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[00:00:04]

Hey, and welcome to the short stuff on Josh, there's Chuck Jeri's over there. Let's get going. This is short stuff about shortages of coins shortly now.

[00:00:14]

Hey, can you spare some change? No. Why not?

[00:00:20]

What was it? I can't remember who said. I think the line is. Haven't you heard there's a coin shortage. Oh, OK. Let's try this again. Mm hmm.

[00:00:27]

Hey, mister, can you spare some change? No. Why not? Haven't you heard? There's a line calling shortage. There's a coin shortage.

[00:00:39]

And that summarizes our TV show success quite nicely and seen and seen.

[00:00:46]

So there really is a coin shortage or dramatization was a real one based on real life. A true story in the United States, our listeners in Australia and New Zealand and UK and Germany, who knew?

[00:01:00]

You know, did we hear from a German? Is that what happened? They said, yes, we're listening to you in Germany, OK?

[00:01:08]

And they said cryptically and watching what some of you guys who are in America might not realize is that if you went into a store, the stores that are open right now during the pandemic here in the United States, you might find a sign that says, please pay with exact change or use a credit card because we ain't got no change for you if you need it. And it's actually kind of becoming a bit of a problem and a conspiracy theory over here.

[00:01:38]

Yeah. So there are coins out there. The U.S. Treasury says that there were almost forty eight billion dollars worth of coins in circulation in April of this year, which is about 400 million more than last year. But the deal is, is those coins aren't moving.

[00:01:56]

They got no movement going on like they usually do for a few reasons.

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Obviously, when business is closing and banks sort of closing or reducing their hours and things like arcades and laundromats and public transit, where you use a lot of coins and convenience stores, when all this stuff closes up, it's going to put a serious dent in the coin flow.

[00:02:18]

It is because, I mean, all of these these businesses that are especially coin heavy, they they act as kind of like part of the circulatory system that moves coins through the economy. And if they're not closed, meaning they're not accepting coins, you can't let the coins pass through them. So instead, they go back home to people's houses, which is where a lot of them are right now. Also simultaneous to that check, the U.S. Mint was like, well, we don't want to put our people at risk.

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So we're actually going to slow production and furlough a bunch of people because we don't want them on the job giving covid to one another, which is kind of sensible.

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And then beyond that, even if you do have a business, a lot of people are saying, you know, they want like contactless. They don't want cash passing back and forth. They'll maybe shove a credit card reader in your face from a poll that it's attached to and they'll say, stick your credit card in that, not doing a lot of cash or asking for exact change. And again, that just means there are coins out there. They're just not flowing through the economy like they normally do.

[00:03:27]

Right.

[00:03:28]

So for all these reasons, there is an actual coin shortage, not a coin shortage in that they don't exist, but a coin shortage in that they're not flowing through like they're supposed to, like you're saying, which I mean, if you were a thinking person, you might by this time have thought, who cares? It doesn't matter. Yeah, but it does for a lot of reasons. And the first is that there are a lot of stores, kinds of stores, like you said, transit, public transit, you know, the public transit store where you go to buy public transit and coins and then laundromats.

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There are certain kinds of businesses that heavily rely on the free and open flow of coinage for their businesses to function. And if you go into one of those businesses and they say you need to pay with exact change, is that OK? Some of their customers are going to be like, no, it's not OK. I want I don't have exact change and I want my change back. Some of those stores have tried to get creative and have said, how about rather than give you change back, we donated on your behalf to a charity, but you kind of round up your bill to have some of that donated.

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That makes sense. But if you're kind of going through hard times, it's a lot of us are you want that change back? So then some stores have said, OK, all right, we don't actually have physical coins here to give you change, but we can give you a store gift card with that amount on it. How about that? In some customers, that's fine. Whatever, but I can't imagine. How much of a dent in a store is efficiency stopping in, adding like 38 cents to a gift card for every third customer who wants to pay with cash is doing to to the stores in the United States that are, by the way, are already struggling because they have opened up in this pandemic simply because they need to to keep the lights on.

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Yeah, or some stores are saying, how about in lieu of the 37 cents, I compose a poem in which I integrate the words 37 cents. Right. And I will sing it to you. Right. Or maybe it takes a lot of time. Maybe our head cashier, Buckie will give you thirty eight cents for the pot from his stash.

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Wonder what thirty eight cents for the pot looks like. I don't know. Probably that's a lot, right.

[00:05:47]

Sure. From everything I've read. Should we take a break? Yes. All right. We'll be right back with more cocaine shortage.

