The national coin shortage, caused in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, is being felt in Michigan. Because of the shortage of coins, Meijer self-checkout lanes have been converted to only accept electronic payments.

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One week ago, we found out that many places in the southern U.S. were being affected by this shortage, with some banks offering bonuses for bringing in coins. So far, I haven't seen that offer in Michigan, but it may now happen. The problem, as we said last week, stems from slow downs at the U.S. Mints and business in general:

The problem is system-wide. First, the U.S. Mint was producing fewer coins as they, like many other "factories", had to limit production to protect their employees. Then, banks and businesses were closed to the public, meaning fewer coins were coming in from the public. Plus, many places with coin-return kiosks (some of them banks - some of them retail outlets with Coin-Star machines) were shut down.

According to NBC25news.com, one 7-11 in Essexville, near Bay City was offering a free Slurpee last week for $5 in rolled coins. I don't know if they'll offer that again, but - if you're a fan of Slurpees and up for a road trip...

I wasn't sure the shortage was state-wide so I ventured out to my local DeWitt Meijer on a recon mission to give you an on-the-spot report (and we were out of beer) and found that, yes - our Meijer had instituted the self-checkout "electronic payment only" policy.

Coin shortage. Who would thunk it? Stay safe.