
“We haven’t been able to get the parts that we’re trying to get,” Miller says. “We’re only out for almost three days, so if we get to where we don’t get any one-day coins, we’ll run out of pennies, we’ll run out of pennies and dimes.”
While the national parts shortage is causing problems for some businesses, others have found a way around it, while also helping the local community. Cousin’s Subs CEO Christine Specht said the restaurant requires customers who pay in cash to round their total to the nearest dollar, which is then donated to local boys and girls clubs.
“As a Cousin’s Subs franchise owner or as a store worker, they know that it’s part of our mantra to be involved in the community, to help the community and in that way, to take a creative way to turn a negative into a positive, ”Specht said.
Specht says about 45% of their customers still pay in cash and that the fundraising campaign fits into their model of community engagement, “The Make it Better Foundation,” which focuses on health and wellness. , hunger and education of young people. However, the initiative will not yet be present in all stores.
“We initiated communication with our restaurants at the start of the week,” explains Specht. “But not all restaurants have a parts shortage. “
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