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Coin-based businesses hit hard by shortage may turn to tokens | Don’t Waste Your Money

Laundromats, car washes and other business that rely on coins and vending machines struggle to stay open amid the U.S. coin shortage spawned by the COVID-19 crisis.

What started as an inconvenience a few weeks ago is now becoming a serious problem— a shortage of coins. It's hitting laundromats and other coin-based businesses especially hard.

Many of us have been inconvenienced by the national coin shortage at a store that was out of change, but at some businesses the shortage is now becoming critical.

Thinking of washing the car? If it's a coin wash, bring change. Need to do a load of laundry? Laundromats are now running low, too.

"My customers use quarters to run these machines,” laundromat owner Jamie Lusk,” and when I can't go to the bank to purchase quarters, then they can't run the machines."

Lusk is now begging family and friends for quarters to keep the change machines full.

If laundromats like Lusk’s completely run out of quarters, they could be forced to close. However, there are some possible solutions.

Ken Shaner is sales director of a 100-year-old token manufacturer.

"We're getting inquiries from all over the United States," Shaner said.

The company— which makes coins for casinos, subways, presidents, and more— is now getting crushed with orders for vending machine tokens.

Legally, these shiny tokens cannot be the same thickness as quarters but Shaner said a simple modification will allow vending machines to take these tokens.

Lusk is considering it because right now he must beg people not to come in and take all his quarters.

"Please don't go to peoples coin machines, you are affecting their business," Lusk said.

Like other pandemic shortages, experts hope the coin shortage subsides this fall.

Until then, try to carry change with you and don’t waste your money.

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