QuikTrip is in the business of selling things people love — Hotzis, pizza slices, hot dogs and taquitos off of a spinning roller grill — for a little pocket change.

But this summer, the Tulsa based convenience store chain with stores in both Coweta and Wagoner wants to literally buy the change from your pocket.

“Signage is up now, or in the process of going up, notifying customers about the coin shortage,” said Mike Thornbrugh, manager of public and government affairs for Tulsa-based QuikTrip Corp. “If they can, we’re asking that they use exact change to help out or use a debit or credit card or other contactless forms of payment.

“And we are asking people who have extra change to redeem it with us.”

The coin shortage Thornbrugh is referring to is related to disruptions to the supply chain and normal currency circulation patterns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the Federal Reserve issued a rationing order, meaning banks will receive far fewer rolls of nickels, dimes, quarters and even pennies. That is having an immediate effect on retailers’ ability to obtain coins for their cash registers.

“In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly and the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees,” stated the Fed’s announcement. “Although the Federal Reserve is confident that the coin inventory issues will resolve once the economy opens more broadly and the coin supply chain returns to normal circulation patterns, we recognize that these measures alone will not be enough to resolve near‐term issues.”

For those without exact change, QuikTrip is offering to place the change owed on QT gift cards, but Thornbrugh hopes the open call for cash exchange of people’s coin stashes will buy them some time.

“I think I’m probably like most people. I collect coins and redeem them at a certain point, so I probably have $50 to $60 worth of coins,” said Thornbrugh. “Don’t bring a wheelbarrow full — let’s use moderation. But we want to be proactive because this potential is out there, and I think you are going to see a lot of places doing things like this. If you can help us, we think it will help out the situation quite a bit.”

Staff Writer

Andrea is a projects reporter, examining key education topics and other local issues. Since joining the Tulsa World in 1999, she has been a three-time winner of Oklahoma’s top award for investigative reporting by an individual. Phone: 918-581-8470