Local businesses, banks feeling effects of change shortage

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 24 August 2020 at 7:51 am

Shoppers may notice something different when they go to pay for their purchases lately.

There is a shortage of change.

Personnel from several local banks admitted there is a shortage, but said any comments would have to come from their corporate offices.

A call to Medina Savings and Loan’s parent company, Generations Bank in Seneca Falls, was returned by Mike Reed, vice president of marketing, who said they have tried to make sure their branches were supplied with enough change. He said customers are urged to reach for their debit card instead of cash, and many people are using electronic payment options.

“Customers are adapting,” Reed said.

Amanda Pollard, assistant branch manager of Tompkins Bank of Castile in Medina, admitted to a shortage of change. She said now that many customers have been staying home, they are wrapping their change and bringing it in, which has helped.

At Tops Friendly Markets, Cheryl Colbert, director of Customer Experience, said their customers have not felt the impact of the national coin shortage.

“We were ahead of it and took precautionary measures to address the situation,” Colbert said. “We are temporarily accepting rolled coins at our customer service desk, which has helped. Additionally, as part of our Neighbors Helping Neighbors philosophy, we are encouraging customers to round up their change to support local charities, and that has worked well to provide funding for necessary programming and services they provide to our communities.”

A clerk, however, from Crosby’s at the corner of Maple Ridge Road and South Main Street in Medina, said they haven’t had any dimes in several months. She said they are scrounging to find enough pennies and nickels, and added they can’t even get change from their bank.

Emilie Peracciny, who just went into business with her mother at Alexandra Peracciny Photography on Main Street, also works at Aldi’s and TJ Maxx, both of whom are experiencing the shortage, she said. She said Aldi’s was asking customers for exact change or suggesting they use a credit card.

At Medina Aldi’s, a recent customer whose bill ended in 76 cents was told unless she had exact change, the clerk could not give her any change. She said they had no pennies at all. Another Aldi’s employee said his store ordered change every week, but hadn’t gotten any since the first of June.

A former Medina family who now lives in Rock Hill, S.C., is experiencing the shortage there as well. Their local McDonald’s is refusing cash transactions and insisting customers use electronic options.

A press release online from the National Reserve said the shortage has been created by the pandemic, which has closed many businesses. As a result, people aren’t shopping as frequently and putting money into circulation.

One local bank employee questioned whether the shortage was real, or just a situation created by the government to create panic among people.

Residents, however, who collect change and save it in a jar at home are being urged to take it to their bank or store.

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