Coronavirus Pandemic Causing Shortages In Everything From Cash To Manufacturing Supplies

Coronavirus Pandemic Causing Shortages In Everything From Cash To Manufacturing Supplies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Have you noticed a trend at stores lately that they’re only accepting credit or debit card payments?

It’s a growing trend brought on by a nationwide coin shortage.


One local company is reaching out to its customers for help – Sheetz.


Originated in Altoona, Pa., the company now has 600 stores across several states but has not yet gotten to the point where it cannot make change for customers…but they’re close.


Nick Ruffner says Sheetz has come up with a “wish list” of tips.


“Kind of a universal tip we’re asking people, use debit and credit cards as much as possible,” he said. ‘They can also donate their coins to Sheetz For The Kids, that’s our employee-run charity that helps kids that are underprivileged have a brighter holiday season. We have a couple digital options that can address the shortage as well. Scan and go is one, its something on the Sheetz app to pay for convenience items without interacting with the staff you just scan it on your app, and pay in the store and leave.”


How does donating to Sheetz For The Kids work as far as helping in a coin crisis?


“Well, that introduces coins into our system and then we’re making a donation that is not coin-related, that would be made through a check so would not involve those coins,” Ruffner said. “They could be used for other purposes, that is my understanding.”


Sheetz isn’t alone in this crisis. Walmart is also calling on customers to use cards for purchases and Giant Eagle is converting more registers to cards only to keep the change in rest.


It’s also not just coins that are disrupted.


Paper towels are in short supply but it is unknown as to why.


Also, because people are spending more time at home, the aluminum can industry is struggling to keep up with demand.


People are drinking soft drinks 30% more, causing bottling companies to choose which products get the available cans.


WATCH: Pandemic Also Causing Household Appliance Shortage

There’s also disruption in the manufacturing industry, especially the home-building and home appliance market.


Much like soft drinks, it boils down to people staying at home.


This is causing people to use their home appliances more, wearing them out.


People that want to purchase that second refrigerator or a standalone freezer due to stocking up on groceries are unable to find them.


However, it’s not just increased demand.


“As the epidemic goes through the population, it’s effecting manufacturing capabilities all over the world,” said Matt Hillebrand of Don’s Appliance. “Because we are a global economy, parts are sourced from all over the world and manufacturing has crawled to a very slow pace and orders are not anywhere near being filled by the manufacturers.”


Hillebrand says that right now, freezers are short and on 8-12 week backorder and refrigerators are in very short supply.


So what should consumers do?


“What I would do is I would not be as particular about an appliance today,” Hillebrand added. “Find something that works it may not have all the features you want but find something that is close to what you want and buy it.”


He said that their store saw this coming and placed a lot of orders in early March and are only now getting the supplies in.


Another shortage is occurring in the building trade as lumber is coming up short.


These shortages are being blamed on social distancing reducing the supply workforce and some companies have closed.