COVID-19 related shutdowns have led to a coin shortage, and truckstops and travel centers have come up with creative solutions so they can continue dealing in cash.
Davis Travel Center Put Out a Call to the Local Community
“It was really hard to believe that there would ever be a coin shortage. I laughed at first when I heard this and thought it was a joke,” said Bill Decker, general manager of Davis Travel Centers. “We experienced the shortage from our bank for about six weeks with all of our profit centers.”
Decker bought two coin sorters and put out a call to the local community asking customers to bring in their change. Davis Travel Centers bought the change and offered a free fountain drink.
“So, of course, we had drivers bring in their canisters of their saved coins. Guess what they brought their change in? The old Folgers Coffee cans,” Decker said. “It was really funny to see that the coffee cans continue to be used by drivers in saving their change.”
Another driver brought in a cigar box of quarters and some locals brought in plastic bags full of pennies, Decker said.
Pilot Offers a Short-Term Promotion
In August, Pilot launched a short-term promotion, offering a free Pilot coffee or fountain drink when guests used $5 in change for their purchases or to exchange for cash. “Signage at our travel centers about the shortage has helped explain the situation to guests and they have been understanding of the circumstances,” said Stephanie Meyer, a spokesperson for Pilot.
QuikTrip Springs Into Action
QuikTrip also sprang into action to improve the shortage, said Aisha Jefferson-Smith, a spokesperson for QuikTrip. It encouraged people to empty their piggy banks for cash. “People reacted very well, it's been helpful,” she said. “A customer in Wichita redeemed over $3,000 worth of coins.”
QuikTrip also placed signage in stores asking customers to pay with exact change, use debit, credit or contactless payment and if payment required change, it was returned it in the form of a QuikTrip gift card, she said. “A few other options were giving a barcoded receipt with the money we owe you instead of coins, or you could round up to the next dollar and donate the money to the Folds of Honor Charity,” Jefferson-Smith said.
Partner to Encourage Round-ups
Pilot Corp. has offers customers the opportunity to round-up their purchases to the nearest dollar.
“Pilot Co.’s round-up campaigns give us the opportunity to partner with causes that are important to us, while also helping to alleviate the national coin shortage,” Meyer said. “In addition, these campaigns give our guests the chance to easily give back to some incredible organizations, including the Call of Duty Endowment, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity and Wreaths Across America.”
Meyer said 100% of the proceeds from each campaign are donated, and over the last several months, Pilot has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations that have played a pivotal role in aiding communities across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through the end of the year, Pilot’s round-up donations will go to Wreaths Across America to help them reach their goal of placing more than 2.2 million wreaths for the holidays. “Our round-up campaign is a prime example of how we adjusted and found a positive and creative way to minimize impact,” Meyer said. “For those that opt to not round-up their purchase, we also offer a credit in the form of Pilot gift cards.”
Decker said the coin shortage has improved. “As of to date we in this area are out of the woods in the coin shortage and are back to normal,” he said. “It’s really amazing to see how the country responds to the out cry of needing supply’s and somehow everyone comes together to keep the country moving forward.”
Pilot’s Meyer said that while the coin shortage has had an impact on its travel centers, the company has found ways to adapt during this time to keep locations operating smoothly and its guests informed. “Overall, customers have been very understanding of the situation, as many retailers nationwide are also experiencing the shortage,” she said.
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