VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- If the list of problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic wasn't long enough, another one is popping up. It's a shortage of coins across the country
Folks are searching their cushions, they're opening up their piggy banks, and cleaning out the bottom of their purse. That's as many places are experiencing a shortage of coin!
"We operate 10 retail sites in the two-state area, and about half of those are having difficulty getting coins when we need them," Bill Tennis, President, and CEO of Wabash Valley Goodwill Industries said.
Meanwhile, Katie Marshall and her family live in the Wabash Valley. She said her mother had a cash-only kind of upbringing. With this shortage, she's worried about her and others who live a cash-only life.
"If she's required to pay by card, or if she doesn't have exact change, and they want to put her change on some kind of payment card. That's going to be hard for her to grasp and may be hard for her to accept," Marshall said.
Some places aren't or can't even give out change. So, if you don't have exact change, you may be asked to round your total up. At Wabash Valley Goodwill, anytime you roundup your total, they donate it to their work programs.
Marshall said she thinks people will want their hard-earned money back.
"I mean if you think about it, these are tough times for many people. You're now refusing, as the business, to give someone their change back. My hard-earned money. Then yes, I would have a problem with it. Let alone additional people struggling every day in this world," she said.
The reason for the shortage is because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When stores shutdown, the US circulation of coins slowed down dramatically. At the same time, the US mint cut the production of new coins. That's because shift changes to keep workers safe.
The Federal Reserve then put limits on how much change banks would be given. Now that stores are back open many can't get enough coins from banks. Meaning some places are asking customers for help.
"As we started to reopen, and slowly over the period in both states, we're now at the point where some of our locations are having trouble getting coins," Tennis said.
"I think it's going to be causing some stress, anxiety, and some anger issues throughout the valley," Marshall said.
Officials expect the shortage to ease when the economy opens more. But, no one is sure when that will be.