“I have a five-gallon water bottle at home that I always throw my pocket change into and my wife does the same thing too,” Ogden said.
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Indeed, according to the United States Mint, there are more than enough coins for the businesses that need them. The problem is, because of the pandemic and the economic downturn, those coins are not circulating in the normal way.
“The COVID-19 pandemic [has] significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins,” a Mint media release read.
And Ogden said he has seen this firsthand. Even before the coin shortage, a lot more of his customers were opting to pay using a card rather than with cash.
“I think in general, people are just using less cash because, you know, money is dirty, so with the coronavirus, absolutely we are seeing less cash come in than normal,” Ogden said.
On top of that, with the slow business, there is simply less opportunity for money — specifically coins — to circulate through the economy. Looking at his books, Ogden said they are doing about 50% of the business this year as they were last year.
According to the Mint, the shortage should begin to work itself out as the economy recovers. But in the meantime, a U.S. Coin Task Force was formed to identify, implement and promote actions to address problems with coin circulation.