• The Financial District


STOCKTON, Calif. — Retailers around the country are asking that if you have any leftover coins lying around the house to use them. The reason? A coin shortage.

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the Federal Reserve System scaled back on minting coins. Banks, as a result, can't receive full coin orders, according to KCRA 3 News.

Pennies, nickels, quarters and dimes are in short supply, including in Northern California. At the El Dorado Food Mart in Stockton, employees said they can't get the full amount of coins from the bank needed to operate.

"We've been having a hard time getting coins," Brian Lopes with the El Dorado Food Mart said. "Every time we go to the bank, they cut our order in half. We ask for $140 in change and we get, like $50."

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Lopes said there was a bank that allowed them to only take out $20 worth of coins.

Employees at this mart now encourage customers to use a credit or debit card. One strategy they use to minimize the amount of coins used is rounding off the amount owed.

Lopes said, for example, if the total is $1.04, they will throw in the 4 cents to keep it at the whole dollar amount.

The mart's also turned to buying coins from customers. Lopes said one customer sold the mart $96 worth of coins.

Banks have also turned to unconventional methods of asking for coin. The Bank of Stockton on Miner Avenue sent a flyer along with this month's statements for customers - asking them to look under their sofa cushions.

Employees at Podesto's Market were also caught off guard by the coin drought. Bernie Morgenstern with the market and deli encountered a similar situation to Lopes when it came down to exchanging for coin.

"I went to the bank and they said, 'Listen, we are going to give you only one-tenth of the amount of rolled coin you get,' and I said, 'Now wait a minute, you do realize I'm a supermarket, and we kind of rely on making change,'" Morgenstern said.

Retailers like the ones at Podesto's and El Dorado Food Mart now hope that customers will put their stashed change in their pockets and put them to use.

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