[00:05:54]

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[00:06:20]

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[00:06:28]

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[00:06:35]

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[00:06:47]

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[00:07:03]

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[00:07:13]

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[00:07:52]

All right, so we got a coin shortage, it ain't following the National Grocers Association and some other retail trade groups sent a letter to Jerome Powell, the Fed Reserve chair. And Steve, how do you pronounce it?

[00:08:09]

Hartshorne Neuquén. Oh, yeah. Mnuchin talking about New Manoogian, the Minnich.

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No, that's the The Mooche Sakaguchi that you're thinking of.

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That's right. Yeah. He's the Treasury secretary and they sent a letter in June saying, hey, you're rationing these coin shipments to the banks. And that's really threatening our business because it's you know, we come from a place of privilege to be able to sit around and joke about this because, my God, just put everything on my Amex because I get sky miles that are now useless.

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But here's the deal. If you have a household income below twenty five thousand dollars, you are paying for cash. You're paying for 43 percent of your transactions in cash.

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Right. This is why finally we reached why it really actually matters, because there's a significant number of Americans out there who depend on having cash handy because. Right. The banks have said we don't think you're worthy of having a bank account. And the credit card companies have said we're not going to extend you any credit. So all you've got is cash. That's your only option. And so if you aren't if the stores are trying to give you some some business to run around about Domen donating your 38 cents to charity, now, you probably want that 38 cents back and not having that 38 cents in circulation is a big problem for a large number of people.

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Yeah, here's a couple of other stats that may be surprising if you always just throw down your credit card, 45 to 60 percent of sales at all grocery stores and convenience stores or cash. And for ten dollars or less, about half of all transactions period in the U.S. are paid in cash if they're ten dollars or less. Yes.

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And also, I mean, there's a plenty of gas stations and convenience stores out there that have a long standing policy that, you know, nothing under five dollars or three dollars or whatever can be put on a card because there's credit card fees can really add up for a store like that. So now they they have no choice. If they don't have change to give out, they have to take that credit card payment. So that's dening their bottom line to the the little small business owners as well.

[00:10:18]

It's just a huge cluster that needs to be fixed, Chuck.

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Yeah, and the FDIC's sort of there isn't a real fix right now because everything that's going on, you can't just put some artificial you can't just, like, flood the market with coins because the problem is they're not flowing anyway. It's not that they aren't there. So the real solution is just eventually things will slowly return to normal as far as coin circulation goes, just like everything else returning to normal. But they are ramping up production of coins because they, I guess, heard the the letter and they don't want to shortchange the banks at least.

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And I think the usual is a billion coins a month. They're now producing one point two billion coins a month, at least in June, and then one point three five billion a month for the rest of the year.

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Yeah, I mean, that's a substantial increase for sure. Yeah. Yeah. We're talking about 350 million additional coins a month for the rest of twenty twenty. That's a huge uptick. So they're definitely responding. But it seems like what everybody's saying is, hey, you with the coin jar in your cupboard like you're the you're the problem. Like go take your coin jar to the coin star. I think they the Fed actually specifically named Coin Star as a place where you should take your coins and trade them in for a gift card or some cash or something like that.

[00:11:40]

Or if you don't want to pay whatever fee Coinstar charges, you can actually go into the bank, take your coins. They will be happy to see you for the first time in their entire banking history, showing up with a jar full of coins being like, can I have this in exchange for some bills that will help get it back into circulation as well. Or you could just start spending them, like pay in coins out of your coin jar that you have at home.

[00:12:05]

Reintroduce it into the economy, in fact, is another way to put it.

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Yeah, I can't remember when we talked about this, but we talked about coins before and taking them to the bank and the fact that Emily and I, when we were first together and just broke, as you could imagine, would go and change dates because we would go to that Coinstar machine and dump them in there. And I think that's when you said that you didn't do Coinstar because of the fee.

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If I'm not mistaken, that sounds like something I would say. Yeah, it was a long time ago, though. Yeah, well, I still don't pay the fee. Still the same. It'll be etched on my tombstone.

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Yeah. He wouldn't pay the fee.

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So you can do something by spending coins. It's a big one. And there's actually a hash tag that this. Joint task force that got put together came up with called Get Quoin Moving, not even coins get coins moving. Bryk loves lamp.

[00:13:02]

It's pretty, pretty bad. And here's a little tidbit for you to chew on while you're going through your coin jar, trying to figure out what you're going to buy first with it. A coin in the United States remains in circulation for up to 30 years. So all those coins are pumping full of the economy with they're going to be around for a while, whereas the paper bills that we have usually only lasts about a year and a half. Wow.

[00:13:29]

That's a short stuff, Chuck, don't you think? I think so. Well, in short, stuff says everybody giddyap.

[00:13:39]

Stuff you should know is a production of radios HowStuffWorks for more podcasts, My Heart Radio, is it the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows?